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  1. #3724
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Channel NewsAsia
    11 Jan 2011

    SINGAPORE : The Singapore Government has, for the first time, released figures on revenues collected from the two integrated resorts (IRs).

    Between April and November 2010, the net increase to the government coffers was S$420 million from betting taxes and GST.

    Separately, the Totalisator Board also saw a net increase of S$130 million from casino entry levies in the same period.

    The numbers also prompted questions in Parliament on whether safeguards against problem gambling are working.

    The S$100 levy that Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) pay each time they enter a casino goes to charities such as the Yellow Ribbon Project and Community Chest.

    And from April to November last year, that amounted to an impressive S$130 million. This includes annual memberships at the casinos, each costing S$2,000.

    However, Lim Hwee Hua, Second Minister for Finance, noted that "the entry of the IRs has also led to a restructuring of the gaming industry as a whole. Hence, while the IRs have brought in new revenues, collections from other gaming activities such as lotteries, horse and sports betting and fruit machines operated by clubs have fallen."

    Under the Casino Control Act, the IRs are not allowed to target citizens and PRs in their publicity materials. But the practice of one IR has raised some eyebrows in Parliament.

    Seah Kian Peng, MP for Marine Parade GRC, asked: "They will do something on the website that says, so and so have won x dollars, and ask them to come back, or thank them for their patronage. Is that something we would want to encourage? Is that legal?"

    Mr Seah was referring to the Marina Bay Sands website, which displays a list of past winners and their winnings.

    He felt Singaporeans may be tempted to try their luck as a result.

    Resorts World Sentosa said it does not publish its casino winners or its winnings on its website.

    In response, Marina Bay Sands said it has complied with the regulations on advertising, while the government said it is looking into the matter.

    Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, said: "They will want to publicise the wins; you will find that they never publicise the losses and the consequences of those losses on the gamblers and their families.

    "So MCYS is taking steps to put a stop to that sort of asymmetric and unfair publicity which the IRs are embarking on."

    Asked if employers of foreign workers could apply for their employees to be banned from the casinos, Dr Balakrishnan said exclusion will remain voluntary for this group, but the process will be made easier.
    Last edited by Loh; 01-11-2011 at 09:35 AM.

  2. #3725
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Army brigadier-general to lead Singapore sport?

    TODAY
    05:55 AM Jan 12, 2011

    by Ian De Cotta

    SINGAPORE - After a three-month search, Brigadier-General Lim Teck Yin's name has emerged out of the hat for the country's top civil service post in sports.

    MediaCorp understands that the one-star general, currently the Commandant of SAFTI Military Institute, has been selected from a shortlist of four candidates to be the next chief executive officer (CEO) of the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) and will officially be unveiled once the Government gives final approval.

    A three-man panel made up of SSC chairman Richard Seow, deputy chairman Cheah Kim Teck and council member Low Teo Ping was formed to find a replacement for Mr Oon Jin Teik, who announced last October he was leaving as CEO after six-and-a-half years to join the private sector.

    Speaking to MediaCorp yesterday, Mr Seow would only say the search for a new CEO for SSC was in its final stages. "We will make the announcement at the appropriate time," he said.

    BG Lim, who started his military career as a commando officer in 1980, was a former national water polo star. He helped the Republic win six gold medals at the biennial SEA Games from 1985 to 1995 and was also in the team that won bronze at the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul.

    The 48-year-old was vice-president of water polo at the Singapore Swimming Association from 2006 to 2008.

    When contacted yesterday, the father of four declined to talk about the latest development. "I've not been told anything officially," said BG Lim, grandson of Singapore's World War II hero Lim Bo Seng.

    "All I know is that I still have two years before I am due to retire from the Army."

    While all the candidates had the credentials to lead the SSC - namely, proven leadership qualities and the ability to take Singapore sports forward - a source familiar with the selection process felt BG Lim's background as an athlete probably tipped the panel's decision in his favour.

    "Teck Yin's familiarity with sport as a national water polo player and administrator made him the logical choice," said the source.

  3. #3726
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default The Online Citizen to be listed as political association

    The Straits Times
    Jan 12, 2011

    SOCIO-POLITICAL blog The Online Citizen may become the first website here to be gazetted as a political association, which will bar it from receiving foreign donations.

