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  1. #1242
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    Quote Originally Posted by kish-mah-ash View Post
    i read somewhere da word singa means lion, isn' it?
    so when i prounounce singapore, it sounded like singa poor (or if reverse, a poor lion).
    Singa is lion in the Malay language. Can find out more from Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore#Etymology

  2. #1243
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    Quote Originally Posted by overmars View Post
    However, I'm not saying that Singapore is all squeeky clean. There has to be some kind of corruption, at some level or another.
    This couldn't be false. a perfect man-made system could never exist.

    There should be reasons why Singaporean students outnumbered Malaysian students in world top universities. Are they smarter than us? unnecessarily true. Something is wrong. I think so. But then, it's my fault if I couldn't make it, not my school's. Students (or individuals) have to take some, if not much, of the blame.

    But still, a system as good as what's there in Singapore, still got criticisms la
    ( e.g I not Stupid film )

    And for Malaysians, always remember that a government who is able to give you everything, is able to take from you everything you have. So, proudly, our government (recent) is flawed here and there, we have some unreasonable policies, but all we need is some space to voice out and get everything fixed ( some day ). And I really hope those who do not allow the silent majority to have their voice heard, just kindly back off.

  3. #1244
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    The truth is that there can never be a perfect system. Also a perfect system to some may be not so perfect to others. There is subjectivity as well, not all objectivity only.

    There will be deficiencies somewhere, somehow, but whether the government is genuine in correcting them is another matter. Governments have to play politics as well in order to get the votes to remain in power.

    It depends on how powerful the present government is in the sense that they are able to command support at short notice for their policies and to garner the majority votes if necessary. But if the government is unable to deliver what it has promised or what the voters want, then it will fall and other political groups with better ideas and policies will be given a chance to take over, until it is proven that they too are useless.

    Singapore's history and makeup is unique. Circumstances force the people to stay together to make the tiny nation work. So they give their unyeilding support to the same government since independence. Singapore did not suffer from the ill effects of the unnecessary changes in government, its unenviable overwhelming majority position in Parliament presents a sore thumb to the weak opposition parties which could do nothing much. The support that the Singapore government gets could be taken to mean that the majority of its people endorses its policies.

    From the start, Singapore was lucky to be blessed with a 'clean' government. And the government reciprocated by doing many things right. Of course there were also some wrong decisions. But even when things got rough, the people just stood by the tough government, ever hoping for a better solution and result. Those who know will attest to the many changes to our education system over the years that made many parents 'mad' but they survived and now Singapore can stand tall among the many countries that treasure education of the young and old. However, it is expected that changes in education will be ongoing.

    Another reason why Singapore is able to turn its barren island into an almost 'miracle' economy is the close tripartite rapport between the workers, the employers and the government. Yes we have workers' unions but they are not the antagonist type which want to take on the bosses at the slightest opportunity. Instead they negotiate objectively with the knowledge that if the company fails, they will be out of job as well. Few would believe that workers' strikes is a dirty word in Singapore.

    To the outsider, the Singapore government is undemocratic because it stays in power for too long (45 year!), denying the opposition parties a chance to take over. But if the government did not do the right things for the peoples' welfare, it will long be voted out. That power still lies in the voters' hands!
    Last edited by Loh; 02-20-2010 at 06:54 AM.

  4. #1245
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    Quote Originally Posted by koo_fan View Post
    But still, a system as good as what's there in Singapore, still got criticisms la
    ( e.g I not Stupid film )

    ...
    I thought "I Not Stupid" is about the 'kiasu' mother (parents) who tries to pressure his son into doing beyond what he is able (in studies).

    Too high expectations of the poor boy by his mother.

  5. #1246
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Tiger to fly guests to RWS

    The Straits Times
    Feb 19, 2010

    SINGAPORE budget carrier Tiger Airways said on Friday it will provide a chartered aircraft that will exclusively fly foreign guests visiting the city's first casino resort.

    The airline said it signed an agreement with Resorts World Sentosa under which the casino operator will take over the lease of the aircraft. The plane will be staffed by pilots and cabin crew from Tiger Airways.

    'Yet to be named, the private flight service, operated by Tiger Airways, will have an aircraft operating as a dedicated charter service for Resorts World Sentosa, transporting guests between Singapore and other cities around the region,' it said.

