MP Pritam Singh

Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied): Thank you, Speaker. I am following up on the answer by the Minister for Manpower. Minister for Manpower alluded earlier in her reply to cases that have been referred to the Police. Can the Minister share how many cases, in absolute number, have been referred to the Police?

Secondly, the Minister spoke of erroneous declarations – 0.5% were erroneous. Again, the absolute number would be appreciated.

To that end, I had a resident who approached me at my MPS who declared openly that he earned $10,000 a month but he had certain circumstances which he reported accordingly, and he was given the SIRS payout. Now, it is being clawed back.

My point is not so much about this case but how many cases were there where it was NTUC or MOM which actually approved a SIRS payout, even though it was well outside the qualifying criteria, and now, it is calling for a clawback? How many cases involved, I would not call it a mistake but actions that were taken by NTUC or SIRS, resulting in a clawback?

Mrs Josephine Teo: Mr Speaker, I think Mr Singh’s second and third questions are basically asking for the same information. What is the number of cases where we have approached the individuals for refunds of the SIRS payouts? I mentioned in my reply that it was about 0.5% of the successful applicants. The number of successful applicants is something in the order of 200,000. There are still some that are pending processing, but 0.5% would come to about 1,000. I think that is the number that applies it to both his second and his third questions.

To the first question, how many cases have been referred to the Police? I do not have the number offhand, perhaps if the Member were to file a Parliamentary Question, we could address it appropriately. However, I should add that the investigations are still on-going and it would be inappropriate for me to comment too much on it right now.

Mr Speaker: Mr Pritam Singh.

Mr Pritam Singh: I thank the Minister. Let me just parse my second and third supplementary questions a bit more finely. I apologise if I did not make it clear. In her reply, Minister spoke of erroneous declarations, the suggestion being that it was the applicant who made the erroneous declaration. And the third supplementary question really was looking at the number of cases where NTUC or MOM acknowledged that a person fell outside the qualifying criteria and then decided actually, no, this should not have been approved in the first place and hence is now clawing the SIRS payout back. How many cases are we referring to in that regard?

Mrs Josephine Teo: Mr Speaker, Mr Singh mentioned one case. I myself have not come across another but I believe that there may have been a few. I do not have the number that I can share with him right now.

Ministry of Manpower
5 January 2021

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