Monday, 12 October 2015

Post GE2015

Updated 23 Oct 2015: PAP ‘gears up for next GE’ - Heng to lead 2015 poll review
People's Action Party central executive committee yesterday (Oct 21) held its first meeting since the GE2015 during which it set up a committee to review the GE. Photo: PAP

People’s Action Party (PAP) central executive committee member Heng Swee Keat will lead a committee to conduct a post-mortem of last month’s General Election (GE), party secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong said today (Oct 22).

Mr Heng will lead the ruling party’s effort to analyse what happened and draw lessons for its next campaign, for which preparations have started, added Mr Lee.

Writing on the PAP’s Facebook page, Mr Lee, who is Prime Minister, also said that yesterday the PAP’s top decision-making committee met for the first time since the GE and decided on a new line-up for the HQ Executive Committee, which looks after party administrative matters and oversees the sub-committees.

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Strong mandate must be used wisely

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the secretary-general of the People's Action Party (PAP), gave a closed-door speech to newly-elected PAP MPs on Monday in the Parliament building. He spoke on the significance of the party's landslide victory in last Friday's General Election, and urged his team to make wise use of the support won. This is an excerpt of his speech.
  • The General Election results were better than we had dared to hope; indeed better than anyone expected. People's Action Party (PAP) MPs on the ground and government ministries and agencies put in much hard work over the last four years, and longer.
  • But election outcomes are never fully predictable, and we must never take anything for granted.
  • Politics always requires a stout heart, wherever the contest may be. But the stoutest-hearted were our candidates who stood in the opposition wards and did very well - Charles Chong in Punggol East, Lee Hong Chuang in Hougang, as well as the Aljunied team, guided by Lim Boon Heng.
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Lee Hsien Loong: PAP is doing good, Opposition is going against human nature
GE2015: Went Against Human Nature

At the Global Asia Conference held yesterday (Sep 19), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched a post-election political attack against the Opposition parties calling their approach “dangerous and going against human nature” because his government is “doing good”.
“The opposition’s storyline was (that) the Government is doing good; you vote for us, the Government will work even harder. That’s a very dangerous approach and it goes against human nature”
The PM went on to add that the strong mandate in the recent election shows that Singaporeans agree with the PAP government policies and has nothing to do with more or less social policies for Singaporeans. He however acknowledged that there are some “anxieties” over specific policies but his government will try to address them:

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PAP must now live up to people’s trust, says Inderjit
GE2015: Taking victory in Humility

The swing in favour of the People’s Action Party (PAP) in the latest General Election may never happen again, and the PAP must realise there remains fundamental issues they cannot ignore, if they wish to consolidate their position and gain greater trust from the people, said former Member of Parliament Inderjit Singh.

In a lengthy Facebook post today (Sept 17), Mr Singh, who did not stand for election this year after 18 years in politics, dissected the strengths and weaknesses of the PAP, and the reasons contributing to the PAP’s 69.9 per cent landslide victory. Mr Singh noted that while the PAP has a good vision for Singapore, voters today are unwilling to blindly trust the party. “The worry among some Singaporeans is that with a stronger-than-expected mandate, the PAP may feel there is no need to change itself. But the general feeling among insiders and observers is that the PAP needs to continue to change to become more inclusive, listen more to people, (and) add more political judgement in policy making.”

He also urged party leaders to take victory “in humility”. “The Government’s past ‘We know best’ attitude will not work among Singaporeans in the future. Elitism is also something the PAP Government should be concerned about especially since the party continues to choose the elites to become key appointment holders.”

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PM Lee FaceBook

Two years ago, I posted on a surprise visit to my office by a beautiful barn owl (

The owl came to visit us again today. smile emoticon

Maybe he is taking shelter from the haze. - LHL

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Barn owl a surprise visitor at PM Lee Hsien Loong's office
PUBLISHEDNOV 21, 2013, 4:06 PM SGT

A barn owl made a surprise visit to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's office on Wednesday morning. It had most likely flown into the building overnight and was found perched high and out of reach, said PM Lee in a Facebook post, on Wednesday, Nov 20 2013.  -- PHOTO: TWITTER

A barn owl made a surprise visit to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's office on Wednesday morning. It had most likely flown into the building overnight and was found perched high and out of reach, said PM Lee in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

He added that the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and Jurong Bird Park were called in to help. The bird was later caught and released unharmed behind Sri Temasek.

"The Istana grounds are a green refuge for many species of birds and animals," PM Lee said in his post. "We should preserve and create many such green spaces all over our island, so that in our urban environment we can enjoy the natural flora and fauna of Singapore."

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Visit from the owl: Barn owl flies into PM Lee's office again
The barn owl perched near the ceiling of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's office. PHOTO: LEE HSIEN LOONG/FACEBOOK

A barn owl that made a surprise visit to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's office at Sri Temasek nearly two years ago was back again on Monday (Oct 5).

Mr Lee posted a Facebook photo he took of the furry visitor, perched on a ledge near the ceiling, at 12.48pm. The post has since received nearly 15,000 likes.

"The owl came to visit us again today. Maybe he is taking shelter from the haze," PM Lee wrote.

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PCF to raise fees for kindergarten, child care centres
A PAP Community Foundation centre at New Upper Changi Road. PCF has said that it will raise fees for most of its kindergarten and child care centres from next year, but did not say which centres would be affected. (Photo: Raj Nadarajan/TODAY)

PAP Community Foundation (PCF), the largest pre-school operator in Singapore, is set to raise fees for most of its kindergarten and child care centres from next year.

