Debate In 2 Minutes

The death of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim, who killed himself last month shortly after he was questioned over an alleged molestation case, dominated yesterday's Parliament sitting.

After two ministers made statements on the issue, 13 MPs rose with further questions.


Police followed protocol

In the first of two ministerial statements on Benjamin Lim's case, Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said police had followed procedures and there was no evidence that the police interview directly led to the student taking his life.

Acting Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said that while schools take steps to look after students, they cannot obstruct police investigations.

He said his ministry would work with the police in a review of police processes involving the young.


More idling vehicles

Over the last three years, 12,000 motorists were booked for leaving the engines of their parked vehicles running. At an average of 4,000 a year, this was far more than the 360 in 2012.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said the jump was due to more public complaints about such idling vehicles, and greater enforcement.


Killer-litter cases on the rise

High-rise littering did not cause any deaths last year, though the police arrested two such litterbugs who caused injuries.

Some 2,800 cases of high-rise littering were reported, said Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor.

This was up from 2,500 in 2014 and 1,600 in 2013.


Doctor-to-people ratio: Hiring on track

Asked about plans to improve the ratio of doctors and nurses to the population, Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat said that this would not necessarily lead to better healthcare.

He added that Singapore is on track to meeting its target of recruiting 20,000 healthcare workers between 2011 and 2020.


Pioneer Generation, NEA Bills passed

The Pioneer Generation Fund (Amendment) Bill, clarifying that pioneers should receive Pioneer Generation benefits regardless of their income, was passed without debate.

Three Workers' Party MPs objected to the National Environment Agency (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill,which gives volunteers more powers to act against litterbugs. It was passed unchanged.


Call to explore new industries

Singapore should explore opportunities presented by large-scale indoor farming and solar energy generation, NCMP Leon Perera suggested in an adjournment motion.

Investing in these areas could reduce reliance on imported food and fuel and help local firms develop expertise that can be exported overseas, he said.


Janice Heng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2016, with the headline 'DebateIn2Minutes'. Print Edition | Subscribe