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amongst our students of all the opportunities available, andseek to retain interest in engineering and the physical sciences as we go forward. We willseek to ensure that adequate talent is available to support a broad and flexible strategy ofindustrial growth – including our key industrial clusters, namely, Electronics, Chemicalsand the Biomedical Sciences, and new growth industries such as Environmental and WaterTechnologies, and Interactive and Digital Media.The polytechnics, for example, are actively engaged in promoting interest inengineering amongst secondary school students, through a joint Task Force in partnershipwith the Singapore Science Centre, EDB and other organisations. IDA and the SingaporeComputer Society organise seminars and exhibitions to promote the IT industry tosecondary and JC students. NUS and NTU also conduct outreach activities, includingpromotional talks at schools and JCs, to interest students in taking up engineering and thephysical sciences. A*STAR is also focused on developing a pipeline of research talent inboth the biomedical sciences as well as the engineering and physical sciences. Last year,50% of A*STAR scholarships were awarded to students in the engineering and physicalsciences.UNSOLICITED TELEMARKETING CALLS(Protection of consumers)18. Prof. Ivan Png Paak Liang asked the Minister for Information, Communications andthe Arts if he will consider protecting Singapore consumers from unsolicited telemarketingcalls, especially to their mobile numbers when they are roaming overseas, through eitherregulation, appropriate technology or both.

145719 SEPTEMBER 20051458Written Answers to Questions for Oral Answer Not Answered by 3.00 pmDr Lee Boon Yang:Prof Png asked about protecting Singapore consumer from unsolicited telemarketingcalls. In a free market economy, we must expect businesses to become more creative intheir efforts to win customers. MICA recognises that telemarketing is a common andbona fide marketing tool used by companies in many countries, but also acknowledgesthat irresponsible telemarketers are a nuisance to consumers.Telemarketing involves one-to-one voice communication, which falls in the realm ofprivate communication. As such, it is difficult to regulate this form of communication.Indeed, it may cause alarm among the public, if the Government were to monitor suchprivate communication. For this reason, MDA and IDA do not regulate the content andmode of personal communications over the telephone. A balance must therefore besought between curbing irresponsible telemarketing and the Government’s intrusion intothe area of free communication and privacy. Instead of direct intervention, there are anumber of other safeguards to protect the consumers.Under the Telecom Competition Code, IDA prohibits telecom licensees from providingtheir subscribers’ information to any third party for marketing any goods and services.However, telemarketers may not be telecom licensees, and may have solicited, throughlegal channels, the users’ telephone numbers, which means they may not be covered bythe Telecom Competition Code.Hence, industry-led initiatives are important means to address consumers’ concerns.For example, the Mobile Marketing Council of Singapore (MMCS) was founded in January2003, under the auspices of the Direct Marketing Association of Singapore (DMAS). Itincludes representatives from various segments of the mobile marketing industry, such asadvertisers, mobile operators, mobile services providers, and mobile technologiesproviders. Its goals include sharing best practices and advising on legal compliance. In2004, in response to growing concerns by mobile subscribers, it set out to draw up aposition paper on mobile subscribers’ privacy. MMCS is currently working with DMAS ona set of guidelines for responsible mobile and e-mail marketing.Just last month on 25th August 2005, the Contact Centre Association of Singapore(CCAS) partnered with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) and the Insurance andFinancial Practitioners Association of Singapore (IFPAS) to release a set of telemarketingguidelines for the finance industry. These guidelines establish a common understanding ofacceptable conduct when telemarketing financial products.MICA welcomes further initiatives by industry associations to promote best practicesin telemarketing and other forms of direct marketing.Lastly, there are simple measures that each one of us can adopt to prevent or reduceunsolicited calls to the mobile numbers. For example, consumers can use the caller-IDfunction to screen local calls. Consumers can also buy mobile phones with a built-infunction to reject or alert any calls from unknown numbers. These mobile phones arecommonly available from several manufacturers. However this may not work when asubscriber is roaming overseas, as the call is re-routed and the availability of caller-ID isdependent on the commercially negotiated terms between the operators in the twocountries.

145919 SEPTEMBER 20051460Written Answers to Questions for Oral Answer Not Answered by 3.00 pmTo sum up, in an increasingly connected world, telemarketers must adopt ethicalpractices. We will continue to engage the DMAS and MMCS to promote responsiblemobile marketing through industry guidelines and best practices. Meanwhile consumersshould also exercise care when disclosing their contact information so as to prevent orreduce u

Sep 19, 2005 · Dr Michael Lim Chun Leng (Pasir Ris-Punggol). 1291 19 SEPTEMBER 2005 1292 Mr Lim Hng Kiang (West Coast), Minister . Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed 25 Aug 26 Aug 03 Sep 05 Sep 09 Sep 16 Sep Assoc. Prof. Koo Tsai Kee 26 Aug 28 Aug 10 Sep 10 Sep 19 Sep 21 Sep 26 Aug 28 Aug

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