SINGAPORE — A Malaysia-registered civilian helicopter that entered Singapore’s airspace unannounced on Aug 9 for nearly 30 minutes — prompting the Republic to scramble two F-16 fighter jets — had done so by mistake, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.
“Our assessment is that there was no malicious intent arising from this incident,” Dr Ng said in response to questions posed by Member of Parliament (MP) Joan Pereira in Parliament on Monday (Sept 18) on the incident.
Besides Dr Ng’s update, other topics on corruption and bribery cases among law enforcement officers and million-dollar Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale flats were also raised during Monday’s sitting.
AIRSPACE INTRUSION INCIDENT ON AUG 9
Questions by Ms Joan Pereira, MP for Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency (GRC)
Whether the incident compromised the safety of any aircraft at any pointWhat measures will be implemented to prevent similar occurences in the future
Reply by Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen
Dr Ng explained that the Aug 9 incident involved a Malaysia-registered civilian helicopter with callsign “9MCGA” that flew from Johor’s Senai Airport towards Pengerang, which is at the south-eastern end of Johor.
It had been contracted to take photographs of a Malaysian-registered oil rig that was being transported from Pasir Gudang to Miri, Sarawak when it mistakenly entered Singapore’s airspace without authorisation.
The helicopter had transited Changi Control Zone during its flight and subsequently entered Singapore Territorial Airspace without prior notification or flight plan given to the Singapore Air Trafic Control.
“As the helicopter had entered Singapore Territorial Airspace at 1237hrs unannounced, two Republic of Singapore Air Force F-16 fighters were scrambled, consistent with our Standard Operating Procedures for unidentified aircraft in our airspace which may pose potential threats.
“The helicopter pilot was instructed to keep clear of Singapore Territorial Airspace and to operate eastwards outside Singapore’s territorial airspace,” said Dr Ng.
The helicopter exited Singapore’s airspace at 1.03pm, and the two F-16 jets stood down at 2.05pm after ensuring there were no further security threats, he added.
Dr Ng said that the airspace around Changi airport had to be closed in responding to the unauthorised entry, while there was no imminent impact of safety on civilian air traffic during the time that the helicopter was in the Changi Control Zone.
Thirty-six arriving flights and eight departing flights from Changi Airport were delayed due to the closure.
The authorities had previously said that a total of nine arrival flights and 11 departure flights experienced some delay.
CORRUPTION AMONG LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS
Questions by Mr Saktiandi Supaat, MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC
In each of the past 10 years, how many law enforcement officers have been found guilty of corruption or bribery-related misconductAmong these officers, how many were from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Land Transport Authority (LTA)?
Reply by Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing on behalf of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Mr Chan said that a total of 18 law enforcement officers were convicted over a 10-year period from 2013 to 2022 under the Prevention of Corrupt Act.
Mr Chan, who is also Education Minister, gave the following breakdown of the offenders:
Seven officers from ICASeven officers from SPFOne officer from LTA
No CNB officers were convicted during this period.
AGE OF BUYERS AND LOCATIONS OF MILLION-DOLLAR HDB RESALE FLATS
Questions by Mr Gan Thiam Poh, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC
What is the age of buyers of million-dollar HDB resale flats in the past eight years?What percentage of the buyers are permanent residents?
Questions by Mr Saktiandi
How many HDB estates have had a HDB flat obtaining a resale price exceeding S$1 million to date?Where are these HDB estates located?Among these estates, how many new HDB estates have been launched, announced or planned since 2021 under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model and non-PLH model?
Replies by Minister for National Development Desmond Lee
Mr Lee said that between July 2015 and June 2023, less than 1 per cent of registered HDB resale flat transactions were sold for S$1 million or more.
Among these buyers, the median age is 40. Some 94 per cent of them are Singapore citizens and about 6 per cent Singapore PRs.
Responding to Mr Saktiandi’s questions, Mr Lee said that as of July 22 this year, 21 HDB towns and estates have registered resale flat transactions with a price of S$1 million or more.
They are: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Bukit Timah, Central Area, Clementi, Geylang, Hougang, Jurong East, Kallang/Whampoa, Marine Parade, Pasir Ris, Punggol, Queenstown, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands, and Yishun.
HDB’s website lists 27 towns and estates in total across Singapore.
The six that has yet to record a S$1 million resale transaction are: Sembawang, Sengkang, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong West and Tengah, which is Singapore’s newest township where HDB first started selling new flats in 2018.
Mr Lee said that resale flats that transacted at S$1 million or more tend to be in “very favourable locations or come with larger floor areas,” said Mr Lee.
Among these 21 towns and estates, between 2021 and June this year, HDB offered 13 Build-to-Order (BTO) projects under the PLH model in Bukit Merah, Central Area, Kallang Whampoa, and Queenstown.
Another 36 non-PLH BTO projects were launched across several of these towns and estates.
“Since 2021, we have launched about 50,000 flats and are on track to launch 100,000 flats by 2025,” he added.