Parliament to sit on Feb 12, may debate 3 Bills

Parliament to sit on Feb 12, may debate 3 Bills
Singapore Parliament House.

PARLIAMENT will sit next week, on Thursday at 1.30pm, the Office of the Clerk of Parliament said yesterday.

The agenda for the session has yet to be announced but three proposed laws are expected to be debated.

These are on community dispute resolution, deep seabed mining and changes to the Police Force Act.

All three Bills were introduced in Parliament last month.

The Community Disputes Resolution Bill is to establish a tribunal to hear difficult cases of disputes between neighbours.

At the moment, neighbours who cannot settle their disputes can seek help at a community mediation centre.

But this is voluntary and the no-show rate is 60 per cent.

With the tribunal, neighbours can take the case to a judge, who has the powers to offer mandatory mediation and issue orders.

The Deep Seabed Mining Bill aims to protect the marine environment from any harm caused by mining for minerals on the ocean floor.

The move is in line with Singapore's obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

If passed, Singaporeans and companies based here cannot mine in the open sea - which includes part of the seabed, ocean floor and subsoil that lies outside territorial waters - unless they are licensed to do so.

The Bill to amend the Police Force Act will make it illegal for a person to use police items such as badges, uniforms and car decals to falsely represent himself as an officer.

The unauthorised distribution and sale of such items would also be illegal.

Other proposed changes include stiffer penalties for those who evade police roadblocks.

Parliament is also scheduled to sit on Feb 23 when Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will unveil the next national Budget.

This article was first published on Feb 3, 2015.
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