Parliament to discuss SMRT's telco tie-up

Parliament to discuss SMRT's telco tie-up

TRANSPORT operator SMRT's recent announcement that it will work with OMGTEL (OMG) to bid for Singapore's fourth wireless telecommunications (telco) carrier licence is among the many topics to be discussed during Monday's sitting of Parliament.

Member of Parliament Baey Yam Keng (Tampines) has filed two questions - one each for Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew - on the matter.

Mr Baey has asked how Dr Yaacob's ministry would ensure that high telco service standards are maintained if the partners of the licences do not have proven track records.

He is also curious if SMRT's public transport services could be affected if the bid was successful, and whether the government would consider imposing conditions to ensure that the public interest in the provision of public transport services would not be compromised.

Last month, SMRT said it could invest up to S$34.5 million in the partnership, on the condition that OMG wins the fourth telco licence, which is also eyed by broadband operator MyRepublic. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore has not announced the winner of the licence yet.

Meanwhile, the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn programme will also be up for debate, with Nominated MP Thomas Chua filing two questions for new Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say to respond to.

Mr Chua wants to know how companies that are outside of the 17 priority sectors in the programme can participate, and if trade associations from the non-priority sectors can be supported with more resources and funding to develop their industry manpower plan.

Earn and Learn is a new work-study programme designed to give fresh polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education graduates a headstart in careers related to their discipline of study.

Separately, four Bills are due for a second reading, including one to regulate third-party taxi-booking applications such as Uber and GrabTaxi. If this particular legislation is passed, it will confer wide-ranging powers on the authorities to amend, add to, or revoke codes of practice for specific providers, or across the industry.

The Bill will also require third-party apps to register with the Land Transport Authority before operating in Singapore, or risk being fined up to S$10,000 or jailed up to six months.

Separately, six new Bills will be introduced, among them a Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill and a Financial Advisers (Amendment) Bill.


This article was first published on May 9, 2015.
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