From The Backbench

MPs tackle topics from high-risk youth to hawker culture

Nominated MP Shahira Abdullah in Parliament on March 8, 2021.
Nominated MP Shahira Abdullah in Parliament on March 8, 2021.PHOTO: GOV.SG

Shahira Abdullah (Nominated MP)

Mentoring for high-risk youth

Providing specialised mentoring to high-risk youth who might not have sufficient role models at home would help them do well, said Dr Shahira.

She noted that these young people usually have low confidence, owing to their poor performance in school, and can then become involved in activities that may lead them to commit crimes.

She added that mentoring can be done with specialised training and close collaboration with social workers as well as probation officers.


Sembawang GRC MP Mariam Jaafar in Parliament on March 8, 2021. PHOTO: GOV.SG

Mariam Jaafar (Sembawang GRC)

Make M3 relevant

Many in the Malay/Muslim community do not know what M3 stands for, even though the collaboration between three key Malay/Muslim organisations was established two years ago, said Ms Mariam, who called for more to be done to increase its effectiveness.

She suggested that M3 use digital data and analytics to increase the impact of its initiatives.

Given limited resources, she said, there is scope for M3 to strengthen its partnerships with other agencies like non-profit organisations to reach those who need help the most. 


MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling in Parliament on March 8, 2021. PHOTO: GOV.SG

Tin Pei Ling (MacPherson)

Develop digital capabilities in the arts

The arts sector has to continue developing its technological capabilities to remain competitive as consumers increasingly get used to digital content and experience, said Ms Tin, noting that many local arts practitioners were hit badly by the pandemic.

While acknowledging that many have been nimble enough to pivot to digital platforms, she also asked what more could be done to allow these practitioners to create products that can be scaled to reach a wider audience.


Jurong GRC MP Xie Yao Quan in Parliament on March 8, 2021. PHOTO: GOV.SG

Xie Yao Quan (Jurong GRC)

Prevent abuse in sport

The abuse and misconduct in sports reported abroad could happen in Singapore too, said Mr Xie.

He cited how swimming coaches in the United States who were banned from working at clubs because of abuse were allowed to evade their accusers and the authorities by moving to new cities for coaching jobs, where they found fresh victims. 

“We need to put in place comprehensive measures to ensure sports here remains safe for everyone, men and women, boys and girls, professional, school and community athletes,” he said. 


Tampines GRC MP Cheng Li Hui in Parliament on March 8, 2021. PHOTO: GOV.SG

Cheng Li Hui (Tampines GRC)

More inter-school mixing for students

Ms Cheng said ensuring young people from different ethnicities and cultures have opportunities to interact is important to preserving Singapore's social fabric amid Covid-19. She highlighted schools that do not have a representative number of races, such as missionary schools, madrasahs and other culturally oriented schools.

She suggested providing more funding for inter-school activities and a greater role for the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle.


Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Darryl David in Parliament on March 8, 2021. PHOTO: GOV.SG

Darryl David (Ang Mo Kio GRC)

Build on momentum of Unesco nomination

Even as Singapore pats itself on the back for the successful inscription of hawker culture to the Unesco intangible cultural heritage list last year, more must be done to build on the momentum, Mr David said.

He suggested that hawker culture, including its origin and evolution from street peddlers, should be incorporated into the school curriculum. Recipes and food preparation methods can also be published online so dishes' ingredients become common knowledge, he added, also mooting a permanent hawker museum.


Nominated MP Mark Chay in Parliament on March 8, 2021. PHOTO: GOV.SG

Mark Chay (Nominated Member of Parliament)

Take leading role in E-sports

Mr Chay called on Singapore to take a leading role in shaping the e-sports industry, which has gained popularity and benefits both players and businesses.

He noted that top e-sports events in Singapore will bring in millions and boost many local firms, while promising local e-sports start-ups like Yup.gg and Evos have also between them raised more than $31 million in investments. With strong infrastructure like fast and stable internet, the country is well placed to tap into the double digit growth that the industry currently sees, he added.


Aljunied GRC MP Muhammad Faisal Abdul Manap in Parliament on March 8, 2021. PHOTO: GOV.SG

Muhammad Faisal Abdul Manap (Aljunied GRC)

Guard against third-party resellers

Mr Faisal called for a "more concerted effort" from the authorities to prevent third parties from reselling public sport facility bookings amid Covid-19 restrictions. He cited media articles which highlighted the unscrupulous practice, such as how some footballers had to pay $240 to $300 to buy a booking for a pitch, which allowed resellers to make about $180 in profit.

He called on Sport Singapore to do more than just suspending resellers' ActiveSG account, to eradicate the "exploitation of our public sport facilities".