Parliament Briefs: Fire safety: 30 firms indicted yearly

Fire safety: 30 firms indicted yearly

Some 30 industrial firms are prosecuted each year for very serious infringements of fire safety rules or non-compliance, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling yesterday.

This is out of a total of around 3,200 cases of enforcement action taken by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) each year from 2015 to 2017.

During the period, SCDF attended to around 150 industrial fires a year.

It also conducted about 10,000 fire safety inspections annually in the past three years to check if sprinklers, fire alarms and exit signs are working in industrial premises.

Police efforts slash love scam cases

The number of love scams has been steadily decreasing as police stepped up enforcement to foil them, said Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs.

Reports of love scams fell from about 100 cases in September last year to about 40 in February this year. In such scams, perpetrators befriend their victims through social media and dating platforms before cheating them of their money.

Since October 2017, the police Transnational Commercial Crime Task Force, which also tackles love scams, has seized more than $1 million from scammers and closed around 300 bank accounts of money mules connected to the scams.

Special needs training for teachers

The four specialised schools here each has about 10 staff who have gone through extra training to support students' special needs.

This is well above what is provided for in a typical secondary school, said Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education, in Parliament yesterday.

About 15 per cent of the teachers in these schools - Crest and Spectra Secondary Schools, Northlight School and Assumption Pathway School - have a higher level of training in special needs.

All teachers in the schools, which cater to academically weaker students, have received training for special education needs awareness and also go through regular professional development.

Free live sports telecast: Costs rising

It is becoming more challenging to provide free live broadcasts of international sports events as the costs of these broadcast rights have gone up significantly.

For the Fifa World Cup 2018, broadcasters paid an estimated 25 to 75 per cent more this year compared to 2014, said Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran in a written response to Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC).

Among other things, she wanted to know if the Government would work with commercial sponsors to make such events available for free in the future.

Mr Iswaran said broadcasters find it difficult to recoup the escalating costs of broadcast rights, so commercial sponsorship is important.

"We welcome more sponsors to partner our broadcasters to make live broadcasts of such international sports events more accessible to Singaporean viewers," he said.

All 64 World Cup 2018 matches are being screened free across public venues such as community centres, and nine of these - including the upcoming two semi-finals and the final - are also being broadcast live on Mediacorp's Okto channel for free.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2018, with the headline 'Parliament Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe