Thursday, May 28, 2015Thursday, May 28, 2015
Singapore Budget 2013
Both elite athletes and recreational sports enthusiasts will receive boosts to up their game over the next five years.
The government will boost its spending on sports programming by more than $250 million over the next five years to build a strong sporting culture among Singaporeans.
A new fund will be established to support ground-up initiatives which promote racial and religious harmony. This was announced by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Sam Tan in Parliament on Friday.
To better engage volunteers, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) will hire volunteer management consultants to work with non-profit organisations. This was announced by Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong in Parliament on Friday.
To ensure that arts and heritage is funded and supported not just by the Government but also corporations and individuals, the Government will set aside a $200 million Cultural Donation Matching Fund to match private sector donations to arts and heritage groups, museums and institutions.
TWO Members of Parliament have called for the Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and its related agencies to step up to the plate and champion artists and artistic freedom.
To spur the arts community here to excel, the Singapore Arts Festival, which was organised by the National Arts Council (NAC), will return next year under a new company set up by the council.
Singaporeans and permanent residents will be able to enjoy free entry to all national museums and heritage institutions from May 18.
Two new Mendaki centres in Pasir Ris and Woodlands will be launched later this month.
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) has reviewed its haj pilgrimage registration policy to give priority to first-time applicants. They will be allocated 90 per cent of places in any given year, leaving the rest of the slots for repeat pilgrims, announced Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim in Parliament on Friday.
A new skills centre will be set up to give students a second chance to obtain their qualifications, such as the N-, O- and A-levels.
The Manpower Ministry is consolidating the work of three programmes into a mega programme called WorkPro to promote work-life harmony. Some $170 million will be spent over three years to help employers with this, as well as to encourage employers to hire and retain back-to-work locals and mature workers.
Singapore's main labour law, the Employment Act, will be updated to give professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) more legal protection, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin announced in Parliament on Thursday.
More workers will enjoy protections related to working hours, such as overtime pay, in the upcoming Employment Act review, said Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin on Thursday in Parliament.
Firms will have to pay their full-time local workers at least $1,000 a month in order to hire foreigners as part of new requirements announced by Acting Minister Tan Chuan-Jin in Parliament on Thursday.
Service firms will be able to pay less in levies for work permit holders classified as skilled workers according to new criteria set out by the Manpower Ministry. Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin announced this in Parliament on Thursday.
Childcare and infant care leave will now be extended to single unwed parents, said Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing in Parliament on Thursday.
Forty million will be set aside over the next three years to cultivate a pro-family environment in the community. The funds will allow schools and workplaces to run family life education programmes aimed at helping Singaporeans improve the quality of their family life.
Soon, your preschooler may attend a childcare centre built in a hawker centre. The Government is looking into locating childcare centres with other facilities, as it ramps up the building of childcare centres ahead of demand.
A current pilot where elderly residents enjoy independent living in a group home at a block in Pipit road is going well, and the Government intends to roll out 60 more such homes by 2016, said Acting Minister of Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing in Parliament on Thursday. These 60 homes will be able to serve about 700 elderly in total.
Acting Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF) Chan Chun Sing on Thursday in Parliament revealed that he will chair a committee to implement the Enabling Masterplan 2012-2016.
Four new social service offices will be set up in Housing Board towns such as Kreta Ayer, Jalan Besar, Jurong West and Bukit Panjang-Choa Chu Kang by the end of this year, said Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing in Parliament on Thursday.
MANY parents and students feel that our education system is too focused on examinations and grades. This excessive focus has several consequences:
Social assistance schemes are being reviewed by the Government to ensure that the needy do not fall through the cracks because of rigid criteria, said Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing in Parliament on Thursday.

The Debate so far

Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth

  • About $250 million will be spent to improve sports facilities in Singapore over the next five years, This will include opening up more facilities within schools, for community usage.
  • Revised national High Performance System, which would get the Singapore Sports Institute working more closely with the respective National Sports Associations to provide national athletes with support.
  • A Super Sports Club will be formed to give Singaporeans more chances at staying active through sports. It means greater access to facilities operated by the Singapore Sports Council, programmes for all age groups and sporting abilities, and even professional coaches and instructors. 
  • Up to five regional sports centres across the island by 2030. 
  • Free entry to museums year-round for Singaporeans and permanent residents from May 18.
  • The arts industry will be consulted on the implementation of the $200 million Cultural Donation Matching Fund to be rolled out later this year. The fund aims to widen ownership of the arts within the larger community.
  • Singapore Arts Festival to return in 2014 and be run by a new company set up by the National Arts Council. Plans are also underway for Singapore to participate in the Venice Biennale in 2015. 
  • An additional $75 million will be pumped into the National Youth Endowment Fund which provides seed money for youth to organise social and community projects.
  • A new $5m Harmony Fund to be run over three years fund for initiatives that promote racial and religious harmony. 
  • National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) will hire volunteer management consultants to work with charities on a project basis to help them with volunteer management.

