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  1. #6801
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Halimah Yacob 'could redefine Speaker's role'

    by Amir Hussain and Tan Weizhen
    04:45 AM Jan 09, 2013



    SINGAPORE - The impending appointment of Madam Halimah Yacob as Speaker of Parliament will not only be a historic one - given that she is the first woman politician here to assume the office - there is every chance that she might also redefine the role, which has traditionally been less high-profile compared to other political offices.

    Given Mdm Halimah's impressive track record in advancing social and family causes - first as a vocal backbencher, and then as a Minister of State (Social and Family Development) - observers and political analysts felt that Mdm Halimah, 58, would continue to contribute to policymaking, be it behind closed doors or not.

    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hinted as much yesterday, when he confirmed media speculation that he will nominate Mdm Halimah as Speaker when Parliament next sits on Jan 14.

    Thanking her for her "many valuable contributions" as a Cabinet member and Minister of State, Mr Lee said in a statement that Mdm Halimah spoke up in Cabinet "with a practical, compassionate voice, helping us to shape effective policies with a human touch".

    Under her portfolio, among other things, she oversaw the expansion of home- and community-based eldercare services, enhanced ComCare support for the poor, and worked with women's groups to "expand the space for women to contribute to our economy and society", he said.

    Mr Lee added: "She is passionate about these issues, and threw her heart and soul into the work, as she had done during her time in NTUC, tirelessly championing the cause of low-wage workers. I look forward to Mdm Halimah continuing her interest in social issues and pre-school education, in a suitable capacity that is compatible with her role as Speaker."

    Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing also paid tribute to Mdm Halimah's work in the ministry. Adding that he was "heartened" by the fact that he will have the chance to continue working with Mdm Halimah, Mr Chan said: "She has been a torch-bearer in our work with her passionate and tireless style."

    Mr Lee said he briefed People's Action Party Members of Parliament yesterday on the nomination. With the "full support" of the PAP MPs - in Mr Lee's words - Mdm Halimah's election as Speaker on Jan 14 by the MPs will be a matter of formality.

    Mdm Halimah will resign from her position as Minister of State a day before the Parliament sitting, as the Speaker cannot be elected from MPs who are office holders.

    She said in a statement that she was "deeply honoured". She added: "I really love what I am doing now (as Minister of State) ... I am glad that even if I am elected, I will be able to continue work on some of these areas." Contacted by TODAY, Mdm Halimah said that "the actual ways I can contribute have not been worked out yet".

    Mdm Halimah was first elected as an MP for Jurong GRC in 2001. She became known as a vocal advocate for family and social causes. In 2011, she was appointed Minister of State - a position that would have given her more opportunities "to influence ... Cabinet on the issues that she champions", Deputy Speaker Charles Chong noted.

    As Speaker, Mdm Halimah will continue to have the opportunities - and the access to the nation's top political leaders - to do that, political analysts said. They pointed out that the Speaker has to be seen as non-partisan and neutral - a requirement that could have a bearing on how a politician functions in the role.

    Still, Singapore Management University law lecturer and Nominated MP Eugene Tan said: "I don't see (Mdm Halimah) being passive or being cloistered in Parliament. I think she will be involved in public events. Through her speeches and all, I do see avenues for her to play that quiet advocacy role."

    Mr Chong added that it "would be a waste, and also not commensurate with her capabilities" should Mdm Halimah not contribute beyond her new role as Speaker. "My hope is that she will not just perform the job exclusively as Speaker," he said.

  2. #6802
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Sistic introduces new ticket-booking system, includes 3-D graphic seat plans

    Published on Jan 09, 2013
    6:04 PM




    Screengrab from sistic. The biggest player in the ticketing industry here, Sistic, has introduced a new process of buying tickets through its website - one which features 3D graphic seat plans and an interactive step-by-step booking sequence. The new system started in December. -- PHOTO: SISTIC



    By Eddino Abdul Hadi


    The biggest player in the ticketing industry here, Sistic, has introduced a new process of buying tickets through its website - one which features 3D graphic seat plans and an interactive step-by-step booking sequence. The new system started in December.

    Ticket buyers can now pick their own seats from the system, but only for selected events, depending on the show organisers' consent. For now, the 3D graphics only apply for events at The Esplanade, Singapore Indoor Stadium, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, but Sistic is in the midst of implementing the 3D models for all other venues.

