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  1. #3928
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    Default Las Vegas Sands seeking more land to expand MBS

    The Straits Times

    Feb 17, 2011


    Marina Bay Sands, view from Bayfront Avenue. PHOTO: Marina Bay Sands


    SINGAPORE - US CASINO operator Las Vegas Sands is seeking more land to expand its highly profitable Singapore casino, founder and CEO Sheldon Adelson said on Thursday.

    He told reporters at the official opening of Las Vegas Sands' US$5.5 billion (S$7.15 billion) Marina Bay Sands (MBS), the world's second most expensive after MGM's CityCenter in Las Vegas.

    Las Vegas Sands said on Feb 3 its Singapore casino had earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of US$306 million in fourth quarter 2010, boosted by above-normal table game winnings.

    The casino, which opened in April 2010, generated US$241.6 million in Ebita in the third quarter. -- REUTERS

  2. #3929
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    Default Far East Organization appoints Mr Lucas Chow as Executive Director

    Channel NewsAsia

    Posted: 17 February 2011 1602 hrs

    Photos 1 of 1
    Lucas Chow


    Singapore: Private property developer Far East Organization has appointed Mr Lucas Chow as an Executive Director.

    The appointment from August, will see Mr Chow providing strategic counsel to Far East Organization’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Philip Ng, on new business growth and brand development across the company's diverse real estate portfolio.

    “Lucas brings an excellent record of accomplishments in developing people, businesses and customers across the dynamic fields of technology, infocomm and media.

    "His sharp business acumen and strong customer orientation have been recognised as key assets in managing change and identifying market opportunities. I am confident Lucas will add tremendous value in our endeavour to grow the breadth and depth of our business platform,” said Mr Ng.

    Mr Chow is currently a Director of Orchard Parade Holdings Limited as well as a member of the Far East Organization Branding Executive Committee.

    Commenting on his new appointment, Mr Chow said “I am excited about participating in the building of a home-grown enterprise and expanding it beyond our shore."

    He added that he looks forward to nurturing enterprising leaders and harnessing their collective vision to take the business to a new level.

    Mr Chow joins Far East Organization from MediaCorp where he has been its CEO since December 2005.

    He started his career with Hewlett Packard (HP) where he spent almost 20 years in various senior positions before joining SingTel in 1998 where he held the positions of CEO (SingTel Mobile), Executive Vice President (Consumer Business) and Executive Vice President (Corporate Business).

  3. #3930
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    Default MDA drives cyber wellness to schools

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Wayne Chan | Posted: 17 February 2011 1519 hrs


    Cyber Wellness bus

    SINGAPORE: A nationwide "Cyber Wellness Campaign" was launched today by the Media Development Authority (MDA) to educate primary school children and their parents on the risks and pitfalls of the Internet.

    The campaign will see a mobile cyber wellness bus travelling to 41 primary schools and 13 public venues such as national libraries community clubs, to reach students.

    Originally scheduled to travel to schools for 3 months, its services have already been fully booked by schools.

    Acting as a "mobile classroom", the bus will highlight issues like cyber bullying, inappropriate content, privacy protection, gaming, and copyright, among others.

    A "Digital Diary Competition" will also encourage students to share their cyber experiences with their peers in e-journals using an online eBook application.

    Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA), Mr Lui Tuck Yew said the campaign will teach children, who are at a greater risk of online predatorial behaviour, how to protect themselves.

    Parents and educators can also visit a Cyber Wellness Portal, at www.cyberwellness.org.sg to get tips on how to manage children's online consumption habits.

    The campaign is supported by the Inter-Ministry Cyber Wellness Steering Committee, set up in 2009 with a $10 million fund to promote the responsible use of media, and 23 other partners.
    Last edited by Loh; 02-17-2011 at 02:52 AM.