Muslim Affairs

  • A new Mendaki college will be set up to give students a second chance to obtain their qualifications, such as the N-, O- and A-levels.
  • First-time applicants will have 90 per cent of haj places reserved for them every year. Repeat pilgrims have to wait 10 years before their next haj. 
  • Two new Mendaki centres in Pasir Ris and Woodlands will be launched later this month to give residents easier access to the self-help group's services.

Ministry of Manpower

  • Employment Act will be updated to give more protection to professionals, managers and executives. The revamped Act will also extend overtime pay and other protections related to working hours to more workers.
  • $170 million fund called WorkPro for companies to implement flexible-work arrangements and redesign jobs to attract back-to-work locals and older workers.
  • Changes will be made to the Employment Pass Framework later this year with the intent of levelling the playing field for junior to mid-level PMEs.
  • Firms will have to pay their local workers at least $1,000 a month for these workers to be considered full-time workers. This will have a bearing on how many foreign workers a firm can hire based on the Dependency Ratio Ceiling.
  • New criteria added will mean that a group of work permit holders in the service industry will be upgraded to skilled workers fromJuly. 
  • Rules for EntrePass, an employment pass for foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a business here, will be tightened from Sep 1.

Ministry of Social and Family Development

  • $40 million fund that schools and workplaces can tap on to run family life education programmes.
  • 60 senior homes, where elderly residents enjoy independent living in a group home, to be built by 2016 
  • Childcare leave and infant leave will be extended to single and unwed parents from May 1. 
  • Acting Minister for MSF Chan Chun Sing will chair a committee to implement the Enabling Masterplan 2013-1026 which outlines programmes and services for the disabled.
  • By 2017, there will be full-day childcare places for at least one in two children, up from one in three. These centres may share space with facilities like hawker centres and carparks. 
  • Four social services offices by year-end and a total of 20 over the next few years. The offices will be one-stop help centres close to the homes of needy residents.

Ministry of Education

  • Fifteen government-run kindergartens will be set up over the next three years in HDB estates, with the first five opening in 2014. 
  • New ITE three-year programme aimed at giving foundational skills to students with less than two N-level passes and help them complete their Nitec courses.
  • Programmes will be rolled out over the next two to three years to help weaker students from Primary 1 to Secondary 4 in English and Maths. 
  • Expansion of reading for pupils with dyslexia programme to 22 more primary schools, benefitting an additional 340 Primary 3 pupils.

Ministry of Transport

  • Electronic Road Pricing will remain in the evenings and on Saturdays as the charging has been effective in reducing congestion on our roads. 
  • Engine capacity may no longer be used as the main criteria in the future to determine Certificate of Entitlement categories. 
  • Car-sharing schemes will be made more accessible with the LTA working with Housing Board on sites for car-sharing schemes to park their vehicles. LTA will also review a scheme which allows car owners to rent out their cars on weekends and public holidays. 
  • Another 90km of cycling paths will be built, bringing total length of paths to 210km in 16 neighbourhoods by 2020. LTA will also study the idea of on-road cycling where feasible. Jurong Lake will pilot a bicycle sharing scheme.
  • A new committee has been set up to focus on improving road safety, especially for the elderly and school children. 
  • Changi Airport will get a third runway by 2020.
  • Government is studying seriously the idea of providing free or cheaper travel for morning off-peak travel.
  •  $50 million to be pumped in to extend bus priority incentives including bus lanes and the Mandatory Give Way to bus scheme.
  •  Bulk of the Bus Services Enhancement Plan to be rolled out by 2014, earlier than the 2016 originally promised. 
  • A trial of 25 bus services where operators need to improve their en-route management of their bus operations.

Ministry of Health

  •  Four new hospitals and up to 12 polyclinics to be built by 2030 
  • The Government will increase its healthcare financing contributions from the current one-third to about 40 per cent or more. 
  • Enhanced licensing standards for nursing homes from 2014 
  •  Patients will no longer have to shell out the $3 administrative fee for Medisave use.
  • Shops cannot display cigarette packs for sale.

Ministry of Environment and Water Resources

  • Proposed law to license all cleaning companies from next year. Licence requirements include mandatory training for workers and a progressive wage model for cleaners. 
  •  Subsidised rents for long-term hawkers will continue even after leases run out between 2014 and 2017. Five new hawker centres will also be built by 2016.
  • Anti-littering enforcement will be stepped up, with more officers on patrol and a 50 per cent increase in the number of hours of patrolling time. 
  •  A scheme will be put in place to incentivise owners of older vehicles to upgrade to newer models with better emissions.

Ministry of Defence

  • Committee to Strengthen National Service set up to show more appreciate to NS Men and get the buy-in from citizens and PRs.
  • Civilian doctors to serve at selected SAF medical centres. They will help train and mentor SAF medical officers. 
  • New directorate to review the SAF’s training safety system. More officers will also be deployed in the army’s ground units spot risks and safety hazards. 
  • More experienced regular commanders will be deployed to training institutes and operational units to better train those in their first year of NS.

