Parliamentary questions for 6 February 2017

The Singapore Parliament will sit at 1.30pm on Monday, 6 February 2017 for the 31st session of the 13th Parliament.
80 oral questions and 42 written questions have been scheduled to be asked.
4 bills will be introduced in this Parliament session.

  1. Patents (Amendment) Bill – Minister for Law
  2. Early Childhood Development Centres Bill – Minister for Social and Family Development
  3. Architects (Amendment) Bill – Minister for National Development
  4. Town Councils (Amendment) Bill – Minister for National Development

5 bills to be read the second time and would likely be passed on the same day of reading because the Peoples’ Action Party holds majority seats in Parliament.

  1. Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 2/2017]  – (Prime Minister)
  2. Planning (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 3/2017]  – (Minister for National Development)
  3. International Enterprise Singapore Board (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 1/2017]  – (Minister for Trade and Industry [Industry])
  4. Parks and Trees (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 4/2017]  – (Minister for National Development)
  5. Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 5/2017] – (Minister for Transport)

There will also be a motion for the Adjournment (Standing Order No. 2(8)(b)) by Dr Tan Wu Meng, Jurong GRC Member of Parliament on Coordinating LED Night Illumination in our National Infrastructure.
Below are the questions filed towards the various Ministers
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[accordion title=”Prime Minister” load=”hide”] Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Prime Minister whether the Government-Paid Adoption Leave (GPAL) can (i) be converted into shared leave which parents can allocate between themselves as they choose, instead of being open to mothers only and (ii) be extended to parents (both mothers and fathers) who adopt children above the age of 12 months old.
Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Prime Minister whether there are plans to assist seniors to monetise their immovable assets by allowing financial institutions to provide reverse mortgages.
Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Prime Minister in light of the merging of career tracks for graduate and non-graduate civil servants (a) whether different educational qualifications affect compensation, starting pay, training, career progression and exposure for individuals at the same grade; (b) whether civil servants who are recipients of Government or statutory board scholarships have compensation, starting pay, training, career progression and exposure that are different from other civil servants; and (c) how does the Current Estimated Potential model take educational attainment into account.
Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Prime Minister for each of the years from 2007 to 2016, what is (i) the number of insurance companies/agencies with a valid licence operating in Singapore (ii) the number of staff on full-time employment by all these insurance companies/agencies and (iii) the number of insurance agents engaged by all these insurance companies/agencies.
Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Prime Minister for each of the years from 2007 to 2016, what is the number of (i) full-time employed dealer’s representatives dealing with securities in Singapore and (ii) remisiers in Singapore.
Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Prime Minister what is the average number of absences for each member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights over the 31 meetings held from 2012 to 2016.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Foreign Affairs” load=”hide”] Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs (a) what proportion and number of Singapore’s current Heads of Overseas Missions are career diplomats and political appointees respectively; and (b) what are the specific considerations to determine which Missions will be headed by career diplomats as opposed to political appointees.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Transport” load=”hide”] Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how many incidents of drivers going against the flow of traffic have there been in the last three years; (b) how many accidents have occurred due to this problem; (c) how does the Ministry assess the quality and clarity of its road signs; and (d) how does the Ministry decide if and when signs have to be installed or improved.
Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the LTA engages experts in behavioural and vision sciences to contribute their expertise in the design of road signs and junctions so as to minimise the risk of drivers inadvertently going against the flow of traffic.
Dr Chia Shi-Lu: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether all taxis are equipped with airbags, particularly for the front seats; (b) if not, which taxi companies have not done so; and (c) whether the Ministry intends to make the installation mandatory in line with international road safety standards
Mr Ang Hin Kee: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Ministry will consider making it mandatory for all vehicles which provide hire and reward services to be installed with safety devices and safety features to avoid incidents that compromise road safety for their passengers and road users.
Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the latest reciprocal road charge on foreign-registered vehicles entering Singapore will impact domestic inflation and food prices; and (b) whether the road charge can be waived for commercial goods vehicles.
Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what are the reasons underpinning LTA’s decision to impose demerit points for certain vehicle parking and vehicle stopping offences; and (b) whether such demerit points are calibrated to be proportional when compared with other traffic offence penalties.
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether there are plans to equip all train stations and bus interchanges with AED kits that are easily accessible; and (b) whether LTA will consider working with the public transport operators to equip all public buses, trains and taxis with AED kits for use during emergencies.
Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for Transport how is the trial operation of nuTonomy driverless taxis progressing and what benchmarks will the Ministry use to determine when driverless taxis can be rolled out in more parts of Singapore and its associated timeline.
Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the Ministry has studied the impact of the growth of the private car hire app industry on taxi drivers’ incomes; (b) whether there is a difference in income between day hirers and midnight shift hirers; (c) whether taxi drivers’ incomes have improved since the recent changes to the Taxi Availability Framework; (d) what more can be done to level the playing field and enhance the income of affected drivers; and (e) whether there are plans to engage taxi companies to adapt fare surcharges and rentals to help them cope with competition.
Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Transport with the greater anticipated use of PMDs and bicycles on footpaths (a) how can the Ministry help facilitate injury or damage claims between two parties, to prevent small claims from being settled by costly civil suits; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider setting up a claims tribunal to facilitate injury claims in the absence of compulsory insurance.
Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Transport what is the Government’s assessment of the current physical accessibility of public transport to persons with disabilities.
Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Transport as of 31 December 2016 what is (i) the number of Hybrid Concession Pass and Off-Peak Pass issued to public transport commuters (ii) the number of concession cards issued to persons with disabilities (iii) the average number of trips per day per concession cardholder and (iv) the average distance travelled per trip.
Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Transport whether there are plans to exclude PRs and foreign private car drivers from taking up vocational licences to ensure that such vocation remains only for Singaporeans, just like that for taxi driving.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for National Development” load=”hide”] Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for National Development whether there are any plans to assist flat owners who are unable to sell their HDB flat due to the quota imposed under the Ethnic Integration Policy.
Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar: To ask the Minister for National Development whether there are plans to review and introduce greater flexibility on the Ethnic Integration Policy for HDB flats in light of the sluggish property market where some home owners are finding it even more difficult to sell their flats.
Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Government will take stronger action against recalcitrant residents who flout HDB rules on pets as the incessant noise and unpleasant animal smells affect the surrounding environment and residents.
Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for National Development in light of the high proportion of pet-related complaints that HDB receives, whether more can be done to educate pet owners about responsibility and due care of their pets.
Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how does AVA monitor the population of stray cats in housing estates; (b) what is the population trend of stray cats over past three years; (c) what measures are put in place to manage its population; and (d) what actions are taken against irresponsible cat feeders.
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what steps is the Ministry taking or has taken to ensure that the Sigma lifts currently in operation are safe to use; and (b) whether it will be taking any action against Sigma and its parent company.
Mr Low Thia Khiang: To ask the Minister for National Development what is the pricing mechanism of Build-To-Order (BTO) flats compared to unsold BTO flats released under a Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise that results in the BTO price for the same flat exceeding the SBF price in some cases and not in others.
Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the number of feedback and complaints which the Ministry has received from residents of newly-built executive condominiums (ECs) on defects and design flaws in the past five years; and (b) what is the role of HDB in helping to resolve such matters since ECs are part of the stable of public flats offered by HDB.
Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for National Development whether motorists can be allowed to use the old parking coupons at pro-rated rates.
Mr Yee Chia Hsing: To ask the Minister for National Development what are the measures available against HDB dwellers (such as hoarders and cat hoarders) who cause great disamenities to their neighbours and do not open their premises for authorised inspection by HDB officers.
Dr Teo Ho Pin: To ask the Minister for National Development whether he can provide an update on (i) the progress of the Construction Productivity Roadmap by BCA and (ii) details of the Construction Productivity and Capability Fund including the total amount of funds disbursed to-date, the number of firms that have benefited from the fund, and the productivity improvements that such firms have made to-date, respectively.
Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how many private events have been held at Bay East Garden for the last 12 months; (b) what measures are taken to ensure that the events held do not pose any disamenity to the residents living near Bay East Garden; and (c) whether there can be better control of the events held at Bay East Garden to ensure that events are not too noisy and that vehicles parked by participants in the area are not parked illegally.
Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) to date, how many unsold dwelling units built by property developers are there still available in the market; (b) how many dwelling units are there available in the market put up for sale by home owners; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider slowing down or halting the sale of land parcels for residential development in light of the current sluggish property market.
Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for National Development whether Government has plans to build more heavy vehicle parks and to improve its public transport connectivity so that these vehicle parks can be more accessible to the drivers.
Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for National Development whether HDB can consider raising the allowable unladen weight for vans and light goods vehicles at HDB multi-storey car parks beyond the current 1,800 kg to 2,100 kg so that such vehicle owners/drivers can find more convenient parking and ease the season parking demand pressure on those popular heavy vehicle parks.
Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for National Development as of 31 December 2016, what is the number of (i) available vacant HDB rental flats (ii) rental flats converted for sale with a shorter lease and (iii) such converted flats sold.
Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for National Development for each of the years from 2007 to 2016, what is the number of (i) property/estate agencies in Singapore and (ii) housing/estate agents registered in Singapore.
Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how many cases of fake food imported from overseas have been detected by AVA over the past three years; (b) what is the breakdown of the country of origin in these cases; and (c) what action has been taken against the suppliers.
Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether there is an increasing trend over the last five years on the number of complaints received by BCA on managing agents of Management Corporations of Strata Title (MCSTs) over their non-delivery of service or compliance; and (b) whether there are processes in place to ensure only managing agents of MCSTs with the necessary credentials are allowed to operate their business.
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development for each year of the past three years (a) how many applicants above the income cap for rental flats have applied for rental flats; and (b) how many of such applications have been approved.
Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether there has been an assessment on the practicality of providing wooden laminated doors for HDB bathrooms given usage patterns; and (b) whether HDB will consider replacing the wooden laminated doors with aluminium bi-fold doors for the bathrooms of new HDB residential developments
Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for National Development whether there has been a study done or planned on (i) the degree of preference of Singaporeans to sink deep roots in a local community as opposed to having to move out under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) with no guarantee of relocation in the vicinity and (ii) the erosion of social capital when people who have lived in the area for a long time and contributed to the community move out under SERS.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Health” load=”hide”] Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how much will the re-organisation of the healthcare clusters cost; (b) what are the considerations for re-organisation into the three clusters instead of two or more than three; and (c) what additional concrete benefits of the re-organisation such as shorter waiting times for appointments, are there for patients.
Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the outcome of the Ministry’s study on legislating eldercare leave for employees; (b) what are the barriers that impede legislation of eldercare leave; and (c) from 2012 -2017, how many working caregivers do not have eldercare leave and how many working caregivers quit work to care for an elderly family member full-time.
Dr Teo Ho Pin: To ask the Minister for Health whether he can provide an update on the progress of the construction of the Bukit Panjang Polyclinic, its scheduled completion date and details of its range of medical services.
Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider giving Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) holders who are married to Singapore citizens, similar health subsidies as LTVP Plus holders.
Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Health since the inception of ElderShield in 2002; (a) what has been the total ElderShield premiums paid; (b) what is the total surplus collected by the ElderShield insurers; (c) what is the total surplus returned to members as premium rebates; and (d) what is the payout ratio and profit margin of each of the ElderShield insurers.
Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the current total subsidised and private nursing home capacity; (b) in the past five years, how many applications for these nursing homes have been received and what has been the queue time in each of those years; and (c) within the same period, how many of the patients in these nursing homes are ambulant and how many can be cared for at home or within the community.
Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how many nursing home beds will be added from January 2021 to December 2030; and (b) how much of the expected demand will be fulfilled by 2020 and 2030 respectively given our ageing population.
Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how widespread is the abuse of codeine in Singapore; (b) which are the most vulnerable groups; and (c) what are the measures taken to address such codeine abuse in Singapore.
Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef: To ask the Minister for Health with recent changes to the smoking and cigarette sales laws, whether there have been changes to the statistics on smoking and smokers, especially amongst women and teenagers.
Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the average size that each integrated healthcare cluster will serve; (b) how does it compare to Hong Kong; (c) how will this new clustering benefit the public in expediting the waiting time at A&E departments; and (d) how will this improve the average waiting period for a patient who needs to be scanned for suspected serious illnesses like cancer.
Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) cards have been automatically renewed for households that do not respond to the invitation letter for renewal; (b) whether these households receive the same subsidy tier upon automatic renewal; and (c) whether the Ministry allows for auto-renewal to the same subsidy tier for retired senior citizens with no change in their household situation.
Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Health how many blue CHAS cards and orange CHAS cards were issued by the Government in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Home Affairs” load=”hide”] Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in respect of motorists driving against the flow of traffic, whether the maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a fine for causing death by a rash act should be reviewed.
Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether families of death row inmates can be provided with at least three weeks’ notice before the sentence is carried out to allow them sufficient time to come to terms with the sentence and make necessary arrangements; (b) what processes are in place to help such families deal with the trauma of the loss of their loved ones; and (c) whether family members of death row inmates can be allowed to have physical contact during the last few visits after the date of execution has been set.
Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Government will prohibit alcohol consumption in all public areas in HDB estates that are close to residential blocks to prevent undesirable acts of indiscriminate urination, rowdy behaviour and acts of public affray that affect the residents of the affected blocks.
Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) in the past five years, how many cases of child sex offences have been reported; (b) what is being done to reduce such crimes; and (c) whether there are plans to create a sex offender registry with limited access given to agencies and communities that can benefit from the information.
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs that as part of the SG Secure movement, (a) whether there are plans to incorporate compulsory anti-terrorism and CPR/AED training for existing and newly recruited public transport workers; and (b) if so, how often will refresher courses be conducted for these workers so that their knowledge and skills remain current.
Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many individuals have been investigated and/or charged over Jallikattu-related events in Singapore; and (b) of this number, how many are Singaporeans, PRs and foreigners respectively.
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs for each year of the past three years (a) what percentage of inmates in the Drug Rehabilitation Centres (DRCs) use their entire quota of family visiting privileges each month; and (b) how many requests have the DRCs received for additional family visiting privileges by the inmates or by their family members respectively.
Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs if he can provide an update on the case of eight Indonesians deported to Malaysia due to their suspected link to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and why they were subsequently released by the Indonesian police.
Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many prison inmates are there currently with identified intellectual disabilities, with a breakdown by type and severity of intellectual disability; (b) what is the overall recidivism rate of this group of offenders; and (c) how does this compare with the recidivism rate of able-bodied, neuro-typical offenders with similar offences.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Communications and Information” load=”hide”] Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) how often are postal letters delivered to the wrong address; (b) what action is being taken to improve the service; (c) what are the common reasons for the wrong delivery; and (d) whether any fine-tuning on the sorting process of letters and training of postmen are required.
Mr Low Thia Khiang: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) how many public opinion polls have been put up for tender on GeBIZ between 2014 and 2016; (b) how many of such tenders have not been put up on GeBIZ; (c) what has been the total amount spent on public opinion polls during this period; (d) what is the total number of respondents covered in these polls; and (e) what criteria does REACH use to determine if the findings of a poll are of interest to the public and hence worthy of publication.
Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs (a) what are the processes involved in producing the weekly MUIS Friday prayer sermon text; (b) who determines or approves the final draft of the sermon text; and (c) whether the sermon text has to be vetted and approval obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs as well as the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs prior to its delivery.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Finance” load=”hide”] Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) to what extent has the GST Voucher – Utilities-Save rebate helped to offset utilities bills during periods of increases in electricity tariffs especially for rental flats; and (b) for those households under the Pay-As-You-Use scheme, whether this rebate can be directly credited into their prepaid utilities account.
Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Finance how does the Government ensure that workers engaged for government contracts are paid for their work when either the main contractors or the latter’s sub-contractors go into liquidation.
Mr Yee Chia Hsing: To ask the Minister for Finance whether the Ministry can allow tax-free withdrawals from the Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) accounts to the extent where the SRS contributions do not benefit from any tax deduction due to the personal income tax relief cap of $80,000 that will be effective from the Year of Assessment 2018.
