Second Reading Speech by Senior Parl Sec, Mdm Rahayu Mahzam, on Statutes (Misc Amendments) Bill
03 Oct 2022 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
1. On behalf of the Minister for Law, I beg to move, “That the Bill be now read a Second time”.
2. Sir, this Bill contains 23 operative clauses. It makes miscellaneous amendments across a number of Acts. Mr Speaker Sir, with your permission, may I ask the clerk to distribute an Annex to my speech. Members may also access this material through the SG PARL MP mobile app. The Annex lists down the amendments to be made via this Bill, which I will take Members through.
II. Clause 2: Amendment to the Interpretation Act 1965
3. Clause 2 of the Bill makes two amendments to section 2 of the Interpretation Act 1965.
(a) First, the non-exhaustive definition of “repeal” will be amended to clarify that it includes “delete", which is a term that is used in amending legislation. (b) Second, a new general provision will be inserted, which provides that definitions in written laws apply unless the context otherwise requires. This obviates the need to repeat similar provisions in each definition provision in legislation.
III. Clause 3: Amendment to the Air Navigation Act 1966
4. Next, Clause 3 amends section 9(1) of the Air Navigation Act 1966 (“ANA”) in two ways.
(a) It will expressly enable the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (“**CAAS**”) to make certain insurance-related regulations, including regulations necessary to comply with the 1999 Montreal Convention. (b) It will also specify that the fees that CAAS is currently empowered to prescribe under section 9(1)(t) can be either one-time or periodic in nature.
IV. Clause 4: Amendment to the Children and Young Persons Act 1993, etc.
5. I now come to the amendments to the Children and Young Persons Act 1993 (“CYPA”). The CYPA was amended by the Children and Young Persons (Amendment) Act 2019.
6. Sections 27 and 55 of the 2019 Amendment Act have not been brought into force. Clause 4 of the Bill makes substantively the same amendments as those sections, but updates references to other statutory provisions that have since been renumbered in the 2020 Revised Edition of Acts. It will also allow the First Schedule and the Second Schedule of the CYPA to be brought into force separately.
V. Clause 5: Amendment to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore Act 2009
7. Turning to the next amendment, Clause 5 deletes the definition of “company” and “corporation” in section 63(1) of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore Act 2009 (“CAAS Act”), because they are unnecessary in the context of the CAAS Act.
VI. Clause 6: Amendment to the Copyright Act 2021
8. Next, Clause 6 of the Bill amends four provisions in the Copyright Act 2021 (“CA”).
9. The first amendment is to section 193 of the CA. The CA makes a distinction between “works” and “performances”, and recognises that both “works” and “performances” can be fairly used for the purposes of criticism or review. Where works are concerned, section 193 of the CA provides that any underlying materials that are incorporated in works are deemed fairly used if the works themselves are fairly used for the purposes of criticism or review. However, this deeming provision does not currently extend to performances. Clause 6(a) of the Bill thus amends Section 193 of the CA, such that Section 193 will also apply to underlying materials in performances that are fairly used for the purposes of criticism or review.
10. Second, section 285 of the CA provides that a “public act”, which is an act done for the service of the Government, by the Government or by an authorised person, is an exception to copyright infringement. Section 285(2)(a) currently provides that the Government is to inform the relevant rights owner as soon as practicable after the public act is done. Section 285(2)(a) will be amended to signpost that the means by which the Government is to inform a rights owner of the public act is set out in subsidiary legislation.
11. Third, section 301 provides how copies of a work or a recording of a protected performance should be notated. Subsection (1)(a) will be amended to make clear that the “copy” referred to in that subsection refers only to a copy of a “sound recording”, and not other types of works.
12. Fourth, the CA, which came into force on 21 November 2021, introduced the right for authors to be identified in relation to the public use of certain works. Section 377(2)(b) provides a transitional arrangement for existing works made before 21 November 2021, whereby the first copyright owner’s initial assignee or licensee is exempted from having to identify the author of the existing work. Section 377(2)(b) will be extended to exempt:
(a) the first copyright owner, and (b) subsequent assignees and licensees (beyond the first copyright owner’s initial assignee or licensee) as well.
13. This amendment will put the first copyright owner, initial assignee and licensee, and subsequent assignees and licensees of an existing work on equal footing.
