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     Business - News

     News Snippets


     - The Neptune restaurant closes after 34 years in business

     - Web surfing in Singapore largely back to normal

     - Damaged undersea cables cause slow Internet access in Singapore

     - Singapore launches world's first commercial 100Mbps residential broadband service

     - M1 offers free wireless broadband service at Parco Bugis Junction

     - AMK Hub set to open in Ang Mo Kio in early 2007


Conditions of Employment 2006

"The 5-day workweek is the norm, with higher share of employees now on this arrangement than two years ago. Close to two in five (40%) full-time employees in the private sector worked 5 days a week in 2006, up from 34% two years ago.
"Lagging significantly behind, were the 5½-day (15%), 6-day workweek (16%), and shift work (17%) each accounting for less than one in five employees in 2006..."



Labour Market 3rd Quarter 2006 Report

"Cumulatively in the first nine months this year, the economy added 124,500 workers, surpassing the gains of 113,300 for the whole of 2005. This employment creation is the highest ever recorded1..."


     - Withdrawal of 1998 off-budget concession on stamp duty deferment


Revision of hospital subsidy for foreigners

"From October 2007, PRs will continue to be subsidised for hospital services, but at 5 percentage-points less than Singapore citizens.
"From October 2008, another 5 percentage-point reduction will be applied. This way, Singapore citizens will enjoy greater subsidy than PRs, by a total of 10 percentage- points.
"As for the other foreigners, there will be no more healthcare subsidy from October 2007. ..."


     - Genting International and Star Cruises wins Sentosa IR bid

     - Tanglin Village attracts businesses with its rustic charm


Key developments in the Singapore media industry

Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts

"The terrestrial and cable trials have kicked off, making Singapore the first in Southeast Asia to launch HDTV public trials.

"In tandem with the launch, MDA is leading a drive to promote the development of local HD content and speed up nationwide adoption and deployment of HD technology..."


     - Police arrest 12 people in island-wide anti-piracy raids

     - Three years of free Wi-Fi for Singapore from 1 Dec 2006

     - M1 launches Singapore¨s first true island-wide wireless broadband service

     - Map-based information service on land ownership available online


Expansion of the hedge fund industry in Singapore

Mr Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore

"In Singapore, we have seen a steady increase in the number of hedge fund managers - from a handful 5 years ago to over a 100 now.

"It is not only small boutique firms but many large well-known hedge funds have also set up operations in Singapore, drawn by a pro-innovation and competitive business environment, high regulatory standards and trusted legal regime, and the available talent pool..."


     - New lighting plan for the City Centre


     - Accreditation scheme for local dating industry in mid-2007

     - More Medisave-Approved claims settled faster by insurers


Banking (Amendment) Bill - First Reading in Parliament

"The Bill introduces a requirement for foreign full and wholesale bank branches to maintain a minimum level of eligible assets in Singapore in proportion to their liabilities...

"Such a requirement would help to improve the recovery of assets from a failed foreign bank branch in Singapore to meet the claims of Singapore depositors..."


     - Inaugural Singapore Education Awards 2007

     - Singapore ranks 5th in 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index


Challenges for the Asia Bond Market

Mr Heng Swee Keat Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore

"Most Asian markets are still dominated by local investors, comprising mostly banks, insurance companies and pension funds. Anecdotal evidence suggests that on average, non-resident investors hold less than 5% of Asian bonds...

"After the financial crisis, most Asian economies lifted restrictions on foreign participation in their bond markets...

"But I believe we need to go much further - beyond removing barriers to foreign participation, we should be actively facilitating foreign participation, and integrating our markets into the global system..."



Survey shows Singaporeans upbeat about the near future

^Back home, Singaporeans registered an increased level of optimism in this latest survey compared to the previous period and a year ago. The Singapore Consumer Confidence Index climbed 7 points to reach a high of 110!surpassing the regional average of 94, ̄ observed Mr Ashok Charan, Managing Director of ACNielsen Research Singapore..."