    Smartphone users
    will also get in on the act. In the pipeline are enhancements to Sistic ticket-buying mobile apps launched in June last year, as well as a revamp for their whole website, all of which are due "early in 2013", according to Sistic.

    Those using Sistic's new website process should note that if they choose to collect their own tickets, they will then have to use their identity card (NRIC) as proof of their identity.

  3. #6803
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default PM Lee: I wanted to give residents their own MP in Parliament

    Published on Jan 09, 2013
    4:23 PM




    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that he called a quick by-election in Punggol East to give residents their own MP in Parliament before the nation focuses back on national issues. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA



    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that he called a quick by-election in Punggol East to give residents their own MP in Parliament before the nation focuses back on national issues.

    He noted that the country has a busy national agenda this year.


    "The White Paper on Population
    will soon be debated in Parliament. Budget 2013 is around the corner. The Our Singapore Conversation is translating the views of citizens into programmes to improve our lives. Sustaining economic growth and raising workers' incomes is a continuing preoccupation, especially in a weak global economy," he said in a statement.

    PM Lee said that after the resignation of then Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer in December, his first priority was to look after the residents in the constituency. Thus, Minister of State Teo Ser Luck started overseeing the constituency and Mr Zainal Sapari took over as town council chairman.

    Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also took a personal interest in the welfare of residents there.

    Added PM Lee: "I hope Punggol East residents will vote for the candidate who can best represent them in Parliament, solve their problems and improve their lives."

    There has been no official announcement of candidates from the party but speculation is rife that the PAP could field colorectal surgeon Koh Poh Koon there. The 40-year-old was spotted at a Meet-the-People session in Punggol East on Tuesday night.

    PM Lee's statement in full:


    After Mr Michael Palmer resigned on 12 Dec 2012 as Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament (MP) for Punggol East constituency, my first priority was to look after the residents of Punggol East. Minister of State/Mayor Teo Ser Luck has been overseeing the constituency, while Mr Zainal Sapari has been chairing the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council. DPM Teo Chee Hean has also taken a personal interest in the residents' welfare.

    We have a busy national agenda this year. The White Paper on Population will soon be debated in Parliament. Budget 2013 is around the corner. The Our Singapore Conversation is translating the views of citizens into programmes to improve our lives. Sustaining economic growth and raising workers' incomes is a continuing preoccupation, especially in a weak global economy.

    I have decided to hold a by-election in Punggol East to give the residents their own MP in Parliament, before we focus back on these national issues. So today I advised the President to issue the Writ of Election.

    I hope Punggol East residents will vote for the candidate who can best represent them in Parliament, solve their problems and improve their lives.

  4. #6804
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default COE premiums for small cars at all-time high

    Latest surge sees gap between premiums for small cars, big cars at narrowest in 3 years

    by Woo Sian Boon
    04:45 AM Jan 10, 2013



    SINGAPORE - Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums for small cars rose for the seventh consecutive time as it increased 12.47 per cent to hit an all-time high of S$92,100 in the latest bidding exercise that drew to a close yesterday.

    The surge in COE premiums for small cars narrowed the gap it had with big cars to the lowest in three years. The COE premiums for big cars (1,601cc and above) increased at a more sedate pace of 2.9 per cent to S$96,210, compared to S$93,501 three weeks ago.

    This means the difference between the two categories is now S$4,110 - the lowest since January 2010, when the difference was a mere S$688. Last month, the difference was S$11,612.

    In the Open category, where the COE can be used for any vehicle type but ends up mostly for big cars, COE premiums inched up by 0.12 per cent to S$96,101.

    The premiums for two-wheelers rose by 13.64 per cent to S$1,933, while premiums for commercial vehicles fell by 3.54 per cent to S$60,000.

    Motor traders attributed the surge in COE premiums to a last-minute rush to fulfil outstanding orders, before a cut in vehicle growth rate kicks in next month.

    A new Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme, which took effect this month, could also have inadvertently pushed COE premiums up for small cars, said Mr Ron Lim, General Manager of Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor.

    The scheme, intended to encourage car owners to opt for more fuel-efficient cars which emit less carbon, offers rebates of up to S$20,000 if "greener" makes are purchased.

