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     Government: News 2007



     - Seventh Annual Singapore Biathlon


Singapore Labour Market 2006

"Total employment creation for the whole of 2006 rose to an all-time high of 176,000, surpassing the previous year¨s gains of 113,300. This brought the total number employed to 2,495,900 persons as at December 06...
"On average, 67,500 residents were unemployed in 2006, down from 74,900 in 2005 and the high of 91,200 in 2003..."





One Singaporean, one electronic medical record (EMR)

Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for Health

"Right now, it is one Singaporean, multiple medical records, stored away in different clinics and hospitals in different formats, and not connected or consolidated. As a result, when patients visit different doctors, they have to have tests repeated and scans redone. This adds to unnecessary cost.
"We are moving towards this target of 'One Singaporean, One EMR'. Because of legacy systems, we cannot achieve it in one step. But we have made progress...
"However, this is a complex national project - very few if any countries have successfully implemented a system that links up public, private and the charity sector..."




Beware of snatch thieves in streets and common areas

"Since the beginning of the year, there have been 124 cases of snatch theft reported. Of these cases, 67 cases involved the stealing of handphones...
"More recently on 6 Mar at about 6.45am, a teenaged male victim lost his handphone to a snatch thief when he was hit on the back of the head whilst walking near Tampines St 41. The culprit picked up the $100 mobile phone that the victim dropped and fled with it..."



Singapore Crime Situation 2006

"Theft and related offences 2, which accounted for more than half (61%) of overall crime reported, fell by 2,192 cases from 22,711 to 20,519 cases in 2006.
"The overall decrease was largely due to fewer cases of shop theft, theft from person and other theft3 . In addition, handphone crimes4 also dropped from 4,825 to 4,594 cases...
"Youths made up 19% of total persons arrested in 2006, compared to 23% last year..."



Expanding our MRT Network


"Beyond this, the LTA is completing its feasibility studies for a new 33-station Downtown Line that will link the eastern and north western corridors to the Marina Bay.
"When the Downtown Line is up, residents in Bukit Panjang, Bukit Timah, Bedok Reservoir and Macpherson can take the train to see the bright lights of the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort...
"As part of our long-term planning for a future Singapore of 6.5 million population, we expect that we will need to at least double our current rail network of 138 km for a 50% increase in population. That means putting in the equivalent of at least 7 North-east Lines..."




Gearing up Singapore for its 2020 healthcare needs

"MediShield coverage among active workers is not bad, at 90%. But 390,000 Singaporeans below 20 years of age are not insured. The premium at their age is inexpensive, only $30 per year.
"And young parents can use their Baby Bonus to pay the premium. So cost is not the issue...
"We will introduce an opt-out scheme for infants to be automatically covered under MediShield from the time their births are registered.
"Premiums can be deducted from their fathers' Medisave or alternatively their mothers'. Parents who do not want such coverage can opt out any time by informing the CPF Board. We will get this done later this year..."



HDB further relaxes policy on subletting of whole flats

"With immediate effect, HDB will be relaxing its policy on the subletting of whole flats through a further reduction of the MOP and delinking it from the lessees¨ HDB loan status. The revised MOP is:
"5 years for owners of subsidised flats, i.e. flats purchased directly from HDB or from the open market with a CPF Housing Grant; and

3 years for owners of non-subsidised flats, i.e. flats purchased from the open market without a CPF Housing Grant..."


     - $31.9 million grant in FY07 to national sports associations

     - Posting results for the 2007 Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE)


Singapore-Cambridge GCE 'A' Level Exams 2006 Results




No. Sat

Minimum 2 A

& 2 AO-Level

Passes including GP

















     - Media statement on Genting and the Sentosa Integrated Resort


Singapore may enter upper half of First World nations within 20 years

"The Singapore of the 1980s is the past.
"By 2010 we will have two integrated resorts. With conventions and world class entertainment, our tourists may increase from 9.7 million in 2006 to 17 million by 2015.

"Singapore¨s landscape will change. We will have an iconic city centre, a Marina with a promenade that will allow pedestrians and electric golf buggies unimpeded access round the whole Marina, with al fresco dining, restaurants, shops and electrically-driven pleasure boats for tourists to cruise along the Singapore and Kallang Rivers..."



Liberalisation of Medisave

As part of the review of Medisave, the Ministry of Health will be increasing the withdrawal limits in the following four areas:
  1. The inpatient per diem limit will be increased from $400 to $450;
  2. The day surgery limit will be increased from $200 to $300;
  3. The annual limit for psychiatric bills will be increased from $3,500 to $5,000;
  4. Medisave will be allowed for diagnostic scans such as MRI and CT scans, if they form parts of outpatient cancer treatment.


