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  1. #7039
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    Default Devotees flock to Darma Muneeswaran Temple's dedication

    Published on May 02, 2013
    7:44 AM




    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...E_3638830e.jpg
    Priests and devotees walking in the procession at the consecration ceremony for the refurbished Darma Muneeswaran Temple on Wednesday. -- ST PHOTO: EDWARD TEO
















    By Jessica Lim


    A sea of about 12,000 devotees crowded around the Darma Muneeswaran Temple on Wednesday to witness its consecration.

    All Hindu temples undergo renovations and repairs every 12 years, and the temple and its deities have to be re-consecrated through a Maha Kumbhabishegam ceremony, which literally means the pouring of holy water.

    The ceremony started at about 10.30am yesterday, when several priests, carrying vessels of holy water on their heads, walked towards the temple gates, flanked by temple volunteers with fire torches and musicians blowing conches and beating drums.
    The vessels were tipped over the heads of the temple's nine deities, and the remaining water was used to bless devotees.

  2. #7040
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    Default Istana Open House draws big crowd, SSO performs at event for the first time

    Published on May 01, 2013
    7:08 PM




    Over 11,800 people turned up at the Istana Open House on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) performed at the event for the first time. -- ST PHOTO: NURIA LING


    By Stacey Chia


    Over 11,800 people turned up at the Istana Open House on Wednesday, as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) performed at the event for the first time.

    President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife Mrs Mary Tan were part of the festivities, mingling with visitors for about 90 minutes in the afternoon.

    Dr Tan and his wife, along with the visitors, were also entertained by the SSO performance, which was sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings, and is part of the SPH Gift of Music series.

    Speaking to reporters, Dr Tan said he was glad to see many families at the open house. He added that Labour Day should be a celebration for all, not just workers.

  3. #7041
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Tanjong Pagar Centre set to be tallest building at 290m

    Published on May 03, 2013
    7:23 AM


    An upcoming integrated development right above Tanjong Pagar MRT station is set to include Singapore's tallest building. The 64-storey Tanjong Pagar Centre will stand at 290m, said Singapore-listed GuocoLand yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


    By Melissa Tan

    A skyscraper to be built on top of Tanjong Pagar MRT station will be Singapore's tallest building by the time it is finished in 2016.

    The 64-storey Tanjong Pagar Centre will stand at 290m, said Singapore-listed GuocoLand yesterday.

    This means the mixed-use development will narrowly edge out One Raffles Place, Republic Plaza and United Overseas Bank Plaza One, which are all 280m tall.

    It will also trump Singapore's tallest residential skyscraper, the 245m Marina Bay Tower, which is part of The Sail @ Marina Bay and boasts 70 storeys.

  4. #7042
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default World's largest cruise company opens regional headquarters in Singapore

    Published on May 03, 2013
    5:10 PM




    Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company, officially opened its regional headquarters at the Marina Bay Financial Centre on Friday. Carnival operates a fleet of 101 ships, and holds 50 per cent of the global cruise market share. -- FILE PHOTO: CARNIVAL CORPORATION & PLC/PRINCESS CRUISES


    By Melissa Lin


    Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company, officially opened its regional headquarters at the Marina Bay Financial Centre on Friday. Carnival operates a fleet of 101 ships, and holds 50 per cent of the global cruise market share.

    "Asia is one of the world's fastest growing cruise regions, and the establishment of our regional office in Singapore underscores Carnival corporation's significant step towards developing these markets," said Carnival Asia's chairman and chief executive Pier Luigi Foschi.

    He estimates that the potential number of cruise passengers in Asia could hit 3.7 million in 2017 and this number may double to over seven million by 2020.

    As part of Carnival's expansion plans, it plans to grown the operations of brands Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises in the region. Cruise ship Costa Atlantica also made its maiden call to Singapore on Friday. The ship, which has a capacity of 2,680 passengers, is offering three- and four-night cruises to Thailand and Malaysia from May to June this year.

  5. #7043
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Hawk-eye cameras to keep close watch on the city, able to zoom in on faces & cars

    Published on May 04, 2013
    8:16 AM



    Complementing street-level cameras, the Hawk Eye Remote Observatory System cameras will be mounted on selected buildings in Marina Bay. -- ST PHOTO: EDWARD TEO


    By Lim Yan Liang And Lim Min Zhang

    NEW high-rise surveillance cameras that can zoom in up to 60 times will be installed on selected buildings in the city by the end of this year.

    Two of these eyes-in-the-sky cameras will be deployed on each of three "strategic buildings" in Marina Bay for a start, said a police operations department spokesman at the annual Police Workplan Seminar and Exhibition yesterday.