    "In order to enjoy the rebates, a lot of makes are introducing more models with engine CCs that are below 1,600cc, which led to a surge in (demand for) Category A models, especially continental makes, be it petrol or diesel versions," said Mr Lim.

    This, compounded by industry players' predictions that the small cars category will be "worst hit" by next month's cut in vehicle growth rate, has led to its premiums being pushed sky-high.

    De-registration of vehicles, which influences the number of COEs the Government will release, has also slowed in recent months, traders noted. "With the quota cut and overcrowding situation, it's not a surprise that some in the market are expecting Category A premiums to be higher than Category B premiums eventually," said Mr Lim.

    However, Mr Raymond Tang, Honorary Secretary of the Singapore Vehicle Traders Association, felt that COE premiums for bigger cars and the Open category will continue to rise, given that a number of COEs from the open category will be allocated to taxis next month.

    This means that the supply of certificates for the Open category will be lower. "We believe that it might be as low as 140, which will lead to prices going up," he said.

  5. #6805
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Scientists come together to fight cancer in Asia

    by Sara Grosse
    04:45 AM Jan 10, 2013



    SINGAPORE - Scientists from various disciplines are coming together to tackle the prevalence of cancer in Asia - by working on novel therapies and translating research ideas to the clinic faster.

    They will do so under the Integrated Translational Oncology Network, which was launched yesterday by Bayer HealthCare. The research partners include the National University of Singapore, National Cancer Centre Singapore and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

    Through the network, scientists will discuss their research projects at different phases. They will share their strategic vision, as well as jointly develop and evaluate novel treatment options in projects and trials. They will also organise activities, such as annual meetings, workshops and lectures, and link their network and activities to other leading centres in Asia.

  6. #6806
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default SIA to recruit & train intern cabin crew from polys

    Posted: 10 January 2013 0943 hrs



    SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) is working closely with three polytechnics to recruit and train cabin crew, as part of efforts to attract the best talent.

    It has special programmes with Nanyang Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic, covering recruitment activities.

    It's also starting an internship-recruitment programme to hire and train selected students to become full-time cabin crew.

    These are provided under Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) that the carrier signed with the three polytechnics on Thursday.

    Besides recruitment, the MOUs also cover areas of potential cooperation such as curriculum development in service, operations, safety and security.

    SIA will also work with the polytechnics on continued education programmes for cabin crew.

    SIA employs about 7,500 cabin crew. New crew undergo an extensive 15-week training programme in areas such as service delivery, customer relations, deportment, security and safety.

    - CNA/ck

  7. #6807
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default SportsHub sets June deadline

    All sponsorships, including OCBC Bank's bid for naming rights, to be settled by then


    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:45 AM Jan 11, 2013



    SINGAPORE - Sports fans here will probably have to wait until the end of June to learn of the new name of the S$1.33 billion Sports Hub, which is expected to be completed in April next year. According to SportsHub Pte Ltd, the multi-million dollar deal for naming rights to the Kallang facility could be finalised by then.

    Speaking at a press conference to announce the appointment of strategic partner T-Sytems yesterday, SportsHub Chief Executive Officer Philippe Collin Delavaud stressed that the consortium was keen to have all project partners and sponsors on board soon.

    The partnership with T-Systems is the latest in a string of recent developments for the Sports Hub, which recently inked a deal with SMRT Alpha to lease and operate the commercial retail space at the Hub.

    Delavaud said: "We are very happy to have this contracts signed with SMRT Alpha and T-Systems. We have an important partnership with a library operator which has just been signed the last partnership to be signed is for catering and we hope to announce that before the end of March. After that, we would have the full team. By the end of June, we hope to have our main sponsors with us. And when this naming and sponsorship partnership is signed, we will explain with our partner the benefit to the public and patrons."

    Last November, TODAY reported that OCBC Bank put in a bid estimated at between S$80 million to S$100 million for the naming rights to the Hub and all its facilities, except for the National Stadium, for a period of 15 years.

    While the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) did not want to comment on OCBC's bid for naming rights, its Chief Executive Officer Lim Teck Yin said yesterday: "We are working very closely with SportsHub Pte Ltd on how to configure a naming rights proposal. This is something which needs to be negotiated.

    "It's more the long-term interests of the project that we're interested in and that is very much tied to having a national icon that Singaporeans are very proud of. So how we configure the naming rights proposal will be an important aspect of that.

