Housing, hospital bed crunch and Singapore's sustainability goals to be discussed in Parliament
SINGAPORE: Housing, the hospital bed crunch and Singapore's sustainability goals will be discussed in Parliament next Monday (Nov 7).
According to the order paper released on Friday, Members of Parliament filed 85 questions for oral answer on a range of topics, which included working conditions for security guards, the non-payment of foreign workers' salaries and the situation in Myanmar.
Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh (WP-Aljunied) asked Minister for National Development Desmond Lee if the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will provide a clear breakdown of the total development costs of all new flats going forward, as well as the subsidies applied to the assessed market prices of these new flats.
Mr Singh's question references the Oct 14 correction direction issued to alternative news website The Online Citizen and Mr Yeoh Lam Keong, a former chief economist of Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, after they posted false and misleading statements about HDB's deficits and Singapore's past reserves.
MP Denise Phua (PAP-Jalan Besar) and MP Sharael Taha (PAP-Pasir Ris-Punggol) submitted questions about access to HDB flats for different groups of people.
Ms Phua's question focuses on how the progressive wage model will affect the eligibility criteria for HDB rental housing, while Mr Sharael asked about lodging solutions for divorcees who are unable to afford their own HDB flats individually.
On the subject of long waiting times for Build-to-Order HDB flats, MP He Ting Ru (WP-Sengkang) submitted a question on whether the Government plans to conduct studies on how these waiting times have affected couples' plans to have children.
MP Gan Thiam Poh (PAP-Ang Mo Kio), meanwhile, asked if the Ministry of National Development will consider increasing the supply of land for non-landed private residential developments as an additional cooling measure to meet the demand for private property.
HOSPITAL BED CRUNCH
The long waiting times for beds at hospitals will come into focus with a series of questions from MPs.
MP Yip Hon Weng (PAP-Yio Chu Kang) submitted a question about the underlying causes of the hospital bed crunch, how hospitals will ensure that care for patients in holding areas is not compromised and when the crunch is expected to ease.
MP Joan Pereira (PAP-Tanjong Pagar) asked about what is being done to reduce waiting times in accident and emergency departments, and for beds in wards.
MP Lim Wee Kiak (PAP-Sembawang), on the other hand, asked if the hospital bed crunch will lead to the postponement of non-urgent elective surgeries in public hospitals.
Questions were also submitted about the pipeline for doctors in Singapore.
MP Don Wee (PAP-Chua Chu Kang) wanted to know if the Ministry of Health (MOH) will consider expanding the intakes at Singapore's three medical schools.
He also asked about measures to reduce the attrition rate of doctors in the public sector, and about the main countries from which Singapore recruits foreign doctors.
The COVID-19 pandemic will also be discussed.
MP Sylvia Lim (WP-Aljunied) submitted a question to the Health Minister about COVID-19 infections contracted within residential healthcare facilities, and whether the ministry is satisfied with the effectiveness of the current measures being implemented at these facilities to prevent outbreaks.
Mr Yip, meanwhile, asked about the plans that MOH has to contain COVID-19 spikes that follow large-scale events, such as the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.
The working conditions of security officers will have time in the spotlight as well, with MP Melvin Yong (PAP-Radin Mas) filing two questions on the subject.
He asked Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam if there has been any review of security guards' working conditions including factors that leave them susceptible to abuse, and how security agencies and their customers can work together to provide safe working conditions.
UPDATES ON SUSTAINABILITY GOALS
Several questions have been filed on the country's plans and policies relating to sustainability.
MP Ang Wei Neng (PAP-West Coast) submitted a question on whether the war in Ukraine, intensifying competition between the United States and China, high global inflation and the threat of global recession have affected the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
On the subject of emissions, Ms He asked if Singapore is still anticipating its emissions to peak at 65 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), and when this peak will be reached.
Two Bills will be introduced in Parliament - one on post-appeal applications in capital cases and one on the protection of state land.
The Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill is up for second reading, along with the Carbon Pricing (Amendment) Bill and the Online Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill.