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Thread: Singapore Also Can
07-16-2012, 10:28 PM #6308
4 new members in minority rights council
04:46 AM Jul 17, 2012
SINGAPORE - President Tony Tan has appointed four new members to the Presidential Council for Minority Rights, who will serve a three-year term.
They are Attorney-General Steven Chong, Singaporean Ambassador to the United States Chan Heng Chee, former President of the Law Society of Singapore Philip Jeyaretnam and Dean of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies Barry Desker.
Three members have also been re-appointed: Archbishop Nicholas Chia, Mr J Y Pillay and Mr Othman Haron Eusofe.
The Presidential Council of Minority Rights consists of 17 members. It considers matters affecting any racial or religious community that are referred to them by Parliament or the Government. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
07-16-2012, 10:33 PM #6309
Legal lessons for students
by Sharon See
04:45 AM Jul 17, 2012
SINGAPORE - The Law Society of Singapore yesterday launched an initiative to bring legal knowledge into classrooms.
It is collaborating with 13 secondary schools to teach students the legal implications of offences such as cyber bullying and illegal money-lending.
The lessons are split into five modules and are conducted by teachers who have undergone training workshops with the Law Society.
The Law Society said response for its pilot programme, which was conducted at Xinmin Secondary and Yishun Town Secondary, has been good.
Local law firm Rajah & Tann is sponsoring the Project Schools initiative to the tune of S$200,000 until the end of next year.
The Law Society hopes to reach out to some 7,000 students in secondary schools and other educational institutions.
07-16-2012, 11:15 PM #6310
Aid for young talents
SOF, Peter Lim give out close to S$750k in scholarships to 270
by Low Lin Fhoong
04:45 AM Jul 17, 2012
SINGAPORE - The Singapore Olympic Foundation (SOF)-Peter Lim Scholarship was founded in 2010 to inspire and support promising young athletes with financial challenges, as well as provide assistance to outstanding national athletes.
And for 16-year-old silat exponent Muhammad Nur Affian Juma'en of the Singapore Sports School, being a recipient for a second year running is a blessing he does not take lightly.
Not when his father Juma'en Ali, 55, puts in long hours as a taxi driver as the sole breadwinner for a family of six.
Speaking to TODAY after receiving his S$2,000 scholarship yesterday at the Rock Auditorium, Affian, the youngest of four children, said: "Last year, I spent the money on sports shoes, equipment and school fees, and I'm going to do that again this year.
"Before that, my father paid for all that. I could see that it was tough on him because he would be tired when he got home. I rarely got to see him."
Affian was one of 270 recipients of this year's SOF-Peter Lim Scholarship, founded by entrepreneur Peter Lim, which received 772 applications from 140 schools this year. A total of S$746,000 was disbursed - an increase of 78 per cent from the S$409,101 given out last year. Recipients in the primary, secondary, tertiary and high performance category were given S$1,000, S$2,000, S$3,000 and S$10,000, respectively.
High performance category recipients included London Olympics-bound canoeist Geraldine Lee and swimmer Joseph Schooling, Darren Choy (sailing), Emily Sin (wushu) and Amanda Lim (swimming).
Yesterday's event also saw special guest Mark Foster, the six-time world swimming champion from Britain, giving an inspirational talk to the youth athletes.
Photo by WEE TECK HIAN
07-16-2012, 11:24 PM #6311
A stepping stone ...
by Low Lin Fhoong
04:45 AM Jul 16, 2012
SINGAPORE - One would expect sprinter Dipna Lim-Prasad to bristle at the suggestion that being a wildcard entry to the London Games could take the shine off her Olympic debut.
But the same poise and grace that has made her Singapore's current hurdles queen came through.
"Going there on a wildcard doesn't dampen the experience as I am living a dream," the 21-year-old, without missing a beat, told TODAY during a recent interview at the Singapore Sports School.
"Going to the Olympic Games has been my dream since I got into the Sports School (in 2004)."
Together with team-mate Gary Yeo, they are part of Team Singapore's 23-strong contingent from nine sports to compete at the July 27 to Aug 12 London Olympiad after they were awarded wildcards by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to compete in the women's 100m hurdles and men's 100m respectively.
