ON THE AGENDA
A BILL to combat human trafficking was among four passed yesterday during a Parliament session that stretched until 8pm. Singapore's efforts to keep out Ebola, and plans to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were also discussed.
Ebola measures to get boost
TRAVEL restrictions and surveillance plans have been put in place to keep at bay the Ebola virus that is spreading in West Africa and which has also infected some in the US. From tomorrow, citizens of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - the worst Ebola-hit countries - will need a visa to enter Singapore.
All visitors from these countries, plus the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali, will be monitored for 21 days after arrival. Those with a fever will be sent to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
S'pore joins coalition against ISIS
RESPONDING to another threat - terrorism - Singapore will contribute personnel and equipment to a multinational coalition against ISIS. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will send liaison and planning officers, an imagery analysis team and a tanker refuelling aircraft to the region. They will operate from countries around Iraq and Syria. No SAF combat troops will be deployed to the two countries.
Of parks and protests
FOLLOWING a Sept 27 Hong Lim Park protest that encroached on a nearby charity carnival, MPs asked National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan to give an account of what happened. But he said it was inappropriate as police investigations and court cases were ongoing. But he did reveal that many events had been held concurrently at the park with no "untoward incident", until the Sept 27 protest.
Unions for PMEs soon?
PROFESSIONALS, managers and executives (PMEs) cannot be represented by rank-and-file unions because of possible conflicts of interest. But this may change with the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill, tabled yesterday. It seeks to amend the law so unions can represent PMEs through collective bargaining.
Curbing abuse of PIC scheme
COMPANIES wanting to claim cash payouts under the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme must show that their IT and automation equipment is on the premises, and deployed for business uses.
Under the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill passed yesterday, new measures were put in place to curb the abuse of the PIC scheme, which is meant for productivity-boosting investments. Tougher measures include fines of up to $10,000 and a jail term of up to three years for those who promote or facilitate illegitimate claims.
Pioneer fund gets go-ahead
PARLIAMENT passed a Bill to set up a fund for the Pioneer Generation Package meant to cover the health-care needs of first-generation Singaporeans.
The fund will cover the cost of the nearly $9 billion package and ensure it can be paid for beyond the current term of government.
More bite, more protection
WHILE MPs hailed a new law to combat the scourge of human trafficking as historic and timely, they wanted harsher penalties and more protection for victims.
The Prevention of Human Trafficking Act should mandate that victims will not be prosecuted. They should also get permission to work even as their cases are being investigated, MPs said. The Bill was passed after a 21/2-hour debate.
Paving the way for cyclists
SIGNIFICANT changes would have to be made to set in motion the wheels for Singapore to become a cycling city, said MP Irene Ng.
In an adjournment motion allowing her to speak on the subject for 20 minutes before the House adjourned for the day, she urged the Government to adopt a national strategy on cycling that will improve infrastructure and traffic rules as well as educate drivers about sharing the road with cyclists.
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