9 of our best Singapore stories and features

The Straits Times senior correspondent Toh Yong Chuan standing next to a Toyota Corolla which he rented during his driving stint as an Uber and GrabCar driver in November 2015.
The Straits Times senior correspondent Toh Yong Chuan standing next to a Toyota Corolla which he rented during his driving stint as an Uber and GrabCar driver in November 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

From covering the Zika outbreak in Singapore to tracking the horrific SMRT accident which saw two young men die, here are some of our top stories this year, in no order of merit.

1. Getting behind the wheel with Uber

Toh Yong Chuan | Jan 3,2016

Senior correspondent Toh Yong Chuan went on a driving stint to find out how much Uber and GrabCar drivers earn and whether passengers using these services are any different from those who prefer cabs. On the second day of his week-long stint as an Uber and GrabCar driver, he committed a traffic offence - obstructing a bus on a full-day bus lane.

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2. The faces behind the aid figures

Toh Yong Chuan, Janice Tai | Feb 28, 2016


Journalists Toh Yong Chuan and Janice Tai's story package looked at the individual lives behind the 91,000 figure for people who received government financial aid in 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

At least 91,000 people received a helping hand in the form of financial aid from the state in 2014. Insight looked at six families and individuals who typify those on social assistance in Singapore, in a report that went beyond the big-picture trends, numbers and government announcements in tackling the poverty issue in Singapore.

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3. SMRT track accident at Pasir Ris: Trainee barely escaped as best friend was killed

Seow Bei Yi | Mar 24, 2016


Muhammad Hatin Kamil (centre) suffered the agony of seeing his best friend Nasrulhudin Najumudin killed by a train in March. PHOTO: ST FILE

24-year-old Muhammad Hatin Kamil recalled how his two colleagues died in the SMRT accident at Pasir Ris. He and Mr Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26, had been "best buddies". But the friendship between the two SMRT maintenance staff came to a tragic end when Mr Hatin saw Mr Nasrulhudin killed by a train as they went to inspect the track near Pasir Ris MRT station. It was the first time the two friends were on the tracks during the day. The trainees joined the train operator only in January. Mr Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, also died in the accident. He was also part of the 15-man team sent to investigate a possible fault with track equipment.

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4. Diabetes: The rice you eat is worse than sugary drinks

Salma Khalik | May 6, 2016


White rice was identified by health authorities here as one of the top culprits putting Singaporeans at increased risk of diabetes. PHOTO: ST FILE

Health authorities here identified white rice as one of their top concerns as they wage war on diabetes. White rice is even more potent than sweet soda drinks in causing the disease, they said. Asians are more predisposed to diabetes than Caucasians. Starchy white rice can overload their bodies with blood sugar and heighten their risk of developing diabetes. 

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5. Singapore public servants' computers to have no Internet access from May next year

Irene Tham | June 8, 2016


ST tech editor Irene Tham revealed in June that internet access for all computers used by public servants in Singapore will be cut off from May next year. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

All computers used officially by public servants in Singapore will be cut off from the Internet from May next year, in an unprecedented move to tighten security, The Straits Times has learnt. The move is aimed at plugging potential leaks from work e-mails and shared documents amid heightened security threats. Trials started with some employees within the Infocomm Development Authority of  Singapore (IDA) - the lead agency for this exercise - as early as April. Web surfing can be done only on the employees' personal tablets or mobile phones as these devices do not have access to government e-mail systems. Dedicated Internet terminals have been issued to those who need them for work.

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6. MRT train refurbishment plan on hold

Christopher Tan | Aug 11, 2016


The Land Transport Authority said in August that it would be looking to buy new trains instead of refurbishing old ones. PHOTO: ST FILE

Old MRT trains due for refurbishment maybe replaced instead. With the Government set to assume ownership of rail assets from SMRT, it is looking at the cost effectiveness and rail reliability of buying new trains instead of overhauling old ones. 

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7. Aljunied woman is first case of local Zika infection

Salma Khalik | Aug 28, 2016


A National Environment Agency (NEA) personnel carrying out misting near Block 101, Aljunied Crescent, on Sept 2, 2016. A woman living in Aljunied who tested positive for the Zika virus in August was the first locally transmitted case here. PHOTO: ST FILE

A 47-year-old woman tested positive for the Zika virus, in the first locally transmitted case here. This follows the first Zika case here in May involving a 48-year-old man who had visited Brazil, one of the Zika-affected countries. The second patient, a Malaysian who lives in Aljunied Crescent, has had no travel history to Zika-affected countries.

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8. Conserved buildings: Consult public before slicing and dicing

Melody Zaccheus | Sep 8, 2016


Journalist Melody Zaccheus called for a more consultative approach by the Government for the conservation of historical landmarks here. ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

Physical landmarks help people identify with their city and give them a sense of identity and solidarity. Conservation experts are appalled that local heritage buildings and sites can be demolished to make way for expressways and MRT stations. There are calls to discuss and suggest alternatives to such developments.

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9. NKF sacks CEO for offence against male colleague

Salma Khalik, Janice Tai | Nov 17, 2016


NKF moved swiftly over eight days to investigate, seek legal advice and then fire its former CEO Edmund Kwok. PHOTO: ST FILE

"Because of its seriousness, and as advised by our lawyers that it is a reportable case, we have made a police report," NKF chairman Koh Poh Tiong said at a press conference. Mr Kwok, who is married with two children, was dismissed on Nov 14, 2016.  NKF's 11-member board was unanimous in deciding that strong and swift action had to be taken because one man's personal indiscretion "cannot and must not affect the whole organisation," he said.

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