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  1. VW Singapore plots Skoda comeback Volkswagen-owned Czech brand Skoda is making a comeback, yet again. But this time, it is parent group Volkswagen which will do its own importing and retailing here. Volkswagen Group Singapore - the manufacturer-owned importer and retailer of Volkswagen vehicles here - has registered a new company for this purpose. According to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, Skoda Centre Singapore was registered last month and will be operating out of 247 Alexandra Road, which is the same address as the VW showroom. The Straits Times understands renovations are being carried out at the facility and that Skoda Centre Singapore will start operations in the first quarter of next year. Volkswagen Group Singapore was not available for comment, but it is understood that a meaningful price differential will be in place to re-launch the Czech brand here. Previously, Skoda cars - which are based on Volkswagens - were the same price or even costlier than equivalent VW models. In other markets, Skodas are cheaper. The brand was last represented by Harvest Automobiles, part of businessman Peter Kwee's now dormant motor group of companies. Harvest Automobiles went bust in 2013 - the third Skoda agency to have failed in Singapore. The Straits Times understands Vertex Automobiles, the dealer for Chinese automobile brand Chery that is owned by egg trader Lian Fong, had made a pitch for the Skoda franchise. But it has since landed Seat, a Spanish brand also owned by Volkswagen Group. Skoda had also been courting Trans Eurokars, a multi-franchise group owned by businessman Karsono Kwee. Among its brands are Rolls-Royce, Porsche, Mini and Mazda. The best year for the Skoda brand here was 2010, when it sold 105 cars. That is less than 4 per cent of Volkswagen sales last year. Will the brand have better success under Volkswagen? Nanyang Business School's Adjunct Associate Professor Zafar Momin, previously an automotive expert with the Boston Consulting Group, said: "Skoda may be able to make a comeback in Singapore if priced and promoted properly. It needs to be very competitive with its Korean competitors in terms of pricing, as it could provide solid, competitive products targeted at value segments of the markets. "With VW Singapore now doing it themselves, it has a better chance than before. Having said that, I wonder what "comeback" really means in a small crowded Singapore car market which has small volumes for many non-mainstream brands. Would it really be worth the effort and to what extent would it cannibalise VW products?" When contacted back in 2014 - when Harvest Automobiles relinquished the business - Volkswagen Group Singapore said it had no plans to take over the Skoda retail business here. It has, however, taken over the maintenance and warranty of Skodas here. There are about 400 Skoda cars in Singapore today. As a onwer of both Skoda and VW model, I can attest that Skoda is indeed better, in almost every aspect, than VW. I can wait to welcome it back to Singapore!! Here are some interesting models in current Skoda lineup, that I hope can be made available to local motorist when sales start next year. Superb Superb Combi Kodiaq
  2. I'm beginning this thread so I can continue to discuss matters on a topic that interests me. I know there is a thread with similar content, but it's become a bit toxic, so if the mods don't mind, I'll start one here? Otherwise go ahead and merge. Basically we have an economic crisis on us, and internationally things are not doing well either. But in spite of this, property prices seem to be headed northwards and the agents will want to tell you, they won't drop. But job losses are on the way, and the capital appreciation on property isn't what it used to be and despite what agents try to tout, one must consider all factors rationally, and see if your money is better served elsewhere. Eg a good benchmark will be the 2.5% that CPF offers. But property remains enticing because it takes a lot more effort and investigation to find alternatives and not all Singaporeans are that hardworking or familiar with the investment instruments available. I wonder what the rest think? Cheers
  3. Starting a thread to consolidate the sharing of SIM-only plan experiences and lobangs. Still 1 month+ left on my current M1 SIM-only contract and looking at what other players (telco and MVNO) are offering. Came across Zero1's 6u plan which seems pretty competitive, so putting this plan on my radar screen.
  4. Has anybody feel that yesterday(Mon 8-Dec-2008) was indeed very cold? From my flat i have to wear sweater in the morning, i am jsut wondering whether it was below the official announced 24 deg C, anyone felt the same?
  5. lai liao 😁 @ https://www.techinasia.com/source-tesla-nears-final-approval-sell-cars-singapore
  6. Hi anyone know where in Singapore that still sell this Chicken in a Biskit? been searching NTUC and ColdStorage the last 3 months can seem to find on their shelves. Did Singapore discontinue because Made in China now? As Australia stop selling since late last year 2015. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/ritz-in-a-biskit-chicken-and-dixie-drumstick-snacks-discontinued-in-australia/news-story/90a755e390ca181deb82fdc457c4635c
  7. Boom and doom? Singapore to launch vaccinated travel lanes with India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia SINGAPORE: Singapore will extend its vaccinated travel lane (VTL) scheme to more countries starting from Nov 29, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday (Nov 15). The country intends to launch VTLs with India and Indonesia from Nov 29, and with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Dec 6.
