Parliamentary questions for 10 May 2021

The Singapore Parliament will sit at 12:00 pm on Monday, 10 May 2021, for the 29th session of the 14th Parliament.

*144 oral questions and 71 written question have been scheduled to be asked.

There will be a Ministerial Statement Minister for Communications and Information:
Restructuring in the Local News Media.

At the commencement of Public Business, 3 Government Bill will be introduced:

  1. Second Minister for Home Affairs: Registration of Births and Deaths Bill.
  2. Minister for Social and Family Development: Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill.
  3. Minister for National Development: COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment No. 3) Bill.
    [The Member in charge proposes, on a Certificate of Urgency under S.O. 86, to proceed with this Bill throughout all its stages until the Bill has been read the third time.]

ORDERS OF THE DAY:

  1. Significant Infrastructure Government Loan Bill [Bill No. 6/2021] – (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance) – Second Reading
  2. Land Betterment Charge Bill [Bill No. 7/2021] – (Minister for Law) – Second Reading
  3. Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 8/2021] – (Minister for Home Affairs) – Second Reading
  4. Land Transport Authority of Singapore (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 9/2021] – (Minister for Transport) Second Reading

There will also be a Matter proposed to be raised on the Motion for the Adjournment (SO 2(8)(b)) Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song (Aljunied):

Ensuring Patients’ Interest in Healthcare.

Below are the questions filed towards the various Ministers

Prime Minister

Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Prime Minister (a) what is the aggregate dollar value of the subject matter of corruption cases investigated or prosecuted in 2020; (b) how much has been seized or forfeited as proceeds of corruption for the same year; (c) how do both figures compare with the preceding two years’ figures; and (d) what steps have CPIB identified to beef up its digital capabilities in the fight against corruption and to deal with operational issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Prime Minister (a) what is the Government’s assessment of the impact of the pandemic on Singaporeans’ desires to have babies; (b) what has the Government done to understand the aspirations of women when it comes to getting married and having children; and (c) whether any study has been done to understand if women will consider having children as something to be done early on in a marriage or if they are delaying it for various reasons.

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Prime Minister (a) what is the implementation progress of Project Ubin; (b) whether Singapore will issue a central bank digital currency; and (c) given the fast pace of development of decentralised finance, whether the Government will accelerate efforts to capture the emerging opportunities.

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Prime Minister (a) what percentage of workers aged 60 and above are full-time staff or contract workers in the public service; (b) what roles are these workers assigned to; (c) what changes are made in the public service hiring process to ensure those aged 60 and above have fair interview opportunities; and (d) whether flexible work arrangements are applicable for this group of workers.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Prime Minister regarding trading and investments in crypto assets (a) what measures are in place to limit the exposure of retail investors to these highly risky products; and (b) how will the Government work with individuals and families to spot signs of distress by victims and assist them.

Dr Tan Yia Swam: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether there are any regulatory guidelines in classifying third party administrator costs in the financial returns lodged by accident and health insurance companies with MAS; and (b) if so, whether such costs are included in the returns as management expenses or gross claims settled.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Prime Minister (a) how many car loans have been defaulted in the past 12 months; (b) how many of these loans involved used cars; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider outlawing the practice of overtrade of used cars to encourage financial prudence in the purchase of cars.

Ms He Ting Ru: To ask the Prime Minister (a) how many users have requested to be deregistered from the TraceTogether programme; and (b) whether the users making the requests will be notified that their data has been deleted following their request.

Minister for Transport

Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how many deaths and injuries have resulted from accidents involving migrant workers transported in lorries since the implementation of stricter measures on 1 August 2011; (b) whether the Ministry will impose additional measures to ensure the safety of migrant workers being transported to and from work on their employers’ vehicles; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider requiring employers to transport their workers in mini-buses or buses with compulsory seat-belting.

Ms Janet Ang: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how many accidents involving migrant workers transported in open lorries have occurred in the past five years; (b) how many of such accidents have been fatal; (c) whether it is legal to carry passengers in vehicles not intended for ferrying people and, if so, who takes responsibility when accidents happen; and (d) whether regulations can be improved to protect the safety of migrant workers during their daily commutes.

Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Transport whether LTA will review the safety regulations to enhance the level of safety of migrant workers being ferried in mini-lorries or to require that they be transported via buses.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport whether there are any plans to review the carriage of workers at the back of lorries or goods vehicles and, if not, whether LTA intends to introduce any new safety measures to enhance the safety of workers being carried at the back of such vehicles.

