In Parliament, recap: Faster bank response to phishing scams, extension of fixed-price electricity plans, increased resignation rate of public service officers

Phishing scams, global energy crunch and the resignation rate among public service employees reaching record levels – were some of the key topics government leaders touched on in a Parliament sitting on Feb 15.

Regarding the OCBC phishing scams, which saw nearly 800 customers losing a combined S$13.7 million towards the end of 2021, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said that the bank should have “responded faster and more robustly” at the first signs of the scam.

However, Mr Wong noted that OCBC, Singapore’s second-largest bank, took the necessary steps to stem the phishing scam, such as issuing notices to its clients and working with authorities to take down the scam websites.

When OCBC activated its incident response team on Christmas Eve, the hotline was “overwhelmed” with calls from affected customers.

“It faced a surge in calls – from affected customers as well as other worried customers who had not themselves received phishing messages. Despite the bank deploying additional resources, some affected customers experienced delays in reaching the bank to report the scams,” said Mr Wong.

OCBC has since apologized for the incidents and promised affected customers would receive “full goodwill payouts.”

Extension of one-month fixed-price electricity plans

On the global energy crunch Singapore has been facing since September last year, Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng said the corresponding increase in electricity prices was unavoidable.

Since October 2021, the EMA (Energy Market Authority) has implemented a set of measures to enhance Singapore’s energy security, he noted.

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He said that the Temporary Electricity Contracting Support Scheme (TRECS), which offers one-month fixed-price electricity plans to large consumers, will be extended until May 2022.

The scheme allows generation companies to draw on EMA’s standby fuel facility to produce electricity.

10-year peak of resignation rate in Civil Service

Meanwhile, Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing highlighted in his speech that Singapore’s public service had seen an increase in attrition “across the board” for the management executive scheme in the Civil Service industry.

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The resignation rate reached a 10-year peak of 9.9 per cent in 2021, said Mr Chan.

He noted that attrition “has clearly picked up momentum in the last six months.”

Some sectors, such as infocomm technology, have seen “elevated competitive pressures” amid talent shortages.

“There are various factors contributing to attrition from the public service, including pressures of the job, pay and opportunities for professional development and progression,” said Mr Chan.

He gave an example of public officers who work tirelessly to sustain the fight against Covid-19 and face intense pressure at work.

“At times, they also have to deal with anxious and even demanding members of the public in the course of their Covid-related work. The shift to remote work has also blurred the line between work and life,” said Mr Chan.

In response to the current trends, the government will increase efforts in supporting and caring for the health and mental well-being of public officers, he noted. /TISG

 

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