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Parliamentary questions for 6 November 2017

The Singapore Parliament will sit at 1.30pm on Monday, 6 November 2017 for the 53rd session of the 13th Parliament.

*91 oral questions and 33 written questions have been scheduled to be asked.

7 bills will be introduced in this Parliament session at the commencement of public business:

  1. Payment and Settlement Systems (Finality and Netting) (Amendment) Bill – Prime Minister,
  2. Public Sector (Governance) Bill – Prime Minister,
  3. Immigration (Amendment) Bill – Minister for Home Affairs,
  4. Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Bill – Minister for Laws,
  5. Moneylenders (Amendment) Bill – Minister for Laws,
  6. Charities (Amendment) Bill – Minister for Culture, Community and Youth,
  7. Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill – Minister for Culture, Community and Youth

7 bills to be read the second time.

  1. Cross-Border Railways Bill [Bill No.43/2017] – (Second Minister for Transport),
  2. Central Provident Fund (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 37/2017] – (Minister for Manpower),
  3. Workplace Safety and Health (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 38/2017] – (Minister for Manpower),
  4. Massage Establishments Bill [Bill No. 39/2017] – (Minister for Home Affairs),
  5. Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 40/2017] – (Minister for Health),
  6. Travel Agents (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 41/2017] – (Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry),
  7. Sale of Food (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 42/2017] – (Minister for National Development).

And there will be a matter proposed to be raised on the Motion for the Adjournment (SO 2(8)(b)) by Mr Vikram Nair, Sembawang GRC Member of Parliament, on The Future of National Service.

Below are the questions filed towards the various Ministers

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Prime Minister

Prime Minister

*Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Prime Minister what regulatory safeguards can MAS take to protect the interests of consumers when large-scale movements of insurance agents happen amidst aggressive poaching activities between rival financial institutions.

Mr Ong Teng Koon: To ask the Prime Minister whether the Ministry will consider linking cashcards with the PayNow payment system in order to allow for seamless topping up of cashcards from mobile apps instead of via a physical top-up machine as cashcards are the only cards accepted across all payment platforms for motorists' payments including ERP and car parks.

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Transport

Minister for Transport

*Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Transport in light of the policy to cut car growth to zero by February 2018 (a) whether the Ministry has considered the impact of this policy on COE prices; (b) how will this impact transport inflation; (c) whether the public transport system and commuting infrastructure are ready to take on more passenger load; (d) whether zero growth will be imposed on non-Singapore registered cars on our roads; and (e) whether mitigating policies will be explored to mitigate the impact on segments of the population who still need cars as a mode of transportation.

*Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Transport with the recent announcement of zero growth in cars and motorcycles by February 2018 (a) how will the Ministry ensure that this policy does not adversely impact the e-commerce industry; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider a separate COE category for commercial motorcycles.

*Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Transport in light of Uber being denied licence renewal in London due to security and safety concerns (a) whether LTA has conducted assessments on Uber's security measures; (b) how satisfactory are those measures; (c) how many accidents and safety issues has Uber been involved in the past one year; and (d) what further measures will be implemented to improve safety and reliability of private-hire car operators in Singapore.

*Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what are the findings from the Ministry's investigation of the cause of the MRT tunnel flooding on the North-South Line on 8 October 2017; (b) at the time the disruption announcement was made, whether SMRT was aware that the faults were due to tunnel flooding; (c) what measures have LTA and SMRT taken to ensure that tunnel floodings will be prevented in future; and (d) whether the Ministry will be appointing a Committee of Inquiry to review the incident.

*Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether there have been regular checks/maintenance on the water pumps in MRT stations to prevent their breakdown/malfunction; (b) if so, what is the frequency of such checks/maintenance; (c) whether there are backup water pumps in the event of breakdowns; (d) what are other measures taken by the MRT operators to prevent flooding due to unforeseen weather conditions; and (e) what is the capacity of the water pump system and the extent to which it prevents flooding.

*Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) when were the pumps in the tunnel between Bishan and Braddell MRT stations last inspected before a malfunction led to the tunnel flooding on 7 October 2017; (b) how often are MRT operators required to inspect such pumps in all MRT tunnels; and (c) what is LTA's oversight system on timely inspections of equipment/machinery and repair or replacement of faulty equipment/machinery carried out by the operators.

*Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport with regard to the tunnel flooding between Bishan and Braddell MRT stations on 7 October 2017 (a) why did the recent flood mitigation measures carried out by LTA for the MRT network fail to prevent the flooding; and (b) whether the mitigation measures included a review of the pump system and, if so, what was its outcome.

*Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Transport regarding the recent MRT train breakdown due to flooding of a tunnel near Bishan (a) what flood-resistance specifications are included in the tenders for such essential MRT infrastructure; (b) whether fail-safe redundancy at (i) system-level and (ii) component-level is a tender criterion; and (c) whether the future impact of climate change on rainfall is being considered, moving forward.

*Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the root cause of the flooding in the MRT tunnel on 7 October 2017; (b) whether there are standby pumps at each MRT underground tunnel; (c) how often are these pumps checked as part of regular maintenance; (d) whether there are CCTVs in the MRT tunnels for the control station to monitor tunnel situations; and (e) whether this occurrence is avoidable.

*Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) other than the Bishan MRT station, what faulty pump items are found in the other four stations of Lavender-Kallang, Redhill-Tiong Bahru, Kembangan-Bedok and Expo-Changi; (b) whether their maintenance schedules have also been deferred; (c) what are the procedures for oversight and verification of the maintenance works carried out; (d) what are the standard operating procedures for maintenance works found wanting and how promptly are remedies carried out; and (e) how are the maintenance crew trained for such works.

*Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what was the root cause of the MRT tunnel flooding of 7 October 2017; (b) how will the Ministry seek to reduce, through regulation, the likelihood of a recurrence; and (c) what protocols are in place to keep passengers safe in the event water meets electricity within the tunnel or within the train.

*Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the transfer of all operating assets from SMRT to LTA has been completed; (b) whether these assets have been audited for their net book value and their operational condition; and (c) whether the anti-flood system at Bishan station is included in the assets transferred and audited.

*Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Transport what are the "deep-seated cultural issues" afflicting SMRT as raised by the SMRT CEO during the press conference that was called in the aftermath of the tunnel flooding incident on 7 October 2017.

*Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Transport in light of the MRT tunnel flooding near Bishan, whether LTA will establish a Failure Mode and Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) team to (i) assess the failure resistance of essential transport infrastructure such as the MRT (ii) propose best practices for infrastructure tenders and (iii) search for vulnerabilities which may not fall within a single service provider's purview.

*Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Transport in light of the MRT train breakdown due to a flooding of the tunnel near Bishan (a) whether more risk assessments will be done on the entire train system to identify other possible risk spots; and (b) whether more regulatory supervision will be carried out on the public transport operators.

*Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what are the "deep-seated cultural issues" the SMRT CEO alluded to as reasons for multiple malfunctions of SMRT's rail transit network; (b) whether these issues caused the separate malfunctions over the past two years, including the incidents on 7 July 2015, 22 March 2016, 25 April 2016 and 30 August 2017; and (c) if so, whether the Ministry has plans to address these issues to ensure reliability and safety of the rail network.

*Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether there are regulations to ensure that the type of lights used on emergency vehicles are safe for other drivers who may be blinded by these lights; and (b) whether the number and brightness of the lights can be adjusted based on weather conditions and other environmental factors.

*Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Government can assist Singapore-based vessel-owning companies as well as foreign-based shipping companies employing Singaporeans to comply with social security protection requirements for all crew members serving onboard their ships as required by the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.

*Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the cause of the train fault along the DTL2 line between the Bukit Panjang and Beauty World stations on 16 October 2017; and (b) why has this disruption affected train services along the DTL3 line during the DTL3 Open House on the same day.

*Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the progress in the construction of the North-South Expressway; and (b) whether its completion deadline can be pushed forward so that traffic conditions along the Central Expressway can be improved.

*Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what are the contingency measures to ensure that the rest of an MRT Line's network still operates when there are service disruptions at other parts of the Line; (b) whether the driverless nature of underground lines hamper the detection of abnormalities along tracks such as the presence of debris and arcing and what are the measures to circumvent this limitation; (c) whether pump systems are installed along the underground network where flooding is generally thought to be less likely; and (d) what age-reliability issues are our trains and stations facing.

*Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how large is our reserve fleet of buses and drivers; (b) whether it is sufficient to minimise disruptions caused to commuters during MRT breakdowns; (c) whether there are plans to involve taxi companies and their network of taxis during such disruptions to minimise the impact on commuters; and (d) whether there is a system currently in place to hold the operators to task in cases of service disruption.

*Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Transport whether LTA will consider the installation of protective screens in our public buses to protect our bus captains and to minimise the risk of a hijack of a public bus.

*Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how does the Ministry ensure that there are sufficient engineering graduates from our institutions of higher learning to meet the projected needs for rail engineering and the opening of the Thomson-East Coast Line; and (b) whether the Ministry has plans to train young engineers to develop "deep engineering expertise" as recommended by SMRT's technical advisory panel and, if so, what are these plans.

*Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Transport how does LTA balance its role as the regulator that determines whether rapid transit system operators should be imposed penalties for failing to discharge their responsibility with the desirability of ensuring that the same operators work closely with LTA, in its capacity as the system owner, as a team to resolve problems affecting the system's reliability.

*Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Transport in light of the announcement by the Malaysian Government to impose a vehicle entry permit (VEP) fee on top of the road charge currently imposed on foreign-registered vehicles entering Malaysia from Singapore, whether the Ministry will review the VEP fee and toll charges for foreign-registered vehicles entering Singapore.

*Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Transport in the light of the removal of the growth rate component in the COE supply formula, whether the Ministry will review the Code of Practice for vehicle parking provision in developments especially in commercial buildings within the Central Business District.

*Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what has been the results of LTA's studies on the installation of sound barriers along expressways where there are high densities of public housing; and (b) what are the possible additional measures that can be taken to reduce the intense noise from expressway traffic such as that along KJE and BKE where there are large numbers of noise-emitting motorcycles and lorries from Malaysia.

*Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) why it is necessary for private hire cars to have child safety seats when it is not required for taxis; (b) how many child safety seats are needed for private hire cars, especially when passengers may have more than one child travelling with them; and (c) whether there can be more policy consistency for private hire cars and taxis on this matter.

*Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) for the past 10 years, what is the number of accidents involving pedestrians or multiple vehicles at junctions where pedestrians and turning vehicles share the same green time versus junctions where they do not; and (b) what is the number and percentage of signalised junctions with shared green time on Singapore roads to date.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the recent admission by Kobe Steel Ltd on data falsification of the quality of its steel products involved products used in the construction of our MRT trains; and (b) if so, whether there are any plans to seek rectification and remedies against the parties concerned.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) why were there different warning messages across the different platforms during the KPE tunnel fire that occurred on 29 August 2017; (b) what measures have been taken to synchronise them; and (c) how can fire fighters reach and access such fires in the tunnel in the event of a traffic jam.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether there are enough technicians and engineers to handle our infrastructure projects and their maintenance; and (b) what measures are in place to meet manpower shortfalls in this sector.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) other than cases involving loss of lives, pollution or safety of navigation, what are the categories of maritime casualties in the Straits of Singapore and the port of Singapore which MPA keeps records of; and (b) what is the number of such cases in each of the past 10 years.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how effective has the Silver Zones been in preventing accidents since their implementation; (b) what are the enhancements put in place to balance the needs of pedestrians, vehicles and emergency vehicles; and (c) how can Silver Zones be adapted to factor in the increased usage of personal mobility devices and bicycles which affect the elderly in using the pedestrian walkways.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Transport in light of staff bonuses of the MRT operator's maintenance team being affected by the recent episode of MRT tunnel flooding, whether this episode will also affect the compensation paid to senior staff in the Ministry and LTA who have been tasked with oversight of the MRT operator and, if so, how.

Minister for National Development

Minister for National Development

*Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the underlying driving force for the recent spate of en bloc sales of properties; (b) whether there is a need for the Government to ramp up its land sales to meet developers' demand for land; and (c) what is the impact of the recent demand on the outlook for the property market for the next six months.

*Mr Chong Kee Hiong: To ask the Minister for National Development regarding our infrastructural projects under construction (a) whether any of the materials used in our infrastructure projects have been sourced from Kobe Steel which had admitted to data-falsification; and (b) if so, what rectifications are being made to ensure the safety of these projects.

*Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will consider requiring estate agents licensed by the Council of Estate Agents to (i) refuse to place advertisements that exclude or favour groups of prospective tenants based on race or nationality and (ii) refuse instructions from clients who seek to exclude or favour such groups.

*Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for National Development as HDB flats approach the end of their 99-year leases, what strategies are available to Singaporeans who wish to monetise their 'nest egg' in order to supplement their retirement needs.

*Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) for elderly Singaporeans living in private property with a remaining lease of about 20 years, whether the Ministry will consider offering them transition or interim housing during the debarment period for the purchase of a HDB flat; and (b) what measures are taken to ensure that the neighbourhood of such properties will not be disproportionately populated by short-term rentals or become quarters for foreign workers predominantly.

*Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for National Development in view of the increase in incidents involving wild boars in public residential areas, what are the plans being effected to ensure that the safety of the public is not compromised.

*Mr Yee Chia Hsing: To ask the Minister for National Development how frequently does AVA review the list of birds available for sale as pets to ensure that the sale of species which are becoming endangered or threatened is restricted.

*Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for National Development in respect of trees, plants, furniture and objects on rooftop gardens and open balconies (a) how many incidences have there been in the last five years involving these objects being blown off due to strong winds; (b) whether there have been any consequent injuries, fatalities or property damage; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider more stringent regulations and enforcement to prevent future incidents.

*Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for National Development with regard to the Ministry of Education's new national outdoor adventure education masterplan (a) whether private outdoor educators are allowed to use public spaces for their activities; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider allowing private outdoor educators easier access to public spaces for their activities.

*Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the number of fire incidents involving HDB flats in the past five years; (b) of these, how many flats were a total loss in respect of the sum insured under the HDB Fire Insurance Scheme; (c) what is the frequency of the Ministry's review of the sum insured under the compulsory HDB Fire Insurance Scheme; and (d) whether the current sum insured is adequate to cover the cost of reinstating damaged internal structures, fixtures and areas built and provided by HDB.

*Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will consider banning the practice of declawing cats except for medical reasons.

*Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry can extend free Sunday parking to all new BTO projects for both mature and non-mature HDB estates.

*Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for National Development how can the Ministry assist HDB flat dwellers faced with defects that arise from design inadequacies and poor workmanship beyond the defects liability period, including assisting with the costs of repair works.

Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for National Development whether AVA will be implementing measures to mitigate encounters with wild boars and ensure public safety in Pasir Ris Punggol where wild boars have been sighted in the past.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the price gap between (i) private housing and HDB resale flats and (ii) private housing and HDB BTO flats has narrowed respectively since the Total Debt Servicing Ratio framework was implemented.

Minister for Health

Minister for Health

*Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether he can provide a current breakdown of the incidence of diabetes by income group; and (b) what strategies are being deployed to promote affordable healthier food products and cooked food options.

*Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether there are plans to elevate the role of nutrition in managing diabetes and pre-diabetes; and (b) what is the percentage of people who have utilised the Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool since its inception and found to be at risk.

*Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what are the main social determinants that are central to the development and progression of Type 2 diabetes in Singapore; (b) how does the Ministry work with other agencies to measure and mitigate the impact that the social determinants currently play in disease development; and (c) how does the Ministry work with clinicians to customise self-management recommendations to individual patients' needs.

*Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the number and percentage of women who have exceeded their Medisave claimable limit under the Medisave Maternity Package in the last two years; (b) what are the reasons why the hospitalisation cost exceeds the Medisave claimable limit; and (c) whether greater flexibility can be given to the CPF account holder paying for the hospitalisation cost to utilise the Medisave beyond the claimable limit for operations arising from complications during delivery.

*Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Government will consider automatically permitting the usage of the Medisave savings of a person without mental capacity for his own Medisave-approved medical expenses even though the person is unable to communicate his consent for such usage.

*Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Ministry has any plans to work with the Ministry of Education in identifying and providing more support for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); (b) whether diagnostic methods will be deployed with the expansion of early childhood centres; and (c) whether more subsidy schemes will be made available for children who require medication and behavioural or psychological treatments.

*Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Health Sciences Authority will mandate manufacturers, suppliers and pharmacies to monitor the temperature of pharmaceutical drugs from their source to the patient so as to preserve the cold chain integrity of the drugs; and (b) whether the Ministry provides strict guidelines for suppliers and distributors to observe and include the provision of temperature loggers as evidence of cold chain storage compliance to ensure the potency of their drugs.

*Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for Health (a) apart from the cost of nicotine replacement treatments, what are the other factors that prevent smokers from quitting smoking; (b) what are the current programmes introduced in schools and tertiary institutions to discourage students from picking up smoking; and (c) how has the Ministry worked with other agencies to enforce and reduce accessibility of cigarettes to minors.

*Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Health what is being done to elevate the status and standing of generalist doctors, enhance the health infrastructure to support generalist doctors and promote generalist medicine among young doctors beyond moral suasion.

*Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Health how can the Ministry (i) strengthen and empower family physicians, general practitioners, internists and other doctors playing a generalist co-ordinating physician role to meet Singapore's future healthcare needs and (ii) ensure graduate medical training has flexibility amidst structure so that young doctors can build generalist experience without worrying whether relevant prior experience is disadvantaged if a training path is chosen later rather than sooner.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Law what are SLA's plans for the 9,000 square metres of land that St John's Home for Elderly Persons currently leases and occupies at Wan Tho Avenue once the land is returned to SLA upon its lease expiry in 2021.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Health for the last two years, how many persons have been sued in court by public hospitals for arrears of hospital bills.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how many companies and employees have participated in the previous seasons of the National Steps Challenge; (b) what is the number of companies and employees targeted for the Corporate Challenge of this season's National Steps Challenge; (c) what measures are in place to promote the Corporate Challenge among companies based in Singapore; and (d) whether and how such measures are evaluated for their effectiveness.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the state of mental health in Singapore; and (b) whether the Ministry will conduct a comprehensive national study of the state of mental health encompassing the study of mental illnesses and the study of the social perception, stigmatisation and consequences of mental illness.

Minister for Home Affairs

Minister for Home Affairs

*Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether ambulances are allowed to run red traffic lights when attending to emergencies; (b) if not, whether there are plans to allow this; and (c) what are the steps that the Ministry is taking to encourage motorists to give way to ambulances.

*Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) for each year in the past five years, what is the number of prosecutions involving the operation of illegal brothels; (b) what is being done to detect and eradicate such illegal activities in our HDB heartlands; and (c) whether the Ministry is strengthening its response and enhancing punishments for those prosecuted for abetting or committing such offences.

*Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry will consider establishing police posts within the compound of essential services such as hospitals to provide easy access to immediate reporting when terror incidents are reported.

*Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many people have been arrested for physical assaults in public areas on an annual basis over the past 10 years; (b) of this number, how many involve foreigners; (c) what will the Government do to deter such behaviours; and (d) whether penalties for foreign assailants can be enhanced.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether there are restrictions against retailers and merchants from selling dangerous objects such as knives or blades to minors and, if not, whether the Ministry will consider reviewing their polices to do so.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether the Ministry has done any study to understand the reasons for jaywalking and, if so, what is the outcome; (b) how many pedestrians have been killed over the past five years because of jaywalking; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider a public campaign against jaywalking.

Mr Ong Teng Koon: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether there are plans for Government agencies such as the Traffic Police, LTA and NEA to work together to jointly deploy surveillance technologies to achieve their various goals including ensuring pedestrian safety at pedestrian crossings or zebra crossings.

Mr Ong Teng Koon: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the number of accidents that have occurred in each of the past three years as a result of motor vehicles failing to slow down and take adequate care at pedestrian or zebra crossings; and (b) how does the Traffic Police ensure that motorists comply with existing traffic rules to slow down near such crossings.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs for each year from 2008 to 2017, what is the breakdown of the number of Singapore citizenship applications received and approved for (i) foreigners married to Singapore citizens (SCs) and with SC children (ii) foreigners married to SCs and with non-SC children (iii) foreigners married to SCs and with no children and (iv) foreigners on work passes.

Minister for Communications and Information

Minister for Communications and Information

*Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) which entity owns the copyright to the video recordings of parliamentary proceedings; and (b) if these video records are protected by copyright, whether the Ministry will consider removing such copyright and making all video footage of parliamentary proceedings freely available for use.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) whether the 160,000 low-income households identified for the Digital TV Assistance Scheme are equipped and ready for digital TV broadcasting; and (b) whether the Ministry plans to take further actions to facilitate digital TV adoption in Singapore before analogue broadcasting is phased out.