    The Registry of Political Donations said that it had sent a letter to the editors of the website on Monday, informing them of the Government's intention to gazette the site as a political association.

    Earlier on Tuesday, The Online Citizen (TOC) had put up a posting informing its readers of the move.

    Separately, the Media Development Authority (MDA) has also sent an e-mail to the site's editors asking them to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification.

    The two moves require the website to submit particulars of the people behind it.

    The Registry of Political Donations, for instance, has asked it to identify its owners, editorial team and administrators. It also has to name a president, treasurer and secretary.


    The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has announced its intention to gazette news website The Online Citizen (TOC) as a political association. -- ST PHOTO
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  4. #3727
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Four new MRT stations for Tuas West extension

    Channel NewsAsia
    11 January 2011 1819 hrs

    By Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid

    SINGAPORE: Four new MRT stations will be built in Tuas in the next five years, offering greater convenience to commuters.

    They are part of the S$3.5b Tuas West Extension project first announced under the Land Transport Masterplan in 2008.

    Transport Minister Raymond Lim, who visited the Bedok MRT station on Tuesday, also revealed that the Circle Line will be fully open by the fourth quarter of this year.

    The Tuas West Extension will be 7.5km long and it will begin after Joo Koon Station. The four new stations are at Tuas along Tuas Road; Tuas Crescent along Pioneer Road; Tuas West near Tuas Avenue 12 and Tuas Link located just outside Raffles Marina Country Club.

    Mr Lim said: "When completed, it will improve accessibility and connectivity for people who work in the Jurong and Tuas industrial areas. The Tuas West Extension will help commuters save more than half their current travelling time when they commute to these areas.

    "For instance, it takes about 35 minutes to travel by bus from Boon Lay Bus Interchange to Tuas West today. This will take only 15 minutes via MRT when the line is opened."

    The project will also see a first in Singapore - the construction of a road viaduct along Pioneer Road that is integrated with the rail extension.

    The 4-kilometre long and 3-lane viaduct will run along Pioneer Road to join Tuas South Avenue 3 with a 2.4-kilometre stretch of the road integrated within the rail viaduct. It aims to reduce congestion in the surrounding Tuas West area.

    LTA's group director for engineering, Paul Fok, said: "There is going to be a lot of development in the Tuas West industrial area, so there is a need to increase the road capacity going towards the west. This viaduct is actually unique because we are stacking the rail viaduct on top of the road viaduct. That means we are saving quite a lot of land."

    But some 49 plots and nine properties will have to make way for the project. The areas affected are along the Pan Island Expressway, Joo Koon Circle, Tuas Road, Pioneer Road, Tuas West Road, Tuas South Avenue 3 and Tuas West Drive.

    The Land Transport Authority (LTA) had previous planned for the Tuas West Extension to have only three stations. But after studies were concluded, it decided to include an additional station so that more commuters will be directly served by the MRT system.

    The LTA will also be building another much larger MRT depot to cater to more trains that will ply the North-South and East-West lines. Spanning some 26 hectares, the depot will be able to house some 60 trains.

    Thirteen more trains will be added for the extension.

    There's also good news about the Circle Line. The last stretch of 12 stations from Marymount to HarbourFront - which includes Holland Village and Caldecott stations - will open this year.

    Sixteen more trains will also be added to meet an increase in ridership. This will increase the total fleet of Circle Line trains by 40%.

    The trains are scheduled to arrive around 2015.

    On the safety aspect, LTA says that to date it has completed the installation of half-height platform screen doors on 11 elevated MRT stations.

    Two stations - Bedok and Paya Lebar - began operations of the screen doors on Tuesday morning.

    LTA says it is on track to complete the installation of the screen doors on the East-West Line by the third quarter of the year and for the North-South Line, by 2012.


    The Straits Times
    Jan 12, 2011

    4 new MRT stations in Tuas by 2016

    By Maria Almenoar

    UP TO 35 more minutes of sleep time.

    That is the good news for commuters when four stations added to the East-West MRT line open in 2016.