     - AVA recalls baby food product as a precautionary measure


Islamic finance in Singapore

Mr Ng Nam Sin, Executive Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore

"We have reviewed our policies to ensure that Islamic finance is not disadvantaged vis-┐-vis conventional finance...
"Regulatory wise, we have worked proactively with Financial Institutions in allowing Islamic Finance transaction under existing regulation...
"All these put together, along with Singapore's open markets, efficient infrastructure and transparent regulations allow Singapore to further develop itself as an international financial centre offering Islamic Finance possibilities..."



A Statistical Profile of Older Workers

"Older persons aged 50 & over made up close to one-quarter (24%) of the resident workforce in 2006.
"Reflecting their relatively less educated profile, the majority (68%) of older workers were employed in lower-skilled jobs such as cleaners, labourers & related workers (18%), plant & machine operators & assemblers (16%) and service & sales workers (15%).
"These occupations also registered an above-average incidence of older workers especially for cleaners, labourers & related workers where more than half (53%) were aged 50 & over...."




Check your eligibility for Singapore PR or citizenship online

"The Naturalisation Eligibility Tool is a free online self-assessment system, to assist foreigners working and staying in Singapore to assess if they are eligible for either Singapore Permanent Residence (SPR) or Singapore Citizenship (SC)...
"Overseas foreigners are also able to use the system although theirs will only be a hypothetical assessment. These overseas foreigners are given the option to provide their contact particulars to enable ICA to contact them if necessary..."


     - 1,100 theft cases involving metals in 2006


Alcoholic beverages consumption in foreign workers' dormitories

"In a pilot test, Police has allowed beer to be sold in four dormitories1, and where the beer is then consumed at designated social areas inside the dormitories...
"Police is now conducting a review to assess if the sale and consumption of beer can be extended to other dormitories..."


     - Prime Minister's Chinese New Year Message 2007



Budget Statement 2007

"I will give lower-income Singaporeans larger GST Credits.
"Those who live in one- to three-room flats[4] and have annual assessable incomes of $24,000 or less will qualify for the largest quantum of $1,000, to be paid out in instalments of $250 per year over four years...
"Next, if you live in a larger home with an AV of more than $10,000, but you earn less than $100,000 a year, you will get $400 in GST Credits.
"The top income group comprising those earning over $100,000 a year will get $100. It is a small gesture, but recognises that the GST increase affects everyone.
"NSmen and NSFs, including those aged below 21, will also get an additional $100 of GST Credits, to recognise their contributions to national security...

"The first instalment will be paid out on 1 July this year, at the same time as the GST increase..."


     - Singapore River HongBao 2007

     - Health Products Bill passed


Key Household Income Trends 2006

"Among employed households (i.e. households with at least one working person), average monthly household income from work1 grew by 4.3 per cent in 2006 to reach $6,260.
"After adjusting for inflation, employed households enjoyed real income growth of 3.2 per cent in 2006..."


     - Police raid second company using pirated software


Commissioner of Charities to launch online charity portal

"In tandem with the tightening of charity registration, the COC's office will also launch the Charity Portal ( to provide a convenient one-stop ''paper-less'' process for application for charity status and institution of a public character (IPC) status.
"The Charity Portal provides a one-stop resource centre for the public who want to know more about charities in Singapore, including those interested in setting up charities and IPCs..."


     - Singapore-Cambridge GCE 'O' Level Exam 2006 Results

     - Singapore's first underground rock cavern for hydrocarbon storage


Number of traffic summonses for speeding going down"

In 2005, as part of Police¨s overall enforcement strategy, more resources were diverted to ensure greater police presence on our roads to deter motorists from flouting traffic rules.
"The public had by then become more aware of the PSLC deployment through Traffic Police¨s website and radio.
"This contributed to the number of summonses issued for speeding falling 37% to 51,800 in 2005 as compared to 2004. In 2006, the number of summonses issued for speeding decreased 13% to 45,130 compared to the 51,800 summonses issued in 2005..."



Turning Singapore into a city of gardens and waters

"Imagine looking out of your HDB apartment window and instead of seeing a huge concrete canal, you set your eyes on a sparkling river with landscaped banks, with kayakers paddling in the stream, with lively play areas for children, and with boardwalks and bridges for families to enjoy outings together.
"This is not a far-fetched scenario. Singapore has an extensive water network that spans 14 reservoirs, 32 major rivers and more than 7,000 km of other waterways including canals and drains. Few cities in the world have such a pervasive and well-integrated network of waterways..."



