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     Government: News 2005




Prime Minister's New Year Message 2006

"We grew by 5.7% in 2005, better than expected. Growth was broad-based. Manufacturing output rose sharply and the services industries also did well...

"In the first three quarters, we created 78,000 jobs. This reduced the unemployment rate to 3.3%. For the whole of 2005, employment creation should match or even exceed the 108,500 jobs recorded in 2000.

"Wages increased by around 4% and many workers enjoyed good bonuses. Overall, Singaporeans have become more confident and optimistic..."


     - Schools to get more say in design of school facilities

     - CPF Board tightens admission criteria for new CPFIS funds

     - Key data of 100 Singapore charities to be listed on MOH Website


     - New Singapore Sports Hub to be completed in mid 2011

     - New terminal for low-cost carriers to open on 26 March 2006

     - Singapore Labour Market 3rd Quarter 2005

     - Pay half-hourly rates for night parking at HDB/URA carparks



Changes proposed for nomination of beneficiaries in insurance policies

"Presently,...a nomination by a policyholder of his spouse and/or children will automatically create a statutory trust in favour of the spouse and/or children governed by section 73 of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act (CLPA).

"The creation of a statutory trust effectively causes the policyholder to lose all rights to and control over the policy. This means that without the consent of all the beneficiaries, he cannot make any change to his nomination or the terms of the policy...
"MAS proposes to amend the Insurance Act to bring under its purview the nomination of beneficiaries in respect of the proceeds of insurance policies..."


     - 52 illegal foreign workers nabbed in raids at 13 coffee shops

     - MAS releases Financial Stability Review for 2nd half 2005

     - Manpower Ministry responds to HRW's report on maids in Singapore


Impact of HIV epidemic on men, women & children in Singapore

"Previously, some wives were not aware of their spouse's HIV status and so they were at risk of the HIV infection. Since July this year, we have informed the wife when the infected husband had not informed her of his positive HIV status.

"Over the last 5 months, 41 women have been informed by hand-delivered letters that their partner is infected and that they should go to CDC for testing..."



Significant trends in the Singapore labour market

"Today, services make up seven out of every ten jobs, compared to six out of ten jobs in 1990. In particular, employment within the financial and business services sector has more than doubled since 1990...

"But there is also a third, important trend, and that is that people will have to change jobs more often in their lifetimes..."



Nguyen Tuong Van Case: Separating fact from fiction

"If we let off a convicted courier because of age, financial difficulties or distressed family background, it will only make it easier for drug traffickers to recruit more "mules", with the assurance that they will escape the death penalty..."



Woman fined $3000 for hindering ICA officers in their duties

"Mdm Tan had returned to Singapore from China on 30th September 2005 at about 7.40 pm through the Changi International Airport Terminal 2. ICA officers noticed that she had brought two roast geese from China with her to Singapore.

"Mdm Tan was informed she had to surrender the two roast geese for disposal, as she did not have a licence to bring them in. She hindered the ICA officers in the execution of their duties by refusing to surrender the roast geese brought from China and subsequently throwing the roast geese onto the floor..."


     - Small Claims Tribunal to cover short-term residential tenancy agreements

     - Performance of Singapore economy in 3rd quarter 2005

     - PSLE 2005 Results

     - Buangkok MRT Station to open in January 2006


Law amended to impose heavier penalties on loansharks

"But the number of unlicensed moneylending and related harassment cases continues to rise: from some 1,500 cases in 1995 to almost 6,000 cases in 2004.

"In some instances, parties who did not borrow money were also harassed; for example, new occupants of dwellings that were formerly occupied by debtors and people who had lost or misplaced their identity cards.
"In addition, the number of arrests made in harassment cases more than doubled from 123 arrests in 2003 to 284 arrests in 2004..."



NUS Corporatisation Bill

"The new legislation aims to safeguard the Government¨s strategic interest in the university sector and yet, give the universities the autonomy to be nimble and responsive to the dynamic landscape...

"The NUS Bill also provides the legislative provisions to transfer NUS¨ property, rights and liabilities to the successor university company, and will repeal the existing NUS Act which establishes NUS as a statutory board..."


     - 'Designing The Arts School' Exhibition




Prevention of child abuse and neglect in Singapore

"Over the last 5 years, my Ministry investigated an average of 188 complaints of alleged child abuse each year. Only in 40% of cases did our investigations reveal real evidence of abuse.
"Granted, the number of cases with evidence of abuse increased by about one and a half times from 61 in 2000 to 90 in 2004. This is due largely to greater awareness among those who have regular contact with children and who reported the incidents to the authorities for intervention..."


     - Singapore Tourism Board launches 'Unique2Me' Photo Contest

     - Creative Industries in Singapore over the years

     - Five HIV-positive blood donors prosecuted

     - Foreigners to get no subsidy at polyclinics from 2006


Recovery of the Property Market

"The property market recovery is not confined to the private housing sector. All the other sectors of the property market are recovering in tandem with the strong growth of our economy...

"In 2006, Singapore¨s GDP is projected to grow by another 3% to 5%. Robust growth in the manufacturing, tourism and financial sectors, and the diversification of our economy into new areas like the life sciences, education and health, are helping to drive growth in our economy..."



Survey shows some companies infringing software copyright law

"...a recent survey highlighted that for small medium enterprises, nearly a third of them are still not fully compliant in the proper usage of software products in their business environment. This could be as a result of the use of illegal software or under-licensing the use of software products...
"The survey also found that among those who were non-compliant, a significant number were smaller companies, averaging ten workstations or less. 47.3% of this group were non-compliant...


     - 51 new school principals for 2006

     - New Drama Centre opens

     - Press Freedom and Good Governance

     - Employment Situation in 3rd Quarter 2005

     - New speed limits for 55 roads in southern Singapore from 1 Nov 2005


     - Update, renew & terminate 45 different licences online

     - Recent trends in employment creation

     - Singapore household debt and credit card bankruptcies


Compulsory registration for pre-paid SIM card holders

"From 1 November, mobile service providers, such as the Singapore Telecom Mobile Pte Ltd, StarHub Mobile Pte Ltd and MobileOne Ltd, will be required to ensure compliance in recording the personal details of all customers who buy prepaid SIM cards...

"...all existing prepaid SIM card users are required to re-register at retail outlets which sell prepaid SIM cards sold by their respective mobile service providers.

"Customers must be at least 15 years old before being eligible to purchase a prepaid SIM card..."


      - Key indicators on Singapore's Corporate Sector 1999-2003

      - MFA comments on New Straits Times article: Bridge Talks End on Promising Note dated 20 Oct 2005

     - Treasury survey shows foreign exchange trading reaching 7 year high


2nd reading of Public Transport Council (Amendment) Bill 2005

"The 2 PTOs estimate that fare evasion on buses occurs on about 1.8% of passenger trips. Even though this figure may appear to be low, we should not condone fare evasion. Otherwise, the majority of commuters who pay the correct fares will be subsidizing the small minority who abuse concession passes, avoid paying or intentionally underpay fares.

"Hence, to provide greater deterrence against fare evasion, the PTC will be introducing a penalty fee of $20 for the underpayment and non-payment of fares; and $50 for the abuse of fare concessions..."


     - Salary dispute resolved with Manpower Ministry's intervention

     - Draft Casino Control Bill released for public consultation

     - Law to let criminal records of minor offenders be rendered spent


Bicycle thefts in Singapore

"The number of cases of bicycle theft averaged around 400 cases a year from 2000 to 2004. In the first half of this year, 435 cases were reported...

"In 2004, 9 out of 10 bicycles stolen in public places were not secured at designated bicycle bays. Instead, the vast majority of those stolen were secured to lamp posts, railings and pipes..."



Study Mum Situation in Singapore

"As at end Jul 05, there were about 6,800 study mothers in Singapore of whom some two-thirds were from the PRC...

"As at end Jun 05, less than 1,000 study mothers were holding Work Permits..."


     - 58 foreign workers arrested for having no work permits

     - Changi Airport to introduce self-service check-in kiosks in 2006

     - Transit passengers at Changi Airport get to explore Singapore

     - 25 primary schools to pilot new Chinese Language curriculum

     - Medical subsidies for foreign workers being reviewed


CPF - Future Directions

"By 2030, one in five Singaporeans will be at least 60 years old. With families getting smaller, we will have fewer children around to support us in our old age.

"Part of the answer is to get workers to work longer and retire later. But another part is to ensure that Singaporeans have enough savings to continue enjoying financial security and good medical care throughout our lives.....



