House to discuss lift breakdowns, public servants' Net delink

A demonstration to show how BCA engineers conduct audit checks for lifts.
A demonstration to show how BCA engineers conduct audit checks for lifts. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

The recent spate of lift breakdowns and the Government's move to delink public servants' computers from the Internet are among the issues to be discussed when Parliament sits next Monday.

MPs such as Ms Sun Xueling (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) want to know whether residents have any recourse if a lift breaks down repeatedly or its repair takes a long time.

Workers' Party's Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) has asked whether the newly announced stiffer rules for lift maintenance will raise costs for town councils.

Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC) wants to know if the Building and Construction Authority will consider setting up a lift expert team.

In all, seven MPs have filed questions on the subject, the most for a topic at Question Time, which will be an hour longer than the usual 90 minutes in order for ministers to address as many questions as possible.

The list of questions that the Clerk of Parliament issued yesterday shows 86 filed for Monday's sitting - the first in two months, after a break last month.

Lift incidents have been in the headlines since two high-profile cases took place in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and Jurong GRC.

In May, a 77-year-old man died in hospital after his mobility scooter toppled as he was backing out of a lift in Pasir Ris Street 21. The lift was not level with the lobby floor when it stopped.

Last October, an 86-year-old resident in Tah Ching Road lost her lower left arm after it was severed in a freak lift accident.

The Government's move to delink public servants' computers from the Internet by May next year has had Mr Alex Yam (Marsiling- Yew Tee GRC) asking what prompted the decision and about its impact on workers' productivity.

Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh has asked for a clarification of the rules of Cooling-Off Day, after the Elections Department filed police reports against two individuals for making Facebook posts supporting a candidate in the Bukit Batok by-election in May.

Workplace discrimination will be raised by three MPs, including Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC). He wants to know how the Manpower Ministry investigates complaints of racial or religious discrimination, and its powers in enforcing fair practices in workplaces.

"It's a key question in the current climate, with a downturn resulting in limited employment opportunities. It is also worthwhile to look at whether current workplace practices can be strengthened - it is not just about fair employment but also fair hiring," he said.

Brexit is also slated for discussion, with Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten) and labour MP Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC) asking if Britain's exit from the European Union will impact Singapore's economy.

Newcomer Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok) has filed an adjournment motion to talk for up to 20 minutes on challenges faced by caregivers of children with special needs.

Six government Bills will be introduced, including an Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill relating to contempt of court.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2016, with the headline 'House to discuss lift breakdowns, public servants' Net delink'. Print Edition | Subscribe