Thursday, 17 January 2013

Watz Online - 17 Jan 2013

Financing the future of Singapore

The annual national Budget is something that most Singaporeans take only passing and selective notice of. They should give it more attention.

The Budget is not simply an exercise in national accounting. It is an expression of where the tyre meets the road for policy. No money, no talk, as the saying goes.

Singaporeans should take comfort in three important features of the national Budget.

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Singapore property will remain attractive to some foreign buyers: Colliers 

This is despite the latest property cooling measures.

In its January 2013 outlook, Colliers International said that while many Singaporeans and price-sensitive foreign buyers will be deterred from the increased buying prices, some foreign buyers might be able to look past the new curbs because of Singapore's reputation for being "stable with good protection of property rights and minimal currency risk."

Here's more from Colliers:

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Shareholders of Singapore’s Olam approve fee payment to Temasek 

Shareholders of Olam International Ltd approved the payment of US$6 4 million in fees to a unit of Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd for fully backing the embattled commodity firm’s US$1 2 billion bonds-with-warrants issue

The sub-underwriting fee which had been expected to receive approval is being paid to Temasek also Olam’s second-biggest shareholder as the Singapore commodities firm taps the debt market for funds to bolster its financial position

Olam’s bonds and warrants are expected to start trading on Jan 31. 

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Singapore allows pre-crime strikes against online crooks 

The Singaporean government has passed amendments to the city-state’s Computer Misuse Act, renaming it the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, and granting itself powers to take proactive measures against a potential cyber threat before it disrupts critical infrastructure.

The Ministry of Home Affairs released a statement on Monday detailing the updates to the law and explaining the changes as necessary given Singapore’s increasing reliance on cyberspace. That reliance, the statement says, means the island nation faces “new risks and vulnerabilities” to the critical information infrastructure (CII) from the likes of Stuxnet (which got a mention in Parliamentary debate on the amendments).

The amendments to Section 15 now state that the relevant minister can order a CII-related person or organisation to “take measures or comply with requirements necessary to prevent, detect or counter a threat to the national security, essential services, defence or foreign relations of Singapore”.

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Singles will be allowed to buy brand new HDB flats

Singles will be allowed to buy brand new HDB flats

The Ministry of National Development is finalising a policy to allow singles to buy new Housing Board (HDB) flats, said its minister Khaw Boon Wan.

In a written reply to a question addressed in Parliament on Monday, Khaw said the policy is expected to be implemented later in the year.

Existing regulations state that singles are only allowed to buy a resale flat if they are at least 35 years of age. If they are between the ages of 21 and 35, they are allowed to buy new HDB or resale flats if they live with their parents.

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Singapore Regulator Fines Casinos Over Lax Entry Controls 

Singapore's casino regulator said Tuesday it has fined the city-state's two casino resorts for failures to enforce strict casino-entry controls in incidents that occurred from late 2011 to early 2012.

Marina Bay Sands, operated by U.S. gambling group Las Vegas Sands Corp. ( LVS ), was fined 130,000 Singapore dollars($ 106,000) for the disciplinary breaches, while Genting Singapore PLC's (G13.SG) Resorts World Sentosa was fined S$ 100,000, the Casino Regulatory Authority said on its website.

The breaches--which occurred between Nov. 1, 2011 and April 30, 2012--include allowing some local residents to enter or remain in the casinos without paying the required entry levy, and failing to prevent minors and several banned individuals from entering the casinos.

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Law professor in corruption trial still on full pay: NUS 

The law professor who is presently involved in the sex-for-grades case is still on full pay by the National University of Singapore (NUS) after he was suspended from his duties last year.

This was revealed by the Senior Associate Director, Office of Human Resource Lee Swee Khuen of the NUS, who told the District Court this today after senior inspection investigator Png Chen Chen stood down as witness in the early afternoon.

Tey, 41, has been charged with six counts of obtaining gratifications in the form of sex and gifts from his former student, Ms Darinne Ko, 23, in exchange for better grades.

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Susan Lim case: 'Ethical charging should exist' 

The issue of how much a doctor can and should charge dominated prominent surgeon Susan Lim's five-hour-long appeal hearing before the Court of Three Judges yesterday.

Senior Counsel Lee Eng Beng, Dr Lim's lawyer, questioned if charging fees beyond the "intrinsic value" of the medical services provided, and irrespective of the costs in providing them or the agreement of the patient, amounted to professional misconduct.

Dr Lim was found guilty last July by a Singapore Medical Council (SMC) disciplinary committee (DC) of 94 charges of professional misconduct for overcharging and making false representations in her invoices for her treatment of a royal patient from Brunei. She charged S$24 million for half a year's care, before halving it to S$12.1 million with a discount.

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