It’s the time of the year for another parliamentary sitting again. This is a time when MPs are given opportunities to address any issues in the Parliament. For this sitting, some of the issues that will be submitted for discussion includes:

  • impact of higher essential food prices and housing
  • More help for people on Public Assistance Scheme
  • Concerns of higher medical costs
  • Measures to help low-income Singaporeans
  • Myanmar’s issue

I don’t really know what happens in a Parliament meeting. I’m just hoping that such issues can be resolved and not just chucked aside. =)

THE impact of higher essential food prices and housing on needy Singaporeans will top the talk in Parliament when it sits on Monday.

Five MPs have filed questions asking the Government what it plans to do to help these Singaporeans cope with rising inflation.

Latest official figures show inflation hit 4.2 per cent last November, a 25-year high. Prices are set to rise further, pushing inflation to 5 or even 6 per cent this year.

Dr Muhammad Faishal (Marine Parade GRC) will ask National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan for measures to keep flats affordable for families on a tight budget.

His fellow MP in the same GRC, Mr Seah Kian Peng, will appeal to Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan for more help for those on the Public Assistance scheme.

Under the scheme, the destitute now get a monthly government grant of $290.

Higher medical costs is a concern of Mr Sam Tan (Tanjong Pagar GRC) and Nominated MP Eunice Olsen.

They will ask Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan whether these costs have risen substantially, and if so, how can the Government help the low-income cope with the hike.

Madam Halimah Yacob will also ask Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam for more measures to help low-income Singaporeans.

Another issue that will be raised is Asean’s handling of the Myanmar issue during the regional bloc’s annual summit last November.

Monday’s session, the first since the summit ended, will offer MPs an official opportunity to quiz Foreign Minister George Yeo on the behaviour of the country’s ruling junta during the summit – a major sticking point then.

MP for Tampines GRC Irene Ng will ask Mr Yeo, among other things, for his assessment of whether Asean’s credibility has suffered as a result of the debacle Recent news about how the Government of Singapore Corporation (GIC) and Temasek holdings are making significant investments in embattled banks will also surface in the House.

The latest example came on Tuesday, when GIC announced it was pumping US$6.88 billion (S$9.82 billion) into troubled American banking giant Citigroup.

Mr Inderjit Singh (Ang Mo Kio GRC) will be seeking Mr Shanmugaratnam’s assurance that these deals are sound investments.

Safety regulations in sports will also be discussed, following the recent deaths of five national dragon boat paddlers in Cambodia.

In an unusual move, MP for Jalan Besar GRC Lily Neo will also be filing an adjournment of motion – which allows a member to tackle an issue in depth – to speak about bullying in schools.

Five Bills to amend various laws will be debated. One of them is the Workmen’s Compensation (Amendment) Bill, which, when passed, will cover all employees, except domestic workers and those in the uniformed services, for work injuries.

Currently, the Act covers all manual workers, and non-manual workers earning $1,600 or less a month.

Article obtained from on 19th January 2008

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