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*Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Finance whether opportunities are given to local SMEs for government tenders and, if so, how extensive is the support given for local SMEs and local entrepreneurs in this aspect.

*Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) why is the gap between GIC's nominal return and its reference portfolio return higher over the past five years versus the past 20 years; (b) how have GIC and Temasek Holdings performed in terms of annualised rate of return over the past 10 years versus major international sovereign wealth funds such as those of Norway, Qatar, UAE, China, Hong Kong, Australia and Saudi Arabia; and (c) how do GIC and Temasek Holding's total management and operating expenses as a share of assets managed compare to the average for leading global sovereign wealth funds.

*Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) whether there are any conflicts between existing legislation on personal data protection and banking secrecy and tax information exchanged under the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information for the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and the Exchange of Country-by-Country (CbC) Reports as established by OECD; and (b) what are the measures in place to safeguard the privacy of individuals and to prevent misuse of the information exchanged.

*Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) whether an update can be provided on the Pioneer Generation Office's outreach efforts towards seniors in the current third wave of engagement; and (b) whether there are enough PG ambassadors to carry out the outreach efforts to our seniors.

*Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) whether environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are considered in the investment decisions of Singapore's sovereign wealth funds; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider requiring these institutions to adopt ESG standards used increasingly by private investors and sovereign wealth funds in countries such as Malaysia and South Korea.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) whether there is a disparity between the tax regimes governing drivers of taxis and private-hire cars and, if so, what are the reasons for the differences; and (b) in view of the similarities between both types of point-to-point transport services, whether the Ministry has plans to bring the tax regimes in line with each other.

Mr Thomas Chua Kee Seng: To ask the Minister for Finance in view of the rapid development of the digital economy whereby local businesses and consumers will increasingly buy goods and services from overseas suppliers (a) what steps are being taken to level the playing field between GST-registered local suppliers and non-GST registered overseas suppliers; and (b) when will the implementation of measures to level the playing field take place.

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Minister for Education

Minister for Education

*Mr Ang Hin Kee: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) what are the plans to ramp up the number of local Chinese language teachers for the early childhood education sector; (b) whether the Ministry will consider bursaries, scholarships and study awards to encourage students to take up careers in this sector and to specialise in the teaching of Chinese language to pre-schoolers; and (c) whether there will be conversion programmes and awards to encourage those strong in the Chinese language to do a mid-career switch.

*Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) whether there are plans to actively recruit more local mother tongue language teachers for the early childhood education sector; and (b) whether the Ministry will work with the Ministry of Manpower to develop conversion programmes and awards for mid-career Singaporeans and PRs to teach mother tongue languages at the pre-school level.

*Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) how does the Ministry ensure that the teachers and career guidance counsellors deployed to our schools are kept abreast with updated industry and employment trends; and (b) what collaborations does the Ministry have with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Workforce Singapore (WSG) and Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) to provide an integrated career support for our students.

*Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) in the last three years, what has been the take-up rate for the Young Talent Programme and the SkillsFuture award for internationalisation; (b) how can the Ministry work more with the institutions of higher learning to encourage young Singaporeans to pursue work and immersion experiences overseas; and (c) what have been the qualitative feedback from young Singaporeans on overseas immersions.

*Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) for the past five years (a) how many primary school students have sought exemption from being assessed on their mother tongue subjects due to learning difficulties based on diagnosed conditions; and (b) how many of such cases have been approved by the Ministry.

*Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) how many students have undergone the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) each year in the past five years; (b) whether any study has been done to track the career path of those who underwent the GEP since its inception in 1984 and, if so, what has been the outcome; and (c) whether the GEP has been tweaked to meet the changing needs of education.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) whether anti-bullying hotlines like the Singapore Children's Society's "Tinkle Friend" are publicised to all students; (b) what is being done to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of such hotlines; and (c) whether aggregated and anonymised data from such hotlines can be analysed to determine if there are patterns requiring further intervention.

