Selasa, 29 Oktober 2013

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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

'Let MNCs transfer foreign staff here'


SINGAPORE must adhere to international agreements and allow multinational firms to transfer foreign staff here, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said, when asked if such transfers circumvent the new Fair Consideration Frame-work.

The framework, which takes effect next August, requires all firms to advertise openings on a government jobs bank before hiring skilled foreigners.

Tan was replying to a resident's question at a dialogue in the Woodgrove division of Sembawang GRC during his first ministerial community visit on Sunday.

Oun Hui Ping, 38, applauded the new advertising requirement but worried that multinational corporations (MNCs) could exploit a "loophole" by bringing in foreigners as "transfer staff".

Replying, Tan referred to the World Trade Organisation's General Agreement on Trade in Services, and noted that intra-company transfers are subject to strict rules.

The worker must have been employed for at least a year beforehand and must be a manager, executive or specialist.

Transferred workers can stay for a two-year period, which can be extended by three years at a time up to a total of eight years.

But Tan also noted that many foreigners are not here under such transfers.

He argued that Singapore has to make it worthwhile for MNCs to be here, as they generate jobs, and a diverse work force is one attractive factor.

On the new framework, he said: "It's one of those policies where there will be individuals who will feel that we're not protecting Singaporeans enough.

"But my perspective is, we need to protect Singaporeans by generating jobs."

Another question from a Benny Lim, 22, who asked what the "new normal" in politics means for front-line government staff or grassroots leaders.

Tan said that front-line staff will have a harder time as people are more demanding.

But even though "there might be good reasons why you are frustrated", those are not good reasons to treat someone badly, he said.

A "new normal" does not mean accepting this, he said. "I think we need to push back and say this is not the society we want."

Before fielding these questions, Tan also talked about how every resident can help to create his desired community.

"Imagine a community where people actually know each other. That's what nation-building is," he told some 100 residents attending the dialogue, and added: "It starts with you."

He made this point after joining them for discussions on issues such as how to encourage residents to volunteer and new grassroots initiatives. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network

Govt looking into forming anti-litter volunteer corps


ORDINARY Singaporeans may be given the power to issue a fine to anyone they catch dropping rubbish, under a plan to get the community more involved in the nation's fight against littering.

The Government is looking at creating an anti-litter volunteer corps from as early as next year.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said his department could enlist and train members of the public and give them the same warrant cards as enforcement officers from the National Environment Agency.

This means they would have the power to issue fines on the spot.

The present Community Volunteer Programme involves 100 people from civic groups such as the Singapore Environment Council and Cat Welfare Society who have the power only to ask offenders to pick up and bin their rubbish.

If they refuse, volunteers can only take down their particulars.

The current composition fine for littering is up to S$300 (RM762). Recalcitrants can be fined up to S$1,000 (RM2,450) for the first conviction and up to S$5,000 (RM12,700) for repeat convictions.

Dr Balakrishnan said the proposal aims to remind everyone to take ownership of the environment. "The real objective of raising a call for volunteers is this sense of empowerment and sense of stakeholding. It's not just about having more people to issue more tickets. That's an almost trivial exercise."

The proposed volunteer corps will be "in terms of hundreds or more", he added at a community event yesterday. The ministry will spend the next three to six months canvassing public feedback on the proposal.

Incidents of high-rise littering – when residents of tall buildings throw their trash to the ground – have been on the rise. Last year, the authorities received 8,152 complaints, up from 5,232 in 2011.

The move is also part of a review of the Sustainable Singapore Blue­print, which outlines strategies to achieve economic growth and a good living environment. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network

Five killed in China Tiananmen Square car crash


Beijing (AFP) - Five people including a Philippine tourist were killed and 38 were injured after a vehicle ploughed into crowds in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on Monday and caught fire, police said.

The blaze sent clouds of smoke billowing into the air near a giant portrait of Mao Zedong that hangs at one end of the square, the site of pro-democracy protests in 1989 which were brutally crushed by the authorities.

