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  1. #6920
    Regular Member nokh88's Avatar
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    I too had bad experiences with the Singapore Immigration before. Although I worked in Singapore for 5 years in the past and is rather familiar with the places, I am still a worried man every time I checked in at the Immigration counters. The officers are very strict and asked many questions, even when we had old folks and very young kids in the car.

    They somehow gave the impression that we are not welcome. Nowadays I hardly go to Singapore unless necessary like sending my close ones for medical check-ups.

    My last trip was 3 weeks ago when we went for CNY visiting. On our way back, there were 5 of us, my wife, our 12 year old son and his cousin who is 2 years younger and my mother-in law. At the immigration counter, the young officer, with our passports in his hands asked us in Malay to read out the young boys' names. As I do not know the young boy's full name, I asked him to refer to the passport. From past encounters, the officers will called out our names one by one and we will acknowledged. He then became angry and said he had the right to do what he did and threaten me if I wanted go to the office. As it was very late at night and with my MIL and young kids on board, I let it pass.

    These young officers are abusing their positions. Is it because we are Malaysian?

  2. #6921
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    I entered and left Singapore by air. From what I could see they were quite courteous with passengers entering Singapore. My wife was in front of me and she went through quickly. Next was me and after they scanned my passport, the Immigration counter was closed right in front of my face and I was then asked to follow the Immigration officer to see another officer and taken to a waiting/holding area. I was then told that another officer will have to check my passport again.
    About 10 minutes later the checking officer came back and handed me back my passport and told me that there was nothing to worry about. I was then escorted through a separate gate and allowed to enter the Lion city.
    Needless to say my wife was rather worried.
    However, leaving the city by air was trouble-free and very efficient.

  3. #6922
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Sorry you guys experienced some discomfort at the immigration. Normally security will be tightened during public holidays when large numbers are expected.

    Some officers may be too serious in their work I suppose. You can't take security for granted nowadays especially in an open and international city like Singapore with so many tourists and other visitors coming to our shores. It has been revealed in the past that Singapore has been targetted by terrorists and remains vulnerable.

    Your experience can't be worse than that suffered by some of our women visitors at the Malaysian Immigration sometime ago. They were asked to strip because they did have their passports properly stamped. Rude and discourteous immigration offers are present everywhere. Some of them appear to be such maybe because of work stress and they stlll have to do their duty irrespective.

    Every place has it's attractions and not so nice experience depending on one's expectations. The average Singaporean will not spend huge amounts at tourists attractions such as Marina Bay Sands. They probably go there to see the sights, including window shopping. Few will enter the casinos or dine at the high class speciality restaurants with world renowned chefs, but will watch affordable world class Broadway musicals at the Grand or Sand Theatres. They can also have their meals at the Food Court next to the skating rink.

    The MBS is specially catered to MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibiyions) events which business organisations can pay good value.

    However, there are many authentic dishes that can be bought for much cheaper price at the food courts or small restaurants. Locals will know these places better.

    As with all things there is the good and the bad. The bad will unlikely survive for long as they will soon be found out. Hopefully our people involved in the tourist industry, including the immigration, will continue to improve such that we can attract more visitors.
    Last edited by Loh; 03-10-2013 at 12:03 PM.

  4. #6923
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Oriental Pied Hornbill eggs successfully incubated, hatched at Jurong Bird Park

    Published on Mar 08, 2013
    6:54 PM





    A world's first, three Oriental Pied Hornbill eggs have been successfully incubated and hatched at Jurong Bird Park's Breeding and Research Centre. The three chicks hatched between late January to early February 2013. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM



    By Chen Jingjie



    In a world first, three Oriental Pied Hornbill eggs have been successfully incubated and hatched at Jurong Bird Park's Breeding and Research Centre.

    The three eggs, which were abandoned by their mother, were rescued from Pulau Ubin by rangers from the National Parks Board.

    It is usually hard to gain access to their eggs as the mother bird usually seals herself and the eggs in the nest, depending solely on the male for food. No attempt has been made to artificially incubate them prior to this.

    The Oriental Pied Hornbill is native to Southeast Asia and plays an important role in the ecosystem by dispersing the seeds of fruit trees. It was not seen in Singapore for 140 years prior to 1994. Since then, its numbers have increased and now stands at 100 in the wild.

