fbpx
The Singapore Parliament in session / photo istana.gov.sg

Parliamentary questions for 1 August 2017

The Singapore Parliament will sit at 1.30pm on Tuesday, 1 August 2017 for the 49th session of the 13th Parliament.

74 oral questions and *30 written questions have been scheduled to be asked.

3 bills will be introduced in this Parliament session.

  1. Jurong Town Corporation (Amendment) Bill - Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade)
  2. Building Maintenance and Strata Management (Amendment) Bill - Minister for National Development
  3. Professional Engineers (Amendment) Bill - Minister for National Development

1 bill to be read the second time.

  1. Administration of Muslim Law (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 27/2017] –  (Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs)

There will also be a motion for the Adjournment (Standing Order No. 2(8)(b)) by Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang (Nee Soon) , Jurong GRC Member of Parliament on Extending Parental Leave.

Below are the questions filed towards the various Ministers

[accordion]

Prime Minister

Prime Minister

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether there is any risk assessment made by the Government on our vulnerability to foreign interference in our elections from both state and non-state actors; (b) what are the measures in place to safeguard Singapore from foreign interference in our elections; (c) what are the security guidelines on vigilance by political parties and candidates on this issue; and (d) how can the social media be kept free and open for political discussions whilst dealing with malicious/subversive content.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Prime Minister whether the Government will consider having the Cyber Security Agency to lead a whole-of-government exercise to review and tighten IT security management and monitoring in light of the Auditor-General's findings on lapses in IT security at several agencies, especially those handling sensitive personal and financial information.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Prime Minister (a) how many of the official websites of Ministries and statutory boards meet the WCAG 2.0 or other international standards for website accessibility by persons with disabilities (PWDs); and (b) what steps will be taken to ensure that Government websites are accessible to PWDs to the fullest extent possible.

*Mr Chen Show Mao: To ask the Prime Minister what are the rules, directives, practices, understandings, standards and norms governing the circumstances under which a Minister or political appointee should defend his reputation in his official capacity in the courts or refrain from such court action and address allegations publicly, such as in Parliament.

*Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Prime Minister (a) what is the increase in the total number of electors for the coming presidential election since the last General Election; and (b) which electoral divisions have a significant increase in the number of electors.

*Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether there are any efforts to catalyse reverse mortgages for private housing; and (b) whether there are any guidelines and laws that govern reverse mortgages for private housing including the level of interest charged for reserve mortgages.

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Foreign Affairs

*Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether ASEAN currently has any plans to execute a multi-lateral approach in engaging with China's One Belt One Road initiative to complement existing country-specific, bilateral approaches.

Minister for Transport

Minister for Transport

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Transport with regard to the collapse of the viaduct near the PIE exit to TPE (a) what is the cause of the collapse; (b) how does LTA assess and grade the contractors in the tender process especially for companies with serious workplace safety lapses; and (c) what measures will be implemented to enhance workplace safety.

Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for Transport whether past safety records of construction firms is a consideration in awarding bids for Government construction projects.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what caused the collapse of the viaduct under construction in Upper Changi Road East; (b) whether there have been previous sentinel events detected which could have raised concerns sooner; and (c) to what extent will prior serious workplace safety lapses affect a contractor's grading in the LTA tender process.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Transport in the past three years (a) how many tender submissions have been received by LTA from contractors with prior serious workplace safety lapses; (b) how many have been successful in their bids and how many have been the lowest bid, respectively; and (c) of the successful lowest bids from these contractors, what has been the median proportionate difference in the bid amount compared to the second lowest bid.

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the contract for the collapsed viaduct near PIE was awarded to the lowest bidder who participated in the tender as the main contractor; (b) how are safety records of tenderers taken into consideration when evaluating tenders for the construction of transport infrastructure; and (c) in the last five years, how many contracts involving the construction of transport infrastructure have exceeded the planned construction period by three months or more.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Transport with regard to the collapse of an uncompleted viaduct on 14 July 2017 (a) whether any extra checks are put in place when a construction company is blacklisted for a past incident while it is fulfilling a current contract for a public project; and (b) how does the Ministry seek to prevent future instances from happening.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the weight given to workplace safety track record relative to bid price and other factors in the awarding of tenders to companies for the construction of the transport infrastructure; and (b) how was the workplace safety track record of the companies that took part in the tender for the construction of the PIE-TPE viaduct that collapsed evaluated relative to their bid prices.

