Parliamentary questions for 16 February 2021

The Singapore Parliament will sit at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, 16 February 2021, for the 18th session of the 14th Parliament.

*59 oral questions and 27 written question have been scheduled to be asked.

There will be a Ministerial Statement delivered by the Minister for Finance, Heng Swee Keat for Budget 2021:

BUDGET STATEMENT: That Parliament approves the financial policy of the Government for the financial year 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Below are the questions filed towards the various Ministers

Prime Minister

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether there are signs of significant increase in securities trading fuelled by online discussions and social media chat groups; (b) what are the protections against such activities destabilising the smooth running of the securities market; and (c) whether MAS is considering safeguards.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Prime Minister (a) over the past three years, how many reports have been made annually by consumers regarding unauthorised online bank transactions; (b) in what proportion of cases is
there 2-factor authentication (2FA) by token and SMS one-time password respectively; and (c) what is the recourse for consumers who suspect that they are victims of cybercrime or mobile device hacking leading to the
unauthorised bank transactions.

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Prime Minister (a) what is the number of borrowers who applied for relief packages offered by financial institutions to overcome financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and (b)
what is the number of borrowers expected to have problems transitioning back to full loan repayment.

Ms He Ting Ru: To ask the Prime Minister (a) beyond studies on urban heat vulnerability, whether there are Government-initiated studies conducted on the socio-economic impact of climate change in Singapore for the next five years and beyond; and (b) if so, whether these studies and findings can be made publicly available.

Minister for Transport

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether LTA has plans for a major revamp of bus routes following the staged opening of Thomson-East Coast Line; (b) what is the number of current bus routes with
fare revenue (i) exceeding operating cost and (ii) falling behind operating cost; and (c) of these, which are trunk and feeder services respectively in 2019 and 2020.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the forensic test conducted on the faulty trip coils that led to the MRT disruption of 14 October 2020 has been completed; and (b) whether LTA can
share the findings of the test results and the lessons that can be drawn from the test results in respect of the integrity of our power systems for our MRT.

Minister for National Development

Ms Carrie Tan: To ask the Minister for National Development what is (i) the average total cost per year to the Government (inclusive of direct subsidies and administrative costs) to subsidise a public rental household (ii)
the breakdown in terms of percentages between building costs, maintenance costs, direct subsidy, administrative and other costs and (iii) the average total cost involved in subsidising each public rental household before they
successfully move to their own homes, given that the median number of years they stay in public rental housing is seven.

Ms Carrie Tan: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether the Ministry has any shared data with the Ministry of Social and Family Development on the number of isolated elderly living within purchased HDB
flats who are on ComCare support; and (b) if so, what are the numbers in the last five years.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) in each of the last three years, what is the number of applicants for HDB’s Sale of Balance Flats and Re-Offer of Balance Flats respectively; and (b) whether
there is a need to review HDB’s home sales programme to shorten waiting time and better match home buyers’ needs and preferences.

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how many complaints about crow problems, including attacks on people, has NParks received in 2020; (b) what are the methods used to manage the crow population; and (c) whether NParks has evaluated the effectiveness of its current methods of trapping crows.

Miss Rachel Ong: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how was the target of 0.8 hectare of green space per 1,000 people chosen; (b) what makes up the definition of “green space” in this target; and (c) what is the current public green space in square metres per 1,000 people, not including golf courses.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) in 2019 and 2020, what is number of households that participated in the HDB Lease Buyback Scheme respectively; and (b) what is the breakdown of that number by HDB flat types.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what are the trends of property prices in 2020 for HDB flats and the various types of private housing; (b) what are the reasons for the trends; and (c) whether there are plans to address these trends.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for National Development what are the plans to redevelop the cemetery areas around Bukit Brown, including the section close to the Old Police Academy, in the next 10 to 15 years.

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs (a) whether there has been an increase in the number of requests for consular assistance from Singaporeans in Myanmar following the recent military
coup; (b) whether ASEAN will be issuing a joint statement on the situation in Myanmar; and (c) how will these developments impact ASEAN and its relations with major powers in the region.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs in light of the recent military coup in Myanmar in February 2021 (a) whether Myanmar can be compelled to abide by the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration as well the ASEAN Charter; and (b) whether ASEAN member states will work towards a collective position regarding the ongoing events currently unfolding in Myanmar.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether ASEAN member states have considered how the recent coup in Myanmar in February 2021 will impact (i) the goal to repatriate the Rohingya refugees to Myanmar (ii) the plight of the people in the Rakhine State and (iii) the future peace and security in the Rakhine State.

Minister for Communications and Information

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information what avenues exist for jobseekers of limited means to access or own personal computing devices and resources so that jobseekers without computers or smart devices can update and edit personal curriculum vitae and resumes.

