In Parliament: Personal Mobility, Inclusive Preschools and Workplace Safety and Health

We take a look at issues raised by Labour Members of Parliament at the first sitting on 6 January 2020.
09 Jan 2020

Strengthening Personal Mobility Regulations

Some 27 errant riders have been caught since strict enforcement on the e-scooter ban on footpaths began on 1 January 2020, revealed Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min.

From 5 November 2019 to 31 December 2019, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) had issued 6000 advisories to remind riders on the new regulations, and served 300 summonses against reckless riders within the period.

Those caught riding an e-scooter on footpaths are now liable for fines of up to $2,000 and may face imprisonment of up to three months if convicted. 

Responding to a parliamentary question from NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Zainal Sapari, Dr Lam also revealed that the Ministry of Transport (MOT) will continue to upgrade the country’s cycling infrastructure.

Some of these upgrading works include improved markings on footpaths, to clearly distinguish them from cycling paths, “No PMD” logos at selected intersections, and the construction of new cycling paths to improve first-and-last-mile connectivity within towns.

The Ministry estimated that it will cost more than $1 billion to complete the island-wide cycling path network.

Parliament also read the Active Mobility (Amendment) Bill for the first time.

The Bill aims to strengthen the regulatory regime for power-assisted bicycles (PAB). Amendments will include setting minimum riding ages, requiring third-party liability insurance coverage, and introducing mandatory theory tests.

PABs will also need to be registered, and only LTA-approved models will be allowed in Singapore.

Preschools Offering Inclusive Education for Special Needs Children

Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee stated that many preschools already strive to adopt a more inclusive approach and enrol children with mild to moderate developmental needs.

The Government supports this inclusion by funding the provision of the Learning Support (LS), Development Support (DS) and Development Support Plus (DS-Plus) programmes.

About 550 preschools currently offer the DS and LS programmes. The DS-Plus programme, launched in July 2019, offers more intensive support and will be rolled out to more preschools over time.

These were in response to NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Desmond Choo’s questions on inclusive education at the pre-school level for special needs children.

With the extension of the three programmes to more preschools, the Ministry of Social and Family Development will be able to offer families more timely and accessible support.

Workplace Safety and Health

The Ministry of Manpower will ramp up workplace safety and health (WSH) inspections this year by conducting 400 investigations in high-risk industries such as construction, marine as well as manufacturing, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo.

Referring to the nine workplace deaths that happened in November 2019, Mrs Teo said: “These unfortunate accidents highlight the need for occupiers and employers to be more diligent in their risk management and mitigation, and not take WSH for granted.”

Of the nine fatalities, four were from the construction sector, two from marine, two from services and one from manufacturing.

Mrs Teo also called for long-term measures to motivate more employers and occupiers to take greater ownership of risk awareness and mitigation.

MOM will progressively implement the recommendations set out in the WSH 2028 Tripartite Strategies Committee report, she added.

One of them would be to publish the safety performance of firms and establish a framework for public sector developers to disqualify unsafe contractors, including first-level subcontractors.

“These moves will align businesses' commercial interests more closely to workplace safety. This will spur companies to be more serious in risk management and preventing accidents,” said Mrs Teo.