    They will complement street-level Public Camera Zone cameras installed in more than 150 locations across the island.

    While the super-zoom Hawk Eye cameras will be able to resolve faces and number plates even from up high, police said there will be "active masking" on certain angles to ensure privacy.

  6. #7044
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Extra $132m pumped in for major water tech research centre in Singapore

    Published on May 03, 2013
    2:20 PM



    Artist's impression of an aerial view of CleanTech Park, Singapore’s first eco-business park. It is located next to Nanyang Technological University (NTU). A major environment and water technology research centre in Singapore said it had secured another $132 million to fund its work in water management, membrane technology, waste and other applications. -- FILE PHOTO: JTC


    By Grace Chua

    A major environment and water technology research centre in Singapore said it had secured another $132 million to fund its work in water management, membrane technology, waste and other applications.

    The Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute, part of Nanyang Technological University, is to get the funding from industry, various public agencies and competitive research grants given out by funding bodies, said NTU president Bertil Andersson at the institute's official opening at JTC's CleanTech Park in Jurong on Friday morning.

    The sum will bring its total funding to $400 million till the end of 2016.

    Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan was guest of honour at the event.

    The five-year-old institute, which was previously located at NTU's campus, has produced five start-ups such as Aquaporin Asia, which develops membranes that cut the energy needed to treat water.

  7. #7045
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    Default In search of what makes you happy



    The team behind the four-minute viral video (from left) Ho Wen Long, Freddy, Amos Chen, Dipshika Ghosh, Natalie Goh and Josephine Pang. Photo: Josephine Pang


    TODAY

    ByAmanda Lee


    8 hours 15 min ago

    SINGAPORE — What started out as a university video project has gone viral, hitting more than 40,000 views in less than a month.

    Titled What Makes You Happy?, the video was filmed by six undergraduates from the Nanyang Technological University’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication as part of their first-year module.

    In the four-minute-long video, posted on YouTube, one undergraduate holds a poster with the message “What makes you happy?” — as the team heads to different locations such as Orchard Road, Chinatown and Clarke Quay, asking passers-by for their response.

    Over three days, the group interviewed close to 100 people from the age of five to 75. Some of the responses were — “love”, “my parents” and “being healthy is enough”.

    The idea of the video was spurred by last year’s Gallup Poll which labelled Singaporeans as the world’s unhappiest people.

    “We wanted to find out for ourselves whether Singaporeans are actually really unhappy,” said one of the students, Mr Ho Wen Long, 24.

    “We chose the locations for specific reasons because we wanted to reach out to the different demographics of our society,” said another student, Mr Amos Chen, 22. “In Orchard, we have shoppers and then for Chinatown, we wanted to target older people.”
    But not everyone responded to them. For instance, when the team was filming in Raffles Place, they were turned down by members of the public who walked away.

    “I think they were put off by the sudden (question) … (and) it was kind of scary for them,” said Mr Ho.

    Mr Chen added: “Initially when we had no response, it was quite disheartening … but we told ourselves, don’t worry we have a few more shoots to go”.

    Another challenge was deciding the direction to take for their video.

    Mr Chen said: “Usually for videos, people plan with storyboards but for us I guess we couldn’t. We didn’t know who we were going to meet and what they were going to say.”
    “So the only way to work with it is to film it, and then go through the materials and see what you can work with to frame the story after filming,” he explained.

    When asked how he felt about the project going viral — hitting 16,000 views in a day — Mr Ho said: “We weren’t expecting the responses … we were hoping that we would reach out to touch people because there is no point doing a video on a campaign just for a school project ... It’s (meant) to remind people to stop and think of what makes them happy.”

    Said Mr Chen: “As the nature of the video (is) quite heart-warming, many people who are caught up with their work, who overlook the little things in life, will be able to relate to it.”

  8. #7046
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore's taxis back in the old days





    AsiaOne

    Friday, May 3, 2013


    Taxis in Singapore have a very colourful history. Back in the old days, you could negotiate with the cabbie on the taxi fare, unlike the current meter system, whose systematic calculation leaves no room for error.

    And not just anyone can become a taxi driver back then. In 1971, Singapore's taxi drivers were picked out by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew during a ballot to select taxi drivers.

    Taking a taxi from Bukit Panjang to Lim Chu Kang cost just 40 cents per person. Now, a similar journey will probably cost you at least $8 or more.

    There were also 'pirate taxis' back then. Some people used their cars as unlicensed public-services vehicles to serve the public's tranportation needs. They used private houses as contact points and issued call cards to publicise their transport services.