  4. #3931
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    Default IRs injected higher than expected $3.7b

    The Straits Times


    www.straitstimes.com


    Feb 18, 2011


    Contribution puts them well on track to hit $5.4b target by 2015

    By Ng Kai Ling




    (From left) Marina Bay Sands interim chief executive George Tanasijevich; Las Vegas Sands chief operating officer Michael Leven; Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran; Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan; Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong; Mrs Miriam Adelson and her husband, Las Vegas Sands chief executive Sheldon Adelson; ArtScience Museum architect Moshe Safdie; and outgoing Marina Bay Sands chief executive Thomas Arasi. -- ST PHOTO: SAMUEL HE


    SINGAPORE'S bet on the two integrated resorts (IRs) has reaped higher-than-expected returns - and a lot sooner too.

    Preliminary estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) show that in the first nine months of last year, the IRs contributed $3.7 billion, or 1.7 per cent, towards Singapore's nominal gross domestic product (GDP). Nominal GDP is GDP that has not been adjusted for inflation.

    This sum puts the two IRs well on track to surpass the $5.4 billion they were jointly expected to generate by 2015.

    The sum also makes up almost half the $7.9 billion the tourism industry put into the economy during the same period.

    The MTI's Economic Survey of Singapore 2010, released on Thursday, said the $3.7 billion was spent in the IRs and elsewhere by what it called 'incremental visitors' - those who would not have come here if not for the IRs, which the report said created 30,300 jobs.

    Analysts said they were unsurprised, given that both Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and Marina Bay Sands (MBS) have been turning in strong quarterly performances since their respective debuts last February and April.

  5. #3932
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    Default ArtScience Museum ready to open its doors

    Channel NewsAsia
    By Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid | Posted: 17 February 2011 1639 hrs

    Photos 1 of 3
    Lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum (R) and Marina Bay Sands integrated resort (L)



    SINGAPORE: Singapore's latest iconic structure, the lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, is ready to open its doors.

    The structure, made up of "10 fingers", is also touted as the "Welcoming Hand of Singapore" which opens up to the skies.


    Its architect Moshe Safdie said: "These shapes which you read from the outside - some say 'lotus', some say 'hand of welcome' - are actually the shapes of the rooms inside. And because of the geometry, every room is unique, every room has a slightly different shape."

    The building makes use of natural light that flows into the galleries. Rainwater is channelled from the roof and down through the centre of the four-storey structure.

    The museum aims to show that the creative processes between arts and science can be similar.

    On the two highest floors stands the permanent ArtScience exhibition which is separated into three galleries - Curiosity, Inspiration and Expression.

    Various interactive screens also allow visitors to stay engaged.

    Museum director Tom Zaller said the museum is an evolving space.

    "The museum is never done, we will never be finished with this space, we will never be finished with the entire place, it's a museum built on a concept...it does not mean the content, the physical boxes or the text that is written on the wall are going to be the same every time. We will continue to change it month after month. New exhibitions will come in, different types of exhibition from fine art to pop culture," he said.

    For a start, the museum is showcasing Genghis Khan - one of the most powerful men of 13th century Mongolia. The exhibition features more than 200 rare treasures never seen outside of Mongolia. The exhibition will go on for two months before heading back to the US.

    Also on display will be archaeological finds from 9th century Tang dynasty - as part of the "Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds" exhibition - as well as exhibits tracing the Silk Road.

    The experience extends outside the museum too, with a light and water show that involves the use of water screens and vibrant multicolour high-powered lasers.

    The show, which tells a story about life, is put up by LaserVision and involves the use of medium giant water screens, vibrant multicolour high powered lasers, among others.

    It is accompanied by an original score by local composer and arranger, Iskandar Ismail.

    Laservision's founder and CEO, Paul S McCloskey, said it is a show that is designed to be immersive and to invoke emotions from viewers.

    "It's a show with a song. So yes, it's spectacular, but it's also designed to make you want to squeeze the hand of your partner, or if not, someone else's partner," he said.

    The free 13-minute show, known as "Wonder Full", will be on nightly.

    - CNA/ir

  6. #3933
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    Default Channel NewsAsia Luminary Awards for best business minds in Asia

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Imelda Saad | Posted: 17 February 2011 2125 hrs

    Photos 1 of 1






    SINGAPORE : The region's first English language pan-Asian News Channel is marking its 12th anniversary with an Asian-wide Business Awards.