     - Stricter smoke test for diesel vehicles from 1 January 2007

     - Singapore to set up world's first integrated neuroscience centre

     - Employment situation in 3rd Quarter 2006


     - 3rd Quarter 2006 real estate statistics

     - 34 people to be charged in court for assisting loansharks

     - SCV fined for showing footage of lesbian sex on Zone Reality Channel

     - 15 sleight-of-hand cases reported since January 2006

     - Record 15,000 household products registered with SAFETY mark



     - New 20-year SGS bond to further develop Singapore's debt market

     - Flat buyers taking an HDB loan need HDB loan eligibility letter


Two Years of Free Wi-Fi for Singapore

"Come 2007, Singaporeans will be ushering the new year with at least 24 months, or two years, of free (basic tier) wireless connectivity at up to 512 kbps speeds almost everywhere - thanks to IDA's 'Wireless@SG' programme...

"The three operators are extending this two-year free offering with unlimited usage to all residents and visitors in Singapore, including tourists and business travellers. The sign-up details will be made known from December 2006 by the operators..."


     - NETS launches debit card payment service for the taxi market


IBM to build smartcard e-payment infrastructure for MRT network

"The high-performance and high-speed backend infrastructure is expected to double the present capacity and will be capable of handling about 10 million financial transactions per day...

"The e-Symphony incorporates the Contactless E-Purse Application Standard (CEPAS) and will therefore allow multiple suppliers to issue the contactless smart cards, which are currently issued only by EZ-link. This could bring about competition among the suppliers and in turn reduce the cost of smart cards to benefit users..."


     - Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) unveiled



Option for foreign maids to have salary paid into their bank account

"To ensure prompt salary payment, FDWs can ask for their salaries to be paid into their bank accounts in Singapore.

"Effective 1 November 2006, MOM will introduce this as a new work permit condition for employers to comply..."


     - Singapore withdraws circulation approval for Far Eastern Economic Review

     - Survey shows manpower issues a growing concern for SMEs



How Singapore can contribute to Asia's infrastructure financing activities

Lee Chuan Teck, Executive Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore

"On the other hand, Asian property developers who need to raise funds efficiently issue a REIT in Singapore because there is a ready pool of investors there. In this way, Singapore became the conduit for funneling global investments to Asian property developments.

"The same can be done for infrastructure. Singapore is a leading project finance hub in Asia. Leading banks such as Standard Chartered, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Sumitomo Mitsui, Mizuho and BNP Paribas having sizeable on-shore project finance teams to access regional opportunities..."



Chua Sock Koong to succeed Lee Hsien Yang as SingTel Group CEO

"Having examined a number of outstanding internal and external candidates for the role, the Board is pleased to announce that Ms Chua Sock Koong has been selected as Group CEO.

"This appointment is expected to take effect on 1 April 2007..."



UK Securities & Investment Institute opens Singapore office

"The SII anticipates offering its front and back office qualifications in Singapore, otherwise known as the Certificate and IAQ suite. It has appointed Mona Poomy as its VP based in Singapore.

"SII examinations are approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and there are a large number of international banks with offices in Singapore who are keen that their workforce are trained to the same standard of competence as those in the UK..."


     - Incentives to encourage development of infrastructure finance

     - Singapore Labour Market Report for 2nd Quarter 2006

     - Changi Airport's Terminal 2 completes S$240m makeover


New Cyber-WatchCentre (CWC) ready by March 2007

"The CWC will monitor cyber-threats to government networks round-the-clock and provide early warning of impending cyber-threats..."



     - Singapore tightens security ahead of IMF/World Bank meetings


Proposed Spaceport Singapore to offer commercial suborbital spaceflights

"The focal point of the proposed Spaceport Singapore will be suborbital spaceflights. As each suborbital vehicle reaches its maximum altitude of 100 kilometers, passengers will experience up to five minutes of continuous weightlessness, all the while gazing at the blackness of space set against the horizon of Earth..."


     -  Government continues to invest in technology-enabled work environment


New personalised employment pass not tied to any employer

The Ministry of Manpower will introduce a Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) from 1 January 2007 to help us better attract and retain global talent...

The PEP allows the holder to remain in Singapore for up to six months in between jobs to evaluate new employment opportunities. This helps us to retain selected global talent who would otherwise have to leave Singapore...

