askST: Why It Matters

Every day on Page 2 of The Straits Times, reporters write about why certain news reports matter to readers. This is a weekly round-up of the columns.

Budget 2016 made plain that the Government would not be bailing out "zombie" businesses and that it would offer targeted help only to viable operations, said assistant business editor Yasmine Yahya.

Firms ready to take things to the next level will be in good stead to tap new initiatives, such as the Industry Transformation Programme. But for companies that pinned their hopes on more bailouts and relief measures, it's time to buckle down and upgrade - or face annihilation.

The annual Balikatan military exercises between the United States and the Philippines offer a useful lens with which to see Washington's intentions in South-east Asia, noted Philippines Correspondent Raul Dancel.

In recent years, the US had used Balikatan to remind China that Washington is still very much engaged in the region. With tensions rising in the South China Sea, that message is being reinforced this year: that Washington stands ready to work with its allies to defend common goals.

The third edition of the Enabling Masterplan, which is in the works, will affect more than the estimated 3 per cent of the population who have disabilities, said reporter Janice Tai.

With Singapore's ageing society, the range of people suffering disabilities - be it paralysis from a stroke or the loss of basic functions due to dementia - will be far wider than those born with physical or mental impairments.

Indonesia Bureau Chief Francis Chan noted that Jakarta has taken steps to tackle the haze problem, including getting tough on errant farmers and plantation companies.

When isolated fires broke out in Riau last week, the local government was also able to deploy some 1,000 firefighters to douse the flames. But the real test is when the dry season goes into full swing.

Manpower Correspondent Toh Yong Chuan cheered the recent move requiring employers to issue itemised payslips and provide workers with their key employment terms in writing .

The changes signal clearly that the Government is serious about protecting low-wage workers who may not know their rights. Having a paper trail will also help workers when there are disputes, he noted.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2016, with the headline 'askST: Why It Matters'. Print Edition | Subscribe