[/accordion] [accordion title=” Minister for Education” load=”hide”] Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) whether there are sufficient places for autistic students awaiting entry into special needs institutions; (b) what is the current average waiting time; and (c) what are the plans to make available more educational opportunities and support for students with autism.
Mr Low Thia Khiang: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) whether the Ministry reviews the criteria used by individual primary schools to determine whether students are allowed to take up Higher Mother Tongue to ensure that reasonable consideration is given to students’ interest in the subject instead of it being a purely results-driven process.
Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) whether there are efforts made to familiarise senior management and school leaders on the importance of tripartism and its role in creating an environment conducive for Singapore’s growth; and (b) whether the Ministry has plans to collaborate with NTUC and its affiliated unions, through its current zonal-level sharing platforms, to understand and strengthen knowledge in tripartism further.
Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) whether there are plans to introduce more activities that will encourage secondary school students to think out-of-the-box; and (b) how can schools help to imbue in the students the spirit to take on calculated risks.
Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) how serious is the problem of students who sport a tattoo on a visible part of the body; (b) what are common reasons that a child will sport a tattoo; and (c) what is the policy on how to handle such pupils if the tattoo is on a visible part of the body.
Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) what are the considerations for keeping pre-school education privatised rather than nationalised as an extension of the current nationalised education system; and (b) what are the continual barriers or current issues that impede nationalisation of pre-school education.
Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) whether there is a policy to guide schools in deciding on the retention of prizes, especially cash prizes or those with cash value, won by students representing the schools during competitions.
Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) what is the average and median time taken for graduates of institutions of higher learning to secure full-time employment; (b) whether the time taken is lengthened with the economic slowdown; and (c) what are the steps taken to help these graduates find employment.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Law” load=”hide”] Mr Yee Chia Hsing: To ask the Minister for Law whether the existing laws can be strengthened to increase the penalties against the author or publisher of fake news on the Internet.
Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Law (a) whether the Ministry will consider setting up an agency to look into the proliferation of fake news on the internet; (b) what are the Ministry’s plans to correct false information in a timely manner; and (c) what is the Ministry’s assessment on the likelihood that such news can be manipulated by foreign parties to influence society including election outcomes and social cohesion.
Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Law (a) whether a claimant has to pay a fee to apply for the enforcement of a money order issued by the Small Claims Tribunal and, if so, how much; and (b) whether there are measures in place to help a low-income claimant defray this cost.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Manpower” load=”hide”] Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng: To ask the Minister for Manpower how the Ministry can improve the process by which workers, including foreign workers, can be protected against errant employers who do not insure them or compensate them for injuries and/or owe them their salaries.
Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) from 2012-2017, how many employers have been prosecuted in the Labour Court for respectively failing to compensate injured workers or insure them adequately; (b) what is being done to reduce the incidence of errant employers who ignore Labour Court orders and default on compensation for injured workers; and (c) how does the Ministry assist low-wage local and migrant workers who cannot afford further legal action to recover their unpaid wages.
Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry can provide an update on investigations into the recent termination of multiple employees of Surbana Jurong.
Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what constitutes due and fair process in terminating employees due to poor performance; (b) what recourse do employees have to access crucial evidence on performance held by employers to prove unfair dismissal; and (c) what are the penalties for employers who disguise retrenchment as termination due to poor performance.
Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Manpower in light of the increase in numbers of workers participating in the “sharing” economy with many being freelancers or self-employed (a) whether has there been a deflationary impact on wages in sectors with a high concentration of such workers; and (b) how can the Government help these workers to be financially adequate in their retirement.
Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for Manpower in 2016, how many women have notified the Ministry that they have been asked by their employer not to return to work after the end of their maternity leave and whether this number shows an increasing trend in the past two years.
Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) how many companies have included retrenchment benefit clauses in their employment contracts; (b) which are the industries that do so and how prevalent is the practice; (c) what kind of assistance does the Ministry render to those retrenched without retrenchment benefits; and (d) whether the Ministry will consider imposing some baseline retrenchment benefits to help workers tide over the period before they get into another employment.
