11-13th sittings of the 14th Parliament (2-4 Nov 2020)

~25 min read

In these sittings, Sylvia Lim filed a motion and addressed members on reforming Singapore’s justice system in three areas: access for the poor, the part of law enforcement agencies, and justice for crime victims.

The session also featured a review of the Parti Liyani case, as delivered in K Shanmugam’s ministerial statement, a clarification regarding sentencing for capital offences, a debate on amendments to the Personal Data Protection Act, and a debate regarding the Office of the Attorney-General.

The next sitting of Parliament has yet to be determined.

Download the PDF version of our summary here!

Jump to the topics here:

⚖️ Parti Liyani v Public Prosecutor🏖️ SingapoRediscovers tourism vouchers
⚖️ Criminal justice system💼 Jobs Support Scheme
🏫 Sexual misconduct on campus💼 Workplace mental and emotional wellness
🚉 14 Oct MRT service disruption🚑 Walk-in polyclinic consults for mental health
⚖️ Capital offences🏫 Preschool education
⚖️ Migrant workers and legal access🤝 Neighbour disputes due to WFH
😷 COVID-19 Phase Three measures🤝 Community dispute management
😷 TraceTogether accessibility🎮 E-sports and gaming industry
😷 Second reading of the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment No. 3) Bill💾 Second reading of the Personal Data Protection (Amendment) Bill
🚑 MediShield Life premiums🍃 Waste management and green and blue space

⚖️ Parti Liyani v Public Prosecutor
  • K Shanmugam (Minister for Home Affairs; Law):
    • There was clear evidence for the Police to investigate and the AGC to prosecute. The case was dealt with similar to other theft cases.
    • Nothing improper nor any undue pressure at any stage of investigations and proceedings. No evidence of any personal connection between the Liews and any police officer, DPP, or judge involved in this case.
    • The High Court gave Parti Liyani the benefit of doubt because it was troubled by one or more of the Liews’ evidence and conduct, and because there were questions relating to her statements.
    • There are aspects of trial preparation where the Police and AGC can improve.
  • Xie Yao Quan:
    • Public opinion has perceived the case as a “clash between the rich and the poor”.
    • The police did indeed commit a lapse in handling the exhibits relevant to the case.
    • The claim that people with limited resources are more vulnerable and disadvantaged in the justice system “does not hold water”.
⚖️ Criminal justice system
  • Sylvia Lim Swee Lian (WP):
    • The nature of the criminal justice system disadvantages the poor in getting justice as it is resource-intensive for parties to satisfy their respective burdens of proof.
    • WP calls for Parliament to review the imposition of composition fines, real reform, various law enforcement practices, and the position of crime victims.
    • Suggests the setting up of a Constitutional Commission headed by a Supreme Court judge and should include members with expertise in criminology or sociology and strong personal experience working with the poor.
    • This Commission will review more complex and constitutional matters such as whether equal protection of the law under the Constitution is in practice and whether there are institutional cultures or subcultures that inadvertently discriminate between the rich and poor.
  • Vikram Nair:
    • A legal system should not discriminate based on race, language, religion, or economic status.
    • Singapore’s criminal justice system should remain open to reform and improvement. The criminal justice system has gone through constant reforms.
    • More people should be given access to legal counsel. Establishing a “public defender’s office” would be a worthwhile step.
  • Dennis Tan Lip Fong (WP):
    • We cannot always rely on appeals to the High Court to right wrongs done in the lower courts. We must strive for higher standards in all our courts. This requires us to ensure selectivity in placing the best judges and magistrates.
  • Pritam Singh (LO, WP):
    • Amend the Criminal Procedure Code to codify the prosecution’s disclosure requirements. This would send a powerful signal that prioritises proactive and early disclosure by the prosecution at the pre-trial stage.
    • More disclosure in criminal matters will allow the courts to have a fuller picture of a case’s circumstances. This will contribute to a more efficient justice system.
    • The defence counsel should be given the option to interview witnesses in a police station. This will reassure witnesses and allow the defence to clarify their statements before the trial.
    • WP calls upon the Government to split the office of the Attorney-General into two roles: the public prosecutor and the Government’s legal advisor.