  8. https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Transportation/Singapore-Airlines-returns-to-profit-as-Asia-travel-surges?utm_campaign=GL_asia_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_source=NA_newsletter&utm_content=article_link&del_type=1&pub_date=20220729123000&seq_num=17&si=44594 Singapore Airlines returns to profit as Asia travel surges Carrier warns of inflation, as it and city-state prepare for more visitors Singapore Airlines will restore its India operations to pre-pandemic levels, while adding more flights to Japanese cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. © Reuters TSUBASA SURUGA, Nikkei staff writerJuly 28, 2022 20:41 JST SINGAPORE -- Singapore Airlines returned to profit for the three months ended June, helped by a sharp revival in travel demand after regional economies reopen their borders as COVID comes under control. The city-state's flagship carrier on Thursday reported a net profit of 370 million Singaporean dollars ($268 million) for the April-June period, recovering from a S$409 million loss it posted the same period a year ago. Sales tripled to S$3.91 billion in the quarter from a year ago. The airline has had a choppy year. It made its first quarterly profit in the three months to end-December since the onset of the pandemic, which reflected the city-state's move to expand quarantine-free travel in October. But it fell back into a loss over the next three months, hit by higher fuel prices. "Travel demand is expected to remain robust in the near term as we head into the year-end holiday travel period, with forward sales staying buoyant for the next three months up to October 2022," the airlines said in a statement. Although the travel industry in Southeast Asia is recovering, inflationary pressure, particularly high fuel prices, could still dampen earnings as airlines ramp up capacity. As a key travel hub, Singapore was hit hard by global COVID restrictions. For the fiscal year ended March, Singapore Airlines posted a net loss of S$962 million, its third consecutive annual loss. Since April this year, however, Singapore has relaxed most of its restrictions and allowed quarantine-free entry for vaccinated travelers. In the first half of this year, Singapore saw 1.5 million visitors, nearly 12 times more than the same period last year. The arrivals mostly came from Indonesia, India and Malaysia. As global travel picks up, the Singapore Tourism Board expects 4 million to 6 million visitors this year. This is still far from the 19.12 million arrivals in 2019, but much higher than the 2.74 million in 2020. During the first quarter, Singapore Airlines carried over 5 million passengers, 14 times higher than the year before. Elsewhere in the region, Thailand has also opened up to vaccinated travelers and it expects 9.3 million visitors this year. Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia also hope to take in more arrivals this year, now that they, too, have lifted restrictions. To meet increasing demand, Singapore's Changi Airport said it will reopen in September its fourth terminal, which mostly handles low-cost flights. Still, the tourism board noted that the travel industry "will face some headwinds for the rest of the year because of the volatile global political and economic environment, as well as the evolving health situation." For Singapore Airlines, "inflationary pressures including elevated fuel prices remain a concern." Its net fuel cost more than tripled to S$1.27 billion in the three months to end-June. The airline said that it will continue to "keep a tight rein on costs," while increasing services to destinations globally. Singapore Airlines will restore its India operations to pre-pandemic levels, while adding more flights to Japanese cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. With strong demand, more services will be added to Los Angeles and Paris, the airline said. Shares in Singapore Airlines rose 0.2% to S$5.36 on Thursday ahead of the earnings announcement.
  9. Singapore wants top foreign talent to avoid being left behind https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/singapore-wants-top-foreign-talent-062349407.html?fbclid=IwAR0zS_Nr17XUh69xca_hVr26IfTiYN15fZEbToSIWP-CeVFjW7j2-BJBZ6E Bloomberg Sun, 21 August 2022 at 2:23 pm A points-based system for allowing in expats is set to kick in next year. Singapore wants to lure more top talent to its shores, joining Germany and the UK in the contest for cosmopolitan professionals. “In this global contest for talent, Singapore cannot afford to be creamed off, or left behind,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his annual National Day Rally address Sunday. “This is an age where talent makes all the difference to a nation’s success,” he said, adding details will be released soon. The business-friendly Southeast Asian city has long been a magnet for international talent and the rich. But worries among locals about the large numbers of foreigners and stringent Covid rules led to the largest decline in white-collar expats in over a decade last year. Meanwhile, countries including the UAE, the UK and Germany rolled out plans to attract talent. And mobile, young professionals are putting countries from Curacao to Cape Verde on their horizon. Lee signalled that the new initiatives will especially target “sectors with good potential” beyond technology, where there are already existing plans to keep talent. He also acknowledged Singaporeans are “rightly concerned” about the large numbers of foreigners in the city. “While we manage the overall population of foreign professionals here, we must not stop seeking out top talent who can contribute to our Singapore Story,” Lee said. “And every Singaporean will benefit from our progress and success.” A points-based system for allowing in expats is set to kick in next year. Singapore offers permanent residency status to entrepreneurs and investors who “intend to drive their businesses and investment growth from Singapore” via a Global Investor Programme. Another plan launched in 2021 offered 500 visas for tech-related roles.
  10. Hey guys, any1 knows which marathon is in Feb - April 2011 which has the 10km distance? Cos i planning to train for marathon but i dun wan to go straight for the 42km, i prefer to gradually increase the distance..so im hoping to run 10km beginning of next yr..den 21km at adidas sundown in May..den eventually the StanChart 42km in Dec next yr. Any advice? Thanx in advance.
  11. wow.. A public statement by Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang: We have no confidence in PM Lee Hsien Loong and are worried about Singapore's future. https://www.facebook.com/weiling.lee.980?hc_ref=NEWSFEED https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByodqaSLlpPIWHdRdFE2QlZYbzg/view
  12. I decided to create a separate thread for AI. Things are really rapidly changing. AI to replace sales staff that are in a revolving door situation. Seems like this company has hit upon a niche that larger companies are very interested in. Not all of these ideas will work out. But you can bet a significant portion of desk/admin jobs will slowly be redundant over the next 10-15 years. Maybe by then, some of us would be working alongside AIs to do some of the routine tasks. https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/09/saleswhale-seed-funding/
  13. https://www.sgcarmart.com/news/article.php?AID=26177 No plans lined up this weekend? Why not head on down to Millenia Walk to catch the opening of Tesla's new dedicated showroom here in Singapore? sgCarMart understands from property developer and manager of Millenia Walk, Pontiac Land Group, that Tesla's new retail site is poised to open its doors at 11:00am come 15 January 2022. The new retail location comes just months after the mall became the second location in Singapore to host Tesla's V3 Superchargers, and comes following the closure of Tesla's former temporary site at One Assembly within Raffles City shopping centre. We have additionally been informed that prospective Tesla buyers will be able to experience the Model 3 at the new retail store, with test drives to be conducted along the East Coast Parkway's scenic waterfront, located just three minutes away. Those test drives, will have to be booked in advance however, via Tesla Singapore's dedicated site here. Tesla's new showroom is located at #01-84, facing The Great Hall at Millenia Walk. Opening Hours for the new showroom are 11:00am to 8:00pm from Sundays to Thursdays, while opening hours for Fridays and Saturdays are from 11:00am to 8.30pm.
  14. What a remarkable feat! And kudos to her employer, Ms Manjit Kour. 👍 Most would be struggling with full-time study of law and I cannot imagine the load for her since her full time job is not an easy one to begin with. Wish her all the best. Source: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/she-completed-her-law-degree-while-working-as-a-domestic-helper-in-singapore SINGAPORE – Ms Jayanthi Gamage was at work in August 2023 when an e-mail from the University of London arrived in her inbox. It included the word “Pass”, which marked the end of her seven-year journey to complete a law degree and a dream come true for the then domestic helper. Describing the 43-year-old Sri Lankan’s journey as a “long” one makes light of it. It spanned two countries thousands of kilometres apart, and saw her juggling her studies over several years while working as a domestic helper in Singapore. A job as a helper here earned her twice as much as her previous job as an audit assistant in Sri Lanka did, Ms Gamage told The Straits Times. So three years after starting her law course, she decided to leave the comforts of home in 2019 to fund her degree. She quashed any qualms of venturing to a foreign country for the first time, as she was determined to make her childhood dream come true. Law is a calling, said Ms Gamage, who failed the entrance exam to Sri Lanka Law College 10 consecutive times from 2000. “It was a very long journey and took a lot of hard work,” Ms Gamage, now a supervisor at a cleaning company, told ST. “My emotions can’t be put into words but now I know when there’s a will, there’s a way.” Ms Gamage burnt the midnight oil aplenty and rarely had time for herself. She spent her weekends attending virtual lessons and pockets of free time were dedicated to poring over study material. “I didn’t buy any lipstick or make-up – none of those things. Every dollar was saved for my degree,” she said. Even during tough times, Ms Gamage always found a silver lining. “I looked at everything as a new learning experience,” she said. “I thought I probably felt things were difficult because I had never faced such situations before.” But the Sri Lankan, who described herself as “someone who doesn’t cry a lot”, had crumbled in moments when she longed to reunite with her parents. Ms Gamage’s father, a driver, and her mother, a housewife, were always supportive despite being “normal people”. “Even though they didn’t have a good education themselves, they knew the value of education.” She was looking forward to reuniting with her family after her first employment contract expired in 2021. But Covid-19 hit, and borders shut, leaving Ms Gamage unable to return home. That was her “lowest point”, she said. “I missed them a lot. I felt stuck, I feared for my parents and their health... I had many of these thoughts.” Ms Gamage was also running a race against time. She had to complete her degree in eight years and had left Sri Lanka with seven modules to finish. She worked for her first employer in Singapore for two years from February 2019, but was able to complete only a single module during the period of her contract as she had to care for an infant. “I was scared that the baby would wake up and cry during the night, so I would be in the living room or his room most of the time. It was very difficult to return to my room and study.” Ms Gamage was desperate for an employer who would understand her plight and allow her to pursue her degree. A person Ms Gamage hailed as an “angel” entered her life late in 2020 – Ms Manjit Kour, a retired public relations professional. Ms Kour was greatly supportive of her employee’s academic pursuits. She would often tell the latter to study once the household chores were completed and check on her progress regularly. “I put a premium on education – I believe that when you have education, you can advance in life,” said Ms Kour, 72. “A woman, especially, needs to stand on her own two feet and achieve something for herself.” She even set reminders in her mobile phone to alert her whenever Ms Gamage’s exam results were released. “I’d always ask her, ‘When are your results coming out?’ I’d put them in my calendar and ask her in the morning,” she said. When Ms Kour went on a month-long holiday to Australia less than two months before Ms Gamage’s final exams, she told her then employee to focus on her studies when she was away. Ms Gamage said Ms Kour was the “miracle” she was praying for. She added: “It’s very rare to find someone who has this level of understanding. She’s like a mother caring for her child’s education. All I can say is I’m blessed.” Ms Kour was one of the first people she shared her final results with. Ms Kour said: “I’m overjoyed for her. It’s a big achievement to come to Singapore, work as a domestic helper and reach this milestone.” She recalled the many times she would spot Ms Gamage revising at the dining table into the wee hours of the morning. “She would be listening to her lectures playing in the background while cooking dinner,” added Ms Kour. “She had so much focus and put in the hard work – all credit goes to her.” Seven years later, with a degree under her belt, Ms Gamage insisted the journey and its takeaways were well worth the sacrifice. But she has less reason to celebrate as her visa application to attend her April 30 graduation ceremony in London was rejected by the British authorities. “Since I can’t make it the first time, I’ll save money and plan for next year,” said Ms Gamage, explaining that her application was rejected as she was deemed to have insufficient finances. “I believe that achievements should be celebrated. I really want to wear the graduation hat and gown.” She has no plans to stop furthering her education and has set her sights on adding a master’s degree from the National University of Singapore to her portfolio. Obtaining her bachelor’s degree has already reaped dividends for Ms Gamage, in terms of a promotion. She had stopped working for Ms Kour in 2023 after the latter moved from a two-storey house to an apartment. She returned home to Sri Lanka for a short break before taking up a job offer as a cleaner with her current firm here. While she was hired initially by her company as a cleaner, once her employer learnt of her qualifications, she was promoted to a different role, and took on administrative and supervisory responsibilities. Looking ahead, she hopes that one day, she will finally be able to fulfil her dream of becoming a lawyer. “Maybe some time in the future, I’ll be able to join a law firm in Singapore and gain more knowledge,” said Ms Gamage, who added that she is interested in learning the in-and-outs of corporate law here. But for now, she just hopes her story can inspire people from all walks of life to pursue a higher level of education, no matter their age or background. “If someone wants to study and puts (her or his) heart into it, age doesn’t matter,” she said. “Even if you are in your 40s or 50s, it’s never too late. We have only one life and we have to achieve something with it.”
  15. Source: https://mustsharenews.com/singapore-nuclear-energy-2050/ Singapore Could Potentially Use Nuclear Energy By 2050 When the topic of nuclear energy gets brought up, some might instinctively think of the dangers associated with the alternate energy source. However, nuclear energy can also be an efficient power source. On Tuesday (22 Mar), the Energy 2050 Committee published a report showing that Singapore could tap into nuclear energy in the coming decades. With recent advancements, nuclear technology has apparently become safer and more reliable. However, more research and development are needed to determine if it’s indeed viable for Singapore. Nuclear energy could supply 10% of Singapore’s needs by 2050 According to The Straits Times (ST), a report commissioned by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) concluded that about 10% of Singapore’s energy demand could be supplied by nuclear energy by 2050. While Singaporeans might understandably be worried about nuclear energy, the Energy 2050 Committee said advancements in the field have made the alternative power source safer than before. The report projected 3 uncertain geopolitical scenarios in 2050: Clean Energy Renaissance Climate Action Bloc Emergent Technology Trailblazer S’pore can determine if nuclear energy is viable by 2040s In the 3rd scenario, the world is fragmented and technology advancements will delay but eventually arrive. Singapore will be able to deploy low-carbon alternatives, such as nuclear energy, into its energy mix. The report stated that a fragmented geopolitical situation means that countries would find it harder to collaborate and achieve their climate targets. This would limit electricity imports in Singapore’s energy mix. This is as opposed to the other 2 scenarios, where electricity imports would contribute a significant portion of Singapore’s energy needs. Scenario 1: Clean Energy Renaissance Scenario 2: Climate Action Bloc Nevertheless, in all 3 scenarios, electricity imports, hydrogen, solar, and energy storage systems will be important. The Straits Times (ST) reported that in 2014, Singapore allocated $63 million to fund research and education in nuclear safety, engineering, and science. By the 2040s, Singapore would likely be able to determine if nuclear energy is viable. If so, we can start developing domestic generation capacities. Could contribute greatly to our climate efforts Once associated with danger and volatility, we are glad that modern developments have made nuclear energy much safer and hopefully more viable. While it might sound ambitious for Singapore to incorporate nuclear energy, it could contribute greatly to our nation’s climate efforts.