Lim-Prasad may be all business on the track, but this lanky 1.74m tall hurdler could hardly contain her excitement at the prospect of meeting her idol, eight-time world champion Allyson Felix of the United States.
"I really want to meet her again after seeing her at the (2011) World Championships in Daegu," said the Nanyang Technological University undergraduate.
"I'm just so excited at going and I think it's going to be way better than I ever imagined. I have been doing more hurdle specific training, and my target is to break my national record and go under 14sec."
Lim-Prasad, who switched from the 200m to hurdles five years ago on the advice of her coach Viatchesslav Vassiliev, served notice of her talent when she broke the national hurdles record twice in January last year after returning from injury.
Three months later, she set a new mark of 14.23sec at the Taiwan Open, and aims to go sub-14sec at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar.
Similarly, Yeo is going for gold at the regional games next year.
Currently in Nishinomiya City, Japan, for a 29-day training stint with former Japanese sprinter and 2008 Beijing Games men's 4x100m relay bronze medallist Nobuharu Asahara, the 25-year-old said: "It is a dream come true and it is a chance to be cherished. I hope to be able to do Singapore proud by just putting in my very best at the starting line.
Yeo, a surprise 100m silver medallist at last year's SEA Games in Indonesia, is also hoping to anchor the men's 4x100m relay team to victory in Myanmar after the Indonesians pipped them to the tape in a photo-finish final at Palembang's Jakabaring Stadium last year.
"My target is to go below 10.40sec to qualify for next year's SEA Games, and aim for gold for both events this time," he said.
But for now, a chance to rub shoulders with the world's best athletes awaits the duo in London.
Both are eager to catch a glimpse of newly-minted Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, while Lim-Prasad has someone other than boyfriend - former national sprinter Poh Seng Song - on her mind.
"I want to see Usain Bolt again," she gushed. "He's one of the few people who takes an interest in you when you ask for a photo, and he's very charming!"
Singapore hurdler Dipna Lim-Prasad (pictured) is set to make her Olympic debut in London. Photo by WEE TECK HIAN
07-17-2012, 10:49 PM #6312
Lee's out to prove a point
by Philip Goh
Updated 08:35 AM Jul 18, 2012
SINGAPORE - No matter how she does at Eton Dorney for the two races she is entered in, kayaker Geraldine Lee would have achieved in London what her two-time world champion coach has never done before - compete at the Olympic Games.
The 25-year-old, who is a contracts executive with the Land Transport Authority, carries on her broad shoulders the hopes of the local canoeing community.
They have hungered for more support since the arrival of Hungarian Balazs Babella, as head coach of the national canoe team in November 2008, helped them to take big strides in their sport.
At last November's SEA Games in Indonesia, Singapore's canoeists captured their all-time best haul of 10 medals, including two gold, with Lee their stand-out performer, winning an individual gold and three silver.
But her place in Singapore sporting history was sealed a month earlier with the Singapore Canoe Federation's decision to send her as the Republic's only representative at the Asian Canoe Championships in Tehran, which doubled as an Olympic qualifier.
She repaid their faith in her by coming within a whisker of clinching qualification in both the K1 200m and 500m races and was awarded her place at the Olympics last month by the International Canoe Federation on the strength of that performance.
Lee knows it will be tough to even make it out of the heats in London.
"I want to show that nothing is impossible and that the Olympic dream is within reach," she said. "I want to make canoeing more recognised in Singapore and encourage more people to take up the sport."
For Babella, a member of the Hungarian K4 200m team that won the world championship in 2005 and 2007, Lee is perfect for the role.
"It's important for her to do as well as she can," said Babella, who is hoping Lee can beat at least one competitor in her races.
"But it's equally important for her to be there to see what it is like so that, when she's back, she can relate her experience to her team-mates and inspire them to greater goals."
Lee's races will be on Aug 7 (K1 500m) and Aug 10 (K1 200m).
"It's important to start well," she said. "Then you try to pick up, then pick up some more, and when you feel like dying, that's when you push your hardest."