    • Currently, the Attorney-General’s office takes charge of three areas as the Government’s lawyer: legislation, international affairs and civil matters involving the Government. As the public prosecutor as well, the Attorney-General’s office is to prosecute without fear or favour. This duality of roles brings into question the potential for conflict of interest in the Attorney-General’s office.
    • There should be a fixed term for those appointed to the position of public prosecutor.
    • Appointees to the position of public prosecutor should not be a former Member of Parliament.
  • Leon Perera (WP):
    • WP supports the creation of an independent ombudsman which would function as an “independent office to investigate complaints about administrative decisions or actions of a public agency”.
    • An office of the ombudsman would be open to Singaporeans of all backgrounds and income profiles.
    • The ombudsman would not have the authority to investigate complaints against the judiciary.
  • K Shanmugam (Minister for Home Affairs; Law):
    • Making legal aid mandatory is not desirable as people will inevitably game the system. Even if the state is prepared to pay, lawyers are not willing to come forward, and cases get postponed as a result. We must, however, help the poor “when it comes to legal aid for criminal cases”.
  • Murali Pillai:
    • The bail system remains a judicial decision, not a legislative matter (addressing Sylvia Lim Swee Lian’s (WP) point on the impact of bail on low-income individuals).
    • Introduced amendments to Sylvia Lim Swee Lian’s (WP) motion:
      • Amending “affirms” with “recognises”. More precision, and highlights that fairness, access, and independence are cornerstones of the Singapore justice system regardless of race, language, or religion.
      • Removing “including facilitating a review”. A broader wording allows the government to continue to remedy any “shortcomings” and keeps the discussion within Parliament.
  • Indranee Rajah (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Leader of the House):
    • On splitting the Public Prosecutor’s Office (raised by Sylvia Lim Swee Lian (WP)):
      • On non-criminal matters, the Attorney-General merely advises the Government.
      • On criminal matters, the Attorney-General decides when to prosecute.
      • There is no need to separate the two offices to “shore up independence”.
    • On the role of the Attorney-General’s prosecutorial function (raised by Pritam Singh (LO, WP)):
      • The Attorney-General has prosecuted “high-level people” before.
      • Hypothetically, if the Prime Minister refuses an investigation into cronyism between the AG and the Prime Minister, Section 22G of the constitution allows the Director of the CPIB to go to the President to proceed with an investigation.
    • On provision of tenure to the AG (raised by Pritam Singh (LO, WP)):
      • There is no genuine rule of tenure across various countries.
    • On avoiding appointing ex-MPs as AG (raised by Sylvia Lim Swee Lian (WP) and Pritam Singh (LO, WP)):
      • Even if political affiliations impacted the appointment, the PAP’s values of justice would not run into conflict with the AG’s prosecutorial role.
      • The position of AG in Singapore remains a non-political office. Unlike other countries, the AG does not sit in the Cabinet. This prevents the AG from being subject to political pressures.
      • Only the President can remove the incumbent AG.
🏫 Sexual misconduct on campus
  • He Ting Ru (WP):
    • How is the ministry supervising Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) in fighting sexual misconduct or violence on campus?
    • Reply from Lawrence Wong (Minister for Education):
      • IHLs have enhanced their education efforts on respect and behaviour. Includes student briefings during orientation, online modules, face-to-face workshops, regular outreach to build awareness.
      • IHLs have enhanced campus infrastructure, including expanding CCTV camera coverage and increasing frequency of security patrols.
      • IHLs have strengthened support for victims, including enhancing training for first responders and enhancing counselling services.
      • IHLs have strengthened student disciplinary frameworks to impose tougher penalties.
    • Will the ministry consider regular reports on sexual misconduct or violence on campus?
    • Is there currently training for educators on proper conduct with students?
    • Are there plans to have investigations conducted by an independent body instead, as opposed to being investigated by the universities/institutions themselves?
    • Reply from Sun Xueling (Minister of State for Education):
      • There are two tracks of investigations. When there is a case, a Board of Discipline may be convened by the IHLs. These have a particular structure such that students are also included in the board to provide their perspectives. And, in cases of serious offences, a police report is made, and investigations are carried out by the police independently.
