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  1. #4370
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    Default Superyachts new status symbols for Asia's mega-rich

    Channel NewsAsia

    Posted: 13 April 2011 1119 hrs


    In a picture taken on April 12, 2011 a superyacht docks at the One Degree 15 marina in Singapore's resort island of Sentosa. (AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN)


    SINGAPORE: Forget about limousines, penthouse apartments, private jets and other trappings of newfound wealth.

    For Asia's growing ranks of the ultra-rich, a superyacht has become the ultimate status symbol, and manufacturers of luxury craft are setting course for a region which by one count now boasts more than 330 billionaires.

    "I love having a yacht as it's a home that moves and I have a different view everyday," Singaporean tycoon Arthur Tay, one of the city-state's pioneering yachtsmen, told AFP.

    Tay owns Hye Seas II, a sleek 116-foot (35.4-metre) vessel that dominates a marina club he set up in the exclusive Sentosa Cove seaside
    enclave.

    The vessel boasts wood-panelled walls, a well-stocked bar, flat-screen televisions and plush sofas looking out to a sweeping view of the sea.

    "I relax when I'm on the boat -- get away from all the noise," Tay said.

    He declined to disclose the cost of the yacht but a well-informed executive in the boat business estimated its worth at close to $12 million.

    Tay, chairman of lifestyle products and services firm SUTL, said he takes his vessel out to sea three times a month on average with family and friends to nearby tourist hotspots like Phuket and Bali.

    Jean-Jacques Lavigne, executive director of the Singapore Superyacht Association, who defines a superyacht as any private leisure vessel measuring more than 24 metres (about 80 feet) in length, says 216 are based in Asia.

    That's double the number just two to four years ago, he says, but just a sliver of the global total of 7,000.

    "There are two factors which are contributing to the growth. One is obviously the huge wealth creation in Asia, the second one being the investment in infrastructure, mostly good quality marinas," he told
    AFP.

    "It's very easy to grow a new industry because it's starting from a very, very low point," he added.

    US business magazine Forbes in March named Asia as the region with the second-largest population of billionaires worldwide behind the United States, leapfrogging Europe for the first time in history.

    The population of Asians with fortunes of US$1b or higher surged to 332 in 2011 from 234 last year, with growth led by China, whose total jumped from 69 to 115.

    The number easily surpassed Europe's 300 billionaires, while American billionaires numbered 413.

    Despite Asia's comparatively small superyacht fleet size, US economist Jonathan Galaviz, who follows Asia's luxury sector, estimated the region's superyacht industry at US$5b, from boat purchases to maintenance and crew.

    "It would not be unreasonable for the industry to grow by double-digit figures over the next five years," he told AFP.

    "As the economies of Asia continue their abnormally fast economic growth, there are bound to be greater levels of purchases of ultra-luxury items such as superyachts."

    To expose Asians to the superyacht industry and bring foreign yachtsmen to the region, the organiser of the prestigious Monaco Yacht Show, the Informa Yacht Group, held its first Asian gathering over the weekend in Singapore.

    "There is an absolutely clear, latent propensity to consume this kind of big-ticket item here," said Andy Treadwell, managing director of the group.

    "We're doing our bit to try and make Singapore the hub of the superyacht industry in Southeast Asia, and in the same way that that's true of Monaco and Europe, that's definitely what our aim is here," he added.

    Treadwell said more visits by superyachts from other parts of the world would spur development of the industry in the region.

    "We want them to come here because the more they come here the more exposure there is for the other people in the region who've got the wealth, who've got the money, but who don't know anything about yachting," he said.

    A total of 81 superyachts visited Singapore in 2010 compared to 16 in 2006, according to the Singapore Superyacht Association (SSA).

    More marinas are being planned in Singapore as well as other Asian countries such as China, South Korea and Indonesia.

    China in particular is planning for "hundreds of marinas" along its lengthy coastline while Indonesia intends to introduce them in poor, outlying coastal villages to help alleviate poverty, SSA's Lavigne said.

  2. #4371
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    Default S'pore still No. 2 in using IT to grow

    Apr 14, 2011

    IN THE ST NEWSPAPER TODAY


    By Yuen Sin


    Related Link
    GLOBAL IT REPORT





    FOR THE second year running, Singapore has taken the No. 2 spot in an annual ranking of how well global economies use information and communications technologies (ICT) to further growth.

