Archive for the ‘Singapore’ Category

School fees for foreigners, PRs to increase from 2018

October 18, 2017

TODAY, 17 Oct 2017, School fees for foreigners, PRs to increase from 2018

{Extract}

The MOE also said there are currently no plans to adjust school fees for Singapore citizens. Singaporeans pay no school fees in primary school, but pay S$5 and S$6 monthly in secondary school and pre-university, respectively.

For some non-citizen parents who send their children to public schools, the higher school fees will be financially taxing, but most also noted that while the gap was narrowing, school fees international schools charge are still much higher — these range from around S$20,000 to S$35,000 a year.

….

For instance, Dover Court International School Singapore charges S$25,200 annually – or S$2,100 monthly – for upper primary students, whereas the Australian International School charges S$33,646 annually – or S$2,804 monthly – for elementary school students.

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TODAY had also reported that figures from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) show as of end-August, there were about 76,000 international students on Student’s Pass who are enrolled in private and government-run schools and institutions, including the polytechnics and universities in Singapore. In 2008, the number stood at close to 100,000, previous reports stated. The ICA issues the Student’s Pass for foreigners applying to study here.

Asked previously whether the ministry had turned away more applicants in the last few years and about the intake of foreign students, MOE would only say international students form about 5 per cent of the total student population in the last few years.

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Renovation contractors required to give notice for noisy works

September 24, 2017

ST Paper, 6 Aug 2017, Renovation contractors required to give notice for noisy works

We thank Mrs Joy Chan Jing Jing for her letter (Give advance notice for HDB renovation; Forum Online, July 28).

The HDB recognises that renovation works can cause disamenities to surrounding residents, and have put in place several measures to minimise inconvenience.

Flat owners are required to engage only contractors who are permitted to renovate HDB flats.

Their appointed contractor must obtain a permit from the HDB before carrying out the renovations in the flat.

A Notice of Renovation must be prominently displayed at the entrance of the flat before the renovation work begins, and remain displayed throughout the approved renovation period.

If the renovations involve noisy works such as the hacking of walls or tiles, the renovation contractor is also required to give written notice to the immediate neighbouring units (on the same storey as well as those above and below the unit) at least three days before work commences.

To minimise inconvenience to residents, such noisy works must be completed within three days – these works should be carried out only between 9am and 5pm, and are not allowed on Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays and the eve of major public holidays.

Residents who encounter renovation contractors who do not comply with the requirements can report them to the HDB via our Branch Service Line on 1800-225-5432 or the Essential Maintenance Service Unit after office hours.

The HDB will investigate and take necessary action against the errant renovation contractors.

In our high-rise and high-density society, a certain degree of noise is inevitable in our daily life.

We seek the cooperation of flat owners to abide by the guidelines in carrying out their home renovation, and for their neighbours to bear with the temporary inconvenience. A closer understanding and tolerance of each other will go a long way towards achieving a pleasant living environment.

Michelle Ng Chwee Geok (Ms)

Director (Housing Maintenance)

Housing & Development Board

Several ways to check on fund-raisers

September 24, 2017

ST Paper,  1 Aug 2017, Several ways to check on fund-raisers

We thank Mr Sim Ghee Choon for the suggestions in his letter (Make it easier to check on fund-raisers; Forum Online, July 12).

The Collector’s Certificate of Authority issued by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) includes a QR code.

Members of the public can check if the fund-raiser has a valid House to House and Street Collections Licence by scanning the code with a smartphone.

The Office of the Commissioner of Charities is working on incorporating the QR code function in all permits issued for fund-raising appeals.

Apart from the QR code verification method, members of the public can also use the following methods to verify the authenticity of the collections when being approached by collectors:

•Send a query via SMS to 79777 using the following format: “FR”

•Perform a search using the online fund-raising permit search facility via the Charity Portal (https://www.charities.gov.sg), NCSS website or SPF website

•Use the Police@SG smartphone application. (Download the Police@SG application, and go to “More Links” to access the Charities and Fund-Raising search engine of the Charity Portal)

Sim Hui Ting (Ms)

Deputy Commissioner of Charities

E-bike owners must register and install number plates

August 3, 2017

TODAY Paper, 2 Aug 2017, E-bike owners must register and install number plates

SINGAPORE — Electric bicycle owners will have to register their vehicles between Aug 14 and Jan 31, 2018 and install number plates, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced on Wednesday (Aug 2).

After registering, owners will have three days to attach a number plate with the assigned registration number on the back of their bikes.

The plates must feature black characters against a yellow background or white characters against a black background, the authority stipulated.

