RESPONSE BY SECOND MINISTER FOR LAW, MR EDWIN TONG SC AT THE COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY DEBATE 2022
03 Mar 2022 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
1) Mr Chairman, good evening. I thank the Members for their various speeches.
2) The range of issues raised in each of these Members’ cuts reflect:
a. the extensive and diverse reach of our legal system and its fundamental importance to Singapore,
b. as well as the rapidly evolving landscape that we are currently navigating.
3) As we adjust to living with COVID-19, we will have to pay renewed attention to strengthening the rule of law and access to justice, and of course at the same time, keeping an eye on being able to seize the opportunities ahead of us.
4) This will secure our place in a post-COVID world and ensure that we continue to thrive.
5) In support of this, my Ministry remains focused on three broad areas:
a. First, building a legal system that is trusted, effective and accessible;
b. Second, strengthening Singapore as a legal services and intellectual property hub; and
c. Third, enhancing our management of State land and properties.
6) I will address and respond to the cuts along these themes. I. Trusted, Accessible and Efficient Legal System
7) Singapore has a legal system renowned for efficiency, effectiveness and fairness. We are not, however, resting on our laurels, and will continue to make improvements across various facets.
8) This will promote affordability, timeliness, simplicity and of course, effectiveness and trust, as Mr Murali puts it, for all litigants – key characteristics of a country with a strong rule of law and good governance.
9) An important aspect of a strong rule of law is to ensure that court judgments are efficiently enforced. Mr Sitoh Yih Pin asked about the enforcement of court orders following prolonged litigation, often requiring further time and resources.
10) We have also ourselves received feedback that the time, effort and costs of enforcing a judgment in some cases, particularly where there is a lower-value judgment, can be disproportionate to the judgment sum.
11) To address this, we will introduce changes designed to make enforcement simpler and more streamlined – a point also picked up by Mr Sitoh and Mr Patrick Tay.
12) SMEs and litigants-in-person, in particular, will benefit from these changes. These include:
a. Introducing new powers to punish and disincentivise non-compliance with court orders.
b. And if a party still fails to comply, the courts will be given enhanced powers to track and trace assets of the judgment debtor.
13) These are complex changes. We are studying the options and will engage stakeholders, get the feedback and fine-tune some of the proposals we have in mind, and we will provide more details in due course.
14) Specifically, on Mr Tay’s concerns on workers encountering difficulties with enforcing Employment Claims Tribunal (“ECT”) orders, the proposals I mentioned earlier are intended to apply to ECT orders as well.
15) The Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Resolution Management (“TADM”) is mindful that workers should be able to recover their monies efficiently and cost-effectively.
16) TADM has partnered NTUC’s U Care Centre and Migrant Workers’ Centre to provide advice and assistance to local and migrant workers on enforcing ECT orders through a writ of seizure and sale (“WSS”).
a. In cases where it may be impractical to proceed through a WSS, TADM will help affected workers get financial assistance through the Short-Term Relief Fund or the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund.
17) Turning now to the family justice system. It is a system that deals with many cases that are often less about legal issues, and a lot about emotional and family issues.
a. Typically, this plays out in acrimonious, often protracted proceedings.
b. Often souring the relations of people, already strained by the proceedings itself.
18) We place a strong emphasis on promoting therapeutic justice.
19) Amendments to the Women’s Charter this year were a step in this direction.
20) To take these objectives further, we have been working with MSF and the Family Justice Courts (“FJC”) to effect the recommendations of the Committee to Review and Enhance Reforms in the Family Justice System.
21) We are looking at legislative amendments later this year.
22) Dr Tan Wu Meng mentioned that family proceedings can be challenging for some litigants-in-person. We agree.
a. He had asked today and in a PQ on 15 February, why many parties continue to choose to represent themselves.
23) There are a variety of reasons for this. One factor could be the initiatives that MinLaw, together with MSF and FJC, have introduced to simplify and reduce acrimony in divorce proceedings.
a. For example, we implemented the simplified divorce track, for couples who have agreed on the divorce and ancillary matters.
24) We will continue to simplify proceedings so that all parties can obtain a fair and just outcome, even if they choose, or are sometimes forced, to go without a lawyer.
25) Some of the improvements we are therefore considering in the coming Bill will be especially helpful for self-represented parties – specifically, the enforcement of maintenance orders, which Dr Tan has spoken about.
a. Take for example, where the enforcing party has difficulty ascertaining the other party’s financial position. This, Members will know, is not an uncommon position.
b. We will empower the courts to question parties and obtain information directly.
c. This facilitates a simpler and more efficient process, and really gets to the crux of the issues directly. These are the issues which matter.
d. We are also considering additional enforcement mechanisms, to strengthen compliance – a comment which Dr Tan had made.
