ON THE AGENDA
PARLIAMENT yesterday discussed the budgets of three ministries: the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Education (MOE), and Ministry of Trade and Industry.
500,000 cross borders
EVERY day last year, more than 500,000 people crossed Singapore's borders. This was 33 per cent more than in 2009, and is expected to grow.
Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean disclosed these figures yesterday, and said the MHA will do more to secure the country's borders in the coming years, such as having another 1,000 cameras at both land checkpoints by 2017.
Fighting online crimes
A CYBERCRIME unit, specialising in online investigations, digital forensics and cybercrime policy, will be formed to boost the police's capabilities to deal with crimes committed online.
MPs Edwin Tong (Moulmein-Kallang GRC) and Vikram Nair (Sembawang GRC) had expressed concern about more people falling prey to e-commerce cheats, Internet love scams and online extortion.
Too much tuition
MR PNG Eng Huat (Hougang) asked for a survey to get to the bottom of Singaporeans' obsession with tuition, joining at least three other MPs in warning about over-reliance on tuition.
In reply, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said Singapore's education system is at a crossroads. He called on Singaporeans to back a transformation of the education system into one that prizes mastery of knowledge over grades.
More aid for needy students
NEEDY students will get more help. More of them will be eligible for the Edusave Merit Bursary, after the household income criteria are raised.
Students already on the MOE financial aid scheme will also get help in defraying transport costs. Those in primary school will have half of their school bus fees subsidised, while those who take public transport will get $120 a year.
Making attractions attractive
SINGAPORE should relook its tourist attractions and unique selling points, given intensifying competition for the global tourist dollar, several MPs said.
Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said the Singapore Tourism Board has launched an exercise to come up with new ideas to reinvent Orchard Road, so that Singapore remains a competitive retail destination.
More energy options
TO PROMOTE more competition in the electricity retail market, the threshold for allowing consumers to choose their electricity retailer will be lowered even further, said Mr Iswaran.
The threshold, which was lowered from 10,000 kilowatt hours (kwh) to 4,000 kwh last year, will be brought down to 2,000 kwh in July.
This means 10,000 more commercial and industrial consumers can choose their power supplier, allowing them to shop around for better prices.
This article was first published on March 07, 2015.
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