Ms He Ting Ru: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether any study has been done to find out what are the estimated additional costs (as a percentage and in absolute quantum across the industry) as a result of regulations prohibiting the transport of workers in lorries and goods vehicles; (b) if yes, what are the findings of the study; and (c) what measures can be taken to assist with the increased costs associated with such a prohibition.

Ms Poh Li San: To ask the Minister for Transport in enhancing road safety, what other measures can the Ministry consider besides licensing cyclists.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Transport given that cyclists are more vulnerable on the roads, how can it be ensured that (i) cyclists are protected against inconsiderate and reckless drivers and (ii) the rights of both cyclists and motor vehicle drivers are deconflicted.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Transport on air travel bubbles (a) whether the Ministry has considered requiring Singaporeans to be fully vaccinated before taking the bubble flights to Hong Kong; and (b) what are the reasons for not having this requirement when countries are still battling sudden waves of COVID-19 infection.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the turnaround time at our wharves in the past six months compared to the preCOVID-19 pandemic period; (b) whether the increase in throughput in the last quarter is expected to improve this year; and (c) how has the recent blockage at the Suez Canal affected Singapore and how can more resiliency to such future incidents be built into the system.

Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the rationale for the introduction of the Annual Additional Flat Component (AAFC) for road tax payable by electric cars; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider revising the AAFC to promote EV adoption.

Mr Abdul Samad: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how will the allocation of electric vehicle charging stations be spread amongst the suppliers; and (b) whether the local companies will have a bigger share to ensure infrastructure stability and grid reliability.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what has been the impact from the introduction of the Rail Reliability Incentive (RRI) to enhance rail reliability; (b) how long will this performance incentive in the form of an enhanced maintenance grant for rail operators be provided; (c) to date, how much of the RRI has been disbursed; (d) which of the rail operators have received these incentives; and (e) what are the reliability targets and qualifying conditions set.

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what factors are considered to determine basic rail reliability for MRT operators; (b) what financial penalties have been imposed on the operators in the past eight years for failure to comply with reliability standards; and (c) whether LTA will consider changing the financial incentive scheme for rail reliability to investing in core technical capability within the operators.

Mr Chong Kee Hiong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what measures will be implemented to ensure that public bus transportation is more accessible to our ageing population; and (b) whether LTA will consider allowing feeder buses to make more stops within the estates during off-peak hours so that the elderly do not need to walk as far to a bus stop.

Ms Mariam Jaafar: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) over the past year, what is the number of personal mobility devices (PMDs) and personal mobility aids (PMAs) that have been impounded; (b) what are the reasons for impoundment; (c) what percentage of impounded PMDs and PMAs are subsequently returned; and (d) what is the mean and maximum length of time in which the owner is informed that his PMD or PMA will be confiscated or is asked to retrieve them.

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the latest progress on (i) the Thomson East Coast Line (TEL) (ii) the Jurong Region Line (JRL) and (iii) the Cross Island Line (CRL); (b) how many TEL stations will be opened this year; and (c) how has the pandemic affected the construction of TEL, JRL and CRL.

Ms Mariam Jaafar: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether recumbent bicycles (two-wheeler and three wheeler) are classified as personal mobility devices or personal mobility aids; and (b) whether they are allowed on roads.

Ms Poh Li San: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether a thorough assessment of the structural integrity of the building at 68-74 Thomson Road to withstand the construction of the North South Corridor (NSC) could have been made so that its owners and occupants need not have to move out temporarily and then be told later of the need for demolition; and (b) whether the alignment of the NSC can be adjusted further away to avoid the need to demolish the building.

Mr Don Wee: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the Ministry will consider banning the use of lorries for transporting workers; (b) if not, what safety measures will be introduced to ensure the safety of the workers in these vehicles; and (c) what will be done to prevent or reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what incentives are offered to public transport companies for reliability; (b) how long these incentive programmes have been in place; and (c) how much incentives have been given over the past five years, broken down by companies and amounts.

Ms Raeesah Khan: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Ministry has any plans to improve the affordability of on-demand, point-to-point transport services for users of wheelchairs, personal mobility devices, and motorised wheelchairs to make our public transport system more inclusive.

Minister for National Development

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether the increase in property prices over the past 12 months is within the expectation of the Government; and (b) whether any measures are being considered to ensure that there will not be a property price bubble.