  • Lim Biow Chuan:
    • Can universities provide clearer communications whenever there are allegations of misconduct involving teaching staff and students?
    • Reply from Sun Xueling (Minister of State for Education):
      • MOE will work closely with IHLs to improve communication regarding these cases while keeping in mind the context and specificities of each case.
  • Carrie Tan Huimin:
    • Does MOE plan to engage relevant experts in the handling of sexual assault cases to provide training and sensitisation to personnel in IHL, secondary schools, and tertiary institutions?
    • Reply from Sun Xueling (Minister of State for Education):
      • Last year, NUS set up a Victim Care Unit, and there are similar structures in the other universities as well. These are staffed by professionally trained care officers to provide the first line of care and support to victims.
      • Different strategies undertaken at different age bands. At primary school, students are made aware of how to better protect themselves. In secondary school, teachers also provide specific scenarios so students are better aware of what to do in certain situations.
🚉 14 Oct MRT service disruption
  • Joan Pereira: 
    • Are there adequate business continuity plans and enough emergency preparedness exercises conducted regularly to ensure the relevant teams know how to act in the event of a power failure?
    • How long did it take for the crowd control process to kick in and what measures were taken?
  • Saktiandi Supaat: 
    • What are the measures in place to ensure safe distancing and good ventilation for commuters in case of buses/trains being stranded at peak hours?
    • What lessons were learned from the 14 Oct incident with regards to crowd management and safe distancing?
  • Dennis Tan Lip Fong (WP): 
    • What was the cause of the initial cable insulation fault?
    • Why did the circuit breaker at Tuas Link fail to isolate the fault?
    • Why was the fault not isolated before SMRT attempted to draw power from Buona Vista?
    • Could SMRT have taken much less time to complete passenger recovery and evacuation during the incident, and what were the reasons for the delay?
  • Ong Ye Kung (Minister for Transport): 
    • The causes for the initial component failures are unknown and the equipment has been sent for forensic examination.
    • Alstom will replace all power cables along the Tuas West Extension (TWE) and this will be completed by end of next year. Replacement of all trip coils in the circuit breakers along the TWE to be completed by end of this year.
    • SMRT will increase mechanical testing of the circuit breakers in the TWE, up from every year to every six months, in addition to visual inspections of the trip coils every 10 days.
    • LTA, SMRT, and the Home Team jointly conduct emergency preparedness exercises every year. On 14 Oct, an additional 400 SMRT staff were activated to both rectify the fault and help affected commuters.
    • Detraining commuters is always a last resort as walking along the track poses risks, especially to the elderly or handicapped. The Operations Control Centre (OCC) will typically try to restore power to the trains and bring commuters to the nearest MRT station. On 14 Oct, 40 mins into the incident, the OCC determined this was not possible and decided on detrainment.
    • All 6,800 commuters on stalled trains were brought to the nearest station platform within an hour, except for 78 commuters whose detrainment was delayed by inclement weather.
⚖️ Capital offences
  • Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim:
    • Asked the Minister for Home Affairs what are the criteria and process to prefer charges for capital offences?
    • Asked the Minister of State for Home Affairs for his view on the sentences meted out to the accused in the Orchard Towers case and whether this was per the precedents and sentencing principles of the AGC?
  • Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim (Minister of State for Home Affairs):
    • Capital offences are for very serious offences, such as murder, kidnapping, firearms offences, and trafficking large quantities of drugs. After law enforcement agencies have completed investigations, they will make recommendations to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC). AGC will review the evidence and the circumstances of the case holistically, before deciding whether to proceed with the capital charge, lesser charge or charges, or to withdraw the charge.
    • Acknowledged that common feedback on the sentences in the Orchard Towers case was that they looked light, considering that someone had been killed. The Orchard Towers case comprises seven accused persons, four plead guilty to the charges while proceedings are on-going for the other three accused. Where there are multiple accused persons allegedly involved in the same capital case, the same charge may be tendered against all of them initially. After completing investigations, however, AGC will consider the evidence and review the specific role of each accused person. The eventual charge on each person would be based on the evidence available and their role in the case and may therefore differ.
    • Singapore’s criminal justice system does not give any preferential treatment based on race, religion, socio-economic status, educational achievements, and so on. Everyone is treated equally and fairly.