    The inaugural Channel NewsAsia Luminary Awards kicks off a renewed focus on business content on the channel, in keeping with the growing might of Asia in the global economy.

    The awards will be presented next Friday, to recognise the best business minds in the region.

    For the past 12 years, the channel has witnessed and reported on key events and developments in the region, from the vantage point of the region.

    With global financial events affecting the entire world - and Asia emerging well out of the crisis - there is increasing demand for expertise on business and finance in Asia.


    Donovan Castillo Mohlman, vice president of Network Programming and Promotions at Channel NewsAsia, MediaCorp, said: "We see Asia rising, we feel that we need to identify these companies and these individuals that are leading the way, so we are not really looking at what they have done in the past, but what they are doing right now and what they are doing to take us forward."

    A panel of editors, think-tank and corporate governance specialists scoured the region's top companies and picked nine nominees in all, for three categories - innovation, green practices, and for a future business.

    Associate Professor Simon Tay, chairman of Singapore Institute of International Affairs, and member of the Luminary Awards Nominating Committee, said: "We are looking at people who really made the news in a sense that they had a new angle, a new push, a new vision of what is happening here.

    "We really have to make sure that they were able to make a compelling business case, so not just a news here today and gone tomorrow."

    In Innovation, Singapore's Eu Yan Sang was nominated for its innovative approach to a very traditional business; others include Taiwan's HTC for its many firsts in technology, and India's Tata Consultancy.

    Nominees for the Green Luminary are Singapore-listed utilities and marine group Sembcorp Industries, property and hotel conglomerate City Developments, and Hong Kong's MTR Corporation.

    And for Future Business Luminary - which recognises leaders below 45 - China-based Peng XiaoFeng of LDK Solar - the world's largest producer of solar wafers - Thailand's Nishita Shah of Precious Shipping and Philippines' Lance Gokongwei of Cebu Pacific Air are the nominees.

    Professor Gunter Dufey, Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan, and a jury panellist of the Luminary Awards, said: "The companies, the candidates came from different industries and had different histories, so it was not an easy job. There was a lot of give and take and argument among the panellists, but in the end, everybody agreed that we came up with a solid base for our judgment.

    "Business is a competitive endeavour, and I think an award like this is very important in stressing those dimensions that have become very important today for businesses, beyond simply the financial results of profitability and survival."

    A lifetime achievement award will also be conferred on an outstanding individual that evening.

    The awards also mark the channel's push to boost business content, which starts this week with hourly business updates.

    Mr Mohlman said: "We are increasing our business content throughout the day by adding some hourly business update and we are also going to be adding an Asian market report at 5pm from March onwards, so we are really looking at increasing our business content and we feel the Channel NewsAsia Luminary Award is a nice complement to this.

    "What we wanted to do is look at who the leaders within Asia and recognise them for what they have done to raise the profile of Asia in the business world, and as one of the leading English news broadcasters in Asia, it is a duty of ours to recognise this, and provide profiles to the viewers."

  7. #3934
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default PUB, Ontario collaborate on clean water R&D

    Channel NewsAsia
    By Mustafa Shafawi | Posted: 17 February 2011 1702 hrs

    Photos 1 of 1




    SINGAPORE : Singapore's national water agency, PUB, and the Government of Ontario, Canada, have agreed to enter into a strategic alliance to conduct advanced clean water research and development.

    Under a Memorandum of Understanding, Ontario and PUB will collaborate in the areas of clean water technologies and exchange knowledge and expertise that leverage each jurisdiction's resources.

    Singapore and Ontario have a shared goal to become hubs for water technologies that drive innovations through research, testing and application of emerging technologies.

    Ontario is the first North American jurisdiction to enter into such an agreement with Singapore.

    PUB said Ontario has good strengths in water research and innovation.

    The first Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize winner, Dr Andrew Benedek, is a Canadian citizen who founded Zenon, which is based in Ontario.

  8. #3935
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    Default Singapore-Mongolia economic ties growing steadily

    Channel NewsAsia

    By S Ramesh | Posted: 17 February 2011 1739 hrs

    Photos 2 of 2
    Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold (L) meets President SR Nathan.