The PEP will be issued only once with a validity of 5 years. It will be nonrenewable. A PEP holder will retain the dependant privileges of his original EP type and the minimum annual basic salary requirement of S$30,000 will continue to apply throughout the 5-year duration...



     - Traffic at Singapore Changi Airport in 1st half 2006

     - Police arrest Malaysian for smuggling counterfeit S$1 coins



Proposed Changes to Unsecured Credit Rules

"To lower the minimum income threshold for unsecured credit facilities to $20,000 from $30,000.  The minimum income requirement for credit cards remains at $30,000.

"To set the maximum aggregate credit limit of all unsecured personal credit facilities and credit cards granted by a financial institution at four times monthly income for individuals with at least $30,000 in annual income. For individuals with annual income of at least $20,000 and below $30,000, the maximum aggregate credit limit will be twice their monthly income..."


     - Proposed changes to the Banking Act


True telephone number portability by 4Q 2007

"From the fourth quarter of 2007, consumers can switch between telecoms service providers easily and yet have full use of their existing number, rather than having to update family members, friends and business contacts about a new one...

"Currently, mobile subscribers can switch telecoms service providers and keep their numbers. But he gets in essence a call-forwarding service as a call to his old number is routed to his new one. His contacts will see only this new number when he makes out-going calls and sends messages (SMS)..."


     - No outdoor demonstrations and processions during IMF/WB meetings

     - Number of recognised foreign medical schools increased to 120


Exit permit rules relaxed for National Servicemen from 1 Aug 2006

"Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) will henceforth be exempted from applying for exit permits for short overseas trips of less than 3 months...

"NSmen who have completed their Operationally-Ready National Service Training Cycle and have been phased into the MINDEF Reserve (MR) will no longer be required to notify the MNC of their overseas trips of more than 24 hours and less than 6 months..."


     - SingTel starts ultra-fast 80 Mbps broadband trials at two condominiums

     - North East Line resumes normal operation after partial stoppage on 24 Jul 2006


New Singapore biometric passports from 15 Aug 2006

"To facilitate a smooth transition to the BioPass system, ICA will have to close some of its passport application services counters from 9 Aug 2006...

"This will allow ICA to install and test the BioPass systems before its actual launch. As such, only limited passport application avenues will be available from 10 to 14 August 2006..."



Foreign domestic maids get one-day off in new standard contract

"This contract is designed to help smoothen employer/employee relationships from the onset, by minimising any ambiguities on the employment terms.

"For example, the contract will include the stipulation of the minimum of one day-off entitlement for the Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs). However, if the day-off is not taken, the employer will have to compensate the FDW in cash..."



Singapore's GDP growth for 2006 likely to be 5% to 7%

Mr Heng Swee Keat, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore

"The Singapore economy grew by a robust 6.4% last year...

"Barring any unexpected shocks in the external environment including an escalation in geopolitical risks in the second half of this year, GDP growth for the year as a whole is likely to be in the range of 5 to 7%..."



Singapore salaries increasing, candidates receiving multiple job offers

"Continued hiring increases means good news for Singapore's workforce, while increased optimism continues to fuel increasing economic growth...

This optimism is reflected in planned salary increases and 7% of employers expecting to pay 15% or more, the highest figure for any market surveyed in Asia...."



MAS Launches Finance Scholarship Programme

MAS will set aside a budget of S$30 million from the FSDF over the next 5 years. It expects to award some 150 FSP scholarships over the next 5 years.


     - Foreign Worker Levy and S-Pass quota to go up


     - PMI for electronics shows contraction for June 2006

     - SMRT taxi fares to go up from 17 July 2006

     - Singapore and MIT to start SMART research center here in 2007


Singapore sees growth in debt capital market

Mr Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore

"...First, real estate investment trusts or REITs. These have seen explosive growth, particularly in Singapore and Hong Kong over the last 3 years...

"In Singapore, the market capitalization weighted-average returns since IPO have been exceptional at over 30%. The market has also moved beyond traditional REITs to other products like shipping trusts and hotels...
"Singapore is also a fertile ground for CMBS development due to its stable economic environment (sovereign credit rating AAA/Stable/A-1+) and robust legal and land title system which have enabled structured finance issuers to raise highly rated debt...."


     - Police arrest 77 foreigners illegally working as masseuses

     - Comfort, CityCab and Yellow-top taxi fares to go up

     - Report on Wages in Singapore 2005


Smoking ban in eating places starts today (1 Jul 2006)

Food outlets such as hawker centres, coffeeshops, cafes and fast food restaurants will be smoke-free from 1st July. To protect patrons from second-hand smoke, smokers are reminded to light up only at designated smoking corners.

Under this new regulation, smoking is banned within the indoor refreshment areas (IRA) of all foodshops (Eg. Coffeeshops, Cafes, Restaurants). They can designate up to 20% of the floor area in their outdoor refreshment areas (ORA) as a smoking corner upon NEA¨s approval....



Singapore as A Leading Wealth Management Hub

Mr Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director, MAS

"Rising wealth in Asia, and the focus on Asian growth prospects have seen total assets under management in Singapore's fund management industry grow from about S$280 billion in 2000 to much more than S$600 billion now.

"Growth in private banking assets under management has also been strong, with anecdotal feedback suggesting Singapore private banking AUM averaging 20% per annum over the past few years to about US$200 billion currently...
"Our reputation for high standards of regulation and supervision and a robust legal and judicial framework, is trusted by financial intermediaries and clients alike to conduct wealth management activities..."



Changes To Conditions For Massage Establishments

Under the new requirements, establishments administering foot-reflexology, physiotherapy, traditional massage or curative massage must ensure that the massage services are conducted in full view of the public and satisfy the following new requirements before they are exempted from the provisions of the Act...

To safeguard public health and safety, masseuses, therapists and reflexologists who are working or will be working in licensed massage establishments may be required to undergo and pass a medical health screening before they can be allowed to work for any licensed establishment for massage...


     - MAS sets up payment systems for liberalised stored-value card market


Government launches 10-year infocomm masterplan


Create 80,000 additional jobs

Have 90 per cent homes using broadband

Achieve 100 per cent computer ownership for all homes with school-going children...


     -MAS conducts first mystery shopping survey on financial advisory practices


Employment grew strongly by 45,000 in first quarter 2006

All the major sectors registered increases in employment. The bulk of the employment gains continued to come from the services sector (28,000)...

Some 10,100 residents or 18% of the unemployed residents have been looking for work for at least 25 weeks in Mar 06, about half the 20,200 or 30% a year ago...



     - Chief Justice expresses shock about lawyer's alleged misappropriation of clients' moneys

     - Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices formed

     - High Definition Television trials start in June 2006


Landmark design of Changi Airport's Terminal 3 unveiled

Terminal 3 will also employ state-of-the-art technologies to create a seamless environment for passengers transferring between the three terminals at Changi Airport.
These include a new People Mover System with a total of seven train stations located at various points within the three terminals, and a high-speed baggage system to facilitate quick transfers of bags between terminals...


     - Use of MyKad & cancellation of Malaysian restricted passports

     - Las Vegas Sands awarded Integrated Resort Project at Marina Bay

     - Singapore's insurance and re-insurance industry - next phase

     - Government accepts NWC's wage recommendations for 2006/2007



     - MAS launches SGS electronic bond trading platform

     - Singapore delivers games to Asia's $14billion video game market

     - Inaugural Changi Airline Awards


The Challenge Posed by HIV/ AIDS to Singapore Businesses

In Singapore, the number of HIV-positive people has climbed steadily from the first case detected here in 1985 to 2,641 by December 2005. Three out of four (74.77%) who are infected are actively employed...

In 2005, out of the 255 new cases reported, a great majority (87%) comprised the age group of 20 - 59 years old, with those aged 20 - 49 years accounting for as much as 70% of all new cases...


     - 300,000 Singaporeans awarded $137M of Workfare Bonus


     - Polling Day 6 May 2006 is a public holiday


Singapore's largest retail & lifestyle centre, Vivocity, to open in October 2006

Largest multi-experiential retail and lifestyle venue in Singapore



Retrenchment & re-employment 2005

Amid favourable economic conditions, the incidence of retrenchment dropped to a twelve-year low in 2005...

