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On Tuesday (Sep 9), questions raised in Parliament included the Vehicle Entry Permit fees for foreign-registered cars and toll charges, dengue vaccine, GST Vouchers and ERP rates. The House then continued its debate on the ASPIRE report, ending the session by passing its recommendations.

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Government should review crisis strategies amid economic growth: MP Pritam Singh

MP for Aljunied GRC questions whether Singapore has overextended itself by outsourcing critical public functions.

SINGAPORE: The Government should review its crisis strategies, even as it presses ahead with economic growth, said MP for Aljunied GRC Mr Pritam Singh in Parliament on Wednesday (May 28).

He said military tension in the South China Sea suggests the environment outside Singapore will be unpredictable for years to come.

Mr Singh said Singapore's resilience would be severely tested if external trade or business confidence is affected by the tensions.

"Beyond hosting a strong Singapore Armed Forces that is ready for battle, how ready are we if conflict in a foreign region has a debilitating effect on our economy and society? With our fast changing population, have the pillars of Total Defence been unwittingly weakened?" 

Mr Singh also noted that close to 40 per cent of people in Singapore are foreign.

He questioned if Singapore had overextended itself by outsourcing critical public functions.

"In times of conflict, we can certainly expect job losses, and some foreigners returning to safer pastures. How will our municipal health, transport and telecommunications services hold up, given the large number of foreigners manning them? Will some of our foreign friends among us respond nationalistically, favouring the Philippines or Vietnam, depending on their ethnicity and citizenship or original citizenship, even if Singapore would prefer to stand as a neutral party?"

On national resilience, Mr Singh welcomed the proposed formation of a Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps.

It had been one of the recommendations made by the Committee to Strengthen National Service (CSNS) last week.

He urged all new citizens to join the Volunteer Corps if the initiative goes ahead, as this would help strengthen national resilience.

"Questions of identity and commitment of new arrivals will likely remain in the minds of Singaporeans for the foreseeable future. This is a direct consequence on our resilience as a country and a people. The government should continue to explore how new citizens and PRs can contribute to our national security, and how the total defence concept can be reinforced in light of the new realities."

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