Parliament Highlights – 6 August 2018
PUBLISHED ON 07 Aug 2018
Lapses in casualty management

The Committee of Inquiry (COI) investigating the death of Corporal First Class (CFC) Dave Lee in April found that inadequate on-site casualty management and delayed evacuation were the likely reasons for his demise.

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen said that the COI found CFC Lee's death was due to heat stroke which then led to multiple organ injury.
"While the COI was unable to ascertain the direct causes which led to CFC Lee to suffer from heatstroke, it noted that possible contributing causes were accumulated fatigue, insufficient rest, CFC Lee's less than optimal state of health and his potential use of medication," he added.

The COI also found breaches of training safety and discipline regulations during a physical exercise CFC Lee took part in. CFC Lee also had no significant medical history prior to the incident.

Dr Ng added, "MINDEF will await the outcome of the Police investigations and Coroner’s Inquiry, as well as the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ decision whether to prosecute any person in the criminal courts."

Dr Ng stated that those responsible for lapses leading to the death of CFC Lee will be prosecuted in a military court if no criminal charges are filed.

Preventing workplace accidents and fatalities

There have been 20 workplace fatalities in the first half of 2018, said Minister of State for Manpower Mr Zaqy Mohamad in Parliament.

Giving the update, Mr Zaqy said this is slightly higher compared to the 19 cases in the same period last year. He added that most of the cases came from the construction industry but he noted that recent fatal accidents also occurred in the manufacturing and commercial diving sectors.

Mr Zaqy explained that the common cause of the fatalities was due to improper work methods, and the Manpower Ministry is working with companies to raise awareness of accident risks in their workplaces.

Improve hiring practices

Minister for Manpower Mrs Josephine Teo has said that some 350 companies are on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watchlist for discriminatory hiring practices.

Revealing the details, Mrs Teo said the companies tend to be from the administrative and support services, construction, education, info-comm and professional services sectors. Occupations involved range from architects and engineers, business professionals, IT professionals and managers with many being paid between S$3,000 and S$10,000.

Under the framework, all companies are required to consider Singaporeans fairly for job opportunities. Companies on the watchlist will have their Employment Pass applications scrutinised and will also experience longer processing times.

Meanwhile, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) will continue to companies to offer assistance to improve their hiring practices.

Bigger market for Singapore companies with the CPTPP trade agreement

Singapore's economy can be expected to expand by 0.2 per cent by 2035 due to the Comprehensive and Progressive agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), said Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing.

The CPTPP is expected to begin by the first quarter of 2019, after all the countries involved have ratified the agreement. "Beyond specific business opportunities, the value of the CPTPP is in establishing a common set of enforceable rules that govern trade and investment in the 21st century," said Mr Chan.

Mr Chan emphasised that Singapore companies will have better access to opportunities in CPTPP member markets, and he also laid out four benefits to be derived from the agreement. They are:
  • Goods producers will be able to tap the preferential tariffs when exporting to a CPTPP nation
  • Service providers can have preferential access to a wide range of sectors
  • Removal of foreign equity restrictions in CPTPP markets will benefit Singaporean investors
  • Singaporean enterprises will be able to bid for government tenders in certain member countries, which were previously closed to foreign bidders