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for National Development whether any additional support will be provided to companies in the construction, marine, and process sectors to cope with new restrictions on travellers from India.

Dr Shahira Abdullah: To ask the Minister for National Development in light of the projected BTO construction delays coupled with increased prices in the property market due to the pandemic (a) whether there is now an oversubscription of HDB flats under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme; (b) what additional measures will be taken if there is an oversubscription; and (c) whether there will be an introduction of further measures that may further help young couples who need a home to start a family in the current climate.

Dr Wan Rizal: To ask the Minister for National Development what is the matrix used by HDB in assessing the condition of rental flats before they are being rented out to those who need it.

Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Minister for National Development whether HDB can accelerate the pace of response to rental flat requests so as to support Singaporean families facing urgent financial and housing distress.

Ms Mariam Jaafar: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what proportion of residents in public rental housing (excluding those on interim rental housing who are waiting for their BTO flats to be completed) go on to own their own homes within three, five and 10 years; and (b) what proportion of young adults in public rental housing go on to apply for another rental unit when they form their own family nucleus.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) in the last five years, what are (i) the average number of unoccupied HDB rental flats and (ii) the top three reasons for the turnaround time for vacated flats; (b) for how long do the rental flats remain unoccupied each year; (c) how often does HDB assist in the clearance of unwanted belongings following the vacation of a rental flat; and (d) whether HDB imposes deductions from tenants’ deposits for doing such work.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what can HDB do to help Singaporeans especially first-timer flat applicants to get their BTO flats especially for those who have applied for BTO and balance of sale flats and have failed more than twice; (b) how many appeals has HDB received from applicants who have failed more than twice in their applications; and (c) whether HDB can increase the supply of BTOs flats to further reduce the application rate for first-timers to less than 1.3 for non-mature estates.

Ms Yeo Wan Ling: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the current number of appeals made 5 to HDB by persons going through a divorce for interim rental housing for themselves and their children; (b) what is the average waiting time for rental housing to be allotted; and (c) whether there are plans to review the financing support available to persons who plan to purchase HDB housing after their divorce.

Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin: To ask the Minister for National Development with regard to the Singapore Green Plan target of 1,000 hectares for green spaces (a) what proportion of the 1,000 hectares will comprise skyrise greenery, including rooftop and vertical gardens; (b) what is the current takeup rate of NParks’ Skyrise Greenery Incentive Scheme 2.0; and (c) what more can be done to encourage building owners to make use of the scheme.

Ms Mariam Jaafar: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the number of reconstituted families applying for a HDB loan every year; (b) what percentage of HDB loan applications by reconstituted families are rejected because one spouse has taken prior HDB loans even though the other spouse has not and so would have been eligible for a HDB loan; and (c) whether HDB can consider making it easier for reconstituted families to buy and get HDB loans if one of the spouses has not benefited from HDB loans or subsidies.

Mr Abdul Samad: To ask the Minister for National Development whether there are plans to convert huge utility stations in the city areas like power substations and telecommunications stations to underground stations.

Mr Shawn Huang Wei Zhong: To ask the Minister for National Development what are the plans for the Keppel Club site and whether the plans will ensure that the site will be a shared area that is inclusive for all Singaporeans.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for National Development in light of heavy winds and rains occurring more frequently causing many trees to uproot and fall onto cars, roads and public amenities, whether NParks can consider (i) inspecting all trees more regularly than the current practice and (ii) providing a guide for the public to help spot signs of a tree that is rotting, diseased or in need of inspection so that they can contact the authorities to conduct further checks.

Mr Edward Chia Bing Hui: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry has consistently reviewed guidelines on the selection of tree types and their locations within HDB estates in light of lessons from tree falls and tree inspections.

Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin: To ask the Minister for National Development for resale transactions of HDB flats made by vulnerable residents such as single seniors, whether there are protective measures in place to ensure that such individuals have made plans to secure accommodation after the sale of their flats.

Mr Chong Kee Hiong: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether the Ministry keeps track of the effectiveness of the fumigation of rubbish chutes in buildings, especially HDB blocks, in controlling pests; and (b) whether technical support can be provided to town councils on the rubbish chute flushing system to automate sterilisation of these chutes to reduce the population of cockroaches and other pests.

Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: To ask the Minister for National Development given that as at August 2020 only 17 applications for the Lift Access Housing Grant (LHG) are made out of the 2,000 HDB flats that have no direct lift access, whether the Ministry has studied the utility of the LHG since its launch in March 2020 and the reasons for the low take-up rate of the LHG.

