Monday, February 21, 2011

SDPC Cigarette Marking: Legal duty-paid cigarettes sold in Singapore

Since 1 January 2009, all duty-paid cigarettes sold in Singapore are legally required to be marked with the letters “SDPC”.

All cigarettes will be sold in packets bearing the graphic health warning labels as stipulated by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

The SDPC will be marked on every individual stick of cigarettes.

How Does a SDPC-marked Cigarette Look Like?

What Does the Regulation Mean?

All cigarettes without the SDPC-marking in Singapore will be deemed illegal. Therefore, anyone caught selling, buying, or having in possession cigarettes without the SDPC marking will be committing an offence under the Customs and GST Acts.

Why is there a Need for this Regulation?

The new marking regulation seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • To reinforce Singapore Customs’ intensified operations to keep contraband cigarettes off the streets,
  • As a measure to visibly differentiate duty-paid cigarettes from contraband cigarettes to enhance detection by our enforcement officers, and
  • As deterrence to curb the peddling and buying of contraband cigarettes in Singapore

What are the Penalties?

Anyone caught selling, buying, or having in possession of duty unpaid cigarettes without the SDPC marking will be committing an offence under the Customs and GST Acts.  For every packet of duty-unpaid cigarettes, buyers will be fined $500. Illegal peddlers will be arrested and charged in Court.Offenders will be fined or sent to jail or both.

Frequently-asked Questions

  • What about smokers returning to Singapore from overseas?  How will their packet of cigarettes be treated at the checkpoint?

    There are no duty-free concessions or GST relief for cigarettes and other tobacco products in Singapore since 1991. Persons arriving in Singapore who bring in cigarettes or tobacco products, including SDPC-marked cigarettes and tobacco products, are required to declare them at the Red Channel for payment of duty and GST.

    Arriving travellers and returning Singaporeans who have brought in cigarettes from overseas for their own consumption and have paid duty are advised to reproduce their receipts issued by Singapore Customs as proof of payment of duty and GST when checked by Customs officers


  • What are the penalties?

    All duty-paid cigarettes sold in Singapore without the SDPC marking will be deemed as duty-unpaid.  Anyone caught selling, buying, or having in possession of duty unpaid cigarettes without the SDPC marking will be committing an offence under the Customs and GST Acts.  Illegal peddlers will be arrested and charged in court.  For every packet of duty-unpaid cigarettes, buyers will be fined $500.

  • Will there be counterfeit cigarettes with the SDPC markings?

    We assessed that this is unlikely.  Nevertheless, we will be monitoring the situation closely and will review our tactics accordingly should the situation change.

  • Why is there a need for the SDPC marking regulation?

    The SPDC marking on every stick of duty-paid cigarettes sold in Singapore is a measure to visibly differentiate duty-paid cigarettes from contraband cigarettes. This will enhance detection by our enforcement officers, and act as deterrence to curb the peddling and buying of contraband cigarettes in Singapore.  The new requirement will reinforce Singapore Customs’ intensified operations to keep contraband cigarettes off the streets.

  • When will the regulation on “SPDC” markings take effect?

    All individual sticks of cigarettes that are meant for sale or consumption in Singapore will have to bear the SDPC marking.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Insight from Thomas Friedman": If Singapore has one thing to teach America, it is about getting governance right

Here’s an interesting insight from Thomas Friedman, an internationally renowned author, reporter, and columnist—the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of five bestselling books, among them From Beirut to Jerusalemalt and Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew Americaalt

I am in the Gan Eng Seng Primary School in a middle-class neighborhood of Singapore, and the principal, A. W. Ai Ling, has me visiting a fifth-grade science class. All the 11-year-old boys and girls are wearing junior white lab coats with their names on them. Outside in the hall, yellow police tape has blocked off a “crime scene” and lying on a floor, bloodied, is a fake body that has been murdered. The class is learning about DNA through the use of fingerprints, and their science teacher has turned the students into little C.S.I. detectives. They have to collect fingerprints from the scene and then break them down.

I missed that DNA lesson when I was in fifth grade. When I asked the principal whether this was part of the national curriculum, she said no. She just had a great science teacher, she said, and was aware that Singapore was making a big push to expand its biotech industries and thought it would be good to push her students in the same direction early. A couple of them checked my fingerprints. I was innocent — but impressed.

