For the Ministry of Health
1. Louis Ng: Extending ElderShield payouts
Eldershield is meant to be a severe disability insurance scheme. However, payouts are only for 72 months and a quarter of claimants outlive this and still need care. Will the Ministry consider making payouts for life? Premiums are also higher for women than men. Insurance is supposed to pool risk across different life expectancies. Will the Ministry also consider making premiums equal for men and women?
2. Louis Ng: Expanding co-funding for Assisted Reproduction Technology to private hospitals
We have a strong focus on urging Singaporeans to start a family and trying to assist those who are not ready to start a family yet. This is important but we should also provide more help for those who want to start a family but are facing difficulties conceiving. It’s been 4 years since the Government enhanced the co-funding of Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) treatments and it should be time for us to review this. We currently only provide the co-funding for treatments done at public hospitals. The success rate at private hospitals or clinics may be higher, and as such I hope we can extend the co-funding for the last fresh cycle to be done at private hospitals and clinics. This will help couples who have tried repeatedly at public hospitals and have not been able to have a successful pregnancy. This will also help alleviate the large demand for the ART treatments at our public hospitals.
3. Expanding the successful “I Quit” campaign
MOH just completed a public consultation on a suite of potential tobacco control measures to more effectively discourage Singaporeans from picking up smoking, and to encourage smokers to quit. Can the Minister provide details of the outcome of this public consultation, in particular increasing the minimum legal age for the purchase, possession and use of tobacco in Singapore, from 18 to 21 years old? In addition, are there any further plans to increase our support for those who want to quit smoking?
As a former smoker, I know how difficult it is to quit and how quitting had made me a grouchy smurf for quite a while. The decision to quit is easy. The ability to continue follow through with it is very difficult and if we can provide more support, I am sure we will see a higher success rate. Will the Ministry, for example, expand and enhance the very successful “I Quit” campaign? I am proud to say that since October 12, 2013 I have remained smoke-free and I am a very happy Pa Pa smurf now.
For the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth
1. A/P Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim: Asatizah Recognition Scheme
Last year, Minister announced that the Mandatory Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS) will be implemented from January 2017. This scheme can help ensure that those who offer religious guidance and training are qualified to do so. Many Singaporeans I’ve met are supportive of this initiative.
Could the Minister update the House on the progress of the Scheme’s implementation?
Tahun lepas Menteri mengumumkan bahawa Skim Pengiktirafan Asatizah Mandatori akan dilaksanakan dari Januari 2017. Skim ini dapat membantu memastikan mereka yang ingin menawarkan bimbingan agama atau latihan layak menawarkannya. Ramai rakyat Singapura
yang saya temui menyambut baik inisiatif ini.
Boleh saya meminta Menteri memberi pengemaskinian tentang kemajuan pelaksanaan Skim ini?
2. Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: Partnering Singaporeans for the Future
Generosity is written in our hearts. But work is needed to bring out this generosity. And as our young society matures, we must establish the social norms that encourage our people to take care of one another, to build a shared future together, to create ties that binds us together.
Establishing such social norms is important. To re-word a famous phrase by Winston Churchill – First we build our society, thereafter the society builds us.
And no one group by themselves, including the government, has a monopoly on ideas to build the ideal Singapore. That is why I am heartened to see MCCY’s emphasis on encouraging our citizens to step forward to co-create Singapore’s future.
As such, can MCCY provide an update on how the government is progressing:
a. To encourages more citizens to actively participate in volunteering and charity work?
b. To partnering with citizens, social service organizations, and corporations?
c. To move forward initiatives such as Our Singapore Fund, SGCares, Champions of Good, and Company of Good Fellowship?
3. Louis Ng: Support for Institutions of a Public Character that Internationalise
The government is providing funds to help firms scale-up and internationalise and helping build capabilities to operate overseas. We should do the same for our IPCs. We should support our local IPCs who internationalise, who fly the Singapore flag proudly overseas and who lend a helping hand to our neighbours. Let us be seen to not just venture into other countries to compete, to take but also to give and to help. Can the Minister share if there are plans to provide this help and in particular to remove the 80:20 Fund-Raising Rule for local IPCs who have projects overseas? We should let the public rather than the government decide on how donations are spent.
4. Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: Youth Resilience
When I talk to tertiary students, especially for those about to graduate, I get a sense that they are worried about getting a good job.
This is not easy for our youth to grapple with, especially since this is a sudden change from the very positive employment market for fresh graduates until recently.
I recall my own personal experience: when I graduated from university in the year 2000, my peers and I graduated into a recession. It was indeed disorientating for us to go into university in a boom-time, only to graduate into a bleak employment situation.
Now, we all know the the economy ab-and-flows, and the future is likely more uncertain than the past. So the answer is not to insulate our people completely from the uncertainty, because we can not.
The answer is to train our youths better, to help them be more resilience in all situations, including the employment situation.
Can MCCY/NYC, in conjunction with tertiary institutes, help our tertiary students develop resilience in the face of changing job realities? How can we quickly encourage our youth to widen their career path selections, embark on internships and networking, and to pursue further studies to gather deep skills?