26) Mr Vikram Nair suggested simplifying the enforcement process for ancillary orders made by a foreign court in divorce proceedings.
27) For maintenance, the Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act (“MOREA”) provides a streamlined process for directly enforcing a foreign maintenance order issued by a court of a designated reciprocating jurisdiction.
28) For fresh applications in Singapore for ancillary orders for foreign divorces, our courts have been mindful to avoid unnecessary re-litigation. Their approach is to respect and recognise any foreign custody order made in the child’s habitual residence, unless there are exceptional circumstances which militate against that.
29) That said, we will consider Mr Nair’s feedback.
30) Mr Murali Pillai raised two matters on law reform and I will address those.
31) He commented on the Debtors Act dealing with arrest and imprisonment of debtors and asked if MinLaw would consider reviewing its relevance.
a. We thank Mr Murali for highlighting this.
b. We will review the Debtors Act at an appropriate juncture and if necessary, propose reforms.
32) Mr Murali also asked about the recent Court of Appeal decision, which held claims in unjust enrichment and restitution for wrongs are not covered by the Limitation Act. We are aware of this and, in fact, we have spoken about this with Mr Murali, and are studying whether, and if we decide to proceed, how, the Limitation Act should be amended.
33) We will continue to explore a range of possible refinements and also review our laws continually, to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our legal system, and also ensure that justice continues to remain accessible. A. Access to justice
34) In fact, access to justice is a fundamental pillar of our society.
35) Advancing access to justice for all Singaporeans, regardless of their means, is therefore important to us.
36) Let me highlight four areas we are looking to enhance.
37) First, community disputes remains an area of focus. As Members have noted, there has been a rise in such cases.
38) An inter-agency committee comprising MCCY, MND, MinLaw and MHA had been working on a holistic review of the Community Dispute Management Framework, – a broad holistic framework that looks at how we manage such disputes within the community, from end-to-end, as far as possible.
39) The committee has made progress in this review.
40) Whilst it is at this point in time premature to announce any firm measures, I can say that we are considering proposals and remedies which fall into two broad buckets.
41) First, to look at enhancing upstream measures to help to reduce the occurrence of disputes.
a. For example, the committee is studying how we can forge closer relationship and partnership with the community to establish community norms for issues such as noise and disturbances, local disamenity issues, and this includes the establishment of a Community Advisory Panel.
b. SMS Sim Ann will elaborate on this, during MND’s COS speech.
42) Second, if a dispute does arise, how can we enhance the framework to promote an amicable resolution as far as possible. After all, most of these disputes occur in the context of a neighbourly situation, where two parties live side by side, or in close proximity to one another. How do we find a solution that better facilitates a fair, expedient, and effective resolution of that dispute, should an amicable resolution not be possible? Measures that we are studying include –
a. Making mediation mandatory in some cases;
b. Enhancing the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals’ processes to address pain points, including some of the present difficulties involved in the CDRT process; and
c. Having an appropriate response protocol to address disputes quickly and effectively.
43) This is a complex effort, as Members would appreciate, it requires work and coordination amongst different agencies, and the committee has been working with stakeholders and partners to develop and refine these proposals. I will share some further aspects of the committee’s work at MCCY’s COS speech.
44) Second, Mr Zhulkarnain asked about efforts to reduce unclaimed CPF monies held by the Public Trustee.
45) Members may recall that we are already simplifying the claims process through the Beneficiary Representative approach.
46) This will apply to about half of all un-nominated CPF monies handled by the Public Trustee annually. A fairly big portion of the un-nominated sums will come under this approach.
47) We are focusing on implementing this by the second quarter of this year.
48) We encourage beneficiaries who are able to, to use this process.
a. Under this process, an eligible beneficiary can represent all beneficiaries – for cases up to $10,000.
b. The application process has also been streamlined, which –
i. will significantly reduce inconvenience for beneficiaries, and
ii. in many cases, could halve disbursement time from the current 3 to 6 months, to 1 to 3 months.
49) We also plan to review the monetary limit for cases to qualify under this approach – potentially expanding the approach to a larger group of cases.
50) The Beneficiary Representative approach will go some way towards reduce the inconvenience when making a claim for un-nominated sums, and also reduce the unclaimed monies as a result.