Ministry of Finance

  • The Ministry with working with Public Service Division to develop a Procurement Specialist Track, with professional development opportunities and proper career pathways.

Ministry of Trade and Industry

  • SME Talent Programme will match 3,000 students with small and medium enterprises over the next five years. The Government will co-fund the programme, which will amount to more than $70 million over 5 years. 
  • Collaborative Industry Projects will be extended to six more sectors to encourage businesses to work together to benefit from integrating and economies of scale. Some $90 million over the next three years will be committed. 
  • A $5 million fund called Kickstart Fund to support lifestyle concepts with strong tourism potential
  • A $20 million fund called the Global Company Partnership programme which will involve matching young talents to companies that are expanding overseas and help key executives acquire international human resources expertise.
  • A $51 million programme called the Technology Adoption Programme for companies to easily access better technology from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).

Ministry of National Development

  • The supply of rental flats will be raised to 60,000, The new target is up from the promised 57,000 rental flats by 2015.
  • Companies which use more than 8 MWh a month of electricity will be able to buy electricity from the open market from April 1, 2014. Those which use more than 4 MWh will be able to do so from October 1, 2014. 
  • More funding for smaller firms under the Construction and Productivity and Capability Fund with Government funding up to 70% up from current 50% for those using equipment that can achieve at least 30% productivity. 
  • Contractors also need to adopt more easier-to-construct designs in order to bid for new projects starting July, with an increase in the Buildability and Constructability score.
  • Plans to impose a cap on the number of foreigner tenants in each HDB block. This rule does not apply to Malaysians.
  • Parenthood Priority Scheme will be extended to pregnant mothers from the May Build-to-Order (BTO) launch.
  • Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme, which is a rental housing option to first-time buyers with children while they wait for their flats to be completed, extended to first-time buyers without children.
  • Another 25,000 BTO flats to be launched this year, up from 23,000 announced.
  • First-time buyers who are single, above 35 and earning less than $5,000 will be able to buy new two-room flats directly from HDB.
  • The second-timer quota for two-room and three-room flats in non-mature estates will be doubled from 15% to 30%. In addition 5% of this quota will be reserved for divorcees, or widows with children below 16.
  • The debarment period for divorcees for subsidised flats will be reduced from five to three years.
  • New scheme to reserve half of the supply of Studio Apartments for seniors who apply for a flat near their current one, or near their children's home.
  • Extension of the Enhancement for Active Seniors programme to all HDB towns. It is aimed at enhancing the safety and comfort of elderly HDB residents.

Ministry of Communications and Information

    • Faster speeds and enhanced capacity for Wireless@SG.
    • Library users will also be able to borrow eight items up from six. There also be 820,000 more e-books released for borrowing by end-2013.
    • $182 million over next four years to support locally-produced documentaries and current affairs programmes, in addition to the $630 million already promised.
    • From April, a special label will be put on new television sets which can support the upcoming digital TV signals for free-to-air channels, which will be broadcasted from year-end.
    • Arts groups will soon have the power to classify performances they stage on their own under a new licence scheme.

Ministry of Law

      • Laws are being re-examined to help better resolve community disputes.
      • MPs call for video recording of the statements of people in custody to protect enforcement agencies against groundless accusations and save time during trials: Ministry says there are no plans at the moment.
      • A regime of mutual disclosure in criminal cases will only be expanded to cover more cases, when enforcement agencies are ready to comply with the processes required.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

      • Shanmugam: Crucial for Asean to regain its unity and credibility. Meanwhile, Singapore must continue to be nimble amid uncertain geopolitical situation and global economic uncertainties.

Ministry of Home Affairs

        • New cyber security lab set up to hone Home Team officers' skills in countering cyber attacks
        • Police cameras to be installed in another 650 Housing Board blocks by year-end. These cameras will be in all 10,000 HDB blocks and multi-storey car parks by end-2016
        • Inter-agency effort underway to study how community disputes can be addressed better 
        • From June, motorcycle Class 2B learner riders must undergo Expressway Familiarisation Ride course before they get their licence. 
        • New voluntary safe driving course for motorists who have accumulated half or more of maximum allowable demerit points. Those who pass will get three demerit points deducted from their record.
        • Traffic Police to deploy 70 more officers on the road by year-end, increasing their patrol presence by 50%. 
        • Network of 300 digital red light and digital speed cameras by end-2014.
        • Traffic Police and LTA working to tighten existing speed limiter regime by introducing additional inspection requirements for heavy vehicles caught speeding
        • Motorists will get an additional demerit point if they commit a speeding, red-running, careless driving or inconsiderate driving offence in enhanced school zones
        • New blog targeted at youth to increase reach of anti-drug message
        • Direct Supervision Order for new young low-risk drug abusers to include a compulsory counselling component involving them and their families 
        • Halfway house in Selarang Park Complex to provide a structured environment to supervise and rehabilitate high-risk inmates under the Mandatory Aftercare Scheme