  16. THE ALL-NEW ŠKODA OCTAVIA EXTERIOR Emotive exterior design, greater dimensions The new front apron and the sharply drawn, new headlights provide visual highlights for the ŠKODA OCTAVIA. The compact vehicle’s increased length and width bring out its self-assured character. At 4,689 mm, the fourth-generation ŠKODA OCTAVIA COMBI is 22 mm longer than its predecessor; its width has grown by 15 mm to 1,829 mm (the hatchback’ length has increased by 19 mm to 4,689 mm and by 15 mm in width, taking it to 1,829 mm). The wheelbase measures 2,686 mm. The redesigned, shallow roof rails emphasise the vehicle’s elongated silhouette, whilst alloy wheels measuring up to 19 inches lend it a powerful appearance. New OCTAVIA ranks among the most aerodynamic cars in the world The new design sharpens the ŠKODA OCTAVIA’s visual presence and enables excellent aerodynamics. The hatchback has a drag coefficient (cd) from 0.24 and the OCTAVIA COMBI from 0.26. The new OCTAVIA thereby ranks among the most aerodynamic cars in the world. The improved aerodynamics also reduce the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. First OCTAVIA with full LED Matrix headlights The narrower front headlights and the tail lights use modern LED technology. In the top-of-the-range version, the OCTAVIA is equipped with a real highlight – full LED Matrix headlights. This innovative system generates a light beam consisting of several segments which are controlled individually. Thus, the high beam can be on at all times, without dazzling other road users. Using the camera on the windscreen, the intelligent technology detects vehicles that are approaching or up ahead as well as people and objects reflecting the light. The lights also greet the driver with an animated Coming/Leaving Home function. The full LED tail lights are incorporated into this animation too, and boast – which is a first for the ŠKODA OCTAVIA – dynamic indicators. INTERIOR New interior concept and extraordinarily generous amount of space In the new ŠKODA OCTAVIA, the usual impressive amount of space is even more generous. The rear passengers enjoy an even more luxurious level of kneeroom than before – now 78 mm. The boot capacity, which is the largest in the segment, has increased to 640 l in the COMBI and 600 l in the hatchback. The ŠKODA designers have completely revamped the OCTAVIA’s interior. The new steering wheel now features just two spokes and has a chrome trim; in the multifunction variant, 14 different functions can be performed via push and new scroll buttons in a chrome finish. The centre console, door trims and dashboard have been redesigned too. Featuring a modular, multi-level arrangement, the dashboard echoes the shape of the ŠKODA grille with a contrasting, coloured area below the large, free-standing central multifunction display. Particularly back-friendly, ergonomic seats are available for the first time. In addition to being heated, these also come with the options of a massage function and/or cooling ventilation. The optional sports seats are covered in a particularly breathable ThermoFlux fabric. Another optional feature in the new OCTAVIA is the tri-zone Climatronic air conditioning. When equipped with the KESSY keyless entry system, any one of the OCTAVIA’s four doors can be opened first. At the time of the market launch, the new OCTAVIA will be available in the Active, Ambition and Style trim levels. Later in 2020, the rugged OCTAVIA SCOUT and the sporty OCTAVIA RS will be added to the range. TECHNOLOGY New: head-up display and two 10-inch screens The OCTAVIA is the first ŠKODA model to feature a head-up display. This projects important information such as the speed or navigational information directly onto the windscreen in immediate view of the driver, allowing them to read it without taking their eyes off the road. The new ŠKODA OCTAVIA’s infotainment systems offer optional streaming services for radio and TV as well as completely cable-free smartphone connection using wireless SmartLink+ technology. Media devices or USB sticks can also be directly linked to the infotainment system via the two USB-C ports in the front out of the up to five USB-C ports; a 230-V socket in the rear is optional too. The acoustically optimised interior and the new optional Canton Sound System ensure perfect sound. ŠKODA has further improved the Virtual Cockpit for the new OCTAVIA. The latest generation of the digital and individually customisable instrument panel comes with a 10-inch screen and is now even more user-friendly. The driver can choose from four different layouts – Basic, Classic, Navigation and Driver Assistance Systems – and specify their desired content using the controls on the multifunction steering wheel. Users can now also opt to display the navigation system’s maps on the Virtual Cockpit and the central display measuring up to 10 inches in two different levels of zoom. Climatronic can be operated via an integrated bar at the bottom of the infotainment display. Via a new touch slider at the bottom of the infotainment system’s display, the volume can be adjusted using one finger and the navigation map can be zoomed in and out using two fingers. DSG with shift-by-wire technology The new OCTAVIA is the first ever ŠKODA to use shift-by-wire technology to operate its DSG transmission. The gear selector is no longer connected to the gearbox mechanically. Instead, it relays which gear has been chosen electronically. In place of the familiar DSG lever, there is therefore a new control module located in the OCTAVIA’s centre console with a small rocker switch for selecting the drive modes – R (reverse), N (neutral) and D/S (drive/sport) – as well as a button for the parking mode, P. Premiere for innovative assistance systems such as Collision Avoidance Assist and Exit Warning The fourth generation of the OCTAVIA sees the introduction of several new and innovative assistance systems, some of which are making their debut in a model made by the Czech manufacturer. The new Collision Avoidance Assist supports the driver by actively increasing the steering moment in the event of an impending collision with a pedestrian, cyclist or another vehicle – ideally preventing the accident with a controlled evasive manoeuvre. The Exit Warning system lets the driver know if another vehicle or a cyclist is approaching from behind when opening the car door. Using Hands-on Detect, the car is able to check whether the driver is touching the steering wheel consistently or whether they no longer have control of the vehicle due to a potential medical emergency. If such an emergency occurs, Emergency Assist can bring the car to a stop. ENGINES Modern engines with increased efficiency and premiere for mild-hybrid