⚖️ Migrant workers and legal access
  • Gerald Giam Yean Song (WP):
    • Migrant workers face steep power imbalances when dealing with employers and government authorities.
    • Need to find ways to reduce the high recruitment fees that migrant workers pay to agents to find a job in Singapore. This will ensure that migrant workers are more willing to report abuse when it happens.
    • Support services should be provided to all workers who choose to make complaints against employers.
😷 COVID-19 Phase Three measures
  • Cheng Li Hui:
    • What factors are taken into account when deciding the maximum number of people allowed for gatherings (e.g. weddings, etc.)?
    • What will be the safeguards and measures in place to ensure compliance?
    • What plans are in place should there be a spike of COVID-19 cases in Phase Three and do they include a reversion to Phase Two?
    • Reply from Gan Kim Yong (Minister for Health):
      • Considered various factors such as the frequency at which the activity takes place, the potential risk factors inherent to the nature of the event, and whether additional safety measures can be effectively put in place to limit or mitigate these risks.
      • In settings where safe management measures can be effectively imposed to mitigate risks and where interactions between different groups can be managed, a higher capacity limit can be allowed, especially for important events. High-risk events need additional measures to ensure that they can be conducted safely.
        • Piloting the use of pre-event COVID-19 testing to allow higher-risk activities including to scale up safely.
        • Using alternative test kits such as antigen rapid tests, which return fairly accurate results within half an hour or so.
        • Enhancing contact tracing capability by rolling out TraceTogether-only SafeEntry using the TraceTogether app or token.
😷 TraceTogether accessibility
  • Lim Biow Chuan:
    • Have the TraceTogether (TT) tokens been distributed to all seniors? How to ensure that citizens without smartphones or who have not been able to collect the tokens can access cinemas?
    • Is it no longer compulsory for the TT token to be used at cinemas?
    • What is the process of replacement for TT tokens that are damaged or run out of battery?
  • Tan Wu Meng:
    • How can the ministries improve forecasting of demand for TT tokens, including surge demand and pent-up demand?
  • Gerald Giam Yean Song (WP):
    • Will the MOE consider distributing TT tokens to students in their schools before the end of the school term?
    • Will the Government address concerns about using the TT app to boost downloads and reduce the long queues at the CCs for token collection?
  • Janil Puthucheary (Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information; Health):
    • Government has been working with several organisations to distribute TT tokens to seniors at their homes, nursing homes, and community care facilities.
    • Government will be gradually opening collection points at all remaining CCs across Singapore over the next few weeks. CCs are the main collection point for TT tokens.
    • Government is preparing for the implementation of TraceTogether-only SafeEntry at more venues, including at F&B outlets, malls and workplaces, with either the app or the token. This is only once everyone has either an app or token. Therefore, will only be compulsory once the distribution at all CCs has happened.
    • SNDGO will create a replacement plan for damaged tokens or changing the batteries once they are exhausted and will announce it in due time. In the meantime, those with damaged or battery-depleted tokens can go to their respective CCs to exchange for another.
    • Residents can call the hotline or helpline or send an email to the TT programme to report a loss of the token. Residents will be re-enrolled into the programme with a new token. NRIC data is not stored in the token. The token has a unique identifier and any link to the NRIC is held securely in databases.
    • SNDGO will work with MOE to consider whether the distribution of TT tokens to students in school is feasible or necessary.
    • SNDGO needs to reduce misinformation or disinformation about the TT app. Will also improve TT app battery drainage issues and urge residents to keep TT app updated to the latest version.
😷 Second reading of the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment No. 3) Bill
  • Vikram Nair:
    • Government should consider making the amendments regarding insolvency processes permanent.
    • Agrees with the measures taken to give “weaker parties” such as tenants more renegotiating power, but asks if the impact on landlords has been sufficiently considered, as there may be some smaller-scale landlords that have financial obligations as well?
  • Kwek Hian Chuan Henry:
    • Proposes temporarily removing some of the penalties for directors of insolvent companies, so that they can better contribute to the rebirth and restart of their sectors.
  • Edward Chia Bing Hui:
    • Proposes having different qualifying criteria for different industries, to account for differences in margins and ability to withstand shocks. Additional evaluation criteria can better recognise intra-industry nuances.
