1. Singapore announces Green Plan 2030, charts green targets for next decade
The Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of National Development (MND), Ministry of Sustainability and Environment (MSE), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Ministry of Transport (MOT) have come together to unveil the Singapore Green Plan 2030 on 10 February which charts Singapore’s green targets over the next 10 years.
The Green Plan 2030 will involve a “whole-of-nation movement” to advance the national agenda on sustainable development. It also strengthens our commitment under the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and Paris Agreement.
There are five pillars in the Green Plan – City in Nature, Sustainable Living, Energy Reset, Green Economy and Resilient Future. These pillars will cut across all sectors of society, ranging from infrastructural development, research and innovation, to training programmes.
Specifically, the plan details that Singapore will aim to halve its 2030 peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with the aim of achieving net-zero emissions “as soon as viable in the second half of the century.”
Other new initiatives include requiring all new car registrations to be cleaner-energy models from 2030, reducing the amount of waste sent to our landfill, creating carbon neutral schools by 2030, developing and conserving our green spaces, and educating the public on “Green Citizenry”.
The Green Plan was also designed to be a “living plan”, and will evolve as Singapore’s strategies are developed and refined. It will take into account technological developments and incorporate a “continuous national engagement” process.
As such, the ministries will “actively involve” the public and other partners to further develop ideas and undertake relevant initiatives. This will begin with a series of “Green Plan Conversations” in 2021 to seek the views of Singaporeans and explore potential partnerships.
Additional details about the plan will be released at Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s upcoming Budget announcement on 16 February, as well as during the Committee of Supply Debate in Parliament. More information on the Green Plan is available here.
2. Fewer multi-generational families living together despite rise in number of HDB households
On Wednesday, 10 February, the Housing & Development Board (HDB) released findings from its Sample Household Survey, indicating that the number of HDB households has risen steadily over the years, with over 1 million flats being occupied in 2018.
However, the average household size has fallen from 3.4 people in 2008 to 3.1 people in 2018, as the proportion of households with two or more generations residing together decreased.
The Sample Household Survey is held once every five years to collect feedback on public housing, as well as to pinpoint the shifting needs of residents. Close to 8,000 households participated in the latest survey in 2018.
Other findings showed that the total number of Singaporeans and permanent residents living in HDB flats decreased from 3.06 million in 2013 to 3.04 million in 2018, with more households shifting to private housing, despite an overall increase in the number of households.
Family-based households also showed a decline from constituting 90.9 per cent of all households in 2008, to 86.6 per cent in 2018.
There was also a rise in proportion of one-person households from 8 per cent to 11.9 per cent within the same time frame, which was attributed to the nation’s ageing population and new housing policies allowing singles to purchase new two-room flats.
Though less extended families resided together, there was a rise in percentage of younger married couples residing near their parents, from 42.8 per cent in 2013, to 44.9 per cent in 2018.
Frequency of visits between parents and married children also remained “consistently high”, with 81.2 per cent of younger married couples living near their parents conducting visits at least once a week, while only 63 per cent of those living elsewhere in Singapore did so.
HDB mentioned that a series of conversations will be launched to explore residents’ thoughts and priorities in relation to marriage and parenthood, and how COVID-19 has impacted these, to aid the Government in supporting families in the future.
Strength of family ties, housing aspirations and residential mobility were among other factors explored by the Sample Household Survey.
99.4 per cent of younger married residents indicated satisfaction with their families in 2018, marking an increase from 96.8 per cent in 2008.
Older residents with married children were found to rely on their children as a primary source of support, with approximately 90 per cent of those surveyed saying that they could rely on their children for emotional support, and 70 per cent for physical support.
Approximately 73 per cent of residents aged below 35 years indicated aspirations for better housing, which was attributed to young residents having a higher potential to earn income due to the number of working years ahead of them.
There was also a rise in the proportion of households who had moved at least once since marriage, from 72.6 per cent in 2013 to 80 per cent in 2018, with families that have children exhibiting a greater tendency to move, owing to changes in the size of households.
The Housing Board said that the survey findings will help pinpoint areas for improvement for policy reviews and “enable HDB to better understand and keep pace with the evolving needs and lifestyle patterns of residents across different demographic profiles”.
3. Students to receive A-Level examination results next Friday via slips in classrooms
On Wednesday, 10 February, the Ministry of Education announced that the results for 2020 GCE A-level examinations would be released next Friday, 19 February, at 2.30 p.m. Candidates will receive their results in individual classrooms at educational institutions, instead of assembling as a cohort, due to the COVID-19 situation.
Only candidates will be allowed to enter the premises. They are expected to adhere to safety management practices during collection. Those who are eligible for SingPass can also use their account to check their results via the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board’s (SEAB) results release system.
The system will be made available from 19 February to 5 March. A proxy may be appointed to retrieve a physical copy of school candidates’ results on their behalf. Proxies must present the necessary documents to schools for verification purposes and collect the results by 23 February.
School candidates who are unable to obtain a proxy or a password to access their results on the SEAB system may get in touch with their schools for assistance. Candidates who are feeling unwell or serving quarantine orders or leave of absences as of 19 February are urged not to report to schools, but to check their results online on the results release system.
Private candidates will receive their results by post, with their result slips being mailed to the address provided to SEAB, on 19 February.
Applications for admissions and scholarships to autonomous universities may be submitted online. School candidates submitting their applications online need not include a hard copy of their A-level certificates.
Education and Career Guidance (ECG) counsellors, as well as teachers, are available for those seeking guidance on their next step in their educational journey.
Online or phone counselling with an ECG counsellor is also available via e-appointment, by emailing [email protected] or calling the hotline at 6831 1420.
4. Singtel’s data breached through hack on third-party file sharing vendor
Singtel released a statement on Thursday, 11 February, to say that a third-party file sharing system it uses has been hacked, and customer information may have been compromised. Currently, an impact assessment on the extent of the data breach is ongoing.
The file sharing system is called FTA and is provided by cloud-sharing company Accellion. In their own statement, Accellion stated that FTA was a 20-year-old product near the end of its lifespan and suffered a “sophisticated cyber-attack”.
Singtel has also assured that the breach is an isolated incident involving a third-party system, and that its core operations are “unaffected and sound”. The FTA system had been used to share information internally within the company and externally to other stakeholders.
The telco is in the midst of active investigations and have suspended all use of the system. They are working with cyber security experts and the relevant authorities in this matter. Once they have determined which files were illegally accessed, they will be reaching out to customers and stakeholders who have been affected.
5. Gojek and Tokopedia in talks to finalize merger as early as this month
Ride-hailing firm Gojek and e-commerce provider Tokopedia are finalizing the terms of their merger and working towards reaching an agreement as early as this month. The move will mark the union of two of Indonesia’s most renowned startups.
The two firms are also said to be considering the possibility of an IPO for the merged firms in both Jakarta and the US, with a target valuation ranging from US$35 billion to US$40 billion.
Latest negotiations revealed that Gojek shareholders would possess a 60% stake in the merged entity, with Tokopedia investors owning a 40% stake.
Gojek and Tokopedia were reported to be conducting advanced talks to discuss the merger earlier this year.