PARL Preview: A Constitutional Amendment, regulating moneylenders and our MPs raising questions on housing, youth employment and transport


 The final Parliament session for 2023 is scheduled to take place this coming Wednesday, November 22. A key item on the agenda for this session will be a proposed amendment to the nation’s Constitution that was first introduced by Minister Indranee Rajah during the previous Parliament sitting on November 6. 

Source: Istana

The proposed amendment will establish a legal framework allowing the President to accept appointments to foreign and international organisations in their personal capacity, provided such appointments are deemed to be in Singapore’s national interest. Any appointments under this amendment should enhance Singapore’s international standing and prestige on the global stage. Such appointments could be within organisations like the United Nations (UN) or the Commonwealth of Nations. They must also not be for commercial enterprises, as per Article 19 of the Constitution. The Cabinet would advise the President that the appointment in question would support our national interest.   

The amendment would also extend similar conditions to appointments accepted by Ministers, who would need the Prime Minister’s permission.   

This amendment would help Singapore continue strengthening its reputation globally for leadership, expertise and accountability by enabling key officials to represent the country’s interests through strategic international appointments. 

An Amendment to the Moneylenders Act is also on the agenda. Key to it is that it permits a licensed moneylender to obtain a credit report from a credit bureau like the one set up by Singapore’s banks to decide whether an applicant may have a loan. These reports must now also be recorded and kept secure, while also enacting a new offence when a licensed moneylender wrongfully demands payment from a borrower. These Amendments will protect more Singaporean families from ongoing problems once a short-term influx of cash ends. 

Housing and jobs for fresh graduates

Our MPs have been staying on top of important national issues. 

On housing affordability, MP Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC) has been looking out for both resale flat buyers and those less fortunate. He is asking the Minister for National Development about the rising prices of resale flats, and how they affect people with incomes that aren’t keeping up. He is also asking if more help can be given to those still unable to afford a 2-room resale flat for their housing needs.

Source: Gan Thiam Poh, Nadia Samdin / Facebook

Our Party also continues looking out for youth employment. MP Nadia Samdin (Ang Mo Kio GRC) is asking the Minister for Manpower how the number of job openings for fresh graduates compares between third quarter 2023 and third quarter 2022. She is also asking for the Government’s assessment of how the news of less firms intending to hire talent will impact these fresh graduates.    

Fine-tuning transport

Our MPs have additional questions for fine-tuning laws which affect Singapore’s roads. 

MP Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten SMC) is asking the Minister for Home Affairs about monitoring drivers of vehicles with illegally modified exhaust systems — yes, those drivers you can hear coming at night half the neighbourhood away — and about taking enhanced action against them. 

MP Yeo Wan Ling (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) is also advocating for Singapore’s taxi and private hire drivers.  With passengers increasingly using cellphones to video portions of in-vehicle arguments, she is asking the Minister for Transport whether these drivers may install video and audio recording devices in their vehicles. Such recordings could give a more complete account of any disputes that occur.

Source: Lim Biow Chuan, Yeo Wan Ling, Rachel Ong / Facebook

Moreover, MP Rachel Ong (West Coast GRC) is asking the Minister of Manpower about worker safety during transportation in the rear decks of lorries. She is asking how many construction companies engaging in this practice have attained bizSAFE Level 3 safety certifications. She is inquiring also if their risk management audits include up-to-date checks and if companies certified before this new audit regime will undergo re-evaluation.