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Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Better protection on job security for workers at age 63​

August 12, 2023

I refer to the report on Senior Minister of State for Manpower Koh Poh Koon’s response to a query by Sembawang GRC MP Vikram Nair on the rationale for workers who lose their retrenchment benefits entitlement to be entitled only to Employment Assistance Payment (EAP) when they reach 63 (Employment Assistance Payment should not be compared to retrenchment benefits, Aug 3).
I was previously a senior legal officer with a statutory board that retired me when I reached the statutory retirement age of 63 without offering me the option of re-employment on contract under the Retirement and Re-employment Act 1993.
I was shocked by this decision after working in the organisation for more than 18 years, as I had no reason to believe that I was not eligible to be offered re-employment on contract under the Act. No specific reasons were given, except that no suitable position could be found for me in the organisation, and the ones offered to me were not compatible with my experience and qualifications.
As I was already a senior legal officer at the top end of my pay scale, the EAP cap of $14,750 offered to me, presumably to assist me in finding a new job, is small comfort as my monthly take-home pay was higher.
At 63, it would be difficult for me to secure suitable employment commensurate with my experience and qualifications. I would have been better off being a unionised member under a collective agreement, as the employer would have to compensate me with retrenchment benefits of one month’s pay for every year of service, with a cap. Although I was a general branch member of my union, it could not assist me, nor did it succeed in its appeal to the senior management on my behalf.
Under the Act, I would have been entitled to work until 68 years if the employer had offered me re-employment under contract. Although there is a statutory recourse under the Act against the employer, I am not confident if any appeal would succeed.
I support the call for more protection for workers like me, as there is no job security when the employee reaches the statutory retirement age. The consequence of my retirement is no different from an employee being retrenched or having his services terminated.

Winston Chew Choon Teck


Alfrescian (Inf)
"The top countries that granted them citizenship between 2019 and 2021...Singapore was the seventh-most popular destination, with around 7,000 Indians getting the red passport over the same period."

7,000 Indians were given citizenship in Singapore in 3 years.
That is an average 2,333 a year, or 6 a day.
This excludes the tens of thousands given Employment Passes.

Surge in Indians adopting foreign citizenship, highest numbers in more than a decade​


The top countries that granted Indians citizenship between 2019 and 2021 were the US, Canada and Australia. PHOTO: AFP

Rohini Mohan
India Correspondent

AUG 10, 2023

BENGALURU – More than 225,000 Indians gave up their citizenship in 2022, the most in over a decade, according to data from India’s Ministry of External Affairs. This is a spike from the average of around 150,000 a year since 2011.
The top countries that granted them citizenship between 2019 and 2021 were the United States, Canada and Australia, statistics from India’s Ministry of Home Affairs showed in 2022. Singapore was the seventh-most popular destination, with around 7,000 Indians getting the red passport over the same period.
With the world’s largest diaspora population, India can tap overseas networks and wealth, but emigration also leads to talent drain for one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
“Many Indian nationals have chosen to take up foreign citizenship. The government is cognisant of this development and has undertaken a range of initiatives... that would harness their talent at home,” said External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in Parliament in July, when the latest numbers were revealed.
“A successful, prosperous and influential diaspora is an advantage for India,” he said, adding that the country’s approach was to tap the diaspora networks for “national gain”.
A World Bank report estimated that remittance flow to India would see a rise of 12 per cent to US$100 billion (S$134.5 billion) in 2023. This estimate includes remittances from overseas Indians who still hold Indian passports.
According to a 2020 report by the Population Division of the United Nations, India had 18 million people living outside their homeland, with the United Arab Emirates, the US and Saudi Arabia hosting the majority.

Indian citizens living abroad are so significant to politics and the economy that the Indian government has attempted since 2020 to find a way to allow them to cast their votes.
But those who take up foreign citizenship must renounce their Indian status, as India does not recognise dual nationality.
Since 2011, more than 1.75 million people have renounced their Indian citizenship for foreign passports. The most popular destination is the US, followed by Canada, Australia and Britain.