    The service is scheduled to commence late this year, it said in a statement, adding that details and schedules were being finalised. It will ply Tiger Airways' existing region-wide network, which also includes Australia.

    Resorts World Sentosa on Sunday opened the city's first casino, which is part of a US$4.4 billion (S$6.2 billion) complex that also includes a Universal Studios movie theme park, premium hotels, restaurants and convention facilities.

    Tiger Airways operates flights to 33 destinations across 11 countries and territories in Asia and Australia from bases in Singapore and the Australian cities of Melbourne and Adelaide

  6. #1247
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    Default RWS casino attracts 128,000 visitors since opening

    Channel NewsAsia
    20 February 2010 2210 hrs (SST)

    By Lynda Hong,

    SINGAPORE: It has been a week since the casino at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) opened. As of Friday evening, it has attracted more than 128,000 visitors as well as its fair share of bouquets and brickbats.

    There were long queues on the first two days of its opening and the wait could stretch for as long as two hours. The queues could still come back as RWS was expecting a surge in visitors after dinner on Saturday night, but they won't be as long.

    Robin Goh, assistant director for communications, RWS, said: "The queues have kind of tapered off - for now. These queue lines are still here. This being the first non-Chinese New Year weekend, we are expecting large queues to come in as well.

    "So we are going to put them (queue lines) here....just in case we need to activate them. This is to make sure that the queues are smooth and to make sure that people don't get all over the place."

    Currently, with at least three quarters of the casino opened, RWS insists it is operationally ready.

    But the 15,000-square-metre casino will not be able to cater to 20,000 people at any one time even when fully opened.


    There have been calls to add more gaming tables but RWS said this has to be approved by the Casino Regulatory Authority.

    RWS is also grappling with unhappiness and confusion over the dress code.

    Some visitors were turned away for showing up in slippers, singlets and shorts while others in the same attire were allowed in.

    "Yesterday I wore slippers, can go inside casino. But today, I can't," said a punter.

    "They didn't tell me (what to wear) when I paid the $100 (levy)," said another punter.

    RWS said large signs on the dress code have already been posted everywhere including at the entrance of the levy payment counter for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.

    Despite the teething problems, RWS said it will work on the feedback from visitors and iron out the kinks as soon as possible.

    Meanwhile, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) said it is too early to assess the social impact brought about by the casino.

    But the NCPG "has been engaging RWS on the implementation of various social safeguards to minimize problem and addictive gambling", said NCPG chairman Lim Hock San.

    He added that the NCPG remains committed to ensuring that stringent social safeguards put in place are effective, and continue to be benchmarked with best practices in casinos worldwide.

    -

  7. #1248
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default S'pore top destination for overseas investment by Indian firms

    Channel NewAsia
    20 February 2010 2359 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Singapore has emerged as the top destination for overseas investment by Indian companies in the last financial year, with more than US$5.5 billion invested.

    Indian companies now account for the second largest overseas group in Singapore, with over 3,800 companies registered as of 2008.

    In this context of Singapore being a key global commercial hub and centre for businesses, Law Minister K Shanmugam said Singapore aims to be the venue of choice for international arbitration.

    Mr Shanmugam was speaking at a conference on arbitration in Mumbai on Saturday.

    He also said that any party - Indian companies included - who arbitrates in Singapore is free to engage lawyers of any nationality and use any governing law.

    Mr Shanmugam also cited a 2008 report by the International Chamber of Commerce - International Court of Arbitration.

    It ranked Singapore as the top city in Asia for ICC arbitrations and one of the five most popular venues alongside Paris, London, Geneva and Zurich.
    The number of new ICC-ICA cases heard in Singapore nearly doubled from 17 in 2007 to 31 in 2008.


    Mr K Shanmugam (file pic)
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  8. #1249
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    To the outsider, the Singapore government is undemocratic because it stays in power for too long (45 year!), denying the opposition parties a chance to take over. But if the government did not do the right things for the peoples' welfare, it will long be voted out. That power still lies in the voters' hands!
    err, our government - 50 years in a row, Uncle Loh. How's that?