This was just an average public school, but the principal had made her own connections between “what world am I living in,” “where is my country trying to go in that world” and, therefore, “what should I teach in fifth-grade science.”

I was struck because that kind of linkage is so often missing in U.S. politics today. Republicans favor deep cuts in government spending, while so far exempting Medicare, Social Security and the defense budget. Not only is that not realistic, but it basically says that our nation’s priorities should be to fund retirement homes for older people rather than better schools for younger people and that we should build new schools in Afghanistan before Alabama.

President Obama just laid out a smart and compelling vision of where our priorities should be. But he did not spell out how and where we will have to both cut and invest — really intelligently and at a large scale — to deliver on his vision.

Singapore is tiny and by no means a U.S.-style democracy. Yet, like America, it has a multiethnic population — Chinese, Indian and Malay — with a big working class. It has no natural resources and even has to import sand for building. But today its per capita income is just below U.S. levels, built with high-end manufacturing, services and exports. The country’s economy grew last year at 14.7 percent, led by biomedical exports. How?

If Singapore has one thing to teach America, it is about taking governing seriously, relentlessly asking: What world are we living in and how do we adapt to thrive. “We’re like someone living in a hut without any insulation,” explained Tan Kong Yam, an economist. “We feel every change in the wind or the temperature and have to adapt. You Americans are still living in a brick house with central heating and don’t have to be so responsive.” And we have not been.

Singapore probably has the freest market in the world; it doesn’t believe in import tariffs, minimum wages or unemployment insurance. But it believes regulators need to make sure markets work properly — because they can’t on their own — and it subsidizes homeownership and education to give everyone a foundation to become self-reliant. Singapore copied the German model that strives to put everyone who graduates from high school on a track for higher education, but only about 40 percent go to universities. Others are tracked to polytechnics or vocational institutes, so the vast majority graduate with the skills to get a job, whether it be as a plumber or a scientist.

Explained Ravi Menon, the Permanent Secretary of Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry: “The two ‘isms’ that perhaps best describe Singapore’s approach are: pragmatism — an emphasis on what works in practice rather than abstract theory; and eclecticism — a willingness to adapt to the local context best practices from around the world.”

It is a sophisticated mix of radical free-market and nanny state that requires sophisticated policy makers to implement, which is why politics here is not treated as sports or entertainment. Top bureaucrats and cabinet ministers have their pay linked to top private sector wages, so most make well over $1 million a year, and their bonuses are tied to the country’s annual G.D.P. growth rate. It means the government can attract high-quality professionals and corruption is low.

America never would or should copy Singapore’s less-than-free politics. But Singapore has something to teach us about “attitude” — about taking governing seriously and thinking strategically. We used to do that and must again because our little brick house with central heating is not going to be resistant to the storms much longer.

“There is real puzzlement here about America today,” said Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, “because we learned all about what it takes to build a well-functioning society from you. Many of our top officials are graduates of the Kennedy School at Harvard. They just came back home and applied its lessons vigorously.”

Total Defence Day: Sounding of Public Warning System (PWS)

A display formation exhibiting a number of SCD... 

The SCDF will sound the Public Warning System (PWS) on 15 February 2011 at 12:05pm to commemorate Total Defence Day.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will be sounding the 'Important Message' signal through the islandwide network of Public Warning System (PWS) sirens, in support of Total Defence Day.

The public should not to be alarmed by the minute-long sounding exercise.

When the signal is sounded, the public can immediately tune in to any local radio station to listen to a special info-mercial broadcast on the PWS signals.

The sounding is part of SCDF's continuous efforts to familiarise the public with the three PWS signals and raise awareness on how they should react upon hearing each signal.

Besides the 'Important Message' signal (characterised by pulsating blasts), the two other signals are the 'Alarm' and the 'All Clear' signals, which are characterised by wailing and continuous blasts respectively.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Sim Lim Salesman caught on tape for cursing customer

The salesman was caught on tape using vulgarities when the customer asked for a price breakdown of his friend's purchases, after they suspected that he was overcharged.

A VIDEO of a salesman at Sim Lim Square swearing at a customer has gone viral on the Internet and raised the ire of many Netizens here.

The salesman was caught on tape using vulgarities when the customer asked for a price breakdown of his friend's purchases, after they suspected that he was overcharged.

25-year-old Chinese native Chen Tao and his friend shot the video on the sly in an attempt to expose the salesmen's unethical behaviour. The embarrassing video led to the salesman being sacked for his rudeness.

But in a twist of events, the boss of the shop revealed a picture of Chen behaving inappropriately towards the staff too - even climbing the glass display case in a threatening manner.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Singapore Police Auction Confiscated Designer Items At Bargain Prices

A DIGITAL camera for $30. Laptops for $400. Rolex and Omega watches for $500.

These are among the thousands of great bargains you can find at the Singapore Police Force public auction.

Held once every 3 to 4 months, the auction is open to the public and attracts businessmen, retirees, bargain hunters and other buyers.

The goods are priced cheaply because they include confiscated items from theft, credit card fraud and cross-border smuggling cases, as well as lost items turned over by the public and old police equipment.

The 5,000 items sold last Wednesday 26 January included diamonds, designer handbags and even cars.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Singapore General Hospital confirms H1N1-related death for 2011

Singapore General Hospital (SGH) confirmed on Saturday with The Straits Times, the first case of a H1N1-related death this year. -- ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN


SINGAPORE General Hospital (SGH) confirmed on Saturday with The Straits Times, the first case of a H1N1-related death this year.

Mohd Lazim Kalang, 77, died on Wednesday due to a lung infection, after being warded Jan 15 for fever.

But will there be any new precautions for visitors to SGH from Saturday onwards?

The SGH spokesman replied: 'No, the current measures are already in place and no special extra steps are needed for now, as the Health Ministry has indicated.'

H1N1 has already been reported as one of the three dominant flu strains in Singapore and the rest of the world.

The most immediate risk is that it could develop into pneumonia in elderly patients, or those with respiratory illnesses or affect the very young.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Singapore exploits the lack of internship places of Australian foreign medical students, convinces graduate doctors to come and work

The Administration Building of the Nanyang Tec...


SINGAPORE intends to 'fully exploit' the lack of internship places for foreign medical students in Australia in order to convince more graduate doctors to come and work here.

Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan yesterday described Australia's shortage as 'an opportunity'. He added: 'We have training places. We welcome applicants, especially returning Singaporeans.'

But he said locally-trained graduates will have no problems getting a place, and there is still room to accommodate more students.

The Straits Times reported on Tuesday that foreign medical graduates in Australia may miss out on internship places in the country's hospitals, which will leave them unable to practise there. The development comes as Singapore faces a high demand for doctors.

Asked whether the Australians had talked to the ministry about internship arrangements, Mr Khaw said at least one medical school dean has expressed an interest in collaborating with Singapore. The minister added that he views this as a 'recruitment exercise'.

Mr Khaw compared it to Singapore's recent success in attracting those who trained in Britain. Speaking at an event in Woodlands, he said this success was down to 'various European Union rules which favour, for example, East Europeans rather than Asians', adding: 'So I just roll out the red carpet.'

The demand for doctors is set to stay high with the opening of Jurong General Hospital in 2014. A third medical school, a tie-up between Nanyang Technological University and Imperial College London, is set to start in 2013 to boost the number of local doctors.

Meanwhile, Australia's internship shortage is set to worsen next year, when two schools' first batches of medical students graduate. Graduates there must complete a year of internship with an authorised hospital before being allowed to gain medical accreditation.

Singaporean medical students who cannot get places could still face problems even if they want to come back to Singapore to take up internships.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) at One North Buona Vista

This is because, having been out of the country for several years, they may lack the appropriate contacts and knowledge of which specialities to apply for.

Some are calling for the Singapore authorities to help them secure internship placements here. One of them, Ms Whitney Chua, 22, feels places should be 'guaranteed to all medical graduates'.

Mr Quak Zhi-xuan, 25, a final year student at Monash University and president of student group the Singapore Medical Society of Victoria (SMSV), said such measures to help graduates who had studied abroad would make their decision to return here much easier. To push for the authorities to take more action, the SMSV is forming a new student association, the Singapore Medical Society, which will include Singaporean medical students across Australia. There are 500 to 750 Singaporean medical students in Australia.