    News of the extension, costing $3.5 billion, to serve Tuas, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West and Tuas Link was announced on Tuesday by Transport Minister Raymond Lim after he viewed new platform screen doors at Bedok MRT station.

    He said the new link would improve accessibility and connectivity for people who work in Jurong and Tuas.

    Travelling from Ang Mo Kio to Tuas West, for example, now takes 1hr 40min by train and bus. Once the extension is up, the trip will take 1hr 5min, saving 35 minutes.

    The $3.5 billion will pay for the new stations, depot and trains as well as a road viaduct running parallel to the line.
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    Last edited by Loh; 01-11-2011 at 09:55 PM.

  5. #3728
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Ionescu trial: Singapore envoy to attend

    Channel NewsAsia
    11 January 2011 2055 hrs

    By Monica Kotwani

    SINGAPORE: The trial of former Romanian diplomat Dr Silviu Ionescu will open again on Wednesday in Bucharest, Romania.

    Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says its special envoy to Romania, Anil Kumar Nayar, will attend the hearing.

    He will be accompanied by a representative from the Attorney-General's Chambers.

    Ionescu faces charges of homicide, causing physical injuries and making false statements arising from two hit-and-run accidents in Singapore in December 2009.

    At the last court session in November 2010, his lawyers succeeded in securing his release from detention with conditions.

    The conditions included prohibiting him from leaving Bucharest and requiring him to report to court when summoned.

  6. #3729
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Ice queen Michelle Kwan tests her balance at Republic Poly

    Channel NewsAsia
    11 January 2011 1919 hrs

    By Jason Tan

    SINGAPORE : Republic Polytechnic students from the School of Sports Health and Leisure, have developed a high-tech test of balance and stability.

    And putting it to the test was ice skating icon Michelle Kwan, who is in Singapore on a week-long trip as a Sports Ambassador for the US.

    The subject is required to stand on one leg on the measurement device for 10 seconds. Motion analysis systems then capture the body's movement.

    And the Olympic medallist skater gave it a go.

    "I've never done anything quite like it. I've skated for so many years and I've assumed my balance is right on. Perfect. No, but it was a little off. Balance is key to the success of an athlete. So if an athlete understands that his or her balance is a little off... they can make corrections accordingly. So I think this test is very, very important for athletes," said Kwan.

    During her visit, Kwan will also be skating with Singaporean special Olympians.

    She kicked off her trip on Monday by conducting a skating clinic for kids at the Kallang Ice World.

    "I'm here (in Singapore) with the State Department as American public diplomacy convoy. I meet with young groups - young people, students, some student athletes, some skaters. I meet with them and hopefully have a dialogue, some discussion," revealed Kwan.

    The popular figure skater will be in Singapore till Saturday.


    Michelle Kwan conducts a skating clinic for kids at the Kallang Ice World

    Ice queen Michelle Kwan tests her balance at Republic Poly
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  7. #3730
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Chinatown gears up for Lunar New Year festivities

    Channel NewsAsia
    January 2011 2229 hrs

    By Seet Sok Hwee

    SINGAPORE : It's a few weeks more to the start of the Lunar New Year, and Chinatown is already gearing up for the occasion.

    Some key highlights of this year's celebrations include performances by dance troupes Strange Fruit from Australia, and giant artwork pieces of local attractions and leaders.

    Organisers said 588 bazaar stores will be operating during this period, and they expect about two million visitors to throng the area.

    Last year's celebrations saw 2.4 million visitors with tourists making up 7.8 per cent.

    Traditional lion dance performances will also be staged at the Marina Bay Floating Platform.
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  8. #3731
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Civil Service College signs MOU with Macau counterpart

    Channel NewsAsia
    11 January 2011 2013 hrs

    SINGAPORE : A new Central Training Centre for public officers will be set up by Macau's Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau (SAFP), with Singapore's input.

    A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the Bureau and Singapore's Civil Service College (CSC) on Tuesday.

    The MOU aims to strengthen relations between both institutions and bring their 10-year partnership to new heights.

    The CSC will provide training programmes and consultancy services.

    Both institutions will also jointly organise seminars and workshops.
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  9. #3732
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore wants justice in Romania diplomat case

    The Straits Times
    Jan 12, 2011

    BUCHAREST - SINGAPORE is closely watching the trial of a Romanian diplomat charged with manslaughter following a hit-and-run car accident in the city state and wants 'justice' to be done, a Singapore envoy in Romania said on Wednesday.

    'The Singapore government is still watching what is happening very closely", envoy Anil Kumar Nayar told AFP as the trial of a Romanian charge d'affaires accused of killing a man in a car accident in Singapore in 2009 is scheduled to restart on Wednesday.

    'The most important thing for us is that we want to make sure that justice is done and we have a commitment from the Romanian government as well that they too would like to see that justice is done", the Brussels-based envoy added while waiting for the hearing to start at a Bucharest tribunal.

    Silviu Ionescu, a former charge d'affaires in Singapore, has been charged with manslaughter, causing physical injuries and making false statements after a deadly car accident in December 2009 in Singapore.

    The diplomat is alleged to have hit three pedestrians while driving a car belonging to the Romanian mission.

    One of them, a 30-year-old Malaysian national, suffered brain damage and died on Christmas Day. Ionescu is also alleged to have fled the scene. However he denies he was the driver and says the car was stolen. -- AFP

  10. #3733
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Art Stage Singapore opening today at MBS

    The Straits Times
    Jan 12, 2011

    ART Stage Singapore, an international art fair focusing on the art scene in the Asia Pacific will make its debut at the Marina Bay Sands on Wednesday.

    Featuring over 120 contemporary and modern art galleries from 26 countries, as well as noted personalities such as photo artist David LaChapelle, Art Stage Singapore will feature a balance of Asia Pacific art contrasted with Western art galleries.

    Supported by Government agencies such as the Economic Development Board, Singapore Tourism Board, National Arts Council and the National Heritage Board, Art Stage Singapore says its aim is to cement Singapore's position as a 'vibrant city' and a leading arts destination on an international scale.

    Dr Beh Swan Gin, managing director of Singapore Economic Development Board said: 'The inaugural Art Stage Singapore marks a significant milestone in the development of Singapore as an international centre for contemporary art. The fair will help strengthen Singapore's standing as a platform for international art businesses to connect, and expand into Asia and beyond.'

    In addition to showcasing works by up-and-coming as well as established artists, special platforms such as Project Stage will provide for emerging Asia Pacific artists to be created and presented to an international audience. Educational programmes, special lectures and panel discussions by key figures in the art world will be held throughout the duration of the fair.

    Highly acclaimed photo artist David LaChapelle, for example, will present a talk on his prolific career and experiences as a young New York artist in the 80s. Art Stage Singapore is open to the public from Jan 13-16. Interested visitors can access the official website at www.artstagesingapore.com for ticketing information as well as a schedule of events.


    Art Stage Singapore, the inaugural contemporary art fair, will be hosting more than 100 galleries from 18 countries at the Marina Bay Sands. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
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  11. #3734
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default SIA to fly to Sao Paulo from March this year

    The Straits Times
    Jan 12, 2011

    SINGAPORE Airlines (SIA) will begin flying to Sao Paulo, Brazil, from late March in 2011.

    Sao Paulo will be Singapore Airlines' first South American destination. Flights will operate three times a week, following a Singapore - Barcelona - Sao Paulo routing, the airline said on Wednesday.

    Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will be used for the new flight services. Spanair will be codesharing on the flights as well.
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  12. #3735
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    Six Singaporean shuttlers quit the national squad http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.c...ow/7266326.cms.
    First it was the national football team the Singapore Lions, now so many backup players. Maybe it is part of cost-saving.
    What has happened to Ronald Susilo?

  13. #3736
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    Quote Originally Posted by taneepak View Post
    Six Singaporean shuttlers quit the national squad http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.c...ow/7266326.cms.
    First it was the national football team the Singapore Lions, now so many backup players. Maybe it is part of cost-saving.
    What has happened to Ronald Susilo?
    SBA just received a S$1m donation from Dr. Stephen Riady and if you read the report carefully, those players quit after SBA decided to dissolve the National Development Team based on annual performance evaluation.