  • Hany Soh Hui Bin:
    • Suggests creating an informative flow chart to enable businesses to better understand whether they are eligible for the Simplified Insolvency Programme and the steps required to involve the framework.
  • Murali Pillai:
    • SMEs’ eligibility for relief measures is based on their drop in revenues. What approach will be taken in determining this “drop”?
    • Proposes MinLaw make some model clauses available to SMEs, so they can incorporate these into their revised contracts during the process of renegotiating their existing contracts.
    • With only a six-week window to invoke the Re-Align Framework, there is a need to publicise the framework widely, especially through the trade and merchant associations.
  • Edwin Tong Chun Fai (Second Minister for Law):
    • Aim is to help the economy for the long term, not necessarily pro-landlord or pro-tenant or pro-supplier or pro-hirer.
    • Notes that adding more qualifying criteria or exceptions based on the sector may cause problems in administration and operationalisation of the scheme.
    • MinLaw has reached out to various industry groups, such as trade organisations and associations, to help disseminate information packages.
🚑 MediShield Life premiums
  • Koh Poh Koon (Senior Minister of State for Health):
    • Key drivers of MediShield Life premium increases:
      • Increase in claimants and annual pay-outs.
      • Increased average hospitalisation bill in public health system.
      • Increases from refreshing claim limits to ensure coverage for the majority of subsidised bills.
      • Increases to support benefit enhancements (e.g. extension of coverage to inpatient hospitals and serious pregnancy complications).
    • To ensure affordability of premiums:
      • Government to provide premium subsidies of up to 50% for lower- and middle-income households.
      • For elderly aged 65 and above, contribution from Government will be about 50% of their premiums.
      • Premiums can be fully paid for by MediSave, and most Singaporeans have enough MediSave for their premiums. Individuals can utilise their MediSave for their family members.
  • Foo Mee Har:
    • Will MOH develop a framework to itemise premium increases, hence allowing transparency in MediShield Life premium increases?
    • Reply from Koh Poh Koon (Senior Minister of State for Health):
      • It would be good to have a single formula that can account for the various factors driving inflation and costs. But the difficulty is that it is very hard to predict what kind of technology will drive clinical practices.
    • How can Singaporeans be incentivised to live a healthy lifestyle, perhaps by lowering premiums based on an individuals’ history of healthy living and lower consumption of healthcare services?
    • Reply from Koh Poh Koon (Senior Minister of State for Health):
      • There is premium loading under MediShield Life for individuals who do not have a healthy lifestyle.
🏖️ SingapoRediscovers tourism vouchers
  • Ang Wei Neng:
    • How will the vouchers be distributed digitally? How will Singaporeans who have difficulties with digital channels be assisted?
  • Melvin Yong Yik Chye:
    • Are there plans to help seniors who are staying alone with little family support to better utilise the voucher? What safeguards are in place to prevent unscrupulous companies from misappropriating these vouchers from the elderly?
  • Leon Perera (WP):
    • Can the vouchers be extended to arts-related activities such as festivals and stage plays?
  • Alvin Tan Sheng Hui (Minister of State for Trade and Industry; Culture, Community and Youth):
    • On distribution: Government is working with partners such as Klook, Changi Travel Services, and GlobalTix to provide physical collection points. Locations will span the island. STB is working with PA to allow collection at some CCs as well.
    • On fraud: STB will conduct regular audits and leverage data analytics to flag suspicious cases for further investigation.
    • On alternative voucher uses: Museums and art galleries that cater to tourists are already eligible. Arts organisations that offer complementary products can work with eligible merchants, such as hotels or tourist attractions, to develop bundles that qualify for the voucher scheme.
💼 Jobs Support Scheme
  • Jamus Jerome Lim Chee Wui (WP):
    • Are there statistics on beneficiaries of the JSS by income quintile, race, educational status, and gender?
  • Gerald Giam Yean Song (WP):
    • What is the total amount of funds disbursed and total number of workers benefiting from JSS, with a breakdown by industry sector?
  • Lawrence Wong (Second Minister for Finance):
    • Government is not tracking a detailed breakdown by individual profile, but we can expect it to mirror the demographics of the local workforce as it is a broad-based scheme.