In the first six months of 2023, 87,026 have taken up foreign citizenship.
Many more are on their way out soon. Marketing professional Amit (not his real name), 36, and his wife, 32, who works in the entertainment industry in Mumbai, received their permanent residency in Canada earlier in 2023 and will move there soon. It puts them on track to get Canadian citizenship in a few years.
The couple first considered leaving India three years ago, when they saw most of their closest Indian friends living abroad.
“We were also feeling that living in India was not going to become easier any time soon. The quality of life, the public goods, infrastructure, what the city offers, is just not commensurate with your income after a certain point,” said Mr Amit.
He added that the poor roads, unreliable public transport, pollution and severe water shortages defeated even the upper class in Mumbai, the financial hub of India.
He said he had no second thoughts about what was “a practical decision” for the Dink (dual income, no kids) couple.
“Changing my passport is only changing my nationality on paper. My Indian-ness hasn’t changed, except that my civic engagement with the new place may actually count for more than it does in India,” he said, referring to his frustrating attempts in India to participate in social work.

The Straits Times spoke to a dozen Indians who have emigrated. They described their decision to change citizenship as a natural, practical extension of seeking better prospects in their education, career path, or family life.
One high-income overseas Indian said the priorities of developed countries, such as tech innovation in the US and Canada, tend to be more aligned to his, while India, the world’s most populous nation with more than 1.4 billion people, still had to balance its emerging economy with electrifying large swathes of the country and lifting millions out of poverty.
“India is improving of course, but in a developed economy, things work already. I can take a lot more for granted,” said another emigrant, citing the more comfortable housing, greenery and quieter setting for moving to Australia.
All of them requested anonymity, lest they be judged for giving up their Indian citizenship.
Some said they were anxious about talking to the media, in case the Indian government cancelled their Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card (a permanent visa for persons of Indian origin), like it did for British-American writer Aatish Taseer in 2019 allegedly for concealing that he had a Pakistani father.
Mr Taseer, however, said he was estranged from his father, was brought up by his well-known Indian journalist mother, and that his OCI was cancelled over his May 2019 Time article critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A Mumbai-born doctor who became a British citizen in 2019 decided to apply after living there for 16 years.
“The reason was not to get a permanent job or career progression. The reason was mainly family. My son is UK-born and essentially thinks he is British. After 16 years, the UK is my home too, so I felt comfortable changing my nationality,” Dr Kavita (not her real name) said.
“It is also easier to travel to Europe and America with a British passport,” she added, a rationale other overseas Indians in the US and Singapore also cited.
A study by the US-based National Bureau of Economic Research found that nine out of 10 top scorers in the annual entrance examination for admission to India’s top engineering colleges had emigrated.
A third of the top 1,000 scorers, particularly graduates of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), also took this path, first going overseas for higher studies and often staying there for work.
Dr Kavita suggested it was futile to worry about a “brain drain” from India.
“As humans, we take the best opportunities possible… Also, India is a very big country, and it has the talent to share with the world.”

Indeed, it is hard to miss the Indian-origin chief executive officers heading American corporations – such as the Chennai-born Indra Nooyi who headed Pepsi till 2018, Madurai-born IIT Kharagpur graduate Sundar Pichai at Alphabet, IIT Mumbai chemical engineering graduate Raj Subramaniam, who heads FedEx after 30 years at the company, and Micron president Sanjay Mehrotra, who was born in Uttar Pradesh.
For Mr Deepak (not his real name), however, it was the urge “to step off the corporate treadmill” that prompted his move in 2019 to Adelaide, Australia, on a skill-based permanent residency with his wife and middle-schooler son.
“After 20 years in the tech industry, working round the clock with no time for your child or other pursuits, we decided in our 40s to take an unimaginable risk, leave our settled lives and move to Australia. This country prizes work-life balance in a way that the American or Indian corporate space does not,” said the 44-year-old corporate learning and development professional.
Four years in Australia with a permanent residency and on track for citizenship, Mr Deepak said he lives in a rented home earning less than what he did in India, but enjoys “the relaxed pace of life” with no evening calls, lots of outdoor activities, family dinners every night and their creatively inclined son exploring art and writing in school.
Mr Deepak said well-maintained, reliable facilities mean that “the money goes a long way, and we can live a life more comfortable than we had in India”.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Unpleasant consequences of supermarkets’ plastic bag charge​

