Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 looks set to be a busy year for Singaporeans

SINGAPORE: From means testing in public hospitals, which kicks off on Thursday, to the opening of Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort at year-end, 2009 looks set to be a busy year.

The economy, which has dominated headlines, will continue to do so in January.

The National Wages Council is expected to come up with new recommendations by mid-month, while Singapore Budget has been brought forward to January 22.

Health-wise, there are major changes too.

HIV testing is going to be an opt-out scheme in all public hospitals and changes to the law to allow living donors to be compensated under the Human Organ Transplant Act are also expected. The sum will be decided this year.

The laws surrounding how criminals will be penalised will also see changes, with the Law Ministry proposing to replace the current Criminal Procedure Code.

In addition to that, the government is expected to give its position later this month on a proposal to repeal the law that bans party political films.

On a day-to-day basis, Singaporeans can look forward to smoother journeys, with part of the MRT Circle Line scheduled to open by mid-year.

Two new cards – a new generation EZ Link card and a NETS transit card – that can do more than just pay public transport fares – are scheduled to be pushed out in January and September, respectively.

Sports-wise, Singapore will host the inaugural Asian Youth Games in June, in the run-up to the Youth Olympic Games in 2010.

Another big hosting event in November this year is the APEC summit where world leaders are expected to gather in Singapore.

- CNA/so

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