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Parliament Highlights - 19 November 2018
PUBLISHED ON 19 Nov 2018
Enhanced e-payment regulations soon
 
To keep up with the evolving payment landscape, a new Payment Services Bill was introduced in Parliament today.
 
The new regulatory framework for payment services will streamline regulations of payment services.
 
It will also expand the scope of regulated activities to include the various forms of payment service providers.
 
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a statement that the proposed amendments will provide a more conducive environment for innovation in payment services and ensure that risks across the payments value chain can be mitigated.
 
This bill will also strengthen consumer protection and engender confidence in the use of e-payments.
 
 

SEHC model to be adjusted to better serve Singaporeans
 
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) Mr Masagos Zulkifli has stated that the socially-conscious enterprise hawker centre (SEHC) model is 'generally sound' and that the Government should allow market mechanisms to work instead of mandating low rents.
 
"The market mechanism is working, and Government should not intervene unnecessarily, in mandating low or no rental, which could otherwise affect fair competition," Mr Masagos said.
 
“It is natural to have some level of churn as better hawkers replace those who are less suited for the trade. Market forces would lead to a fair distribution of hawker stalls, which ultimately benefits residents," he added.
 
Mr Masagos added that SEHCs need time to establish itself, and to 'adapt, adjust and optimise' to the outcomes it seeks to achieve including ensuring affordable food options and preserving hawker centres as vibrant social spaces in Singapore.
 
He emphasised, "The model must, therefore, ensure that rentals and costs are transparent and fair to hawkers, but cannot subsidise hawkers to the extent that it distorts the workings of the market."
 
“We have heard the feedback, and will adjust the model to better serve Singaporeans. As with any trials and experiments, we cannot always get it right the first time,"  said Mr Masagos.
 

 
Singapore remains reliable and impartial: MFA
 
Singapore continues to build its reputation as an impartial and reliable country that is able to contribute to the international community, said Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.
 
In his update in Parliament, Dr Balakrishnan said that Singapore worked hard to make progress on diplomatic and economic initiatives, and 'redoubled efforts to support a rules-based global order and the international trading system.'
 
As chairman of ASEAN this year, it was a 'whole-of-nation' effort which involved government agencies, media, universities and many others. Outlining the work that has been done, Singapore spearheaded the Asean Smart Cities Network, launched several initiatives with other member states to enhance centrality, unity and accelerate economic integration.
 
A milestone which Singapore achieved as the Asean-China Country Coordinator was the formulation of a Single Draft Negotiating Text for the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
 
Dr Balakrishnan also mentioned the first Summit between the United States and North Korea; and the Bloomberg New Economy Forum which further reaffirmed Singapore’s reputation as an impartial and reliable country. "We are happy to facilitate and participate in these important discussions. It is in our interest to add value and make ourselves relevant to the global business community," said Dr Balakrishnan.
 
He reiterated that the Ministry will continue working closely with other ministries and agencies to 'keep Singapore's foreign policy balance sheet in good order.'
 

 
Strengthened drug rehabilitation regime for drug abusers
 
Proposed changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act will enhance the rehabilitation programme for adult drug abusers who do not face other concurrent charges. Furthermore, the drug control legal framework will criminalise acts which expose children to drugs.
 
Under the proposed amendments, first-time abusers not facing other criminal charges will be assessed by the Central Narcotics Bureau to be low-risk of further abuse, and will be put on Enhanced Direct Supervision Order, and will also be assigned a case manager who will provide support to them and their families.
 
High-risk drug abusers can face a maximum period of detention in the Drug Rehabilitation Centre (DRC) of four years, instead of three.
 
In addition, it would be an offence if an adult recklessly leaves drugs or drug utensils within easy access of children (below the age of 16 years old). It will also be an offence for an adult who permits or prevents a young person from consuming controlled drugs within their possession.


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