Debate In 2 Minutes

The changing economy and its impact on workers and companies featured heavily in Parliament yesterday.

Sixteen MPs, including both Non-Constituency MPs from the Workers' Party, responded to the President's Address on the second day of the debate.


Helping workers

Globalisation is changing the jobs of low-wage workers, freelancers, and professionals, managers and executives, said MPs as they suggested ways to help these groups.

Mr Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) said it should be compulsory for employers to follow the National Wages Council's guidelines on pay hikes for low-wage workers. Mr Ang Hin Kee (Ang Mo Kio GRC) called for policies affecting freelancers to be updated.


Encouraging risk

Mr Henry Kwek (Nee Soon GRC) said small and medium-sized enterprises would be more willing to take risks if the Government funds the small-scale testing of their ideas, while Mr Chee Hong Tat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) urged society not to be too hard on people who try and fail.


Fighting terrorism

All communities in Singapore must reject extremist doctrines, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim and Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman.

The Malay-Muslim community should speak with one voice against these doctrines, they said.


NCMPs join debate

NCMPs Dennis Tan and Leon Perera warned of the dangers of having a state dominated by a single political party.

Veteran PAP MPs disagreed, with Mr Cedric Foo (Pioneer) saying that the NCMP scheme, which ensures alternative voices in Parliament,was put in place by the PAP Government.


Seize opportunities

The merger of the Media Development Authority and Infocomm Development Authorityshows that Singapore is adapting to the changing infocomm technology and media industries, said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.

The Minister for Communications and Information said Singapore will be better positioned to seize opportunities resulting from the changes.


Ageing happily

MPs called for more to be done to help elderly Singaporeans lead active, healthy lives as they age.

Ms Cheryl Chan (Fengshan) suggested building integrated social hubs where the elderly can socialise and keep active.


New Bills introduced

Three new Bills to amend the laws governing the Central Provident Fund, Women's Charter and Pioneer Generation Fund were introduced.


Committees picked

Ms Jessica Tan (East Coast GRC) was nominated to head Parliament's Public Accounts Committee.

Separately, Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC) was nominated to chair the Estimates Committee.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2016, with the headline 'DebateIn 2Minutes'. Print Edition | Subscribe