1. To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development
(a) what is the current range of waiting time for enrolment in childcare centres;
(b) whether there is a shortage of childcare teachers currently and, if so, what is the Ministry doing to increase the number of childcare teachers; and
(c) whether a comprehensive study has been done on the needs of childcare centres and how their capacity can be maximised.
Media tweets on the exchange between Dr Lee Bee Wah and MSF Minister Tan Chuan-jin
2. To ask the Minister for Communications and Information
(a) how often are postal letters delivered to the wrong address;
(b)what action is being taken to improve the service;
(c) what are the common reasons for the wrong delivery; and
(d) whether any fine-tuning on the sorting process of letters and training of postmen are required.
3. To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry)
(a) what has been the success rate of customers getting back their monies for unused prepaid services when a business closes down prematurely; and
(b) whether the Ministry will make it mandatory for businesses offering prepaid service packages to provide prepayment insurance protection.
Answer from Mr S Iswaran: Our approach to consumer protection is based on promoting fair trading by retailers, and helping consumers make informed purchasing decisions including those on prepayments. The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) has also worked with industry 18 associations to develop industry-specific CaseTrust accreditation schemes, covering areas such as spa & wellness, school transport, renovation and motor workshops. The majority of these industry-specific schemes offer prepayment protection for consumers. According to CASE, consumers who have prepayments with CaseTrust accredited businesses that offer prepayment protection to consumers, have not suffered monetary losses due to business closures in 2016. We encourage more businesses to be CaseTrust accredited, and to go further by providing prepayment protection if they collect advance payments from consumers.
It is also important for consumers to be aware of the possible risks involved in making prepayments, and their capacity to bear with possible losses before taking up a prepaid package. Genuine business failures which result in the loss of prepayments from consumers are unfortunate. Given the wide range of businesses, it is challenging to impose broad-based measures such as prepayment insurance to protect consumers against loss of prepayments from business closures. Such measures raise the cost of doing business which would be passed on to consumers. Overseas jurisdictions, including those in the European Union, Australia and Hong Kong, also recognise the challenges and do not impose broad-based prepayment protection measures. Businesses which engage in unfair practices when selling prepaid packages will be investigated by SPRING Singapore as the administering agency for the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.
4. To ask the Minister for Health
(a) what is the average size that each integrated healthcare cluster will serve;
(b) how does it compare to Hong Kong;
(c) how will this new clustering benefit the public in expediting the waiting time at A&E departments; and
(d) how will this improve the average waiting period for a patient who needs to be scanned for suspected serious illnesses like cancer.
5. To ask the Minister for National Development
(a) how many cases of fake food imported from overseas have been detected by AVA over the past three years;
(b) what is the breakdown of the country of origin in these cases; and
(c) what action has been taken against the suppliers.