Debate In 2 Minutes

The House passed three Bills and debated a wide range of topics from electric cars to legal costs when Parliament sat yesterday.

New MP in the House

At the start of the sitting, the People's Action Party's Mr Murali Pillai was sworn in as MP for Bukit Batok.

He was elected with 61.2 per cent of the votes in the Bukit Batok by-election on Saturday, against Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan's 38.8 per cent.

Making cycling convenient

New MRT stations will have three times more bicycle parking spaces than existing ones, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo. A minimum of 100 to 300 parking spaces for bicycles will be provided, up from 40 to 100 at older stations.

Also, private residential, commercial and community buildings may soon have to meet minimum standards for bicycle parking.

Trying out electric cars

Some 2,000 charging points will be set up across Singapore for an islandwide electric car-sharing programme, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

The Government had earlier invited proposals for the programme, and is in the final stages of evaluating them, he added.

Helping children

From September, Singaporean children of unwed parents will be able to get the same Child Development Account grants as children of married parents. This is a result of several changes to the Child Development Co-Savings Act, passed yesterday.

In another change, companies will be able to claim reimbursement from the Government, from July, for the pay of employees taking a second week of paternity leave. This is capped at $2,500.

Ownership of relics

The National Heritage Board is studying how to address the gaps in laws and regulations in the field of archaeology.

It is looking at who legally owns artefacts found on private land, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.

The state owns only archaeological finds unearthed on state land.

Cracking down on tax cheats

Singapore will soon automatically share tax information with certain foreign authorities under amendments to the Income Tax Act passed in line with a global crackdown on tax evasion.

Debate over legal costs

The Workers' Party (WP) clashed with Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah over a change to the Government Proceedings Act. It will remove a limit on the legal costs the Government can be awarded.

Several WP MPs said people may be deterred from seeking legal redress. But Ms Indranee said the change was just to bring the laws in line with other similar laws, and that costs will ultimately be decided by the courts.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2016, with the headline 'Debate In 2 Minutes '. Print Edition | Subscribe