Parliament: MPs to ask about Singapore's next move for the TPP

One of the top concerns of MPs when Parliament sits on Monday (Feb 6) is how Singapore will respond to the United States pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
One of the top concerns of MPs when Parliament sits on Monday (Feb 6) is how Singapore will respond to the United States pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.PHOTO: ST FILE

Another issue for House: Injured workers unable to recover Labour Court-ordered compensation

How Singapore will respond to the United States pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be one of the top concerns of MPs when Parliament sits on Monday.

Singapore was a staunch champion of the 12-nation trade pact, but the agreement has been thrown into disarray by President Donald Trump's order last month that the US withdraw from it.

Countries like Japan have argued that it is meaningless to go ahead without the superpower.

Nominated MP Randolph Tan is one of three MPs who will ask about Singapore's next move, according to the Order Paper issued by Parliament yesterday. When contacted, he said: "Our reaction now will have a great bearing on our future economic prospects."

The US' no-go may hurt Singapore's economy as it could set the country's world trade strategy back by years, said Associate Professor Tan, an economist. He pointed to how Singapore has deepened its trade links in the last decade and further entrenched its role in global trade.

Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) will ask if the Government will continue to pursue the TPP with like-minded countries, while Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC) wants to know how the US decision will affect the economy.

Another concern of MPs is a gap in the law that leaves injured workers unable to recover the compensation owed to them by their bosses despite the Labour Court ordering employers to pay up.

Two such cases made headlines last month. Ms Denise Phua (Jalan Besar GRC) said she was moved by the workers' plight."I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all solution as some of the errant employers may indeed be in financial distress. But leaving it at that is the easy way out," said Ms Phua.

NMP Kuik Shiao-Yin will seek statistics on employers prosecuted in the Labour Court for failing to compensate injured workers or insure them adequately.

The recent spate of incidents in which drivers went against the flow of traffic has also not gone unnoticed. Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC) and Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) will ask if road signs can be improved to prevent such incidents from recurring.

The House will also debate changes to the way presidential elections are run, as spelt out in the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill. Among other changes, the Bill details the setting up of a 16-member Community Committee to assess whether a candidate belongs to a particular racial group, so that the practice of reserved elections can run smoothly.

The changes follow the broader constitutional changes to the elected presidency that Parliament passed in November last year.

Other proposed changes that will be debated are in relation to the Planning Act, the Parks and Trees Act, and the International Enterprise Singapore Board Act.

Four proposed pieces of legislation will be introduced: the Patents (Amendment) Bill, the Early Childhood Development Centres (Bill), the Architects (Amendment) Bill and the Town Councils (Amendment) Bill.

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2017, with the headline 'MPs to ask about S'pore's next move for the TPP'. Print Edition | Subscribe