    • SGD 2.2 billion disbursed to Tier 1 sectors (aviation, tourism & hospitality, exhibitions & conventions, built environment). SGD 1.9 billion disbursed to Tier 2 sectors (arts & culture, marine and offshore, food services, land transport, retail). SGD 12.4 billion disbursed to remaining sectors.
💼 Workplace mental and emotional wellness
  • Wan Rizal:
    • What are the measures taken by the Ministry in ensuring workplace emotional and mental health wellness? Can these be made mandatory across all workplaces? If yes, will the MOM conduct regular studies on the efficacy of such programmes?
  • Zaqy Mohamad (Senior Minister of State for Manpower):
    • MOM released an advisory on supporting the mental well-being of workers under COVID-19 work arrangements in April. Will be releasing a Tripartite Advisory on Workers’ Mental Well-being later this year.
    • There are existing programmes and resources to help employers implement mental wellness programmes. There are community resources to support individual workers emotionally and psychologically. NCSS organises a multi-year public education campaign called “Beyond the Label” to address the stigma of mental health conditions.
    • The challenge in making mental health programmes and measures mandatory is that every workplace has different work stressors. The Workplace Safety and Health Act already requires employers to take reasonably practical measures to uphold employee health, including mental health.
🚑 Walk-in polyclinic consults for mental health
  • Wan Rizal: 
    • Any plans to allow walk-ins for mental health services in polyclinics, rather than only through referrals or on appointment basis?
  • Janil Puthucheary (Senior Minister of State for Health): 
    • Persons with mental health concerns can walk-in at polyclinics and they will be attended to. Preliminary assessments and appropriate management, including referrals to mental health services, will be conducted as necessary.
    • Persons with mental health conditions can also seek care for mental health at nearby GP clinics. Under the MHGPP, over 220 GPs have been trained to work with mental health issues.
    • Persons with mental health conditions can also tap on other avenues of support, such as the network of 43 community outreach teams.
    • MOH aims to ensure multiple access paths for anybody who needs care for mental health conditions.
🏫 Preschool education
  • Wan Rizal: 
    • How many children enter Primary 1 without completing at least three years of preschool?
    • Are there any studies that track the progress of children without pre-school experience, in terms of academic progression and physical or health literacy, across primary and secondary school?
  • Cheng Li Hui: 
    • Will MOE consider making pre-school compulsory and increasing the KiFAS minimum requirement for attendance to qualify for subsidy?
  • Sun Xueling (Minister of State for Education): 
    • For 2019 cohort of Primary 1 students, 9 in 10 had at least three years in preschool, and at least 99% had some pre-school experience.
    • There is proactive outreach and targeted assistance to facilitate enrolment of children from less advantaged backgrounds:
      • ECDA’s Preschool Outreach Programme.
      • Expanding the KidSTART programme, which supports children in health and nutrition.
      • Primary 1 students are screened in their first term to see if they need additional help through the Learning Support Programme (LSP) or Learning Support for Mathematics (LSM).
    • It is important to preserve some choice in how parents would like to educate their children in their early years.
    • MOE will look into Cheng Li Hui’s suggestion regarding KiFAS.
🤝 Neighbour disputes due to WFH
  • Melvin Yong Yik Chye: 
    • What is the annual number of neighbour-dispute cases for the past five years? Any increases in such cases due to COVID-19 and telecommuting work arrangements?
    • How many neighbour-dispute cases had to be escalated to the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal (CDRT)? What are the other options for residents if the cases cannot be resolved at the tribunal? Will HDB be considering any plans or programmes to help ease tensions and foster better understanding among neighbours?
  • Louis Ng Kok Kwang: 
    • What is the percentage of feedback received by HDB that was related to second-home smoke in people’s homes? Can the HDB help in mediating such cases rather than passing them on to NEA?
  • Pritam Singh (LO, WP): 
    • Seeks clarification on the issues that come under the category of “social disamenity complaints” to HDB, and whether HDB would track neighbour disputes to improve mechanisms, such as the CDRT, and to measure the success of measures like the Kindness Movement.