    This kinda annual review is a pretty standard thing, which is also done in INA, where many players from even the Main Team (like Annisa Wahyuni and Rizki Amelia Pradipta) are kicked out of the National Team this year. If you count the numbers, it's even more than 6 that have to leave to squad for underperforming. Nothing to crow about honestly.

    Oh and Ronald Susilo, he quit long time ago and I believe he is now part of the coaching staff of SBA.

  14. #3737
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore wants justice in Ionescu's hit-and-run case

    Channel NewsAsia
    12 January 2011 2240 hrs

    BUCHAREST - A Romanian diplomat charged with manslaughter after a hit-and-run car accident in Singapore protested his innocence in court Wednesday, while Singapore called for justice to be done.

    A new hearing in the trial has been scheduled for March 9.

    "The most important thing for us is that we want to make sure that justice is done and we have a commitment from the Romanian government as well that they too would like to see that justice is done," Anil Kumar Nayar, a Singapore envoy attending the trial in Bucharest, told AFP.

    "The Singapore government is still watching what is happening very closely", he added.

    Silviu Ionescu, a former Romanian charge d'affaire in Singapore, is charged with manslaughter, causing physical injuries and making false statements after a deadly car accident in December 2009 in Singapore.

    The diplomat is alleged to have hit three pedestrians while driving a car belonging to the Romanian mission.

    One of them, a 30-year-old Malaysian national, suffered brain damage and died on Christmas Day. Ionescu is also alleged to have fled the scene.

    Ionescu pleaded not guilty at a previous hearing. He has always denied he was the driver and says the car was stolen.

    But prosecutors said his story "does not conform to reality."

    "I repeat again that I consider myself not guilty", Ionescu told the court on Wednesday.

    "I consider that the investigation in Singapore was conducted unfairly against me because of the diplomatic cables I sent to the Romanian ministry of foreign affairs. These cables are classified", Ionescu told the judges.

    He then started to recount his own version of the events on the night of the accident.

    Ionescu insisted that he did not drink any alcohol that night, neither at a reception at the embassy of Kazakhstan, nor at an opera singer's birthday party he attended afterwards.

    He also claimed that his car had been stolen as he went to the embassy in order to write some notes.

    The former diplomat, who is now working as a consultant, also justified flying back to Romania just days after the accident.

    "My departure from Singapore had been planned two months before" for medical reasons and approved by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign affairs, he said.

    Twenty witnesses living in Singapore still have to be heard in the trial.

    Prosecutors asked the judges to allow them to testify through a videolink in the future hearings.

    After being held for seven months in preventive custody, Ionescu was released from detention in November pending his full trial after pleading not guilty to an initial hearing.

    The court imposed him travel restriction and he cannot leave Bucharest.

    - AFP/ir

  15. #3738
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Badminton-Singaporean shuttlers quit, say squeezed out

    Yahoo Sport
    UK & Ireland
    Wed, 12 Jan 05:18:00 2011

    Six badminton players have quit Singapores national squad a year before the London Olympics, saying they have been squeezed out and left with no choice.

    The players had been members of the city-state's national development team recently dissolved by the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) as part of restructuring.

    The SBA said its decision to dissolve "Team 2" had been based on an annual performance evaluation.

    "I think its a little unfair because I started centralised training only a year ago," Toh Siew Fen told Singapores Straits Times newspaper. "Its too little time for us to catch up to the standards of Team 1."

    In its place, the SBA will form the National Intermediate Squad (NIS) next month for up and coming players.

    A few Team 2 shuttlers have been invited to join the new squad, but will no longer be given a monthly allowance or opportunities to compete in overseas tournaments.

    "Its as good as having no option," said Eugene Sng, 21. "They are forcing me out. But they dont want to look bad, so on the surface, I have a choice."


    (My thoughts on this is that probably these are the so-called "back-up" players chosen on a trial basis. But if their performance is below par and they are already quite old and certainly of not of Olympic material, SBA might as well concentrate on the teenagers who could be trained for the Olympics after London 2012.

    If these Team 2 players can't even measure up to the region's best, it is no point keeping them to represent Singapore. We will continue to be the region's whipping boys! Though our badminton talent pool is small, we should not just pick mediocre players simply to make up the numbers.

