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Presidential elections Bill to be introduced in Parliament; several questions filed on Keppel, SPH cases

The House will also debate on Feb 6 two motions on public housing affordability.

Presidential elections Bill to be introduced in Parliament; several questions filed on Keppel, SPH cases

A general view of Parliament House in Singapore on Sep 23, 2022. (File photo: CNA/Try Sutrisno Foo)

SINGAPORE: Government Bills tabling legislative amendments to the presidential and parliamentary elections will be introduced when Parliament sits for a session on Monday (Feb 6).

The House will also discuss the Keppel bribery case, SPH Media's inflated circulation numbers and two motions on public housing affordability.

A presidential election must be called by Sep 13, with President Halimah Yacob’s six-year term expiring on that day.

It will be open to candidates of all races, as opposed to the reserved election in 2017 where only members of the Malay community were allowed to contest. 

A Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill debated in Parliament in 2017 introduced changes to how such polls are run, across areas like campaigning and rallies.

On Monday, several Members of Parliament (MPs) will also ask about the corruption case involving six former senior management staff members of Keppel Offshore & Marine (KOM) and Brazilian oil company Petrobras.

The offences were related to bribes to Petrobras officials pertaining to rigs-building contracts.

Among the 17 questions filed by MPs are queries on the decision to issue stern warnings instead of prosecuting the former staff members.

Opposition leader Pritam Singh (Workers’ Party-Aljunied) asked what difficulties were faced by the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in considering whether to prefer charges against them.

SPH Media Trust’s (SMT) circulation saga will also be discussed, with 17 questions filed by more than a dozen MPs.

Last month, the media company said daily circulation numbers of its titles  - including The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao – were found to have been inflated by between 85,000 and 95,000.

This included instances in which copies were printed, counted for circulation and then destroyed.

MP Dennis Tan (WP-Hougang) asked Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo whether the ministry will require SMT to disclose why these inconsistencies took a long time to be discovered and made public; what is being done to strengthen governance over such matters; and how these inconsistencies will impact the Government’s commitment to fund SMT.

Non-constituency MP (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai asked if the Government will present SMT's internal report and SPH Media Holdings Board’s audit committee’s report to Parliament for scrutiny.

Also on the agenda is the issue of public housing.

The House will debate two motions on the topic - specifically relating to affordability and accessibility - which were filed separately by National Development Minister Desmond Lee and Mr Leong together with fellow NCMP Hazel Poa.

Several questions on the deterioration of Housing Board building facades will also be put forth by several lawmakers.

This comes after a resident complained that housing blocks in Sengkang were stained with mould despite being only about five years old.

MP Don Wee (PAP-Chua Chu Kang) asked what available rectifications there are for flats that face premature growth of mould, while Dr Lim Wee Kiak (PAP-Sembawang) and Nominated MP Shahira Abdullah asked about the safety and health risks associated with mould.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung will also introduce Bills related to the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act and Healthcare Services Act during Monday’s sitting.

Source: CNA/ga(jo)


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