ICYMI: Here are 5 (other) issues our MPs have raised 


Parliament is back after an 8-week hiatus. But despite the downtime, the work of our PAP MPs never stops as they continue to champion causes on behalf of all Singaporeans. From calling for more workplace safety and raising their concerns to protect our biodiversity in the upcoming ‘Long Island’ project, PAP MPs are also leading the way to build an inclusive and safe digital society. But beyond that, here are five other issues our MPs have raised in the first parliamentary session of the year.   

Yip Hon Weng: Dialect entertainment for our seniors  

Loneliness can be a problem for some of our seniors, especially for those who are too frail to go out and about to socialise. Therefore, the next best thing to kill off boredom is probably watching television in the comforts of home. But with seniors having limited access to the internet for entertainment, can we consider lifting the restrictions on dialects for free-to-air (FTA) radio and television channels? That came from MP Mr Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang SMC). 

In their reply, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) shared that there are no plans for more dialect programmes beyond what is shown every Friday morning and daily news on the radio. However, this is not set in stone since MCI also shared that they are prepared to lift restrictions as they continue to monitor views and demands towards dialect content. Perhaps like the debate on allowing cats in HDB flats, MP Yip would have to keep lobbying about the issue during parliament. 

Joan Pereira: Stopping bed bugs in their tracks 

If there is one thing we learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is how easily viruses can spread. As such, MP Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC) has raised questions on public health. Besides asking the health ministry if there are measures to minimise the risk of travellers importing pneumonia-related illnesses into Singapore, MP Joan has highlighted a pesky little problem – bedbugs.  

“In view of the global resurgence of bedbug infestations, what measures are in place to detect and prevent travellers from transmitting such infestations upon their arrival in Singapore?” It’s good to know that MP Joan has raised this up. Because the last thing we want is an army of blood-sucking pests running havoc everywhere. 

Thankfully, there is no upward trend of bedbugs in Singapore. However, businesses and residents in Singapore need to exercise vigilance, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu in her reply. As such, NEA has since issued advisories on what organisations (e.g. hotels, airport etc) can do to prevent an infestation of bed bugs on their premises. 

Nadia Samdin: Protecting vulnerable children from further abuse   

For children who have endured a traumatic past, getting adopted into a loving family is the happy ending everyone hopes for. Therefore, what safeguards do we have to ensure the suitability of adoptive parents, asked MP Ms Nadia Samdin (Ang Mo Kio GRC). 

In her reply, Minister of State Sun Xueling said that besides a suitability assessment and criminal background check, prospective adopters wishing to adopt a child with a traumatic history will be assessed by psychologists. This will help determine if they can meet the child’s complex needs. 

Hany Soh: Holding healthcare providers to stricter regulations 

While the banking of cord blood remains niche, doing so is often an extension of parental love. Just in case something happens. Therefore, MP Ms Hany Soh (Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC) is rightly concerned after a private cord blood bank came under fire for damaging cord blood units. “Will the Ministry increase the frequency of its routine inspections and enhance the monitoring requirements for all such service providers?” asked MP Soh. 

Speaking in Parliament, Senior Minister of State (SMS) Janil Puthucheary said that the MOH will review the regulatory requirements of cord blood banking. It may also conduct unannounced visits if there are specific areas of concern or suspected lapses. 

Murali Pillai: Ending corporal punishment in schools 

Many of us (especially if you are a boy) will remember the threat of corporal punishment at schools, where male students are caned on their palms or on the buttocks over the clothing. Today, inflicting such pain our children seem excessive, if not cruel. For that reason, MP Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok SMC) has questioned the practice. “How often is corporal punishment meted out to male pupils? Is there still a need to retain such a punishment?” 

In their reply, the Ministry of Education shared that caning is used only as a last resort for serious offences. And only so when all other disciplinary methods have failed to correct the behaviour. They also noted that paired with counselling, the punishment is carried out as an educative measure to promote a safe and conducive school environment. 

Regardless of how big or small the matter is, one thing that differentiates PAP MPs from everybody else is how much they care – walking the ground, listening to their residents and raising the issues in parliament to push for change. After all, as the People’s Action Party, it is only apt that our MPs take action on behalf of the people.  

Photo Source: CNA/ Murali Pillai/ Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim/ Yip Hon Weng via Facebook