Canadian Aaron Wong, 24, a final-year student at the University of Melbourne, is keen to take up an internship in Singapore. But if he wishes to return to Australia to practise medicine, he will need to take an extra exam. This barrier, he feels, is something that the Singapore authorities can help get removed.

The Health Ministry said there are currently 30 house officers who studied in Australia working here.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Updated Philippine Embassy Singapore Modified Office Hours from 11 Feb – 31 Mar 2011

Philippine Embassy in Singapore announced that it will be reverting to a Monday-Friday work schedule from  11 February to 31 March 2011 in order to undertake improvements to its public waiting area.

The Embassy will be closed to public transactions on Saturdays and Sundays during the said period.  No consular or labor services will be available over the weekend.

The transacting public is advised, however, that the Embassy will be open for passport, notarial, civil registry, and labor services from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Visa applications will continue to be accepted from Monday to Thursday only.

As the improvements will be implemented in the Embassy’s public area, the modified office hours have been put into place to minimize the risk and inconvenience to the transacting public.

Likewise, applicants are discouraged from bringing companions, especially young children and the elderly, to the Embassy. In order to avoid overcrowding and congestion, particularly within the area under repair, the Embassy may limit the entry on non-applicants.

The public’s cooperation and kind understanding will be appreciated.

The Embassy will be closed on the following dates:

  • OPEN – 11 February (Friday)
  • CLOSED - 12 February (Saturday)
  • CLOSED - 13 February (Sunday)
  • CLOSED - 19 February (Saturday)
  • CLOSED - 20 February (Sunday)
  • CLOSED - 26 February (Saturday)
  • CLOSED - 27 February (Saturday)
  • CLOSED - 05 March (Saturday)
  • CLOSED - 06 March (Sunday)
  • CLOSED - 12 March (Saturday)
  • CLOSED - 13 March (Sunday)
  • CLOSED - 19 March (Saturday)
  • CLOSED - 20 March (Sunday)
  • CLOSED - 26 March (Saturday)
  • CLOSED - 27 March (Sunday)
  • CLOSED - 01 April (Friday)
  • CLOSED - 02 April (Saturday)
  • OPEN – 03 April (Sunday)

Clients with queries are advised to send an e-mail to or leave a voice mail clearly stating their name, contact number and nature of inquiry at +65.6737.3977. Queries will be respnded to within one to three working days.

Filipinos in distress requiring urgent and immediate assistance are advised to text or call the Embassy’s emergency hotline, +65.9072.2797.

Resumption of normal operating schedule (Sunday-Thursday) shall be on (Friday) 01 April 2011.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Kallang crime slashings: 2 jailed for gang robbery

Cleaner Sylvester Beragok, 26, was sentenced to 6 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane.


TWO of the seven men arrested for the Kallang slashings were sentenced to six years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane on Thursday for gang robbery.

Cleaner Sylvester Beragok, 26, and labourer Landa Sulai, 28, both from Sarawak, had originally claimed trial, together with Peter Usit Musa, 22, to the charges.

Sylvester and Landa changed their pleas to guilty, after the court had ruled that their statements to the police were made voluntarily. Peter, however, maintains his innocence and his trial is ongoing.

Sylvester and Landa admitted robbing Chinese national Wang Jiu Sheng, 47, of his $230 mobile phone when one or more of the duo's accomplices had used a parang. The attack took place at a grass path beside the pavement under the MRT track near Lorong 17 Geylang on May 28 2010.

Three of their accomplices, Micheal Garing, 22, Hairee Landak, 21, and Tony Imba, 32, are facing a murder charge each and the matter is still at pre-trial conference stage. In the gang robbery, Mr Wang suffered a deep cut of four fingers on his left hand.

Last October, another East Malaysian, Shahman Milak, 21, was given two years and ordered to be given six strokes of the cane for attempted robbery. The duo could have been jailed for up to 20 years and caned.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Marina Bay Sands is Hiring!


