Forum: Adopt light touch in regulating new developments

A man rides his e-scooter on the footpath.
A man rides his e-scooter on the footpath. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

As we face an increasingly disruptive future, there will be projected as well as unexpected developments that can have a positive impact on business and societal landscapes.

Rather than banning such developments, the authorities should look into other ways of leveraging such developments for the greater good (E-scooters banned from footpaths amid rise in accidents, Nov 5).

Technology can advance at a much faster pace than policymakers can make complete sense of their immediate and long-term impact.

The authorities should, therefore, adopt a light touch in their regulatory roles and regulate technology based on a more holistic, calibrated and long-term basis.

The tendency is to overprotect consumers and by doing so, they may unintentionally prevent consumers from taking personal responsibility, maturing and making the necessary changes and sacrifices to improve their lives, lifestyles and livelihoods.

The authorities should adopt a "maximum opportunity and minimum barrier" criteria for crafting and implementing policies so as not to miss out on opportunities for growth or unintentionally exacerbating the downsides of disruption.

Perhaps, when there's a new development in the horizon, the authorities should look at how to free up current systems and infrastructures to test-run such a development.

Subject related vendors and other stakeholders through a process of education, assessment and controls to ensure that they develop the necessary plans, policies and practices to support a safe, stable and sustainable environment.

And then roll out the developments wisely and in an effective and efficient manner until they are implemented on a national level.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2019, with the headline 'Adopt light touch in regulating new developments'. Print Edition | Subscribe