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News Recap

News Recap – 29 Aug to 04 Sep

04 Sep 2020

1. Workers enjoy afternoon out in parks after months in dorms

After months of being cooped up in their dormitories, some 50 foreign workers had the chance to stretch their legs in Labrador Park and HortPark on Wednesday afternoon, as part of a trial run to allow more healthy workers out of their dormitories on rest days.

The workers, who are either recovered COVID-19 patients or have tested negative for the coronavirus in the last 14 days, played games, ate and went for walks in the park, in small groups of five.

They were chosen by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which had collaborated with non-governmental organisation (NGO) Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO) to organise the outing.

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2. Singapore seeks ‘quality rather than quantity’: Chan Chun Sing on changes to foreign work pass policy 

Singapore is putting focus on “quality, rather than quantity” with the latest increases to the qualifying salaries of foreigners on Employment Passes and S Passes, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Saturday (Aug 29).


Earlier this week, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced that the minimum salaries for new Employment Pass candidates will be raised by S$600 to S$4,500 from September. Holders of the S Passes will have to meet a S$2,500 threshold, instead of S$2,400, from October.

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3. MOM to look at beefing up resources to tackle unfair hiring practices 

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is looking at beefing up resources to scrutinise unfair hiring practices by companies, said Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng on Monday (Aug 31).

He gave the response in an exchange with the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Pritam Singh, in Parliament, who had asked about his statement that the ministry was stepping up surveillance and enforcement actions against businesses that blatantly discriminate against local workers.

The Workers' Party chief quizzed the new minister whether "stepping up" entailed increasing the budget for the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), for instance, particularly as there are a large number of companies in Singapore across many industries.

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4. Singapore site to pioneer digital twin technology for Shell

Shell has announced that its manufacturing site in Palau Bukom, Singapore, home of Singapore’s first refinery, will pilot digital twin technology for the company.

David Wagg, Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield, UK, has previously explained that a digital twin is a virtual duplicate of a real structure, or system, combining data and models (of differing fidelity), that evolves over time. They have the potential to aid design and could possibly deliver enhanced operation and management commands.
 
According to Shell, the power of digital twin lies in its visual, data, and analytical capabilities. Live information about plant operations can be provided to engineers via augmented reality and virtual reality, reducing the need to step into the plant.

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5. 4 Tips for Embracing the New Way of Work

With a mixture of work arrangements becoming more common as employees are slowly returning to office, here are some considerations to help you prepare for it, as shared by experts from the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP). 
 
Working from home has become the “new normal” for many organisations these days. However, as restrictions against COVID-19 ease, organisations are likely to take on a hybrid approach to work, encompassing a blend of physical and virtual set-ups, with some employees working from the office and the others working remotely, or a combination of both.
 

  • Putting safety first
  • Rebuilding workplace morale
  • Adapting to the new norm
  • Sustaining the new way of work

 

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6. Malaysia Extends Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) to 31 Dec 2020

To control the spread of COVID-19, Malaysia has extended RMCO, which was due to end on 31 Aug to 31 December 2020, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin announced on Friday (28 August) in a televised address.
 
The implications of the extension include the following:

  • Borders will remain closed to foreign tourists to prevent the import of cases into the country. 
  • Nightclubs and entertainment centres will remain closed, given the difficulty to practice the new norms in these places.
  • While sports activities will be allowed, it will be without the involvement of international participants and spectators.

 The existing strict quarantine regulations in certain places will continue to be enforced, PM said. He explained that given the rapid spread of the virus abroad, the country cannot take the risk of super spreaders lightly.

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7. Malaysia Restricts Entry of Long-Term Residents from Indonesia, Philippines and India Effective 07 Sept 2020

From 07 Sept 2020 onwards, long-term pass holders from India, Indonesia, and the Philippines will no longer be able to enter Malaysia.
 
Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced in a press conference on 01 Sept that long-term pass holders from India, Indonesia, and the Philippines will be barred from entering the country, with effect from 07 Sept, Bernama reported.
 
The restrictions include six categories of long-term pass holders, including:

  • Permanent resident status (PR)
  • Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H)
  • Expatriates including professional visit pass holders (PVP)
  • Resident pass holders
  • Spouse visas and their children
  • Students who are citizens of the respective countries

 

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