During the parliamentary debate over President Halimah Yacob’s address at the opening of the second session of parliament, Mr Dennis Tan, Workers’ Party Member of Parliament for Hougang SMC, delivered a speech addressing various issues related to transportation and the environment.
One issue he highlighted was the soaring Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums for cars, which have reached record highs. He called for a review of how to ensure that businesses, including ride-hailing and car leasing companies, do not push up COE premiums at the expense of private buyers who need cars for various reasons, such as taking care of their families or using their vehicles for work purposes.
He also urged the government to ensure that COEs for commercial vehicles are not subject to similar pressures, as the rising prices have contributed to rising business costs and increased the cost of living.
Mr Tan also welcomed and supported the Minister for Transport (MOT)’s statement on encouraging the adoption of cleaner energy vehicles through regulation, incentives, and infrastructure.
He called for a review of financial incentives to encourage the adoption of electric cars and for the government to provide more assistance to parallel importers to encourage them to focus on getting higher volumes of Electrical Vehicle (EV) sales as opposed to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles.
He also expressed concern over the electrification of logistics vehicles and urged the MOT to have a dedicated road map on the conversion of the logistics and goods vehicle fleet operating in Singapore in the next few years.
Mr Tan also raised concerns about the large number of goods vehicles that come in from Malaysia on a daily basis, which are primarily ICE vehicles.
He urged the government to have a plan in place to handle this group of foreign vehicles and to not let their emissions delay Singapore’s zero emissions goals indefinitely.
In his speech, Mr Tan congratulated the Minister for Transport and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on the launch of the first electric ferry, the Penguin Refresh, on Monday, which will carry Shell’s workers, contractors, and visitors between Shell’s Pulau Bukom premises and Pasir Panjang Ferry Terminal.
He commended MPA’s plan to work with Shell to allow other electric harbour craft to access their electric chargers in due course. This is a significant step towards the decarbonisation of the harbour craft fleet in the port of Singapore.
Under MPA’s Maritime Decarbonisation Blueprint: working towards 2050, all harbour craft will operate on low-carbon energy solutions such as blended biofuels or hybrid diesel-electric propulsion by 2030, and by 2050, they will operate on full electric propulsion or net-zero fuels, to achieve a 15% reduction off 2021 levels by 2030 and a 50% reduction off 2021 levels by 2050.
Mr Tan supported these plans and hoped that Singapore could achieve the targets ahead of time.
Mr Tan reminisced about using harbour launches to board vessels in nearby anchorages during his professional work over the years and hoped that the familiar smell of engine fuel from the old harbour launches would be a thing of the past.
He acknowledged that the ferry operation was far from being the mainstay of Shell’s business but stated that it was noteworthy that Shell estimated that it could save more than 6000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
Mr Tan also expressed his concern over the transformation of Singapore’s petrochemical sector and hoped that the government would continue to update the house on the green transition process in the sector.
He called for updates on Singapore’s efforts to attract more businesses in areas like biofuel refining or sustainable aviation fuel production or storage for such fuels, as well as updates on carbon capture and sequestration at petrochemical plants.
“I hope the Government will continue to update the house on the just transition in manpower for our workers working in Shell and other companies in the petrochemical sector – what we are doing to retain and retrain workers in this sector as the sector transforms within Singapore.”