  • Sim Ann (Senior Minister of State for National Development): 
    • About 2,100 cases per month from April to July 2020. Fallen to about 1,500 cases per month from August 2020 onwards, likely due to the return of children to school and more employees to workplaces.
    • From 2015-2019, about two-thirds of the 380 applications to the CDRT were resolved amicably.
    • HDB has been working with the Singapore Kindness Movement on a “Then How?” series of advisories on how best to adapt to the new normal of working or studying at home.
    • HDB has recommended that flat owners and contractors keep neighbours informed of planned renovation works so neighbours can make alternative plans. For residents who are unable to make alternative arrangements, HDB will also recommend alternative spaces where they can work, such as workspaces at nearby CCs.
    • Over 2017-2019, HDB has seen an increase in the number of complaints regarding smoking in HDB areas. 2017: 216 cases; 2018: 370 cases; 2019: 710 cases; Jan-Sep 2020: 1,290 cases.
    • Social disamenities feedback includes (but is not limited to) issues such as cigarette smoke, noise, and foul smells. Social disamenities feedback may not identify which unit originated these issues and therefore cannot be classified as neighbourly disputes.
🤝 Community dispute management
  • Yip Hon Weng: 
  • Louis Ng Kok Kwang: 
    • Is it possible for parties to do the mediation of community disputes at the CC or RC instead of at the Community Mediation Centre (CMC)? They are nearer the location of the dispute and this may increase participation in mediation.
  • Edwin Tong Chun Fai (Minister for Culture, Community and Youth; Second Minister for Law): 
    • MCCY leads an inter-agency committee that regularly reviews the CDMF to update and improve measures.
    • Mediation is a voluntary process. CMC officers will visit residents that fail to respond to a call for mediation to persuade them to come for mediation.
    • 1,500 grassroots leaders have been trained as mediators. MCCY is aiming to grow the pool to decentralise mediation and find a suitable location for all parties.
🎮 E-sports and gaming industry
  • Melvin Yong Yik Chye: 
    • How many game development companies currently operate in Singapore?
    • What is the projected number of PMET positions needed to support the growing e-sports industry in Singapore?
    • Reply from S Iswaran (Minister for Communications and Information):
      • There are about 190 game development and publishing companies, many of whom are local players (e.g. SEA Group) with a few multinationals (e.g. Ubisoft).
      • 2,700 infocomm and media professionals to support the games sector
      • Government established DigiPen (Singapore) in 2017 as a specialised school to teach students about digital animation and video game design.
      • IMDA is partnering companies to train for job roles to support the games industry (e.g. IMDA partnership with SEA Group to train 500 Data/Business Analysts, Engineers, Product Managers, UX/UI Designers over the next 2-3 years).
💾 Second reading of the Personal Data Protection (Amendment) Bill
  • Louis Chua Kheng Wee (WP): 
    • Need for stronger protections against unsolicited commercial messages (e.g. similar to the current Do Not Call Registry).
    • Give the individual the right to request organisations to delete their personal data.
  • Joan Pereira: 
    • How will the ministry deal with overseas perpetrators? How can they be caught and what recourse do our people have? Can the ministry explore cross-jurisdictional cooperation to shut down or prosecute overseas syndicates?
  • S Iswaran (Minister for Communications and Information): 
    • A mix of public education, industry self-regulation, and international collaboration is needed.
    • For transnational scams, the police collaborate closely with foreign law enforcement to investigate and cripple syndicates. Locally, we also utilise technological solutions (e.g. IMDA has required telcos to implement the “+” prefix for all incoming overseas calls to help consumers better identify spoof calls).
🍃 Waste management and green and blue space
  • Nadia Ahmad Samdin: 
    • Are there plans to look into the carrying capacity of our green and blue spaces?
    • How can trash be better managed on our Southern Islands, given that more Singaporeans have been visiting them?
  • Tan Kiat How (Minister of State for National Development): 
    • NParks actively manages the capacity of parks and nature reserves. It will continue to expand the network of parks, including nature parks, so that more can enjoy nature-based recreation.
    • SLA has installed trash bins and signs at the Southern Islands to encourage visitors to bring their trash with them when they leave. This is on top of clearing the flotsam and litter daily and working together with the community on initiatives such as beach clean-ups.
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