Out of the box

Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC)
Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC)

On the fourth day of the Budget debate yesterday, law and security took centre stage, and MPs offered ideas such as broadening bilateral military ties, getting servicemen to quit smoking and developing the skills of lawyers, among other things. Danson Cheong highlights five suggestions.


Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) wants the Government to take advantage of Singapore's current warm relations with Malaysia to forge new areas of military cooperation.

He suggested pursuing joint peacekeeping initiatives and training opportunities for international assignments.

"Is the ministry considering new areas for military to military cooperation with Malaysia beyond those like the Semangat Bersatu exercise series (a bilateral military exercise), so as to take advantage of the goodwill arising out of the political relationship with a view to more durable ties in future?" he asked.

Nominated MP Randolph Tan


There is a smoking culture that persists among national servicemen, and the Government should take steps to ensure this does not become more prevalent, said Nominated MP Randolph Tan.

If not, this could "reduce training effectiveness, lead to an erosion of discipline, and have potential knock-on effects on performance in the field for combat personnel", he said. "Even though one would not expect the SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) to take it upon itself to eliminate smoking, it should develop strategies to encourage servicemen who smoke to give up the habit."

Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC)


Criminal investigations can sometimes take months to resolve, leaving those being investigated in a state of limbo.

Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) said this could affect the ability of individuals under investigation to earn a living. "Could there be a monitoring mechanism to ensure that such cases are investigated with a certain haste?" she said.

Mr Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC)


The in-house lawyers of companies should develop not only their legal expertise, but also skills in areas such as business management and ethical conduct, said Mr Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC).

He said the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association has developed a competency framework for training and developing in-house lawyers in those areas, and hopes the Government will make it mandatory for all such lawyers.

"Singapore is one of the few countries in which in-house counsel are not required to meet any form of professional standards, or any form of continuing education," he said.

Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera


Training can help rehabilitate prisoners, as well as transform them into productive workers or even possibly entrepreneurs.

This is why Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera wants more platforms for training prisoners. He asked if SkillsFuture, the framework to help Singaporeans develop skills, could support prisoners as well.

"SkillsFuture can be used for e-learning or for training conducted within incarceration or detention premises," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2017, with the headline 'Out of the box'. Print Edition | Subscribe