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COVID-19 measures to be discussed in Parliament as Budget debate begins

COVID-19 measures to be discussed in Parliament as Budget debate begins

Singapore's Parliament House. (Photo: Hester Tan)

SINGAPORE: The debate on this year's Budget will begin when Parliament sits on Wednesday (Feb 26).

The Supply Bill and Supplementary Supply (FY2019) Bill will be introduced for the first time during Wednesday's sitting. 

Members of Parliament have also submitted more than a dozen questions on several issues.

READ: Budget 2020: Amid COVID-19 and slowing economy, ensuring Singapore remains ‘exceptional’

On the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, NMPs Walter Theseira and Mohamed Irshad will ask about the Government's efforts to ensure that control measures for work pass holders are implemented fairly, as well as how educators and lecturers in Institutes of Higher Learning are being taught to handle the outbreak.

Mr Theseira will also ask what the Ministry of Manpower has done to ensure that work pass holders that violated their mandatory Leave of Absence or other quarantine orders did not do so under duress or misinformation from their employers.

The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has killed nearly 2,700 and infected more than 80,000 worldwide.

Singapore has reported 91 confirmed cases of COVID-19, about half of whom have recovered and been discharged from hospital. 

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was "very impressed" with Singapore's response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The country had on Feb 7 raised its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) to Orange, prompting additional precautionary measures.

Singapore has also set aside S$800 million in Budget 2020 to support frontline agencies in their efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, with the bulk allocated to the Ministry of Health.

In Parliament on Wednesday, MP Louis Ng will ask for an update on the Platinium Dogs Club case. The former pet boarding facility is facing investigations into alleged animal abuse offences after its operator was arrested in January 2019.

The Nee Soon MP will also ask the Government to consider increasing the number of lactation rooms required in office buildings, as well as if the Government will consider increasing the period during which paid paternity leave may be consumed, from within 12 months of childbirth to within 24 months. 

Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar will ask about the number of diabetes cases diagnosed in Singapore in the last five years, as well as when measures such as mandatory front-of-pack labels and advertising prohibitions to reduce Singaporeans' sugar intake from sugar-sweetened beverages will be implemented.   

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that the Committee of Supply debates begin on Wednesday. This is incorrect. We apologise for the error. 

Source: CNA/nh


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