The changing economy and its impact on workers and companies featured heavily in Parliament on Tuesday (Jan 26).
Sixteen MPs, including both Non-Constituency MPs from the Workers' Party, responded to the President's Address on the second day of the debate.
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 policies affecting freelancers to be updated.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should be encouraged to take risks, said MPs.
Mr Henry Kwek (Nee Soon GRC) said SMEs would be more willing to do so 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.
All communities in Singapore must reject extremist doctrines, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim and Senior Minister of State Maliki Osman.
The Malay-Muslim community should speak with one voice against these doctrines, and non-Muslims also need to understand that terrorism is based on "completely un-Islamic" radical ideologies, 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, calling for more political diversity and neutrality in the civil service.
Veteran People's Action Party MPs disagreed, with Mr Cedric Foo (Pioneer) countering that the NCMP scheme, which guarantees alternative voices in Parliament,was put in place by the PAP government.
The recent merger of the Infocomm Development Authority and the Media Development Authority, is an example of Singapore adapting to the changing infocomm technology and media industries, said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.
The Minister for Communications and Information said that Singapore will now be in a stronger position to seize opportunities resulting from the changes.
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. They will be debated at a later date.
Ms Jessica Tan (East Coast GRC) was nominated to head Parliament's Public Accounts Committee, which acts as the watchdog of public-sector accounts.
Separately, Ms Foo Mee (West Coast GRC) was nominated to chair the Estimates Committee, which examines the Government's budget.