fbpx

Parliamentary questions for 20 November 2018

The Singapore Parliament will sit at 12:00 on Tuesday, 20 November 2018 for the 86th session of the 13th Parliament.

*44 oral questions and 7 written question had been scheduled to be asked.

At the commencement of Public Business, there will be an introduction of Government Bill:

*Currency (Amendment) Bill (Prime Minister),

And 3 Government Bills will be read for the 2nd time:

1. Civil Defence and Other Matters Bill [Bill No. 44/2018] – (Minister for Home Affairs) – Second Reading.

2. Developers (Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing) Bill [Bill No. 45/2018] – (Minister for National Development) – Second Reading.

3. Employment (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 47/2018] – (Minister for Manpower) – Second Reading.

Below are the questions filed towards the various Ministers

Prime Minister

Prime Minister

*Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Prime Minister what measures are being taken to ensure that (i) the minimisation of the risk that SGX-listed companies experience a sudden deterioration in financial viability and (ii) SGXRegCo is sufficiently resourced to discharge its obligations.

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Transport

Minister for Transport

*Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) why has the Government decided to allow applications for licensed public personal mobility device (PMD)-sharing services from January 2019; and (b) whether the Government will consider delaying the introduction of such commercial shared public PMD services until the riding culture for PMDs has improved and incidences of unsafe and inconsiderate usage have subsided.

*Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what are the lessons that can be learnt from the Hong Kong MTR breakdown in October 2018 as a result of a system glitch; and (b) what measures have been put in place to prevent such incidents from occurring in our MRT system.

*Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Transport with regard to the fire safety criterion for PMDs (a) how does the Government plan to address the concerns of retailers who are holding stocks of devices that do not meet the requirements but are unable to sell them due to declining sales; (b) whether interim assistance can be provided for retailers to ensure that some of their devices meet the UL2272 Safety Standard; and (c) whether the authorities will allow alternative safety standards beyond UL2272.

*Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Transport whether LTA will consider installing traffic signal countdown timers at traffic junctions, given that many countries have implemented the timer with a view to improving road safety.

Minister for National Development

Minister for National Development

*Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether HDB will reconsider to make it compulsory for HDB owners who either use cash or CPF to service their housing loan to sign up for the Home Protection Scheme (HPS); and (b) in the past three years, how many HDB owners did not use CPF to service their housing loan instalment and did not purchase HPS as well.

*Dr Lily Neo: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how many incidents of fires in HDB flats have there been in each of the last three years; and (b) what are the main causes of these fires.

*Mr Ong Teng Koon: To ask the Minister for National Development whether HDB will consider jumbo flats as a separate category from 4-room flats in setting the occupancy cap for renting out HDB flats.

*Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will consider waiving the requirement for ex-spousal consent on who can list the children as occupiers in a HDB flat application if the ex-spouse has already purchased a private property or a HDB flat following the divorce.

*Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) in the last three years, what is the number of reported cases of the windows of HDB flat being dislodged and falling to the ground; (b) what is the average age of such HDB flats; and (c) whether HDB can include window replacement in the Home Improvement Programme as many home owners may not be able to afford the replacement cost.

*Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for National Development with regard to HDB flats in Boon Lay constituency which are more than 30 years of age and have completed the Home Improvement Programme (HIP), what more can the Ministry do to mitigate rain splashing into the common corridors, lift landings, corridors and front doors and windows of these flats.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development what is the total number of first-timer applicants who have been successful in receiving CPF Housing Grants in the last three years according to (i) flat type, specifically BTO and resale HDB flats (ii) type of grant received (iii) quantum of grant received in multiples of $10,000 and (iv) purchase price of flat after grant, with a breakdown based on the price bands of $50,000 and below, $50,001 to $100,000 and above $100,000 in multiples of $100,000.

Minister for Health

Minister for Health

*Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how long have public hospitals been engaging foreign agents to bring in overseas patients; (b) whether the Ministry is aware of these practices; and (c) whether the foreign patients crowd out Singaporeans in our healthcare services.

*Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will reschedule or bring forward the specialist appointment dates of subsidised Singaporean patients arising from the Ministry's decision to stop referral contracts for foreign patients in public hospitals.

*Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Health what social safety net is there for a person who remains severely disabled and requires institutional long-term care even after the six years under Eldershield.

*Ms Irene Quay Siew Ching: To ask the Minister for Health with regard to children with chronic conditions who are refused health insurance and are not eligible for Medifund due to income criteria, what recourse do these children have should they come down with other chronic diseases unrelated to their existing illness and which requires financial aid.

*Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Health in the past two years (a) how many Singaporeans aged 62 and above have made an appeal to use their Medisave beyond the withdrawal limit; (b) how many of these appeals have been successful; (c) whether the Ministry can review and increase the withdrawal limit; and (d) whether the withdrawal limit can be lifted for those aged 80 and above.

*Ms Irene Quay Siew Ching: To ask the Minister for Health what are the key performance indicators and the percentage of these indicators that have been met under the $62.5 million pilot to scale up hospitals' adoption of smart technologies as part of the Smart Nursing Ward initiative under the Healthcare Industry Transformation Map.

*Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry is aware of any air filters available in the market which have been proven to effectively filter out the harmful effects of secondhand smoke in private homes.

*Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Health with regard to the increasing number of foreign doctors in public hospitals and polyclinics (a) whether there is success in efforts to attract Singaporean medical students studying abroad to return to work in Singapore; (b) whether there is success in retaining those who returned to Singapore beyond the three to four years which they are required to serve in a public hospital; and (c) what further measures is the Government considering to reverse the shortage of Singaporean medical staff.

*Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what regulatory guidelines or standards are applicable to the chiropractic industry; (b) whether customers of the industry will be able to find recourse from the Ministry when there are disputes; and (c) whether there is any ongoing process to bring the industry under further regulation such as to consider it as part of the Allied Health Professionals under the First Schedule of the Allied Health Professions Act.

Minister for Home Affairs

Minister for Home Affairs

*Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what has been the highest number of massage establishment licences issued to outlets within the same building and within the same neighbourhood precinct; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider a cap on such licences issued within a defined locality, especially where such congregation of massage establishments are in close proximity of residential housing.

*Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs for the past five years including the first eight months of this year (a) how many cases of arson relating to illegal money lending have been reported; (b) how many cases have been solved involving the arrest of the (i) culprits who set the fire and (ii) master mind behind the arson; and (c) whether the Ministry can consider increasing the punishment for crimes involving arson and illegal money lending.

*Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether there are any plans to review the retirement age of 55 years, including that for senior police officers, given that the nature of policing has changed to require even more experience and knowledge.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) in the last three years, how many reports of suspicious mails stopped by postal services have been reported to the police; (b) whether there has been any person apprehended; and (c) what measures are put in place to ensure the timely reporting of such detected mails.

Minister for Communications and Information

Minister for Communications and Information

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) how many telecommunication outages have occurred in the past three years; and (b) what measures has the Ministry put in place to prevent the occurrences of these outages.

Minister for Finance

Minister for Finance

*Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Finance whether seller's stamp duty may be waived for a collective sale if the seller does not agree to the sale and did not sign the collective sale agreement.

Minister for Education

Minister for Education

*Ms Rahayu Mahzam: To ask the Minister for Education whether the interagency taskforce on Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families will be looking at issues affecting older children other than pre-school children, and youths in their review of the support in place for students from disadvantaged families.

*Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether there are plans to review the current practice of ranking teachers for performance appraisal every year as an approach to cultivate a high performance workforce and identify low performers; (b) whether the benefits of performance ranking outweighs its challenges especially in terms having to ensure a 'correct' distribution of scores and creating a culture of individual competitiveness that is detrimental to team work and team dynamics; and (c) what alternatives has the Ministry considered for staff performance appraisals other than the current method.

*Ms Irene Quay Siew Ching: To ask the Minister for Education what are the key performance indicators and the percentage of these indicators that have been met under the $19.91 million programme for the SkillsFuture FY17/18 study awards.

*Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Education (a) in the past five years, how many applications under the Financial Assistance Scheme have been received by the Ministry; (b) how many of these applications have been successful; (c) what are the reasons for the unsuccessful cases; and (d) whether the per capita income criterion can be reviewed and the per capita income increased so as to extend assistance to more students from the middle- and lowincome families.

*Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Education with regard to the set-up of the Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce to study ways and means to help children from disadvantaged homes to level up, whether the task force can consider reviewing the adequacy of the statutory levers provided in the Children and Young Persons Act and, if deemed appropriate, recommend steps to enhance the Act for the purpose of achieving the stated objective.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Education (a) to date, what is the number of courses that have been accredited by SkillsFuture; (b) what is the number of applications for accreditation that have been rejected; and (c) what are the main reasons for rejection.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Education for each year in the past five years (a) what is the percentage of students living in HDB flats under the public rental scheme; and (b) what is the average and median household income of students entering the (i) Normal (Technical) (ii) Normal (Academic) and (iii) Express streams, respectively.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Education with regard to the proposal to mark exam scripts electronically (a) whether the time saved from having to count physical scripts in the current system be well compensated by the need to scan and digitise the scripts in the new system; and (b) what are the identified risks of an electronic and digital system for the marking of scripts and how can they be managed.

