Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of National Development

Out of the box

Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh
Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh
Mr Saktiandi Supaat
Mr Saktiandi Supaat
Nominated MP Kuik Shiao-Yin
Nominated MP Kuik Shiao-Yin
Mr Baey Yam Keng
Mr Baey Yam Keng
Mr Louis Ng
Mr Louis Ng

Several MPs flagged problems and offered suggestions on how to deal with them during yesterday's debate in Parliament. They were discussing the budgets of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Development. Pearl Lee highlights five standout ideas.

SKILLSFUTURE AWARDS FOR MUMS

Women who have just had a baby may find it hard to get back to the workforce, noted Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh.

To encourage this group of women to re-enter the workforce, the Government could set up a SkillsFuture Mummy Award available to women on maternity leave. The award, which would be valid for a year, would encourage the women to go for training to remain updated in their industries. This, said Dr Goh, would ease their return to the workplace.

VOLUNTEERS TO HELP SENIORS EMBRACE TECH

With technology fast becoming a part of one's daily life, it is crucial that digital services are kept accessible and convenient, said Mr Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC). Yet, he often hears complaints from the older folk that they find it difficult to use the SingPass two-factor authentication, as well as the one-time password service meant to enhance security. He suggested putting together a team of volunteers in the community to teach senior citizens how to navigate government e-services.

PROTOTYPING USER EXPERIENCE OF SINGLE PARENTS GETTING AN HDB FLAT

Single parents often face difficulties when trying to secure a Housing Board flat, Nominated MP Kuik Shiao-Yin noted. To understand the challenges these parents face when trying to gain access to housing, she suggested HDB prototype a user experience journey based on a single parent navigating the public housing system. HDB could form a support unit specialising in communicating and coordinating housing services for families transitioning to single-parent households, she added.

SHARE DATA TO TACKLE MUNICIPAL ISSUES

Municipal issues, such as irresponsible cat feeding, high-rise littering and noise nuisances, could be better tackled if different public agencies shared their data, Mr Baey Yam Keng (Tampines GRC) said.

The authorities could glean "powerful insights" if data collected by the various public agencies is linked. For instance, the 62,000 police cameras installed in HDB estates to deter and solve crimes, such as loan-sharking, theft and outrage of modesty, may be useful in solving municipal issues, he said.

LICENCE, QUOTA SYSTEM FOR SHORT-TERM HOME RENTALS

The Government should regulate short-term home rentals instead of banning them, Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) said. Licences could be given to let property owners rent out their homes for a number of days. The licence and the number of days the home can be rented out in a year can be revoked and reduced respectively if there are legitimate complaints, he said. The number of days can also be raised if the authorities are satisfied, he added, saying such a system will incentivise property owners to not cause disamenity to other residents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline 'Out of the box'. Print Edition | Subscribe