    Whether it's democratic or undemocratic, I leave it to Singaporeans to judge. ( Only Singaporeans ). Others who may have visit Singapore like several times in their lifetime, yet is so knowledgeable of how Singapore government behave towards its citizens, are less of credits. I think.

    p/s - I thought "I not Stupid" shows how the extra pressure on the students at young age would affect these children. It comes either from teachers or parents. Good movie, really. First Singaporean movie I have watched. .

  9. #1250
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koo_fan View Post
    err, our government - 50 years in a row, Uncle Loh. How's that?

    Whether it's democratic or undemocratic, I leave it to Singaporeans to judge. ( Only Singaporeans ). Others who may have visit Singapore like several times in their lifetime, yet is so knowledgeable of how Singapore government behave towards its citizens, are less of credits. I think.

    p/s - I thought "I not Stupid" shows how the extra pressure on the students at young age would affect these children. It comes either from teachers or parents. Good movie, really. First Singaporean movie I have watched. .
    Yes, the Msian government has been in power for a longer time, thanks to their coalition partnership of predominantly dominant race-based political parties. Their ability to stay together for so long could be taken to mean that the majority of their partners is able to convince the voters to support their policies.

    But Msia also has strong opposition parties which managed to prevent a total rule by the coalition, unlike Spore. Of course things could change, depending on circumstances and the issues at hand. Physical size does matter too.

    If you like "I not stupid" why not watch "The Little Nyonya", which is another Sporean production of a more serious nature. However you need the patience to sit through the entire series.

  10. #1251
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default It's never been so good

    TODAY
    05:55 AM Feb 20, 2010

    But only with unselfish leaders and officials will our young athletes fulfil their dreams

    By Leonard Thomas

    One by one they strode up on stage to collect their cheques from Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, and it struck me that so many of Singapore's SEA Games champions were still in their teens.

    Just 17, Quah Ting Wen's physique exudes confidence.

    She's tall and elegant, she owns a lazy walk and is shy, but there is an aura of power about her.

    Team-mate Tao Li couldn't be more different.

    She's built like a low-rise brick-house, with shoulders powerfully-squared and thighs heavily muscled, the 20-year-old is fearless.

    They pocketed $40,000 each for the five gold medals both swimmers won at December's SEA Games in Vientiane.

    When she was 16, Tao Li banked an eye-popping $312,500 for winning one gold and a bronze at the 2006 Asian Games.

    If there is a young swimmer, or shuttler, or footballer out there mulling the idea of pursuing a career as an athlete in Singapore, then they must know that the rewards system in place is commendable.

    Work is still being done by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports and the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) on improving prospects for athletes once their playing days are over.

    It is a work in progress, but the route is being improved every day.

    The climate has never been so conducive for young talent to take the plunge and chase their respective athletic dreams.

    The future of sport in the country is promising, as long as the fraternity comes together and work towards the goal.

    Singapore fielded 192 athletes in Vientiane, and in his speech at the Multi-million dollar Award Programme presentation ceremony on Wednesday night, DPM Teo said 99 of our SEA Games contingent last year were aged 21 and below. Many of them will only get better.

    On Friday, Nestle Milo announced $3 million for 12 months to support young athletes and the development of sport.

    These days a new initiative or sponsor is announced at regular intervals, sports events are plentiful in Singapore's annual calendar.

    Sailor Elizabeth Yin conquered the world at the youth championships last year in Buzios, Brazil, when she was just 17.

    Singapore's athletes no longer miss too many opportunities to train overseas and compete against the best in foreign climes.

    The sports medicine and sports science division of the SSC is constantly upgrading itself.

    Best of all, the country features the Singapore Sports School.

    The six-year-old institution already boast student-athletes who have tasted success in international arenas, the academic performances of the youngsters enrolled at the Woodlands campus suggest the pursuit of sports excellence and good grades is an attainable goal. All it needs is for our sports chiefs and officials to work for our athletes, and not just to advance their own careers.

    I know there are officials who are eyeing key posts and attractive postings.

    Power is a potent drug, the prospect of wining and dining with bigwigs both here and overseas is tantalising. They want to be able to boast to friends they have met Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, or watched the World Cup Final.

    Positions that render free trips to faraway locations are a particular favourite for this group. They hog the limelight instead of the athletes, it is sad, and frustrating.

    In sport, we must never forget the contribution of officials, coaches and even the volunteers, but the main actors must always be the athlete or team.