technology The new ŠKODA OCTAVIA features modern TDI and TSI engines with increased efficiency that, thanks to significantly improved aerodynamics, lower fuel consumption and pollutant emissions. In addition to the diesel and petrol engines, there is also a particularly eco-friendly variant with CNG drive, plug-in hybrid variants and, for the first time at ŠKODA, engines featuring mild-hybrid technology. When fitted with the 7-speed DSG, the three-cylinder 1.0 TSI producing 81 kW (110 PS) and the four-cylinder 1.5 TSI outputting 110 kW (150 PS) make use of a 48-V belt-driven starter motor and a 48-V lithium-ion battery. This makes it possible to ‘coast’ with the combustion engine completely switched off, recover energy whilst braking and support the engine with an electronic boost. At the same time, the engine is able to start more quietly and with fewer vibrations. Both engines are also available in combination with a 6-speed manual gearbox without mild-hybrid technology. The gearbox that comes with the 1.5 TSI was newly developed for engines that deliver high levels of torque and is being used in conjunction with the OCTAVIA’s diesel engines too. The 2.0 TSI with a power output of 140 kW (190 PS) is exclusively available with all-wheel drive and a 7-speed DSG. All of the TSIs are fitted with a petrol particulate filter. Plug-in hybrid with two different power variants Following on from the first ŠKODA plug-in hybrid, the ŠKODA SUPERB iV, the Czech brand is also offering the new OCTAVIA with a 1.4 TSI petrol engine – the OCTAVIA iV features an electric motor too – and even comes with two different power variants. As well as the model with a power output of 150 kW (204 PS), another version outputting 180 kW (245 PS) is planned to be added to the portfolio. Both variants will come with a 6-speed DSG. Diesels from the new EVO generation of engines emit up to 80 per cent less nitrogen oxide For the OCTAVIA, a total of three new diesel engines provide power outputs ranging from 85 KW (115 PS) to 147 kW (200 PS). The TDIs each have a 2.0-litre cylinder capacity and are from the newly developed EVO generation of engines, which have plenty of torque, and are both efficient and particularly clean. In addition to a diesel particulate filter, the engines are equipped with a new development stage in SCR exhaust gas treatment. Using what is known as ‘twin dosing’, AdBlue is specifically injected in front of two SCR catalytic converters that are arranged one after the other. This method and the use of the second catalytic converter reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by around 80 per cent in comparison to the previous generation of each engine. As a result, the EVO engines provide the technical preconditions to fulfil the future Euro 6d emissions standard. The variants delivering 110 kW (150 PS) and 147 kW (200 PS) are available with all-wheel drive as an option. G-TEC: CNG variant ŠKODA is also offering the fourth generation OCTAVIA as a G-TEC model with particularly eco-friendly CNG drive. Compared to a car running on petrol, the OCTAVIA G-TEC will thereby once again produce around 25 per cent less CO2, significantly less nitrogen oxide (NOx) and no soot particles. The 1.5 TSI providing 96 kW (130 PS) is designed to run on CNG. The total capacity of the three CNG tanks is 17.7 kg. If required, the car can make use of its 9-litre petrol tank too. Both body design variants of the OCTAVIA G-TEC are available with the choice of a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG transmission. Three chassis options and Dynamic Chassis Control Besides the standard chassis, ŠKODA is offering two other options for the OCTAVIA, a 15-mm-lower sports suspension and a Rough Road chassis providing 15 mm more ground clearance. Dynamic Chassis Control – which constantly adjusts the suspension and damping, provides a range of different profiles for Driving Mode Select – is available as an option. When fitted with DCC, the ground clearance remains unchanged in plug-in hybrids, all other variants are lowered by 10 mm. SIMPLY CLEVER Sleep package, convenient filler tube for AdBlue and USB-C port on the overhead console True to ŠKODA’s guiding principle of Simply Clever, the new OCTAVIA offers the highest degree of functionality as well. Several brand-typical Simply Clever solutions make day-to-day mobility easier for the driver and passengers. The Sleep package is available as an option for the first time in the OCTAVIA, giving the back seat two comfortable, larger headrests and a blanket. For the estate, an improved net package with comfortable use in the boot and an automatically retractable load cover are also new. A multifunction storage pocket below the boot cover offers further space for stowing items. Child safety locks for the rear doors can be operated electronically and the rear passengers can make use of two smartphone storage pockets on the front seatbacks. Two USB-C sockets are available in the front and, as an option, two in the rear; another optional USB-C port on the overhead console above the rear-view mirror is brand new. One classic ŠKODA feature is the umbrella in a storage compartment in the driver’s door; there is now space in this compartment for a hand brush as well, which is also a genuine ŠKODA accessory. The funnel integrated into the lid of the windscreen washer tank is present in the OCTAVIA too, whilst the optional tow bar can be electrically unlocked by pushing the corresponding button in the boot. The car also comes with a new, convenient filler tube for AdBlue, enabling it to be filled up using lorry pump nozzles too. HISTORY In January 2019, the OCTAVIA celebrated 60 years since its start of production. The first units of this legendary model range rolled off the production line at the plant in Mladá Boleslav at the beginning of 1959. In the mid-1990s, the first OCTAVIAs of the modern-day generation inherited the legacy from the popular compact car. The Czech car manufacturer has built more than 6.5 million OCTAVIAs since its launch in 1959. Over the past few years, the third generation of the large compact car has sold about 400,000 units a year worldwide, accounting for about one third of ŠKODA’s total sales. Currently, the OCTAVIA is the overall bestselling model in the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Serbia and Belarus. The leading role in this success story is played by the COMBI variant: nearly two thirds of all OCTAVIA buyers opt for this body design. The OCTAVIA is the bestselling estate in Europe and the most popular import car in Germany. Therefore, ŠKODA AUTO will first launch the COMBI variant of the bestseller’s latest edition; the hatchback will follow a few weeks later.