  5. #6924
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore: Butterfly or frog?

    OPINION

    Singaporeans seem to have grown unhappier over the years, but as individuals and as a society, we can count our blessings and decide which path to take.


    Straits Times


    Published on Mar 09, 2013
    5:30 AM




    Singapore is undergoing a metamorphosis. Indeed, it is likely to be a mighty metamorphosis. Having lived in Singapore for 64 years, I find it hard to recall a period of greater transformation. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN


    By Kishore Mahbubani, For The Straits Times


    SINGAPORE is undergoing a metamorphosis. Indeed, it is likely to be a mighty metamorphosis. Having lived in Singapore for 64 years, I find it hard to recall a period of greater transformation.

    Unlike previous transformations, this one is not taking place in the material or mental spheres. Nor is it taking place in the economic or political spheres.

    Instead, it is taking place in the spiritual sphere. The soul of Singapore is being redefined.

    No one can predict the final outcome of this metamorphosis. There is a range of possibilities. Let me suggest two extreme possibilities using analogies from natural results of metamorphoses.

    Singaporean society could either emerge as a happy butterfly, flitting around in a garden city, or it could emerge as a lonely frog, croaking away unhappily in a little well.

    Objectively, the odds should favour a happy outcome. Subjectively, we seem to be headed for an unhappy outcome.

    Half full or half empty?

    SEVERAL recent studies have emerged to suggest that Singapore is an unhappy society. Gallup polls taken last year found Singapore to be both the least positive nation out of 148 countries surveyed, and the least emotional country out of more than 140 countries surveyed.

    A book titled Happiness And Wellbeing: A Singaporean Experience, written by two National University of Singapore Business School professors, found that Singaporeans have grown unhappier over the last 10 years.

    Fortunately, unlike the metamorphoses in nature, the outcome is not preordained. It will not be a result of unchangeable DNA.

    Instead it will be a result of decisions that we make. Yes, we can decide to be happy.

    And I can speak from personal experience.

    When we are born, we inherit tendencies to be optimistic or pessimistic souls.

    I was born with a pessimistic streak. But I have learnt to control or balance it with conscious thought processes. When I slide into pessimism, I carry out a thorough analytical process of counting my blessings and my challenges.

    Singapore as a society can do the same. And it can also decide to define itself as a happy or unhappy society, just as many individuals often choose to live their lives believing that the glass is always half empty.

    To help along this natural process of deciding whether we want to be happy or unhappy, I plan to write several columns in 2013. Some will count our blessings and some will spell out our challenges.

    The final two columns will spell out what the butterfly and frog scenarios will look like. My goal is to be helpful to my fellow Singaporeans and help them decide where to go.

    Tension over immigrants

    LET me illustrate this process with one clear contemporary challenge.

    One of the biggest sources of unhappiness among Singaporeans is the surge of foreign migrants in recent years.

    This unhappiness surfaced clearly in the General Election of 2011 and continues to reverberate in the blogosphere. Some of the reactions are rational. Many of them are emotional. And we have to try to understand both the rational and emotional dimensions.

    I have had first-hand experience of the emotional dimensions.

    A little more than two years ago, on Christmas Eve 2010, an Australian driver tried to physically nudge me twice with his sports utility vehicle after I complained about his unnecessary honking off Siglap Road. Fortunately, I was not hurt.

    I am glad that I had this experience. It made me understand the resentment that Singaporeans feel towards insensitive foreigners.

    What made this experience unusual is that Australian drivers are generally more courteous than Singaporean drivers. The wide open spaces in Australia don’t create the psychological pressures that a crowded Singapore does.

    A month ago, a fellow professor (an American citizen) at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy experienced road rage from a Singaporean. After watching the erratic driving of a small truck, the professor rolled down his window at a red light to advise the Singaporean driver to be careful.

    The Singaporean driver rewarded his courtesy by running into the professor’s car. And he would have physically assaulted the professor if his father had not restrained him.
    This incident made me aware that I had failed to alert this American colleague of mine to the dangers of road rage in Singapore.

