Parliament Briefs: Two Bills on foreign judgments passed

Two Bills on foreign judgments passed

The process of recognising and enforcing foreign judgments in civil cases here will be streamlined, with the passing of two Bills in Parliament yesterday.

One involves amending the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (Refja) to encompass the registration and enforcement of all such judgments.

The other repeals the Reciprocal Enforcement of Commonwealth Judgments Act.

Refja will also recognise a wider range of legal judgments on a reciprocal basis, including non-money judgments, certain interlocutory orders and civil judgments from the State Courts.

Previously, only final money judgments from recognised courts could be registered under Refja.

14 fined over short-term home rentals

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has fined 14 first-time offenders up to $5,000 for renting their homes for illegal short-term stays, which are less than three months.

It has also charged 10 people found to be recalcitrant or who had committed the offence on a commercial basis. Four were fined between $13,000 and $70,000, while the rest face a total of more than 80 charges.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said this in a written parliamentary reply to Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC).

Every year, over the past five years, the URA has investigated an average of 600 such suspected cases.

Offenders include both property owners and tenants, Mr Wong said. They come from a wide range of age groups and are mostly Singaporeans.

Typhoid fever: Tests yet to identify source

The Health Ministry recorded 26 typhoid fever cases between July 26 and Aug 29.

Of these, five were imported and the rest were local. None of the 21 individuals affected locally had travelled recently.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said the cases could be linked to a common source. This is based on preliminary genetic analysis done on typhoid bacteria samples from 18 of the cases.

He said this in a written parliamentary reply to Dr Chia Shi-Lu (Tanjong Pagar GRC), who had also asked about the planned measures to tackle the issue.

Mr Gan said checks and tests by his ministry and the Singapore Food Agency have yet to identify the source. When it is identified, an update and an advisory on extra precautions will be issued.

Tax break scheme for foreigners to end

A scheme that gives tax breaks to foreigners would lapse next year, under proposed changes to the Income Tax Act.

The Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR) scheme was introduced in 2002 to attract talent to relocate to Singapore. It allows workers who earn at least $160,000 a year and who spend at least 90 days abroad each year for business reasons to pro-rate their taxable income for a five-year period.

In line with changes proposed in Budget 2019 in February, the last NOR status will expire by the tax year of assessment (YA) 2024.

Other changes to the Act include a personal income tax rebate of 50 per cent for YA 2019, capped at $200, and an extension of tax exemptions for funds managed by Singapore-based fund managers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2019, with the headline 'Parliament Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe