Parliamentary questions for 7 May 2019

The Singapore Parliament will sit at 10:30 am on Tuesday, 7 May 2019, for the 104th session of the 13th Parliament.

*30 oral questions and 9 written question had been scheduled to be asked.

At the commencement of Public Business, 2 Government Bills will be read for the 2nd time:

Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill [Bill No. 10/2019] – (Minister for Law) – Second Reading.

Protection from Harassment (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 11/2019] – (Minister for Law) – Second Reading.

For amendments on the Bill, see Supplement No. 19 dated 7 May 2019.

Below are the questions filed towards the various Ministers

[toggle title=”Prime Minister” state=”close”]

*Assoc Prof Walter Theseira: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether MAS is monitoring payment services firms which promote as e-currency proprietary tokens which are purchased with Singapore dollars but are not linked to Singapore dollars at a fixed rate and are not convertible to funds in a Singapore bank account on demand; (b) whether these firms are compliant with the Payment Services Act and other applicable law; and (c) what measures MAS will take to address any risks to customers, merchants, or the financial system.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for Foreign Affairs” state=”close”]

*Mr Vikram Nair: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether he can provide an update on the state of bilateral relations with Malaysia following the 9th Malaysia-Singapore Leaders Retreat.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for Transport” state=”close”]

*Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Transport whether enclosed void deck space in HDB housing estates covering the ground floor lift lobbies and letter box areas may be designated as pedestrian-only paths under the Active Mobility Act to reduce the risk of collision between PMD users and block residents in these areas.

*Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Transport whether he can provide an update on the Ministry’s efforts to encourage food delivery companies that engage deliverymen using PMDs or e-bikes to make food deliveries to take up third-party liability insurance covering their operations and promote safe riding habits amongst their deliverymen.

*Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Ministry receives complaints and feedback on reckless behaviour of personal mobility device (PMD) users for near-misses or accidents and, if so, what process is undertaken by the Ministry when it receives such complaints and feedback.

*Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the Ministry is studying the policies and rules governing the use of e-scooters in Berlin and Paris; and (b) whether Paris’s move to ban e-scooters from footpaths can be emulated.

*Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the development of Malaysia’s ship-to-ship transfer hub at Johor’s Tanjung Pelepas Port has (i) encroached on the sovereignty of Singapore waters and (ii) made a significant impact on the economics of Singapore port operations.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for National Development” state=”close”]

*Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) apart from relying on tip-offs and the risk assessment framework, what are the current efforts to deter and detect the international trade of pangolins in Singapore; (b) whether the Ministry can use the Multi-Mode Passive Detection System Generation 3 to detect wildlife products in shipments; and (c) whether the Ministry is exploring the use of other technologies to detect shipments of pangolins.

*Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) in the past three years, how many summons have been issued to offenders who feed pigeons; and (b) what other measures can the Ministry introduce to deter the feeding of pigeons.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development whether he can provide an update on the results of the public consultation on the ban of elephant ivory sale and display in Singapore.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether the Ministry will be reviewing and strengthening the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act following the recent acquittal by the Court of Appeal of a businessman who brought Malagasy rosewood into Singapore; and (b) how does the Ministry ensure that the rosewood will not enter the black market after it is returned to the owner.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for Health” state=”close”]

*Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Health regarding the increasing number of active tuberculosis cases (a) what is being done to address the issue of the elderly increasingly making up a significant proportion of new active tuberculosis cases; and (b) what is being done to combat the multidrug resistant tuberculosis which is emerging.

*Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Health in view of the continued increase in the number of active tuberculosis (TB) cases from 2017 to 2018 (a) what measures are in place for early TB detection; and (b) whether the current measures to contain local TB cases are effective.

*Dr Chia Shi-Lu: To ask the Minister for Health in view of the global increase in measles cases reported by the World Health Organisation, what measures are in place to prevent measles outbreaks in Singapore and whether these measures need to be strengthened further.

*Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for Health with regard to the recently announced opt-in HPV vaccination (a) what has been the overall feedback received so far; (b) whether more can be done to address the misinformation regarding the medical and social effects of the vaccine; and (c) whether the Ministry is concerned by the mistrust engendered by the antivaccination movement.

*Ms Irene Quay Siew Ching: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how rigorous is medication tested by the Health Sciences Authority before the drugs enter Singapore; (b) whether the testing is in line with international testing standards; (c) whether there are public concerns with generic use of medications in Singapore; and (d) what are the steps and considerations taken by the Ministry compared to other countries’ handling of the same worldwide concern, particularly with the Losartan recall.

*Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the rationale behind barring women above 45 years old from receiving in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments in Singapore; (b) what is the rationale behind limiting the number of IVF fresh cycles for women above 40 years old; and (c) whether the Ministry is planning to review these restrictions.

Ms Anthea Ong: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the percentage of persons over 65 years of age who want to age in place; and (b) what is the percentage of caregivers of persons over the age of 65 years who want to see their care recipients age in place.

Assoc Prof Walter Theseira: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the current number of full-time family caregivers for persons aged above 65; (b) what is the number of persons aged above 65 who are supported by at least one full-time family caregiver; and (c) what is the breakdown of full-time family caregivers where the care recipients are their parent, aunt/uncle, sibling, or spouse.

Assoc Prof Walter Theseira: To ask the Minister for Health (a) in the latest financial year available, what proportion of the Ministry’s budget has been allocated to the public acute hospitals; (b) what is the breakdown of such expenditure by the public acute hospitals between capital spending and recurrent operating costs; and (c) what have the trends been over the last five years preceding the latest financial year available.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for Home Affairs” state=”close”]

*Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) over the past three years, how many fires have there been involving our conserved or heritage buildings; (b) how does the Ministry ensure that there is adequate protection for such older structures; and (c) what are the measures in place to ensure that renovation or alterations made to such structures are carried out safely and properly supervised.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for Communications and Information” state=”close”]

*Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information what is the progress of rolling out a 5G network in Singapore.

[/toggle] [toggle title=” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance” state=”close”]

*Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance currently, how many citizens live in private properties but do not have any declared income.

*Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance (a) whether there is a remuneration cap for key management staff of Fifth Schedule companies like GIC and Temasek; and (b) for the past five years, what is the range of total annual remuneration, including salary, annual and performance bonuses, paid to the top three higher paid executives in GIC and Temasek respectively.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for Education” state=”close”]

*Ms Irene Quay Siew Ching: To ask the Minister for Education with regard to the post-secondary admission system to be implemented in 2028 (a) how does the new subject banding determine subsequent admission to postsecondary institutions of choice; and (b) how can it be ensured that a student chooses subject bands based on his ability and talent and not influenced primarily by entry criteria of his favoured post-secondary institutions.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for Law” state=”close”] [/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for Manpower” state=”close”]

*Ms Anthea Ong: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether persons with mental health conditions will be included in the Special Employment Credit and Open Door programmes and, if so, when; and (b) given that the Workplace Safety and Health Institute’s Research Agenda for Singapore 2018-2020 listed “work stress” as one of its priorities under long-term challenges alongside “ageing workforce and technology”, whether the Ministry is considering legislative interventions for risk assessments and counter-measures in the area of physical and mental health.

*Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will consider introducing short-term work permits for foreign domestic workers to provide respite support for families and to allow employment agencies to cater to families requiring short-term domestic help.

*Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Manpower for each year in the past five years for non-Malaysian work permit holders with salary claims, what is the number of cases whereby (i) the employer does not pay the full sum ordered by the Labour Court or Employment Claims Tribunal (ii) the security bond is invoked to repay the worker (iii) the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund (MWAF) is used to repay the worker and (iv) both the security bond and MWAF are invoked.

*Assoc Prof Walter Theseira: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will start monitoring the number of employers who have adopted measures in the Tripartite Advisor for Managing Workplace Harassment, with such monitoring to include whether the employer has a policy explicitly defining harassment including sexual harassment, whether the policy details how harassment will be dealt with, and whether training is provided to employees on how to prevent and respond to harassment.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for Social and Family Development” state=”close”]

*Ms Anthea Ong: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) in addressing inequality and social mobility which are inter-agency issues, what is the reason for the difference in income ceilings for ComCare Assistance ($1,900/$650 per capita), the Public Rental Scheme ($1,500), the Workfare Income Supplement ($2,300) and the financial assistance scheme for education ($2,750/$690 per capita); (b) how are these different ceilings derived; and (c) what is the minimum cost of living that is used as a guide for our social policies.

Ms Anthea Ong: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development in the last three years (a) how many complaints has the Ministry received with regard to alleged abuse by staff in Anchor Operator and Partner Operator childcare centres; (b) how many of these complaints have been investigated; and (c) what are the outcomes of these investigations.

Assoc Prof Walter Theseira: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) in each of the last five years, how many working adults aged 21 to 65 were residing with both a young child aged 12 and below, as well as an elderly family member aged 65 and above; (b) how many in this group of households employ a foreign domestic worker; and (c) whether there are Government studies or findings about the challenges faced by this group in providing care to both the young and the elderly at the same time.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for Trade and Industry” state=”close”]

*Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry in view of the growing inflow of investments to build electric cars and auxiliary technology in Singapore (a) how many jobs can this new industry provide; and (b) how can Singaporeans better prepare to take on these jobs.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for Culture, Community and Youth” state=”close”]

*Ms Anthea Ong: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) of the 8,000 youths who took part in the youth conversations in 2018, what is the number and percentage of youths who indicated mental wellbeing as a top concern; (b) what plans does the Ministry have to address the issue of youth mental health; and (c) how will these plans align with the Ministry’s Community Mental Health Masterplan and programmes being undertaken by other agencies.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for Defence” state=”close”] [/toggle] [toggle title=”Minister for the Environment and Water Resources” state=”close”]

*Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether he can provide an update on Phases 1 and 2 of Project Wolbachia in the control of the Aedes aegypti mosquito vector; (b) how long will the Phase 3 field study last; and (c) whether Project Wolbachia can be accelerated in light of the increased incidents of dengue infections in the first quarter of 2019.

*Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what are the causes of the sudden spike of dengue cases in the first quarter of 2019; (b) what are the measures in place to detect dengue cases early; and (c) what is the Ministry’s plan to reduce dengue cases especially during the dengue peak seasons.

*Dr Lily Neo: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) how often has the raw water quality been unacceptable for our water treatment plants in Johor since they have been in operation; (b) how did that affect the supply of water to Singapore and Johor; and (c) what is the mitigation plan going forward.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what are the numbers and locations of Smart Gravitraps that are deployed as part of a trial since late 2018; (b) what are the data collected by the traps and whether they are useful in improving dengue control in Singapore; and (c) whether such traps will be introduced nationwide on a permanent basis.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether PUB has the required manpower to operate and maintain Tuaspring Pte Ltd; (b) what will be the operating model envisaged for Tuaspring over the long term; and (c) whether there will be cost implications to PUB.

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