    After driving for over 40 years in Singapore, I know that the capacity for road rage exists in many Singaporean drivers (including, as my wife can confirm, sometimes in me).

    We can try to resolve this rising tension over immigrants in Singapore with rational arguments. And rational analysis does help.

    However, we also have the emotional dimension.

    A long-time permanent resident of Singapore, who has contributed a lot to Singaporean society, told me recently that for the first time in decades he was beginning to feel unwelcome in Singapore.

    When I asked him whether any particular incident had affected him, he could not think of any. Yet he said that he could distinctly feel less welcome than before.

    The Singapore story

    IN SHORT, we have to go beyond the material and mental spheres and beyond the economic and political spheres to understand the spiritual direction of Singaporean society. What forces have generated this new-found unhappiness with the previous status quo?

    Normally it is the poets and novelists, the playwrights and artists who explain a society’s soul to its people. Yet we all know that the great Singaporean novel has not been written. Nor have we had an in-depth discussion among Singapore’s artistic community on the forces generating this unhappiness.

    The simple goal of my columns for 2013 is to try to unearth these happy and unhappy strains of Singaporean society. Yes, like any other society, we have both.

    What we don’t have is a good understanding of these different strains.

    It will be impossible for me to unearth these strains on my own, even though I have been a Singaporean for 64 years and carry the Singaporean soul in my blood. I will need some help.

    I therefore welcome readers’ views to the e-mail address below.

    Civilised comments will be shared: Yes, I did use the word “civilised”. I know that it is old-fashioned and not chic to specify “civilised discourse”. Rants are often the order of the day.

    However, I believe it is possible to express sharp and fundamental disagreements in a civilised manner. And, indeed, one of the best ways to ensure that we emerge as a happy butterfly rather than as an unhappy frog is to have a civilised discourse in Singaporean society on how to manage the sharp disagreements that have emerged.

    And, if as a society we cannot have a civilised discourse, we are choosing an unhappy destination for ourselves.

    In short, we can choose to be happy or unhappy.

    As Karl Marx wisely said: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”


    The writer is the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. This is the first of a monthly column.

  6. #6925
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default One-tenth of Singapore will be green


    Photo: HDB


    Residents can expect new parks and green spaces and facelifts for existing parks


    TODAY

    • By Sumita Sreedharan



      6 hours 57 min ago

      SINGAPORE — The Government has pledged to commit a tenth of Singapore’s land to nature reserves and parks, with new parks and green spaces set for completion this year and in the years to come, and existing parks to get a facelift.

      Speaking during the Committee of Supply debate for the Ministry of National Development (MND) yesterday, Senior Minister of State for MND, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, said the pledge is “significant for a highly urbanised city-state”, but stressed that a balance has to be struck between conservation and development.

      “As a Government, we need to make decisions that reflect the collective interest of Singaporeans, not specific interest groups. However, we can and have been working closely with interest groups to tap on their expertise and knowledge,” he said.

      This year will see the completion of new parks, including Holland Village Park, Woodlands Town Park East and the Choa Chu Kang Park extension.

      Older parks like Sembawang and Changi Beach Park will be given a fresh new look, while the authorities are planning to create a 60-km Nature Way that will include the Tampines, Yishun-Mandai and Admiralty areas by 2015.

      Mr Tan noted that the issue of conservation and development is “highly subjective and contextual”. “One may strongly believe that a particular green area or an old building should be conserved. Someone else may not share the same attachment and ask ‘what is the big deal?’” he said.


    “Yet others will think that we can develop and conserve at the same time — a win-win arrangement which we have achieved in many cases, and which we should always strive for, but is not always possible.”

    Addressing concerns by Nominated Member of Parliament (MP) Faizah Jamal and Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong on the Government’s processes on assessing the environmental impact of development projects, Mr Tan said it was not possible to conduct Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) on all developments.

    “EIAs are also resource and time intensive. As such, we should apply them selectively to projects that may most adversely impact our protected natural spaces as well as our coastal and maritime environments,” he explained, adding that the EIAs, when done, are gazetted and available for public viewing.

    Mr Tan also touched on the issue of celebrating heritage in the heartlands and incorporating an area’s heritage into its development.

