Parliament: Committee to look at whether guidelines are necessary for debt collection

A government advisory committee for moneylending is considering whether guidelines are necessary for debt collecting practices, said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah in Parliament on Thursday, Feb 12, 2015. -- PHOTO: WANBAO READER
A government advisory committee for moneylending is considering whether guidelines are necessary for debt collecting practices, said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah in Parliament on Thursday, Feb 12, 2015. -- PHOTO: WANBAO READER

SINGAPORE - A government advisory committee for moneylending is considering whether guidelines are necessary for debt collecting practices, said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah in Parliament on Thursday.

The committee, which was set up last June, is expected to issue its final report by the end of next month, she said.

Ms Indranee was responding to a question by Member of Parliament (West Coast GRC) Foo Mee Har on whether debt collectors should abide to a code of conduct.

Ms Foo's question comes after a spate of recent incidences where debt collection agencies have employed undesirable tactics in reclaiming debts.

Ms Indranee pointed out that when debt collectors engage in criminal conduct - such as when they cause hurt, or display intimidating or threatening behaviour - they will face criminal sanctions and penalties. She added that there were safeguards in place also to address this.

"Where licensed moneylenders are concerned, the Registry of Moneylenders conducts checks to ensure that persons who have previously engaged in criminal conduct are not allowed to assist in any aspect of the moneylending business including the collection of debts," said Ms Indranee.

She also noted that the Protection from Harassment Act, which came into force in November last year, now gives borrowers civil remedies against harassment that causes alarm and distress.

Ms Foo also asked if the government would consider instituting laws that govern fair debt collection practices, or prohibit certain tactics.

In response, Ms Indranee said the Ministry of Law would wait for the advisory committee's report before considering taking any steps.