Ms Carrie Tan: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will (i) add dementia-friendly features like those piloted in Nee Soon, to other old estates and (ii) incorporate such designs in HDB’s future BTO housing projects.

Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim: To ask the Minister for National Development in light of the barring of Sigma Elevator Pte Ltd from bidding for HDB elevator contracts since 2015 due to higher-than-normal breakdown rates, whether there are plans by HDB to consider implementing a selected lift replacement programme for Sigma/LG lifts in blocks where such lifts are installed.

Ms Yeo Wan Ling: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) to date, how many seed packets have been issued under the Gardening with Edibles Programme; (b) what are the types of seeds that have been distributed; and (c) what are the considerations when deciding on which seeds to use for distribution into public housing estates.

Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what are HDB’s rollout plans for permitting urban farms on the top floor of HDB’s multi-storey carparks across Singapore; and (b) whether estates, in particular Sengkang, may voluntarily avail themselves to this plan.

Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for National Development what is the annual completion number and annual net increase in the number of HDB public rental flats respectively for (i) 2011 to 2020 and (ii) the next five years on a projected basis.

Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the current number of rental flats under the HDB Public Rental Scheme, broken down by 1-room and 2-room flats; and (b) what is the current number of rental flats under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS), broken down by flat type.

Mr Shawn Huang Wei Zhong: To ask the Minister for National Development whether there will be a review of the current HDB flat allocation system for BTOs to ensure that the system continues to be inclusive, fair, transparent and equitable for all Singaporeans.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development since the introduction of the Lease Buyback Scheme, what amount has been refunded to lessees who returned their flats to HDB and received a refund of the value of the unused portion of the lease by (i) room type and (ii) balance of lease.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development since the introduction of HDB’s 2-room Flexi Flat Scheme, what are the amounts that have been refunded to lessees who returned their flats to HDB, broken down by lease balances, under the Lease Buyback Scheme or other schemes.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for National Development whether HDB can consider (i) painting HDB block numbers in large fonts and (ii) ensuring that HDB block numbers or block number light boxes are visible to both pedestrians and motorists.

Mr Don Wee: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what measures are in place to ensure the safety and integrity of temporary workers’ quarters; (b) whether there are adequate checks and supervision during the materials sourcing and construction process of the quarters; and (c) how many building or safety incidents relating to the quarters have occurred at such sites in the last three years.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development for each year in the past five years (a) how many single unwed parents have applied to purchase a HDB flat from HDB; and (b) how many of such purchase applications have been rejected.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) in each of the last five years, what is the number of people who have been charged for animal cruelty offences under the Animals and Birds Act; (b) of these, what is the number of people who have been (i) convicted and (ii) sentenced to imprisonment; and (c) what are the top three categories of animals in respect of which the persons have been charged.

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs (a) what is the Ministry’s latest assessment of the political situation in Myanmar; and (b) how best can ASEAN and Singapore contribute towards the well-being of the people of Myanmar.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs following the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on 24 April 2021 (a) what further actions will now be taken by ASEAN to ensure that the Myanmar military will work towards a peaceful and democratic resolution of the political crisis; and (b) what does Singapore hope for ASEAN to achieve and what is the expected time frame.

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether he can provide an update on the assistance that Singapore has provided to India due to its worsening COVID-19 infections.

Minister for Communications and Information

Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether the Government has any plans to ensure the sustainability of our local print news industry amidst the shift towards digital news and increased competition from international news brands.

Ms Jessica Tan Soon Neo: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) what has been the impact of changes in the overall media landscape on our local print news industry; and (b) what will the Government do to support our local print news industry.

Dr Shahira Abdullah: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) in view of the recently passed Electronic Transactions (Amendment) Bill, whether there will be a gradual move towards complete paperless processes and transactions with businesses and public sector agencies; (b) if so, whether there are plans to incorporate this initiative under the Singapore Green Plan; and (c) whether there are plans to help individuals and businesses who have been left behind in this step towards the digital transformation of businesses.

Ms Raeesah Khan: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) whether the number of marketeers who have faced industry-level sanctions for breaching the Guidelines on Interactive Marketing Communications and Social Media are tracked; (b) if so, how many have been in breach since the Guidelines are established in 2016; and (c) whether the Ministry intends to introduce legislation or policies to improve the transparency of advertisements on social media and better protect consumer interests.

Minister for Home Affairs

Mr Abdul Samad: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many requests for renewal of Singapore passports have been made during the COVID-19 pandemic period; (b) whether ICA has the number of passports that expire during this period or will be expiring soon; and (c) whether there will be a waiver or review of passport renewals in view of the non-travel period during this pandemic.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry will enhance the punishment for e-commerce and online scams considering the large number of cases and amount of money lost to such scammers.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether he can provide an update on the training given to frontline police officers to assist them in detecting possible situations of human trafficking.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what has been done to enhance the protection of victims of human trafficking such as to encourage them to come forward to report their plight to the police.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether more support can be given to employers to incentivise them to employ survivors of human trafficking.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) between 2015 and 2020, what is the number of investigations that have been conducted involving offences of trafficking in persons; (b) how many of these investigations have led to prosecutions; and (c) of these prosecutions, how many have been for labour trafficking and sex trafficking respectively

Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many complaints of cheating, fraud or other crime in connection with investments in cryptocurrencies have been lodged with the police in the past three years; and (b) what is the total amount of losses suffered by the victims of such crime in the same period.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether existing protocols or practices mandate that law enforcement agencies consult the Attorney-General’s Chambers for advice in every case before finalising decisions on whether to charge suspects in court or not and what charges to prefer.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what safeguards are in place regarding the issue of firearms to officers of the Singapore Police Force and the auxiliary police forces to minimise the risk of misuse by officers.

Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department is minded to harness geo-fencing or similar technology to ensure that the whereabouts of police officers and auxiliary police officers who have drawn arms for the purposes of their duties are tracked and reduce the risk of incidents involving use of arms for illegal or unauthorised purposes.

Ms Raeesah Khan: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry will consider (i) enhancing the criminal penalties for breach of a personal protection order under the Women’s Charter or the Protection From Harassment Act to deter such conduct (ii) setting up a specialised support centre for persons under protection orders to report their perpetrators for breach of their protection orders and (iii) conducting a review of the existing framework to protect persons from violence and harassment and to establish areas for improvement.

Minister for Health

Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for Health how is it that a shipment of the Sinovac vaccine arrived in Singapore before the vaccine has been approved for use by HSA.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the progress of the vaccine evaluation by HSA for Sinovac; and (b) whether the advance purchase agreement for Sinovac is still valid.

Mr Yip Hon Weng: To ask the Minister for Health in light of the new COVID-19 cluster announced on 14 April 2021 (a) whether a review will be done on the quarantine requirements and controlled itineraries for incoming business travellers; (b) whether there are special measures for workplaces to manage short-term visit pass holders to protect other employees; and (c) whether this incident will result in a review on allowing workers to return to offices, particularly those from overseas.

Mr Yip Hon Weng: To ask the Minister for Health as Singapore continues to see instances of foreign arrivals and visitors infected with COVID-19 (a) what is the Ministry’s position on arrivals from countries with high numbers of COVID-19 cases; and (b) how will the Ministry strengthen our upstream measures to prevent COVID-19 spread from imported cases.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Health from the COVID-19 cases emanating from overseas arrivals in the past six months (a) which are the three countries that accounted for the most number of cases; (b) what recourse can Singapore take with their respective Governments to address this; (c) at what point will Singapore suspend travellers from these countries; and (d) what other enhanced measures can the Ministry take to ensure imported cases of COVID-19 variants do not emerge in Singapore.

Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider a temporary travel ban from countries considered extremely high risk due to the emergence of highly virulent mutations of the COVID-19 virus.

Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Ministry is satisfied with the current rate of COVID-19 vaccination; (b) what more can be done to further encourage vaccination amongst those who have not registered; and (c) whether there are any concerns on the possible efficacy of the vaccines against the new variants of the COVID-19 virus.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Government will more proactively tighten travel and arrivals from countries with sharp emergence of COVID-19 infected cases and more infectious variants; and (b) whether there is a need to step up Stay-Home Notice measures and testing regimes for visitors from these locations.

Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Minister for Health (a) to date, how many Singapore citizens have completed the full COVID-19 vaccination; (b) how many suspected adverse reaction cases have been encountered when administering the vaccination regime compared with the performance of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in other countries; and (c) whether there are plans to revaccinate all Singapore residents after a stipulated period after the full vaccination regime has been completed.

Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Minister for Health (a) when did the Ministry detect the first cases for each of the seven reported COVID-19 variants; and (b) whether the eight local cases of COVID-19 variants are related to the imported cases.

Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how is the quota system for foreign arrivals by country determined; (b) what is the breakdown by profession of the imported COVID-19 cases; (c) why has there been no action taken throughout these months despite the thousands of imported cases that have come into Singapore; and (d) what is the possibility of Indian residents gaining entry via Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Health in the light of recent cases where migrant workers who have recovered from COVID-19 are subsequently found to have been re-infected, whether this has any implications for the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Health whether children under 16 years of age can be included in the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Ms Ng Ling Ling: To ask the Minister for Health in light of the recent infections of individuals who have been vaccinated, what are the key areas that the Ministry will be reviewing for its COVID-19 vaccination programme to ensure the vaccination remains effective for the population.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Health (a) to date, how many claims have been made under the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme; (b) what is the nature of the injuries claimed for; and (c) how many claims have been allowed to date.

Ms Jessica Tan Soon Neo: To ask the Minister for Health with the resurgence of COVID-19 infections and the appearance of the virus variants in various countries, whether our current measures are adequate to protect and keep Singapore and Singaporeans safe.

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how many people have been tested positive for COVID-19 despite having taken two doses of the vaccine or have had prior COVID-19 infection; (b) how many people in Singapore have taken one and two doses of the vaccine respectively as of April 2021; (c) whether the Government is planning for the third dose of the vaccine; and (d) what is the progress on approving the use of other COVID-19 vaccines in Singapore besides the current two approved vaccines.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Health whether there are current studies by the health authorities to ensure that the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines do not have the rare blood clot risk seen in other vaccines in use in other parts of the world.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what strategies has the Ministry put in place to address COVID-19 vaccination-related misinformation transmitted through online channels and closed-messaging platforms; and (b) whether the Ministry plans to put up information on adverse vaccination cases recorded in Singapore so as to address the inadvertent dissemination of misinformation.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Ministry will look into the process of empanelling specialist doctors to the approved list of insurance companies; (b) what is the Ministry’s stand on the violation of medical ethics in the scheme where insurance companies basically reward patients for choosing their panel of doctors; and (c) whether these insurers will be allowed to challenge the opinions of specialists after they had rendered treatment to their patients.

Ms Ng Ling Ling: To ask the Minister for Health with regard to the Multilateral Healthcare Insurance Committee (a) whether it will be made transparent to the public, the criteria for inclusion of specialists into an insurer’s panel for its Integrated Shield Plans; (b) whether there will be a more controlled rate of premium increase for such plans to safeguard the public’s ability to sustain such plans as they age; and (c) what is the expected timeline for the Committee to complete its review and recommendations.

Mr Yip Hon Weng: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether empanelling of specialist doctors for Integrated Shield Plans will result in anti-competition; and (b) whether the Ministry has considered the possible impact on patients having to switch doctors mid-treatment due to this practice of empanelling doctors.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Health (a) over the last five years how many Singaporeans relinquished an existing Integrated Shield Plan; and (b) what is their median age; and (c) of the above, how many did not later purchase a new Integrated Shield Plan and how many were subsequently admitted to public hospitals.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Health what measures are there to protect Integrated Shield Plan policyholders in the event of an Integrated Shield Plan insurer exiting the market.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry has studied the regulation of private health insurance in overseas jurisdictions and the possible learning points for Singapore, in particular the feasibility and implications of requiring Integrated Shield Plan (IP) insurers to accept policyholders intending or forced to switch from another IP provider, such that existing covered conditions are not permanently excluded from future coverage.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Ministry actively tracks and compares the itemised bills of Integrated Shield Plan (IP) patients who use public and private healthcare institutions respectively; (b) what strategies has the Ministry embarked on over the last 10 years to address the problem of overtreatment by some doctors; and (c) what role does the Ministry envisage patients playing to address the problem of overtreatment.

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the Minister for Health what proportion of Singapore residents are current policyholders of an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) for (i) standard IP for public hospital Class B1 coverage (ii) Class B1 coverage (iii) Class A coverage and (iv) private hospital coverage.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Health with regard to the recent incident on a catheter insertion surgery in SGH that was done on a different side from that previously agreed with the patient (a) what is the standard procedure for a patient to get access to the original attending surgeon; (b) why was the patient’s request not followed up on and with no pre-surgery or postsurgery explanation given to her; and (c) why was there a lapse in communication for such a critical procedure.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the Ministry’s plan to increase hiring of our healthcare professionals, in light of MOM’s annual job vacancy report which found that nursing jobs are the hardest PMET positions to fill in 2020; and (b) whether it will be possible to further accelerate the Professional Conversion Programme for Registered Nurses at the diploma and degree levels to one year instead of the current two years.