51) I should add however – despite refining this and making it simpler and more convenient – that to enable distributions to beneficiaries more quickly and directly, CPF members can, where possible, make their nominations ahead of time, and update it as their life circumstances change.
52) Third, Mr Murali and Mr Zhulkarnain suggested simplifying the probate process. We agree with that.
53) Last year, Members may recall that I shared that the Courts are already working to simplify the application process for straightforward probate matters. Let me now share more details.
54) In gist, self-represented applicants can look forward to a Probate eService. This can be used to apply for a Grant of Probate online, in straightforward applications.
a. One key feature will be the integration of SingPass information, which will allow the applicant’s particulars to be automatically populated.
b. Beyond personal particulars, the eService will also use guided questions to help applicants provide the relevant information – information that allows their applications to be processed more quickly, and that allows it to help applicants fill out Court forms, which sometimes presents a choke point, even at the start of the process itself.
55) These features reduce the amount of information the applicant needs to provide, and potential form-filling errors, which then lengthen and delay the process.
56) This will significantly improve the service journey for self-represented applicants.
57) Mr Murali raised an interesting proposal about the Japanese koseki system. We did study this. It is a system that has unique, interesting features. But ultimately, we felt that it was relevant for Japan’s own context – quite different from our situation. We assessed that adopting it does not necessarily make Singapore’s probate and administration processes more efficient. We felt that enhancing and making it more convenient and simplifying the process itself would benefit applicants more.
58) That said, we take Mr Murali’s suggestion and we are grateful that he has taken the trouble to look at comparable systems. And the lesson in that really is to look at other systems and think of how it can apply to us, and we will adapt the process as may be appropriate, to contextualise it to our circumstances. And we will do so.
59) Mr Murali proposed reviewing the means test limit in order to strengthen access to justice.
a. It has been less than 3 years since these criteria were revised.
b. We should let this run for a period of time, and study its impact and effectiveness before deciding whether to review the limits again.
60) Additionally, we also acknowledge Mr Murali’s suggestion on increasing awareness regarding the waiver of the means test requirements. We completely agree with that, and we will take steps to enhance the awareness. We will work with various other stakeholders, including Law Society, to do so.
61) For those who lack resources but may not qualify for legal aid, Mr Nair asked whether conditional fee agreements (“CFAs”) could be expanded to domestic litigation and also include damages-based awards.
a. Members will recall that Parliament passed a framework for CFAs in January. This will commence later this year.
b. Under this new framework, CFAs will be permitted as an additional litigation funding option for arbitration proceedings, certain proceedings in the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC), and related court and mediation proceedings
c. We are studying extending CFAs to other categories of proceedings, as I have explained when I made the speech in Parliament in January, such as in domestic litigation and mediation, in order to enhance access to justice.
i. We are aware of developments in this area in other jurisdictions, like the UK and the US.
ii. But as Members know, such proceedings are likely to involve more vulnerable litigants, and so we want to take this approach more carefully, study the pros and cons, make further reviews and consultations, before we move on this front.
iii. On Mr Nair’s other point, we had considered whether to allow damages-based awards, but decided not to do so at least presently, as such an approach means that the fees that one charges will have no direct correlation to the quantum and value of the work done by the lawyer. We will nonetheless continue to study this, and might have further consultations to study the appropriateness of such a damages-based awards.
62) The introduction of CFAs in its current form, nonetheless, will strengthen Singapore’s offerings as a legal services and dispute resolution hub – a point that I will now turn to. II. Legal and IP Hub
63) Our status as a trusted, best-in-class and efficient legal and IP system, presents us at once with opportunities and advantages:
a. It provides the necessary infrastructure for us to engage in commerce.
b. It contributes to Singapore’s status as an international centre for finance, for business, for shipping – amongst others.
64) Singapore is building up its reputation as a legal and IP hub.
a. In the 2021 Queen Mary University of London and White & Case International Arbitration Survey:
i. Singapore was ranked as top arbitration seat globally (alongside London); and
ii. SIAC was the most preferred arbitral institution in Asia-Pacific and second in the world.
b. In the Global Innovation Index 2021, Singapore was amongst the world’s top 10 most innovative nations.
65) These are statistics and surveys, but they also present a picture and tells us that we can create value for the legal sector and good jobs for Singaporeans, with the attendant benefits for the economy.
66) Mr Christopher de Souza asked how we will maintain Singapore as a dispute resolution hub, amidst the changes brought about by the pandemic.
