Bill to safeguard credit info among eight introduced

Credit bureaus here will soon have to be licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), after proposed legislation was introduced in Parliament yesterday.

If passed, the new law will empower financial regulator MAS to suspend and revoke the licences of credit bureaus that do not safeguard the confidentiality, security and integrity of their customers' credit information.

The Credit Bureau Bill comes two years after MAS conducted a public consultation on the issue, and was one of eight Bills tabled in Parliament yesterday.

The MAS had said then that as credit bureaus are collecting more detailed data from consumers, they should be subjected to more formal oversight.

The new regulatory framework proposed will also make it easier for consumers to buy their credit reports.

Yesterday, changes were also proposed to the elected presidency and Non-Constituency MP schemes, under the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Bill. This follows a review of the elected presidency scheme by a Constitutional Commission.

The other Bills introduced are amendments to laws on merchant shipping, telecommunications, fire safety, national registration, parental leave, and income tax.

A proposed change to the Child Development Co-Savings Act will require employers to give fathers two weeks of paternity leave.

Currently, the law provides for only one week of mandatory paid paternity leave. Employers offer the second week on a voluntary basis.

Another proposed change to the Act will give unwed mothers the same 16 weeks of maternity leave that other mothers get. Unwed mothers are currently entitled to eight weeks of paid maternity leave.

Meanwhile, proposed changes to the National Registration Act will give Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers the powers to investigate offences under the Act, such as when people use a forged identity card.

These cases are currently handled by the police.

ICA officers will also be able to refuse the registration of names deemed to be offensive, or misleading to others, such as names with the words "Professor" or "Sir".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2016, with the headline 'Bill to safeguard credit info among eight introduced'. Print Edition | Subscribe