Parliament Highlights – 6 January 2020

07 Jan 2020 3 min read


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Parliament: $1 billion needed to triple cycling path network

The Government will be spending more than $1 billion to speed up and complete plans to triple the cycling path network in Singapore to about 1,300km.

Responding to questions relating to the use of personal mobility devices in Parliament on Jan 6, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said that his ministry is now in talks with the Finance Ministry to get the extra funding.

The Government announced last August that it aimed to triple the cycling path network from the current 440km to 1,300km by 2030. Last month, Dr Lam said the Government aimed to hasten plans by “a couple of years”.

Dr Lam said, “We are discussing with Housing Board, NParks and the local town councils on a practical timeline.”

More details on the funding will be announced during the debate on the new budget for the Transport Ministry.

The new plans come amid a recent ban on the use of e-scooters on footpaths to improve pedestrians’ safety.

Since the ban on e-scooters on 5 November 2019, accidents involving e-scooters have dropped by about 30 per cent, said Dr Lam, adding that further reduction can be expected as enforcement is stepped up.

The authorities have issued more than 300 summonses against reckless riders, and about 6,000 advisories to remind riders of the new regulations as of Dec 31.

From this year, those caught riding on footpaths can be fined up to $2,000, jailed a maximum of three months or both.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) had also said that as of Dec 31, there were more than 75,000 registered e-scooters in Singapore, a 25 per cent drop from the month before.

Government sides Singaporeans for fairness in higher-paying job opportunities

Source: Facebook

In Parliament on Jan 6, Trade and Industry Minister, Chan Chun Sing highlighted that one of the reasons qualified foreigners are hired is to benefit Singaporeans.  His reply was in response to concerns raised on foreign workers taking away better-paying jobs from locals.

Mr Chan said, “The Government is on the side of Singaporeans. We will grow our economy and attract investments to create more good jobs for Singaporeans.”

He then continued to share insights on how it is not wise for the Government to reject investments like Grab, Google and Facebook merely because they bring in foreigners. Investments as such also open doors for locals with higher-paying jobs, which Singaporeans have made clear that they would like for a fair chance to such opportunities.

“That is why the Manpower Ministry is continually updating the Fair Consideration Framework to ensure a fair, level playing field for Singaporeans.”

Between 2015 and 2018, local employment has increased by nearly 60,000 and the average monthly earnings for employed locals rose 3.2% yearly, up 2.4% every year in the previous three years. Mr Chan also pointed out that the percentage growth is higher than most advanced economies like Japan, Germany and the United States.

The total employment in 23 key industries in Singapore with blueprints also sees as increase of 19,500 between 2015 and 2018, shared Minister of State for Manpower, Zaqy Mohamad in Parliament. This is due to an increase in employment of Singaporeans by 39,300 and of permanent residents by 8,600. He also highlighted a decrease in employment of foreigners by 28,500.

Pofma is not intended to target individual or entity

Source: Channel Newsasia

Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S. Iswaran, emphasised that the use of Singapore’s fake news law is to identify falsehood rather than an application based on the individual or entity responsible for it.

He said, “If it so happens that some of the people involved are politically affiliated, that’s just the consequence of their actions.”

Mr Iswaran’s reply was in response to questions raised by Nominated MPs Anthea Ong and Walter Theseira on the use of Pofma, which has seen it being used four times since it came into effect in Oct last year. Three of which were posts by political individuals from the opposition party and the fourth by an independent news media.

“These directions require that the facts be placed alongside the original posts, so that Singaporeans can read both versions and draw their own conclusions,” Mr Iswaran added.

Serious consequences may impact the democracy of Singapore should falsehood not be dealt with accordingly, with a possibility of an undermine public trust in the Government.