Committee of Supply debate: 436 'cuts' filed, manpower and housing issues to dominate

MPs have filed 436 "cuts" for the Committee of Supply debate on the spending plans and policies of various ministries, which begins on March 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
MPs have filed 436 "cuts" for the Committee of Supply debate on the spending plans and policies of various ministries, which begins on March 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

SINGAPORE - Questions on jobs, training and housing policies are set to be the hottest topics in this year's debate on the spending plans and policies of various ministries which begins this afternoon and will continue for the next week.

MPs have filed 436 "cuts" for the Committee of Supply (COS) debate.

These "cuts" allow them to raise questions, complaints or suggestions over programmes of the various ministries - with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) receiving the highest number at 53 cuts, and the National Development Ministry receiving 46 cuts.

This is followed by the the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) with 38 cuts and the Ministry of Transport (MOT) at 36 cuts.

MP who wish to speak on the ministries' plans during the COS debate file a "cut" - a nominal $100 reduction in the estimates for the ministry's expenditure - that allows them to give their opinion on a particular topic. The minister and other office holders then give their response, and the MP withdraws his proposed "cut" if he is satisfied with the ministry's explanation.

Topics that look set to dominate the MOM debate include ensuring that the SkillsFuture initiative diversifies skills and meets industry needs, and recent changes to CPF and the scheme's role in retirement adequacy.

The affordability of HDB home ownership and the issue of unlocking the value of flats upon retirement will figure in the MND debate, while the reliability of public transport and the commuter experience look set to see the most airtime during the MOT debate.

yanliang@sph.com.sg