AUG 18, 2023

The move by supermarkets to charge for plastic bags is leading to more unsanitary and unhygienic Housing Board estates and rubbish chutes.
In the Toa Payoh HDB estate where I live, unbagged waste is being thrown into rubbish chutes, leading to foul smells. Relatives who live in other estates have the same problem.
Supermarkets and their customers are also impacted by the plastic bag rule. Customers without their own bags and who do not want to pay for the bags can be seen walking home carrying bulky food items. Others resort to stuffing their pockets with the plastic bags meant for packing fresh produce.
At self-service checkout counters, other customers and cashiers have at times given me long, hard stares whenever I carry five to 10 plastic bags during my grocery shopping trips. Once at a supermarket, three cashiers in five minutes accused me of stealing eight plastic shopping bags that I had paid for. They apologised after I showed them my receipt.
Instead of making the world greener, the new plastic move is creating new problems. People are helping themselves to the bags meant for produce, while those who buy the bags are looked on with suspicion.
There is a better solution. Disposable, biodegradable bags made from corn starch and lactic acid have been available since the 1990s. They have much smaller carbon footprints than either plastic or even fabric bags.

Eric J. Brooks


Alfrescian (Inf)

Bus, train fares to rise by up to 11 cents for adults; new $96 concession pass for low-wage workers​


The overall cost of bus and train rides will go up by 7 per cent. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Kenneth Cheng and Lee Nian Tjoe

Sep 18, 2023

SINGAPORE - From Dec 23, public transport fares for adults who pay by card will climb by up to 11 cents, as the overall cost of bus and train rides goes up by 7 per cent.
Adult card fares will increase by 10 cents for journeys of up to 4.2km and 11 cents for rides beyond 4.2km, the Public Transport Council (PTC) said on Monday after it concluded its yearly fare review exercise.
For example, the adult card fare for an MRT ride from Simei to Tanjong Pagar, which costs $1.85 now, will rise to $1.96.
Concessionary fares for seniors, students, people with disabilities and low-wage workers who pay by card will go up by four cents for journeys of up to 4.2km and five cents for longer rides. About two million commuters, or half of Singaporeans, are in this group.
This year’s increase is the steepest since the hike in 2019, when fares also rose by 7 per cent. The 11-cent hike is also the highest on record.
The PTC said fares could have gone up by 22.6 per cent in 2023 – the highest allowable increase since 1998, when the council began using formulas to set a cap on fare changes.
This comprises a 12 per cent increase derived from a new fare formula introduced for the 2023 exercise, as well as a 10.6 per cent hike rolled over from the 2022 exercise, said the PTC.

The 2023 adjustment was spurred largely by a 62.3 per cent rise in energy prices in 2022, as well as growth in core inflation and wages, said the council.
Transport operators SBS Transit and SMRT Trains had applied for the full 22.6 per cent hike in 2023, citing reasons such as higher energy prices, a competitive labour market, as well as a slow and uncertain recovery in ridership.
Public transport ridership remains at about 90 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels.

PTC said it decided against granting the full increase, to keep fares affordable in the present “higher-cost environment”.
The remaining increase of 15.6 per cent will be postponed to future fare review exercises.
PTC said this deferment was possible because the Government is providing an extra $300 million in public transport subsidies in 2024, on top of the more than $2 billion in subsidies it already shells out every year to keep services running.
“The additional government subsidy will help to moderate the level of fare increase needed to keep pace with the higher cost of providing public transport, while keeping fares affordable for commuters,” the council added.

The Ministry of Transport said operators will “have to manage their costs tightly, do more with less, and continue to pay fair wages to their workers”.
At a press conference on Monday to announce the fare changes, PTC chairwoman Janet Ang said it would take time for the deferred fare increase to come down gradually.
If economic conditions improve and wages continue rising, and energy prices and core inflation ease, the hope is that this roll-over would decrease over time, she added.
Fares rose by 2.9 per cent in 2022 and 2.2 per cent in 2021. In 2020, there was a freeze on fares to help commuters cope with the economic impact of Covid-19.
The PTC said on Monday that adults paying cash for bus rides will have to fork out 20 cents more, while concessionary cash fares for students, seniors and people with disabilities will rise by 10 cents.
Less than 1 per cent of commuters pay cash for bus rides.