    For example, the Housing and Development Board will be studying the feasibility of retaining some of the mature trees in the Bidadari area and incorporating the existing memorial garden into the area to “retain the spirit of the space”.

    He also said that plans for the Rail Corridor will be announced soon, and assured that the Government is committed to retaining a continuous green corridor as a “key element” in its planning, design and development.


  7. #6926
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Budget 2013: New fund for lifestyle concepts with strong tourism potential

    Published on Mar 11, 2013
    3:05 PM




    A new $5 million Kickstart Fund has been established to support lifestyle concepts with strong tourism potential and scalability. Second Minister for Trade and Industry, S. Iswaran said this during the Singapore Budget 2013 on Monday, March 11, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN



    By Maria Almenoar


    A new $5 million Kickstart Fund has been established to support lifestyle concepts with strong tourism potential and scalability. Second Minister for Trade and Industry, S. Iswaran said this during the Singapore Budget 2013 on Monday.

    Mr Iswaran in announcing this fund said that the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) was committed to "fostering innovation and test-bedding new smaller-scale ideas".

    Examples of concepts that could tap on this fund include pop-up entertainment, dining, retail or arts events. The scheme will also provide entrepreneurs access to business advice from experienced mentors from the industry.

    STB will announce the details and call for applications soon, he added.

  8. #6927
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    To put the size of Singapore's national parks into perspective, the current total national parks is just 3,315 hectacres versus Hong Kong's 41,582 hectacres.
    If Singapore were to become as green as Hong Kong, it will have to knock down more than three quarters of all the buildings and man-made structures in existence now.
    Frankly, it is an impossible task to balance unless the population shrinks.

  9. #6928
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default MAS announces commemorative sets for Singapore's third series of coins

    Published on Mar 12, 2013
    7:20 PM



    A new coin series will be issued for circulation by the middle of 2013 as announced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore on February 21, 2013. Featuring the Merlion, the Port of Singapore, Changi Airport, public housing and the Esplanade, the Singapore Third Series coins are made of multi-ply plated steel and are less costly to produce. -- FILE PHOTO: MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE


    By Keith Ang


    To mark the launch of Singapore's third series of coins, which are themed around national icons such as the Esplanade and Changi Airport, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is launching limited edition commemorative coin sets.

    Three sets of commemorative coins will be available for purchase: a full set of the new coins, a set consisting of current and new designs and a set with the new designs minted in silver and plated gold.

    The new series of coins have bigger numerals to make it easier for the elderly to identify them as well as distinctive edging for each denomination for the blind. The size of the coin now also matches its denomination. For example, the smaller denomination 50 cent has a smaller radius than the $1 coin, unlike the current series.

    A total of 170,000 commemorative sets would be minted and available from April 26.

  10. #6929
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Mummies from Egyptian collection of the British Museum to be exhibited in Singapore

    Published on Mar 12, 2013
    4:41 PM





    The mummy of Nesperennub from the famed Egyptian collection of the British Museum will be virtually unwrapped in a 3-D film at a new exhibition at Marina Bay Sands' ArtScience Museum from April 27, 2013. The exhibition features more than 100 artefacts and six mummies from the British Museum and combines ancient Egyptian artefacts with the latest in modern technology. -- FILE PHOTO: THE TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM


    By Hoe Pei Shan


    A new exhibition from the famed Egyptian collection of the British Museum will be featured at Marina Bay Sands' ArtScience Museum from April 27.

    The exhibition will have more than 100 artifacts and six mummies in total. Among the artifacts is a statuette of the Egyptian god Amun-Ra in bronze from 664-305 BC.

    Visitors can also look forward to watching a 3D film capturing the virtual unwrapping of an Egyptian mummy, with the centrepiece being a mummified temple priest who lived 3,000 years ago and died at about the age of 40.

    There will also be an interactive embalming workshop and other hands-on activities.

    Tickets go on sale from April 1 and more information can be found at www.marinabaysands.com/ArtScienceMuseum

  11. #6930
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default New NUS undergraduate course in business analytics

    The Straits Times

    Published on Mar 12, 2013
    11:29 AM


    By Stacey Chia


    To boost the pool of business analysts in Singapore, the National University of Singapore (NUS) , will be offering a new undergraduate degree programme in August.

