PAP-dominated Parliament approves bill to allow President and ministers’ global roles in personal capacity, amid WP and PSP opposition

Singapore’s Parliament, with a PAP super-majority, has approved a bill that enables the President and ministers to engage in global roles personally, a decision faced with opposition from the WP and PSP.

While the bill is said to aim to enhance Singapore’s international influence by balancing official duties with global contributions, the opposition has raised concerns over potential conflicts and the implications of retroactive laws.

Singapore halts 180 million scam calls in first half of 2023; ScamShield blocks 80,000 numbers

During Parliamentary session on Wednesday, Minister of State for Home Affairs Sun Xueling unveiled that local Telcos thwarted 180 million suspected scam calls in 2023’s first half.

In response to MP’s suggestion to pre-install ScamShield on all new mobile devices, Ms Sun acknowledged that the government did consider it before, but has decided not to proceed.

Alvin Tan advocates for goodwill payments over mandatory scam victim reimbursements

During a Parliamentary sitting on Tuesday, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan emphasized the option for banks to provide goodwill payments to scam-affected customers, encouraging greater accommodation from financial institutions.

Additionally, Minister Tan said it depends on the case-by-case basis when WP Chairman Sylvia Lim questioned whether the Shared Responsibility Framework’s (SRF) “waterfall” approach might grant banks a ‘free pass’ if they fulfill the prescribed duties, absolving them of financial losses as depicted in the framework’s case studies.

Minister Desmond Lee: No immediate changes to penalties for MOP rule breaches by property agents

MND Minister Desmond Lee said the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) has no immediate plans to reconsider penalties for breaching minimum occupation period (MOP) rules.

He emphasized the CEA’s disciplinary actions, which encompass fines and registration suspensions for errant property agents.

This stands despite recent cases where agents received fines of only S$1,000 and S$500 for advertising BTO flats that did not meet the required five-year MOP.

DPM Wong flags challenges in tracking wealth Inequality in Singapore

Deputy PM Lawrence Wong highlighted the challenges in accurately assessing wealth inequality, citing the diverse nature of assets and the complexities surrounding the valuation process, and instead emphasized the government’s proactive use of wealth taxes like stamp duties and property tax to address the issue.

This came in response to PQ filed by WP MP Louise Chua, who asked the Minister whether the Singapore Government tracks wealth inequality in Singapore and whether there is data on these indicators over the last ten years.

Workers’ Party advocates structural reforms amid cost-of-living concerns, PAP amends WP’s motion

During the Tuesday Parliament debate on the motion on cost of living, MPs from Workers’ Party and Progress Singapore Party ardently pushed for structural reforms over one-time fiscal aids.

However, the People’s Action Party which holds a majority in Parliament amended the motion with three amendments introduced by MP Liang Eng Hwa, emphasizing the global cost-of-living concern and the necessity for sustainable policies.

All eight WP MPs and two PSP NCMPs dissented against the PAP MP’s amendments, as they diminish the government’s role in the increased cost of living for Singaporeans and compel the acceptance of the status quo.