    Not forgetting these historical facts, local taxi drivers are pretty much an indelible part of the public transportation network, with their own views and colourful languages to entertain their passengers.


    Singapore's taxis back in the old days





    Taxi drivers who did not purchase the Area Licence in 1975 plied along the fringes of the restricted area or spent hours of restriction in coffee-shops or petrol kiosks.



    Traffic at various parts of Singapore on the first day of the Area Licencing for taxis in 1975.



    Taxis at Bencoolen Street on the 1st day of Area Licencing for taxis in 1975.


    A policeman directs a commuter back into the queue after he jumped queue at at a taxi stand in Fullerton Square in 1974.


    The scheme allows haggling over fares - between 50 cents and $1.50 - and allows cabbies to pick up and drop passengers along the way.



    Taxis' roof-top ad boxes carried pictures of Miss Singapore Chinatown 1996, Ms Hannah Toh, in a pitch for women to take part in a beauty pageant.
    Last edited by Loh; 05-06-2013 at 08:41 PM.

  9. #7047
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    Posted: 19 March 2013 1921 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Singaporeans appear to be the happiest people in Asia, going by what they are saying on social media.

    According to the Asia Happiness Index 2013 of Eden Strategy Institute, a social innovation player, Singapore is ranked first among five countries in the region.

    It has an index score of 518, followed by Malaysia with 245.

    The Philippines is third with a score of 90, followed by India 29, and Indonesia 11.


    The index covers over 200 million social media accounts.

    - CNA/al
    Wonder if complaining makes people happy. Anyway, this is a flawed study with sampling problems. Poor methodology gives invalid results and adds little to knowledge. A waste of manpower/funding resources.

  10. #7048
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheung View Post
    Wonder if complaining makes people happy. Anyway, this is a flawed study with sampling problems. Poor methodology gives invalid results and adds little to knowledge. A waste of manpower/funding resources.
    Some like to gossip as well and they seem happy.

    Agree that such surveys may not be able to tell the whole truth, including the one that placed Singapore at the bottom of the Happiness Index that I read previously.

  11. #7049
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    Some like to gossip as well and they seem happy.

    Agree that such surveys may not be able to tell the whole truth, including the one that placed Singapore at the bottom of the Happiness Index that I read previously.
    I actually went to read the methodology of the study that said Singapore were the happiest. That's why I criticised it harshly. Also a study that says Singaporeans are the happiest is at odds with general consensus and perception. Since the results were so much different from perception, I just had to be nosy and look more into the methodology . I am far more inclined to believe a study that rates Singaporeans unhappiness as high because it is consistent with a) general perception, b) other reports. Gallup studies are pretty much accepted even though I agree many studies are imperfect. Some are less imperfect than others. Gallup studies are more robust. There's no denying that Singaporeans complain, even on some trivial issues. Look at the newspaper. Singaporeans have a great standard of living and education. Unfortunately, it doesn't necessarily translate into 'happiness'.

    Good work by the university students to ask people what makes them happy. Funnily enough, even if you try to satisfy people and they get what they want, they still may not be happy.

    Heck, even my Singaporean colleague here in HK says Singaporeans are unhappy.
    Last edited by Cheung; 05-07-2013 at 03:08 AM.

  12. #7050
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    Default "Happiness" - What is it?

    Why do we continue to seek happiness throughout all ages?

    Is happiness achieveable? Will the concept of happiness change over time for the same person?

    What in fact is Happiness to different people, from different social groups in different countries at different times?

    Why do people from even poorer countries seem to be happier despite their "unhappy" condition seen through the eyes of their richer counterparts? Even within the same country, especially where the population and land area is huge, as in China and India for example, there are significant differences in the idea of happiness, resources and welfare.

    What about the difference between rural and urban societies? Urbanites normally enjoy a higher level of services, amenities and facilities, greater access to healthy food, education, entertainment, better housing, etc and more convenient modes of transportation, yet these don't seem adequate enough and they want more to satisfy their insatiable needs and wants.

    Even among urbanites living in the same region, they may differ in their requirements and one can judge the other as being "unhappy" as a result just because their perception of happiness is different.

    Recently in Singapore a young undergraduate holding a scholarship committed suicide before his impending examinations. A bright young man being sponsored to study at a good university with seemingly a bright future before him should take his own life and leave our world altogether. What was happiness to him?

    For me happiness is never-ending and it changes its form and colour at every unlikely juncture. It therefore seems that happiness is always evading me, but I could be happy depending on circumstances, albeit at short notices and in very brief moments.

