PMDs to be in spotlight in Parliament on Monday

The hot-button issue of personal mobility devices (PMDs) will be a major talking point in Parliament when it sits next Monday, as Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min is set to deliver a ministerial statement.

Dr Lam will respond to MPs who filed 16 questions on what has become a controversial mode of transport. These include whether PMDs used on public paths will be further regulated, if there are plans to have dedicated lanes for such devices, and what measures have been taken to educate owners on riding and charging PMDs safely, according to the agenda for the sitting issued by the Clerk of Parliament yesterday.

There has been a spate of fires and accidents involving PMDs.

A total of 228 accidents involving PMDs on public paths were reported in the past two years, with 196 involving injuries.

Last month, the Singapore Civil Defence Force said there were 54 fires involving PMDs and power-assisted bicycles in the first half of this year - more than double that in the same period last year.

Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC), one of 13 MPs who filed questions, pointed to the "significant conflict" between PMD riders and pedestrians on footpaths and said there was a lot of concern on the ground.

"We need to consider seriously a way to segregate the traffic (between PMD riders and pedestrians); for example, using dedicated paths for each, especially in high-traffic areas," she told The Straits Times.

Workers' Party Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan wants to know if PMDs belonging to commercial shared-PMD services operating from private premises are required to adhere to the UL2272 standard and be insured against third-party claims for bodily injury or death. The UL2272 certification process looks at fire and electrical safety of PMDs.

"The Government needs to ensure that such commercial services are held to a higher standard in terms of battery quality," Mr Tan told The Straits Times.

MPs have raised concerns in Parliament about PMDs many times.

Another issue of concern to MPs is the crime and law enforcement at Orchard Towers, after a man died following a brawl at the Orchard Road building last month.

The issue of the voting age will also be raised. Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang GRC) will ask the Prime Minister if he will review it and how many more will be eligible to vote if the age is lowered from 21 to 18. Dr Lim said it is in the public interest to know the answers, citing Malaysia's recent lowering of its voting age from 21 to 18.

Six Bills will be introduced, including the Children and Young Persons (Amendment) Bill, which includes raising the age limit for young offenders from 16 to 18.

Four Bills are up for debate, including the Point-to-Point Passenger Transport Industry Bill.

It aims to give the Public Transport Council powers to regulate private-hire vehicle operators, including the discretion to set a pricing policy for fares charged by ride-hailing firms such as Grab and Gojek.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2019, with the headline 'PMDs to be in spotlight in Parliament on Monday'. Print Edition | Subscribe