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Manpower for each year of the past three years (a) how many cases of workplace injuries had occurred where the employer had no valid work injury insurance cover on the date of the accident; (b) how many of these cases concluded with a finalised Notice of Assessment awarding compensation for permanent disability; (c) of these, how many employers paid the full amount to the injured employee by the 21st day after the Notice of Assessment was finalised; and (d) how many employers were prosecuted for not having valid work injury insurance in place.
Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) from 2011 to 2015, in what proportion of cases were CPF Life payments not made by the 4th working day of each month; (b) in such cases, on what day of the month was the payment subsequently made, with the breakdown of percentage by days; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider requiring that earlier payments be made in the event that the 4th working day of the month falls on the 6th or subsequent calendar day of the month so as to alleviate cash flow difficulties that seniors may face in such cases.
Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the number of companies in Singapore who hire more than 100 employees in 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005 and 2015 respectively; and (b) what is the total number of employees hired by these companies in 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005 and 2015 respectively.
Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the number of companies in Singapore who hire more than 1,000 employees in 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005 and 2015 respectively; and (b) what is the total number of employees hired by these companies in 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005 and 2015 respectively.
Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will consider mandating a minimum number of days of compassionate leave for children and grandchildren in view of the limited number of days of annual leave, particularly for those working in junior positions or lower paying jobs, smaller families and our rapidly ageing population.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Social and Family Development” load=”hide”] Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what is the current range of waiting time for enrolment in childcare centres; (b) whether there is a shortage of childcare teachers currently and, if so, what is the Ministry doing to increase the number of childcare teachers; and (c) whether a comprehensive study has been done on the needs of childcare centres and how their capacity can be maximised.
Mr Ang Hin Kee: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what is the current status of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in childcare centres and pre-schools; (b) whether more support can be given to parents who have to make alternative arrangements when their children are unable to attend school; and (c) how effective has the Ministry been in tackling challenges faced by parents who have insufficient childcare leave, whose children contracted HFMD more than once in a year, or who are unable to seek childcare support from family members.
Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development why are there three occupants in a one-room rental unit in Senior Group Homes instead of the standard number of two occupants under the typical HDB rental housing scheme.
Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether the Ministry will consider extending the Senior Group Home scheme to suitable adults with special needs whose families are no longer around or able to look after them.
Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development what options are available for the long-term care of adults with intellectual disabilities when the parents/caregivers of these adults pass away or are unable to care for them any more.
Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) for each of the past three years, what has been (i) the number of destitute persons admitted into the custody of the Director of Social Welfare (“Director”) (ii) the numbers discharged from the Director’s custody (iii) the number of discharged destitute persons re-admitted into the Director’s custody; and (b) what steps are taken to encourage destitute persons to reintegrate with their families and society.
Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development given the sluggish economy and uncertain outlook ahead, whether the Ministry has seen an increase in the number of people seeking social assistance and, if so, what additional measures will the Ministry be instituting to provide relief to this group of affected people.
Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether the Ministry will consider having a specialist team who provides psychological support and mental health expertise to go with the police when the police responds to cases of attempted suicide.
Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether the Ministry will conduct a comprehensive nationwide study on the employment rate and employment conditions of persons with disabilities and special needs, with a focus on finding out the employment difficulties they face and how their salaries compare to other workers with similar qualifications.
Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) how many persons with disabilities and/or special needs are there in Singapore; (b) what is the breakdown of this number based on the type of disability and/or special needs; (c) within these categories, what is the further breakdown based on functioning levels; and (d) if any of such data is not available, whether the Ministry will carry out a study for the purposes of more targeted policymaking.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Trade and Industry” load=”hide”] Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) what is the impact on Singapore’s economy in the wake of the challenging global trade situation including the US’ intention to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the threat of a trade war between the US and China and increasing calls for protectionism by many developed countries.
Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) whether the Ministry has a strategy to deal with the potential impact to Singapore’s trade from the decision by the new US administration to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) (a) whether the Government will continue to pursue the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with like-minded countries; and (b) what is the Government’s assessment of the efficacy of the TPP without the participation of the United States.