New monthly concession pass for low-wage workers​

Meanwhile, the Government will introduce a monthly hybrid – or bus and train – concession travel pass for low-wage workers costing $96 from Dec 23. This is $32 off the price of adult monthly travel passes, which will stay unchanged at $128.
The cost of monthly hybrid travel passes for other concessionary groups – including seniors, national servicemen and students – will come down by up to 10 per cent, or between $4.50 and $9.50.
The cost of a monthly concession pass for those with disabilities will also be reduced from $64 to $58 – the same as that for seniors.
These passes allow unlimited travel on all modes of public transport except express buses.

About 60,000 people are expected to benefit from these moves. These include existing holders of monthly passes as well as those expected to buy them, said the PTC.
To help Singaporeans cope with the fare increase, the Government will provide public transport vouchers worth $50 each to resident households with a monthly income of up to $1,600 per person.
These vouchers can be used to top up fare cards or buy monthly passes. In 2022, it made available 600,000 public transport vouchers worth $30 each.
In line with the steeper fare hike in 2023, PTC said it would require SBS Transit and SMRT Trains to make larger contributions to the Public Transport Fund, which helps households cope with fare increases.
SBS Transit will have to contribute 15 per cent of its expected revenue increase, or $3.14 million, and SMRT Trains will have to dish out 30 per cent of the same, or $12.71 million.
PTC said its data shows that fares remain affordable.
On average, households in the 21st to 40th percentile – the average public transport user – spent 1.7 per cent of their monthly income on public transport in 2022, compared with 1.8 per cent in 2021.
Lower-income households in the 11th to 20th percentile spent about 2.4 per cent of their income on public transport in 2022 – down from 2.5 per cent in 2021.
After accounting for fare and wage increases in 2023, households are expected to spend roughly the same proportion of their income on public transport as they did in 2022, said PTC.
Communications manager Amanda Poh, 32, said the fare hike was bound to happen “sooner or later”, given how costs have been rising all around.
While the increase per journey is bearable, she said the expenses do add up.
On the Government stepping in with subsidies to bridge the shortfall between public transport revenues and the cost of running services, transport economist Walter Theseira said the long-term sustainability of this approach would hinge on the Government’s finances.
Higher operating costs cannot be avoided to maintain the level of service commuters expect, added Associate Professor Theseira, who is with the Singapore University of Social Sciences.


Alfrescian (Inf)

SingPost to raise local postage rates by 20 cents from Oct 9​


To manage increase in costs, SingPost will issue a 1st Local stamp booklet of 10 stamps to each household from the end of October. PHOTO: ST FILE

Amanda Lee

Sep 19, 2023

SINGAPORE - From Oct 9, the cost of local standard regular mail will increase by 20 cents, said SingPost on Tuesday.
The rate will be increased to 51 cents, up from 31 cents currently, to “reflect the escalating costs of maintaining the postal service”, it said.
To manage increase in costs, SingPost will issue a 1st Local stamp booklet of 10 stamps to each household from the end of October.
The last significant rate increment was in 2014, when postage costs increased from 22 cents to 30 cents.
“The global structural decline in postal volumes over the last decade brought about by digital disruption has impacted the commercial viability of postal firms globally,” said SingPost.
Between FY2018/19 and FY2022/23, mail volumes declined by more than 40 per cent, it said.
SingPost said that the rate adjustment will help address the loss caused by the persistent decline in postal volumes. This is coupled with costlier labour, utilities, fuel, and higher conveyance expenses.