Marina bays Sands, Asia’s most spectacular business and leisure destination invites you to be a part of its magnificent team. A remarkable array of career opportunities with superior benefits is waiting for you:

  • F & B Captains
  • F & B Service Attendants
  • F & B Cashiers
  • Chefs de Partie
  • Food Runners
  • Commis Cooks
  • Bartenders
  • Steward Attendants

So what are you waiting for?

Visit the New Recruitment Center at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Link, Level 1 Theaters (located behind Theater Bus Stop) for a walk-in interview today.


Don’t be a stupid by saying you’re a terrorist at Singapore Dhoby Ghaut MRT

A MAN who caused alarm to an SMRT customer service officer by saying that he was a terrorist, was fined $1,000 on Thursday.

Kevin Teo Kok Leong alias Muhammad Riduan Teo, 33, was fined $1,000 for saying that he was a terrorist at Dhoby Ghaut MRT Interchange.


Kevin Teo Kok Leong alias Muhammad Riduan Teo, 33, a mechanic, admitted to using threatening words at Mr Suasni Samuri, 43, at Dhoby Ghaut MRT Interchange on Nov 26, 2010.


A Community Court heard that Mr Suasni was on duty when he saw Teo entering the train platform without tapping his ez-Link card.

Mr Suasni gave chase and managed to stop Teo, who refused to hand over his ez-Link card to be checked.

While Mr Suasni was trying to solicit information from Teo, Teo said: 'You know who I am, I am a terrorist, you know.'

Teo repeated the words when asked what he had said earlier. He could have been fined up to $5,000 for the offence.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Singapore Customs Reminds Travellers to Declare Dutiable and GST-payable Goods at Red Channel


With the long weekend arising from the Chinese New  Year round the corner, Singaporeans and travellers alike are expected to travel overseas for their holidays. Singapore Customs would like to remind holidaymakers and other travellers arriving at Changi Airport and other checkpoints to make customs declarations at the Red Channel if they have any cigarettes or tobacco products, liquors exceeding their duty-free allowance and/or taxable items with values beyond their GST reliefs.

Declaration at Checkpoints
Upon arrival at the checkpoints, travellers carrying taxable products are required to make a complete and accurate declaration in person  to the checking officers at the Red Channel. Alternatively, they can also proceed to make payment for duty and GST at Singapore Customs’ self-service Tax Payment Kiosks at Changi Airport or at its Tax Payment offices. They should retain the invoices or receipts to facilitate computation of the required taxes.

Cigarettes and Tobacco Products
All cigarettes, including those with ‘SDPC’ markings, and tobacco products are subject to duty and GST.  There is no duty-free concession on these products.


Liquors Exceeding Duty-Free Allowance
A traveller bringing in or purchasing liquor on arrival in Singapore is entitled to duty-free allowance for spirits, wine and beer if he/she meets all of the following conditions:

  1. 18 years old or above;
  2. Has spent 48 hours or more outside Singapore immediately before your arrival;
  3. Has not arrived from Malaysia; and
  4. The liquors are for personal consumption and not prohibited under the Customs Act

The traveller can choose any of the three options indicated in the table below for the duty-free allowance (Table 1).

There is NO duty-free concession on liquors for persons arriving from Malaysia. Travellers of all nationality arriving from Malaysia will have to pay the relevant duties and GST on their liquors.

Taxable Goods beyond GST Reliefs 
In general, all goods, both dutiable and non-dutiable, brought into Singapore for local consumption are subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 7%.  To minimise inconveniences to travellers bringing small amounts of goods into Singapore for personal consumption, travellers (except for pass and permit holders) are granted the following reliefs on the value of the goods (Table 2):

Advisory from Singapore Customs
Arriving travellers and returning Singaporeans should acquaint themselves with
Singapore’s customs regulations.  It is the responsibility of travellers to make an accurate and complete declaration of the dutiable and taxable items in their possession. Failure to make a declaration is an offence under the Customs and GST Acts.  Offenders can be prosecuted in court and fined up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to three years.  

If travellers are unsure of the duty-free allowance or GST relief they are entitled to, they could consult Singapore Customs officers at the Tax Payment office.  Members of the public can seek assistance or obtain more information by calling Singapore Customs at 6355 2000, email to  customs