Daily round-up, Sep 13: Najib's 1MDB trial postponed over his medical condition; AETOS auxiliary officer who copied StanChart robbery jailed
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A four-day work week may work well for some employers and employees but not others, said Minister of State in the Manpower Ministry Gan Siow Huang in Parliament in response to a question on whether its feasibility was being studied.
She said the ministry "strongly encourages employers and employees to be open to flexible work arrangements in all its various forms to identify and adopt those that best suit their unique business needs and their workers' needs".
Citing pilots in other countries, she said that while four-day work weeks saw productivity improvements in some cases, this depends on the sector and job type.
Ms Gan added that the ministry does not intend impose formulas for flexible work arrangements on the public sector.
Najib Razak's 1MDB corruption trial has been postponed as the former prime minister has been hospitalised since Monday. His lawyer told the High Court on Tuesday that Najib's blood pressure has been fluctuating and he has to undergo several tests, which could take a few days.
His 1MDB trial was initially scheduled to take place from Monday to Thursday this week. The deputy public prosecutor did not object to the postponement, and the judge fixed Wednesday afternoon for mention to get an update on Najib’s condition.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also denied allegations that Najib's medication had been switched, saying he was given the generic version of the same formulation.
S$72.3 billion was spent on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two financial years, said Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah in Parliament.
This was lower than the initial sum of S$100 billion that the Government committed, Ms Indranee said.
First, the Government had set aside loan capital in FY2020 in anticipation of a tight credit market, but this was not needed eventually. Secondly, resources set aside for public health capacity were not fully utilised, as safe management measures and the cooperation of Singaporeans helped to avert severe public health outcomes.
Ms Indranee also noted that this under-utilisation in funds was offset by the various support packages that were introduced over the heightened alerts and stabilisation phases from May to November 2021.
The Ministry of Finance has been auditing COVID-19-related procurement and expenditure since earlier this year, she added.
StanChart robbery copycat who targeted moneylender while carrying auxiliary police gun gets jail, caning
A former AETOS auxiliary officer has been sentenced to 16 and a half years' jail and 18 strokes of the cane, after he pleaded guilty to three charges of robbery, unlawfully carrying a revolver and unlawful possession of ammunition.
Facing mounting debts, Mahadi Muhamad Mukhtar decided to rob a moneylender and took his loaded revolver with him while he was supposed to be covering a colleague's shift.
He decided to copy the approach taken by Standard Chartered robber James Roach, wrote a note saying he had a gun and stating his demands, and handed it to the credit loan officer on duty.
Fearing for her life, she hit the panic button under the table before complying and putting the money inside his sling bag.
Comparing the case with the Standard Chartered robbery, the prosecution said that Roach was bluffing, as he had no weapon on him, but Mahadi was not bluffing.
The judge said he found that the harm disclosed in this case was substantial, given that Mahadi had armed himself with a loaded revolver capable of inflicting serious harm on others.