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Transport for those whose applications for a Private Hire Car Driver's Vocational Licence have been rejected, whether LTA can reassess their applications to make a more compassionate assessment without compromising the safety and security of commuters.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) in the last three years, how many Taxi Driver's Vocational Licences and Bus Driver's Vocational Licences have been granted to applicants who have history of court convictions respectively; and (b) whether LTA will consider granting Private Hire Car Driver's Vocational Licence to applicants with such history of convictions but with proven good track records thereafter.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how many Private Hire Car Driver's Vocational Licences have been issued up to end-July 2017; (b) how many applications have been rejected; and (c) of the rejected applications, how many have been issued following an appeal.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Transport what are the reasons for refusing to issue vocational driving licences for taxi drivers and private hire car drivers because the drivers have adverse records which are not related to public safety.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether he can provide an update on the progress of the integration of the new signalling equipment for the North-South and East-West MRT Lines; (b) what is the specific timeline for the completion of the tests and checks required beyond the description of "a few months" indicated in LTA/SMRT's press release; and (c) what are the lessons learnt from the train disruptions that have occurred during this integration that may assist to improve service recovery measures for similar future breakdowns.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what arrangements are in place to facilitate the smooth implementation of the communications-based train control (CBTC) signalling system on the North-South and East-West MRT Lines; and (b) what operational constraints, challenges and hazards have arisen from the concurrent usage of the CBTC signalling system between Pioneer and Tuas Link on the East-West Line and on the entire North-South Line with the older Westinghouse fixed-block signalling system on the remaining stations of the East-West Line.

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Transport what are the key lessons that LTA has learnt from the accidents involving young drivers of private hire cars.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether LTA is able to obtain data from bike-share operators to draw a heatmap of indiscriminately parked bicycles and leverage on that data to prioritise where to locate more bicycle parking zones; and (b) whether the level of enforcement against indiscriminately parked bike-share bicycles differs between private and HDB estates.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether there are any plans to upgrade ageing bus depots, in particular those built over 30 years ago; and (b) if yes, when will these be upgraded.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Transport what measures are in place to ensure that car rental companies do not abuse roads in residential estates as parking spaces for their hire cars when not hired out.

*Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how long is the run-in period of the new signalling system on the North-South Line expected to be; (b) what steps are taken to minimise the inconvenience to commuters caused by the delays; and (c) when is the signalling system expected to start delivering a higher level of service reliability and shorter waiting times for commuters.

*Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Transport in view of the recent fatal accident involving a young driver of a private hire car, whether LTA will consider reviewing its current policy position and impose a minimum age requirement for private hire car drivers to bring it in line with that of taxi drivers.

*Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how many CNG vehicles did not meet the testing guideline; (b) why are there so many CNG vehicles with leakages that have gone undetected for so long; and (c) what measures are in place to ensure the safety of CNG vehicles when they ply our roads.

*Mr Ang Hin Kee: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) why the six-monthly and yearly vehicle inspections for CNG taxis and private car vehicle respectively have been unable to identify gas leakage problems; (b) whether there will be a review of the existing regime to ensure vehicle inspections are able to keep pace with the different vehicle types and models; and (c) whether the costs of current vehicle inspections can be reviewed downwards in view of its limited coverage.

*Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the number of taxi drivers who have suffered a loss of earnings in the last 24 months arising from issues caused by violent or drunken passengers; (b) whether taxi drivers are allowed to decline passengers who display unstable behaviour arising from alcohol intoxication; and (c) whether LTA or taxi companies provide guidelines to taxi drivers on how to request compensation for loss of earnings if their vehicles become temporarily inoperable as a result of incidents with violent or drunken passengers.