    SINGAPORE: Economic ties between Singapore and Mongolia are growing, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as he met his Mongolian counterpart who is in Singapore on an official visit.

    Mr Lee noted that with huge mineral reserves of coal, copper, gold and uranium, the Mongolian economy has the potential to grow rapidly in the coming decade and this would create opportunities for businesses on both sides to work together.

    PM Lee said: "Singapore also welcomes Mongolia's continued participation in the Singapore Co-operation Programme.

    "More than 800 Mongolian officials have received training under this programme in diverse fields such as public administration, education and healthcare.

    "Singapore is a small country with limited resources, but we will do our best to share our experiences in areas that are relevant and useful to Mongolia."

    Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold said: "I am confident that my present visit will be an important step forward in deepening friendly ties between Mongolia and Singapore, particularly in the fields of trade, economy, investment and other sectors.

    "We are keen to learn from your valuable development experience, specially from your knowledge-based economic development as well as banking and finance system, with a view to adapt them in Mongolia."

    Mr Batbold also met Singapore's President SR Nathan.

    Mr Batbold will open an exhibition on Genghis Khan at the new ArtScience Museum.

    The exhibition includes over 200 rare treasures from the Genghis Khan reign.

    Mr Lee is confident the museum will attract many Singaporeans and foreign visitors who are keen to learn more about the legendary conqueror.

    Earlier Thursday, an orchid at the Singapore Botanic Gardens was named after the Mongolian premier and his wife.

    The Dendrobium Batbold Otgontuya is a vigorous hybrid which flowers freely, producing 40-50cm long semi-upright flowering shoots.

  9. #3936
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    Default Team S'pore athletes get S$4.22m

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Patwant Singh | Posted: 17 February 2011 2238 hrs

    Photos 1 of 1
    Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean shaking hands with national swimmer Tao Li




    SINGAPORE : S$4.22 million has been given to 43 Team Singapore athletes for winning medals at last year's Commonwealth and Asian Games.

    The money is disbursed on Thursday under the Multi-million Dollar Award Programme (MAP).

    Swimmer Tao Li was the night's star, pocketing S$300,000 for her gold and silver medals at the Guangzhou Games.

    Tao Li had just returned from high altitude training in Australia, where she suffered a sprained ankle. However, she said the injury will not have a major impact on her overall preparations at the 2012 Olympics.

    Shooter Gai Bin earned S$270,000 for his 3 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games.

    In total, S$1.88 million was presented to the winning athletes for the New Delhi event, and S$2.34 million for the 2010 Asiad.

    Sponsors and other partners, including MediaCorp, also received plaques for their support of the Games.

    The president of the Singapore National Olympic Council also welcomed the appointment of BG Lim Teck Yin as the new CEO of the Singapore Sports Council.

    Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the president of the Singapore National Olympic Council, said: "He is a good choice. I know him - he is very passionate about sports even when he was in the SAF.

    "And I think his wide range of experiences in the SAF will do him good in any job that he goes to, not just the Sports Council. And I certainly wish him well, and I think he will be good for sports."

    Tao Li, national swimmer, Team Singapore, said: "I want to turn the pressure into motivation leading up to 2012. I'm the sort of person who always has pressure, but I perform much better under the pressure."

  10. #3937
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    Default Japan economic delegation visits S'pore

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Mustafa Shafawi | Posted: 18 February 2011 0952 hrs

    Photos 1 of 1
    Mr Hiromasa Yonekura (photo: EDB website)




    SINGAPORE: A delegation led by Nippon Keidanren chairman Hiromasa Yonekura called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong separately on Thursday evening, at the Istana.

    Singapore's Foreign Ministry said PM Lee and the business delegation exchanged views on how Singapore and Japan could work together to promote sustainable economic growth in Asia.

    In addition, they reaffirmed their commitment to foster a conducive business environment that would help forge stronger economic linkages within the region.

    SM Goh and the delegation discussed how ASEAN and Japan could enhance economic cooperation through greater Japanese investments in the region, and in initiatives such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia (CEPEA).

