Looking forward to 2017: Health, defence, technology

Skyline of CBD on the Jubilee Bridge on March 24, 2016.
Skyline of CBD on the Jubilee Bridge on March 24, 2016.PHOTO: ST FILE

As 2016 draws to a close, with many notable events shaping what has been called by many a year of change, 2017 looks set to be just as significant. The Straits Times looks at what to expect for health, defence and technology. Up next: Seamless care transitions, enhanced ElderShield, anti-diabetes efforts in action.


Health: Care system largely in place, time to consolidate

Many of the pieces in Singapore's healthcare system are already in place, including insurance coverage for everyone against big bills which can be incurred even with subsidised care.

Perhaps the most important work next year will be the "war on diabetes" that Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced in April. One of the major causes of diabetes is a sedentary lifestyle coupled with consumption of unhealthy food and drinks.
Perhaps the most important work next year will be the "war on diabetes" that Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced in April. One of the major causes of diabetes is a sedentary lifestyle coupled with consumption of unhealthy food and drinks. PHOTO: ST FILE

More hospitals and nursing homes have also come online to meet rising needs. Members of the pioneer generation, who might not have enough savings to meet healthcare needs as they age, have also received more help.

Next year should see a consolidation of the different levels of care, so that the transition from one level to the next is seamless.

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Defence: 2 milestones to mark on Mindef's calendar

The Singapore Armed Forces has taken on domestic security and is no longer just a conventional fighting force.
The Singapore Armed Forces has taken on domestic security and is no longer just a conventional fighting force. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore will mark two important, intertwined defence milestones next year - the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore, and the 50th anniversary of national service.

The island's unexpected fall in 1942 during World War II will be commemorated as always on Feb 15, what is now known as Total Defence Day. The 75th anniversary of the British surrender, and the ensuing three years of oppressive Japanese rule, will be used to drive home the day's core message - that Singapore cannot rely on others to defend itself.

It is also fitting that the year will see the 50th anniversary, or jubilee, of national service (NS), started in 1967 to build up a citizen military for a newly independent Singapore.

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Technology; More than a mobile price war looming

Analysts note that TPG faces a mature market in entering Singapore, with limited growth potential and demanding customers. But they are also hopeful it will be a disruptive force.
Analysts note that TPG faces a mature market in entering Singapore, with limited growth potential and demanding customers. But they are also hopeful it will be a disruptive force. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Now that Singapore has crowned its fourth mobile operator, what's next? Next year looks to be one for consumers to hold off on signing two-year telco contracts for new-fangled handsets - that is, until new kid on the block TPG Telecom launches its mobile service plans.

TPG, which hails from Australia, won the rights to operate a chunk of mobile airwaves in Singapore with its $105 million bid in an airwave auction on Dec 14.

Its rights, which will begin in April, come with obligations to launch nationwide mobile services by September 2018.

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