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Inflation, COVID-19 vaccines and drug misuse by athletes to be discussed in Parliament

Inflation, COVID-19 vaccines and drug misuse by athletes to be discussed in Parliament

This photograph taken on Jun 18, 2022, shows an overview of Parliament House in Singapore. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: High inflation rates, safeguards against administering undiluted COVID-19 vaccines and protecting athletes from the misuse of drugs will be on the agenda when Parliament convenes on Monday (Oct 3).

According to an order paper released on Friday, Members of Parliament (MPs) have filed more than 90 questions on a range of topics, which also include employment issues and concerns over the mental well-being of police officers.

MP Ang Wei Neng (PAP-West Coast) raised the possibility of bringing forward the distribution of Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers to the third quarter of 2022 instead of January next year.

He also asked if the S$100 CDC vouchers could be issued to every Singaporean aged more than 21 years old, instead of every household.

The latest tranche of vouchers was issued to eligible Singaporean households in May, following an earlier tranche in December last year. Up to 1.22 million Singaporean households received the digital vouchers, which can be spent at hawker centres and neighbourhood stores.

Mr Ang's question was filed "in light of persistent high inflation rates in the last few months".

Singapore’s core inflation rose to 5.1 per cent in August, driven mainly by stronger increases in the prices of food and services.

The last time Singapore reported higher year-on-year core inflation growth was in November 2008, when it stood at 5.5 per cent.

MP Dr Wan Rizal (PAP-Jalan Besar) asked Health Minister Ong Ye Kung about safeguards in place to prevent undiluted COVID-19 vaccines from being administered, following an incident at a clinic in Hougang.

On Sep 20, it was reported that the clinic had given undiluted doses of the vaccine to two adults.

One of them needed hospitalisation after experiencing a headache and increased heart rate. The other did not report any adverse effects.

The clinic and doctor who administered the vaccine have been suspended from the National Vaccination Programme until further notice.

MPs also asked questions related to the recent admission of overseas drug use by three national swimmers – Olympic champion Joseph Schooling, Amanda Lim and Teong Tzen Wei.

SportSG said on Wednesday that it was suspending all support for the three athletes for a month starting Oct 1.

Dr Wan Rizal asked Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong if there were measures implemented to protect Singapore’s carded athletes from the misuse of drugs.

MP Darryl David (PAP-Ang Mo Kio) asked if the Government or National Sports Associations (NSAs) have any programmes to educate national and elite athletes about the dangers and pitfalls of using recreational and performance-enhancing drugs.

Additionally, he asked if there were any programmes to regularly test athletes for use of such drugs.

Two MPs submitted questions to Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam relating to the mental health of Home Team officers, after an officer was found dead with a gunshot wound at Bayfront Avenue on Sep 19.

MP Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim (PAP-Chua Chu Kang) asked if there were precautionary measures to continually assess the mental health and well-being of police and auxiliary police officers who bear arms in the course of their duties, particularly those who have front-facing duties with members of the public.

MP Melvin Yong (PAP-Radin Mas) asked about the number of Home Team officers who died during active service, and how many of these were suicide cases.

Several MPs submitted questions on employment issues.

These included one from MP Jessica Tan (PAP-East Coast) on initiatives to bring top overseas Singaporean talent back to Singapore.

She asked if there was support to help them and their families relocate and transition back to Singapore.

Meanwhile, MP Gerald Giam (Workers’ Party-Aljunied) asked Manpower Minister Tan See Leng if there were plans to review the Employment Pass scheme to introduce a new dependency ratio ceiling for the bottom half of income earners.

This would encourage employers to enhance their Singaporean workforce by hiring and training more Singaporean talent and transferring skills from foreign employees to the local workforce, he said.

Monday's sitting will also see the introduction of four Government Bills.

These are the Online Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, the Accountancy Functions (Consolidation) Bill, the International Development Association (Amendment) Bill and the Carbon Pricing (Amendment) Bill.

There will also be a second reading for four other bills – the Statutes (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, the Business Trusts (Amendment) Bill and the Accountants (Amendments) Bill.

Source: CNA/ga(jo)
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