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Manpower shortage, COVID-19 measures and law exam cheats to be discussed in Parliament

Manpower shortage, COVID-19 measures and law exam cheats to be discussed in Parliament

A general view shows Parliament House in front of commercial buildings in the financial district in Singapore on Mar 1, 2022. (Photo: AFP/Roslan RAHMAN)

SINGAPORE: The labour crunch as Singapore eases COVID-19 curbs will be among some of the issues discussed when Parliament sits on Monday (May 9). 

Several Members of Parliament submitted questions on whether the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has taken measures to support businesses - such as the food and beverage and catering sectors - that have difficulties recruiting.

MP Yip Hon Weng (PAP-Yio Chu Kang) asked what efforts were being made to promote local employment and how MOM is helping sectors that are facing a shortage of local workers. He also asked if the ministry will relax foreign labour policies if there is no let-up in the manpower situation. 

MPs Yeo Wan Ling (PAP-Pasir Ris-Punggol) and Liang Eng Hwa (PAP-Bukit Panjang) asked if manpower resources will be diverted to other sectors for those working in COVID-19 related jobs such as safe distancing ambassadors. 

Mr Liang asked how these workers will be helped in seeking new and longer-term employment while Ms Yeo asked if MOM will be working on measures to encourage and divert resources to industries facing manpower shortages. 

Other questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic included relaxing rules for unvaccinated residents, as well as the impact of the pandemic on non-COVID-19 patients facing delayed treatment. 

MP Lim Biow Chuan (PAP-Mountbatten) asked if the Ministry of Health (MOH) will relax rules and allow unvaccinated residents to dine in at F&B outlets. 

MP Leon Perera (WP-Aljunied) asked if MOH will conduct a study on the impact of the pandemic on non-COVID-19 patients facing delayed treatment, especially older ones with chronic conditions, as well as the impact on the public healthcare system, in view of the patient backlog from periodic suspension of non-essential services. 


Several MPs also submitted questions regarding the recent case involving trainee lawyers who cheated in the Bar exams

MP Seah Kian Peng (PAP-Marine Parade) asked if there have been similar instances of cheating and if any action was taken.  

MP He Ting Ru (WP-Sengkang) asked if any steps needed to be taken to address public concerns on this issue and if the punishments meted out were sufficient. 

MP Hany Soh (PAP-Marsiling-Yew Tee) asked if the Ministry of Law intends to introduce any rules to regulate trainee lawyers' conduct to ensure they are deemed "ethically ready" to be called to the Bar. 

Among other issues on the agenda, Ms He also asked about the assessed impact to supply chains and rising prices in Singapore in view of the various lockdowns in China due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

She asked which industries or goods and services have been or are anticipated to be most badly hit and whether any further measures are being taken to alleviate this impact. 

Two Bills will be introduced - the Endangered Species (Import and Export) (Amendment) Bill and the Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill. 

Among those up for second reading are the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Bill and the Adoption of Children Bill. 

Source: CNA/lk(ac)


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