     - MOE opens more gates for secondary students

     - School Achievements in 2005

     - Biometric passports likely to debut in later half of 2006

     - Police raid company using pirated software

     - MAS enhances corporate governance for banks & insurers

     - Singapore's first desalination plant for water supply opens

     - Singapore Labour Market - 2nd Quarter 2005

     - Launch of Eyes In The Sky Initiative

     - 60th Anniversary of the End of World War II

     - Educational Performance by Ethnic Group 1995 - 2004

     - Body parts found near Orchard MRT Station


^White Elephants ̄ Outside Buangkok MRT Station
Some members of public have expressed surprise and unhappiness upon learning that Police are investigating into the recent incident involving a few white elephant placards erected outside Buangkok MRT station. A few have also commented that this is a 'peaceful, humourous' and 'innovative way by ordinary residents' to 'express public feedback' and questioned the need for Police to 'over-react' and take the matter so seriously.
The Police received a 999 call complaining about the presence of the white elephants placards along the road divider outside Buangkok MRT station. When a complaint or report is received or lodged, Police will have to look into the matter to determine whether any offence has been committed. As we have stated earlier, Police are presently investigating the matter under the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act. The Police must be fair and transparent at all times and not investigate cases selectively.
7 September 2005 @ 12.00 pm
Source: Media Release 7 Sep 2005

      - Workfare to help low wage workers in six key areas


Prepaid Phone Cards To Be Controlled

"I had previously raised the issue of prepaid phone cards as an area of security concern. The exploitation of the anonymity given by prepaid cards to avoid detection is not new. Criminals have exploited this. And terrorist groups like the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have done so too...

"The Homefront Security Division in MHA has been working closely with the IDA and the commercial service providers to work out a practical regulatory regime.

"These regulatory controls are likely to be implemented from early November. Details will be announced next month..."


     - New speed limits for 27 roads in the northeast


Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre launched

"First, by handling all disputes that relate to forms of financial transactions, it provides consumers the convenience of a one-stop centre...

"Third, FIDReC is affordable. To ensure easy access, mediation services will be free. If current trend continues, it means that 95% of all cases handled by FIDReC will be free. Should adjudication be needed, consumers will pay just $50."


     - Emergency ambulance statistics for 1st half 2005


Review of housing options for the elderly

"To encourage extended family living, HDB will extend the $12,000 monthly income ceiling to extended families buying resale HDB flats with the CPF Housing Grant. The revised policy will apply with immediate effect...

"To facilitate the elderly to buy SAs, buyers aged at least 55 years will now be able to use their CPF to buy SAs after they have set aside at least the full cash component of their Minimum Sum...



Is Singapore a literate society?

"...But if you define ^literate ̄ as meaning a well-read society, your answer would probably be ^no ̄ and you would be quite right.

"A Population Survey on the Arts by the National Arts Council in 2002 found that only 40 per cent of 1,527 people surveyed had read a novel that year.
"In 2003, a nation-wide survey of 1,500 Singapore residents by the National Library Board revealed that the strongest motivation to read was neither for leisure nor for literary appreciation. Rather, it was for career development..."


     - Man arrested for using counterfeit credit cards in Sim Lim Square

     - New dengue alert map on MOH & NEA Web sites


Rising number of HIV positive young people

"Young people are vulnerable to AIDS. Locally, 1 teenager under 19 years was tested positive for HIV in first 6 months of 2005 bringing the total number of young people in the 10-19 age group who are HIV-positive to 19 as of June 2005. In addition, there are also 458 young people in the 20-29 age group who are infected.

"The increasing numbers of HIV positive young people are a worrying trend. It is tragic for a young life, so full of potential, to be limited by a positive diagnosis of HIV. It is even more tragic when the infected person unknowingly spreads HIV to other young people, like himself or herself, by engaging in casual sex or sex with multiple partners. However, we believe no one can help young people more than themselves. Young people have the ability and courage to take difficult issues head-on and come up with bold and innovative solutions..."


      - Regional ITE colleges to be completed earlier

     - Post Secondary Account for every eligible child


Prime Minister's National Day Rally Speech 2005

If you compare us with other countries, you go to Thailand, for example, whether it's a man or woman, the man will say Sawadikup or the woman will say the Sawadika.  You go to Japanese restaurant, Irrashaimasse.  Or you go to India, they say Nemeste or Varnakam. You go to Australia, they say Good Day mate!