  17. What do you all think of the upcoming 'Singapore first racing movie', Oversteer? I've have to say any effort in promoting motorsport and car culture is something good in my opinion, but from the promo photos and trailer, it just feel kind of half-effort and seems unlikely to capture the true Singapore car scene... In the first place the hero cars and location looks like it's all in Malaysia - granted, maybe filming in SG wouldn't be easy, but it seems like they didn't even try to replicate SG, i.e. make it seem like the setting is supposed to be Singapore. In this poster, you can see KLCC, and there was another photo floating about that shows the Malaysian number plates of the car, it seems like the setting of the movie is going to be in Malaysia. There are even people on Facebook poking fun, commenting that Singapore doesn't even have any street racing culture - which isn't the case, and will only be made worse if the film does end up to portray everything in Malaysia. The first teaser trailer shows an S13 drifting with a DC5 and EK chasing it. While drifting seems to be trendy and attractive to some movie-goers, but most would agree that it isn't really part of Singapore's street racing/ car culture scene. While Singapore might be small, we do have plenty of motorsports related history, including both legal and illegal avenues, cue the illegal drag races that happened at what is now the Tanah Merah Coast Road, Lim Chu Kang (40T), Seletar (20T), the curvy roads such as Old Upper Thomson which was once a GP circuit, the infamous 'Orchard Gudang', etc... My point is, I can't help but feel like the movie's gonna be plenty of wasted opportunities to show the interesting side of Singapore's car culture. That said, I hope that I'm wrong and the movie actually turns out to be a fun watch! So, what are your thoughts on this movie?
  18. Personally, the mindset of the national is if it is FREE we will keep it hence, i dont envisage a possible reduction in our NS duration what i am very worried about is the world is moving so very fast we already had been disadvantaged by NS, resulting in being 2 or 2 1/2 years behind our girls and our foreign classmates in the future it will be worse for our children even 6 months can mean a break or score the economic cycle also is shorter hence, i am just worried about our children am i worrying too much for our kids or should i just relax TAIPEI
  19. "Before you venture overseas, why not tour your own backyard first?" This line, from a gregarious guide, resonated with me prior to the start of the Raffles Lighthouse tour, which is organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). Now, everyone knows that Singapore is a maritime trade powerhouse, but few realise that apart from the Tanjong Pagar and Tuas ports, our coastline is also dotted with docks and jetties. And as the second-busiest port in the world (Shanghai is the busiest), Singapore is home to several lighthouses, too. Five of them, including Raffles Lighthouse, are operated by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). You'll travel by ferry from Marina South Pier to reach the Southern Islands Getting there First things first: Raffles Lighthouse is not the lighthouse you'll find in Raffles Marina. Raffles Lighthouse is the second oldest of the five lighthouses operated by MPA. It is located on Pulau Satumu, an island about 23km away from the mainland. It is the southernmost point of Singapore. To get here, one must join an MPA tour which costs around S$50 per person. The five-hour tour includes a guided visit to the Maritime Gallery, plus ferry passage to and from Pulau Satumu. Lighthouses operated by MPA, as seen on this map in the Maritime Gallery Prior to the tour, I mistakenly assumed that the entire trip took five hours because there was plenty to see and do at the lighthouse, and perhaps lunch would be catered as well. However, most of the time was spent travelling from Marina South Pier to Pulau Satumu and back. Three hours, to be exact, as it is a 1.5-hour ride each way. While the ferry chugged along, our guide enthusiastically pointed out the different types of ships (LNG, LPG, bulk carrier, etc.) we passed. Of greater interest were the outlying islands or Southern Islands. It didn't take long to see St John's Island, Kusu Island, and Lazarus Island. The Singapore skyline looks cool from this angle, too. The building in the foreground is Marina Bay Cruise Centre. In the distance, we saw Pasir Panjang Port, Brani Island, Jurong Island, and Pulau Bukom, home to the Shell Refinery. This part was the eye-opener for me. We all know that Singapore has other islands, but how many do you think we have in all? 10? 20? 30? Nope. My jaw dropped when our guide said we have 64 islands! Singapore is small relative to the rest of the world, but man, the geography lesson that afternoon was an eye-opener. Seeing the outlying islands and massive vessels anchored offshore was truly an experience. Here we are, a little red dot on the world map, yet all these vessels are on the way to one of our ports. Even if you regularly fly, the many ships dotting the sea is something you might not really notice, especially if you typically fly at night. You'll only have 40-45 minutes on Pulau Satumu, so take in the views while you can One-tree island 'Satumu' means 'one tree' in Malay. As the ferry approached the dock, the lighthouse seemed to shine in the sunlight. Completed in 1855, Raffles Lighthouse was designed by John Bennett, who also built Horsburgh Lighthouse on Pedra Branca. Next to the lighthouse are two network antennas. Photographing these structures is forbidden due to 'security issues' and attempting to feature them on social media could land you in trouble. At the very least, you might find parts of your pictures censored by the powers that be. At least that's what we were told. The waters surrounding the island are surprisingly clear Now, the lighthouse itself is not very large and unfortunately, you're no longer allowed to climb to the top. We were, however, ushered into an air-conditioned room and shown a collection of artifacts and memorabilia to add to the nostalgic feel. Interestingly, one of the 'museum pieces' was an unused armoury locker. Lightkeepers in the past must have needed rifles to defend themselves against marauding pirates in search of booty (or booze?). Each lightkeeper works on Pulau Satumu for 10 days before returning to mainland Singapore. If you despise crowds and love solitude, a career as a lightkeeper might appeal to you. It's too bad we couldn't interview the lightkeepers. But from what I could see, the cleaner air and gentle sounds of the waves lapping the shore make for idyllic surroundings. And even if you're far from civilisation, civilisation isn't far from you. I had 5G coverage the entire time, so you'll always be connected. I was glad that there was no souvenir shop, as it would have made the experience touristy (and not in a good way). But MPA obviously considered visitors' needs, as there were at least three toilets. Hoarding is good (sometimes) because we get to see stuff like this 4th Order Optic from 1968 Explore more I may have spent more time on the ferry than I did at Raffles Lighthouse, but that's not a bad thing. If I were on a faster vessel with a shorter travel time, I wouldn't have been able to hear the guide's stories. Knowing that Singapore is the second-busiest port in the world is one thing; seeing the vessel traffic is another. And learning a bit about our other islands was another pleasant surprise. Most of us don't know or don't care to know about the ports and maritime issues because they happen beyond our sight. But if there's one thing I learned, it's that without our maritime trade, commerce and life as we know it would slow to a crawl. Could I have learned about Raffles Lighthouse and our other islands online? Sure, but the experience wouldn't be the same. It's just like watching a travel vlog - you get ideas from the videos, but nothing beats travelling there yourself.
