Friday, January 26, 2007

New HQs to better police Johor’s IDR

New HQs to better police Johor’s IDR

JOHOR BARU: Two new district police headquarters (IPD) are being planned to enhance policing within the Iskandar Development Region (IDR).

Johor acting deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm (II) Roslan Ahmad said one of the IPDs would be in Nusajaya while the other – to be called IPD Johor Timur – might be build around the Pasir Gudang or Sri Alam area.

“These two new IPDs will complement the operations of the present IPD Johor Baru Utara and IPD Johor Baru Selatan.

“Nothing has been finalised as everything is still in the planning stage,” he said.

He added that the proposals for the new IPDs were also stated in the police’s five-year development plan for Johor.

SAC II Roslan had earlier read out the Inspector-General’s speech at the 200th Police Day celebrations at the state police headquarters.

He also presented awards and commendations to 50 officers, including best investigating officer, best prosecutor and best discipline officer.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Parkroyal on Kitchener Road - previously known as the New Park Hotel - will undergo a $15 million facelift

Parkroyal on Kitchener Road - previously known as the New Park Hotel - will undergo a $15 million facelift, bringing it up to the deluxe standard of the group’s other properties in Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar.

Renovations to the 530-room Parkroyal, which will include all public areas, start on Monday.

The executive director of the hotel’s management company, Wee Wei Ling, said that alongside the building renovations, which will include an executive floor to be called the Orchid Club - created exclusively for business guests - staff will be retrained to ensure that operating procedures come into line with the group’s deluxe category positioning.

Over the past five years, Hotel Plaza Ltd has spent a total of $72 million upgrading its five properties, including the development of a new 78-room wing at the Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur. In Singapore, the group’s flagship property - Parkroyal on Beach Road - completed its $8.1 million upgrading at the end of last year.

Hotel Plaza Ltd is looking to expand in the region by acquisition and by securing hotel management contracts.In 2010, it will acquire rights to the Parkroyal brand name in the Pacific.

Source: The Business Times, 25 January 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007



Mr John Lim, Chairman BCA,

Dr John Keung, CEO BCA,

Mr Kwee Liong Keng, President of REDAS,

Distinguished guests,

Good morning.

Improved Prospects for Construction Industry

1 The construction industry has turned around. Driven by strong demand, total construction contracts hit $16.1 billion in 2006. This is a 40% increase over 2005 and a considerable improvement from the demand of between $10 billion and $11.5 billion in the three preceding years.

2 We expect 2007 to be an even better year for the industry. Propelled by the launch of major developments, such as the Integrated Resorts and the Business and Financial Centre, construction demand is likely to reach between $17 and $19 billion this year.

A World Class Built Environment, A Distinctive Global City

3 This recovery spells an exciting time for the construction industry, which plays an integral role in shaping Singapore’s landscape.

4 In line with this, BCA has adopted the vision of “The best built environment for Singapore, our distinctive global city” to guide the organization in the long run. It has also redefined its mission as “We shape a safe, high quality, sustainable and friendly built environment” to reflect its strategic focus

Initiatives To Improve Our Built Environment

5 To realise our shared vision of delivering the best built environment to enhance Singapore’s position as a distinctive global city, BCA will work closely with the industry on several key initiatives under the four focus areas. Let me elaborate.

Enhancing Building Safety

6 Singapore’s built environment is known for its high safety standards, governed by a robust regulatory system. We will continue to enhance the regulatory framework to meet changing needs. We are enhancing the Building Control Act to include licensing of builders, and to enhance the safety of underground construction. In addition, an international panel of experts will be engaged to help review the building control framework.

Improving Construction Quality

7 Over the years, BCA has helped to raise the quality of our built environment through various initiatives, such as the implementation of the CONQUAS and Quality Mark schemes. A quality built environment has helped Singapore distinguish itself from other cities, and enabled our local firms to establish a strong brand name overseas. To build on these successes, BCA is stepping up efforts to promote wider adoption of these quality schemes in a wider range of projects.