    The Keidanren delegation expressed support for Japan's participation in the TPP.

    Mr Yonekura and his delegation are on a three-leg visit to Southeast Asia, which includes Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

  11. #3938
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    The Straits Times

    Feb 18, 2011

    In Pictures: ArtScience Museum takeoff


    PHOTO: MARINA BAY SANDS


    THE ArtScience Museum at the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, the biggest private museum here, is opening with a bang.

    It will welcome visitors on Saturday with three blockbuster exhibitions - Genghis Khan: The Exhibition; Travelling The Silk Road: Ancient Pathway To The Modern World; and Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures And Monsoon Winds.

    Picture gallery compiled by Kee Ya Ting


    CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE:


  12. #3939
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    Default Swimming: Tao Li hopes to pocket another S$50,000 bonus

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Low Lin Fhoong, TODAY | Posted: 18 February 2011 0041 hrs

    Photos 1 of 1
    Tao Li




    SINGAPORE: She may have pocketed $300,000 from the Multi-Million Dollar Awards Programme this evening for her exploits at the Asian Games in Guangzhou last year, but Tao Li is hoping to cash in another S$50,000 bonus.

    The 21-year-old had clocked 26.10 seconds in the women's 50m butterfly to win the gold ahead of China's Jiao Liuyang, breaking the Asian Games championship record at the same time.

    A cash reward of S$50,000 is given out by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Tote Board to athletes who break championship records.

    However, this was not reflected on the Asian Games official website or in the results at the time.

    Speaking to Channel NewsAsia on Thursday evening, SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan said: "I told Tao Li not to worry, if she has broken the record, we will get the money for her."

    According to the SNOC, the Guangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee (GAGOC) will be sending the official results in a CD or booklet, but this will likely be issued to the respective National Olympic Councils months after the event, as is common practice.

    Chan said the alternative would be for the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) to verify the record with the Asian Swimming Federation.

    Responding to Channel NewsAsia's queries, SSA secretary-general Oon Jin Gee said: "Tao Li's performance, and whether she has broken the Games record, needs to be officially ratified by its owner, the Asian Swimming Federation. There is no evidence on GAGOC's website, so SSA is in contact with them to help expedite the process." - TODAY

  13. #3940
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    Default SIA's award-winning year in 2010

    The Straits Times


    www.straitstimes.com


    Feb 18, 2011

    By Linette Lin




    Singapore Airlines remained the most awarded airline in 2010, securing prestigious accolades from publications and organisations around the world. -- ST FILE PHOTO

    SINGAPORE Airlines remained the most awarded airline in 2010, securing prestigious accolades from publications and organisations around the world.
    Most of the repeat awards were for categories such as in-flight service and entertainment, food and beverage offerings, ground services, safety and corporate management. Here are some the awards won.

    Conde Nast Traveler, a leading travel magazine in the US, named Singapore Airlines the 'Best Global Airline' for the 22nd time. Sinapore Airlines also came out tops in the Conde Nast Traveler 2010 Business Travel poll in the 'Best Transpacific Airline for Business Class' category.

    In Switzerland, Travel Inside magazine awarded the 'Gold Award' in the Swiss Travel Star Award Category to the Airline in the 'Best Long Haul (non-stop)' category.

    BILANZ, a leading finance magazine, ranked Singapore Airlines as first in the 'Best Quality Airlines in 2010' poll.

    In Asia, at the annual TTG Travel Awards (Asia Pacific), the Airline was named in the 'Travel Hall of Fame' for the 8th consecutive year.

  14. #3941
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    Default A Caring Government

    I'm now listening to the Finance Minister's presentation of this year's Singapore Budget on Channel NewsAsia and so far what I heard is a very positive distribution of our income to the people at all levels with more going to the poor and the needy.

    The details will be flashed out in tomorrow's media.

  15. #3942
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    Budget 2011: More than S$13b in benefits for S'poreans

    By Imelda Saad | Posted: 18 February 2011 2059 hrs
    *
    *
    SINGAPORE: The Singapore government is giving out more than S$13 billion in benefits to households and businesses - aimed at growing incomes and strengthening society.