TODAY speaks to Geraldine Lee. Find out how she feels about participating in the Olympics and what she hopes to achieve: http://tdy.sg/geraldinelee
Geraldine Lee wants Singapore's canoeists to know that nothing is impossible. PHOTO WEE TECK HIAN
07-17-2012, 10:55 PM #6313
AGC rebuts blogger's post on law on contempt
by Teo Xuanwei
04:46 AM Jul 18, 2012
SINGAPORE - The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has rebutted blogger Alex Au's post arguing that Singapore's law on contempt prevents debate and curtails free speech.
Mr Au put up the post on Sunday, arguing that the Republic's law of contempt "(extends) a blanket guarantee that judges will be shielded from criticism through the use of an archaic legal concept of 'scandalising the judiciary'".
The post was put up just four days after he was made to apologise for and remove a post alleging judiciary bias in plastic surgeon Woffles Wu's case, in lieu of contempt proceedings.
In a press statement yesterday, the AGC pointed out that a judge "can be criticised, even fiercely criticised, for getting the law or facts wrong, for getting the decision wrong or for imposing the wrong sentence".
"This is regularly done by lawyers, academics and laypersons ... There is no curtailment of free speech that would prevent such criticism. It is contempt, however, to say that the court was biased if there is no objective rational basis to do so, as Alex Au did."
There are also avenues to address judicial misconduct, such as "appeal, criminal revision or motions to reopen decided cases", and judges guilty of misconduct will be dealt with, the AGC said.
Wu, 52, was fined S$1,000 last month for abetting an employee to take the rap for two speeding offences. The AGC had previously clarified several "distortions of the facts of the case" that Mr Au had made in his June 18 post, "Woffles Wu case hits a nerve".
The AGC reiterated yesterday that Mr Au "deliberately misrepresented the facts and then accused the court of being biased, on the basis of his false facts. This is very wrong. To make his points sound valid, Alex Au decided to mislead."
In his July 15 post titled "Using power to give immunity to the powerful", Mr Au argued that "giving blanket immunity, shielding the administration of justice from criticism, is surely a bizarre way and counterproductive way of promoting that trust and respect (in the courts and judges)".
In its statement, the AGC also noted that other countries have similar laws on contempt.
AGC issues statement on Law of Contempt
Updated 04:57 PM Jul 17, 2012
The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) today issued a statement defending the law of contempt in Singapore, in response to posts by socio-political blogger Alex Au. Mr Au last week posted a letter of apology on his blog over his June 18 post, "Woffles Wu case hits a nerve", which the AGC said scandalised the courts and misrepresented various facts in relation to the case. Mr Au also took down the post. On Sunday, Mr Au, posted a new blog entry about contempt of the court. He titled it "Using power to give immunity to the powerful".
Here is the statement, in full:
"The law of contempt exists to protect public confidence in the administration of justice. Accusations of bias diminish it in the eyes of the citizen, lower it and ultimately damage the nation. Such accusations can occur frequently, with the judges not being able to respond. That is why confidence in the administration of justice needs to be protected from such allegations.
The steps taken by AGC in respect of Alex Au's post of 18 June 2012 were with that objective. Unlike other blogs or commentary, Alex Au went beyond merely criticising the judgment. He deliberately misrepresented the facts, and then accused the court of being biased, on the basis of his false facts. This is very wrong. To make his points sound valid Alex Au decided to mislead.
Thus AGC asked Mr Au to remove his remarks setting out the false facts, and apologise for making the contemptuous remarks of the judiciary. It is misleading of Mr Au to now allege that our laws on contempt prevent debate and curtail free speech without acknowledging what he has done.
A judge can be criticised, even fiercely criticised for getting the law or facts wrong, for getting the decision wrong or for imposing the wrong sentence. This is regularly done by lawyers, academics and lay persons. Such criticism is not contempt. There is no curtailment of free speech that would prevent such criticism. It is contempt however to say that the court was biased if there is no objective rational basis to do so, as Alex Au did.
Where the parties to a case do feel that a judge has committed misconduct, avenues are available to raise the issue, and have it determined within our Court system. Depending on the level of the Court, and the stage of the proceedings, possible avenues include appeal, criminal revision or motions to reopen decided cases. Although the reopening of a case is very rarely done, there will be reopening if it is shown that an injustice has been caused. Judges guilty of misconduct will be dealt with through various disciplinary mechanisms depending on whether they are district judges or Justices of the Supreme Court.
