Improving quality of our lives in Singapore

Sengkang Riverside Park
PHOTO: The Straits Times

In response to President Tony Tan Keng Yam's address to Parliament on Friday, four ministries and the PMO yesterday set out their plans to ensure that Singapore remains a connected city and a home for Singaporeans. The New Paper's Linette Heng looks at the details.


Today, one million private vehicles ply the roads and 12 per cent of Singapore's land is used for roads.

A car-centric transport system is no longer sustainable. MOT aims for Singaporeans to rely on walking, cycling and taking public transport as a way of life.

The target is for three out of four commuters to use public transport as a main mode of transport by 2030.

To expand the public transport capacity, the Government will spend a projected $36 billion in the next five years.

Improving rail reliability will be a priority - more engineers and technicians will be recruited and more stringent maintenance requirements implemented.

The rail network will also be doubled over the next 15 years, with a new line or MRT expansion almost every year till 2021.

In the next five years, there will be marked improvements in bus regularity and punctuality under the bus contracting model.

The length of covered walkways will be quadrupled and dedicated cycling paths built in more towns.

Streets will also be designed for more vulnerable users such as children and the elderly. For longer-distance connectivity, the upcoming North-South Expressway will be configured to include express bus lanes and a cycling trunk route to the city.

Upon completion of the Downtown Line, Bencoolen Street will be restored with wide pedestrian paths and a dedicated cycling lane to connect Rochor Canal and Bukit Timah to the Central Business District. MOT will also complete more inter-town cycling routes such as the Queenstown-City Link and the Bishan-Kallang Link.


The demand-supply imbalance in the housing market has been addressed and the market is on track for a soft landing, said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.

Mr Wong added that the Ministry will provide a range of choices so that there is a home for every budget and need.

The Fresh Start Housing Scheme will help families who live in rental flats and no longer qualify for housing grants to buy their own home again. More public rental flats will be built and integrated within larger HDB estates.

MND will also look into ways to support other vulnerable groups, such as divorcees and low-income singles.

For the elderly, MND will build on options such as the 2-Room Flexi Scheme - which allows seniors to choose the length of lease of their flat - to meet their needs.

Beyond individual homes, MND aims to create more shared spaces for the community. They will build more town plazas and neighbourhood centres with projects and activities to engage the community.

Heartland shops will be revitalised into vibrant commercial nodes and social spaces through the Revitalisation of Shops Scheme.

To meet community needs, childcare centres, elder care centres, and other social communal facilities will be provided in Build-To-Order projects.

MND will also make greenery more accessible, with 90 per cent of households living within 400m of a park or park connector by 2030.


The nationwide transition to digital broadcasting is targeted for completion in end-2017. Analogue broadcast will be switched off.

This is in tandem with the global trend to migrate to digital TV to enhance the viewing experience for consumers and to free up limited frequencies for new services.

The freed-up spectrum will provide more capacity for mobile broadband and better support Singapore's Smart Nation development.

The Smart Nation Platform, a network infrastructure of sensors, will be rolled out. The platform will support sensor-based services and smart system solutions, and facilitate greater sharing of data to improve government operations and the delivery of public services.

More public sector data will also be released to encourage private sector development of applications that can improve the quality of life.

MCI will also develop a national cyber security strategy to strengthen Singapore's information infrastructure. They will introduce a Cyber Security Bill that will give the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore greater powers to secure our critical information infrastructure.

The Government Chief Information Office functions within IDA will be restructured as an independent entity - the Government Technology Organisation (GTO). The GTO will focus on building engineering talent for the Government and support its digital transformation efforts

Singapore's history and archival heritage will be made more accessible to Singaporeans. For a start, MCI will develop a Constitutional Gallery, to be housed in the National Gallery Singapore, to showcase key constitutional documents of our nation.

To encourage more Singaporeans to pick up reading and promote a culture of reading, MCI will start a National Reading Movement.


The Office will collaborate with citizens, industry and government agencies to leverage on technology to address national challenges and improve quality of life.

For example, to enhance the commuting experience, they have begun collecting more data through the use of bus and taxi sensors so that commuters can plan their trips better.

Another example is the use of technology and innovation in homes and housing estates to achieve resource savings and create a more liveable environment.


To ensure a high quality living environment, MEWR will further reduce sources of air pollution by tightening vehicular and industrial emission standards.

It will also strengthen its regulatory regime to ensure more stringent levels of food hygiene and leverage scientific advancements to minimise the transmission of vector-borne diseases.

MEWR is conducting an ongoing review to strengthen the role of hawker centres, support innovation and work with the community to promote local hawker culture and social graciousness.

It will also further expand the ABC Waters Programme to transform more waterways and waterbodies into recreational, social and community spaces.


Singapore will strengthen its resilience against the risks from climate change and manage greenhouse gas emissions to achieve economic growth in a sustainable manner, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreement signed in Paris last December, Singapore has made a further commitment to reduce Emissions Intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

Emissions Intensity refers to the amount of greenhouse gas emitted per dollar GDP. It is a measure of how efficient a country is in terms of greenhouse gas emissions relative to its economic activities.

This article was first published on January 22, 2016.
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