900 families given third HDB loan
The Housing Board granted 900 families a third housing loan last year - a fifth of the 4,500 appeals it received.
Mr Ong Teng Koon (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) wanted to know why the HDB did not give out more loans. Currently, eligible Singapore households can get up to two housing loans at concessionary interest rates.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said there were two broad camps of people whose appeals for a third loan were rejected - those eligible for bank loans, and those who would be unable to service the loan, to begin with.
"Rather than have them overstretch, it is more prudent for them to build up their savings, steady their income, and apply for the HDB loan at a subsequent stage," he said.
4,000 Islamic teachers accredited
The number of Islamic religious teachers accredited under a national scheme has risen to more than 4,000, up from 3,000 in 2017.
Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli gave the updated figure as he stressed that those who fail to meet the high standards of the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS) would be struck off its register.
The ARS, which became compulsory from 2017, requires religious teachers to abide by an ethical code, which includes not encouraging extremism or violence.
Nominated MP Abbas Ali Mohamed Irshad had asked about safeguards to ensure religious teachers here do not hold radical views.
Bicentennial to mark women's role
The Singapore Bicentennial Office will work with more than 270 community partners to highlight groups of women who have made important contributions to Singapore.
One partner is the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, which will help develop a heritage trail linking iconic infrastructure and monuments built by samsui women in the 19th and 20th centuries, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah yesterday.
Nominated MP Lim Sun Sun had asked if the bicentennial celebrations would make a greater effort to reflect women's contributions.
Ms Indranee said the Bicentennial Office has started sharing social media stories of prominent women, including that of tradeswoman and philanthropist Hajjah Fatimah, who came to Singapore in the 1800s and built houses for the poor.