We should note that Singapore is not alone in protecting the judiciary in this way. Other countries have similar laws on contempt.
We also note that Alex Au has made references to the announcements by Malaysia on its law on sedition. This is a non sequitor, of no relevance whatsoever to the subject at hand. Contempt has nothing to do with sedition."
Last edited by Loh; 07-17-2012 at 11:05 PM.
07-17-2012, 11:08 PM #6314
Two national monuments to get funding for restoration works
Updated 02:11 PM Jul 17, 2012
SINGAPORE - Two of Singapore's national monuments will receive funding for restoration works from the government's National Monuments Fund (NMF).
St Joseph's Church and Abdul Gafoor Mosque will receive nearly S$670,000 in total for urgent restoration works and structural repairs.
The church will get some S$532,000 for restoration of its stained glass windows, while the mosque will receive S$137,500 for repair works to its roofs.
Ms Jean Wee, director of the Preservation of Monuments Board (PMB), said: "The PMB encourages monument owners to be responsible for their buildings.
"Hence, the NMF grant operates on a co-funding principle, and enables monument owners to kick start some work while rallying their immediate community and stakeholders to support their preservation efforts.
"We are heartened that many monument owners have taken very positive and proactive steps. We hope that with everybody chipping in, our national monuments can continue to stand as witnesses to our shared history, and benefit future generations of Singaporeans."
NMF is a S$5 million co-funding scheme over five years, introduced in 2008 by the government, to assist owners of non-profit and non-commercial national monuments in their preservation efforts.
The fund grants up to S$1 million per calendar year and complements monument owners' fundraising efforts for their restoration projects. The grant is disbused following the completion of the work.
Since 2008, 11 monuments have benefited from the fund. The National Heritage Boards said a total of over S$3.65 million has been granted to date, including the latest two grants. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
07-17-2012, 11:19 PM #6315
Abdul Gafoor Mosque to get restoration grant
07-17-2012, 11:23 PM #6316
A*Star chief scientist receives prestigious cancer research award
Published on Jul 18, 2012
Sir David Lane, a scientist renowned for his work in cancer research has been named the recipient of this year's Cancer Research UK Lifetime Achievement award. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
The chief scientist of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), Professor (Prof) David Lane, has been named the recipient of this year's Cancer Research UK Lifetime Achievement award for his contributions to furthering the understanding of cancer and genomic research.
Prof Lane's research led to the discovery of the p53, a protein which is mutated in more than 50 per cent of cancers. It was first discovered in 1979. Since then, he has dedicated his career to better understand its role in cancer protection and methods of controlling it. His research promises to pave the way for the development of new cancer drugs.
Prof Lane, currently the manager of A*Star's p53 lab, was knighted for his services to cancer research in 2000. He will receive the award at the National Cancer Research Institute's Cancer Conference in Liverpool on Nov 4.
The Cancer Research UK Lifetime Achievement award honours scientists and clinicians in the cancer research community who produce exceptional research throughout their career.
07-17-2012, 11:27 PM #6317
Land for Changi Airport to double in size
Published on Jul 18, 2012
Singapore has earmarked 1,000ha of land for the expansion of Changi Airport - a move which will almost double the airport's size in the coming decades. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
By Karamjit Kaur
Singapore has earmarked 1,000ha of land for the expansion of Changi Airport - a move which will almost double the airport's size in the coming decades.
The planned expansion comes as rival airports in China, India and the Middle East formulate bold expansion plans to meet the growing demand for air travel.
Changi now occupies 1,350ha of land. The extra space for the future, about the size of Toa Payoh, is located where the biennial Singapore Airshow is held.
The plot is now separated from the existing airport by Changi Coast Road and already has a runway currently used for military purposes.
07-17-2012, 11:36 PM #6318
Civilian use of Changi's third runway: decision by year-end
By Hetty Musfirah | Posted: 17 July 2012 1925 hrs
Changi Airport (Photo by: Hester Tan, channelnewsasia.com)
SINGAPORE: Singapore will decide by the end of this year when to open the third runway at Changi Airport for civil aviation use. The runway is currently used by the military only.
And given the strong growth potential, this may happen two to three years ahead of Hong Kong's third runway, which is scheduled for 2023.
More airport terminals may also spring from a 1,000-hectare piece of land in Changi.
The chairman of Changi 2036 Steering Committee Josephine Teo revealed this during an update on the committee's work.
The committee, which was set up earlier this year, has been visiting other emerging and top aviation hubs to keep a close watch on the competition.
Josephine Teo, who is also the Minister of State for Finance and Transport, said: "All the airports that we are looking at are already of about the same capacity as ours; they are planning for passenger handling capacity for 100 million and beyond.
"Most of them are already thinking beyond two runways.
"Hong Kong has set in motion plans for third runway; Incheon already has three.
"This is really in response to how they are looking at the growth potential for civil aviation. It reaffirmed our assessment that the growth potential is a very healthy one."
So the committee is now finalising plans to open Changi's third runway for civilian use. And it'll need to be extended to accommodate all aircraft types before it can be opened for commercial use.
Mrs Teo said: "Runways, like all airport infrastructures, generally (require) fairly long lead times. Just an indication, for Hong Kong, they are looking at 2023. For us, we have a distinct advantage. It's not that we don't have a runway three. We will definitely be able to do it, two to three years faster than them, mainly because we don't need to reclaim (land)."
The committee is also exploring how to develop a 1,000-hectare piece of land between runway two and the future runway three. This includes a part of Changi Coast Road.
Mrs Teo said: "Keeping the road there is an option, expunging the road and making it just completely part of the airport parameter is also an option. So we have to study both options, we have to look at the pros and cons. That's why the Land Transport Authority's involvement is very critical."
The area may also site future terminals, a second and new control tower and facilities that complement the air hub.
Mrs Teo said: "Part of the committee's job is to decide when we might need a fifth terminal or for that matter, the committee has to explore whether it should be a fifth terminal or a fifth and sixth terminals.
"What configuration it ought to be, so that is part of the master planning. Both in terms of timeline and ideal configuration."
By 2017, when the new Terminal 4 is completed, Changi Airport will be able to handle 85 million passengers a year, compared to the current 73 million.
07-17-2012, 11:44 PM #6319
Myanmar eyes Singapore model to develop skilled workforce
By Tan Qiuyi | Posted: 17 July 2012 1554 hrs
Myanmar Deputy Minister for Labour U Myint Thein (2nd L) with Singapore Polytechnic Principal Tan Hang Cheong (2nd R) formalising training collaboration in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.
NAYPYIDAW: Myanmar authorities are looking to the Singapore model as it ramps up efforts to develop a skilled workforce.
In the spotlight is Singapore's workforce development system.
The Myanmar Labour Ministry has approached the institute of higher learning, Singapore Polytechnic, to see how Singapore's technical expertise and development experience can apply in the Myanmar context.
"We're expecting an influx of foreign investment, which will need a ready pool of certified skilled workers," says Deputy Labour Minister U Myint Thein.
"We're also preparing for ASEAN integration, which aims to have a free flow of skilled labour within the community by 2015," he said.
"For skilled Myanmar workers to travel freely, we need national certifications as a form of quality assurance for employers."
Myanmar has an estimated population of 48 million according to the World Bank, with the majority living in rural areas.
Government statistics show a 90 per cent primary school enrolment rate, but only 30 per cent of the population reaches high school level.
Local training providers say the current vocational training system is highly varied, which can get complicated for both workers and employers.
"Different ministries and companies offer training and certificates according to their own standards, so there's a need to unify the system," says Daw Khin Mar Aye, who heads a government-funded training centre that provides welding and electrical courses.
Setting up national standards for skills training is part of Myanmar's current reform of its labour laws, which date back to the 1950s.
The Labour Ministry has recently tabled a new Employment and Skills Development Law for discussion in parliament.
Current regulations encourage the private sector to offer training on a voluntary basis, but the new law aims to make some training provisions mandatory.
For reference, the Myanmar Labour Ministry is looking at Singapore's Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) system, which is a set of national credentials used to train, test and certify skilled workers for a range of industries, from engineering, HR to tourism.