Minister for Law

Minister for Law

*Ms Rahayu Mahzam: To ask the Minister for Law (a) whether he can provide an update on the implementation of the Family Justice Committee's reforms; (b) whether there has been an assessment of the outcomes of the cases at the Family Justice Courts after the introduction of the various reforms; (c) whether further enhancements can be made to the court processes to encourage families to heal and reconcile; and (d) how can the family law practitioners be part of this change.

*Asst Prof Mahdev Mohan: To ask the Minister for Law what is the Ministry's position on the proposed reforms to the investor-state arbitration regime, particularly the creation of a stand-alone appellate body in the current regime or a new international investment court as a multilateral permanent tribunal/

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for Law whether the current disposable income limit of $10,000 under the means testing to qualify for legal aid is still relevant compared with the cap of per capita income in other schemes which have increased over time.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Law what are SLA's plans for the 9,000 square metres of land that St John's Home for Elderly Persons currently leases and occupies at Wan Tho Avenue once the land is returned to SLA upon its lease expiry in 2021.

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*Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether he can provide an update on whether local PMETs have enhanced career opportunities as a result of various Government interventions.

*Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for Manpower how many employers have implemented the Tripartite Advisory for managing workplace harassment, both in having a policy explicitly defining harassment including sexual harassment, and setting out how it will be handled, as well as providing training to workers on how to prevent and respond to it.

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) from 2012 to 2017, what is the proportion of contract versus permanent workers in the finance industry; (b) what is the breakdown of locals and foreigners in this sector over the same period; and (c) what percentage of experienced workers in finance and below 40 years of age continue to remain within the industry.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Manpower since the transfer policy was implemented for construction and process workers, (a) how many work permit holders have been granted a transfer of employer with the employer's agreement and without the employer's agreement respectively; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider extending the scheme to work permit holders in other sectors.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the current percentage of re-employed workers given one-year contracts and multi-year contracts respectively; and (b) what is the percentage of re-employed workers whose contracts are renewed after the end of the first and second contracts.

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Minister for Social and Family Development

Minister for Social and Family Development

*Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) whether the Ministry will consider alternative resolution methods for family conflicts and how the fallout and repair of family relationships can be better managed for better child and family outcomes; and (b) how will the Ministry proactively and pre-emptively help couples build strong marriages and families.

*Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) over the past five years, how many early childhood education and care centres have suffered financial woes or have been insolvent; and (b) whether the Government will consider putting in place a student fee protection scheme for these centres similar to the one required under the Private Education Act.

*Mr Ang Hin Kee: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) whether the criteria for issuing licences to operators of childcare centres are adequate to ensure that the operators are financially responsible to safeguard the fees paid by parents and the salaries of staff; (b) whether a screening process and safeguards will be established to ensure that only responsible operators are issued with the necessary licences; and (c) how many childcare centres have recently defaulted on salaries owed to teachers or fees collected from parents.

*Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what is the status of the review into the Criminal Justice System for Youths started in October 2015; (b) whether the Government has decided on raising the threshold age under the Children and Young Persons Act from 16 years to 18 years; and (c) what are the pending issues that have delayed the Government's conclusions on this matter.

*Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what measurements and processes are used to distinguish between people experiencing episodic poverty and those experiencing chronic poverty; (b) what is the average number of months that a Singaporean stays in an episode of poverty before moving out of it; (c) what is the percentage of our population that stays in poverty for more than one year; and (d) how does the Ministry work with other stakeholders to leverage on the strengths of low-income families who cycle in and out of episodic poverty to ensure they do not wind up in chronic poverty.

Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development in light of the requirement under the Compulsory Education Act for a parent to ensure that his child attends primary school regularly, whether the Ministry intends to update the criteria under the Children and Young Persons Act to include the situation of a parent or guardian of a child neglecting to ensure that the child attends primary school regularly when determining whether a child or young person is in need of care or protection.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development in each of the past three years (a) how many of arrested juveniles have been ordered by the courts to be admitted into juvenile homes as defined in the Children and Young Persons Act; and (b) how many of such juvenile offenders admitted into these homes have at least one parent who is incarcerated or has been incarcerated before.

Minister for Trade and Industry

Minister for Trade and Industry

*Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (a) what is being done to groom local talents with the right skills and education for the relevant jobs in our goal to become Asia's clean technology hub; (b) of these jobs, how many are estimated to be applicable to Singaporeans; and (c) how will increased focus on clean technology impact our economy.

