Parliament by numbers: Online ad budgets, phone scam victims and liquor law offenders

The opening of Singapore’s 13th Parliament on Jan 15, 2016.
The opening of Singapore’s 13th Parliament on Jan 15, 2016.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN FILE

SINGAPORE - Written replies were issued for some questions that backbencher MPs asked during Monday's Parliament sitting. Here are some of the standout numbers.

Foreign-registered cars

Malaysia-registered cars made an average of 4,000,000 trips to Singapore each year from 2011 to 2015, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in response to Mr Low Thia Khiang (Aljunied GRC).

In the same period, foreign-registered cars were involved in an average of 11,000 traffic offences each year.

Female bus drivers

A total of 575 female bus captains are employed by the four public bus operators in Singapore, and they make up about 6 per cent of the total number of bus captains here.

Of this group, 404 are in SBS Transit, 142 in SMRT Corporation, 26 in Tower Transit Singapore, and 3 in Go-Ahead Singapore.

The Land Transport Authority has been working with the operators to recruit more local bus captains, including women, said Mr Khaw in his reply to Mr Melvin Yong (Tanjong Pagar GRC).

Spending on online ads

The Ministry of Communications and Information spent $4.3 million in 2015 - or 0.5 per cent of its operating budget - on digital ads to promote major policies such as the Pioneer Generation Package, SkillsFuture scheme, Marriage and Parenthood package and integration issues.

This was spread out across multiple online media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Google.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said the Government does not keep track of the total amount ministries spend on online advertisements, in response to a question from Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan.

NSmen with mental health conditions

About 4 per cent of full-time national servicemen have mental health conditions, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in a written reply to Mr Dennis Tan.

Dr Ng added that this is lower than the 7 per cent national incidence of mental health conditions among Singaporeans between the ages of 18 to 34, as reported in a 2012 study by the Institute of Mental Health.

He also said commanders are trained so that they can better identify and manage servicemen with such problems. Servicemen with known mental health conditions declared before enlistment are also monitored and provided with counselling and medical treatment.

There are also dedicated psychologists attached to military units, and servicemen can call a 24-hour Singapore Armed Forces counselling hotline whenever they need help, said Dr Ng.

Phone scams in Singapore

Scams committed over the phone and on social media are on the rise in Singapore, and include credit-for-sex scams, internet love scams, kidnap hoax scams and lottery scams.

There were 2,450 of such cases in 2015 as compared to 1,015 cases in 2014, said Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam, in response to Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC).

These cases are typically committed by sophisticated syndicates based overseas, added the minister.

Flouting liquor laws

As of end-May 2016, more than 1,800 individuals were found to be consuming liquor during restricted hours since the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act came into effect in April 2015.

Within the liquor control zone in Little India, about 230 individuals were found to be consuming liquor during restricted hours.

Most of these individuals were first-time offenders and were issued with advisories, said Mr Shanmugam in response to Mr Melvin Yong.

There were 48 repeat offenders island-wide, of which three were within the Little India Liquor Control Zone. They were all fined.