“This rate increment is necessary for SingPost to continue serving its obligations as Singapore’s public postal licensee while allowing further exploration of a more sustainable postal business model in the long term, balancing the need to remain viable while safeguarding the interests of its shareholders,” it said.
SingPost will also introduce upcoming changes to simplify the domestic postage rate structure, including eliminating the weight criteria to make postal services more user-friendly.
Since 2014, SingPost has been absorbing inflationary costs and essentially kept its postage rates constant, said Ms Neo Su Yin, chief executive officer Singapore of SingPost.
“With the intensifying cost pressures and challenging business landscape, it is inevitable that we raise our prices to remain commercially sustainable so that we can continue providing the essential postal service for the nation,” she said.
Ms Neo also said that SingPost is focused on pursuing its strategic transformation towards eCommerce and logistics to mitigate the persistent decline in postal volumes and explore business growth opportunities.
The statement added that SingPost is working closely with the Infocomm Media Development Authority to conduct a structural review of the postal business and formulate a longer-term strategy to attain commercial sustainability.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Banks to start charging customers for Singdollar cheques by Nov 1​


The move comes amid falling cheque usage in Singapore and, in turn, higher costs of handling cheques. PHOTO: ST FILE

Alyssa Woo
Assistant Business Editor

JUL 28, 2023

SINGAPORE - Seven major banks in Singapore – Citibank, DBS Bank, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and UOB – will begin charging individuals for Singapore dollar-denominated cheques by Nov 1.
Other banks will do so by July 1, 2024.
Charges for US dollar-denominated cheques will also be implemented in phases, though a DBS spokesman said on Friday that the bank will start implementing charges for SGD-denominated and local USD-denominated cheques for both individuals and companies from Nov 1.
This comes amid falling cheque usage in Singapore and, in turn, higher costs of handling cheques, noted the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) on Friday.
Cheque transaction volumes here have fallen sharply – by almost 70 per cent in the past six years, from 61 million in 2016 to less than 19 million in 2022.
Correspondingly, the average cost of clearing a cheque has quadrupled since 2016 to 40 cents in 2021. If cheque volumes continue to fall further, that cost is projected to increase to up to $6 by 2025.
It is fast becoming unsustainable for banks to continue absorbing these costs, said MAS and ABS.

Cheque processing costs include cheque clearing costs associated with the cheque truncation system (CTS) and other bank operating costs.
The new charges will vary according to the individual banks.
While MAS intends to eliminate corporate cheques by end-2025, individuals can continue using cheques and cashier orders for the foreseeable future, or at least until the CTS – essentially a cheque clearing system – is completely terminated.

This is to give them time to familiarise themselves with alternative payment methods, including PayNow, Giro and e-wallets, and make a full transition away from cheques and cashier orders.
MAS and ABS will further help to develop appropriate initiatives to assist remaining individual cheque users in their transition to alternative payment methods.
Banks are doing their part too.
OCBC already has in place at all of its 30 personal banking branches the Digital Silvers Programme, which is focused on helping those aged 60 and above learn how to bank and pay digitally. The current programme curriculum, which includes Fast and PayNow, will be updated in early August to include Giro.
DBS has also been working with the Infocomm Media Development Authority since November 2022 to organise digital literacy workshops for the community, with the aim of reaching out to 100,000 Singaporeans and residents. To date, about 16,000 people have participated in these workshops.
There will be another public consultation exercise in 2024 to set out the initiatives and timeline to eliminate individual cheques and terminate the CTS.
By the time these are implemented, individuals can use the electronic deferred payment (EDP) solution – to be launched by end-2025 – to make deferred payment or issue a cashier’s order without the need for cheques. EDP will leverage existing payment solutions like PayNow and Giro.
The first round of public consultation, which was carried out last November and December, found that individuals who were still using cheques did so mainly for property-related transactions.
They were also willing to pay for cheque-processing costs, as such payments tend to be occasional and less frequent.