    "Suffice to say it's not all about just commercial returns."

    Meanwhile, T-Systems' partnership with SportsHub - valued at S$94 million over a period of 21 years - will see the company building, managing and operating the facility's information and communication technology services.

    A subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, T-Systems was previously involved in projects like Poland's Stadium Wroclaw and the Rhein-Necker Arena in Germany, which hosted Euro 2012 and the 2012 FIFA Women's World Cup, respectively.

    Visitors to the Sports Hub will be able to access information and details on the latest events and happenings via the Internet and smart devices when the facility opens next year.

    According to the SSC, the media centre for the 2015 SEA Games will also be located at the Sports Hub when the multi-sport event is hosted here.

    Added Delavaud: "Our objective is to develop a unique interface for each type of customer. They will know when a community event is happening, book events, restuarants, find out about promotions. This information will be made available on phones, and interactive panel boards within the premises."





    Photo: Wee Teck Hian

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    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default NEA announces more smoke-free areas

    Published on Jan 11, 2013
    1:55 PM




    More public places will go smoke-free from Jan 15. This includes the common areas of all residential buildings, covered linkways and walkways, overhead pedestrian bridges, outdoor compounds of hospitals and areas within a five-metre radius of bus shelters. -- ST PHOTO : DESMOND LIM


    By Pearl Lee


    More public places will go smoke-free from Jan 15. This includes the common areas of all residential buildings, covered linkways and walkways, overhead pedestrian bridges, outdoor compounds of hospitals and areas within a five-metre radius of bus shelters.

    To allow smokers time to adjust to the extension, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will issue warnings to those caught smoking in these new areas in the first three months of its implementation.

    Smokers who repeatedly flout the law despite the warnings given can be fined up to $1,000.

    NEA will put up educational posters at bus stops across the island. The new smoke-free areas will also have dustbins that do not come with ashtrays. At bus stops, bins with ashtrays will be moved five metres away.

  9. #6809
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Photo gallery: Thirteen fish farms in Pasir Ris close

    Published on Jan 14, 2013
    5:30 AM



    An ariel view of Mainland Tropical Fish, which occupies 1.63ha of land and has been operating at this current location for 12 years. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG





    • http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../fish1113e.jpg
      Mr Desmond Yeoh, 58, owner of Mainland Tropical Fish, which occupies 1.63ha of land and has been operating at this current location for 12 years. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG





      http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...fish11132e.jpg
      Indonesian tourists Maisya (right), 6, and Gabrielle, 2, feeds the koi fishes at Mainland Tropical Fish, which occupies 1.63ha of land and has been operating at this current location for 12 years. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG




      http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...fish11134e.jpg
      Fish farmer, Mr Malcolm Ong, tagging freshly harvested grey mullet on his fish farm off Lim Chu Kang Road. The fish are tagged before before they are delivered to the supermarket. The tags help educate customers about the quality of the fish. -- ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN



      http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...fish11135e.jpg
      Mr Malcolm Ong, the owner of Metropolitan Fishery Group, Singapore's largest fish farm. He is seen here with a tagged grey mullet just harvested at his fish farm off Lim Chu Kang Road. Each tag, the size of two adjacent 50-cent coins, indicates whether the fish is seawater-farmed and free of antibiotics. The tags, attached to the tails of three species Mr Ong breeds – mullet, milkfish and tilapia were introduced at NTUC FairPrice Finest stores on Nov 23, 2012. -- ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN



      Thirteen fish farms in Pasir Ris - popular for their fish spas, as well as prawning and fishing facilities - will have to close by the end of 2014.

      The leases of the businesses, which sit on a 216,680sq m plot of state land, expire between November this year and December 2014.

      The government said the site is earmarked for industrial development. This comes amid a drop in Singapore’s export of ornamental fish
    Last edited by Loh; 01-13-2013 at 09:52 PM.

  10. #6810
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default A farewell letter from raddy avramovic

    04:03 PM Jan 14, 2013

    Former national football coach Radojko Avramovic, who stepped down from his post last month after leading the Lions to a record-breaking fourth Asean Football Federation Championship, will be returning to Serbia tomorrow. Whether he will be rejoining the Football Association of Singapore remains to be seen - both parties are currently in discussions. However, he has penned a exclusive farewell letter for TODAY to all local football fans, thanking them for their support and urging them to continue to stand by the Lions.