    Sweden remained in the top spot as Nordic countries continued to blaze a trail ahead of their global rivals, according to the Global Information Technology Report released yesterday.

    The report, which is in its 10th year, is jointly published by the World Economic Forum and international business school Insead.

    Singapore emerged with an overall Networked Readiness Index (NRI) score of 5.59, the highest in Asia. It trailed Sweden, the global leader, by 0.01 point.

    The NRI score is computed based on 71 different indicators in three categories: the business, regulatory and infrastructure environment; the readiness of individuals and businesses to use ICT; and the actual usage of available technology.

    ICT typically refers to the use of communication devices or applications that include radio, television, mobile phones, computers and network hardware.

  3. #4372
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    Default Tharman in US to chair IMFC meet

    The Straits Times



    Apr 14, 2011




    Mr Tharman heads the body that sets policy for the IMF.


    FINANCE Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is in Washington DC from today until Saturday to chair his first meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC).

    He was appointed head of the IMFC, the body that sets policy for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), last month.

    The IMFC meeting, held alongside the annual Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank, will discuss economic challenges and reforms to the international monetary system, among other things.

    While in Washington DC, Mr Tharman will participate in the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors' meeting. He will also speak at the annual Bertelsmann Foundation-Financial Times conference today.

  4. #4373
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    Default S'pore economy continues to grow

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Mustafa Shafawi | Posted: 14 April 2011 0804 hrs


    Singapore Skyline

    Related News MTI to release Q1 GDP estimates on April 14


    SINGAPORE: The Singapore economy continued to grow at a healthy pace in the first quarter of 2011.

    Releasing its flash estimates, the Trade and Industry Ministry (MTI) said the economy expanded by 8.5 per cent compared to the first quarter of last year.

    On a quarterly basis, the economy grew by 23.5 per cent.

    This is a strong improvement from the 3.9 per cent growth in the previous quarter.

    Growth was led by the manufacturing sector, which expanded by 13.9 per cent on year.

    MTI said this strong growth was driven by the electronics and precision engineering clusters, which benefited from a pick-up in business investment in the region

    The construction sector grew by 2.6 per cent, reversing the contraction of 2.0 per cent in the previous quarter.

    MTI said this mainly reflected an increase in building activities in the residential segment.

    The services producing industries also saw an increase in activities in the first quarter of 2011.

    Compared to a year ago, the services producing industries expanded by 7.2 per cent.

    Growth was driven by the financial services sector, which saw an increase in commercial bank lending activities.

    Trade-related services such as the wholesale and retail trade, and transport and storage sectors also expanded, in line with continued growth in global demand.

    MTI said it will release the preliminary GDP estimates for the first quarter in May 2011, including performance by sectors, sources of growth, inflation, employment and productivity in its Economic Survey of Singapore.

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    Default MPA, PSA to collaborate on technology research

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Mustafa Shafawi | Posted: 13 April 2011 0959 hrs


    Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)


    SINGAPORE: The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and port operator PSA Corp are joining hands to research and test bed new technologies for future container terminals.

    Areas of focus under the five-year Port Technology Research and Development Programme include green port technologies.

    MPA will fund the programme with up to S$10 million over five years from the Maritime Innovation and Technology Fund (MINT Fund).

    PSA, together with local institutes of higher learning and other industry partners will provide co-funding and in-kind resources of up to S$10 million over the same period.

    A key project to be undertaken by PSA under the new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is the development of Automated Guided Vehicles which will reduce manpower and improve port productivity.

    PSA will also develop more intelligent systems that will streamline port planning processes and operations.

    Through this programme, MPA hopes that Singapore will continue to be at the forefront of technology in port operations and services adding to its development and growth as an international maritime centre.

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    Default S'pore firms in Shandong

    Channel NewsAsia

    Business opportunities for By Rachel Kelly | Posted: 13 April 2011 2048 hrs


    Dezhou, Shandong, China


    SINGAPORE: Trade promotion agency IE Singapore said the development of the new Shandong Peninsula Blue Economic Zone is slated to bring more business opportunities for Singapore companies in China's Shandong province.