    Those who work in the 64 national sports associations here must realise they are all put in place to grow their respective sports, and support the athletes as they strive for success.

    Immense pride will be the reward, when they see their charges win gold, or walk up on stage to collect what they deserve after so much sacrifice.

    They will know they've played a role in moulding a champion. They will know it is a job well done.


    (The writer is executive sports editor at MediaCorp.)

    Ting Wen, 17, powered to five gold medals at the Vientiane SEA Games last year. AFP
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  11. #1252
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    Default Singapore BudgetSingapore to commit S$5.5b to help workers & firms raise productivity

    Repeated.

    Pls see post below.
    Last edited by Loh; 02-22-2010 at 08:03 AM.

  12. #1253
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    Default Singapore to commit S$5.5b to help workers & firms raise productivity

    Channel NewsAsia
    22 February 2010 2015 hrs

    By May Wong,

    SINGAPORE: Singapore will pump in S$5.5 billion over the next five years to improve productivity among workers and companies. This will be in the form of tax benefits, grants and training subsidies.

    Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said this will help Singapore achieve its ambitious productivity growth target of two to three percent annually over the next 10 years.

    At Japanese restaurant Ebisboshi Shotengai in Singapore, you can order your food using a wireless system. Simply tap on the menu, and your orders will be sent to the kitchen and the cashier. This efficient system has reduced customers' waiting time and enabled the restaurant to hire fewer staff.

    Mr Tharman cited this restaurant as an example of how companies can improve productivity through innovation. And he hopes that other firms will make use of the government's help to innovate and create more value.

    The minister said: "Higher productivity is how we will achieve higher incomes and improve living standards, including those of low-wage workers. With 2% to 3% productivity growth each year, we can raise incomes by one-third over a decade."

    To achieve the productivity growth targets, Mr Tharman laid out three plans:

    One - restructure the economy towards higher-value activities and depart from less efficient ones;

    Two - upgrade individual industries and enterprises; and

    Three - raise the skills and expertise of each worker.

    To help companies, especially small and medium enterprises, invest in innovating their work processes, the government will introduce a Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme.

    Under the scheme, companies will get significant tax deductions when they invest in a broad range of activities such as automation through technology and design, and staff training.

    Businesses can deduct 250 percent of their expenditures on each of the activities from their taxable income, up to a cap of $300,000.

    To emphasise how serious the government is in improving skills and productivity nation-wide, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will chair a high-level National Productivity and Continuing Education Council.

    The council will come up with priority areas and programmes to tap on a new S$2 billion National Productivity Fund. For a start, the fund will have an initial sum of S$1 billion to support initiatives over the next five years.

    Mr Tharman stressed that while the government will throw its weight behind the national productivity drive, companies and workers must also play their part in upgrading skills and innovating work processes.


    Workers in a manufacturing plant in Singapore
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  13. #1254
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    Default S$2.5b to be spent over 5 years on workers training

    Channel NewsAsia
    22 February 2010 1655 hrs


    By Hoe Yeen Nie,

    SINGAPORE: The drive for higher productivity will also mean raising the skills level of workers, especially older, low-wage workers.

    And the government has earmarked S$2.5 billion over the next five years to expand the Continuing Education and Training system (CET).

    It will also introduce a three-year Workfare Training Scheme as well as enhance the Workfare Income Supplement.

    Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said this when he presented the 2010 Budget Statement in Parliament on Monday.

    40-year-old Woon Puay Guan has benefited from the Workfare scheme. He received about S$900 in payouts last year which helped him support his parents.

    Mr Woon said: "My salary is very low. My mom doesn't work. (With the Workfare) I can give more money to my mother. My father stays in a nursing home, so I can use the money to pay for it."

    Workfare, which started in 2007, acts as an incentive for low-wage workers like Mr Woon to stay employed.

    From this year, the government is expanding the scheme, by an extra $100 million a year. In all, about 400,000 workers are expected to benefit.

    Maximum payouts will go up by between S$150 and S$400, while the income ceiling will now be raised to S$1,700 - up from $1,500.

    The government says this is to ensure Workfare benefits keep pace as workers upgrade their skills.

    And efforts to develop a comprehensive skills upgrading system will take centrestage over the next few years. The government hopes to send the message that workers can continue to learn and add value to their jobs, whatever their age.