Minister for National Development

Minister for National Development

Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for National Development how will farmers affected by the land acquisition for the expansion of Tengah Airbase be (i) assisted and (ii) compensated.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the impact of Cambodia's decision to cease the export of sand to Singapore; (b) what is the number of countries that continue to export sand to Singapore for reclamation purposes; and (c) what is the volume of sand imported into Singapore for reclamation, construction and any other purpose from every source country since 2007.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for National Development how can the Southern Islands be made more accessible as national parks so that more Singaporeans can enjoy them and their rustic charm and rich biodiversity can still be preserved.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will consider installing fire alarm systems for all HDB blocks.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether there has been an increasing number of cases reported for illegal short-term rentals in private properties via apps such as Airbnb; (b) what actions have the Ministry taken against recalcitrant owners who continue to engage in such illegal short-term rentals; and (c) what can residents do to report such breaches in view of the consequent security concerns.

Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether he can provide an update on how the Government will better ensure availability of heavy vehicle lots around HDB towns; and (b) whether there is a guideline on how accessible these lots need to be, whether by distance or travel time to nearby HDB towns.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) to date, how many Town Councils have declared to the Ministry that their secretaries or relevant key officers as defined by section 20 of the Town Councils Act come under the new disqualification criteria spelt out in sections 20(1A) and 20(3) of the Act; and (b) which Town Councils have made such declarations to the Ministry.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for National Development whether he will provide an update on the review status of the HDB blocks in Hougang that are not under the Lift Upgrading Programme and what will be the fate of these blocks that will not get LUP after the review.

*Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how many successful applications for the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) have been granted to date; (b) whether HDB applies a discretionary approach when considering the condition of having at least one applicant working continuously for 12 months prior to the flat application in order to qualify for the AHG; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider extending the AHG to applicants who do not satisfy this condition due to valid reasons such as having just graduated from university.

*Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) under what conditions does the Government permit construction works on terrace houses that will effectively detach a house from the adjoining neighbouring house, either fully or partially; (b) how many cases have been reported to Government agencies where such works have left the wall of previously adjoined houses exposed to the elements, causing structural damage, water seepage and other problems to neighbours; and (c) which department will step in to enforce any breach of building regulations committed during the construction works.

*Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the number of HDB flats completed each year since 2002 that are catered specifically for senior citizens; and (b) how many of such flats are due to be completed in each of the next five years.

Minister for Health

Minister for Health

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Health in light of the recent case of misdiagnosis of Kawasaki disease (a) whether there are guidelines for doctors to send all cases for detailed diagnostic tests to avoid misdiagnosing rare medical conditions; (b) if there are no such guidelines, whether the Ministry can issue standard practice guidelines on diagnosis for potentially rare illnesses; and (c) if so, how will this impact on the cost of healthcare.

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Health with regard to a recent case where a paediatrician was suspended for professional misconduct after she failed to properly diagnose and treat a young patient for Kawasaki Disease, whether the Minister can explain the basis for the decision and the duration of the suspension in comparison to other cases involving disciplinary actions.

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Health what safeguards are there to prevent misdiagnoses and to ensure good health outcomes within the public and private healthcare systems in Singapore.

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether there are studies made as to the countries where defensive medicine is practised; (b) whether he can share the findings from these studies; and (c) what are the potential implications if it happens in Singapore.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how many pioneers currently receive payouts under the Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme; (b) what has been the number of applications each year since the scheme was introduced; (c) what percentage has been successful each year; (d) what has been the number of uncompleted applications each year; and (e) whether the Ministry assesses that the scheme has been effective in addressing the needs of pioneers with disabilities.

Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how safe are the public hospitals in terms of security protection; (b) whether the Ministry will consider providing 24/7 security services by the Home Team as it had done in the past; and (c) how prepared are the hospitals in tackling a terrorist attack in such open premises.

Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Health whether it can be made mandatory for all manufacturers or suppliers of drugs to have a standard bar code with product name, batch number and expiry date on its unit pack before they are imported, registered and sold in Singapore so as to safeguard the integrity of the drugs and to facilitate drug traceability.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider making neo-natal insurance for IVF compulsory at the point of a positive pregnancy blood test rather than at the point of embryo transfer.

*Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Health how many couples and what is the percentage of couples who did not have a successful pregnancy after the three cycles of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatment that is subsidised by the Government.

*Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether there is a shortage of local doctors in Singapore; and (b) if so, what is the Ministry doing to help (i) students better assess the prospects of pursuing medicine as a career (ii) young doctors better understand the landscape of specialisations that the country needs and (iii) the public to better understand the extent of Singapore's dependence on foreign doctors.

Minister for Home Affairs

Minister for Home Affairs

Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry is investigating encrypted instant messaging applications such as Telegram amid concerns that this is "the app of choice" for terrorists.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the maximum penalty of $1,000 melted out for leaving a bag unattended in an MRT station is sufficient to deter such future incidents considering that the incident has caused major disruption to operations and affected thousands of commuters.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether any study has been done to determine the preparedness of our population for any emergency.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many 999 calls have been made annually in the last three years; (b) what proportion of these calls were for emergencies or which required direct police intervention; and (c) how does the police handle calls which do not require police attention and what measures are available to reduce such calls which drain police resources.

*Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs for each year from 2012 to 2016, what is the percentage of local inmates detained, convicted and imprisoned again for a new offence within five years from their release from (i) the Drug Rehabilitation Centres (ii) Long-Term Imprisonment 1 and (iii) Long-Term Imprisonment 2 regimes respectively.

Minister for Communications and Information

Minister for Communications and Information

Mr Ganesh Rajaram: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information in the last financial year, what is the amount of Public Service Broadcast funds given to Mediacorp to finance the various programmes broken down into titles and genres, regardless whether they are produced in-house or are farmed out to independent production companies.

[accordion title="Minister for Finance" load="hide"]

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Finance whether there will be an accountability review of Government officers involved given the lapses in financial controls in grants administration, management of development projects, as well as IT governance as reported in the Report of the Auditor General for FY2016/17.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Finance based on the findings in the Report of the Auditor-General for FY2016/17, whether AGO will direct all the entities in the Report to investigate all improper payments made and determine the amount of money to recover.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) in the past five years, how many cases of illegal sales of contraband cigarettes have been reported and the sellers charged; (b) how many of them caught in such illegal activity are locals and foreigners respectively; and (c) whether the existing penalty is sufficient to deter such illegal activity or to encourage the sellers to work with authorities to locate the ultimate beneficiary.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Finance whether the Ministry will regularly review the Government's commitment to reduce socio-economic inequality and publish the results of such reviews in light of recent findings from a study by Oxfam and Development Finance International that ranks Singapore in the eighty-sixth placing in the world in this regard.

[/toggle]

Minister for Education

Minister for Education

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) what impact will the completion of the seven-year educational partnership between the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have on SUTD's future enrollment and positioning of the young university.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) whether the Ministry has any policy to encourage autonomous universities to have more Singaporeans in key leadership and management positions.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) whether polytechnic students are getting sufficient information about the wide range of careers in Singapore.

*Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) what more can be done to ensure that teachers and fellow students are able to identify and handle cases of students suffering from domestic abuse.

*Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) for primary and secondary schools, what is the current median and mean number of students in a class as defined by the grouping of students headed by a form teacher; and (b) what is the median and mean class size for remedial classes across primary and secondary schools respectively.

*Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) what measures have been taken in the last three years to reduce the time spent by teachers on marking assignments and administrative work; and (b) whether the Ministry has considered measures such as (i) consolidating and centralising tasks such as marking and (ii) the use of more online tests.

*Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) on how the cut-off points for the various undergraduate courses are decided upon; (b) given the declining cohort number due to declining birth rate and having more autonomous local universities, whether this will mean more places are being offered than demand; and (c) whether there are plans to offer more places to local students instead of them having to go overseas for their university education.

*Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) how will the Ministry ensure that the cost of the modules and courses available for mature students at autonomous universities that lead to the award of degrees will be affordable; and (b) whether there are plans to extend some tuition subsidies to such students who may already have been awarded first degrees at subsidised rates.

Minister for Law

Minister for Law

*Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Law (a) how many local SMEs own some form of intellectual property (IP); (b) how does this compare with the data from developed countries; and (c) what measures are in place to educate and support SMEs in respect of acquiring and enforcing IP.