    I am happy when I can continue to play badminton and enjoy the company of agreeable friends, when I can still pay for my needs especially simple, but tasty local fare, when I still have the strength and interest to travel around with my camera at hand to capture colourful scenes of people, nature and buildings, all of man's creation!

    But being happy also means one has to be content with what one has, what one can afford and not go beyond reasonable expectations! If not, the answer will be "I'm not happy"!
    Last edited by Loh; 05-07-2013 at 09:56 PM.

  13. #7051
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    Default NUS emerges as world No.8 in ranking by subjects

    Published on May 08, 2013
    7:08 AM



    The National University of Singapore is now the world's eighth best university, according to annual global rankings released on Tuesday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN


    By Amelia Teng

    THE National University of Singapore is now the world's eighth best university, according to annual global rankings released on Tuesday.

    It entered the top 10 of the latest Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject for the first time - becoming the first in Asia to do so. Statistics showed the NUS has courses in 12 subjects that were ranked in the world's top 10.


    The institution was ranked 14th when the rankings began in 2011, before rising to 11th last year. It was Asia's best performing university each time.

    London-based educational consultancy QS also publishes the overall World University Rankings, in which NUS was placed 25th last year. This year's overall rankings have yet to be released.

  14. #7052
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    Default Asean countries reaffirm commitment to boost regional peace and security

    Published on May 07, 2013
    6:21 PM




    Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen (above), who is in Brunei to attend the 7th Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting, signed a joint declaration on Tuesday along with other Ministers in the region to reaffirm their commitment to enhance regional peace and security. -- MY FILE PHOTO: LIM WUI LIANG



    By Melody Zaccheus


    Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen, who is in Brunei to attend the 7th Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting, signed a joint declaration on Tuesday along with other Ministers in the region to reaffirm their commitment to enhance regional peace and security.

    During the meeting, the ministers discussed regional security issues including measures to reduce tensions in the South China Sea.

    They also reiterated the importance of keeping channels of communication open so as to avoid escalation and miscalculation in the South China Sea.

    They noted as well the progress that has been made in enhancing practical cooperation in addressing non-traditional security challenges such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

  15. #7053
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    Default Singapore is Asia's best place to be a mother: report

    SINGAPORE: Singapore is the safest place to be born and the best place to be a mother in Asia, beating competitors Japan, South Korea and Malaysia -- according to children's aid agency Save the Children. Singapore has the lowest first-day mortality rate in Asia, making it the safest place in the region to be born.

    The children's aid agency on Tuesday launched its 14th annual State of the World's Mothers report with the first-ever Birth Day Risk Index.


    The index revealed that Singapore shares top spot with Sweden, Estonia, Cyprus, Iceland and Luxembourg, at less than 0.5 deaths in the first day per 1,000 live births.

    Globally, 6.9 million children die each year before their fifth birthday with a million of those within the first day, making it the most dangerous day in any person's life.


    The report also compares 176 countries around the globe, showing which are succeeding and which are failing in saving and improving the lives of mothers and their children.

    Singapore is ranked 15th on the best places to be a mother, based on factors such as mother's health, education and economic status, as well as critical child indicators such as health and nutrition. Singapore came in ahead of all Asian counterparts, including Japan (tied for 31st), South Korea (tied for 31st) and Malaysia (70th).

    Singapore also led New Zealand, UK and US, but trailed Australia by five spots.

    Overall, Finland was declared the best place in the world to be a mother while Democratic Republic of Congo came in last.

    Save the Children's Singapore-based regional director, Mike Novell, said: "Singapore is in many ways leading the way on child and maternal health, in Asia and beyond.

    "Singapore has proven that recommendations in this report works -- Sufficient skilled health workers for antenatal care, delivery of babies and postnatal support can dramatically reduce child and maternal mortality.

    "It can and should serve as a model for other countries still striving to prevent the deaths of millions of mothers and children who die needlessly each year."


    - CNA/ac


    A toddler in Singapore. (AFP - Roslan Rahman)
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  16. #7054
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    Default Changi will go ahead and build Terminal 5

    TODAY File Photo



    Development of third runway will also maintain S’pore’s edge as leading aviation hub




    By Dylan Loh

    Woo Sian Boon


    9 hours 29 min ago

    SINGAPORE — With Terminal 4 at Changi Airport in sight, the Government has, after months of studies, decided to build Terminal 5. Singapore’s fifth airport passenger terminal will be ready in the next decade, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew at a dinner recognising Changi’s airline partners last night.

    Details on the facility are expected at the end of this year, as more information on the air hub’s long-term masterplan will also be revealed.

