Parliament Briefs : Common Services Tunnels Bill passed

Common Services Tunnels Bill passed

A new law to ensure the safe and efficient operation of common services tunnels (CSTs) was passed in Parliament yesterday.

A CST is an underground tunnel housing multiple utilities, including electricity cables, telecommunications cables and water pipes.

There is currently only one CST in Singapore, located under the roads in Marina Bay.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the new law will spell out legal and regulatory practices and clearly set out rules for utility suppliers, developers and building owners.

The Common Services Tunnels Bill will also apply to new CSTs built in the future.

Among the provisions is a clause requiring any construction work done on land within 6m of the CST to be approved by the authorities.

Most maids' hospital bills covered by insurance

Over the last three years, an average of 55 domestic workers a year needed inpatient or day surgery treatments that cost more than $15,000 - the minimum insurance coverage employers must buy for their maids.

Such cases made up only about 3 per cent of the 1,900 cases of maids who chalked up medical bills at public hospitals each year during that period, Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan told the House yesterday.

He also said there were about three to four cases of employers each year on average over the same period whose maids faced medical bills above $50,000 at public hospitals.

Employers have the option of buying insurance plans with higher coverage, while those with genuine difficulties in paying their maids' medical bills can seek help through medical social workers, added Mr Tan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 20, 2018, with the headline 'Parliament Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe