Addenda to President’s Address: MND, MEWR committed to building better homes and a liveable Singapore

Building better homes for current and future generations of Singaporeans, as well as creating a liveable and sustainable country form key thrusts of both ministries.
Fann Sim and Aqil Haziq Mahmud Channel NewsAsia 8 May 18;

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) on Tuesday (May 8) laid down plans to create a liveable and sustainable Singapore.

In his ministry’s addendum to President Halimah Yacob’s address in Parliament on Monday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong reaffirmed plans to build a more inclusive city for Singaporeans of all ages and abilities.

This includes seeing to the housing needs of senior and vulnerable Singaporeans.

For seniors, MND will pilot a new model of assisted living that combines housing and care services, in order to help them live more independently and with dignity. MND will also update the existing Enhancement for Active Seniors programme to provide more accessibility solutions.

For vulnerable Singaporeans living in rental flats, MND will study how to further support their homeownership aspirations.

Mr Wong said that his ministry also plans to build a “smarter, greener, and more liveable city”. Chief among its plans is the linking of up the 24km Rail Corridor to parks, nature areas and trails such as the Coast-to-Coast Trail and 150km Round Island Route by 2021.

By 2030, he said, 90 per cent of Singaporeans will live within a 10-minute walk of a park, and Singapore’s network of green corridors will be expanded from 310km to 400km.

MEWR is also doing its part to build a liveable and sustainable Singapore by integrating and transforming “our blue and green spaces”, it said.

“Through the Active, Beautiful, Clean (ABC) Waters programme, we will continue to turn concrete drains, canals, and reservoirs into vibrant and beautiful rivers, streams, and lakes,” Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said in his ministry’s addendum.

“Over the next few years, ABC Waters projects at locations such as the Jurong Lake and Sungei Whampoa will be completed.

The ministry will also continue to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure, such as enhancing stormwater management systems and diversifying water supply with more desalination and NEWater plants.

“In tandem, we are pursuing better management of our water demand,” Mr Masagos said. “We will also deepen our local research capabilities on climate science and weather through the Centre for Climate Research Singapore.”

When it comes to tackling climate change, using resources efficiently is critical to reducing emissions, limiting pollution and strengthening Singapore’s economic resilience, he said.

“We will strive to become a zero waste nation and extract greater value from waste as a resource, so as to achieve our vision of a circular economy,” he added, highlighting the Government's implementation of a compulsory e-waste management system and mandatory reporting of packaging data and packaging waste reduction plans by 2021.

“While the Government will continue to strengthen our regulatory regime to safeguard our environment and public health, creating a liveable and endearing home ultimately depends on everyone taking ownership of our environment,” Mr Masagos said.

Source: CNA/hz

Quality living in a connected city, three ministers pledge
WONG PEI TING Today Online 8 May 18;

SINGAPORE — Through mega aviation and port projects, as well as continued investments in rail and mobility initiatives and new housing developments, the Government will ensure a quality living environment for Singaporeans and keep Singapore one of the most connected cities in Asia.

Some 3,000 flats with shorter waiting times of two to three years — instead of the usual four years — will be launched this year and next, and the first batch of flats in the Tengah "Forest Town" will be launched in the second half of this year, said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong on Tuesday (May 8) in his addendum to President Halimah Yacob's address at the opening of the second session of the 13th Parliament.

"Home ownership remains the key social pillar of our nation," said Mr Wong. "We are tapering the building of new flat to a more sustainable level, but we will continue to maintain a sufficient supply to meet the housing needs of Singaporeans, from young families, to seniors and singles."

For seniors, Mr Wong said a new model of assisted living that combines housing with care services will be piloted to enable them to live independently and with dignity.

On transport, Transport Minister and Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure Khaw Boon Wan said the rail network will expand by 130km in the next 12 years. The construction of the Thomson-East Coast Line is underway, with the Jurong Region Line and Cross Island Line to follow. This plan is "on track" to bring eight in 10 households within a 10-minute walk from a train station by 2030, Mr Khaw said.

The authorities will introduce a licensing framework for bicycle sharing operators and registration for e-scooters by the end of this year, he added. This will enhance enforcement against indiscriminate parking and reckless riding and instil a more responsible culture among users.

On a larger scale, Singapore will continue to foster its connection to the global economy with Changi Airport's expansion, the next generation Tuas Port, as well as the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail and the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link.

Such developments continue to be important as aviation and maritime sectors continue to be the "lifelines of Singapore's economy", contributing more than 10 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product and 250,000 jobs, said Mr Khaw.

"We cannot take (Singapore's position at the heart of international trade and investment) for granted. Many in the region are working hard to replace us, with shipping and flight routes bypassing Singapore," he said.

The Government will balance economic growth with environmental protection, pledged Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli.

Singapore will undertake a voluntary national review of the United Nations' sustainable development goals in July this year, he said.

It will implement mandatory reporting of packaging data and packaging waste reduction plans by 2021, while supporting the wider use of on-site food waste digesters at commercial premises and hawker centres.

The upcoming Tuas Water Reclamation Plant and integrated waste management facility — touted as the world's first — will cut carbon emissions by more than 200,000 tonnes a year, said Mr Masagos.

Technology will increasingly feature in the environmental services industry — to manage waste collection remotely, through the use of robotics to sort recyclables at materials recovery facilities, and the use of autonomous cleaning to free up workers to perform "higher value work", he said. "We will work together to build on (our pioneers') precious legacy, and leave our children with a smart, green and livable home," he said.

Key initiatives for each ministry:

Ministry of Transport

Rail network to grow by another 130km by 2030
Rail reliability target of 1,000,000 mean km between failures by 2020; to be achieved by accelerating asset renewal and intensifying maintenance of older lines through extended engineering hours
Licensing framework for bicycle sharing operators and registration of e-scooters to be introduced by the end of 2018
Ministry of National Development

First batch of HDB flats in the new Tengah 'Forest Town', designed to be surrounded by greenery and nature, to launch in the second half of the year
90 per cent of Singaporeans to live within a 10-minute walk of a park by 2030 as network of green corridors will be expanded from 310km to 400km
New assisted living model that integrates social services with housing to be piloted for seniors
Adoption of more productive construction methods to double from the current 20 per cent of all new projects to 40 per cent by 2020
Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources

Undertake a voluntary national review of UN's sustainable development goals in July
Implement mandatory reporting of packaging data and packaging waste reduction plans by 2021
Support wider use of on-site food waste digesters at commercial premises and hawker centres
Build 13 more modern hawker centres by 2027