Its collaboration with Singapore Polytechnic will see 30 Myanmar officials from its National Skill Standard Authority (NSSA) arrive in Singapore at the end of July for a training workshop conducted by Polytechnic staff.
The three parties on Tuesday signed an agreement to kick off the project in the Myanmar capital Naypyidaw.
Singapore Polytechnic Principal Tan Hang Cheong says language and cultural differences are the basic challenges for participating staff, but having the right attitude is more critical.
"We're coming not just with the attitude to give, but also to learn from the Myanmar people, from their resilience and hard work."
The project is funded by a S$200,000 grant from the Temasek Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings.
"All across Asia, there's a need for vocational training," says Temasek Foundation CEO Benedict Cheong.
"People realise you can't just have leaders from universities. You need a group of equally trained and skilled middle and technical managers to build up the community."
Another Singapore Polytechnic workshop in Yangon is scheduled for September.
07-18-2012, 11:18 PM #6320
A bigger shield against those big medical bills
MediShield premiums to go up next year; bulk to be covered by one-off Medisave top-ups
by Neo Chai Chin
04:46 AM Jul 19, 2012
SINGAPORE - Premiums for MediShield are set to increase by the first quarter of next year, as its scope of coverage widens to include more elderly and those requiring inpatient psychiatric treatment.
The bulk of rises in premiums will be covered by the one-off Medisave Top-ups this year, which will cost the Government S$320 million. For Singaporeans above 65, the annual Medisave top-ups ranging from S$250 to S$450 will also help offset costs. As a result, only Singaporeans aged 21 to 60 will have to pay S$1 to S$5 more for premiums. The rest will see a drop in payable premiums.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) released a public consultation paper on the proposed changes.
The higher premiums for MediShield - a non-profit, basic catastrophic insurance scheme that targets large medical bills and covers 92 per cent of Singaporeans - are necessary to keep pace with increasing claims. Since its last revision in 2008, the number of claims has risen by 9 per cent per year and average payout per policyholder has gone up by about 12 per cent per year. Medical inflation, meanwhile, is about 3 per cent annually.
News of the higher lifetime limit came as an "early birthday present" to kidney dialysis patient Job Loei, who turns 48 this Sunday. On dialysis for 18 years and with about S$1,200 paid out from MediShield each month, Mr Loei is expected to hit the S$200,000 limit in the next year. The higher limit would last him another eight years, allowing him to save more for his wife and university-bound son, he said.
Changes to MediShield were first flagged by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in March during the Budget debate. Yesterday, he explained that with a greying population, improved accessibility and medical advancements, healthcare facilities are now used "more often" by Singaporeans.
"Because of these changes and the claims experience, we have to then regularly review MediShield to make sure we remain relevant and provide adequate cover for Singaporeans," he said at the sidelines of the opening of a simulation training centre at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
To keep the scheme's focus on large bills, the deductibles - portions of the bill that patients have to pay before MediShield payouts kick in - for B2 and C Class bills will be increased by S$500. The deductible for Class B2 bills will be S$2,000, and S$1,500 for Class C bills.
With this adjustment, MediShield payouts will cover 25 to 30 per cent of such bills; down from up to 50 per cent currently, said Ms Lai Wei Lin, MOH director of healthcare finance.
Mr Gan said MOH would discuss with private insurers on how the proposed changes will impact integrated Shield plans, which are offered by private insurers and include benefits on top of those provided by MediShield. About two in three Singaporeans with MediShield are also integrated Shield policyholders.
Health Government Parliamentary Committee chairman Lam Pin Min told TODAY the changes were a step in the right direction but he urged MOH to remove the age ceiling. "Singaporeans above 90 will be excluded with this new proposal and it is this very age group ... who need health insurance most," he said.
There are about 11,000 people here aged 90 and above, according to recent news reports.
Also up for public consultation is whether MediShield coverage should be extended to newborns with congenital or neonatal conditions. Inclusion would mean peace of mind for future parents, but result in additional premiums of about S$1 per month for those aged 1 to 20, said the MOH. Dr Lam, who has raised this issue in Parliament, said he hoped Singaporeans will support the proposal.