Mr Thomas Chua Kee Seng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) since the launch of the SME Working Capital Loan Programme in June 2016 (a) how many SMEs’ applications under the programme have been rejected; (b) what are the reasons for these rejected applications; and (c) what other Government financing assistance can such SMEs seek.
Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (a) what has been the percentage change in the price of natural gas supplied to Singapore’s power generation sector for every year since 2010; and (b) how does this compare to the percentage change in electricity prices for (i) consumers and (ii) SMEs in each year over the same period.
Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) since the signing of several agreements at the Africa-Singapore Business Forum in August 2016 (a) what are some of the specific projects that will be taking off; and (b) how can we further strengthen economic ties with African nations.
Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (a) what has been the success rate of customers getting back their monies for unused prepaid services when a business closes down prematurely; and (b) whether the Ministry will make it mandatory for businesses offering prepaid service packages to provide prepayment insurance protection.
Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) how does the price of electricity for (i) homes and (ii) businesses compare to the OECD average in each year from 2011 to 2015.
Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) what safeguards are instituted by the Ministry to ensure that investigations carried out by the Competition Commission of Singapore against Government-linked companies (GLCs) or companies predominantly owned by statutory boards and/or GLCs are free from conflicts of interests.
Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (a) what is the number of applications and utilization rate of the SME Working Capital Loan Scheme since its introduction in 2016; (b) whether SMEs face cash flow concerns or inability to obtain funding for their business growth; and (c) whether there are plans to enhance the attractiveness and availability of the scheme.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Defence” load=”hide”] Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for Defence whether service personnel in roles which involve access to weapons and live ammunition are periodically re-assessed on the stability of their emotional and psychological state.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Culture, Community and Youth” load=”hide”] Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth for FY2015/16 what is (i) the amount of income earned by grassroots organisations (GROs) from community trade fairs (ii) the percentage of the earned income used by GROs for welfare assistance, scholarships and bursaries and (iii) the amount of sponsorships in kinds and cash collected by the GROs for staging community events.
Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth as at 31 December 2016 (a) what has been the total amount of funds allocated for ActiveSG; (b) what is the size of the ActiveSG membership; (c) what is the total amount of ActiveSG dollars that have been (i) utilised (ii) extended (iii) forfeited; and (d) what happens to the forfeited and unconsumed portion of the allocated funds respectively.
Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth for FY2015/16 what is (i) the amount of expenditure incurred by grassroots organisations and (ii) the percentage share of this expense incurred by Citizens’ Consultative Committees, Community Club Management Committees, Residents’ Committees, Neighbourhood Committees, and others respectively.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
” load=”hide”] Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether the Ministry conducts regular spot checks for works which undermine the capacity of the public drainage system to deal with floods; (b) whether there is an effective system that triggers early warnings about flood threats that particular works can pose; and (c) whether the penalties to deal with errant contractors are on par with the severity of the potential damage from the resultant flooding.
Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources in light of recent flash floods across the island and global climate change, whether the Ministry will work with other agencies to reduce incidents of flash floods in key areas of Singapore.
Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources what measures can be taken to prevent smokers who drop cigarette ashes and dispose used cigarette butts from their flats to their neighbours’ units resulting in potential fire hazards and health concerns.
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether NEA tracks the number of fogging operations carried out in private condominiums and landed estates annually; and (b) whether NEA will consider revising guidelines to limit the number of fogging operations that can be done in one location every year.
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether the Ministry will be working with schools to raise awareness about food wastage and ways to manage the issue; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider setting up a network of food banks within communities so that households with excess food items can donate them via these neighbourhood food banks.
Mr Chen Show Mao: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what measures are being taken to encourage consumers and waste management companies to adhere to environmentally sound practices in managing e-waste; (b) how effective have these measures been; and (c) whether the Government will consider establishing strict guidelines on e-waste collection, disposal and recycling for consumers, businesses and waste management companies.
[/accordion] [/accordions] COMPLETED
www.gov.sg/~/sgpcmedia/media_releases/parl/press_release/P-20170203-1/attachment/Order%20Paper%20-6Feb17.pdf

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