67) Beyond updates to our laws, such as CFAs that I mentioned, we continue to evolve our international commercial dispute offerings and infrastructure, to meet the end-users’ and the parties’ changing needs. We must evolve and move with the times and ensure that what we offer, what we have in our jurisdiction, meets the needs of users of legal services.
a. With the pandemic, proceedings are now often held in an online or hybrid format.
b. Our dispute resolution institutions moved quickly to offer online and hybrid solutions.
c. We will therefore work with them to –
i. consolidate these efforts,
ii. enhance their digital offerings at a broader level, and
iii. provide users with a comprehensive suite of online solutions and services, including hearing platforms and case management.
68) We will also work with these institutions to expand their footprint into other jurisdictions and promote our services. This includes –
a. Supporting their expansion overseas as I have mentioned;
b. Strengthening cooperation with foreign counterparts in a mutually beneficial system; and
c. Stepping up on physical engagements with key stakeholders and target markets as travel resumes.
69) At the same time, a legal hub also needs to be supported by a strong legal talent base.
70) Mr de Souza asked how the profession will meet our evolving needs. Ms Nadia and Mr Thomas talked about the high attrition rates, especially amongst young lawyers, and asked how we will support and retain talent.
71) For some context, let me just cite some numbers. In 2021, about 20% more lawyers left the profession, compared to the average of the preceding three years.
72) This phenomenon, however, is not unique to Singapore. An International Bar Association survey of more than 3,000 young lawyers globally – published in January – found that:
a. A third are likely to move to a new legal profession, for example in academia; and
b. A fifth are likely to leave the profession entirely. So that is about 20% likely to leave the profession entirely.
73) They leave for a variety of reasons, including high workload and pressures, some of which the Members have mentioned.
74) But while there are lawyers, or there were lawyers who left the profession (the numbers of which I have cited), there were equally also new entrants and re-entrants into the profession. In fact, the number of new entrants exceeded those who left the profession every year for the past four years since 2018. There was also a net increase in the number of practising certificates holders (“PC holders”) – those who practice law – in 2021, compared to 2020. So overall, while there has been a number of lawyers who have left the profession, equally, as I said, there are others who have come into the profession, either at the start as a young lawyer, or in some cases re-enter the profession, as a mid-career or a more senior lawyer.
75) That said, I understand the sentiments of young lawyers and the views expressed by Members.
76) The start of a young lawyer’s career is challenging. Both Mr Murali and myself, we practised together as young lawyers and we know the drill. The first few years is when they go on a tremendously steep learning curve. That helps them to deepen their knowledge, quicken their experience, hone their craft and gain exposure.
77) With these challenges, they grow professionally and truth be told, through this experience, they become better, more experienced, and more well-rounded lawyers.
78) The reality too is that we need to be able to compete globally. Otherwise, Singapore will be a less compelling proposition as a legal services hub.
79) There is therefore no short cut to developing legal skills. It is about experience. it is about the ability to apply legal knowledge in the context of real-life lived experiences and make real commercial value judgments. If we want to be an outstanding legal hub, and the jurisdiction of choice, there are no short cuts.
a. But we can make the journey more sustainable, more meaningful, and rewarding.
80) First, we will look into preparing our lawyers, especially young lawyers, more adequately for practice, and along the way, developments in practice, throughout their careers.
81) MinLaw earlier accepted the recommendations of the Committee for the Professional Training of Lawyers.
a. This includes lengthening the Practice Training Period from 6 months to a year, to allow trainees to develop a stronger foundation in legal practice before they embark on legal practice.
b. We will implement these next year.
82) We will also:
a. Review the training and education for law students, lawyers and allied legal professionals – including the need for leadership and management training, a good suggestion by Mr Thomas.
b. We will work with the Law Society to explore an industry-wide secondment programme, to enhance our presence in, important markets, such as in China; and also in important domains such as in sustainability, M&A and technology.
83) Second, we will continue to provide lawyers with opportunities in the legal industry and the wider ecosystem.
a. Lawyers today have much more diverse options available, beyond joining as a lawyer in a Singapore law practice or joining the public sector.
i. For instance, there are now opportunities at international law practices, in-house counsel teams, dispute resolution institutions, boutique firms, and of course, also legaltech firms.
b. There are also more development opportunities within the Singapore law practices and the public sector.
i. Our Singapore law practices second lawyers to partner firms and clients, including through programmes introduced by MinLaw.
ii. The Legal Service’s restructuring also gives opportunities to specialise in judicial roles or as public sector lawyers.
