2023 Roundup (Sept-Oct): Protecting kids in childcare. Going on ALERT against money laundering.

28/12/2023

WE PUT in proper thought when it comes to protecting Singapore’s kids from criminals. This is versus an Opposition which infamously suggested removing the criminal histories of ex-offenders, never mind that this will open up the wrong job to very wrong people later on. (In 2021. Jamus Lim of the Workers’ Party had asked the Government to consider eliminating criminal history from public records of those who have committed non-violent crimes. Minister for Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam had asked him what he meant by “non-violent crimes”, adding that there are many offences which are serious but not violent in nature such as outrage of modesty, sexual grooming, criminal breach of trust and theft in dwelling.  Petir.sg incidentally notes that this week a cook at a preschool had been hauled to court for molesting a toddler and possibly a few others.) 

In this careful and preventive vein, our MPs and political office holders focused September’s Parliament session on how best to protect our little ones, now and future. Leaked videos showed teachers at a childcare chain abusing their toddler charges and the chain promptly banned staff from using personal smartphones and image/ video-capturing devices in response. 

“Any operator’s policy on the use of personal mobile devices at work should not hinder their staff from reporting any wrongdoing in their centres,” clarified Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling, knowing that these whistleblowers may indeed need their phones.  

Here, this ground-level vigilance works with the overarching child protection policies and governance in place, including the Code of Practice and the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) Act.

Source: Sun Xueling / Facebook 

“We want to protect our children as best as possible,” said MOS Sun. “The best way to do this is to have multilayered safeguards,”  

In other words, we have laws and policies justifiably in place to protect kids from proven harm. And should problems happen at ground level, we will work with all involved to keep Singapore’s nurseries and kindergartens a safe and happy space.     

On ALERT against money laundering 

This system of multilayered safeguards is important too for the ongoing $2.8 billion money laundering case as well as strengthening the overall integrity of Singapore’s financial system.  

As Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo said during October’s Parliament session, the PAP government has set up the inter-ministerial Anti-Money Laundering Efforts Review Taskforce (ALERT). ALERT allows ground stakeholders like real estate agents and precious stones and metals dealers to better guard against money laundering risks. 

This adds to ALERT letting banks and other financial institutions work closer with the authorities as well as preventing money launderers from abusing corporate structures.  

“Singapore takes money laundering seriously. When there is reasonable suspicion to investigate, we do not hesitate to do so. We do not turn a blind eye to any risks, once we are made aware of them. This is not the first time that we have taken serious enforcement action against money laundering offences. Nor will it be the last,” said Minister Teo. 

Source: primeimages / Getty Images 

The world’s major financial hubs, frankly, are all vulnerable to illegal activity. ALERT will combine with the long-standing local international partnerships between the Monetary Authority of Singapore and other regulators for one ultimate aim: keeping Singapore a trusted financial hub supported by the rule of law.