    It is unfortunate that our Sports School has not been able to produce enough talented players that are passionate enough to graduate into the national squad. But now with so many badminton "academies" and schools churning out more badminton enthusiasts and the SBA more focused on junior players' development, the future for Singapore seems brighter. But we need to be patient as it takes a long time to develop a champion.)
    Last edited by Loh; 01-12-2011 at 11:35 PM.

  16. #3739
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    Default Minimum wage, or Best wage?

    Channel NewsAsia
    12 January 2011 2043 hrs

    By S Ramesh

    SINGAPORE: Would Singapore be better off with a minimum wage system or with Workfare programmes such as the Best Sourcing Initiative and the Inclusive Growth programme, to help low-wage workers level up in society?

    That was the theme in the speeches of several MPs during the Parliamentary debate on the government's commitment to inclusive growth.

    MPs also urged the Government to continue doing more, to support low skilled and low-wage workers.

    All 17 MPs, together with labour chief Lim Swee Say and Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong took part in the debate.

    Singapore's economy experienced sterling growth in 2010.

    And MPs say such growth must provide opportunities for the majority to enjoy higher incomes and better quality of life, and improved prospects for low-wage workers.

    But of late there's been a robust debate about minimum wage, with many saying it will encourage lower skilled Singaporeans to seek work.

    MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Josephine Teo said: "The proposal of a minimum wage should not be dismissed too lightly.

    "The supporters of minimum wage are well-intentioned and the idea certainly looks attractive.

    "With a stroke of a pen, we could dictate to employers a minimum salary to pay their low-wage workers. Why are we reluctant? Within the labour movement, we are clear that government intervention is needed to help low-wage workers do better.

    "The Government has responded vigorously through Workfare, BSI (Best Sourcing Initiative), IGP (Inclusive Growth programme) and others.

    "So the issue is not whether (the) Government should act but rather, how it should intervene to be effective.

    "The real question is 'Would minimum wage work better than all the other programmes already in place?'

    "From the perspective of the labour movement, growth in the last few years has been inclusive. Our tripartite approach works.

    "More vulnerable Singaporeans have found jobs. Many low-wage workers are getting better wages. Now is the time to stay on course.

    "As the economy grows, now is the best time to catch the wind and help low-wage Singaporeans do better and for Singapore to become even more inclusive".

    MP for Jalan Besar GRC Denise Phua said she fully supports the WIS, and is against the idea of minimum wage, which has gained traction of late.

    "I fear that instituting a minimum wage will backfire on the very same people whose livelihood we are trying to protect," she said.

    "A minimum wage will become an additional cost of business paid by employers who in turn will either pass on the cost of business to their customers, causing further increase in the cost of living, or become more cautious especially in hiring those who are less skilled or able.

    "Parties who advocate minimum wage should dwell deeper on the subject and get some inputs from the employers, especially the smaller enterprises which are struggling to keep prices constant".

    Opposition MP Low Thia Khiang said the Worker's Party also does not support introducing minimum wage at this point of time.

    "It would be preferred if our workers can command good wages by being competitive internationally and doing high-value work," Mr Low said.

    "However, if our low-wage workers are still not uplifted despite efforts of productivity growth and CET, minimum wages may have to be considered."

    But Mr Low's idea that an Advisory Board do research on minimum wage for specific industries was dismissed.

    NTUC deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How said: "You do that, and if the workers become unemployed, you have just converted them from low-wage workers to no-wage workers.

    "Who is (then) going to be responsible for these no-wage workers and their families? I don't recommend minimum wage but best wage."

    MPs say best wages can be achieved in several ways.

    One of them is to pay a Workfare Income Supplement GDP Bonus when growth is good, so that low-wage workers have something to look forward to.

    A Workfare Family Bonus can be considered if two or more family members in the same household receive Workfare in the same period.

    Such a bonus would encourage families to work together to improve their circumstances.

    Another initiative which the NTUC has launched is the S$40 million Inclusive Growth Programme (IGP) to support the national productivity push.

    Ms Teo said the IGP is only five months into implementation and already, 166 projects have been lined up.

    They include projects in manufacturing, hospitality, F&B, retail, logistics, aerospace and others.

    The IGP was initially conceived as a pilot programme to target the bottom 20 per cent of wage earners.

    Funding support today allows for up to 25,000 low-workers to benefit at the end of two years.

    Ms Teo said she hopes it can be extended to at least 100,000 low-wage workers within five years.

    More will also be done to encourage women to return to the workforce.

    NTUC deputy secretary-general Halimah Yacob, who fronts the labour movement's Women Back to Work Programme, said the NTUC does not wait for women to reach out to it.

    Last year, a pilot outreach programme was launched to engage women living in rental flats in Ang Mo Kio.

    Moving ahead, she urged the government to continue doing more, so that more women can work and take advantage of the opportunities and ensure economic growth continues to be inclusive.

    Firstly, she said there needs to be sufficient and affordable social support infrastructure such as child care and kindergarten services, as well as eldercare services, as women are still the main caregivers in our society.

    Secondly, more companies should be encouraged to adopt tele-commuting and home-based work.

    Thirdly, according to an MOM survey, only one in five of the economically inactive women has received upper secondary education or above.

    This meant most would need retraining, particularly in literacy and numeracy skills before they could re-enter the workforce.

    Madam Halimah said one possible solution would be to have numeracy and literacy courses conducted at community clubs so that these women would be able to acquire the basic foundation skills needed to land them in jobs, or for other forms of training, but in centres close to their homes and at their own pace.

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    Default I had to swim to safety, says S'porean in Brisbane

    Channel NewsAsia
    12 January 2011 1902 hrs

    By Monica Kotwani


    Related News

    • Thousands flee Brisbane, flash floods kill 10
    • Police urge central Brisbane evacuation
    • MFA in touch with S'poreans in Queensland

    SINGAPORE: Some Singaporeans have been caught in the floods inundating vast areas of Queensland, and now Brisbane.

    One of them is Singaporean PhD student Simran Sidhu, who had to evacuate after flood waters partially submerged the ground level of her University of Queensland campus apartment.

    "I woke up in the morning and found the whole front area of my house completely flooded," she said.

    "The water (level) was up (to) my knees. I thought, maybe the water might start subsiding, but it just got higher and higher.

    "Before I know it, the water was up to my shoulders. We were told that we really needed to evacuate, so I swam out of the water and got up to higher ground where my friends picked me up."

    Ms Sidhu's campus is in St Lucia, one of the low-lying suburbs of Brisbane.

    Another Singaporean affected by the floods is Mr Siju, who has been in Brisbane for the last nine years.

    He said the Wivenhoe dam, built to prevent floods after the state's worst floods in 1974, has swollen beyond capacity.

    "The Wivenhoe dam was actually built to eradicate future floods. But now what has happened is that the dam has actually filled up to the extent that it can contain no more water.

    "They're having to release the water to prevent the lower regions of the valley from being affected even further.

    "Once they release the water, it has to go somewhere. So it's all going to flow into the Brisbane River. And as it is, the Brisbane River itself is flooded and is swelling up.

    "And (that) means the areas around the riverbank are bound to be affected, areas such as Southbank (and) the University of Queensland. Ferry services have been stopped because of it".

    Mr Siju added that Brisbane's central business district has also been affected.

    "It's more or less a ghost town. Everyone has been sent home except for the Queensland Government representatives.

    "Offices have been closed, power supplies have been cut to prevent any further incident."

    Meanwhile, Ms Sidhu said residents' fear of a food shortage had caused chaos in the supermarkets.

    "We went to the supermarket to stock up on our groceries, and the supermarket was just packed with people.

    "Everyone's just rushing to get hold of what they can. The shelves were pretty much emptying out.Today, most of the shops and supermarkets are actually shut," she said.

    Singapore Airlines said flights to Brisbane are operating as usual since Brisbane International Airport remains open.

    It added that administrative fees for re-bookings and refunds would be waived for customers with confirmed tickets issued on or before Wednesday.

    Those who want to be re-routed to other destinations will also have their administrative fee waived.


    A motorist defies official warnings and drives through a submerged road as flood waters inundate Brisbane

    (We are very lucky that our so-called Orchard Rd/Bukit Timah flash floods were nowhere near what was happening in Australia and elsewhere although one BC Devil's Advocate tried to sensationalise it here. )
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