Morning call, August 20 2015

Aug 20, 2015 08.30AM |

GOOD morning. It’s Thursday August 20 2015 and today’s buzzword in the news is “U-turn”.

As in: the National Solidarity Party’s Yes-No-and-Yes-again decision yesterday to contest MacPherson was a U-turn (or was it a WRONG turn, TNP asks). This last particular turn proved too much for secretary-general Hazel Poa, who appears to have lost control of the wheel. Rather than going along for the ride, she has decided to make a quick exit. Mr Steve Chia will be the party’s candidate in the SMC, against the PAP’s Ms Tin Pei Ling and a yet-announced candidate from WP, resulting in possibly the only three-way in GE2015.

U-turn, as in the G’s announcement yesterday to allow some SMEs to “hold on” – as if for dear life! – to some of their foreign workers yesterday was NOT a U-turn from its recent efforts to ease the flow of cheap foreign labour into the country. Said Manpower Ministry Lim Swee Say: “There is no intention for us to make any U-turn on our foreign manpower policy… given that this is going to be the new labour landscape.”

The decision will allow SMEs to keep more of their better-skilled foreign workers temporarily, and let them hire “experts” who will not count towards their foreign workers quota. SMEs can start applying to the ministry to join the two-year scheme from October. On a completely unrelated topic, the General Election is still rumoured to be held next month.

Other turn-arounds in the news today: The Housing and Development Board (HDB) is going to allow seniors to extend the lease of their studio apartments, which before were capped at 30 years, for five, 10 or 15 years. This is part of the board’s new Two-Room Flexi scheme, which offers two-room housing options without the standard 99-year lease to flat applicants aged 55 and older. For families and singles, it’s still 99 years.

COE prices for cars across categories A, B and E (Open) are up after a drop last month drew car-buyers to showrooms in droves. Premiums for motorcycles, however, dipped slightly.


Featured image by Abraham Lee. 

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