*Asst Prof Mahdev Mohan: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) what is the updated status on negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, in particular the headway made on (i) improving the liberalisation of goods, services and investment beyond the existing ASEAN +1 Free Trade Agreements (and other agreements) among the participating countries (ii) reducing non-tariff regulatory barriers to ease the flow of trade and investment and (iii) the inclusion of a dispute settlement mechanism that can provide an effective and transparent process for consultations and dispute resolution.

*Asst Prof Mahdev Mohan: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) if he can provide an update on efforts since May 2017 to ensure that the Singapore-European Union Free Trade Agreement comes into force in its concluded or an alternative form.

*Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) whether electric bicycles, electric scooters and other personal mobility devices requiring the charging of their batteries are designated as controlled goods under the Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Registration Scheme and, if not, whether they should be so designated to ensure they meet safety standards.

*Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (a) what is the rollout schedule for the business grant portal for SMEs; (b) what are the types of schemes that will be put on the portal; and (c) whether key schemes run by the Ministry of Manpower can be inserted in the first few stage of the rollout.

*Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) in light of global warming and temperatures rising on a yearly basis (a) whether the Ministry is exploring the impact of the heat on our workforce and productivity, particularly labour-intensive industries that work in the outdoors; and (b) how well-equipped is our workforce to cope with the impact of climate change in the medium to long term.

Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) whether he can provide a progress update on the Industry Transformation Maps and the Global Innovation Alliance.

Minister for the Culture, Community and Youth

Minister for the Culture, Community and Youth

*Mr Teo Ser Luck: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth with the completion of another Southeast Asian Games and ASEAN Para Games, how does the Ministry support the post-Games and post-sports career plans of athletes especially for those who went into full-time training to represent Singapore for these Games.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) whether mixed martial arts can be subjected to stricter safety regulations; and (b) whether it can be made mandatory for public sports events, particularly those of high-risk sports, to come under the purview of Sport Singapore.

Minister for Defence

Minister for Defence

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 in light of smoky chemical smells reported in parts of Singapore at end-September 2017 (a) what is the cause of the smell; (b) what are the standards and safety measures that operators of hazardous chemical installations including the transportation of such materials have to comply with to ensure that there are no lapses or leakages that may compromise public safety and health; and (c) whether other countries in Southeast Asia have similar standards and safety measures.

*Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources with regard to the incident of a chemical stench from Pasir Gudang in September 2017 (a) what should Singaporeans do in the event of a similar incident; (b) how can they differentiate between gases which are toxic and non-toxic; (c) how can similar incidences be prevented; and (d) how well-prepared is Singapore to deal with a chemical gas attack by terrorists.

*Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether he can provide an update on the source and causes of the chemical odour and smoke detected in various parts of Singapore on 25 September 2017; (b) whether there is a long-term impact on public safety and health; (c) whether there have been previous similar incidents; and (d) what is the Ministry doing to safeguard our interests.

*Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources with regard to the odour detected by many residents particularly those living in the northeastern part of Singapore on 25 September 2017 (a) whether the Ministry can provide more timely updates so that residents can take necessary precautions to protect themselves; (b) whether our current detection methods extend beyond smoke particles to dangerous chemicals; and (c) what advice can the Ministry give to Singaporeans to protect themselves in the event of dangerous chemicals in the air.

*Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources with regard to the increasing illegal hawking cases outside Lucky Plaza (a) what are the enforcement actions taken against the illegal hawkers; and (b) what plans does the Ministry have to stop such illegal hawking along Orchard Road.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether the Ministry has completed its study covering the life cycle assessment of the different types of single carrier plastic bags and common food and beverage takeaway containers in Singapore and, if not, when is this study expected to be completed; and (b) whether the Ministry has determined if emissions from bio-degradable plastic bags are lower than non bio-degradable ones.

Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what are the results of PUB's checks on the water pipes in Bukit Batok SMC; and (b) what are the steps it intends to take arising from its determination that the burst water pipe incidents occurring in Bukit Batok SMC in October 2017 were due to corrosion.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what is the rationale for NEA's calls for proposals to develop sensor systems to monitor emissions from diesel vehicles and to monitor odours generated through industrial activity; and (b) whether these sensors will provide the basis to act against polluters.

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