Parliament sat today (8 July 2013). I asked 5 questions for Government ministers to answer and followed up with a further 4 supplementary questions during the course of the sitting. The questions covered the haze issue, the new online news media regulations and wages of workers in Singapore.
*1. To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the increase in the weekly number of respiratory, heart, eye and skin problems reported at polyclinics, private clinics and hospitals since the onset of the current haze situation compared to the weekly average in the month before; (b) how many private clinics have signed up for the Government scheme which offers subsidised treatment for haze-related illnesses; (c) what is the Ministry doing to ensure that more private clinics participate in this scheme so that more Singaporeans can benefit from it; and (d) what are the details of the Ministry’s contingency plans to cope with the expected surge of patients with illnesses caused by the haze.
*2. To ask the Minister for National Development during this haze period, whether the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is taking any steps to inspect the air-conditioning and mechanical systems of commercial and industrial buildings to ensure that the indoor air in these buildings does not contain an unhealthy level of contaminants.
3. To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether the Ministry can provide more advice to parents with young children (including newborns) and pregnant women on how to reduce indoor air pollution levels; and (b) what advice can the Ministry provide to households, childcare centres, kindergartens and schools on the appropriate types of air cleaning devices that may be needed to reduce the level of indoor air pollutants during the haze period.
*4. To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) how many times in the past has MDA directed Internet Content Providers to remove content from, or prohibit access to, websites because of objectionable material in violation of the Internet Code of Practice; (b) what are the content of these materials; and (c) whether the Internet Content Providers have complied with MDA’s directive and, if not, what action has MDA taken against them for non-compliance.
5. To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) how does Singapore compare with developed economies in terms of median monthly wages and wage shares; (b) how do the biomedical sector, general manufacturing sector, and the accommodation and food services sector in Singapore compare with their counterpart sectors in developed economies in terms of sectoral average monthly wages and sectoral wage shares; and (c) how does Singapore compare with developed economies in terms of productivity growth and median wage growth.
The answers to these 5 questions, together with my supplementary questions and the Ministers’ answers, will be published on the Hansard (the official Parliamentary record) after 18 July 2013. (Search for “Gerald Giam” in the keyword search box.)