Witnesses and reports said the SUV vehicle drove along the pavement outside the Forbidden City, the former imperial palace, before crashing -- prompting speculation the incident was intentional.

Immediately afterwards a security operation swung into force on the vast plaza, the symbolic centre of the Chinese state.

"I saw a car turn a bend and suddenly it was driving on the pavement. It happened fast but looked like it knocked people over," one eyewitness, who did not want to be named, told AFP.

"I heard an explosion and saw fire. The scene was very frightening," he added. "There were paramilitary police who told people to get back into their cars and stop taking pictures."

Images posted on Chinese social media sites showed the blazing shell of the SUV and a plume of black smoke rising near a portrait of communist China's founder that hangs on the Forbidden City's towering wall, while crowds looked on.

Several pictures posted online were deleted within minutes, streets leading to the square were blocked off and barriers were erected.

Two AFP reporters were temporarily detained close to the site and images were deleted from their digital equipment.

"The incident led to five deaths and 38 injuries," Beijing police said on their verified account on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

The driver of the vehicle and two passengers were killed, along with two tourists, one a woman from the Philippines and the other a man from Guangdong province in southern China, they said.

Three Philippine tourists and one Japanese were among the injured, police added, saying the vehicle had crashed into the guardrail on Jinshui Bridge, which crosses the moat around the Forbidden City, and then caught fire.

The Southern Metropolis Daily quoted an injured Philippine woman named Francesca as saying: "I heard the car's horn honking, but I noticed it too late. My mind went completely blank, and when I woke again I was completely on the ground."

Philippine government officials said they had been informed of the death of one of their nationals.

"Beijing's public security bureau informed our embassy that a Filipina was one of those killed in the car crash in Tiananmen Square earlier today. Three other Filipinos, a male and two females, were also injured and brought to the hospital," foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez told AFP.

'Is this a self-immolation incident?'

One 58-year-old Italian tourist said he was touring the Forbidden City when officers came in around noon and ushered everybody out.

Tiananmen Square is generally kept under tight security, with both uniformed and plainclothes personnel deployed. Many are equipped with fire extinguishers.

Social media users speculated that the car was crashed intentionally.

"Is this the 2013 Tiananmen self-immolation incident?" asked the writer of one post. "There's still a person inside the car!"

Around 120 Tibetans have set themselves alight since February 2009 in Tibet itself and adjoining regions of China, in protest against what they see as oppression by Beijing.

The writer of another post noted that the vehicle had driven through a pedestrian area, adding: "It couldn't have been a car accident but was a premeditated event."

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she did not know "the specifics" when asked whether there was any evidence of a terrorist attack.

State broadcaster CCTV did not mention the incident on its flagship evening bulletin.

The first reports of the crash trickled online Monday afternoon from Chinese social media users at the scene.

Soon afterwards police erected high curtain-like barricades directly in front of the Mao portrait, blocking passers-by from viewing the scene.

Police stopped people from entering the square and said an "event" was happening there, while an officer in a van blared orders to leave through a loudspeaker.

Vehicles were later allowed back on to the main road in front of the Forbidden City, a world heritage site that sees 14 million visitors a year.

As well as the 1989 student demonstration, Tiananmen Square has been the scene of other protests.

In January 1982 a woman taxi driver who had been fined for failing to fulfil her quota of fares drove her vehicle into a crowd at the Jinshui bridge, killing five people and injuring 19 more. She was executed 20 days later.

State media said in 2001 that five members of the Falungong religious sect had set themselves on fire on the square, but the group accused authorities of staging the incident.

In May 2007 a man from Xinjiang, the far-western region home to Muslim Uighurs, tried to set fire to the Mao portrait but was immediately detained.


1 ulasan:

Jerry Gene on 29 Oktober 2013 3:17 PG berkata...

Very informative post. Keep up the good work. I would really look forward to your other posts

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