    The multi-disciplinary Business Analytics degree programme will be based in the School of Computing, but students will also have the opportunity to take modules in mathematics, statistics, economics, marketing, computer science and information systems as well.

    NUS said that students will learn how "to organise, make sense of, and derive critical insights from large amounts of business data" during the duration of their four-year direct Honours programme.

    The NUS spokesman said that 40 students will be admitted this year, followed by 80 undergraduates a year by 2016. Applications are currently open and more information can be found at http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/is/ug-bsc-ba.html.

  12. #6931
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore World Water Day celebrations on March 16

    The Straits Times

    Published on Mar 12, 2013
    11:09 AM



    The Marina Barrage, looking toward the Singapore city skyline.More than 35,000 people are expected to take part in Singapore's World Water Day celebrations on March 16. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN



    By Feng Zengkun

    More than 35,000 people are expected to take part in Singapore's World Water Day celebrations on March 16.


    Activities such as kayaking, dragon boating, cycling, mass walks and picnics will be held at 11 locations including the Marina Barrage, Jurong Lake, Lower Seletar Reservoir and Geylang River.

    Among the highlights will be the formation of a giant water droplet by more than 3,000 people at the Marina Barrage, and mass yoga sessions there as well as at other locations.

    The theme for Singapore's celebrations this year is Every Drop Counts. World Water Day is on March 22 internationally.

  13. #6932
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default More hospitals and polyclinics by 2030



    Primary healthcare capacity is anticipated to grow in the coming years. TODAY file photo


    TODAY

    ByNeo Chai Chin

    6 hours 7 min ago


    SINGAPORE — By 2030, Singapore’s healthcare system could feature 10 new acute and community hospitals and up to 12 more polyclinics.

    Unveiling the infrastructure plans in Parliament yesterday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said Singapore is on track in its bid to enhance access to healthcare services.

    Six of the hospitals — two acute hospitals, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Sengkang General Hospital, and four community hospitals — will open between end-2014 and 2020.

    Together with expanded capacity at existing facilities like the National University Hospital, they will add 4,100 more acute and community hospital beds by 2020 — 400 more than what was announced last year, and about a 50 per cent increase from current capacity.

    Between 2020 and 2030, Mr Gan said the Government anticipates “we may need to build four new acute hospitals”.

    “We are ... studying regional demographic profiles to identify the likely locations of these new hospitals, and we will review our infrastructure plans nearer 2020,” he said in the Ministry of Health’s Committee of Supply debate.

    In recent years, the total number of days spent by citizens and permanent residents overnight in public acute hospitals has grown by about 4 per cent yearly — from about 1.5 million bed-days in 2006 to 1.8 million bed-days in 2011, said Mr Gan. The increase was largely due to an ageing population.

    The number of foreign patients has remained constant at about 2 per cent of the public sector’s total patient load over the years.

    Primary healthcare capacity
    will also grow in the coming years. Mr Gan announced that a new polyclinic will be built near Pioneer in the Jurong West area. The Punggol polyclinic — first announced in 2011 by former Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan — will open by 2017, Mr Gan added. He anticipates that Singapore will need another four polyclinics by 2020, and another six to eight by 2030.

    In the meantime, Tampines, Ang Mo Kio and Bedok polyclinics will be refurbished or redeveloped to cater to more patients.

    Mr Gan was responding to several Members of Parliament, including Dr Lam Pin Min and Dr Teo Ho Pin, who asked about expanding primary healthcare facilities to meet future needs. He also spoke of two community healthcare initiatives involving the private sector — Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Family Medicine Clinics (FMCs).

    Three new CHCs sited in Bedok, Jurong East and Tiong Bahru will open by the end of this year, adding to the only one in Tampines currently. General practitioners (GPs) in each area will be able to refer their patients for services like eye screening provided by allied health professionals and other support staff at the CHCs.

    Four FMCs will be piloted this year at Clementi, Lakeside, Ang Mo Kio and Bedok
    . They will feature six to 12 private GPs, nurses and allied health professionals housed under one roof, enabling patients to receive comprehensive care by a regular care team.

    Mr Gan said the ministry will continue to explore different operating models with GPs to best suit their needs as well as that of patients.

