City Harvest case, flash floods, among issues to be raised in Parliament next week

The aftermath of flash floods at Seletar North Link on Jan 30, 2018. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam will state the Government's position on the City Harvest court ruling when Parliament sits on Monday (Feb 5).

His ministerial statement follows a Court of Appeal decision to uphold shorter jail terms for the six accused from City Harvest Church.

After the case concluded, Mr Shanmugam said on his Facebook on Thursday: "This is a serious matter."

A five-judge panel earlier on Thursday dismissed a bid by the prosecution to reinstate the original convictions for City Harvest founder-pastor Kong Hee and five others, who had been accused of misusing millions in church funds.

According to the parliamentary order paper released on Friday, Monday's session will also feature questions from five MPs about the flash floods that occurred in many parts of Singapore last month.

Among them, Nee Soon GRC MP Henry Kwek will ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources if similar flash floods can be prevented after the completion of drainage upgrades in 2019. He will also ask about the guiding principles used to determine the drainage capacity needed in an area.

Noting that parts of Nee Soon town were hit by flooding, Mr Kwek told The Straits Times: "With less and less predictable weather, it would be good to have clarity from the Government about the mitigation measures we are putting in place, and, moving forward, how we plan to deal with uncertain weather patterns."

MPs will also ask about the causes of the January floods, how motorists and residents can be notified of floods, as well as how water agency PUB ensures drains and canals are kept free of debris, which can lead to flooding.

There will also be second readings of several Bills, including the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Amendment Bill.

Proposed in this Bill are several changes to a law that allows the detention of criminal suspects without trial, including one to prescribe a list of offences under its ambit.

These would include unlicensed moneylending, drug trafficking, kidnapping and organised crime.

The Bill was tabled as a response to a Court of Appeal's decision in 2015 to free alleged match-fixing kingpin Dan Tan, a Singaporean. The court said his detention under the Act was unlawful as his offence did not fall within the scope of the legislation.

The Cybersecurity Bill will also be debated on Monday.

The new law will give the Cyber Security Agency powers to order an investigation into a suspected cyber attack, while working with sector regulators.

Organisations may then be required to surrender any information requested. Owners of critical information infrastructure - such as those in banking, telecommunications and energy sectors - must also, under this law, report security breaches and attacks "within hours".

The issue has come under the spotlight after a number of data breaches reported recently.

In one case, ride-hailing app Uber covered up a massive breach involving the personal details of about 57 million passengers and drivers.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.