The Debate in 2 minutes


Transport and technology issues dominated yesterday's Parliament sitting, as the House debated a Bill on unmanned aircraft and another on third-party taxi booking services.

Balancing act

Six Members of Parliament weighed in on the Unmanned Aircraft (Public Safety and Security) Bill debate yesterday.

While they raised concerns about rogue drones, they also cautioned that overly onerous rules could stifle the innovative use of such unmanned aircraft.

The authorities received an average of 50 permit applications a month this year, a rise from a monthly average of 12 last year.

Taxi booking service Bill passed

The welfare of taxi drivers was the key concern of several MPs in the debate on the Third-Party Taxi Booking Service Providers Bill.

Several MPs asked for more to be done to ensure that these service providers do not default on payments to the cabbies. They also raised concerns about taxi drivers being squeezed by limousine services, which also use these third-party booking services.

Meanwhile, some MPs said the focus of regulation should not be about protecting existing taxi operators. It should be about maximising benefits to commuters and making sure these services are safe.

Cash for now

Only cash will do for now for those who want to buy the Singapore Savings Bonds, to be launched in the second half of this year.

But the Government will consider letting people use their Central Provident Fund and Supplementary Retirement Scheme savings in future to buy them, said Senior Minister of State for Finance Josephine Teo.

Beware when buying property abroad

Singapore investors could be hurt if property prices fall in Johor.

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) board member Lawrence Wong said this as he warned that there could be a glut of private residential property in Johor, with nearly 336,000 units in the pipeline.

Most of these residences are in the Iskandar development zone of southern Johor where many Singaporeans have invested in such properties.

Focus on transport

Train operator SMRT's interest in the telco business worries some MPs who asked whether this would distract it from its core responsibility of providing train services.

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said his ministry would look at SMRT's allocation of manpower to its train business. If senior manpower is being transferred to support the telco venture, the ministry would be "very concerned", he said.

No special treatment for youth

Several MPs asked about rehabilitative measures and punishment for youth who make offensive remarks on race and religion, or who commit serious crimes.

Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Low Yen Ling said youth who make seditious remarks may be counselled and made to perform community service to interact with people of different communities.

Second Minister for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said youth who commit serious crimes like vandalism should be severely punished to send a deterrent message.

This article was first published on May 12, 2015.
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