ICYMI, here are some of Parliament’s greatest hits this week and why they matter 

11/05/2023

Parliament this week was a delightful dinner of tapas, a coming together of ideas, suggestions, motions and bills by our Ministers and MPs to smooth out the creases of our lives.  

In case you missed it, here are our favourite highlights and why they matter.  

Tackling scams, once and for all 

To better protect Singaporeans from this fraud epidemic, Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo announced new amendments that will give law enforcers greater power to hold money mules and Singpass abusers accountable for their actions. With scams happening at increasing frequency and sophistication, it is now or never to clamp down on these cyber mercenaries.  

Why it matters: Following the changes, feigning ignorance will no longer be a get-out-of-jail card for those wilfully breaking the law but still hoping to get a free pass through a legal loophole.  

Enforcing payouts for familial harmony  

Divorce is hard enough. But when a spouse renegades on their maintenance payment, it creates unnecessary stress and financial hardship for an already fractured family. That is why there will be a new enforcement process to facilitate settlement, said Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam as he elaborated on the Family Justice Reform Bill.  

Along a similar vein, MP Mr Seah Kian Peng (Marine Parade GRC) moved a motion to review the Maintenance of Parents Act (MPA). In doing so, he hopes to strike the right balance between empowering neglected seniors to seek recourse and support from their children while ensuring that the MPA is not misused or weaponised by vindictive parents. 

Why it matters: The reforms will ensure that justice is served ice cold (and more efficiently) to maintenance dodgers, neglectful parents and ungrateful children. All in the spirit of building a fair and just society. 

Supporting healthcare beyond Covid-19 

Our healthcare sector is the backbone that got us through the pandemic. But now that Covid-19 is behind us, it does not mean healthcare should take a backseat. Giving an impassioned speech, Nominated MP Dr Tan Yia Swam spoke on the need for a whole-of-Government effort to support healthcare beyond Covid-19. Of course, this elicited a whole lot of responses from our MPs ranging from mental health awareness to specialised dental care for seniors and special needs individuals.  

Why it matters: Healthcare concerns everyone, at every stage of our lives. And with a silver tsunami threatening to overwhelm our healthcare system if we do nothing, it is time to shift our focus to preventive health rather than reactive care. After all, taking care of our bodies and leading a healthy lifestyle is like compound interest over time. It all adds up. 

On death and dying  

Tackling a taboo subject, MP Ms Ng Ling Ling (Ang Mo Kio GRC) spoke about expanding palliative care services to enhance end-of-life care and the need to destigmatise the topic. In response, Senior Parliamentary Secretary (SPS) for Health Rahayu Mahzam shared that the Government is actively encouraging conversations around the subject through workshops at active ageing centres and a soon-to-be-launched campaign to increase awareness about end-of-life planning.  

And following several undetected elderly deaths, Minister of State Dr Faishal Ibrahim shared that Silver Generation Ambassadors under the Agency for Integrated Care conduct proactive outreach to at-risk seniors. He also added that the ministry is looking into the idea of checking on seniors if they default on their rent or utilities bills.  

Why it matters: Dying is inevitable, but no one should suffer the indignity of dying alone, to be discovered by a stench. Similarly, we need to have open conversations about end-of-life planning. While difficult, it will save our loved ones from additional grief if we can get our affairs in order before we become too incapacitated to do so. 

Photo Source: Josephine Teo/Ong Ye Kung/Sun Xueling via Facebook