The incidence of retrenchment for professionals, managers, executives & technicians (PMETs) dropped to an eight-year low of 8.0 per 1,000 and a thirteen-year low of 4.8 per 1,000 for clerical, sales & service workers...

In 2005, on average 61% of local2 retrenched workers found re-employment within 6 months of their retrenchment, slightly higher than 59% in 2004. The improvement was more pronounced for the better educated workers...



Boat Asia 2006

20 - 23 Apr 2006


     - Gradual and modest appreciation of Singapore dollar expected

     - Advance GDP Estimates for First Quarter 2006

     - 2-day Flu Pandemic Exercise to take place in July 2006

     - Expat survey shows Singapore best place in the world for Asians to live



     - Singapore takes second place in WEF's Global IT Report

Deposit Insurance Scheme launched in Singapore

"From 1 April, the deposit insurance scheme will compensate individuals and charities for the first $20,000 of their Singapore dollar deposits in standard savings, current and fixed deposit accounts, net of liabilities, in the event that their bank or finance company fails...."


     - Khoo Teck Puat Estate agrees to sell Stanchart shares to Temasek

     - Singapore Public Holidays in 2007 gazetted

     - Singapore Labour Market 2005

     - SPH to launch Singapore's first free Chinese newspaper in June 2006

     - Singapore to Have Next Generation Broadband Networks

     - Workplace Safety and Health Act replaces Factories Act

     - Budget 2006 Speech

     - Performance of Singapore economy in 2005


Singapore Crime Situation 2005

Robbery and theft cases involving handphones taken remain a key area of concern for the Police. The number of such cases increased significantly by 1,414 cases, from 3,411 to 4,825 cases in 2005.

Handphone crimes increased most notably for theft in dwelling (excluding shop theft) from 832 to 1,119 cases (+287 cases), and for other thefts (from 1,096 to 1,837 cases in 2005).
Robbery (from 344 to 488 cases), snatch thefts (from 162 to 283 cases) and cheating and related offences (from 275 to 343 cases) also saw notable increases.
The increase in handphone crime may be due to the rise in mobile phone penetration rate in Singapore indicating a larger pool of potential victims...


Casino Control Bill 2006

To discourage locals from developing into problem gamblers, Section 116 of the Bill shall require the casino operators to collect an entry levy from Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents for every consecutive 24 hours in the casinos or $2,000 for an annual membership.

This levy will also underscore the message that gambling is an expense and not a means to get rich...
Section 108 of the Bill shall prohibit casino and junket operators from extending credit to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, unless they maintain a credit balance of at least $100,000 with the casino operator at the start of their gaming which would qualify them as premium players.
Automated Teller Machines or ATMs shall be prohibited within the casinos under Section 109 of the Bill so that patrons will not have easy access to their savings accounts to gamble continuously.
Minors are also another potentially vulnerable group who may fall prey to the glamour of the casino, without realising the possible dangers of gambling. Sections 130 to 137 of the Bill will prohibit persons below the age of 21 years from entering the casinos...


     - Robber who fired gun faces death penalty if convicted

     - Singapore Employment Situation in 4th Quarter 2005

     - Importance of corporate governance for insurance companies

     - MAS liberalises multi-function stored-value card market

     - Singapore Public Holidays 2007 - Tentative List

     - Singapore and US begin testing of e-Passports


Proposed Workfare Bonus Scheme to help low-wage workers

"The scheme primarily targets those within the lowest 20% of income earners who earn $1,200 per month or less...

"The Committee recommends that those in the lowest 10% should be given more help. If surpluses allow, we recommend for this group earning $900 or less a month, a Workfare bonus capped at the equivalent of one month¨s salary.
"Correspondingly, those earning more than $900 to $1200 (lowest 20% of income earners) per month could receive a bonus capped at half a month¨s salary..."


     - $45-million Budget Terminal for low-cost carriers completed



     2001 - 2004

This section commenced on 22 Aug 2001