  14. #6933
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Govt pledges to fix public transport capacity woes



    The peak loading on trains in Singapore is comparable to Hong Kong and Taipei. Photo: Bloomberg SOURCE:Bloomberg



    It promises short-term enhancements while improving system for the future


    By Sumita Sreedharan

    6 hours 17 min ago


    SINGAPORE — Faced with declining satisfaction levels with the public transport system, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew yesterday pledged that the Government “will do whatever is within our means and ability” to increase capacity in the short term, as well as deal with the needs of commuters “here-and-now” while longer term infrastructural improvements are being rolled out.

    And in that regard, the call by Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Janil Puthucheary — which has since been echoed by several MPs — for free travel on public transport before peak hours is “something that I will not dismiss off-hand”, Mr Lui said.

    In fact, his ministry is “seriously” considering the idea, he added.

    “What we are still studying is whether we should simply increase the current 50-cent discount substantially to, say, S$1, or to go all the way to make it free for commuters travelling before a certain cut-off time in the morning,” said Mr Lui.

    “But we certainly want to do more to encourage more commuters to shift out of the peak hour.”

    Mr Lui reiterated that the authorities were “not planning to shift every commuter out of the peak period”.

    “As some members of the public have pointed out, if that were to happen, we would simply be creating a new peak earlier in the morning. So the fact that there have been mixed views over whether commuters are prepared to shift their travel times should they be offered free travel, is not necessarily a bad thing,” he said.

    The Ministry of Transport received the highest number of cuts — at 50 — for this year’s Committee of Supply debate, a point that Mr Lui alluded to as he noted that public transport is “clearly a topic close to the hearts of many Singaporeans”.

    Sharing the findings of the latest Public Transport Customer Satisfaction Survey — which is conducted annually by SIM University — Mr Lui said that Singaporeans’ overall satisfaction with the public transport system fell from 90.3 per cent in 2011 to 88.8 per cent last year.

    Satisfaction levels for bus and rail reliability also dipped, by about 1 and 3 percentage points respectively.

    “On the other hand, 63.6 per cent of respondents felt that public transport had improved in the past year, which hopefully indicates that we are seeing some results from our efforts,” said Mr Lui.

    Nevertheless, he pointed out that more people are using public transport — reversing a “worrying” trend that was evident in 2008 when the Land Transport Master Plan was launched.

    Citing interim results from last year’s Household Interview Travel Survey, Mr Lui said that about 62 per cent of all trips during peak periods were made on public transport, up from 59 per cent in 2008. Also, more car-owning households are using public transport for their daily commute, compared to four years ago, he said.

    “Much of this shift is due to the rail expansion programme we have put in place in the last few years ... But we have much more to do to make public transport a choice mode,” Mr Lui said.

    Noting that significant improvements to peak-hour train capacity will “only happen from around 2015 to 2016 onwards” — when more trains would be added and the first phase of the re-signalling project for the North-South Line would be completed — Mr Lui said: “If we can get even 10 to 15 per cent of commuters in the peak period to travel up to an hour earlier, we would achieve a very perceptible improvement in commuters’ daily travel experience to get to work.”

    Currently, under SMRT’s Early Travel Discount scheme, commuters who board an SMRT train can enjoy a discount of up to 50 cents if they exit at any of the 14 designated city area stations before 7.45am. The authorities have also been working with employers in the Central Business District on flexi-work arrangements for workers who wish to travel outside peak hours.

    The peak loading on trains
    here is about four to five passengers per square metre — comparable to Hong Kong and Taipei. In Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo, it is higher, at about six to eight passengers per sq m.

    While they supported the idea of free travel on public transport before peak hours, Pioneer MP Cedric Foo and Dr Puthucheary cautioned that details of such a move — including who will pay for it — have to be carefully worked out.

    Mr Foo, who also chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, reiterated that the scheme cannot become “entrenched” to the extent that the future Government would have difficulty controlling it.

    Over the longer term, the Government will seek to complete the bulk of service improvements under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP) by the end of next year, instead of 2016 as originally planned.

    This would hinge on whether the public bus operators are able to raise salaries and recruit enough drivers in tightening the labour market, noted Mr Lui.

