Parliament Highlights – 4 February 2020

04 Feb 2020 3 min read

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Penalties raised for active mobility offences

Changes to the Active Mobility (Amendment) Bill will implement the ban of all other motorised personal mobility devices (PMDs), including e-scooters, from footpaths from April this year.

Additional proposed changes in the Bill include:

  • Those under the age of 16 can only ride the e-scooters with adult supervision
  • E-scooter and e-bike users must pass an online theory test
  • New riders are required to take the online theory test
  • E-scooters users must send their devices for re-inspection every two years to deter cases of illegal modification
  • No modifications on devices
  • Retailers will have to send e-scooters for inspection to ensure compliance with device criteria

Senior Minister of State for Transport Dr Janil Puthucheary shared that the maximum penalty for a first-time offender caught speeding on public paths will doubled. Fines will be raised to $2,000 and the jail term to six months.

He added, reckless riders of active mobility devices on public paths could face a doubling in their maximum fine to $10,000 and/or jail term to 12 months.

For a first-time offender who sells a non-compliant device for use on public paths will face a fine of up to $20,000 and/or 24 months’ jail.

Said Dr Janil, “The proposed changes will increase awareness of rules, tackle distracted riding among users and ensure that only compliant devices are used on public paths.”

The changes were concurrently debated with the Shared Mobility Enterprises (Control and Licensing) Bill.

Public service committed to provide ‘inclusive and mental-friendly’ workplace

Public agencies do not require job applicants to declare their medical health history, including their mental health condition.

In response to a parliamentary query, Minister for Trade and Industry and Minister-in-charge of Public Service Chan Chun Sing shared that the Public Service Division has removed all declaration questions on medical health from job application forms since 1 May 2017.

According to the guidelines Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) revised in December last year, it is discriminatory to ask job applicants to declare their mental health condition without good reason.

Mr Chan said the public service is committed to providing its officers with “an inclusive and mental health-friendly workplace”. This includes access to counselling and alternative work arrangements for those with mental health conditions to better manage their condition or recovery, as well as getting the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to teach managers how to detect early signs of distress.

Maritime Security Task Force to restructure to deal with piracy at sea

The Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) plans to restructure to deal with piracy at sea, which includes beefing up its assets, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced.

 In his written reply to a parliamentary question, Dr Ng said the review is expected to be complete in the next few months.

He said extra measures are useful to prevent a further rise in the number of sea robbery and piracy in the Singapore Strait.

The task force of the Singapore Navy which was set up in 2009, works with law enforcement and maritime agencies to guard Singapore’s waters.

The number of piracy and sea robbery in the waterway, Dr Ng noted, “fluctuates considerably from year to year”. There were 48 cases in 2014, 104 in 2015 and 31 last year. In the remaining seven years of the last decade, there was an average of 12 incidents annually.

Separately, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan explained that the Singapore Strait does not only include Singapore’s territorial waters, so the fight against piracy and armed robbery there requires “strong collaboration among all regional partners”.

Dr Ng said that Singapore has been working with navies and coast guards of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to deal with incidents outside Singapore waters, such as transnational maritime piracy, robbery and other security threats.