As we start the New Year, the People’s Action Party (PAP) Government will be working with Singaporeans to implement various initiatives to improve the lives of Singaporeans and build an even better Singapore for all. Here are the initiatives in five key areas that you can look forward to in 2020.
Getting a new flat soon? The Housing and Development Board (HDB) will launch around 16,000 to 17,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats this year, up from 14,600 flats in 2019. With the increased supply, more families like yours will get to own a new home.
If you are staying in a flat about 30 years old, your home will be upgraded soon. The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is extended to 230,000 flats built between 1987 and 1997. Upgrading works will start for 55,000 flats while the remaining 175,000 will be completed over the next 10 years.
A flat that is senior-friendly in design with care services that cater to seniors’ needs. Such retirement housing model will be a reality soon. The Government will be launching its first assisted living pilot site for public housing at Bukit Batok.
Better connectivity for commuters. The first stage of the new Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) will commence service on 31 January 2020.
The TEL, the sixth rail line to be completed in stages by 2024, will span 43km with 32 stations
stretching from Woodlands North to Sungei Bedok when fully completed. The second stage of the new TEL, consisting of six stations between Springleaf and Caldecott, is also scheduled to open this year.
Pedestrians can now have a peace of mind on footpaths. From 1 January 2020, electric-scooters (e-scooter) or personal mobility devices (PMD) are banned on footpaths. Offenders, if convicted, can be fined up to $2,000 and/or be jailed for up to three months.
For those intending to use their e-scooters, the Government plans to expedite its plans to triple Singapore’s cycling path network – from 440km to about 1,300km by 2030 – by a few years earlier than targeted.
Parents can look forward to paying less for pre-school from January 2020. 30,000 more families will benefit from the higher monthly household income ceiling for additional pre-school subsidies, which will go up to $12,000, and the increase in quantum of the subsidies.
A total of 21,000 undergraduates and 33,000 polytechnic students are expected to benefit from higher bursaries for university and diploma students.
Streaming in secondary schools will be scrapped from 2024. Starting this year, 28 secondary schools will pilot the full subject-based banding programme where students will be taught in subject-based bands at the levels of their aptitude.
Primary 5 pupils will be graded with the new Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) scoring system, a year ahead of when they sit for the examination, to familiarise themselves with it. The new system will be scored with wider bands to reduce over-emphasis on academic results and help students focus on their own learning.
More assistance is given to low-wage workers. With the enhanced Workfare Income Supplement (WIS), approximately 440,000 Singaporeans will get a higher payout by up to $400 a year.
The Government also continues to support seniors in employment by improve their employability. It provides wage offsets to companies hiring Singaporean workers aged 55 and above, earning up to $4,000.
#5: Law and enforcement
With the amendments to the Protection from Harassment Act, it is now an offence to publish personal identifiable information when it is done with the intention to harass the victim, or cause violence. This will ensure that you have more protection from online harassment.
With the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) in effect, it is likely to curb the spread of online falsehoods. If you are a subject of fake news and face harassment as a result, it is easier for you to seek recourse and the appropriate remedies under the Act.