Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong asked the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many fires have broken out in the last three years in coffeeshops in HDB blocks with residential units located above them; (b) whether there are specific fire safety provisions pertaining to these coffeeshops; (c) whether the Ministry will consider strengthening the fire safety provisions for these coffeeshops including the mandatory installation of automatic sprinkler systems so as to protect residents living above the coffeeshops
Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong asked the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth with regard to heritage artefacts excavated by archaeologists or others in the last five years (a) whether all the artefacts have been properly documented and reported to the Government; (b) what is the legal ownership status of such artefacts; and (c) how are the artefacts stored and protected.
Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong asked the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the definition of "severely impacted life expectancy" to apply for an early withdrawal under the CPF Medical Grounds Scheme; (b) whether the definition can be brought in line with the Life Insurance Association's Critical Illness Framework or the equivalent for transparency reasons; and (c) what is the reduced Retirement Sum for calculating the withdrawal amount and how is it derived.
Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong asked the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth with regard to open fields in HDB estates that are fenced up and managed by the People's Association such as the large field behind Punggol Community Club (a) whether these decisions to fence up the fields have been made in consultation with residents; (b) what are their utilisation rates on weekdays compared to on weekends; and (c) whether the fields can be opened up during weekdays and off-peak periods for families to enjoy without the need for booking.
Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong (Non-Constituency Member): Mdm Speaker, the birth rate in Singapore seems to be recovering from record lows. In 2010, we hit our lowest number of citizen births at just over 30,000 babies born. In 2012, in the Chinese zodiac Year of the Dragon, citizen births increased to over 33,000 babies. The good news is that citizen births in the last two years have matched the auspicious Year of the Dragon. And in fact, last year citizen births almost hit 34,000 babies, the highest in a decade. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is hovering around 1.25, off the low of 1.16 in 2010.
There is some hope that we have turned the corner with regards to falling birth rates. However, it is still too early to tell whether the increased birth rate is a trend or a temporary rise due to positive sentiments brought out by the SG50 jubilee celebrations. I think we can be cautiously optimistic. I will touch on the optimistic part first.