Related to the Year 2000 (Y2K) problem is the challenge of the 1999 critical dates, of which 9 September has been identified as one. 2 The 9 September 1999 issue is a programming glitch rather than a Y2K problem. It arose out of the ...
Singapore, 7 September 1999 | For Immediate Release
Related to the Year 2000 (Y2K) problem is the challenge of the 1999 critical dates, of which 9 September has been identified as one.
The 9 September 1999 issue is a programming glitch rather than a Y2K problem. It arose out of the common programming practice where programmers used "9999" as a code to denote infinity, or end of process. This technique is common in computer programs written mainly in the COBOL language. When detected, it can cause IT programs to stop.
The "9999" or the "all nines" problem as it is sometimes called, mainly affects older mainframe systems in which the "9999" programming technique is used. Because it is essentially an IT issue, the 9 September 1999 critical date will not likely affect embedded systems (equipment and devices with embedded micro-processor chips) such as lifts and washing machines.
Said Ms Wu Choy Peng, Director, Government Systems Division of the National Computer Board (NCB): " The "9999" problem is a well-known Y2K issue. In IT systems where the problem exists, we believe it would have been detected and rectified by the agencies during their systems conversion efforts. Key agencies would also have tested explicitly for this date."
The 9 September critical date is the third in a series of five critical dates spanning years 1999 and 2000. Both the 9 April and 22 August 1999 failure dates have come and gone, without major incidents, both in Singapore and the rest of the world.
Said Ms Wu: "All key government systems, as well as the infrastructure systems and service providers in the areas of finance, telecommunications, transportation, utilities and healthcare, have been Y2K ready since mid-1999, well-ahead of the 31 December deadline. We do not expect that major issues will arise, come 9 September.Nonetheless, the Government will remain vigilant. We can expect key agencies to continue their rigorous testing and to develop contingency plans to ensure Singapore's smooth continuity into the new millennium. We can also expect agencies to use 9 September as an opportunity to rehearse their crossover plans for 31 December."
Backgrounder: Key Government Agencies Y2K Readiness Update
Air, Land and Sea Transport
Passengers and airport users can be assured that the Singapore Changi Airport will continue to operate, come 1 January 2000. Since July 1999, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has put in place contingency plans for all its mission-critical systems. It will also monitor the progress of the Y2K crossover in countries such as New Zealand and Australia. Singapore Airlines has already completed its Y2K compliance tests for all its internal systems in June 1999. It is now focusing on contingency planning and stepping up scrutiny of the risks and exposure from external systems on which it depends.
In the land transport sector, the Land Transport Authority has said the Electronic Road Pricing system, the vehicle registration system, the traffic lights system and the Green Link Determining System have been successfully upgraded and are Y2K ready. The land transport sector is also in the final stages of preparing, testng and refining its contingency plans to ensure minimal disruption in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
Since June 1999, all systems in the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore are Y2K ready. Notwithstanding that all proper steps to rectify the Y2K problem have been taken, the MPA will implement precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the port and vessels navigating the port. These measures are to be complied with by vessels entering, moving within, and leaving the port during the 9 Sep 1999, 1 Jan 2000 and 29 Feb 2000 critical dates.
In the area of telecommunications, the Telecommunications Authority of Singapore (TAS) informed that the public telecommunication services of the Public Telecommunication Operators (PTOs), are Y2K ready. The PTOs include Singapore Telecommunications Ltd and subsidiaries; Singapore Telemedia Pte Ltd (for ST SunPage, Mobitex Communications and MobiTalk); Hutchinsion IntraPage Pte Ltd; and MobileOne (Asia) Pte Ltd. As the telecommunications regulator, the TAS will work closely with other key ministries and the Public Telecommunication Operators to prepare for Y2K contingency arrangements.
Banks and financial institutions in Singapore are well-prepared for the Year 2000. Most banks and financial institutions have completed internal and external testing of their systems. Financial institutions are currently in the final stages of developing and testing of contingency plans to ensure that any possible glitches are quickly detected and remedied.
The Public Utilities Board (PUB) achieved its Y2K readiness in March 1999. The board said that contingency plans for water supply operations have always been in place. Water supply will not be interrupted on account of Y2K. The mission-critical systems of all five public electricity licensees, and the public gas licensees are Y2K ready.
Choo Wai Chan (Ms)
Public Relations Manager
Public Utilities Board
The Ministry of Health said the healthcare sector initiated actions to address the Y2K problem as early as 1995. The majority of the public and private healthcare agencies have completed the Y2K rectification of their critical systems, and are Y2K ready. Business continuity and contingency plans to deal with unforeseeable disruptions are in the place to ensure that the delivery of healthcare services will not be compromised as a result of the Y2K bug. The Medical Accreditation and Audit Unit of the Ministry of Health has also sent circulars to all private healthcare establishments (such as clinics, laboratories and hospitals) to inform them of the Y2K problem and to advise them to take action to rectify the problem.