ON THE AGENDA
HIGHER postage rates and hawker stall rentals were debated yesterday as this month's Parliament session stretched into its third, and last, day.
The House also debated and passed a Bill on animal welfare.
Why postage rates went up
SENDING snail mail has become more expensive as SingPost's labour and operating costs go up. The rates it pays overseas mail operators have also risen.
SingPost's rate increases last month - with local rates going up by four to 20 cents and international rates by five to 25 cents - were its first in eight years.
Music, malls and MDA
IT IS not practical for the Media Development Authority (MDA) to regulate songs played in public as background music.
But the MDA will step in when customers and businesses cannot bilaterally resolve the issue of offensive music being played in public.
Hawker centres upgraded
THE $420 million Hawker Centre Upgrading Programme has ended, with 106 such centres receiving a makeover.
Stall rental for subsidised hawkers is now $192 a month at centres with a standard upgrade, and $320 a month at centres that had major work done. Rents that are not subsidised are decided through professional valuation.
Language classes for foreign soldiers
THERE was online discussion recently on why $25,900 was spent on English language lessons for a People's Liberation Army officer from China.
Yesterday, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said his ministry pays for language lessons of some foreign military officers who attend military courses here, to ensure they understand what is being taught and benefit fully.
Singapore officers, likewise, benefit from native language courses, paid for by some host countries, during military courses overseas.
Taking responsibility for animal welfare
PARLIAMENT yesterday passed the Animals and Birds (Amendment) Bill, which makes it a crime when pet owners and businesses fail to provide specified food and shelter to animals under their charge.
Staff in animal-related businesses must also be trained in handling animals.
Those found guilty of not doing so could face fines and jail terms.