VII. Clause 7: Amendments to the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020
14. Next, I will address the amendments to the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 (“COTMA”).
15. As this House is aware, Part 2 and Part 8 of COTMA introduced reliefs for individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19 in certain contracts and situations. The Panel of Assessors for COVID-19 (Temporary Relief) (“PACT”) and its supporting Registry were formed in April 2020, and heard disputes relating to Part 2 and Part 8.
16. Since PACT was set up around two and a half years ago, it has issued about 1,070 determinations. This helped parties avoid costly and time-consuming litigation, relating to contractual disagreements arising from COVID-19.
17. With the COVID-19 situation having stabilised, these urgent reliefs, introduced during very exceptional times, have run their course and are no longer necessary. The Part 2 and Part 8 reliefs are no longer available – they only applied for prescribed periods, the last of which came to an end on 28 February 2022. It is now time to wind down the PACT Registry.
18. Clause 7 therefore provides that applications which remain pending at a prescribed date will be deemed to be withdrawn. Determinations and subsequent determinations also cannot be made after a prescribed date.
19. In this regard, there are 20 applications concerning construction and supply contracts which remain outstanding, which will be deemed withdrawn when this amendment comes into effect. The withdrawal does not affect the substantive rights of the parties.
(a) The assessors’ role for such applications is to determine whether a Notification for Relief (“**NFR**”) was validly issued to enable a party to seek relief under Part 2 and Part 8. (b) For construction and supply contracts, the service of a valid NFR would entitle the affected party to 2 categories of relief: (i) a moratorium against legal and enforcement action, and (ii) a statutory defence against damages for delays or breaches which are materially caused by COVID-19. (c) Applications relating to the availability of the moratorium are now moot, as the moratorium expired on 28 February 2022, together with the expiry of the prescribed period. (d) As regards applications relating to the statutory defence, the Assessors’ role has always been limited to assessing whether the NFR was valid. The party receiving the NFR could choose to challenge the statutory defence if it is invoked by the serving party in the course of proceedings before a court, tribunal or adjudicator. This right to challenge the availability of the defence before a court, tribunal or adjudicator continues to be available even after these applications for Assessors’ applications are deemed withdrawn.
20. Clause 7 also addresses another issue. Pursuant to section 1(2A) of COTMA, Part 2 expired at the end of 19 April 2022. However, the COTMA regulations permitted applications for an Assessor’s Determination in respect of construction and supply contracts to be made up till 30 April 2022. Clause 7 therefore validates applications made from 20 April 2022 to 30 April 2022.
VIII. Clause 8: Amendment to the Customs Act 1960 and Guns, Explosives and Weapons Control Act 2021
21. Next, I turn to Clause 8.
22. Section 97(5) of the Guns, Explosives and Weapons Control Act 2021 (“GEWCA”) introduced a new section 7(2) to the Customs Act. This section, which has not been commenced, stated that customs officers are to be provided with “such staves, guns, ammunition and other accoutrements as may be prescribed”. Clause 8 of the present Bill inserts a new section 6A to the Customs Act in place of section 7(2). Section 6A is substantively similar to section 7(2), save that the word “staves” is replaced with “batons”, and the arms to be provided need not be prescribed. Consequently, the amendment made by section 97(5) of GEWCA is superseded and deleted.
IX. Clause 9: Amendment to the Extradition Act 1968
23. I now come to Clause 9, which amends the Extradition Act 1968 (“EA”).
24. The Extradition Act was amended in April this year to introduce, amongst others, a new mechanism for fugitives to consent to their extradition. Clause 9 makes several clarifications related to that new mechanism:
(a) First, that the Magistrate’s power to remand a fugitive who has consented to his or her surrender includes the power to remand such a fugitive who is provisionally arrested, and where the formal extradition request from the Requesting State is pending. (b) Second, a consenting fugitive does not need to additionally waive his or her right to apply for a review of the committal order; and (c) Third, that the power to re-arrest fugitives who escape during their arrest or from custody covers fugitives who have consented to their surrender. This power of arrest is exercised in the same manner as that involving a person accused of an arrestable offence against the law in force in Singapore.