Minister for Law

Minister for Law

*Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Law what is the Ministry's views on the deliberate online falsehood appearing in recent news reports published in States Times Review, China Press and elsewhere alleging that Singapore is involved in corrupt 1MDB deals.

*Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Law whether the Government intends to sign the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation of Foreign Public Documents 1961 ("Hague Apostille Convention") so as to rationalise the current practice of legalising public documents by consular officers and simplify the process of cross-jurisdictional recognition of the authenticity of documents issued by public authorities in Singapore and, if not, what is the reason.

Minister for Manpower

Minister for Manpower

*Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the Ministry will consider lowering the CPF payout age to the retirement age; and (b) whether exceptions can be made to grant a CPF member an early withdrawal or payout of his CPF funds where the member has no choice but to retire early.

*Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the number of companies that have tapped on the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme (LEDS) since it started; (b) how do these companies perform in terms of achieving the outcomes of becoming more manpower lean, having a stronger Singaporean core and a better quality workforce; (c) how are the outcomes measured and monitored to determine the success of the scheme; and (d) which industry or sector has been most impacted by LEDS.

*Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Manpower in the past three years (a) how many foreign students have been issued work passes under the Work Holiday Programme; (b) which types of industries and jobs do they usually work in; and (c) how has this impacted on jobs and internship opportunities for Singaporean graduates and undergraduates.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Manpower for ITE, polytechnic and university students who graduated in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively (a) what were their average and median starting monthly salaries; (b) what were their average and median monthly salaries five years after their year of graduation; and (c) whether the Ministry will start collecting such data on post-graduation salaries, as requested in (b), if it does not already collect it on a regular basis.

Minister for Social and Family Development

Minister for Social and Family Development

*Ms Rahayu Mahzam: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) whether there are structural gaps in the existing support structures for low-income and vulnerable families in Singapore and, if so, what are these gaps; and (b) what are the specific opportunities for the community to assist and augment the existing support structures to close these gaps.

*Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development with regard to the rise in child abuse cases within the family (a) what is the nature of the abuse; (b) what is the profile of the perpetrators; and (c) what are some of the main reasons behind these abuse cases.

*Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development regarding youths residing in places of detention and juvenile rehabilitation centres established under the Children and Young Persons Act (a) how does the Government ensure that the conditions of detention or residence promote rehabilitation; (b) what oversight mechanism and grievance procedure exist to safeguard the welfare of the detained youths; and (c) whether past reviews of violent incidents in the Singapore Boys Home have identified any contributory factors for the occurrences.

Minister for Trade and Industry

Minister for Trade and Industry

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth

*Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth in respect of the Auditor-General's Report for FY2017/18 (a) how much additional costs were hidden in the award of contracts to the overseas tenderer for the Mid-Autumn Festival 2016 and Chinese New Year 2017; (b) whether there were such similar hidden costs paid to this overseas tenderer from 2014 to 2016 and how much was it in total; (c) what independent investigations had been carried out to address the tell-tale signs that the reimbursement claims made by the People's Association (PA) officer for overseas purchases for use in Chingay Parade 2017 might not be authentic; and (d) whether any of the statutory auditors of PA in previous audits flagged out such lapses since 2013.

Minister for Defence

Minister for Defence

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

*Mr Ong Teng Koon: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether China's implementation of the "National Sword" policy which aims to ban the import of contaminated recyclables, has impacted Singapore's ability to recycle paper, plastic and electronic waste.

*Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether there are plans to build a complete plastic recycling infrastructure in Singapore to cope with all our recyclable plastic waste instead of having to export it overseas.

*Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources in respect of the supply of 8,600 quartz (instead of marble) niches when the niches were relocated from Mount Vernon Columbarium (a) whether NEA had verified that all contractual requirements have been fulfilled by the contractors during delivery/installation; (b) what punitive actions will be taken against the contractors; and (c) whether the contractors are required to provide refunds or compensation where affected families do not accept a marble replacement.

*Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether the proposed acquisition of a substantial shareholding of Hyflux Ltd by a foreign company will have any material impact on two of our national taps (NEWater and desalination); (b) whether steps are taken to mitigate any potential impact on end-consumers and businesses in terms of water supply and pricing; and (c) whether there will be any adverse risk to our water security.

*Ms Rahayu Mahzam: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what is the circular economy framework in place for various waste-producing sectors in Singapore including those for packaging and electronic products; (b) whether the current legislation is sufficient to sustain a circular economy in the waste sector; and (c) if not, whether there are plans to introduce further legislation.

*Mr Chong Kee Hiong: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources what are the assessed threats of rising sea levels to our reservoirs and coastal areas, particularly reclaimed land, and what are the measures to boost the protection for these areas.