  20. I know we have a separate property thread, but IMO, this deserves a separate discussion. This area will be big, in size and impact.. https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/9000-housing-units-including-hdb-be-built-keppel-club-site https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/ndr-2019-greater-southern-waterfront-pulau-brani-sentosa-keppel-11819376?cid=h3_referral_inarticlelinks_24082018_cna https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/specific-measures-could-dampen-lottery-effect-of-public-housing-11825766 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6xz58yCqGk
  21. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/singapore-total-fertility-rate-population-births-ageing-parents-children-3301846 PAP greatest failure is creating a country where no one wants to have chewren Discuss.
  22. I, for one, would not go there. ph driver who's smart enough won't go there to get jammed, for hours, for $10, $20 ? Grab keep promoting, high demand, but who's want to drive there for regular fare ? Even with surge, it's not enough to compensate your hours of waiting and crawling in the traffic, wasting petrol, time. ‘Worst transport experience’: Crawling traffic, long waits for rides frustrate S’pore Airshow visitors SINGAPORE - Waiting almost three hours for a taxi ride from the Singapore Airshow to her hotel was not something that senior corporate executive Inga Duglas expected after attending the first day of the event on Feb 20. When she eventually got into a taxi, her fare from Changi Exhibition Centre, where the air show is taking place till Feb 25, to central Singapore at 7.30pm came to $120, said Ms Duglas, expressing surprise that her ride was “so expensive”. “I was hungry, thirsty and exhausted,” the 38-year-old told The Straits Times on the evening of Feb 21. The 2024 edition of the biennial aerospace and defence exhibition has been drawing complaints about heavy traffic in and out of the showground, with some visitors telling ST that traffic arrangements were poorly organised. The first four days of the air show, from Feb 20 to 23, are for trade attendees. The air show is open to the public on the last two days, on Feb 24 and 25. Ms Duglas was among 23 trade visitors and exhibitors interviewed by ST about their experience getting into and out of the showground. Some said they had to endure several kilometres of crawling traffic into the exhibition centre due to reduced access to Aviation Park Road and Tanah Merah Coast Road, and were unable to secure private-hire car and taxi rides to and from Changi Exhibition Centre. Others spoke of the sky-high fares for these rides, and long queues for the air show shuttle, which plies between Singapore Expo and the exhibition centre. Visitors have to pay a location surcharge of $15, on top of the metered fare, for taxi services leaving Changi Exhibition Centre until Feb 25. Commercial executive Stanley Raj, 45, said it was the “worst transportation experience” he has encountered, when compared with other air shows he has visited, including the Paris Air Show in June 2023 and the Dubai Airshow in November 2023. To exit the showground on Feb 21 at around 5pm, Mr Raj waited more than 35 minutes for his private-hire car ride. That morning, his ride to the exhibition centre was stuck in a 45-minute jam because of lane closures and security checkpoints. Ms Jayne Low, who is part of an exhibitor’s team that drove to the air show, said she was caught in traffic for about 20 minutes at around 9am on Feb 21. This was because officers slowed traffic down significantly by checking the identities of all passengers in each vehicle with a parking label, said the managing director in her 40s. Ms Low, who has attended several editions of the Singapore Airshow, added: “It is the same thing for every edition... If they can manage (vehicular) traffic for Coldplay fans, they can surely do this for the air show.” ST reporters heading to the show experienced several instances of private-hire car drivers cancelling their rides to the exhibition centre on Feb 21 and 22. Part-time private-hire car driver George Liow, 37, said most drivers would not travel to the venue for a single fare, as they would need to navigate the jam and detours. He added: “Who in their right mind would come in all the way to the venue to pick someone up for a small sum of money?”
  23. New money inflows to Singapore jump 59% to a record S$448b in 2021 SINGAPORE can absorb record inflows of new money, the central bank chief said, allaying concerns of a real estate bubble even as rents and prices surge to unprecedented highs. The Asian financial hub attracted S$448 billion last year, 59 per cent higher than the previous year, the latest data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) show. “When a large sum of money comes into any country, you should be worried about it,” MAS managing director Ravi Menon said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin. One such concern is flowing into the property market driving up prices. Rather than blocking money coming in, the regulator has imposed measures on the real estate sector to prevent overheating. “We’ve got that under control,” he said. Singapore’s efforts to build an international wealth hub are paying off as the city enjoys a post-Covid resurgence, attracting investors drawn to its stability. Assets managed by local firms soared 16 per cent in 2021 to US$4 trillion, mostly from overseas, exceeding the global growth rate. Investors from US hedge-fund titan Ray Dalio to Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani are setting up offices to manage their personal wealth. The housing market has defied a slump reported in other major markets including Australia, Hong Kong and Canada. As prices jumped 7 per cent in the first nine months - including a sizzling 13 per cent in the third quarter alone - the government took steps to cool the market. Landlords meanwhile are asking tenants for big rent increases, sometimes as much as double, when they extend leases. The inflows, which are roughly three quarters of Singapore’s nominal gross domestic product, come on top of gains from higher asset prices last year, according to the central bank. The assets are helping to boost the financial hub as it seeks to add as many as 20,000 finance jobs over five years, in areas including wealth management and sustainable financing. Asia flows Menon said money is coming from growing wealth across Asia, where the rich are seeking a place to invest. He acknowledged that North Asia’s affluent contribute a large portion of asset flows into Singapore. “They are richer, they have more investible assets,” he said, speaking ahead of Singapore’s FinTech Festival that starts on Wednesday (Nov 2). In China, Asia’s largest wealth market, assets plummeted following the Communist Party congress, where President Xi Jinping solidified his grip on power. Asked whether China may see accelerated capital outflows, Menon said it’s too early to tell. “There’s already some happening,” he said. “Some of it have come to Singapore, you would have seen in the last few years. I am not sure we are looking at any marked pickup.” In the meantime, Singapore’s capital and financial markets, as well as its banking system, are deep and liquid enough to handle large fund flows, he said. MAS, which also serves as a financial regulator, is strict when it comes to illicit fund flows, repeatedly reminding financial institutions to be on guard, Menon said. “There’s so much money coming in, you can choose,” he said. Other interview highlights: MAS has been focusing on strengthening disclosure rules by listed companies to deter firms from misconduct Singapore is not aiming to become a cashless society even though digital payments are becoming common https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/new-money-inflows-to-singapore-jump-59-to-a-record-s448b-in-2021 curious to see what the inflow amount is for 2022 ...