    Dear Friends,



    When I first arrived in Singapore back in the middle of 2003, one of the first few impressions I had of Singapore was that you were extremely passionate about your football.

    Almost daily, there were discussions or articles in newspapers about what can be done to improve Singapore's football.

    This is understandable, and honestly, it is good that so many Singaporeans choose to let their feelings known about football, or sports in general because this only means that you care a lot for football.

    Over the last nine years or so, I have tried my best to put Singapore on the international football map.

    No one is perfect, and like me, I have done whatever I can within my ability to have Singapore taste success.

    And we have, to a certain degree. Three ASEAN titles over the last 10 years, is by no means an easy feat. But we did it, together.

    We have also taken Japan to the limit; beat Iraq and held China at home, among many results we have posted over the last few years.

    This only means that your Lions are no pushovers and they can challenge against football sides which are ranked much higher.

    There have been disappointments too, like missing out on the 2011 Asian Cup by a whisker.

    Nonetheless, the Lions did very well to respond to the challenges and they are now one of the region's most feared and respected.

    Singapore are reigning champions of ASEAN and this is testament to the ability of the talent we have been able to produce over the last decade.

    What we need to do now is get better and stay ahead.

    There are just so many people I know I should mention and thank, and my humblest apologies if I forget any.

    Firstly, I must give credit to the extremely passionate band of support staff whom I have had the privilege of working with during my time as national coach.

    They have been critical to our success, and they have sacrificed a lot just to further the development of Singapore football.

    Also, I am extremely grateful for the support shown by our Presidents - former President S R Nathan and current President Tony Tan.

    Your presence at matches over the years have only spurred the team to far greater heights.

    To the Presidents of the Football Association of Singapore during my tenure as national coach - Mr Mah Bow Tan, Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee and Mr Zainudin Nordin - a huge thank you for believing in me and for providing me with the opportunity to take Singapore football to another level.

    A special thank you to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (the players were over the moon with your Facebook updates during the recent AFF Suzuki Cup), Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (President of the Singapore National Olympic Council) and the Sports Ministers during my time as national coach. Football does have a special place in the building of a multi-racial society like Singapore, and the support you have all given me as national coach has helped us to build a strong national team, which I hope will continue to rally Singaporeans around each other.

    Most importantly, my heartfelt gratitude to the fans, who braved the rain for us, who stood in queues for hours, who shouted themselves hoarse and who stood by us through thick and thin. You will always hold a special place in my heart, for as long as I live.

    Football is a strange sport, which many say, can make even grown men cry.

    But what's more important about football, is that it is the one sport which can bring 55,000 Singaporeans, regardless of race, language or religion, to the National Stadium.

    It is the one sport which can bond communities.

    It is the one sport which can get an entire nation talking, be it in the neighbourhood coffee-shops, in online forums, bus interchanges or even within family units.

    Continue to support the Lions, because they are your national team.

    Cheer them on now that they are champions, but also be there for them when they are down because that will be when they need you the most.

    Singapore will always have a special place in my heart.

    And for that, I must thank all of you.

    Let's not say goodbye, because friendships built, are meant to last forever.



    Yours sincerely

    RADOJKO AVRAMOVIC



    ************



    Readers who would like to say farewell to Avramovic can head to Changi Airport's Terminal One tomorrow night. He will be there at 1030pm and will then be flying off at around midnight via Turkish Airlines.




    Former Singapore coach raddy Avramovic

  11. #6811
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    Default Punggol East by-election nominations to start 11am on Wednesday

    Published on Jan 14, 2013




    A night view of the Punggol East SMC with the LRT along Rivervale Drive. Nomination Day for the Punggol East Constituency will start 11am on Jan 16, with the nomination centre being North Vista Secondary School. --ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM



    By Walter Sim

    Nomination Day for the Punggol East Constituency will start 11am on Jan 16, with the nomination centre being North Vista Secondary School.

    Members of the public keen to show their support are advised to arrive only after 10am, and to take public transport to the centre as only vehicles with authorised parking labels will be allowed entry.

    They are also advised not to bring along bags to avoid inconvenience that may be caused due to security checks. No placards, flags, or banners of any candidates are allowed before the close of nomination proceedings.