Individuals whom The Straits Times spoke to said writing cheques offers them an added sense of security.
Public service officer Jackson Wu, 49, writes cheques for routine instalment payments such as housing and vehicle loans, and does not use e-payment options such as PayLah! and PayNow or ATM Nets contactless payment because he does not want to link transactions to his bank accounts.
Mr Wu said: “While such transactions are legitimate, I think there is a chance for the transaction details and e-signature to be hijacked by hackers.”
For other cheque users, it is the difficulty of remembering login details for online payment systems.
“Generally, older folks don’t really remember their logins for the apps. For example, just yesterday, my client couldn’t set up PayNow via his NRIC because he forgot his login details,” said insurance agent Ng Wen Jie, 33, who also wrote a cheque when paying for his house. “Many banks allow Singpass login, but a couple do not.”
The overall number of individuals who use cheques is low, according to the banks.
For Citi Singapore’s retail banking segment, more than 95 per cent of payments are made through digital channels, with cheques accounting for less than 2 per cent of transactions.
Said its spokesman: “Even this number is decreasing steadily by about 20 per cent year to date. Correspondingly, we receive less than 100 requests for cheque book replenishments every month.”
Mr Sunny Quek, OCBC’s head of global consumer financial services, said 97 per cent of the bank’s consumer financial transactions were performed digitally in the first half of 2023.
The number of its digital app users has almost doubled over the last five years.
At DBS, cheque usage among its retail and corporate customers continues to fall by up to 25 per cent every year. DBS and POSB retail customers prefer to make e-payments, with $70 out of every $100 spent paid for digitally.
Ms Adeline Kim, Visa’s country manager for Singapore and Brunei, also sees increasing use of digital payments. She noted that more than 95 per cent of Singapore consumers prefer credit or debit cards as their primary payment method, “a consistent trend across generations from baby boomers to Generation Z”.

Hard stop for corporate cheques​

Like individuals, companies will be charged for SGD-denominated cheques by Nov 1, with charges for USD-denominated cheques being implemented in phases.
This change will make cheque clearing costs more uniform across the banks, as currently the various banks have different charges in place for different denominations.
Banks will also stop issuing cheque books to corporate customers some time before the implementation of the EDP solution, and stop processing all corporate cheques by Jan 1, 2026.


Alfrescian (Inf)

SKH patient buys Panadol via foodpanda after long wait; hospital says it prioritises emergency cases​


TikTok user Jombadok, in a video posted last week, claims that he waited for his painkillers for almost two hours before he decided to order them via foodpanda. PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM TIKTOK

Elaine Lee

Sep 19, 2023

SINGAPORE – Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) says it prioritises patients in emergency cases over the less serious ones, after an inpatient complained on TikTok that he had to buy painkillers via foodpanda after waiting for almost two hours at the hospital for the medicine.
In a Facebook post on Monday, SKH said it was aware of a TikTok video circulating online of a patient ordering Panadol via the food delivery app as a result “of an alleged lack of promptness by the hospital in addressing his needs”.
Addressing the allegation, SKH said it would like to assure the public that the patient’s care team had “rendered the appropriate care” based on his condition.
“SKH is committed to attending to every patient in a timely manner,” it added. “Patients with less acute conditions may sometimes experience longer waiting times compared with those who are being treated for serious urgent and life-threatening emergencies.”
TikTok user Jombadok, in a video posted last week, claims that he waited for his painkillers for almost two hours before he decided to order them via foodpanda. The reason for his hospitalisation is not explained.
“Can you imagine... (I’m) asking for Panadol and I cannot get the medicine from a first-world hospital... it is really ridiculous,” he says in the video.
Filming himself collecting his painkillers from a foodpanda delivery rider at the hospital lobby, he tells the rider, who appears surprised, about his situation. Jombadok does not say how long it took for his delivery to arrive.

He adds that it is his first time warded at SKH and he will be discharging himself from the hospital against medical advice the next day because he is unable to get medication from the hospital.
“No point. I might as well (stay) at home. I have my painkillers at home... (the hospital) is a let-down,” he says in the video.
The Straits Times has reached out to Jombadok and SKH for more information.