[accordion title="Minister for Manpower" load="hide"]

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Manpower in view of the recent construction mishap at the TPE-PIE viaduct (a) whether the Ministry will review the current blacklisting framework; (b) how can the Ministry work with BCA to debar blacklisted companies from working on projects rather than just bar them from hiring new workers or renew existing ones; and (c) whether companies need to prove that they have taken remedial steps including improving worker safety training before having the blacklist status removed.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the Ministry will review the current liabilities and penalties under the Workplace Safety and Health Act; and (b) how can the Ministry further improve the workplace safety competency of companies and their workers.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Manpower for employees who are required to use bicycles or personal mobility devices (PMDs) in the course of their work, how does the Ministry ensure that (i) they are adequately instructed by their employers on the road traffic rules and safe use of bicycles or PMDs (ii) employers have a system of monitoring their employees on such compliance and (iii) employers provide adequate insurance for their employees in respect of injury, death and third party claims arising from any accidents while using bicycles or PMDs in the course of work.

Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) how many companies are currently slated as "family-friendly" companies in absolute numbers and as a percentage of all companies in Singapore; (b) how extensively do companies support female workers who are breast-feeding their infants; (c) what new support systems are put in place to make the workplace environment a nurturing one for mothers and their families; (d) how do companies detect and provide emotive care for mothers who are in depression especially new mothers; and (e) what are the new initiatives that can be learned from countries that are successful in promoting "family-friendly" workplaces.

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) in the last three years, what is the number of CPF account holders who have taken loans under the CPF Education Scheme to help their children pay for their tuition fees at approved educational institutions; (b) what is the percentage of these CPF account holders who have had their loans paid back by their children; and (c) whether the Government can consider allowing the children to redeem such loans through deductions from the children's CPF savings.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will consider making it mandatory for employers to provide paid annual home leave to foreign domestic workers.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the human resource industry can play a more contributory role to help local job seekers, new entrants and re-entrants in the job market in the new economic landscape and whether they can help to minimise missed matches in the labour market in the next phase of our economic growth.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Manpower with regard to the partnership with the private sector to develop mobile apps for foreign workers (a) whether the content and information provided to the partners are publicly available; (b) if so, what concrete benefits are there for the partners; and (c) whether transactional e-services such as the reporting of employment-related incidents will be included in the apps and, if so, whether the Ministry will fund such app development.

*Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Government intends to publish information forecasting any major supply-demand mismatch in specific job categories in conjunction with the roll-out of the various Industry Transformation Roadmaps.

*Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what are the reasons for the further decline in the average weekly paid overtime hours worked per employee; and (b) whether the general downward trend is expected to continue.

[/toggle]

Minister for Social and Family Development

Minister for Social and Family Development

Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether the Child Development Account dollar-for-dollar matching benefit can be extended to children of unwed parents born from 1 January 2005 to help support these families' efforts to care for their children and reduce the disadvantages that their children may face from birth.

*Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) how many day care centres are there currently for persons with special needs above 18 years old; (b) what is the current average waiting time before a person with special needs gets a place in the centre; and (c) what are the future plans to improve the quality of day care support for adults with special needs.

*Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether there is a need to comprehensively review family-related laws to define the legal rights and responsibilities between step-parents and step-children, particularly with regard to healthcare decision-making, estate succession and inheritance, and maintenance responsibilities.

Minister for Trade and Industry

Minister for Trade and Industry

Mr Cedric Foo Chee Keng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) whether the Ministry will consider regulating hire-purchase schemes that incorporate upfront cash back to hirers as these schemes contain features akin to money lending.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (a) whether cashback features in hire-purchase schemes constitute a form of moneylending; (b) whether such schemes are de facto unsecured loans when goods depreciate quickly; (c) in 2016, what proportion of buyers have defaulted on their payments for three months or more; (d) whether such a market is sub-prime; and (e) whether additional regulation is needed.

Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) whether the Government will consider having trade councils or business chambers work with professional think-tanks to come up with an annual sectoral business costs index to track business costs by category, such as rentals, wages, transportation, raw materials, equipment, fees and charges, to assist the Government in deriving sector-specific policies for transforming our industries.