Explaining that fee increases are needed from time to time to maintain the quality of its programmes, PCF could not say which or how many of its 153 childcare centres and 215 kindergartens will be affected, but explained that current fees and revised fees would “vary across different kindergartens, childcare and infant care centres”.

“Due to our large network of centres, it is also difficult to pinpoint a specified amount of increase due to the variation mentioned,” a spokesperson said. “The increase will affect generally all cohort of students.”

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SBS Transit, SMRT submit application for fare review

SBS Transit and SMRT have made submissions to the Public Transport Council (PTC) for its fare review exercise, ahead of an anticipated fare reduction at the end of the year.

Neither transport operator would say whether it was requesting for an increase or seeking a review of the possible decrease, which was revealed by outgoing Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew in August.

Mr Lui had said then that bus and train fares could be cut by up to 1.9 per cent, and that he had asked the PTC to start its fare review so that reductions could coincide with the opening of the Downtown Line 2 opening in December. In previous years, fare review exercises began at the end of the year and adjustments were made the following April.

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Indonesia provides “nice air” most of the time, and all you do is complain about the pollution

Every year during Indonesia’s six-month dry season, which lasts until around October, a noxious haze rises from the island of Sumatra. Generally lasting about a month at its worst, it’s so large that it hovers over an entire region, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

The haze is caused by massive amounts of dense smoke coming from fires that are illegally set to cheaply burn trees or peat off the land—land that can be more profitably used for producing paper or palm oil. The haze regularly leads to school closures, canceled flights, and serious health problems.

Neighboring nations, of course, complain about this—not that Indonesia’s government officials much seem to mind. In March, Indonesian vice president Jusuf Kalla said:
“For 11 months, they enjoyed nice air from Indonesia and they never thanked us. They have suffered because of the haze for one month and they get upset.”

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Singapore should help solve haze issue, not just talk about it: Indonesian V-P Jusuf Kalla
Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla said that Singapore should help solve haze issue, not just talk about it.PHOTO: AFP

The Indonesian government welcomes any country, including Singapore, that wants to help extinguish forest and land fires in the country to remove the haze, Vice-President Jusuf Kalla has said.

"Go ahead, we are open. Singapore can come and see for themselves if they want to help. Don't just talk (about it)," said Mr Kalla on Sunday (Sept 27) in New York, according to a report by the Antara news agency.

Singapore has previously expressed frustration with Indonesia regarding the smog that has affected the country and expressed its willingness help to battle the fires - offers that Indonesia has so far rejected.

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Ministers Using FB To Slam Haze
PSI Levels Soar, Causing Tensions To Boil

As the haze situations reach critical levels on Friday (25 Sept), tensions begin to boil. Singapore has been cloaked in smog from Indonesia’s for about three weeks. Primary, secondary and MOE-run kindergartens were closed on Friday as the PSI levels climbed into hazardous levels. Free masks were also distributed in community-centres.

As PSI levels rise, so did did tempers.

Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam took it to Facebook to question the Indonesian government whom he mentions have “a complete disregard for our people, and their own”.

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SGH-Hep C spread may be the first comms crisis for the government after General Election

Many know it is SGH's responsibility but wonder about the delay in MOH's announcement. It was all over the news and on the front pages of the newspapers yesterday (7 Oct).

Four deaths at the Singapore General Hospital earlier this year were found to be linked to the Hepatitis C renal viral infection, with a total of 22 (including them) being infected with it.

Here are five observations that show the SGH-Hep C spread may be the first comms crisis for the government after General Election:
  1. The Ministry of Health convened an independent Review Committee on this
  2. The CEO of the organisation involved has apologised, with the Health Minister “gravely concerned and disappointed”
  3. Leading opposition parties wasted no time in questioning MOH about the time-lag between the incidents and the release of the info to the public
  4. MOH only gave a detailed timeline of events relating to SGH cases, a day after its initial press conference
  5. The incident was covered by several news sites overseas, with many expressing surprise over the incident.
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Hepatitis C cluster @SGH: 22 infected, 4 have died

The Workers’ Party extends its deepest condolences to the affected families and friends of the four patients who passed away since the outbreak of the Hepatitis C virus infections at the renal ward of the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) that affected 22 patients.

It was reported SGH had been aware of the infection cluster since early June 2015, but information surrounding the outbreak was only made public four months later, in October 2015. An outbreak of Hepatitis C is a potential public health risk. The knowledge of such an outbreak is relevant to all citizens as they weigh their treatment options.

The Workers’ Party would therefore like to seek clarifications from the Minister with regard to the standard protocol in releasing information on such outbreaks, whether or not they occur within a treatment facility. These questions are posed with a view to strengthen Singapore’s infection control protocols in the future.
  • Is there a timeframe within which healthcare institutions must report such incidents to the Ministry?
  • What does the Ministry believe is a permissible interval of time before the public is made aware of such incidents?
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BCA suspends lift that severed woman's hand; Jurong Town Council to investigate incident
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said it has suspended the lift from use while investigations are carried out.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

he lift that severed a woman's hand will be suspended from use while investigations are being carried out, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has said.

In a statement on Friday, BCA said it has also asked the Jurong Town Council to appoint an authorised examiner to determine the cause of the incident.

An elderly woman's left hand was severed on Friday morning after it was caught in the lift doors at Blk 322 , Tah Ching Road in Jurong.

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