    Approved by China's State Council in January this year, the economic zone is China's first marine-themed regional strategy.

    At the 15th Singapore - Shandong Business Council meeting held in Singapore Wednesday, both sides agreed to explore more economic partnerships in the Blue Economic Zone.

    They also pledged to strengthen collaborations in key areas including urban solutions, logistics, marine and offshore, and tourism infrastructure.

    Following the meeting, eight agreements were signed Wednesday, involving such Singapore-based companies as Sembcorp Utilities, the APRIL Group and the Singapore Tourism Board.

    Jurong Port also signed its first overseas joint venture agreement for a project in Rizhao Port.

    IE Singapore said last year, bilateral trade between Singapore and Shandong amounted to US$2.26 billion, an increase of 42.7 per cent over 2009.

  7. #4376
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    Default Applied Materials, IME to set up joint facility

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Rachel Kelly | Posted: 13 April 2011 1737 hrs





    SINGAPORE: Global manufacturing solutions provider, Applied Materials, and Singapore's Institute of Microelectronics (IME) are to set up an Advanced Packaging Center.

    Applied Materials and IME - a research institute under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) - Wednesday signed a research collaboration agreement for the joint facility which will develop new tools and integration schemes for growing wafer-level packaging market.

    Located in Singapore's Science Park II, the Center will have a full line of Wafer Level Packaging (WLP) processing equipment and will conduct research in semiconductor hardware, process, and device structures.

    Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR, said, "The Center leverages the deep R&D capabilities in 3D-TSV, built by IME over the years, to support advanced packaging tool development for Applied Materials to meet the unique needs of the company and our economy. The setting up of this Center will help advance Singapore's aspiration to be a global R&D hub and Asia's Innovation Capital."

    A signing ceremony for the collaboration was officiated by Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Lim Hng Kiang.

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    Default SMX to launch cash-settled gold, silver & copper futures contracts

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Jonathan Peeris | Posted: 12 April 2011 2151 hrs





    SINGAPORE : The Singapore Mercantile Exchange (SMX) said it will begin trading cash-settled gold, silver and copper futures contracts from Friday.

    The contract sizes will be 100 troy ounces for gold, 5,000 troy ounces for silver, and five metric tons for copper.

    SMX said the US-dollar denominated contracts represent unique trading and investment opportunities for Asian market participants and other participants across different time zones.

    The contracts will start trading at 10am Singapore time on Friday and be traded across the Asian, European and American time zones.

    They will be cleared through the Singapore Mercantile Exchange Clearing Corporation and settled against benchmark international futures prices on expiry.

    SMX CEO Thomas McMahon said the contracts will open doors for easier access to these markets for effective portfolio diversification, position trading and hedging by Asian market participants.

    SMX already offers WTI crude, Euro-priced Brent crude and Euro-US dollar futures along with a physical gold contract deliverable in Singapore.

  9. #4378
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    Default CapitaMalls Asia ties up with PARCO

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Jonathan Peeris | Posted: 13 April 2011 1605 hrs





    SINGAPORE: Shopping mall developer and operator CapitaMalls Asia has signed an agreement with Japan's PARCO to explore business collaborations in China and Japan.

    PARCO owns 20 malls in key Japanese cities including Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo.

    It also manages one property in Singapore's Marina Bay area.

    CapitaMalls Asia has been bringing Japanese retailers to its other markets outside Japan.

    It said the proposed collaboration with PARCO will further strengthen this effort by tapping on PARCO's extensive network of retailers in Japan.

    CapitaMalls Asia already has seven shopping malls in Japan and intends to leverage on PARCO to explore new investment opportunities in the country.

    CEO of CapitaMalls Asia, Mr Lim Beng Chee said Singapore shoppers are familiar with well-known brands such as MUJI, UNIQLO, Daiso and Best Denki.

    However, he added that there are still many more Japanese retailers that have yet to be introduced to Asia.

    Mr Lim said the collaboration will enable PARCO's network of tenants to grow their business in the 92 malls that CMA currently owns and manages in Asia.