In Singapore, they go straight to the point. ^How can I help you? ̄ Or if you're not so lucky, ^What you want? ̄


      - Police act against unlicensed second-hand handphone dealers


Three arrested for illegally distributing copyrighted songs online

"A pre-dawn raid on 3 locations by the Police on 17 August 2005 saw the arrest of 3 male subjects aged between 16 and 22 years old for distributing infringing copies of copyrighted music on the Internet.
"The 16 year-old student, 21 year-old unemployed man and 22 year-old factory operator were arrested in their respective residences..."


     - Key Survey Findings on Services Sector 2003

     - Private sector to build and sell HDB flats

     - Armed police patrols on MRT trains from today

     - Presidential Election: Only S R Nathan qualifies

     - In-camp Training for National Servicemen cut to 10 years

     - Performance of Singapore Economy in 2nd Quarter 2005

     - Employment Situation in 2nd Quarter 2005


Prime Minister's National Day Message 2005

"...Every Singaporean C and not just a select few C must receive the best education that he is capable of.

"So we are investing heavily in polytechnics and ITEs, and not just in universities. We are paying attention to Normal stream students, and not just those in the Express and Special streams. We are emphasising lifelong learning, and not just pre-employment education.

"We also need to remake our city, so that it is vibrant, cosmopolitan and throbbing with energy, with our own distinctive X-factor that makes us stand out from other cities.
"Global cities like London, Paris, New York and Shanghai are continuously re-making themselves, so all the more must we. This is the deeper reason, beyond attracting tourists, why we are developing integrated resorts..."


     - RSN receives first of six new frigates


Findings of First National Financial Literacy Survey

"The majority of Singaporeans save, monitor their spending and are generally responsible in the use of credit...

"While these findings are positive, the survey showed that many do not have a clear idea of how much they would need for their retirement.

"Many have also not set aside sufficient cash savings to meet emergency needs. In addition, the majority are not aware of the key features of common financial products such as life insurance policies and unit trusts..."


     - Presidential Election 2005 - Polling Day on 27 Aug 2005


Smoking ban to be extended to hawker centres, coffeeshops & entertainment outlets

"The ban at hawker centers and coffeeshops will take effect from 1 July 2006, while the ban at entertainment outlets will start on 1 July 2007...

"The smoking ban at coffee shops will come into effect on 1 Jul 06. Smoking will be banned within the indoor refreshment areas (IRA) of coffeeshops. However, coffeeshop operators may designate up to 20% of the seats in their outdoor refreshment area (ORA) as a smoking corner..."


     - Code of Conduct for Ministers

     - Evening ERP on northbound CTE from 1 Aug 2005


Singapore Crime Situation in 1st half 2005

"The total number of seizable offences in Jan C Jun 05 has risen by 28.1% or 4,668 cases, as compared to the same period last year...

"The Police are also concerned about the 44% rise in handphone crimes and the 9% increase in youths arrested for crime..."


      - Strong performance in financial services sector in 2004

     - 2nd Quarter 2005 Real Estate Statistics

     - HDB & URA outsource car park enforcement services from 1 Aug 2005


Money-changing & Remittance Businesses (Amendment) Act 2005

"Currently, a holder of a remittance licence can be set up as a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a company. The proposed amendment will require the holder of a remittance licence to be incorporated as a company and to have a minimum capital of S$100,000."



Easier to enter the Sports School from 2006

"...First, the Sports School will admit all students with high sporting potential regardless of their academic ability. This will take effect from 2006..."


     - NKF - Investigations into allegations

     - New NKF Board appointed


Policy changes affecting the property market


increase the housing financing limit to 90% of the property value


lower the cash payment for private residential properties from 10% to 5%


allow CPF members to use their CPF savings to purchase private residential properties with remaining leases of 30 to 60 years


allow non-related singles to use their CPF savings to jointly purchase private residential properties


phase out the Non-Residential Properties Scheme (NRPS) by 1 Jul 2006


allow foreigners to purchase apartments in non-condominium developments of less than 6 levels without the need to obtain prior approval


   News Snippets 2005 - Part 1

   News Snippets 2004

   News Snippets 2003