X. Clause 10: Amendment to the Gas Act 2001
25. Next, Clause 10 makes amendments to section 29 of the Gas Act 2001, which provides for the inspection, maintenance, repair or renewal, of any part of a gas installation or any part of a gas service pipe linking a gas service isolation valve to the gas installation.
(a) The amendments will clarify that the Energy Market Authority will prescribe persons responsible for the inspection, maintenance, repair or renewal of such parts by way of an order in the _Gazette_; and (b) Section 4(b) of the Energy (Resilience Measures and Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2021, which has not commenced, deletes the existing section 29(4) of the Gas Act, and substitutes it with new sections 29(4), 29(5) and 29(6). The new Section 29(4) of the Gas Act relates to obligations on the gas transporter to inspect gas installations or gas service pipes, and to notify certain persons to carry out maintenance, repair or renewal following the inspection. This Bill will amend section 29(4)(c) to clarify that the “person” the gas transporter is to notify is the person prescribed under section 29(3) of the Gas Act to be responsible for such maintenance, repair or renewal, if that person is not the gas transporter.
XI. Clause 11: Amendment to the Land Transport Authority of Singapore Act 1995
26. I now turn to Clause 11, which amends the Second Schedule of the Land Transport Authority of Singapore Act 1995 (“LTA Act”).
27. The Second Schedule sets out taxes, fees and charges to be paid to the Land Transport Revenue Account.
(a) Paragraph 1 currently relates to fees imposed under the Parking Places Act (“**PPA**”). This includes fees under Part 3 of the PPA, which was repealed by the Share Mobility Enterprises (Control and Licensing) Act 2020. Paragraph 1 of the Second Schedule of the LTA Act will be amended to reinstate the original wording that existed before Part 3 of the PPA was introduced. (b) A new paragraph 26, relating to fees and charges prescribed under the Small Motorised Vehicles (Safety) Act 2020 (“**SMVA**”) will be inserted to the Second Schedule of the LTA Act. The SMVA originally made this amendment, but it could not be commenced as there was an existing provision with the same number.
XII. Clause 12: Amendment to the Medicines Act 1975, etc.
28. Next, I come to amendments relating to the Medicines Act 1975. Clause 12 deletes provisions in the Medicines Act relating to intellectual property obligations for pharmaceutical products. Those obligations are now found in the Health Products Act 2007 and its regulations. The provisions in the Medicines Act are therefore unnecessary.
29. In addition, section 76(1) of the Medicines Act 1975 currently provides for the repeal of the Medicines (Advertisement and Sale) Act 1955 (“MASA”) and the Sale of Drugs Act 1914 (“SDA”) in the same subsection, such that they must be repealed together. Clauses 12(2) and (3) of this Bill provides for the repeal of the MASA and SDA in separate sub-sections, so that they can be repealed separately.
XIII. Clause 13: Amendment to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2000
30. I will now turn to the next amendment, which is to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2000 (“MACMA”).
31. Under section 41(1) of MACMA, when Singapore makes a request for mutual assistance, or receives a request for assistance in criminal matters, the Attorney-General must notify the Minister. Upon receipt of the notice, the Minister may instruct the Attorney-General to take or not to take action that the Minister thinks is in or against the interests of the sovereignty, security or public order of Singapore.
32. As part of Singapore’s commitment to work with our international partners to combat crime, it is important to ensure Singapore’s compliance with international law standards for the timely prioritisation and execution of mutual legal assistance requests.
33. In this regard, the Minister authorises public officers of appropriate seniority and experience to review such notices from the Attorney-General, in accordance with common law principles. Under these common law principles, which have been upheld by our courts, a Minister may authorise the exercise of such functions by his or her officers. Nevertheless, as the Minister is responsible to Parliament, the Minister must ensure that such functions are carried out by duly experienced and qualified officers. This has been the case in the context of Section 41 notices under the MACMA.
34. Clause 13 of the Bill amends section 41(5) of MACMA to make clear that the Minister’s functions under that section may be exercised by a public officer authorised by the Minister. The Minister will nonetheless continue to personally exercise his power for notices as the circumstances require.
XIV. Clause 14: Amendment to the Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation Funds Act 2014, etc.
35. Next, I will touch on the amendment to the Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation Funds Act 2014 (“PMGFA”).
36. Section 16(1)(a) of the PMGFA provides that a Pioneer or Merdeka Generation Senior is eligible for a cash grant to be credited to his or her Medisave or other CPF account, during a prescribed period.