    Part of this is a S$3.2 billion one-off "Grow and Share" package - announced by Finance Minister Tharman ShanmuEgaratnam when he delivered this year's Budget in Parliament on Friday.

    On the back of last year's exceptional economic growth, the Government has also decided to put back into past reserves the S$4 billion drawn out for the Resilience package - introduced to help the country cope with the global financial crisis.

    All adult citizens can look forward to Growth Dividends of between S$100 and S$800, depending on their annual income and the value of their homes. NSFs and NSmen also get an additional S$100.

    The payout will be given by May 1, benefiting about 2.5 million Singaporeans

    There will also be a one-off Special Bonus for those on the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme, which pays older low-wage workers who stay employed.

    The bonus amounts to 50 per cent more for work done in 2010 and 25 per cent more each year, for work done in 2011 and 2012.

    It will be paid out fully in cash, with the first tranche on May 15.

    For example, a 55-year-old employee earning S$1,000 a month last year will receive a regular payout of S$2,100 plus S$1,050 for Workfare Special Bonus.

    "This is equivalent to getting one month extra pay, on top of the WIS which provides him more than two months' extra pay," said Mr Tharman. Some 400,000 workers stand to benefit from the special bonus.

    Self-employed persons who make Medisave contributions will also benefit. They will receive half of their bonus in cash and the other half in their CPF Medisave accounts.

    Another S$3.4 billion will go into top-ups for long term social investments to help seniors, needy Singaporeans and to support life-long learning.

    Taxpayers will also enjoy a personal income tax rebate of 20 per cent - capped at S$2,000 - for Year of Assessment 2011.

    There will also be a more progressive income tax cut. Marginal tax rates will be reduced for the first S$120,000 of chargeable income. This means working Singaporeans will pay less tax - especially if they are middle income earners.

    For example, those with chargeable income of S$60,000 will now pay 25 per cent less tax, and save S$650 a year, while those with chargeable income of S$160,000 save a smaller percentage of about 10 per cent.

    However, because this group pays higher taxes, they will in fact save about S$1,600.

    Those with chargeable income of above S$330,000 will save less than 1 per cent and get a modest S$350.

    Mr Tharman said under this more progressive income tax schedule, middle income earners will "enjoy the largest percentage reduction in taxes". The changes will take effect from YA2012 and will cost the government some S$590 million a year.

    Other tax changes include the employer CPF contribution rate, which will be raised by 0.5 percentage points to bring the total contribution rate to 36 per cent.

    "This is a bonus, but it is not merely incidental to our fiscal policy approach. It is how we share and redistribute the benefits of growth with Singaporeans, while keeping to fiscal discipline. This package of surplus-sharing will also help most of our lower and middle-income households to offset their higher costs of living this year," said Mr Tharman.

    The radio and television license fees will also be scrapped.

    "I will remove radio and television licence fees permanently...the licence fees are losing their relevance," said Mr Tharman, garnering cheers from the House.

    This is effective from January 1 this year and those who have paid the fees will get a refund.

    In explaining the move, Mr Tharman said: "The ownership of TVs is no longer limited to the middle and higher income groups. Today, most households including 99 per cent of lower-income households own TVs. Second with increasing media convergence, Singaporeans can now receive broadcast content over the internet and mobile devices which do nor attract licence fees."

    In a statement, MediaCorp said as the national broadcaster of Singapore, it "remains committed to produce PSB (Public Service Broadcast) programmes that promote social objectives and national harmony, within the framework of a commercial free-to-air environment. While MediaCorp is required to telecast a fixed number of PSB hours per year across its channels and stations, in reality, the quantum produced exceeds the number of hours mandated by the MDA."

    This year's Budget is the last to be delivered before the next General Elections due by February 2012 and in many ways the government has addressed concerns on the ground. For example, the immediate need to help Singaporeans deal with inflation and in the long term, helping to raise the wages of low-income Singaporeans so they can lead a better life.

  16. #3943
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    The Straits Times

    Feb 18, 2011

    How Budget 2011 adds up for Singaporeans

    By Ernest Luis

    ONE of the closing topics was on how the household benefits - as part of the 2011 Budget Statement announcements on Friday - add up for Singaporeans.

    Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that the average Singaporean household will receive about $3,000 from this year's (2011) Budget.

    He added: 'This will be equal to about 5 per cent of their annual household incomes. It will also be more than double the increase they could see in their household expenses this year (2011).

    'Further, these Government benefits are on top of wage increases that they can expect to receive this year (2011), which will also help to offset inflation.'

    He went on to say that lower-income households will 'get more, especially in comparison to their household expenses'.

    He gave an example: 'I will illustrate with the case of a 4-person family, with parents earning a combined monthly income of $2,000. They have two young children, one in primary school and the other in childcare. The couple will receive Growth Dividends of $1,700 and Workfare Special Bonus of $780 in total. In addition, they will benefit from a Child Development Credit of $400, and a further $260 from this year's enhanced U-Save and service and conservancy (S&CC) rebates.

    'In total, they will receive about $3,100 from the 'Grow and Share' package.'

    Including other measures introduced this year such as the removal of Radio and TV licence fees, and the enhanced CFAC (Centre-based Financial Assistance Scheme for Childcare) scheme for lower-income children in childcare, the family will receive about $3,500 in 2011. Mr Shanmugaratnam said this is equivalent to about 15 per cent of their incomes.

    He added: 'The benefits they will receive will also be more than four times the expected increase in their household expenses this year - without taking into account any wage increases.

    'This is also before counting the benefits which they will receive this year, which had already been committed in previous Budgets.

    'On top of the $3,500 from this year's (2011) Budget, if we add just four elements - the regular Workfare payments they will receive, their existing CFAC fee subsidies, and the pre-committed U-Save and S&CC rebates - the family will receive total benefits from Government amounting to a substantial $8,500.'

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    Channel NewsAsia

    Budget 2011: Productivity to get S$1b boost

    By Imelda Saad | Posted: 18 February 2011 1620 hrs

    Workers in a manufacturing plant in Singapore
    * *
    SINGAPORE: The Singapore government has given a significant boost to schemes announced last year aimed at enhancing productivity among businesses and workers.

    An additional $1 billion has been added to the National Productivity Fund bringing the total fund size to the target of S$2 billion.

    Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said this will "ensure continued support beyond the first five years for this long-term effort to restructure industries".

    Based on feedback from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme will also be enhanced.

    Businesses can now deduct from their taxable income, 400 per cent of their expenditures incurred in training or investment in automation.

    This is up from 250 per cent.

    The cap for such claims will also be raised from S$300,000 to S$400,000.

    This means that if a company makes productivity investments totalling S$500,000, the revamped scheme will pay for two-thirds of this investment.

    The cash payout option given to SMEs which pay little or no taxes will also go up from S$21,000 to S$30,000 for the first S$100,000 of their investments.

    Businesses can also now enjoy innovation credit benefits for research and development done overseas.

    The changes to the credit scheme take effect immediately and will cost the government S$520 million a year.

    For workers, there will be more training support especially for professionals, managers, executives and technicians or PMETs.

    PMETs make up half of the workforce in Singapore.

    The Education Ministry will expand the capacity for diploma level programmes at polytechnics by 60 per cent to some 10,000 places by 2015.

    The Manpower Ministry will introduce an umbrella programme for PMETs, called the Skills Training for Excellence Programme (STEP).

    Meanwhile, those who wish to upgrade will find it more affordable with increased subsidises for adult Singaporeans who pursue their first degree or diploma on a part-time basis at any polytechnic, Continuing Education and TrainingP Centres, universities or UniSIM.

    They will receive the same percentage cost subsidy on their part-time courses as what a full-time student currently enjoys.

    Some 30,000 Singaporeans will benefit from these subsidies.

    The continuing education and training enhancements will cost the government about S$30 million a year.

    This is on top of the S$500 million top up to the Life Long Learning Endowment Fund, bringing its size to S$3.6 billion.

    -CNA/wk

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