Singapore's postal sector to be fully liberalised from 1 April 2007

"To ensure that our security concerns of mail integrity and accountability are met, SingPost will continue to hold the full set of letterbox masterdoor keys...
"As national stamps carry the country's name and to prevent consumer confusion over which PPL the national stamp belongs to, SingPost will continue to be the only one to issue these stamps...
"For greater operational efficiency, Singapore will keep a centralised postal code management system. SingPost will continue to manage this centralised system, while providing access to the postal codes database to all interested PSOs..."



Income Tax (Amendment) Bill passed

"Currently, the penalty for not filing an income tax return is significantly less severe than the penalty for under-declaring income. This creates an incentive for taxpayers to avoid taxation by not submitting their income tax returns.
"To discourage this practice, a penalty of double the amount of tax undercharged will be introduced for the failure to file a tax return in respect of any year of assessment within 3 years from the filing deadline..."



Report on labour force in Singapore in 2006

"76% of the resident population aged 25 to 64 were employed, the highest since the data was first compiled in 1991, up from 73% in 1996...
"12% or 172,000 of resident employees were engaged on term contracts in June 2006 while the remaining 88% were permanent employees3. On average, employees on term contract drew lower pay than those on permanent appointments...
"The share of degree holders almost doubled to 23% from 12% a decade ago..."



10,221 reported cases of loan shark harassment activities in 2006

"In 2006, 294 persons were arrested for UML offences and related harassment activities. This is an increase of 11% as compared to 2005.
"In 2006, Police also dealt with 39 UML syndicate members under the CL(TP) Act, which is an increase of 63% compared to 24 in 20053. In addition, Police smashed 8 syndicates last year4 ..."



Proposed changes to rules for unsecured credit

"A measured step of lowering the minimum annual income threshold for unsecured credit facilities from $30,000 to $20,000. A more conservative maximum credit limit of twice the borrower's monthly income will be set for individuals in this $20,000 to $30,000 income group, with no access to credit cards...
"Create appropriate modifications to the moneylenders regime.  For instance, for unsecured loans of $3,000 and below, no minimum income requirement would be imposed but such loans would be subject to an interest rate cap..."



Employment situation in 4th quarter 2006

"Preliminary estimates show that total employment grew by 48,800 in the fourth quarter of 2006, considerably higher than the gains of 35,300 in the same period a year ago, and up from 43,000 in the third quarter of 2006...
"Total retrenchment for the whole of 2006 was 12,200. Although this is higher than 10,294 in 2005, it is only about half the number retrenched in 2001 (25,838). Manufacturing formed the bulk of retrenchments (8,800), followed by services (3,000) and construction (400) in 2006..."



Road Traffic Situation 2006

"The number of persons killed increased from 173 to 190 in 2006. The number of persons injured increased from 8,226 to 9,706 in 2006, of which 104 suffered serious injuries...
"There was an overall increase in the number of speed-related accidents, from 1,445 to 1,657 cases in 2006, with the number of speed-related fatal accidents increasing by 15 cases, from 51 to 66. More than 1 in 3 of all fatal accidents were speed related..."



Thaipusam Festival 2007

From 6 P.M. On Wed, 31 Jan 2007 to 2 A.M on Fri, 2 Feb 2007



About 200,000 new Singapore PRs in the next 5 years

"From 2001-2004, an average of 35,250 new permanent residents (PR) and 7,130 new Singapore citizens (SC) were granted per annum. In 2005, about 52,300 new PRs and 12,900 new SCs were granted.
"The average numbers of new PRs and SCs are 38,700 and 8,300 respectively, for the period 2001-2005.
"We could expect to add about 200,000 new PRs and 40,000 new SCs in the next 5 years if we get the same numbers of new PRs and SCs as in the last 5 years..."



Secondhand Goods Dealers Bill 2007 passed

"The current Act does not cover dealers operating without a shop. We recognise that many secondhand goods dealers today actually carry on their business via other means, such as on the Internet, or in an open-air setting like Sungei Road. This is unacceptable, as thieves and robbers will simply get rid of their loot through these other dealers who do not have a shop-front...
"MHA is hence widening the coverage of the law to include those dealers who do not operate within a shop. However, in keeping with the emphasis on a sharper regulatory focus, only dealers who trade in secondhand goods that are listed in the Schedule will come under the ambit of the Act..."