Dr Tan Yia Swam: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Ministry has assessed if Third Party Administrator (TPA) companies should be directly regulated rather than indirectly through doctors’ disclosure; (b) whether the transparency of TPA fee arrangements will be enhanced beyond the Singapore Medical Council Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines; and (c) whether the financial relationship between TPA companies and insurers will be regulated.

Ms Yeo Wan Ling: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what are the conditions for the distribution of masks and hand sanitisers at the vaccination centres; and (b) whether there will be standardisation of what is to be given to persons who go for vaccinations at the centres.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry conducts checks on face masks being sold in Singapore to assess their effectiveness in protecting against the COVID-19 virus.

Dr Wan Rizal: To ask the Minister for Health whether there are plans to include mental health support for new and expectant mothers as part of their periodic pregnancy health check-ups.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the COVID-19 vaccination status of a foreigner who had been previously vaccinated in their home country with a vaccine that is not approved by HSA will be recognised by Singapore; (b) whether such a foreigner will be required to take another COVID-19 vaccination if he/she is in Singapore for the long-term; and (c) whether the foreigner will be eligible for re-vaccination in Singapore on their own accord.

Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider relaxing the requirement for returning Singaporeans and permanent residents to serve their quarantine in dedicated facilities if they have been vaccinated and tested negative for COVID-19 upon their arrival and for such Singaporeans and permanent residents to serve their quarantine at home instead.

Mr Don Wee: To ask the Minister for Health in view of the surging number of COVID-19 infections in certain countries and the emergence of more contagious and lethal variants, whether the Ministry will consider (i) a temporary suspension of flights from high risk areas to Singapore and (ii) increasing the duration of quarantine for all arrivals.

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the Minister for Health whether patients who experience mild allergic reactions but no anaphylaxis following the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine will be permanently debarred from taking their second dose.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Government is assessing the use of other vaccines other than Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna; and (b) whether there are any local vaccines under consideration for approval and use.

Dr Shahira Abdullah: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Working Group on Health for Ethnic Minorities will collect data to examine the association between poorer health and other social determinants of health to accurately identify the root causes of poor health in such communities.

Mr Yip Hon Weng: To ask the Minister for Health (a) over the past three years, what has been trend for hiring of professional caregiving help for the elderly; and (b) whether the Ministry plans to do a review of subsidies and eligibility for the Home Caregiving Grant.

Mr Yip Hon Weng: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the amount of medical waste from our hospitals and clinics in the past year compared with five years ago; (b) what has been done to manage these waste for disposal; and (c) how are hospitals, clinics and other organisations in the healthcare sector working on reducing the amount of waste.

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the Minister for Health how many beds are there currently for each of the classes A, B1, B2 and C wards in all public hospitals.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for Health whether there are plans to recognise art therapists as allied health professionals under the Allied Health Professions Act.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance

Mr Shawn Huang Wei Zhong: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance whether the Working Mother Child Relief (WMCR) in respect of income tax payable can be extended to unmarried working mothers.

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance (a) what measures are in place to ensure that different support schemes for the COVID-19 pandemic are properly disbursed; (b) how are the lessons learnt from overpayments under the Jobs Support Scheme being applied to other areas to ensure similar issues do not arise; and (c) whether more audits can be conducted in the post-pandemic period for sanity checks on emergency funds used in Budgets 2020 and 2021.

Ms He Ting Ru: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance (a) what processes are in place to ensure that any large scale disbursement of funds to companies or citizens under the various Government schemes are done so accurately; (b) which individuals are accountable for and provide oversight over the accurate disbursement of funds whether at the relevant Ministry or within the Ministry of Finance; and (c) why those processes failed to proactively catch the error in the recent Jobs Support Scheme, levy waiver and rebate over-payments.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance what is the impact of the US proposal for a global minimum corporate tax rate on Singapore’s tax regime, status as a hub for regional corporate headquarters and the economy.

Ms Hazel Poa: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance whether a supplier’s track record in terms of safety standards and compliance with manpower policies are taken into consideration in awarding Government contracts and whether suppliers with serious lapses will be banned.

Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance whether the Ministry intends to conduct audits to ensure that Jobs Support Scheme payouts have not been made to “phantom” workers.

Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance in the last five years, what is the estimated amount of each type of tax paid by holders of Employment Passes, S Passes, Work Permits, Dependant Passes, Long-Term Visit Passes and other foreigners working or living in Singapore.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance (a) to what extent does the Government engage small and medium-sized law firms for legal matters such as litigation, negotiation and contract reviews; and (b) what are the processes in place to ensure fair consideration for small and medium-sized law firms.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance in the last two years, whether the Commissioner of Stamp Duties has exercised flexibility to remit, wholly or partially, the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) payable by individuals who acquire a partial interest in a residential property due to changes in family circumstances such as the death of a co-owner.

Minister for Education

Ms Hany Soh: To ask the Minister for Education (a) what are the factors that the Ministry will take into consideration when deciding which schools are to be merged; (b) whether the Ministry factors in the protracted increase in school admission rates in a few years’ time due to increase in the number of new BTO flats within the proximity of primary schools; and (c) what happens to the school sites, in particular Fuchun Secondary School, that will be left disused after the mergers.

Mr Chong Kee Hiong: To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether the merger of Guangyang and Townsville Primary Schools can be deferred in view of the 2,000 HDB BTO flats to be completed in Bishan, leading to more demand for primary school places; (b) whether the merged school can be located at the Guangyang site as the school was rebuilt in 2012 and Guangyang Secondary School is at the adjacent plot thus providing for shared activities and facilities; (c) what factors determine the new name of the merged school; and (d) whether the 100 over-year-old history of Guangyang will be considered.

Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim: To ask the Minister for Education instead of merging the nine pairs of schools, whether the Ministry will consider allowing half of these schools to operate with reduced class sizes as a pilot to evaluate the efficacy of smaller class sizes on student performance.

Ms Poh Li San: To ask the Minister for Education what are the new courses, diploma and degree programmes in the institutes for higher learning that will support the green economy.

Prof Koh Lian Pin: To ask the Minister for Education whether there are coordinated steps being taken at the national level across institutes of higher learning to (i) assemble a Singaporean core of current leaders in science and education to support and advise the Government in implementing the Green Plan 2030 and (ii) continue to strengthen this core to future-proof Singapore against climate change, sustainability and other emerging challenges and opportunities.

Mr Sharael Taha: To ask the Minister for Education (a) how many cases of vaping in schools have been reported yearly since the ban on electronic vaporisers in 2018; (b) what more can be done in schools to educate our youths on the dangers of using electronic vaporisers; and (c) what actions have been taken on those who supply electronic vaporisers or e-cigarettes to the students in secondary schools and junior colleges.

Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Minister for Education whether the Ministry can work with the tertiary institutions and banks to create more flexibility in allowing Singaporean tertiary graduates who are having difficulty in finding good jobs upon their graduation to get interest-free deferments of their student loan repayments for up to 24 months.

Mr Shawn Huang Wei Zhong: To ask the Minister for Education given the continuing need to build Singapore’s capabilities to engage the region as well as strengthen Singapore’s multi-cultural and multi-racial society, how have the Special Assistance Plan (SAP) Schools evolved over the years to remain relevant today and what are the future plans for SAP schools to be relevant in the future.

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Education with increasing diversity, evolving needs and expectations of Singaporeans, and a post-pandemic environment, what are the new challenges which Special Assistance Plan (SAP) schools face and whether they will be able to achieve their intended outcomes.

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Education whether he can provide an update on the progress of the adoption of the skills frameworks that have been developed as part of the 23 Industry Transformation Maps.

Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for Education what is presently being done in schools to educate youths about hate-based violence and how to avoid the pitfalls of radicalisation.

Mr Mark Chay: To ask the Minister for Education how will students whose sports are not offered at the National School Games be awarded CCA points and national colours.

Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim: To ask the Minister for Education whether there are mandated rest facilities or break areas for non-teaching staff at schools and which are not within the discretion of the school administration.

Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Minister for Education what is the proportion of international researchers in our local universities who are (i) masters research students (ii) PhD research students (iii) post-doctoral research fellows and (iv) assistant professor and above, respectively.

Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin: To ask the Minister for Education in light of the encouragement for employers to continue supporting their employees to work from home or adopt flexible working hours (a) whether there are efforts by all sch