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    Default Halimah Yacob elected Speaker of Parliament by MPs

    Published on Jan 14, 2013
    2:44 PM





    Mdm Halimah Yacob, Speaker of Parliament, delivering her maiden speech in Parliament, Jan 14, 2013. --PHOTO: SHOT OFF TV



    By Rachel Chang

    Madam Halimah Yacob was elected Speaker of Parliament today by MPs.

    Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Denise Phua nominated her, while Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Chris de Souza seconded the nomination.

    After Madam Halimah then took her place in the Speakers' chair, Leader of the House Ng Eng Hen rose to speak, beginning with "Madam Speaker" - a phrase, he noted, that was being uttered for the first time in the House.

    He praised her as an "active and ardent backbencher" who spoke up for low-wage workers, women and children and said that the former Minister of State for Social and Family Development would be missed in Government.

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    Default MPs welcome first woman Speaker of Parliament

    Election of former Minister of State Halimah Yacob hailed as an 'inspired choice'


    by Ng Jing Yng
    04:45 AM Jan 15, 2013



    SINGAPORE - A "national asset" and "nothing less than an inspired choice" - these were the accolades Members of Parliament (MPs) lavished on Madam Halimah Yacob yesterday when she took the chair as the Republic's first woman Speaker of Parliament.

    Mdm Halimah, who stepped down as Minister of State (Social and Family Development), was elected Speaker by MPs yesterday, after Mr Michael Palmer admitted to an extramarital affair with a grassroots leader last month and resigned as an MP.

    Known for passionately championing the needs of the underprivileged during her time as a backbencher and later as a Cabinet minister, Mdm Halimah, who was elected as MP in 2001, told the House that rigorous debates will bring about more robust policies to meet Singaporeans' needs. She urged Members to speak freely, but also reminded them to respect the privileges that have been accorded to them.

    While her new role requires her to be independent during parliamentary debates, Mdm Halimah stressed that she would continue to raise Singaporeans' concerns through other channels and share her views on policies.

    Several MPs rose to speak in support of Mdm Halimah's appointment in Parliament yesterday, highlighting its significance to both women and the Malay-Muslim community.

    MP Denise Phua, who called Mdm Halimah "a national asset", said: "Your election as the first female Speaker of Parliament puts to rest the barrier of a glass ceiling for capable women in our country. With the recent additions of eminent female colleagues such as Ms Indranee Rajah and Mrs Josephine Teo in the Cabinet, women are now much better represented in our country's senior leadership."

    Minister of State (Finance and Transport) Teo added: "In my humble opinion, her election as Singapore's ninth Speaker of Parliament is nothing less than an inspired choice of the highest order. Not only does she have the personal qualities to discharge the duties of Speaker with competence and dignity, she embodies the courage and conviction of Singaporeans who rise above their circumstances."

    Citing Mdm Halimah as an inspiration to the Malay community and to women, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for National Development Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman recalled her days as a labour MP. He remembered she was gentle but firm, and was "not afraid to call a spade a spade".

    Thanking her predecessor for discharging his Speaker's duties with "great distinction and honour", Mdm Halimah said: "I have taken note of many requests made earlier by (MPs) that I should be as kind to you in my dealings as (Mr Palmer) was."

    Defence Minister and Leader of the House Ng Eng Hen, who spoke at the opening of Parliament, pointed to the work ahead, including debates on the Population White Paper and the Budget. Addressing Mdm Halimah, he said: "We expect your firm and impartial hand that will move our debates and deliberations towards fruitful and expeditious outcomes."

    Meanwhile, the National Trades Union Congress announced yesterday that it had appointed Mdm Halimah as its adviser for international affairs, tapping her experience to advance the labour movement's position on international labour issues.



    Mdm Halimah Yacob. Photo: MCI
    Last edited by Loh; 01-14-2013 at 10:15 PM.

  14. #6814
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    Default Almost all primary schools had top PSLE students: MOE


    by Ng Jing Yng
    04:45 AM Jan 15, 2013

    SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Education (MOE) said that almost all primary schools here had top Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) students.

    Citing a PSLE T-score of at least 250 - traditionally achieved by the top 10 per cent of each graduating cohort - the MOE did not specify if all its 187 primary schools produced students with these scores.

    But in a written parliamentary reply, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said: "Almost all primary schools nurtured students who attained T-scores of 250 and above".

    The T-score, derived from the pupil's PSLE raw scores, provides a ranking of the student against the entire cohort.

    Mr Heng was responding to a question from Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong who asked about students' performance in the PSLE last year.

    The minister added that some 15 primary schools had more than 20 per cent of their PSLE students achieving T-score of 250 and above. There were 61 primary schools which saw less than 5 per cent of its graduating batch attaining the T-score of 250 and above.

    Mr Heng reiterated that the quality of schools is not measured by the number of students who attain high PSLE T-scores. Rather, primary schools aim to understand the needs of every student so they can prepare each individual in both academic and non-academic areas, he said.

    Separately in Parliament yesterday, Mr Heng also stressed that not naming top scores does not mean moving away from merit, but was meant to encourage holistic development of every child. Said Mr Heng: "The PSLE marks the conclusion of one stage of a child's learning journey and the beginning of another."

    He stressed the importance of helping students develop the stamina to persevere in this journey. "We want parents to join us in encouraging their children to develop a love for learning," he said.

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    Default Singles to be allowed to buy new HDB flats this year: Khaw

    Updated 09:35 PM Jan 14, 2013

    SINGAPORE - The National Development Ministry (MND) aims to implement its policy of allowing singles to buy new Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats for owner-occupation this year, said its Minister Khaw Boon Wan today.

    In a written parliamentary reply, Mr Khaw said MND is "finalising" its policy. Currently, singles cannot buy new flats from HDB by themselves. They can, however, buy a resale flat if they are at least 35 years old.

    Over the past decade, 18,000 singles aged between 35 and 40 bought HDB resale flats. Of these, 3,800 singles - or 21 per cent - got married subsequently, said Mr Khaw.

    In a seperate parliamentary reply, Mr Khaw said the minimum age of 35 for singles to buy new flats "supports our promotion of marriage and parenthood". "We will be revising our policies to allow singles to buy new HDB flats with certain restrictions. However, there are no plans to lower the minimum age, as marriage rates are highest between the ages of 25 and 34," he added.






    TODAY file photo

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    Default Government will continue building ECs and has moved to fix earlier abuse: Khaw

    Published on Jan 14, 2013
    2:59 PM





    The Government will continue building executive condominiums (ECs) and has moved to fix loopholes in the EC policy, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said today in Parliament. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG


    By Melissa Tan


    The Government will continue building executive condominiums (ECs) and has moved to fix loopholes in the EC policy, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said today in Parliament.

    He noted that the Government has now capped EC unit sizes to 160 sq m to keep prices affordable and has also required dual-key units to be sold only to multi-generational families to prevent buyers from taking advantage of such units for immediate rental yield. These measures were announced last Friday
    .

    Several Members of Parliament then pressed the minister on whether recent launches of super-large and pricey EC units were a violation of the original spirit and intent of the Government's EC policy.

    They asked Mr Khaw if the ministry would consider imposing price caps, why approval had been given to launch such large and expensive EC units and whether Singapore should even continue with the EC scheme.

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    Default

    Temporary sheltered linkways to be provided at Marina Bay
    Posted: 14 January 2013 2316 hrs



    SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will be providing temporary sheltered pedestrian linkways along the roads between Marina Bay Financial Centre and Marina Bay Station.

    Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said this in response to Mr Gan Thiam Poh's parliamentary question on whether the transport ministry will provide a sheltered or underground pedestrian walkway.

    Mr Lui addded that the Urban Redevelopment Authority plans to build an extensive underground pedestrian network (UPN).

    This is to link the developments in Marina Bay to the nearby MRT stations, including Marina Bay Station.

    - CNA/xq

    (PS: The new Marina Bay Financial Centre has replaced the Raffles Place Financial District as the key service centre for commerce and finance with its modern skyscrappers and nearness to the vibrant Marina Bay where the imposing Marina Bay Sands, the refreshing Gardens by the Bay, and tourists attractions like the Singapore Flyer, Esplanade-Theatres on the Bay and others are located.)


    A man rides a bicycle along a promenade in front of Marina Bay Financial Centre in Singapore. (AFP/Roslan Rahman)
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    Last edited by Loh; 01-14-2013 at 10:58 PM.

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