Parliament met for the third time this month yesterday (Nov 22). The final sitting of the 2023 that follows previous two intense sessions, is no less important. So, besides tightening moneylending laws and amending the constitution to promote our national interests, here are seven other causes our MPs spoke up for.
Protecting our community cats
Community cats are much-loved members of their communities. Even without a specific owner, their disappearance often raises alarm bells. Therefore, what is the ministry approach when a community cat gets abducted, MP Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) asked.
In response, Senior Minister of State (SMS) Tan Kiat How shared that while taking home a community cat is not a theft, NParks will investigate and act if there are grounds to believe the cat is mistreated.
Promoting work-life harmony
Getting texts and calls after work hours and feeling obligated to reply is a modern work hazard. As such, labour MP Mr Melvin Yong (Radin Mas SMC) has called for the adoption of an after-hours work communication policy to encourage better Work-Life Harmony. So far, over 1,900 companies have established such a policy, with many more doing so as one of the requirements under the Tripartite Standard for Work-Life Harmony.
Keeping seniors in good health
Here at the PAP, we care for our seniors. Besides nationwide policies to keep them healthy, our MPs regularly raise questions to push for their welfare. This time around, MP Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok SMC) wants to enable low-income seniors access to shingles vaccines. More than 90% of Singaporeans above age 50 carry the dormant varicella-zoster virus, which can reactivate as shingles, shared MP Murali. Through vaccination, we can protect our seniors from the discomfort caused by the illness.
Caring for vulnerable children
Not all parents can look after their children in a safe environment. For those who reunite with their parents after being taken into care, case workers check on them at home at least once a month, shared Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli. He was responding to a question by MP Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) on the frequency of such visits.
In addition, MP Ng, being a vocal advocate for children’s welfare, has also called for an increase in the number of Child Protection Service (CPS) officers. The current caseload of about 40 per officer is a bit too high, noted MP Ng, and we need to ensure that the needs of vulnerable children are well looked after.
Helping debtors clear their debt
The current cost-of-living pressure is a perfect storm that could drive vulnerable borrowers into financial agony. To that, MP Mr Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan–Toa Payoh GRC) asked what else we can do to help debtors get out of debt as soon as possible.
In his reply, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Lawrence Wong shared that there are various avenues to seek help. Credit Counselling Singapore, for instance, can help distressed borrowers work out a sustainable debt repayment plan. There are also loan restructuring solutions for those facing arrears in their mortgage.
Ensuring clean water for all
It is no Chernobyl situation, but MP Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim (Chua Chu Kang GRC) wants to ensure that tap water remains safe for Singaporeans. In light of a study regarding a chemical compound formed when tap water reacts with rubber pipes, what is the PUB doing to ensure the safety of our water, MP Zhulkarnain asked.
Thankfully, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu’s response ought to put our minds at ease. The contact time between tap water and plumbing fittings is too short for contaminants to form. Furthermore, PUB conducts half a million tests annually, monitoring our water from source to tap, she noted.
Improving access to hawker centres
Hawker centres in Singapore are probably the English equivalent of the pub, dishing up hearty food and drinks to their communities. Their importance had prompted MP Mr Sitoh Yih Pin (Potong Pasir SMC) to ask for an update. “What is the projected opening date of the hawker centre so that Bidadari residents may enjoy convenient access to food and beverages?” The answer? Not long, as Woodleigh Village Hawker Centre will open in the first half of 2024.
Be it nationwide issues or more localised concerns, PAP MPs will continue to speak up and champion various causes to make life better and brighter, not just for their constituents but all Singaporeans.
Photo Source: Saktiandi Supaat/ Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim/ Melvin Yong/ Murali Pillai/ Sitoh Yih Pin/ Tan Kiat How/ Louis Ng via Facebook