  10. #4379
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    Default Cloud-based financial solutions for SMEs

    By Jonathan Peeris | Posted: 12 April 2011 1559 hrs


    Workers in a Singapore office


    SINGAPORE : SingTel and US financial software provider Intuit have launched a cloud-based financial management solution for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore.

    Called QuickBooks Online, the service allows businesses to manage critical business tasks, such as creating invoices and tracking cash flow.

    SingTel said by offering the solution on a subscription basis through the cloud, businesses do not need to install, update and maintain software and licences.

    They can also avoid upfront investments in equipment, as well as ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs.

    Companies can then make the most of their scarce resources and focus on their core business activities.

    Among the features, QuickBooks Online automatically backs up users' data every two hours and offers them secure access from any location via the web.

    It securely stores all financial data on central servers rather than on the user's computer, protecting it from computer damage, loss or theft.

    In addition, expert telephone support is available to provide customers with peace of mind.

    SingTel is offering a free 30-day trial of the software from April 13.

  11. #4380
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    Default S'pore's public health services get thumbs up

    The Straits Times

    Apr 14, 2011



    By Tony Ng




    Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan (left) speaking to 87-year-old Madam Lim Wan Hwee, a patient at Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Jan 17, 2011. -- PHOTO: ST



    SATISFACTION with Singapore's public health services remains high, with nearly eight out of 10 patients giving the thumbs up, a 2010 patient satisfaction survey revealed.

    Among the hospitals, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) achieved the best results at 82 per cent, followed by Tan Tock Seng Hospital (78 per cent) and Alexandra Hospital (77 per cent). Scoring among the top three for polyclinics were Clementi, Toa Payoh and Bukit Batok respectively.

    Nearly 12,000 patients were asked to rate the services based on nine factors, including facilities, and knowledge and skills of doctors and nurses, The survey was conducted from September to December 2010 and the results were confirmed by an independent survey company commissioned by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

    The strong showing in satisfaction reflected a high level of confidence in public healthcare despite higher expectations, the MOH said. Of the respondents, 80 per cent were satisfied with the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP), an increase of 7 per cent from 2009's results. Similarly, 75 per cent - an increase of 6 per cent from 2009 - were satisfied with SingHealth polyclinics (SHP).

    Patients said they would also recommend the healthcare services to others. The NHGP received an all-time high recommendation of 80 per cent while SHP had a rate of 72 per cent. However, waiting times for admission and consultation and at pharmacies, remain areas for further improvement, MOH added.

    In his blog on Thursday, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan observed that Khoo Teck Puat Hospital was still new but had already impressed its patients and 'set a high benchmark for the other hospitals.' He encouraged the team planning the upcoming Ng Teng Fong Hospital in Jurong to 'try to do even better'. This way, Singapore's hospitals will 'continue to move upwards in service level, benefiting all patients, especially those in subsidised wards', he said.

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    Default Star Wars-inspired name of LucasFilm's new building

    The Straits Times

    Apr 15, 2011



    By Chua Hian Hou




    Troops from Singapore garrison, 501 st Stormtrooper Legion, making sure no dastardly Jedi turn up at the celebrations. -- ST PHOTO: CHUA HIAN HOU



    THE FORCE has propelled American film production company LucasFilm's five-year-old Singapore office to new heights.

    On Thursday, the company behind the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, announced details of an 'iconic' new building being constructed at the Fusionopolis high-tech park.

    The new eight-storey glass-and-steel Sandcrawler Building, named after the towering mining machines first seen in its 1977 hit Star Wars: A New Hope, will boast a 100-seat theatre, state-of-the-art production facilities and of course, Star Wars-themed decor.

    The company's president, Ms Micheline Chau, said that it decided to build 'our own facility because it is very important create the right environment for employees to work in, where our production teams can innovate and truly feel at home'.

    In any case, Ms Chau - who is Singaporean - added: 'Building iconic buildings is something we love to do, and since we are committed to Singapore, we may as well build our own building.'

    Once the 22,500-sqm building is completed at the end of 2012, it will be home for Lucasfilm's TV and feature film arm Lucasfilm Animation, its special effects arm Industrial Light & Magic Singapore, and its LucasArts video games unit.