Minister for Home Affairs

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in light of the recent detention of a 16-year-old Singaporean who planned and prepared to conduct terrorist attacks against Muslims in Singapore, what further legal tools should be put in place to bolster and support the Home Team’s operational capability to detect, trace and apprehend self-radicalised terror suspects before any terror incident occurs.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what further measures can be undertaken to denounce terror attacks, whenever they take place around the globe, so as to prevent self-radicalised copy-cats from thinking they can replicate such horrific terror attacks in Singapore.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what legal measures can be undertaken to tighten up the Arms and Explosives Act (Chapter 13), or other relevant legislation, so as to prevent self-radicalised members of the public from getting their hands on firearms or explosives to carry out terror attacks in Singapore.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in view of the recent detention of a teenager who was preparing to conduct terrorist activities in Singapore (a) whether the investigations are conclusive that he was operating as a “lone wolf”; (b) what are the current efforts to promote a better understanding of race and racial issues amongst younger Singaporeans; and (c) what further efforts are needed within the schools and youth groups.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what are the current safeguards on younger residents getting access to offensive weapons or components and materials on online e-commerce platforms.

Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what are the facts and circumstances that led to the detention of a 16-year-old Singaporean on the grounds that he planned to use a machete to attack Muslims at two local mosques during the 2nd anniversary of the 2019 attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what actions will be taken to improve harmonious relationships between different religious groups; and (b) whether the different religious organisations can be equipped with knowledge to look out for members who may become selfradicalised.

Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what steps have been identified by the Government to counter the trend of persons being selfradicalised through the Internet into inciting violence against persons from different religious groups.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) since April 2020, how many Singaporeans and permanent residents have appealed for their foreigner relatives or dependants to enter Singapore; and (b) how many have appealed for a waiver of the Stay-Home Notice Dedicated Facility accommodation cost for their relatives or dependants.

Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what steps have been identified by the Central Narcotics Bureau to bring down the number of new drug abusers arrested which stood at 38% of all arrests of drug abusers in 2020; and (b) how it proposes to address the presence of a high number of young persons aged 30 years and below (amounting to 62%) amongst the new drug abusers arrested in 2020.

Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether there are plans to extend the scamalert.sg service to the WhatsApp and Telegram messaging platforms via a subscription service for better outreach to seniors.

Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many scam cases have been reported in 2020 and what is the total financial loss; (b) how many cases have a successful recovery of losses incurred,
whether partially or in full, and what is the total amount recovered; and (c) what is the age profile of the victims of such cases.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) has completed its investigation of the chairman and management of Swiber Holdings and its related companies; (b) if so, whether CAD will proceed with prosecution for any offences; and (c) if not, when is the investigation expected to complete.

Miss Rachel Ong: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs how can the public be equipped to pick up indicators that an individual may be getting selfradicalised, as part of a community network to prevent terror attacks.

Ms He Ting Ru: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, how many monthly visitor arrivals have there been into Singapore; and (b) of these, how many entered Singapore via (i) the
Reciprocal Green Lane scheme and (ii) Family Ties scheme, each as broken down by month.

Minister for Health

Ms He Ting Ru: To ask the Minister for Health in order to prevent the World Economic Forum’s Special Annual Meeting in Singapore from becoming a super spreader event (a) whether attendees will be subject to Stay-Home
Notices and quarantine rules; (b) what other concrete safety measures will be imposed to minimise COVID-19 spread; and (c) whether all attendees will be required to use TraceTogether technology in order to be allowed into
Singapore to attend the event.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Health (a) since April 2020, what has been the percentage of confirmed COVID-19 cases for each country in relation to total arrivals from those countries; and (b) whether the
Ministry will require all foreigners arriving into Singapore to procure travel insurance, including hospitalisation insurance for coverage of COVID-19.

Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Minister for Health what is the reason for not closing our borders to travellers from India and Indonesia given the disproportionately large number of imported cases coming from these two
countries.

Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: To ask the Minister for Health what are the financial support schemes available to working caregivers of cancer patients in terms of higher MediSave withdrawal limits, subsidies or tax reliefs.

Mr Mohd Fahmi Bin Aliman: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the number of people who have committed suicide or attempted suicide last year; (b) how many are aged 60 and above; (c) how many of such seniors are living alone; (d) how many of such seniors are diagnosed with depression prior to suicide or attempted suicide; and (e) what are the resources and programmes put in place during the pandemic to address the likely causes of such suicides and prevent the suicide rates from increasing.

Mr Mohd Fahmi Bin Aliman: To ask the Minister for Health in light of the Ministry’s reply of 6 January 2020 on multi-pronged interventions to support seniors (a) how effective have these initiatives been in reducing elderly suicide; and (b) how is the Ministry working towards improving existing initiatives to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our socially isolated elderly.