84) Mr Thomas suggested attracting more graduate students to read law, as they are more likely to stay in the profession.
a. Mr Thomas might know that all three of our local law schools offer J.D. programmes, and we see a healthy take-up every year.
b. SUSS Law School, in particular, takes in more than 50% of each cohort of J.D. students on average.
85) But regardless of the law degree, lawyers will stay in the profession if there are opportunities, and if they find the work fulfilling.
86) This requires the collective efforts of different stakeholders.
a. We will therefore, continue to work with the Law Society and law practices, to ensure that the legal industry remains attractive, challenging, and with renewed opportunities for all.
b. At the same time, continuing to foster a strong, a talented, energetic bar, with camaraderie between lawyers.
87) Next, let me turn to technology and digitalisation as Mr Zhulkarnain and Mr de Souza have raised. Both have asked about supporting law practices and lawyers in the technology transformation.
88) MinLaw is at the forefront of this transformation; supporting Singapore law practices to adopt technology.
a. We launched a Transformation and Innovation Roadmap in 2020, a 10-year roadmap to guide our efforts and direction.
b. We are working on a Legal Industry Digital Plan, with IMDA and industry partners.
c. Within the Ministry, we set up a new Legal Technology Transformation Office, specifically to provide dedicated resources to support law firms on this journey.
89) We will be launching the Legal Technology Platform (“LTP”) shortly.
a. This is a matters management tool that is integrated with technology tools popular with our lawyers.
b. It addresses common pain points when adopting and using technology,
i. Such as a steep learning curve and lack of interoperability between tools and systems, often a high threshold for lawyers to cross, when talking about adopting technology.
c. We are also incorporating Singapore-specific features, features which we use, best, within our own local practice and our jurisdiction, including integration with existing practice management tools and solutions, and ensuring Singapore user data is hosted from Singapore, from a security perspective.
90) We have taken pains to ensure user feedback is incorporated early, into the design architecture of the system. Over the last year, we:
a. Engaged over 100 lawyers from small and medium-sized law firms to obtain feedback: on the usage, how they see interoperability, what functions they want to see, how they feel the integration ought to take place between their own systems and the systems on the platform, and so on.
b. We established a standing LTP Industry Engagement & Advisory Group, to provide continuous feedback as the product is developed and redeveloped over phases.
c. We held a soft-launch at the end of January this year, where we provided a preview to some industry members and stakeholders. We put the system with them and let them use it for a while, market test it, road test it, before we finally make the launch later this year.
91) Once launched, law firms will be able to start adoption progressively.
a. MinLaw is working to ensure firms receive technology support as they adopt the platform, and beyond.
b. We will work with Enterprise Singapore, the IMDA and Law Society to encourage adoption among small and medium-sized law firms.
c. We will also be exploring grants for early adopters to defray the subscription cost of the LTP and selected LTP-integrated solutions. We will share more details of this closer to the launch.
92) Next, another area – intellectual property (“IP”) – which we see will carry Singapore into the future.
93) IP and intangible assets (“IA”) are engines of today’s innovation-driven global economy.
a. In 2021, the global value of intangible assets reached USD74 trillion.
b. This is expected to keep rising.
94) We have long recognised the need to leverage on IA and IP for growth:
a. Today, Singapore is an IP hub –
i. We encourage creation, protection and commercialisation of new innovations and technologies, including blockchain and other emerging digital technologies.
ii. The rapid pace of innovation requires us to continually review our IP policies and laws to ensure that they support technological advances and the continually evolving business environment.
95) Mr de Souza asked how we are supporting local enterprises build infrastructure and monetise IP.
96) Last year, we launched the Singapore IP Strategy (“SIPS 2030”).
a. This aims to strengthen Singapore as a top-ranked global IA/IP hub.
b. I will touch on two areas, particularly relevant to local enterprises, given Mr De Souza’s question.
97) First, the initiatives that enable enterprises to better leverage IA and IP for growth.
a. Enterprises can obtain IP protection quickly through the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore’s (“IPOS”) acceleration programme, SG IP Fast Track.
i. It allows patent applications to be granted as fast as 6 months, and in this area, Members will know, time is efficiency, efficiency is commercialisation and monetisation. So as fast as six months, and the related trademark and design applications to be registered within 3 months and 1 month respectively.
b. At IPOS’s complimentary IP Legal and Business Clinics,
i. Local enterprises can consult lawyers and business consultants on a range of IP matters. Since February, these Clinics offer advice on IP issues when expanding overseas. Concurrently, IPOS is working with Enterprise Singapore and the SME Centres to widen the IA and IP outreach to local enterprises, to socialise the idea with them, to equip them with information and knowledge, should they decide that their own business can take advantage of the IA and IP environment.
c. In May, IPOS will introduce the IPOS Digital Hub, a new IP registration system, which will –
i. harness the latest technologies to enhance user experience in the IP registration process, and
ii. provide businesses with new features to manage their own IP portfolio.
iii. This will complement the legislative updates in the Intellectual Property (Amendment) Bill, passed in January 2022.
d. Altogether, these initiatives will enable a more efficient and business-friendly IP registration system.
