A GOVERNMENT committee has rapped the knuckles of several ministries and statutory boards for irregularities in their financial statements, including overpayments, delays in making refunds and irregular tendering practices.
In the report presented to Parliament on Dec 26, the Public Accounts Committee, comprising eight Members of Parliament, urged that more stringent internal controls be put in place to prevent the future loss of public money.
And where government agencies failed to refund deposits, for years in some cases, the committee also reminded them of “the duty they owed to depositors to safeguard the money held in trust and to make a prompt refund when the deposits were no longer required”.
In making its observations, the committee scrutinised the Government’s financial statements for the financial year 2001-2002 and the Auditor-General’s report for the same year, which contained 35 instances of lapses in government accounts.
The committee looked at the explanations given by the different agencies for these lapses and, in some cases, went beyond to admonish even top civil servants.
TWO of Singapore’s top schools, known for their strengths in Chinese language and culture, are banding together to offer a fresh curriculum next year that promises to groom a new generation of bilingual Chinese elite.
To do this, The Chinese High and Hwa Chong Junior College will merge into a single institution with a new name that has yet to be decided.
Students will learn all about China’s culture, history and modern developments in politics, economics and business - with some lessons taught in Chinese.
The Chinese studies will form part of a new six-year curriculum that will let students skip the O levels and take the A levels in six years.
Students will be taught Chinese music, poetry and drama and spend at least three weeks in China on immersion programmes.
HOME-BUYERS will have a fresh lot of new Housing Board (HDB) flats to choose from this year when a second round of selections for unsold flats is held.
These will be in areas like Jurong and Hougang.
To clear its stock of unsold flats, the HDB has, since April, been selling them in batches. People could walk in and choose from what is available, in areas like Sengkang, Bukit Panjang, Woodlands and Jurong West.
By September, more than 4,500 flats had been sold under the so-called walk-in-selection exercises. – The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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