Alfrescian (Inf)

S’pore water price to rise by 50 cents per cubic m by 2025; lower-, middle-income families to get help​


Most households will fork out an additional $4 to $9, excluding GST, for their monthly water bills by 2025. ST PHOTO: BRIAN TEO

Shabana Begum

Sep 27, 2023

SINGAPORE – Water will soon cost consumers an additional 50 cents per cubic m, starting with a 20-cent increase in April 2024 and a 30-cent rise in April 2025.
This means that most households will fork out an additional $4 to $9, excluding GST, for their monthly water bills by 2025, said national water agency PUB on Wednesday.
In 2020, the average monthly consumption of water was 15 cubic m for condominiums and 16.2 cubic m for HDB flats.
Lower- and middle-income households will get help to offset some of the price increase. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong will announce cost-of-living support measures to provide more relief for Singaporean households on Thursday.
The last water price hike of 30 per cent happened in 2017. The upcoming 50-cent rise - bringing the cost of one cubic metre - which is 1,000 litres - of water to $3.24. This is an 18 per cent increase.
The price hike between 1997 and 2000 saw water prices rising by 120 per cent for households.
The upcoming increase comes amid rising living costs, GST hikes and higher transport fares, and the water agency did not take the decision lightly, said a PUB spokesman.

“The water price increase is not popular, but necessary,” the spokesman said.
“We understand that it can draw strong reactions amid the other cost of living pressures. That’s something we are very mindful of, so PUB does not take this decision lightly.”
It has been increasingly more expensive to produce and supply water, PUB said, and there is a need to invest more in local water infrastructure - especially in weather-resilient Newater and desalinated water - to brace for drier days ahead due to climate change.

And Singapore’s water demand, which is currently at about 1.95 million cubic m – or 440 million gallons – each day, is expected to almost double by 2065.

Singapore has four sources of water: imports from Malaysia, water from local catchments, Newater and desalinated seawater.
Pressures from higher energy prices and construction costs have contributed to PUB’s annual operating costs exceeding its revenue in the 2021 and 2022 financial years.
In 2019 and 2020, PUB saw a slight net positive in revenue, owing to the 2017 water price hike.
Electricity tariffs have risen by about 37 per cent, while construction costs have gone up by 35 per cent, with higher increases for specialised works such as tunnelling and pipeline projects through highly urbanised areas.

Due to inflationary pressures and supply chain disruptions, the cost of essential chemicals to treat used water, for example, has risen by about 33 per cent. Higher manpower costs have driven maintenance expenses by 18 per cent.
These external cost drivers have worsened the operating deficit significantly in the latest fiscal year, said PUB.
Its spokesman said: “If we were to defer the price increase any further… essentially we would have an even bigger price increase moving forward.”
Rising operational costs and inflation are not affecting Singapore alone.
Between July 2022 and July 2023, the average increase in water-related bills worldwide was 8.2 per cent, the second-highest rise recorded by the Global Water Intelligence, a leading publisher for the international water scene.
By April 2025, three in four households will see an increase of less than $10 in their monthly water bills, with tenants of one to two-room flats paying about $4 more.

Water bills account for less than 2 per cent of an average household’s expenditure.
The majority of households use less than 40 cubic m of water every month. But about 4 per cent of homes exceed 40 cubic m, and they will be charged a higher rate of 70 cents more per cubic m - or a total of $4.39, to discourage water wastage.
As for businesses, about 75 per cent of them will fork out less than $25 more every month with the price hike.
Three in four hawkers will also pay less than $15 more each month. Businesses’ utility bills make up less than 5 per cent of their business costs.
However, businesses will be reminded not to engage in profiteering from the water price hike and relevant government agencies will monitor food prices set by hawker centres and coffee shops, added PUB.

The price hike will be phased over two years to give households and businesses more time to adjust and adopt water conservation measures.
The agency urged businesses to tap the recently enhanced Water Efficiency Fund to set up recycling and water-efficient technologies so that their water usage and bills shrink.
One- to three-room households can redeem $50 in e-vouchers under the Climate Friendly Households Programme to buy water-efficient shower fittings that can help to save water and reduce their bills.

The spokesman said PUB will derive more revenue from the water price increase, and the additional revenue is expected to cover about one-third of its investments in the next few years.
PUB may expand its Newater capacity because there will be more used water to treat as demand grows, and it is more cost-effective than desalination.
By 2025, the price of every cubic m of Newater will also increase by 17 cents to $2.50.
Newater is mainly supplied to wafer fabrication plants, industrial estates and commercial buildings, and less so to households.
By 2065, two-thirds of water demand is expected to come from non-domestic sectors.