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) what incentive schemes have been put in place for researchers and academics tapping on the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 research funding to accelerate translation of research into industry applications and commercialisation.

*Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) (a) how many applicants have been granted PR status under EDB's Global Investor Programme (GIP) since it was launched; (b) how many of these PRs have had their status subsequently withdrawn or cancelled upon review; and (c) what is the number of these PRs who have subsequently been granted citizenship, broken down by age group.

[/toggle ]

Minister for Defence

Minister for Defence

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Defence how is the SAF adding anti-terror operations to their priority, in addition to securing Singapore's sovereignty.

Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for Defence with the proposed expansion of Tengah Airbase to accommodate the partial relocation of Paya Lebar Airbase, how will the Ministry (i) ensure that residents in the vicinity of the airbase will not be affected by any changes in operations resulting in increased noise and (ii) assure residents of the safety precautions for training or operations with increased air traffic.

Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for Defence (a) what factors determine the timeline for the relocation of Paya Lebar Airbase; and (b) whether residents in the northeast within the flight path will experience a steady decrease in loud sounds from aircraft flying past with the phased relocation of Paya Lebar Airbase.

Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for Defence (a) what factors determine the flight times and flight frequencies of aircraft flying to and from the Paya Lebar Airbase; (b) whether there is seasonality to these times and frequencies; and (c) if so, how can the public find out more about the frequencies of flight times to plan their daily activities especially when they have to take care of young children.

*Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Defence (a) whether there have been errors in the Tamil translations on the National Day Parade 2017 rehearsal collaterals; and (b) what further steps will the Ministry take to prevent a repeat of such incidents.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) why did the National Arts Council (NAC) withdraw its funding to the author of the book "State of Emergency"; (b) whether the author has failed to comply with any deliverables and, if so, what are the deliverables; and (c) whether the book has failed to comply with any of NAC's requirements and, if so, what is the non-compliance.

Mr Ganesh Rajaram: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) whether the public-private partnership between the Government and the Sports Hub remains viable and sustainable given the recurring concerns over operational, structural and management issues in the past two years; and (b) whether SportSG have officers experienced enough to deal effectively with the consortium managing the Sports Hub.

Mr Ganesh Rajaram: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth how can SportSG work with the Football Association of Singapore to improve the quality of local football, the attendance at S League matches and Singapore's position in the FIFA World Rankings which has been declining.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether the Ministry will (i) consider further measures to ban smoking at open windows of residential properties and (ii) review and mandate the provision of closed smoking rooms in residential properties for smokers to smoke so as not to affect non-smoking residents.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources what is the justification for requiring Traditional Chinese Medicine shops that sell herbal teas to obtain foodshop licences with effect from 1 October 2017.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what are the reasons for the infestation of mayflies at certain blocks of flats in Nee Soon South; (b) how can NEA help to put a stop to it; and (c) how long will the eradication measures take to produce tangible results.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether the Ministry has done any follow-up to verify reported sightings of crocodiles in Sembawang; (b) how many of such sightings have been confirmed by the Ministry over the past 12 months; and (c) when the sightings are verified, whether there are plans to trap and relocate these crocodiles.

Mr Ang Hin Kee: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether the Ministry will consider requiring all public buses to be electric buses or to convert transport vehicles procured by the Government to run on electric energy.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether the Ministry conducts checks on hawkers in food centres and other public areas such as Lau Pa Sat on a regular basis to ensure that there is no touting; and (b) what are the consequences when hawkers and their assistants are found to be doing so.

*Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what is the frequency of sweeping and cleaning of public areas, including along the roads, highways and drains, that are under the charge of NEA; (b) whether the frequency can be increased; and (c) what are the challenges to be faced if the frequency cannot be increased.

*Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources what percentage of food waste generated is due to the throwing away of surplus food and whether the Ministry will drive and fund sharing economy solutions, such as online platforms allowing businesses and institutions to better procure surplus food, to tackle our food waste problem.

*Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether a form of Good Samaritan Law for food can be introduced so as to reduce the 790,000 tonnes of food that goes to waste in Singapore each year.

[/accordion]