E-bicycles with a valid blue or orange LTA seal can be registered at www.onemotoring.com.sg using one’s SingPass, CorpPass or Easy account, or at any SingPost branch. The S$50 registration fee will be waived for e-bikes that obtain seals before Aug 14 and that are registered by Nov 30.

E-bikes without an LTA seal must be sent to the authority’s authorised centres — Vicom Inspection Centres at Sin Ming, Bukit Batok or Kaki Bukit, and STA Inspection Centres at Sin Ming and Boon Lay — for inspection, approval and the seal to be affixed.

Only e-bikes that meet the latest technical requirements set by the authorities will receive an orange LTA seal. Owners can register their e-bikes at the same time by paying the S$50 registration fee, alongside other charges for affixing the LTA seal.

From Feb 1 next year, only e-bikes with the orange LTA seal can be registered. Vehicles with the blue LTA seal (approved under old technical requirements) cannot be registered.

Users caught riding an unregistered e-bike on public roads and paths can be fined up to S$2,000 and jailed for up to three months for a first offence. Users of e-bikes without a valid number plate can be fined up to S$1,000 and jailed up to three months on first conviction.

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Under the mandatory e-bike registration scheme, owners who sell their vehicles must transfer the registration within seven days of handing over the e-bike via www.onemotoring.com.sg. A fee of S$11 is applicable.

Users or retailers of non-compliant e-bikes may be fined up to S$5,000 and jailed up to three months, for their first offence. The e-bike could also be seized.

onemotoring.com.sg – motorised_bicycles

Use Case’s model agreement to deal with contractors

July 22, 2017

ST Paper, 19 May 2017, Use Case’s model agreement to deal with contractors

We thank Mr Kong Peng Sun for his feedback (Unfair renovation contracts hurt home owners; May 11).

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) frowns on the practice of renovation contractors asking consumers to pay a substantial advance deposit before the work begins.

From 2014 to 2016, Case received at least 713 complaints in which renovation works were delayed or stopped halfway.

Most of the consumers who were affected by such delays were those who had paid at least 80 per cent of the contractual value. This is clearly unacceptable.

Consumers are advised to ask renovation contractors to commit in writing to the payment schedule as well as the key project milestones and deliverables, with completion dates clearly documented, and pay accordingly.

Consumers should also not pay a large deposit upfront.

In this way, they can limit their losses should the contractor delay or stop work. It will also be helpful should there be a subsequent dispute.

We also encourage consumers to use our model agreement on home renovation, which can be downloaded from our website (https://www.case.org.sg/pdf/model_renovation.pdf).

It provides fair guidelines for consumers to negotiate terms with contractors.

Samples of a payment schedule with key project milestones and deliverables can also be found in the model agreement.

When choosing a renovation contractor, consumers should consider a contractor under the CaseTrust accreditation scheme for better protection and faster resolution of issues, if any.

Lim Biow Chuan
President
Consumers Association of Singapore (Case)

Other funds available for younger S’poreans who want skills training

July 22, 2017

ST Paper, 13 May 2017, Other funds available for younger S’poreans who want skills training

We thank Mr Lionel Loi Zhi Rui for his feedback on the eligibility for the use of SkillsFuture Credit (Extend SkillsFuture Credit to younger S’poreans too; April 29).

Launched in January last year, SkillsFuture Credit aims to support Singaporeans pursuing skills or working at improving them.

It is for Singaporeans aged 25 and above as it is targeted at those who have completed their full-time education and are transitioning into or have joined the workforce.

Singaporeans below that age can tap their Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) to support their learning needs.

The PSEA can be used to offset the fees and charges for a wide range of courses. The list of approved programmes is at moe.gov.sg/education/post-secondary

They are also eligible for course fee funding on courses approved by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG).

More information can be found at ssg.gov.sg/course-fee-funding

Individuals with further feedback or inquiries can contact SSG via our feedback portal https://portal.ssg-wsg.gov.sg or on 6785-5785.

Patricia Woo (Ms)
Director
Corporate and Marketing Communications Division
SkillsFuture Singapore

Expenses of fund raising have to be below 30% of gross receipts

July 22, 2017

ST Paper, 1 Jun 2017, Expenses of fund raising have to be below 30% of gross receipts

We thank Mr Woon Bee Chai for his letter (How much of donations actually go to charity?; Forum Online, May 26).

All charities and Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs) are required to keep their fund-raising efficiency ratio below 30 per cent.

This means that the total fund-raising expenses must stay below 30 per cent of the total gross receipts from fund raising and sponsorships of the charity or IPC for that financial year.