98) Second, we are working on IA and IP disclosure and valuation – to make IA and IP more recognised and also more transactable.
a. IPOS is working with ACRA and industry to develop an Intangible Asset Disclosure Framework.
i. This will enable enterprises to better identify, communicate and disclose the value of their IP and IA for growth.
ii. We plan to consult the industry later this year, before introducing the Framework in 2023.
b. Singapore will also work with international partners to develop internationally-recognised IA and IP valuation guidelines.
i. This enables us to have a uniform platform, one that is internationally recognised, on which we can say, if you have an IA or IP, this is the valuation methodology, and this is how it will be recognised across different jurisdictions.
ii. This in turn will create more opportunities for IA/IP valuers in Singapore, anchor IA/IP valuation activities, thought leadership here, and support Singapore as a trusted business and financial hub.
iii. IA and IP valuation based on internationally-recognised guidelines is also critical to enabling enterprises to transact and effectively monetise their IA and IP both in Singapore and overseas.
III. State land and properties
99) Finally, Sir, let me touch on Mr de Souza’s cut on how to optimise land resources. As Mr de Souza recognises, optimising land resources is integral to sustaining Singapore’s economic and social development. Let me set out briefly how we plan to repurpose and rejuvenate State properties.
100) It almost goes without saying that given our limited land resources, this is an important piece of the puzzle to ensure that the land is optimised, even as it awaits its next use. We manage our State land and properties carefully to ensure they are put to the best possible use.
a. And in deciding how to utilise these assets, we consider –
i. not only the economic returns,
ii. but also how we can bring broader societal benefits to the community.
b. To achieve this, we manage these assets along two broad thrusts:
i. First, to maximise the utilisation of State properties through good upkeep and enhancements, and by putting State land to more productive uses.
ii. Second, to unlock greater value from our State properties through new and innovative ideas which create greater economic and social returns.
101) Let me explain this by referencing some examples. The Singapore Land Authority (“SLA”) has engaged extensively with market players to identify fresh concepts for existing State properties:
a. So one example is the upcoming rejuvenation of Gillman Barracks. Members may be familiar with this location.
i. This will introduce creative lifestyle concepts to complement the existing commercial arts enclave and attract greater footfall.
ii. Sustainability initiatives such as green programmes, and the deployment of solar panels will also be incorporated, as we do our part to grow the green movement in Singapore.
b. Second, SLA will also be transforming the former campus of Loyang Primary School, through adaptive reuse.
i. The first plot – a four-storey building, will be repurposed as a childcare centre.
ii. SLA is working with potential tenants to introduce community elements to the adjacent plot – with the aim of creating a synergistic community of complementary users within the same site.
102) These efforts, amongst others, will help to inject life into existing spaces in a manner that benefits both the businesses and the community, and keeps the use of State land efficient, and of course, exciting and vibrant in the context of the community in which the State lands are situated.
103) In closing, let me once again thank Members for their comments and suggestions.
104) We have achieved significant progress through these various initiatives.
105) My Ministry will continue to forge ahead to:
a. Ensure a trusted and efficient legal system; providing access to justice, regardless of means.
b. Strengthen our attractiveness as a legal and IP hub – a position that we have worked hard to gain, and which we must work even harder to maintain.
c. Continue the stewardship of State properties and ensure our lived environment best serves Singaporeans’ needs.
106) Sir, all of this would not be possible without the support of all our stakeholders. I wish to thank the Judiciary, members of the Bar and of this House, universities, law students, and various agencies and professional institutions, including the Law Society and the Singapore Academy of Law.
107) In Singapore, we are fortunate to have an open and constructive relationship with all our stakeholders in the legal industry fraternity. We have very robust, but very constructive discussions, with a clear eye on what’s best for Singapore.
108) We are grateful for this, and look forward to extending our partnership and fostering new collaborations in the coming year.
Last updated on 03 Mar 2022