Promoting Green Buildings

8 I had about a month ago, announced several policies and incentives to promote the development of environmentally sustainable buildings. This includes setting aside $70 million under the Green Mark Incentive Scheme and MND Research Fund, to encourage our buildings to go green. BCA will continue to promote the Green Mark scheme and generate greater awareness and demand for green buildings through public education. I strongly encourage all developers, building owners and designers to join us on this journey to create sustainable developments.

Ensuring User-Friendliness

9 The industry must also play its role in making Singapore an inclusive society, by making our built environment elderly-friendly and enabling our elderly to “age in place”. BCA is strengthening the Code of Barrier-Free Accessibility (BFA). It has recently launched the Universal Design Award for Built Environment, in collaboration with the Singapore Institute of Architects and the Handicaps Welfare Association.

10 BCA has also mapped out a 5-year Barrier-Free Accessibility Upgrading Program. For a start, BCA is working with public agencies to take the lead in reviewing and improving the accessibility of their buildings, where possible. For existing private sector buildings, the Government is making plans to set aside about $40 million over the next five years to co-fund voluntary upgrading on barrier-free accessibility. More details will be released in the next few months.

Transforming the Industry for Challenges Ahead

11 As the industry advances and prepares itself for the challenges ahead, it needs to enhance its capacity and know-how. Let me now touch on three areas that BCA and the industry must work on, on this transformation journey.

Adequacy and Professionalism of Manpower

12 The projected uptake in construction volume has posed some challenges to the industry. The industry is experiencing a surge in manpower demand at all levels, from professionals, supervisors to tradesmen. The Government is aware of the manpower situation, and has taken a proactive review of our policies to ensure adequate manpower resources for the industry.

13 For a start, MOM has waived Man-Year Entitlement (MYE) requirements for foreign tradesmen who have worked here for at least six years. This could potentially free up more than 40,000 foreign tradesmen from the MYE quota. To facilitate the skill certification and entry of additional foreign workers, BCA is also setting up more Overseas Testing Centres in the source countries.

14 To accommodate the higher demand for professional and technical workers, MOM has raised the S-pass quota from 5% to 10% in October last year. BCA will also be relaxing its regulatory requirements to enlarge the pool of qualified site supervisory staffs. With these measures, firms will have greater access to qualified manpower resources to cope with the increase in construction volume.

15 On the local front, BCA is working with the industry and institutes of higher learning to organise job fairs to attract graduating students into the industry. BCA will also be introducing the Construction Registration of Tradesmen (CoreTrade) scheme to build up a core of localised trade foremen and tradesmen. BCA is working with the Workforce Development Authority (WDA), NTUC, self-help groups and the industry to build up this core of localised workers.

BCA Academy of the Built Environment

16 In line with its emphasis to develop a professional workforce and promote adoption of innovative technologies, BCA plans to revamp its training institute, the Construction Industry Training Institute (CITI), into the BCA Academy of the Built Environment. The new Academy will be a dedicated one-stop training, design and technology hub for the built environment. Besides stepping up training in the four identified strategic areas, the new Academy will also focus on test-bedding new technologies and designs for the built environment. A gallery to showcase BCA's efforts and the industry’s achievements will also be set up within the Academy.

Managing Increased Demand in Basic Construction Materials

17 With the vibrant global and regional level of construction activities, demand for basic construction materials has also gone up. We can therefore expect prices of construction materials to rise in tandem. Our construction industry should turn this challenge into an opportunity by proactively exploring innovative technologies to enhance supply resilience of materials and mitigate any price impacts due to demand surge. The industry should look beyond our traditional supply sources of raw materials, to ensure that basic materials can be procured from diverse sources at competitive prices, so as to be more resilient to demand and supply fluctuations. The industry should also explore and adopt alternative construction methods and materials to reduce the demand for imported raw materials. For example, the industry can explore the use of more pre-cast or semi-finished products, which could be efficiently manufactured in other markets, and the use of products such as dry walls and structural steel in place of concrete.


18 Developing a world-class built environment requires close partnership among all the stakeholders. As regulators, developers, building owners, designers and builders, you play a vital role in realising our shared vision to make Singapore a distinctive global city, a great place to live, work and play.

19 I wish all of you success in the year ahead. Thank You.