Morning Minutes: What will make headlines, April 4, 2016

Parliament will begin its nine-day sitting on April 4, 2016, to debate on Budget 2016.
Parliament will begin its nine-day sitting on April 4, 2016, to debate on Budget 2016.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

Good morning! Morning Minutes is a round-up of stories that will break on Monday, April 4, and which we think you'd be interested in.

It appears on weekdays, available by 7am.

Parliament to start debate on Budget 2016

Parliament will sit for nine days, starting today (April 4), to debate the Government's Budget statement for the financial year, and hot topics will include help for small businesses and vulnerable Singaporeans to weather the uncertain economic climate.

In the first three days of the annual marathon, MPs will weigh in on the programmes and spending priorities that Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on March 24.

Mr Heng will respond to their comments and concerns on Wednesday, after which the plans and policies of various ministries will be debated.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC), chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance as well as Trade and Industry, is expected to start the debate today (April 4).

He will talk about "the challenges of getting our act together and how our workforce can better prepare for the structural changes to come". - RACHEL AU-YONG

Release of March PMI to indicate state of manufacturing sector


Workers in a medical clean room environment at a manufacturing plant in Woodlands, which supplies medical components and devices. PHOTO: ST FILE

Investors will be looking to a new survey out late today (April 4) for fresh indications on the state of Singapore's struggling manufacturing sector.

The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for March will reflect the level of confidence among factory executives in likely demand for their output.

The February PMI reading was the lowest in three years and marked the eighth straight month of contraction in the sector.

Voting for elections in India's West Bengal state begins


Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L K Advani (right) greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) at a ceremony in Parliament in New Delhi, on February 29, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Voting for elections in India's eastern state of West Bengal starts today (April 4), with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationally ruling Bharatiya Janata Party battling powerful regional groups.

The vote will be held in five phrases, lasting a month, and takes place against the backdrop of a deadly flyover collapse in state capital, Kolkata, a project over which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had already faced criticism before the tragedy.

The incident means Ms Banerjee's centre-left Trinamool Congress party faces a more complicated road to re-election.