    But for a start, incentives will be needed to get things moving. Under the new Workfare Training Scheme, subsidies for employers will cover 90 to 95 percent of course fees and manpower costs.

    Workers qualify for cash grants of up to $400 a year if they complete their training.

    The scheme is aimed at older workers, but younger recipients like Mr Woon may also apply.

    Mr Woon said: "My education is very low, and my English is very poor. If can go and upgrade, it'll be better for me. Finding a job will also not be so difficult."

    Mr Woon recently found a job as a cook, earning $1,200 a month - more than his previous salary as factory worker.

    And with life looking up a little, he hopes to find the time for an English or computer class.

  14. #1255
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore govt unveils slew of tax reliefs for households

    Channel NewsAsia
    22 February 2010 1744 hrs

    By Imelda Saad/Satish Cheney,


    SINGAPORE: The government has introduced a slew of tax reliefs to support families, especially the middle-income and those with elderly and handicapped dependants.

    For a start, those taking care of their parents and grandparents can expect greater tax relief of up to S$7,000.

    Wives who are taxpayers can also claim a spouse relief of S$2,000 - similar to the current scheme for husbands.

    Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced the measures in his 2010 Budget Statement on Monday.

    The income threshold for dependant-related reliefs will also go up from S$2,000 to S$4,000.

    Mr Tharman said this increase recognises taxpayers' efforts in supporting family members who are genuinely dependent, while giving them the flexibility to do some incidental work.

    And in recognition of the extra resources needed to take care of the disabled, the income threshold for handicapped dependant-related relief will be removed.

    For the elderly, there will be a one-off top-up of the CPF-Medisave Accounts of older Singaporeans aged 50 and above.

    The older you are, the more you get.

    For example, most Singaporeans aged 50 to 59 will get a top-up of between S$200 and S$300. Those aged 70 and above will get about twice as much, at S$400 to S$500. The majority of those aged 60 to 69 will get a top-up of S$300 to S$400.

    The Medisave top-up will benefit about one million Singaporeans and cost the government S$310 million.

    An additional S$200 million will also be set aside for Medifund - which supports needy Singaporeans - and another S$200 million for the ElderCare Fund to meet longterm healthcare needs.

    For families with children, they can look forward to further top-up of the Post Secondary Education Accounts (PSEA).

    For example, children in primary school will get S$200 in their accounts while those between 13 and 20 years old will receive up to S$500.

    650,000 young Singaporeans will benefit from the additional top-up, which will cost the government S$230 million.

    Other tax reliefs include those aimed at lifelong learning and encouraging donations to charities.

    Tax relief for course fees will go up from S$3,500 to S$5,500, while the enhanced tax deductions for donations will be extended for another year.

    All in, S$1.4 billion will be transferred to households this year. Including the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme targeted at low-income workers, the total sum transferred to households is S$1.8 billion.

    While the benefits are for all Singaporeans, Mr Tharman said more will go to the lower and middle-income groups.

    Take for example, a family living in a 3-room HDB flat. Two working adults - the husband earning S$1,800 and the wife S$800 a month - and living with an elderly parent. The wife will get S$1,100 through the Workfare Income Supplement. Together with payouts from existing schemes like GST Credits, senior citizens' bonus and others, the family can expect a total of S$2,900 in benefits this year.

  15. #1256
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    Default Singapore government's FY2009 budget deficit was S$2.9b

    Channel NewsAsia
    22 February 2010 1545 hrs

    By Lin Jiamei,

    SINGAPORE: The Singapore government incurred an overall budget deficit of S$2.9 billion for financial year 2009.

    The figure, at 1.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is lower than the deficit of S$8.7 billion budgeted a year ago.

    Delivering the Budget Statement in Parliament on Monday, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said this "better than expected performance" reflects the return of confidence to Singapore's economy.

    The Singapore economy contracted by 2 per cent last year due to the economic downturn.

    Resident unemployment reached 5 per cent in the third quarter of 2009 but has since fallen to 3 per cent.

    Looking ahead, Mr Tharman said the prospects for 2010 are good, though it is important to be watchful for "risks".

    He added that the path to recovery is unlikely to be smooth.