  13. #4382
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    Default Jobs closer to home, more housing near MRT stations

    The Straits Times

    Apr 15, 2011

    By Cao Baoying




    Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan speaking at the URA Corporate Plan Seminar at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN


    SINGAPOREANS can expect 'more than 10,000 dwelling units in vacant land around MRT stations such as Commonwealth, Queenstown and Bishan,' said Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan on Thursday.

    This can take place in the next decade and beyond, and are higher-rise housing of more than 30 storeys. He was speaking at the URA Corporate Plan Seminar on Thursday, at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

    The Minister mentioned in his speech that '2011 will be the year of the Concept Plan,' under a 'new phase of planning for Singapore's physical transformation.'

    Mr Mah said the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) has decided on a 6.5 million population figure as a planning assumption for the concept plan, though this figure, he added, is not a population target.

    Another important issue addressed during the Minister's speech was the plan to bring jobs closer to homes. This will be achieved by building more housing in the Central and West regions, where there are proportionately more jobs than homes. More commercial and industrial activities will also be planned for the North and North-East, where there are currently more homes than jobs.

    This redistribution of housing and jobs will hopefully ease peak hour traffic flowing in the North-South direction towards the city, said the Minister.

  14. #4383
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    Default Japan disaster reminds S'pore to diversify its power sources: SM Goh

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Maria Siow | Posted: 14 April 2011 2007 hrs


    Mr Goh Chok Tong (file picture)




    SINGAPORE: Singapore Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said the recent disaster in Japan is a reminder that the country needs to diversify its sources of power.

    Even though there are no plans to move into nuclear energy, he said Singapore was "enquiring into its mileage" and looking at how best to use nuclear energy.

    Mr Goh was speaking in a wide-ranging interview Thursday with China Central Television in the southern Chinese province of Hainan, where he is attending the Boao forum for Asia as a board director.

    On attracting international talent to Singapore, Mr Goh said the island needs to remain open.

    "Because if you are able to collect a pool of very able people, no matter what the challenges are, we are in a better position to overcome the challenges," Mr Goh said.

    Even though rules have been tightened to make the process of acquiring Singaporean citizenship more "selective", he noted that those with good knowledge, skills and entrepreneurship will still be welcomed.

    When asked about the legacies of both himself and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Goh said, "We never talked about legacies. Lee Kuan Yew never talked about his legacy. I never talked about my legacy. There was a job to be done and somebody had to do it."

    "[Lee Kuan Yew] has laid the foundations for Singapore, he has shaped the values for Singapore, and he therefore planned for his own exit because he believes that he should not be there forever and ever. I happened to be the man who succeeded him. So I have kept Singapore going and now, the third Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is now trying to do the same thing - to make Singapore more competitive, and give people a better life."

    In response to whether he told Prime Minister Lee to do so, Mr Goh said: "No, I don't tell my successor what to do. But my successor should know what to do."

    Turning to the building of casinos, Mr Goh reiterated that "from the moral standpoint, the government and most people in Singapore are against gaming."

    However, in the end, the choice was made based on the need to create jobs, difficulty in relying on manufacturing and a few key industries in generating growth, and the lack of natural tourist attractions.

    The government will, however, continue to keep a watchful eye on the social implications of the casinos, Mr Goh said.

    On the use of new media, Mr Goh said these were powerful tools of communication, which cannot be underestimated. He warned that new media could "sometimes suffer from the danger of misuse by a small number of people, who hide behind anonymity, spread information, distort news", but added that "you have to live with it."

    Even so, Mr Goh believes new media is a technological tool and a mega-trend that will take the world to the next level of economic development.

    On China's opening up, Mr Goh said that China's successful economic development has led to problems, such as a growing income gap and inflationary pressures.

    He said China's core strategy should be to become a market economy, a move which he believes will be made easier given the country's investment in its infrastructure, people and in relevant skills.

    On the internationalization of the Chinese currency, Mr Goh said it has to be done gradually, and that China's exchange rate should be made more flexible to reflect the fundamentals of the Chinese economy.

    On the BRICS summit being held in Sanya, Mr Goh said it is still too early to tell if the grouping of emerging economies will be institutionalized. But he believes it is good start for the BRICS nations - comprising of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - to be involved in a major forum such as the G20.