Mr Mohd Fahmi Bin Aliman: To ask the Minister for Health (a) in light of a 2016 report on how 47,000 seniors aged 65 and above live by themselves, whether that figure has changed and, if so, by how much; and (b) in light of survey results showing lower social satisfaction levels for senior citizens during the circuit breaker period, whether the Ministry plans to enhance existing support mechanisms for the isolated elderly in the next two to three years.

Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng: To ask the Minister for Health what are the outcomes of the pilot Care Close to Home service model for the elderly frail and home bound residents in HDB public rental estates.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Health whether the COVID-19 vaccination programme may be expedited in view of the fact that other countries are vaccinating their residents at a faster rate.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Health (a) to date, what is the percentage of healthcare workers in the public and private sectors who have been vaccinated; (b) what surveillance testing programme is in place to
ensure healthcare workers who are not vaccinated are not infected with COVID-19; and (c) how many people have received or are currently receiving support under the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme
for COVID-19 and what side effects and conditions have they been suffering from.

Ms Hazel Poa: To ask the Minister for Health to date, what has been the COVID-19 vaccination take-up rate for frontline workers and those who have been offered the vaccination.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Government intends to allow over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test kits like the Ellume COVID-19 Home Test now authorised by the US Food
and Drug Administration to enable self-testing by individuals, commercial entities or non-governmental organisations and reduce pressure on state resources.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the contribution of unhealthy ageing to medical inflation; (b) what has the Ministry learnt from implementing numerous programmes over the years to address
unhealthy ageing, including the National Steps Challenge; and (c) how is the Government further evolving its approach to preventive and early intervention measures for chronic illnesses after consolidating data from the
Public Consultation on MediShield Life 2020 Review.

Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the take-up rate of the National Adult Immunisation Schedule in 2020; and (b) what are the plans for improving the take-up rate to reach 50% by 2025.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Health in each year from 2011 to 2020, comparing by household income quintile, education attainment or housing type if income data is unavailable (a) what is the average life expectancy in Singapore; (b) what is the prevalence of (i) one chronic illness and (ii) two or more chronic illnesses; and (c) if these data are not available, whether the Ministry will consider collecting such data.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Health what is the 25th, 50th and 75th percentile of cycles required for successful pregnancy for those who undergo in-vitro fertilisation.

Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what are the conditions required for hospitals to conduct emergency and critical medical evaluation and diagnostic tests, such as radiology tests, during the
weekends and public holidays; and (b) whether a baseline level of diagnostic capacity as percentage of weekday capacity can be instituted such that patients are not made to bear the risk of further deterioration in their medical
condition and further costs of admission while awaiting medical evaluation.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance

No questions filed

Minister for Education

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Education (a) what is the current number of companies on-boarded as Anchor companies/SkillsFuture Queen Bee companies; (b) what support does the Government provide to these
companies; and (c) how have SMEs and individuals benefited from this programme.

Dr Shahira Abdullah: To ask the Minister for Education whether there are avenues for youths to engage and have difficult and contentious conversations with the Government on topics of great concern to them in a
well-guided and supported manner

Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin: To ask the Minister for Education (a) given that travel remains unlikely, what are the plans for students from institutes of higher learning to gain global exposure; and (b) whether there are any
changes to the ’70-70 target’ under the Global Ready Talent Programme whereby the aim is for 70% of students to gain overseas exposure and the Government provides 70% funding for the allowances or salaries of students
undertaking internships in Singaporean companies based overseas.

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Education (a) what are the different kinds of student information that are being tracked by the security software that is built into students’ learning devices made available to secondary school, junior college and other students; and (b) what is the rationale for this.

Dr Wan Rizal: To ask the Minister for Education as there is an increasing demand for professionals in the healthcare, infocomm technology, cybersecurity and e-commerce sectors, whether the Ministry will consider to
offer more of such related courses in local polytechnics, allowing students to gain a relevant foothold in the job market during the current economic climate.

Dr Wan Rizal: To ask the Minister for Education what is the current percentage of polytechnic graduates who successfully secure full-time employment in industries relevant to the course of their polytechnic studies.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Education for each year in the past five years, what is the median age of teachers and the median number of years of service of teachers who obtained a C- grade, D grade and E grade respectively.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Education whether a 360-degree feedback mechanism is used in the performance management system of stack ranking and will directly affect the grade of a teacher and key personnel.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Education whether a teacher who receives a C- performance grade will not be considered for promotion for three years and will also not qualify him for professional development leave.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Education whether the Ministry will consider building another primary and secondary school in Fernvale constituency in the near future.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Education whether the Ministry intends to increase the number of classes and teaching staff of existing primary schools in preparation for the 2022 Primary 1 registration exercise to be held this year.

