Debate In 2 Minutes

The fifth and last day of debate on the President's Address had six MPs speak on topics such as jobs and engaging Singaporeans. These came after parliamentary questions on new flats, parking spaces and the MRT.

2-hour free parking at parks may be extended

The National Parks Board will look into extending a new two-hour free parking policy to carparks at various parks. Said Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee: "This is to benefit... users, many of whom are seniors."

Closer ties with foreign anti-crime agencies

To tackle transnational organised crime and terrorism, a Bill was introduced to let Singapore's law enforcement agencies work even closer with their international counterparts.

This is one of two key proposed changes to the Registration of Criminals Act.

Call to engage and consult citizens

Two of the six MPs who spoke on the President's Address called for more conversations.

Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, stressed the importance of engaging and consulting citizens, while Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC) wanted the Government to set up a task force to recommend ways to strengthen inter-racial and inter-religious harmony.

Create value and share it, says Heng Swee Keat

For Singaporeans to achieve their dreams, the country must continue "creating value" and share what is created, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

It needs to stay open and be innovative and adaptive in a new global economy. The Committee on the Future Economy, which he chairs, will study how Singapore can be an innovation lab for the world.

Closing remarks on five-day debate

Rounding up the debate on the President's Address, Mr Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) acknowledged each of the 62 MPs who spoke over five days. A supporter of political mentorship, he wanted it preserved as he described the value of being mentored by veteran politicians.

NCMP motion amended and passed

Parliament yesterday voted to declare Ms Lee Li Lian's NCMP seat vacant and to let it be filled. But the nod was given after the motion was changed to add the point that it was a "political manoeuvre".

The change was proposed by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, who was one of seven MPs who spoke in the debate. Four were from the Workers' Party (WP) and three from the People's Action Party.

WP chief Low Thia Khiang (Aljunied GRC) and his party members defended the party's decision to move the motion despite its objection to the NCMP scheme in principle.

The PAP MPs accused the the WP of taking "full advantage of the NCMP seat even as its secretary-general (Mr Low) criticises NCMPs", and successfully amended the motion to reflect their accusation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2016, with the headline 'Debate In 2 Minutes'. Print Edition | Subscribe