Chin Swee Road toddler death, haze and cancelled Yale-NUS course on Parliament agenda

Chin Swee Road toddler death, haze and cancelled Yale-NUS course on Parliament agenda

Singapore Parliament
Singapore's Parliament building. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: The discovery of a toddler’s body in a Chin Swee Road flat, transboundary haze and the cancellation of a controversial Yale-NUS course will be discussed when Members of Parliament (MPs) meet on Monday (Oct 7).

Eight Bills will also be introduced during the sitting. Two Bills, including the amendment on the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Bill, are set for a second reading.

Last month, a couple was charged with killing their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter in March 2014. Her remains were discovered inside a flat in Chin Swee Road on Sep 10 this year.

READ: Chin Swee Road death: Couple charged with murdering their 2-year-old daughter in 2014

READ: Chin Swee Road death: Mother accused of killing daughter remanded for psychiatric observation

MPs asked why government agencies and social services were unaware that the child had been missing for five years and if there are measures to help such children in troubled families.

Concerns over the haze situation were also raised by some MPs. 

In September, the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) crossed into the Unhealthy range for the first time in three years as forest fires raged in parts of Indonesia.

MP Cheng Li Hui wanted to know if measures are in place at hospitals and nursing homes to help protect patients from the haze, while Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh asked if all public hospital wards should be air-conditioned and fitted with air purification filters.

The recent cancellation of a controversial Yale-NUS course on "Dissent and Dialogue" will be discussed as well.

READ: No government interference in decision to cancel Yale-NUS module: Yale president

The course, part of the curriculum for first-year students at the college, was cancelled two weeks before it was due to start. 

The college said it found that the proposed activities for the course, which included a "simulated" protest, would have put students at risk of breaking the law.

MP Intan Azura Mokhtar asked if the cancellation signals a more controlled and rigid environment in educational institutes, while Nominated MP Anthea Ong asked if the Ministry of Home Affairs has guidelines for academic institutions on such legal risks.

Questions relating to the ban on personal mobility devices (PMDs) were also raised. Last month, PMDs were banned from void decks and all common areas of housing estates run by the PAP town councils. Those who violate this will face a fine of up to S$5,000.

MP Alex Yam asked how public feedback on the ban has been so far, and if the number of reported incidents has reduced since implementation.

Meanwhile, MP Lim Biow Chuan asked about the estimated cost of the Land Transport Authority’s early disposal incentive for e-scooters that do not meet the UL2272 fire safety standard.

Also on the agenda are questions relating to the implications of the recent disruption on Saudi Arabia’s oil supply on Singapore and the recent detentions of three foreign domestic workers under the Internal Security Act.

Set for a second reading on Monday are two Bills: the Income Tax Bill and the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Bill.

READ: Changes proposed to Singapore’s religious harmony law to address impact of social media, foreign influence

The proposed changes to the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Bill address the impact of social media and foreign influence. 

This includes the expansion of the restraining order to require individuals who post inflammatory content to take down the posts, as well as a proposal that key leaders in religious organisations be Singaporean or permanent residents.

Source: CNA/ga(hm)