    He also announced that six more City Direct bus services would be tendered out to private operators, bringing the total number of parallel bus services previously announced under the BSEP to 14. Nine of the services would be run by private operators.

    The authorities will also discuss with private operators the possibility of running shorter bus services during peak hours, such as localised routes in estates that bring residents to MRT stations. “We intend to invite tenders for these short services from the third quarter of this year, and to implement them progressively from next year onwards,” he said.
    Last edited by Loh; 03-12-2013 at 09:40 PM.

  15. #6934
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Manatees move into world's largest freshwater aquarium at River Safari

    Published on Mar 13, 2013
    7:12 PM











    It took two days for the team of 20 zookeepers and veterinarians to move seven manatees from the Singapore Zoo to the River Safari - the world's largest freshwater aquarium. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE


    By Sue-ann Tan


    Seven manatees have been moved from the Singapore Zoo to the River Safari - the world's largest freshwater aquarium.

    They are part of the River Safari's Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit, which showcases the annual flooding of the Amazon rainforest where fish and other creatures swim among the trees.

    It took two days for the team of 20 zookeepers and veterinarians to move the aquatic mammals to their new home, which is four times bigger than their previous exhibit at Singapore Zoo.


    Through captive breeding, River Safari hopes to contribute to the population of endangered freshwater species such as the manatee. The River Safari, which sits between Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari, will open in the first quarter of 2013.

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    Default A mega-passenger terminal could be built in Changi East

    TODAY

    7 hours 27 min ago


    SINGAPORE — A new mega-passenger terminal could be built at a site in Changi East, between the current second and third runways, to serve Changi Airport.

    Revealing this in Parliament yesterday, Minister of State (Transport) Josephine Teo said studies showed there is sufficient land to do so. She said the Changi 2036 Steering Committee, which is tasked with developing a holistic long-term plan for the expansion of the airport, is working on a concept plan for the site. The area can also site an airfreight centre, an air logistics centre and maintenance, repair and overhaul hubs.

    Mrs Teo said with the new facilities, new roads and public transport links will also be needed to serve the airport. Existing roads may also have to be diverted.

    She added that the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the Land Transport Authority will conduct further studies and finalise the concept plan by the end of this year.

    The committee has also decided that Changi’s third runway, currently used by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), should be readied for civilian co-use as early as possible. The detailed timelines for the works and the implementation of the third runway system will be ready in the second half of the year.

    Mrs Teo said the compounded annual growth of passenger traffic at Changi is expected to be around 5 per cent till the end of this decade and moderate to 3 to 4 per cent in the next decade.

    By implementing runway optimisation and other measures, she said the two runways are expected to sufficiently cater to Changi Airport’s growth until around the end of this decade.

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    Default Transport initiatives for FY13

    TODAY


    7 hours 56 min ago


    The Ministry of Transport has been allocated S$6.4 billion for FY13, a 7.4 per cent increase from the previous year. The ministry will/has:


    Private Transport


    For Cars/Taxis

    Smoothen the supply of Certificates of Entitlement (COEs) to stabilise premiums by putting aside some supply in preparation of smaller quotas in the future

    Review the feasibility of making the Off-Peak Car schemes more flexible, while making car sharing more accessible under the Private Car Rental Scheme

    Consider benchmarking taxi service standards to best practices of other countries


    For Roads

    Open Marina Coastal Expressway by end of the year

    Identified Kranji Expressway-Pan Island Expressway as a feasible option to implement a reversible expressway to ease heavy traffic

    Prioritise road widening in local areas for bus lanes, without encroaching on residential areas


    For pedestrians and road safety

    Set up a new inter-agency committee, which will examine the possibility of reducing speed limits at school zones, building railings on both sides of the road, more speed humps, flashing LED lights and signage

    Review road safety education in schools

    Introduce more cameras to detect and deter illegal parking


    For Cyclists

    Trial-test road markings at zebra crossings to remind cyclists to dismount and push bicycles across

    Have more visible signage to alert motorists near popular routes with separate lane for cyclist crossings at road intersections

    Study the feasibility of on-road cycling lanes in selected locations, with additional 90km of cycling paths covering 16 towns by 2020

    Implement a bicycle sharing pilot scheme at Jurong Lake by 2015

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