37. However, there are situations where an individual is determined to be a Pioneer or Merdeka Generation Senior after the prescribed period, after verification by the Appeals Panel. Clause 14 of the Bill amends section 16(1)(a) of the PMGFA to enable such individuals to receive the cash grant in respect of the prescribed period, whether the crediting is made during or after that period. Clause 14 also validates the cash grants that have already been credited in such situations.
XV. Clause 15: Amendment to the Police Force Act 2004, etc.
38. I now come to the Police Force Act 2004.
39. First, under section 69 of the Police Force Act, the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner of Police is responsible for the promotion of a special police officer of the rank of deputy superintendent to the rank of superintendent. However, the Minister for Home Affairs is responsible for the appointment, reduction in rank, dismissal or discharge of a superintendent.
40. Clause 15 of the Bill amends section 69, such that the Minister for Home Affairs is the approving authority for the promotion of a special police officer to the rank of superintendent. This ensures that the approving authority for the appointment of, promotion to, reduction of rank, discharge and dismissal of special police officers of the same rank is the same person.
41. Second, Clause 15 validates certain previous promotions that have been made by the Minister for Home Affairs or the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs. To explain, in previous years, the promotions of special police officers from the rank of inspector to assistant superintendent were approved pursuant to the Minister’s powers under section 69(1) delegated to the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs. These promotions should have been approved by the Commissioner or Deputy of Commissioner for Police instead. Clause 15 validates these promotions.
XVI. Clause 16: Amendments to the Protection from Harassment Act 2014
42. I now come to the amendments to the Protection from Harassment Act 2014 (“POHA”). Clause 16 of the Bill makes four amendments to POHA.
43. Let me elaborate.
44. First, the definition of “court” in section 2(1) currently states that “court” for the purposes of sections 12 and 13 and Division 2 of Part 3, means “a District Court (including the Protection from Harassment Court) or a Family Court”. These provisions provide for Protection Orders, Expedited Protection Orders, and orders relating to false statements to be granted. Aside from the District Court and Family Court, other courts such as the General Division of the High Court can make orders under these provisions. The definition of “court” will hence be amended to “a court of competent jurisdiction”. This will ensure that all courts which may grant Protection Orders, Expedited Protection Orders, and orders relating to false statements, are included within the definition of “court”.
45. Second, under section 6 of POHA, public service workers are accorded enhanced protection against harassment. Some volunteers provide services similar to public service workers, and also frequently interact with the public in the course of providing such services. Section 6(5) and 6(6) of POHA will be amended to allow such volunteers to be prescribed as “public service workers”, which will accord such volunteers the same enhanced protection against harassment. The Government is working to identify the classes of volunteers who qualify as public service workers, and target to bring this amendment into force in 2023.
46. Third, section 13(5) of POHA currently provides that there shall be no appeal against a decision relating to Expedited Protection Orders made by the District Court under section 13. As decisions relating to an Expedited Protection Order may also be made by other courts (such as the Family Court or High Court), clause 16 amends section 13(5) to replace “District Court” with “court”, to make it clear that all such decisions made under section 13 are not appealable, no matter which court makes the decision.
47. Lastly, Clause 16 makes clarificatory amendments to section 16I of POHA. Section 16I(4) provides that other civil proceedings may be commenced in the Protection from Harassment Court only if “related to” Part 3 proceedings under POHA in the PHC. Clause 16 of the Bill amends section 16I to define when civil proceedings are related to Part 3 proceedings.
XVII. Clause 17: Amendment to the Public Utilities Act 2001
48. Next, Clause 17 of the Bill amends the Public Utilities Act 2001, to increase the maximum number of Board members from 10 to 13, excluding the Chairperson. This will enable PUB to benefit from the contributions of a more diverse Board.
XVIII. Clause 18: Amendment to the Registered Designs Act 2000
49. I now come to the amendments to the Registered Designs Act 2000 (“RDA”).
50. Section 30A of the RDA, introduced by the Intellectual Property (Amendment) Act 2022, provides express legal effect to disclaimers filed with the Registrar. Disclaimers are indications or statements that limit the rights conferred by registration under section 30 of the RDA.
