The Big Story: Parliament debates proposed law to counter foreign interference

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SINGAPORE - Catch up on the hottest topics on The Big Story, The Straits Times' weekday online news programme.

A petition to seek further consultation and scrutiny on a proposed law against foreign interference will not delay the debate on the law, after Parliament voted to discuss both the petition and the law at the same time.

This was decided after Deputy Leader of the House Zaqy Mohamad said that the petition by Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai will be rendered nugatory, or futile, since Parliament was already set to debate the proposed Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act or Fica on Monday (Oct 4).

At the start of the sitting, Mr Zaqy's proposal for both matters to be debated together was voted through, with MPs from the opposition Workers' Party and PSP recording their dissent.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said an announcement will be made later this week on whether home-based learning (HBL) will be extended for primary schools.

He explained that the announcement is not being made immediately because school staff should focus on the ongoing PSLE, and his ministry wants to inform educators first.

Separately, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that Singapore's home recovery programme (HRP) was not fully ready to deal with the surge in Covid-19 patients.

But the country has otherwise planned ahead for the spike in cases, including having measures in place to ensure hospitals and healthcare workers can cope with more patients.

Looking overseas, more than 90 Chinese military planes entered the island's air defence zone over the weekend, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Defence. This comes as China marked its National Day on Oct 1.

Tweeting about the incursions, Taiwan's Defence Ministry said the Chinese air force aircraft flew near the south-western part of its air defence zone - close to the Pratas Islands.

China correspondent Danson Cheong weighs in.

Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity.

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