  24. source: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/09/28/bring-back-hsr-to-excite-the-world-again-says-najib/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=pmd_AzHpCmrHbXPR9DK06.27Ybl5ZuKUYjXah80i34EzfG0-1632906920-0-gqNtZGzNAnujcnBszQal KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak says Malaysia needs to regain the global economy’s interest and attention, and suggested that Putrajaya revive the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project. Najib (BN-Pekan) said the project would give a new lease of life to the peninsular’s southern economic corridor, such as Iskandar Malaysia, Batu Pahat, Muar, Melaka and Seremban. “Aside from efforts to rebuild international relations with major economies that were affected after the 14th general election, Malaysia needs to excite the world again. “Projects like HSR, which would connect two of Asean’s biggest economies, need to be revived according to the original concept and design,” he told the Dewan Rakyat while debating the 12th Malaysia Plan today. Najib said the project would also create 70,000 job opportunities directly and indirectly, while potentially generating US$1.6 billion in revenue, according to the Institute of Developing Economies in Japan. However, this would hinge on the rail project directly connecting to Singapore, instead of just running from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru. The latter, he said, would make the project not viable while costing the nation billions in subsidies. “Reviving the HSR project according to its original plan can also revive the Bandar Malaysia project, worth RM140 billion in terms of gross development value.” He suggested that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) be assigned such development projects, citing their success with the Battersea project in the UK. “This (Bandar Malaysia) project can also be worked on with Singaporean investors since the HSR would connect with the country, if EPF and PNB are of the view that it would bring an advantage. “If this happens, I propose that the project be rebranded to Bandar Asean, placing Malaysia as the centre for Asean in efforts to attract the international community’s attention,” he said. The HSR project was officially cancelled this year, with Malaysia set to compensate Singapore for costs incurred as part of its obligations under the bilateral agreement. Previously, a source in Putrajaya had told FMT that Malaysia would have to pay compensation of around RM320 million.
  25. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/more-spending-on-healthcare-does-not-mean-a-healthier-population-ong-ye-kung SINGAPORE - The Republic’s healthcare challenge in the coming years is not spending more, but to ensure that Singapore does not go the way of many OECD countries where healthcare costs are “spiralling and escalating out of control”, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung told Parliament on Wednesday. Better health outcomes can be achieved by continuing with Singapore’s sensible and practical approach of having different layers of safety nets – subsidies, MediShield Life, MediSave and MediFund – and combining it with the Healthier SG strategy to reduce the sickness and disease burden even as the population ages, he added. Mr Ong was responding to Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai’s assertion on Tuesday that the Government has not spent enough to cover Singaporeans’ healthcare costs, and should be spending more to help with medical bills. Mr Leong had cited data to show that the Government’s share of healthcare expenditure is lower than the average among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. The majority of the 38 OECD members are regarded as developed countries. Mr Ong noted that it is widely accepted by health economists that spending more on healthcare does not mean better outcomes. For instance, the United States and Britain spend about 17 per cent and 10 per cent of their gross domestic product on healthcare respectively, compared with Singapore’s 4 per cent. Despite this, both those countries are facing a high incidence of chronic illnesses and high obesity rates, and expected lifespans there are lower than in Singapore, he said. Conversely, Singapore has delivered good outcomes given how much it is spending, while keeping healthcare affordable for the middle- and lower-income groups, Mr Ong added. Seven in 10 Singaporeans in subsidised hospital wards do not pay any out-of-pocket expenses, and nine in 10 pay less than $500 in cash. “So when Mr Leong asked the Government to spend more to lower out-of-pocket expenses further, he really meant to channel resources to unsubsidised patients, that is, those staying in A class wards or private hospitals,” he said. “This is where the big bucks and big expenditure are, and it will push our healthcare expenditure and spending to the levels of OECD countries.” Mr Leong also failed to mention that such spending ultimately has to be raised from the people through taxes, and made no mention of where PSP will get the funding from, Mr Ong added. The reality is that government healthcare spending has already been rising, having tripled between 2011 and 2020, and is expected to triple again between 2021 and 2030, said Mr Ong. Mr Leong had also called for increased spending from the Pioneer Generation (PG) and Merdeka Generation funds, as he felt that spending from those funds has been small relative to their total assets. This understanding is misplaced as both funds were sized based on the projected lifetime cost of the benefits, said Mr Ong. He noted that PG members are as young as 74 and “still have quite a bit of runway ahead of them”, though the Government will continue to review the adequacy of both funds. The Health Minister also responded to Workers’ Party MP Jamus Lim’s suggestion that Singapore’s medical infrastructure is too lean, and that the current hospital bed crunch speaks to a need to relook healthcare capacity. Mr Ong said every country is facing a similar crunch post-Covid-19, including the OECD countries despite their higher bed-to-population ratio. The reason for the bed crunch here is that the average length of hospital stay has increased by 15 per cent compared with before the pandemic, he said. This is likely a result of more older people falling ill due to an “immunity debt” as safe management measures were lifted, a problem exacerbated by poorer health from social isolation amid Covid-19. Singapore is catching up on healthcare capacity as projects delayed by Covid-19 – such as the Tan Tock Seng Hospital Integrated Care Hub and Woodlands integrated health campus – are now being completed, said Mr Ong. More transitional care facilities will also be set up to offer rehabilitative care for more stable senior patients. Closing the debate on the motion to support healthcare here beyond the pandemic, Nominated MP Tan Yia Swam responded to Mr Leong’s charge that drug prices were “marked up unreasonably for non-subsidised patients” in order to cross-subsidise others. Dr Tan, who is a breast surgeon, asked if Mr Leong had evidence that this was happening, and noted that non-subsidised patients are those who opt for an A-class or B1-class ward, or foreigners. “I, as a doctor, would think that allowing market forces to determine costings is fair, or would Mr Leong also want taxpayers to pay for everyone?” she asked. Mr Leong said he had heard “feedback from residents (that) they pay different prices when in different classes”, and that while it is understandable for services to be priced differently based on ward class, this should not be the case for drugs. The NCMP had earlier called on the Government to centralise drug procurement across public and private medical institutions, as doing so would reduce the cost of medicine. In response, Mr Ong said Singapore deliberately chose to have a variegated market for healthcare, with private-sector doctors having different business models. For instance, some private doctors charge very low consultation fees but make a margin on the drugs they sell, while others do the reverse, he said. “Sometimes you want to let market forces operate, but at the same time have some discipline through... what we subsidise and what we don’t, and I think that’s how we rein in unnecessary healthcare costs,” said Mr Ong.
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