     - MOT comments on Malaysia's plan to temporarily close causeway to heavy vehicles

     - PTC revises premium bus service scheme


Commissioner of Charities completes inquiry on Youth Challenge

"The COC found that the Executive President's total annual remuneration for the financial year ended 31 January 2006 was $248,867. Of this amount, only $53,836 was disclosed as the Executive President's salaries in the Income and Expenditure Statement.
"Another $164,475 was disclosed in Note 3 to the audited financial statements as salaries apportioned to various projects/events...
"The Executive President's total remuneration of $248,867 amounted to 56% of the total donation and other income of $442,287 raised for the same period..."



The Banking (Amendment) Bill passed

"Entities that have not been approved to issue credit cards in Singapore will be prohibited from soliciting for or accepting card applications in Singapore, and this applies equally to third parties acting on their behalf...
"The proposed regime also clarifies that single party merchant credit is exempted from regulation.  Such an arrangement, where the card is used only for transactions with the issuer, is essentially a deferred payment scheme offered by merchants to their customers.
"In addition, a new exemption for cards granting credit in small amounts not exceeding S$500 will be introduced.  This allows flexibility in payments for small-ticket items without raising substantial concerns about Singaporeans spending beyond their means..."


     - MOE to develop 15 FutureSchools@Singapore schools by 2015

     - Study on returns to higher education in Singapore


2006 survey finds almost nine in ten children aged 10 - 14 years are infocomm users

"Almost nine in ten children (aged 10 to 14 years) use the computer and Internet for communications, learning and play...
"The second highest proportion of Infocomm users are our youth and adults (aged 15 to 59 years), with about seven in ten using the computer and Internet extensively for communications and leisure activities.
"The elderly (aged 60 and above) are also Infocomm users. Three in ten use the computer, while two in ten have accessed the Internet in the past year..."


     - Singapore launches Infocomm Enterprise Programme


     - MDA launches new licence framework for IPTV


     - Two students to be charged in court for misuse of sparklers


Changes to Medisave and MediShield in 2007

"First, the Ministry of Health will increase the Medisave inpatient daily withdrawal limit from $400 to $450...
"Second, the Ministry of Health plans to allow Medisave use for MRI and CT scans, if they form part of an outpatient cancer treatment...
"MOH intends to further reduce the co-payment, in particular the deductibles of Medisave-approved private insurance plans, in 2007..."


     - Medisave can now be used for outpatient treatment of three additional chronic diseases

     - RSAF to be reorganised into five commands

     - Synthetic fields for eligible schools


SMU starts School of Law

"The Third Committee on the Supply of Lawyers estimated that an additional 140-150 legal professionals will be required each year from 2010 until 2015 to meet the needs of Singapore¨s legal industry.

"To meet this number, the SMU School of Law will take in 90 students in AY2007, reaching a steady-state intake of 120 from AY2008 onwards.
"The NUS Faculty of Law will also increase its intake from the current 220 to 240 beginning in AY2007..."



Survey on polyclinics in Singapore

"The heaviest patient attendances were seen at Ang Mo Kio (27,041) and Jurong (24,275), more than double the volumes seen at polyclinics such as Queenstown (9,345), Marine Parade (10,393) and Outram Polyclinics (10,550) - the lowest in attendances among polyclinics..."



Advance GDP estimates for 4th quarter 2006




Overall GDP




Goods Producing Industries









Services Producing Industries




* Advance Estimates



Singapore economy expected to grow by 4-6% in 2007

"In the last five years, our real per-capita GDP grew on average by 4.3% per annum, but real average wages (after adjusting for inflation) grew at only half this rate C 2.1%.

"Higher-end wages have risen by more than this. But at the lower-end wages have increased by much less, and some have even stagnated.
"This is why we are implementing Workfare as a fourth pillar of our social safety net, together with the CPF, the 3Ms (Medisave, MediShield and Medifund) and HDB home ownership..."



Public transport operators to handle lost & found properties

"With effect from 1 January 2007, the public bus and taxi companies, namely, SBS Transit Ltd, SMRT Buses Ltd, Comfort Transportation Pte Ltd, Yellow-Top Cab Pte Ltd, CityCab Pte Ltd, SMRT Taxis Pte Ltd, Trans-Cab Services Pte Ltd, Smart Automobile Pte Ltd and Premier Taxis Pte Ltd, will handle all properties found in their vehicles and handle all reports on lost and found properties made by their customers and drivers..."


     - Changes to CPF Minimum Sum and Investment schemes from 1 Jan 2007


   News Snippets 2006 - Part 2

   News Snippets 2006 - Part 1

   News Snippets 2005 - Part 2

   News Snippets 2005 - Part 1

   News Snippets 2004

   News Snippets 2003