Saliva test for drugs, new chalets for NSmen: Debate on government spending at a glance

Singapore will continue to strengthen relations with immediate neighbours Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, said Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. The Republic has ratified three major agreements with Indonesia, addressing the issues of airspace management, defence cooperation and extradition of fugitives.

During Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s introductory visit to Singapore in January, three government-to-government agreements were inked. As for Brunei, Singapore looks forward to expanding cooperation in emerging areas such as the green economy, agri-tech and energy.

Why it matters

Dr Balakrishnan said the resolution of the three longstanding issues with Indonesia paves the way for Singapore and Indonesia to advance their bilateral cooperation significantly in the years ahead.

A host of other high-level visits and agreements also signal Singapore’s commitment to work with its neighbours on new and emerging areas of mutual interest. The Republic is also seeking to deepen relations with Malaysian states and explore opportunities to work together for mutual benefit.

READ FULL STORY: Vivian outlines S’pore’s 2023 foreign policy priorities amid ‘perfect storm’ of multiple crises

If you have a few more minutes…

1. Military museums

A new organisation has been set up to oversee all defence and military museums here. This comes amid efforts to update Singapore’s military museums, including the Singapore Discovery Centre, which was refreshed in 2022, and the Navy Museum, which is undergoing a complete makeover and set to reopen in mid-2023.

2. New club for NSmen

The National Service Resort and Country Club will build a social and recreation hub with chalets, sports facilities and other amenities in Changi, catering to the needs of a younger generation of NSmen. Details will be announced later.

3. HTX to hire Stem talents

The Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) plans to fill 500 positions in 2023 with recruits from the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Stem) sector.

It will be looking at fresh university and polytechnic graduates, as well as experienced professionals. HTX has about 1,500 employees currently, and the recruitment drive is meant to ensure the Home Team has enough specialised talent to support its needs.

4. Public Defender’s Office 

The office has hired 13 public defenders. It has received more than 250 applications, of which 130 have been assessed. Of those, 60 were eligible for criminal defence aid.

5. Protection from Harassment Court

The number of applications for protection orders has increased significantly, from 319 between 2019 and 2020 to 924 from 2021 to 2022. Of the 924, 866 were filed after the Protection from Harassment Court began operating on June 1, 2021.

The court ordered 302 protection orders while 413 applications were withdrawn. The remaining 209 are either pending or have been dismissed. Cyberbullying was the most common type of harassment, followed by doxxing and workplace harassment.


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