    "Prospects for 2010 are good although we have to be watchful for risks. The IMF projects world growth to swing from negative territory in 2009 to 3.9 per cent this year. However the path to recovery is unlikely to be smooth,"
    said Mr Tharman.

    "The problems over sovereign debt in Greece could be contagious. Efforts by governments to reduce deficits so as to prevent unsustainable increases in debts, while necessary, will inhibit growth over the short term."

    Barring further major problems, Singapore's economic growth is expected to be around 4.5 to 6.5 per cent this year.

    Mr Tharman said this is a "strong expansion" though it does not reflect what the Singapore economy can sustain over the medium to long term.

    There is a need to increase Singapore's productivity by 2 to 3 per cent a year over the next decade, as mapped out by the Economic Strategies Committee.

  16. #1257
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    Default Singapore Budget 2010

    The Straits Times
    Feb 22, 2010

    About the S'pore Budget

    THE Singapore Budget is prepared for every financial year, which starts on April 1 of the year.

    For instance, Singapore's 2010 Budget is for the period April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011.

    According to the Singapore Budget website, the Budget shows two things: Approved expenditures and the usage of government funds of the past financial years; and planned government revenue and expenditures for the next financial year.

    The annual budgeting process begins with the Government approving the budget. The Minister for Finance then presents the Government-approved Budget to Parliament before the new financial year begins. For Budget 2010, that takes place on Monday.

    Members of Parliament will then pose questions on how the funds were previously spent. This takes place in sessions known as the Budget Debate and Committee of Supply.

    Parliament agrees with the proposed Budget by passing the Supply Bill. The President of Singapore will then need to give his assent to this Supply Bill for the Bill to come into effect.

    When this happens, the Supply Bill is enacted as law known as the Supply Act. This controls the Government's spending in the following financial year.

  17. #1258
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    Default Singapore Budget 2010: $7b boost for economy

    The Straits Times
    Feb 23, 2010

    By Zakir Hussain, Political Correspondent

    THE Government yesterday unveiled a multi-billion-dollar plan to help companies and workers here work smarter, grow and become globally competitive.

    If it is successful, Singapore could see a big leap in incomes and living standards, and become a major force in the explosive growth of Asia and other promising regions.

    Delivering the annual Budget speech in Parliament yesterday, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that although the rebound in the world economy had brightened the outlook considerably, Singapore must look beyond that.

    'Our priority during last year's global crisis was to keep jobs. Our priority must now be to improve the quality of jobs,' he said.

    'Raising skills and productivity is the only viable way we can achieve higher wages, and is the best way to help citizens with low incomes,' he added.

    The key to doing this, Mr Tharman said, is in boosting productivity and managing the economy's dependence on foreign labour.


    Foreign worker levy up

    FOREIGN worker levies will be raised in phases over the next three years, starting from July 1. Most Work Permit holders will have their rates raised by between $10 and $30 this year.

    Those in manufacturing and services will see their levies rise by an average of $100 at the end of the three years, but construction workers will see a bigger increase.

    Rates for S-Pass workers, who are workers with mid-level skills, will at least double in July from the current $50 per month. The levy will rise to a maximum of $250 by July 2012.

    More top-ups and tax reliefs

    MORE top-ups will be given this year to older Singaporeans and those with families.

    Most citizens aged 50 and above will receive a one-off addition to their CPF Medisave accounts, ranging from $200 to $500 depending on age. Singaporeans with assessable incomes above $100,000 in the 2009 tax year will not be eligible.

    About 650,000 students will also benefit from new top-ups to the Post-Secondary Education Account. Children under 13 will get up to $200, while those aged between 13 and 20 will get up to $500.

    The Government will spend about $1.4 billion this year on these and other direct transfers to households.

    Lower tax for most

    MOST home owners will pay less property tax after a new property tax system is implemented this year.

    All Housing Board flat owners and the bulk of private property owners will save $240 a year in tax with the new three-tier system.

    The savings will result from the first $6,000 of a home's annual value (AV) now being exempt from tax. The next $59,000 of the AV will be taxed at 4 per cent, and any remaining value above $65,000 will be taxed at 6 per cent.

    The AV is the estimated annual rent of an owner-occupied property if rented out instead.

    Delivering the annual Budget speech in Parliament yesterday, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that although the rebound in the world economy had brightened the outlook considerably, Singapore must look beyond that. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN
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