News briefs from Singapore

A change in Singapore's law enabling a one-time convict to get rid of the official stain at the ripe age of 100 drew criticism yesterday from lawyers. 

Previously, someone found guilty of a crime would be marked until his death. 

The chronological marker for the length of time the government keeps a record of convictions was in a Bill recently amended in parliament. 

“It's as good as not changing it”, lawmaker Chandra Mohan told the Streats

“With the average citizen living up to 70 or 80 years, I seriously don't see any point changing the act”, he added. 

In Britain, any record of a conviction is removed from a person's particulars after seven years upon his release if he served a sentence of between six and 30 months, and after 10 years if jailed for more than 30 months. 

“It must be a sick joke”, said Hu Qing Tan, 50, released from prison here in 1997 after serving four years for criminal breach of trust. 

As matters stand, lawyer Amolat Singh said “an offender may be reformed and forgiven, but he is definitely not forgotten” – unless he celebrates his 100th birthday. – dpa  


A SURVEY of 220 doctors by the Singapore Medical Association (SMA) has found that most Singapore doctors dislike a practice, which requires them to give medical care to the workers at a fixed annual group rate.  

The results, published in the SMA's newsletter, show doctors complaining of low consultation fees, slow payment by the companies and, sometimes, restrictions on the type of medicines they can prescribe and the specialists they are allowed to refer patients to. 

The four key health-care scheme providers said the complaining doctors would not quit the managed health-care network because it benefits them. 

Dr Goh Jin Hian of Parkway Shenton with 40,000 people on its programmes, said, “Doctors are very competitive. They complain, but will grab whatever they can.” – The Straits Times/Asia News Network 


IN his second and strongest warning yet to Singapore Airlines pilots, Acting Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen on Sunday told them to “stop, think and be careful” about being confrontational and self-serving. 

He will not allow them to risk the jobs of thousands of others by jeopardising Singapore's efforts in maintaining its role as an air hub. 

“If we lose our competitive advantage, thousands will be out of work and a lot of them will not have the ability to be as mobile as the pilots.”– The Straits Times/Asia News Network  

For another perspective from The Straits Times, a partner of Asia News Network, click here.

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