Key proposed changes to MediShield
- Yearly limit will go up from S$50,000 to S$70,000; lifetime limit will increase from S$200,000 to S$300,000
- Age ceiling for coverage will increase from 85 to 90 - a move that will benefit up to 1,700 elderly here
- Inpatient psychiatric treatment will be claimable, as will bills from short-stay wards in hospitals' emergency departments
07-18-2012, 11:25 PM #6321
Just as real
04:46 AM Jul 19, 2012
A new simulation centre that will enhance training of healthcare personnel and medical students was unveiled yesterday by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.
The Simulation and Integrated Medical Training Advancement Centre in Tan Tock Seng Hospital houses an operating theatre, emergency room, intensive care unit, wards and outpatient consultation rooms that are near-replicas of the real thing.
A new simulation centre for healthcare personnel and medical students. Photo by DON WONG
07-18-2012, 11:28 PM #6322
MOH announces enhancements to MediShield
by Neo Chai Chin
Updated 07:43 PM Jul 18, 2012
SINGAPORE - Adjustments to MediShield - a basic and catastrophic insurance scheme - are set to kick in by the first quarter of next year.
Among the changes: increasing MediShield coverage for large bills by increasing yearly limits from S$50,000 to S$70,000, and lifetime limits from S$200,000 to S$300,000; and extending MediShield to cover short-stay wards at the Emergency Department and inpatient psychiatric treatment.
The age ceiling for coverage will also go up from 85 to 90. Deductibles - bills to be paid by the patient before payouts from MediShield - will also go up by S$500 for Class B2 and C hospital bills, to S$2,000 and S$1,500 respectively.
In turn, premiums will need to go up. According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), after the Government Medisave top-up, those aged 21 to 60 will see their monthly premiums go up by S$1 to S$5. The rest will see premiums decrease.
The MOH also proposed other changes to MediShield which are up for public feedback - the idea to extend coverage to newborns with congenital conditions. The MOH said this will cost Singaporeans aged 20 and below about S$1 more a month in premiums.
To keep MediShield premiums affordable, the Government had announced a one-time Medisave top-up of S$400 during Budget 2012, as well as permanent Medisave top-ups to the elderly under the GST Voucher Scheme. MediShield premiums are paid for via Singaporeans' Medisave accounts. These are part of the aim to double State healthcare spending to S$8 billion over the next five years.
The public may send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
07-19-2012, 10:00 PM #6323
London Stock Exchange, SGX in merger talks?
Updated 09:33 AM Jul 20, 2012
LONDON - The London Stock Exchange Group is in talks with the Singapore Exchange about a potential £7.2-billion pound (S$14.2-billion) merger, the Daily Telegraph reported, a deal that would create the world's third-largest exchange group.
The newspaper said the Chief Executive of LSE Group, Mr Xavier Rolet, has held a series of informal talks with SGX chief Magnus Bocker about a potential merger.
The structure of any potential merger is unclear but the paper speculated that SGX would take over its British rival because of its larger market capitalisation of £4.4 billion against LSE's £2.8 billion.
The talks, which are still in their preliminary stages, are focused on the benefits of merging the two exchanges amid continued consolidation attempts in the sector, according to the article published on the Telegraph's website late last night.
Banking sources cited by the Telegraph said a formal offer is still some time away, but rumours suggested a takeover would be in the region of £13.50 per LSE share.
Earlier this month, SGX and LSE signed an agreement to allow the pair's largest stocks to be traded on both bourses.
SGX was not immediately available for comment.
Last edited by Loh; 07-19-2012 at 10:14 PM.
07-19-2012, 10:12 PM #6324
A gradated system of benefits for PRs?
by Yolanda Chin and Norman Vasu
04:45 AM Jul 20, 2012
Singapore's pro-immigration policy was designed mainly to mitigate the falling birthrates projected to have dire consequences on the demographic and economic vitality of the nation. Among the non-citizen population, permanent residents are accorded certain benefits not available to other foreigners who also contribute to Singapore, particularly in the area of housing, education and medical services.