    Even though last year was a record-breaking one for Changi — it handled more than 50 million passengers for the first time in its 31-year history — Mr Lui urged Changi Airport to respond to “fundamental shifts” in the global aviation landscape to cement its status as a leading air hub.

    He noted established full-service carriers are re-tailoring their product and service offerings to meet changing customer preferences and needs. Some are even entering the low-cost carrier market in order to protect their market share, said Mr Lui.

    “Changi Airport needs to respond to these changes, and take advantage of them where we can, to capture our share of the growing pie and cement our position as a leading aviation hub,” he added.

    Changi has traditionally increased its capacity in advance. For example, master-planning for Terminal 4, which is slated to be completed in 2017, began in 2008 — two months after Terminal 3 opened.

    Plans are under way to convert Changi’s third runway from military use to one which can be utilised by the airport. This is expected to boost the air hub’s turnaround capabilities at existing terminals.

    Future plans are also steadily taking flight, with a Changi 2036 Steering Committee masterminding the air hub’s development.

    The addition of a fifth terminal, or T5, will bring Changi’s passenger handling capacity beyond the annual 85 million expected with four terminals.

    Flightglobal Asia Managing Editor Siva Govindasamy felt the developments would be “very important” in maintaining Singapore’s competitive edge as a leading aviation hub. He noted how regional rivals, such as Hong Kong, are proceeding with plans for additional capacity.

    “Not every country will have the connections that Singapore has, so the key to our success is to ensure that our country remains a hub, ensuring that it has extensive connections to all parts of the world, and especially Asia,” said Mr Govindasamy.

    Dubai Airport’s extensive connectivity, with more air links than Changi, was a key reason Australia’s Qantas recently partnered Emirates and rerouted its Europe-bound flights via Dubai instead of Singapore.

    Aviation consultant Prithpal Singh held a different view. With aircraft, such as the Airbus A-380s and the Boeing 737s, bypassing hubs and plying point-to-point routes, he felt there could be “lesser multi-tier services, which will then negate the need for having a major hub in the region”.

    Instead of building more “hardware”, Mr Singh argued that the focus should be on improving efficiency at the current terminals here, allowing passengers to get in and out of them “as quickly as possible”, while upgrading air-traffic control systems so that aircraft are not left waiting for long periods on the ground and in the air.

    Last night, Mr Lui said Changi’s edge in on-time departure must be upheld. Coordinated action by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, the Changi Airport Group and the airlines have sharply reduced departure delays. In the 12 month period to March 2013, the percentage of departing flights that were delayed was about 40 per cent lower than in the preceding period.

    “For Singapore aviation to continue to grow and thrive, all stakeholders must also work together and plan ahead together,” said Mr Lui.

    “To benefit from our air hub’s potential, infrastructure planning and development is key. The strong growth in recent years makes it imperative for us to enhance Changi Airport’s capacity.”

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    Default CPF, Medisave minimum sums adjusted

    TODAY File Photo



    Medisave contribution ceiling also revised in change from July


    • 22 hours 57 min ago

      SINGAPORE — The Central Provident Fund (CPF) and Ministry of Manpower today (Tuesday) announced adjustments to the CPF Minimum Sum, Medisave Minimum Sum and Medisave Contribution Ceiling effective from July 1.
      CPF members who turn 55 years of age between July 1 and June 30 next year will need to set aside a Minimum Sum (MS) of S$148,000 in their Retirement Account (RA).
      The MS, which was S$139,000 for last year, has been adjusted over the years to account for inflation, longer life expectancies and Singaporeans’ rising expectations of their quality of life postretirement, the CPF and manpower ministry said.

      It is targeted to reach S$120,000 in 2015. The S$120,000 target in 2003 dollars is effectively S$120,000, adjusted for inflation between 2003 and the time the target is met, the announcement noted.
      Also from July 1, the Medisave Minimum Sum (MMS) will be raised to S$40,500 from S$38,500. Members will be able to withdraw their Medisave savings in excess of the MMS at or after age 55.

      The MMS is the amount that a person turning 55 needs to set aside in his old age for his own or his dependants’ healthcare expenses and basic MediShield and ElderShield premiums.

      Regular MMS adjustments are necessary to help Singaporeans meet their long-term healthcare needs.

      Finally, the maximum balance a member may have in his Medisave Account, known as the Medisave Contribution Ceiling (MCC), is set at S$5,000 above MMS and this would be increased correspondingly to S$45,500, up from S$43,500.


      Any Medisave contribution in excess of the current MCC will be transferred to the member’s Special Account if he is below age 55 or to his RA if he is above age 55 and has a MS shortfall.

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