Mr Don Wee: To ask the Minister for Education whether the Ministry will consider building another primary school in the Brickland constituency as there are many young families moving into the constituency and the transport connectivity to the primary schools situated in nearby constituencies is wanting.

Ms Hazel Poa: To ask the Minister for Education whether any financial assistance is available to students not attending Government, Government-aided or Government-funded schools but who are preparing for national examinations like the PSLE, GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ Levels as private candidates.

Minister for Law

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Law (a) whether he will provide an update on Singapore’s involvement in the Singapore Convention on Mediation; and (b) whether there are any future plans to promote Singapore
as an international dispute resolution hub in areas such as mediation and arbitration.

Minister for Manpower

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) since April 2020, how many Singaporeans and permanent residents who have applied for their foreign domestic workers (FDWs) to enter Singapore and are not
successful, have appealed for their entry; and (b) how many Singaporeans and permanent residents have appealed for a waiver of the Stay-Home Notice Dedicated Facility accommodation cost for their FDWs.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether employers have a legal obligation to provide sufficient masks to their migrant worker employees at no cost to these employees; (b) whether the Ministry actively monitors worksites to ensure that migrant worker employees are provided with sufficient masks; and (c) whether whistleblower employees who report their employers for not providing sufficient masks will be protected from being dismissed or repatriated.

Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the current respective numbers of intra-corporate transferees and their family members holding dependant passes who are working in Singapore; (b)
whether these individuals are included under the Ministry’s employment statistics; and (c) how many of these individuals come from countries that have a Free Trade Agreement with Singapore.

Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what are the circumstances under which the Silver Support payout quantum may be reduced for beneficiaries; and (b) whether there are ways by which changes may be better explained to reduce the anxiety and other negative consequences for the seniors who are unaware or do not expect the drop.

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) how many construction sector work permits had expiry dates falling between July and December 2020 (both months inclusive); and (b) of these, how many (i)
expired without being renewed (ii) were renewed by employers later than the 40th day prior to their expiry date and (iii) were cancelled by employers later than the 56th day prior to expiry.

Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for Manpower in the last three years, what is the number and percentage of active and inactive CPF members who have met the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS), the Full
Retirement Sum (FRS) and Enhanced Retirement Sum (ERS) for those who turned 55 years of age.

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Manpower as at 31 December 2020, what is the total number of workers, resident workers and Singaporean workers who are classified as managers and executives and earning a basic monthly salary (excluding employer CPF) of not more than (i) $2,600 (ii) $2,800 and (iii) $3,000 respectively.

Minister for Social and Family Development

Dr Wan Rizal: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development and Minister-in-charge for Muslim Affairs (a) whether there are plans to extend the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programmes to more madrasahs;
and (b) what are the types of support given to madrasahs to better equip students with the necessary skills, knowledge, and values for their journey towards being future religious leaders and scholars.

Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether the number of cases of domestic violence or abuse involving children below the age of 12 is higher for children in blended
families or with step-parents, compared to those children who are not.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) whether the Government intends to conduct a national study on sexual exploitation and abuse of children to determine its root causes and assess its
magnitude so as to design policies and programmes to address the same; and (b) to what extent corporal punishment is permitted in childcare and alternative care settings.

Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development and Minister-in-charge for Muslim Affairs how often does MUIS conduct random sampling or unannounced periodic inspections after
the award of MUIS’ halal certificate, in particular for businesses under the Product / Whole Plant Scheme.

Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development and Minister-in-charge for Muslim Affairs whether MUIS will consider other methods or technology like DNA testing for processed food as part of its monitoring of compliance with MUIS’ halal certification.

Minister for Trade and Industry

Ms He Ting Ru: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what principles are adopted in assessing approval for an in-person global conference such as the World Economic Forum’s Special Annual Meeting 2021 amidst the pandemic; (b) what are the anticipated cost and revenues from the WEF Special Annual Meeting; and (c) what other factors are considered when deciding whether to hold these events here.

Ms He Ting Ru: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) whether the economic agencies such as Enterprise SG and the Economic Development Board have any formal targets or incentives to bring in and promote green
businesses; (b) whether these agencies have Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) frameworks that they consider while evaluating businesses; and (c) whether these targets and frameworks can be made public.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what are the expected structural changes to the hospitality sector over the near to medium term; and (b) what is the expected impact on skills and the workforce.

Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth in view of the increased number of claims filed with the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal (CDRT) (a) whether there is a need for clearer and more comprehensive guidelines on unacceptable and anti-social behaviour among neighbours; and (b) whether there is a greater scope for the use of technology in gathering evidence that can be brought before the CDRT.

Dr Shahira Abdullah: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) whether there any initiatives to support youths who are engaged in the unskilled gig economy and who want to move away from it; and (b) if
so, what are the current efforts being made to ensure that the youths are aware of these opportunities.