51. However, section 30A only applies prospectively. This means that section 30A only confers express legal effect to disclaimers filed on or after 26 May 2022, the commencement date of section 30A of the RDA.
52. Clause 18 of the Bill therefore introduces a new subsection (2A) to provide express legal effect to disclaimers made before 26 May 2022, if it was filed in a manner that was compliant with the RDA and the prevailing rules.
XIX. Clause 19: Amendment to the Sentosa Development Corporation Act 1972
53. Next, Clause 19 of the Bill makes two amendments to the Sentosa Development Corporation Act 1972 (“SDCA”).
54. First, it will be explicitly clarified that the definition of “Sentosa” in section 2 includes islands that become contiguous with the island of Sentosa because of land reclamation. This in turn clarifies that Sentosa Cove falls within the definition of “Sentosa”, as part of the land now known as Sentosa Cove used to be a separate island from Sentosa until the narrow channel that ran between the two islands was reclaimed.
55. Second, section 6(2) of the SDCA will be amended to provide that any person acting under the direction of the Sentosa Development Corporation (“SDC”) will be repaid out of the SDC’s funds for any expense incurred. This is for consistency with section 6(1) of the SDCA where any member, employee or any other person acting under the direction of SDC is protected from personal liability while acting under the direction.
XX. Clause 20: Amendments to 15 Acts to abolish show cause proceedings for failing to attend court
56. I now come to Clause 20.
57. A Notice to Attend Court is one of the modes of initiating criminal proceedings. It is a notice requiring a person to attend court at a specified time and date. Currently, where an accused person fails to attend court on the date stated in a Notice to Attend Court, there are 15 Acts that require an accused person to show cause as to why he or she should not be punished with a fine or imprisonment.
58. However, other statutes, notably the Criminal Procedure Code 2010, do not have a similar show cause procedure. This means that no additional penalty is imposed on the accused person for the failure to attend court pursuant to a Notice to Attend Court, even without cause.
59. To ensure a consistent approach across all criminal proceedings regarding a failure to attend court, Clause 20 of the Bill abolishes the show cause proceedings in the 15 Acts. The Court will continue to be able to issue a warrant of arrest to secure the accused person’s attendance in court. Further, failure to attend court will ordinarily be taken into account by the Court as an aggravating factor which may justify an increase in the sentence for the underlying offence.
XXI. Clause 21: Amendments to 7 Acts to refer to Part 9 of the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018
60. Next, the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018 (“IRDA”). When it was introduced, it consolidated corporate and personal insolvency laws found in the Bankruptcy Act and Companies Act in one place. IRDA made consequential amendments to several Acts to replace references to the Bankruptcy Act and Companies Act with references to the IRDA. We have since identified some inadvertent omissions in these references, which relate to the creation of an entirely new Part in the IRDA. Clause 21 of the Bill corrects the references.
XXII. Clause 22: Amendments to 14 Acts in consequence of the Rules of Court 2021
61. I turn now to Clause 22. This clause mainly updates references in primary legislation, for consistency with the provisions and terminology in the new Rules of Court 2021. For example, references to “plaintiff” in existing legislation are now replaced with “claimant” as per the terminology in the Rules of Court 2021, and so on. The changes in terminology do not change the meaning of the amended provisions.
XXIII. Clause 23: Deletion of obsolete powers to make transitional provisions or consequential amendments in 4 Acts
62. Clause 23 deletes obsolete transitional provisions in 4 Acts. These provisions were only intended to operate for a transitional period, and are no longer necessary today.
63. To give an example, section 38 of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore Act 2001 (“IPOS Act”) empowers the Minister to repeal or amend any written law that is inconsistent with any provision of the IPOS Act. The intention of section 38 was to bridge any gap between existing laws and the newly enacted IPOS Act, at that point in time. Hence, section 38 of the IPOS Act is no longer relevant today and can be repealed.
XXIV. Clause 24: Deletion of superseded amendments in 5 Acts
64. Finally, Clause 24 of the Bill repeals provisions in 5 Acts that were never commenced, and have since been superseded by other legislative provisions. For good order, these obsolete provisions will be deleted, as they will no longer have to be brought into force.
65. In conclusion, Mr Speaker, this Bill makes miscellaneous and minor amendments in the manner that I have just described.
66. Sir, I beg to move.
Last updated on 03 October 2022