The key justification for the extension of privileges customarily accorded only to citizens is that permanent residence is deemed as a first step towards the acquisition of Singapore citizenship. Hence the benefits are to facilitate PRs' integration into society and signal to them that their long-term commitment to Singapore is valued.
The evolution of the concept of the PR in Singapore is revealing when considered in the current zeitgeist. Following separation from Malaysia, Singapore had to contend with a number of stateless people within its borders and PR status was bestowed upon them to enable them to work towards becoming full-fledged citizens.
In effect, the situation Singapore found itself in at that time was - in economic terms - a buyers' market where these people were surplus for requirement and Singapore could take the pick of the crop.
Now, Singapore finds itself a sellers' market where it is competing globally for talented labour in order to remain economically competitive.
Unlike the stateless PRs of the bygone era, the present PRs arrive with citizenship of their motherland which not all of them choose to give up.
Nevertheless, they are still accorded similar benefits as citizens to induce them to stay and contribute to Singapore's economic development, first as long-term PRs, with the hope that they will in future adopt citizenship, or - to employ the botanical metaphor - sink their roots in the nation.
These privileges taken in toto have recently come under great criticism from Singapore's citizenry who fear that PRs are in a position to enjoy all the benefits of being in Singapore during the good times while also being able flee at the first sign of crisis with their own citizenship as the ejection-seat button.
Consequently, the challenge facing the Government is aptly summed up in an observation by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a debate in 1990: How can we "make it attractive for foreigners with skills and talents to want to come to Singapore and to be PRs … (and) to make it even more attractive for such PRs to want to become citizens, instead of the other way around, to make it more attractive for citizens to wish that they were PRs?"
Unfortunately, it may be argued that the current response to the PR question merely attempts to stop citizens from wishing they are PRs. It may neither entice foreigners with skills and talents to want to come to Singapore to be PRs, nor make it even more attractive for such PRs to want to become citizens.
COST OF VALUING CITIZENS MORE
In a bid to reassure Singaporeans that citizens are valued more than PRs, a slew of policy adjustments have been introduced over the past year, such as the reduction in the number of applications for permanent residence approved and the clawing back of subsidies for PRs in education and medical benefits.
Few would fault a government for ensuring citizens enjoy better privileges than non-citizens. However, penalising PRs to underscore the value of citizenship is a well-intentioned but flawed response.
Firstly, the goal of attracting talented and skilled international talent to Singapore that underpins the permanent residence policy in the current context may be undermined. Systematically scaling back on the number of PR permits and benefits creates uncertainty pertaining to their status should they choose to settle in Singapore. Hence talented foreigners who could potentially call Singapore home may be deterred.
Secondly, such an approach may alienate the current pool of PRs. Making them bear the burden of Singaporeans' anxieties inadvertently implies that they are to blame.
For instance, reducing educational and medical subsidies they are entitled to may vindicate anti-immigrant speculation that PRs have indeed been taking more than they have been giving. At the same time, it may also signal to them that their contributions over the years are not fully appreciated, which is counter-productive to integrating them into Singapore society.
A WAY FORWARD?
How then can the PR system continue to attract foreign labour, entice them to become citizens while also placate a restive citizenry?
Admittedly, there is no way to ensure PRs will adopt local citizenship. The most realistic outcome would be for PR status to be attractive enough for individuals to stay as long as possible to contribute economically with the hope that they will become citizens.
A problem with the current policy towards PRs is that it does not make a distinction between recent and long-term PRs, who have the same entitlements. A manner in which this may be achieved would perhaps be through a gradated system of benefits for PRs.
Effectively, such a system would reward the "long-stayer" PRs for remaining through thick and thin and drive home the point to all PRs that settling down has its privileges.
Within such a gradated system, not all PRs will have equal benefits of being a PR, be they educational or medical benefits; such benefits will increase perhaps in five-year blocks as they continue to remain in the country.
Furthermore, PRs within such a gradated system will not arrive at the full privileges of being a citizen. Instead, they will be made very aware that the telos of PR status is the eventual adoption of Singaporean citizenship with all its rights, duties and privileges.
Yolanda Chin is Research Fellow and Norman Vasu is Assistant Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
TODAY FILE PHOTO
Last edited by Loh; 07-19-2012 at 10:16 PM.
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