The fund-raising expenses would include payments made to commercial fund raisers engaged by the charity.

Should a commercial fund raiser be engaged for a charitable cause, the commercial fund raiser should ensure it has a written agreement with the beneficiary charity before beginning to solicit funds.

The agreement must contain, among other information, the fund-raising method, percentage of proceeds that will go to the charity and fees of the fund raiser.

Commercial fund raisers and commercial participants need to also meet the following obligations towards donors:

•Provide accurate information to donors or to the public

•Disclose the name of their organisation, intended use of funds raised (including the cause and/or beneficiaries) and whether any commercial fund raiser has been engaged in soliciting the donation

•Ensure that all solicitation and publicity materials are accompanied by a written statement containing the proportion of total proceeds that will go to charitable cause, a breakdown of proceeds to each charity (if funds are raised for more than one charity), the name of the commercial fund raiser or commercial participants and its status as a commercial entity, and how the fund raiser/participants remuneration is calculated

The principles of transparency and accountability are paramount. More information on fund raising as a commercial fund raiser can be found on the Charity Portal.

Members of the public should remain vigilant and be discerning in responding to public appeals, to avoid falling victim to improper fund-raising activities.

When in doubt, the public should find out more from the fund raisers before making a contribution. At no time should anyone feel pressured to give.

The public should report to the Office of the Commissioner of Charities if they have any reason to believe that a fund raiser may have violated the Fund-Raising Regulations. If fraud or scams are suspected, the public should make a police report immediately.

Ang Hak Seng (Dr)
Commissioner of Charities

Note to Singaporeans: Brunei currency still legal tender here

July 3, 2017

TODAY, 3 July 2017, Note to Singaporeans: Brunei currency still legal tender here

{Extract}

Most ordinary Singaporeans, it seems, may have forgotten about the long history of this currency agreement.

Following a colonial-era practice that saw currencies of all three ex-British colonies — Malaysia being the third — interchangeable on par, the first formal agreement, involving Malaysia, was inked on June 12, 1967. It was a sign of the depth of economic links between the three countries, despite the move to issue their own national currencies post-independence.

Malaysia opted out in 1973, given its domestic development imperatives, but Singapore and Brunei soldiered on for five decades, weathering economic challenges such as the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the global financial crisis, and significant structural changes to both countries’ economies, domestic monetary institutions and arrangements.

The agreement was able to withstand the test of time as the exchange rate-centred monetary policies of both these small and open economics kept inflation well in check; bilateral trade and investment also grew progressively, aided by low transaction costs from the fixed exchange rate.

Thus banks here accept from the general public Brunei currency — coins included — at par for deposit, said the MAS on its website.

Anyone who has had their Brunei currency rejected should refer the matter to the MAS, a spokesman said.

Details such as name and address of the company, date and time of incident, and what was said during the transaction should be included.

Resolving disputes between neighbours

May 27, 2017

ST Paper, 27 May 2017, Yishun residents build ‘wall’ to keep out nuisance neighbour

Feuding neighbours who cannot resolve their issues on their own or with the help of grassroots leaders can approach the Community Mediation Centre, which aims to resolve disputes without litigation.

Examples of disputes include complaints of excessive noise, smell or smoke, littering at or in the vicinity of the complainant’s place of residence, and trespassing.

But there is little the authorities can do if the neighbours do not want to make up or even turn up for mediation.

If mediation does not solve the problem, parties can file a claim with the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals.

The tribunals, which are given powers to resolve disputes between neighbours under the Community Disputes Resolution Act passed in 2015, can order the payment of damages up to $20,000. It can also order a neighbour to stop an action or to apologise.

Supporting evidence, such as photographs, video and audio recordings and police reports, can be brought before the tribunal. If the neighbour refuses to comply with the court order, further legal steps may be taken.

New initiative to share excess harvest

April 15, 2017

ST, 2 Apr 2017, New initiative to share excess harvest

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We thank Miss Lee Kay Yan for her feedback (A little foraging for fruit and plants won’t hurt; March 28).

In early March, the National Parks Board started an initiative to share excess harvest with the public, as part of efforts to reduce horticultural waste.

Termed “Harvest Corner”, extra herbs and horticulture material generated from gardening sessions by volunteers are gathered and made available to members of the public.

This pilot project, which began in the Spice Garden at Fort Canning Park and will continue to run every Friday, has seen positive response from park visitors.

Members of the public who wish to learn more about our flora in Singapore can also download our DIY walks e-guides.

What’s Happening (Jan 2017 to Jun 2017) [PDF]