    Mr Goh said apart from pushing for freer trade between nations, the G20 will also have to tackle global financial stability, inflation, and price volatility.

    Mr Goh will take part in a panel discussion and hold bilateral meetings with other visiting foreign dignitaries Friday.

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    Default Indian ethnic communities celebrate New Year

    Channel NewsAsia

    Posted: 14 April 2011 1854 hrs


    New Year celebrations at a Hindu temple.




    SINGAPORE: The many ethnic communities of the Indian Sub-continent are celebrating their New Year this week, including the Sikh and Tamil communities.

    In Singapore, Thursday marks the first day of the year in the Tamil calendar.

    It is the birth of the first month, Chithirai, of the solar-based calendar.

    Many Tamils started the celebrations with prayers and offerings at temples - such as the Sri Srinivasa Perumal temple at Serangoon Road.

    Decked in new clothes, many sought blessings for the new year.

    The festival is also celebrated by other Hindus around the world.

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    Default Govt is tackling cost of living concerns: Yaacob

    Apr 16, 2011


    By Cassandra Chew





    Dr Yaacob added that the Government has also taken measures to help workers upgrade their skills so they can earn more, and is looking into how it can continue to uplift the low income. -- ST PHOTO: NURIA LING


    h4 { font-family:Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-weight:normal; font-size:11px; line-height:140%; }h4.links {margin-bottom:3px;}a:link, a:visited { /*general links are #333333, and changes colour to blue#24718c on rollover*/color:#333333;text-decoration:none;}a:hover, a:active {text-decoration:none;color:#24718c;}.hr_thin { background-color:#c8c1ad; height:1px; margin:6px 0px; }
    THE Government is aware of concerns over the rising cost of living, and has taken steps to help Singaporeans cope with it, said Minister for Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim on Saturday.

    For example, he said many should have received letters from the Ministry of Finance informing them how much they will receive from the $3.2 billion Grow and Share Package announced in this year's Budget.

    He added that the Government has also taken measures to help workers upgrade their skills so they can earn more, and is looking into how it can continue to uplift the low income.

    He said this in response to question from reporters on whether the Government will address the top concern of young voters, as reported in The Straits Times on Saturday.
    Dr Yaacob, Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts Lui Tuck Tew, MP Denise Phua and People's Action Party new face Edwin Tong visited Block 49 Sims Place Market and Food Centre on Saturday morning.

    They form the likely line-up to contest the new Moulmein-Kallang GRC.

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    Default Low Thia Khiang: WP proposal to lower HDB flat prices won't affect resale prices

    Apr 16, 2011



    By Kor Kian Beng, Political Reporter





    Mr Low was responding to Mr Mah's criticisms of the WP's manifesto unveiled last Saturday. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE


    h4 { font-family:Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-weight:normal; font-size:11px; line-height:140%; }h4.links {margin-bottom:3px;}a:link, a:visited { /*general links are #333333, and changes colour to blue#24718c on rollover*/color:#333333;text-decoration:none;}a:hover, a:active {text-decoration:none;color:#24718c;}.hr_thin { background-color:#c8c1ad; height:1px; margin:6px 0px; }
    WORKERS' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang slammed National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan on Friday for not giving Singaporeans the full picture, insisting his party's proposal to lower new flat prices will not affect resale prices.

    The Hougang MP cited two reasons: the number of new HDB flats are relatively small and are also subject to a minimum occupancy period of five years before they could be sold on the resale market.

    'So how much can the price of a new flat affect the resale market price and to the extent that he's saying that it's going to be a big impact?' said Mr Low, speaking to The Straits Times in an exclusive interview.

    The opposition leader was responding to Mr Mah's criticisms of the WP's manifesto unveiled last Saturday. It proposes to lower new HDB flat prices by pegging them to the median incomes of Singaporeans. Now, it is tied to resale market price and then discounted. The manifesto also called for flats to be affordable enough so that mortgages can be paid off in 20 instead of 30 years.

    Mr Mah had warned that the WP's proposal would lower the value of Singapore's one million homes in what he called an 'asset-devaluation policy', as opposed to the People's Action Party's (PAP) asset-enhancement policy.

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