Debate In 2 Minutes

The detention of the Singapore military's armoured vehicles in Hong Kong, and Sino-Singapore relations, took centre stage at question time yesterday during this year's first Parliament sitting. The House also passed two Bills - to protect accredited investors, and raise workers' re-employment age.

Why Terrex detention is against global law

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen explained that Hong Kong's detention of the nine Terrex armoured vehicles belonging to the Singapore Armed Forces does not comply with international or Hong Kong law.

The vehicles are the property of the Singapore Government, he said. "They are protected by sovereign immunity... They cannot legally be detained or confiscated by other countries... This principle is well established under international law, and we are advised by lawyers that it is also the law in Hong Kong."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has written to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying to reiterate the same message, Dr Ng said.

Singapore abides by 'One China' policy 

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said Singapore's relations with China, as well as its interactions with Hong Kong and Taiwan, are based on the "One China" policy.

It has followed the policy since 1990 when it established diplomatic ties with China, he said in reply to MPs' questions.

Malacca's planned port has smaller storage

The Kuala Linggi International Port (Klip) can store 1.5 million cubic m of oil when completed, while Singapore's current capacity is 20.5 million cubic m, Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo said, on Klip's impact on Singapore.

She also said Singapore has a strong ecosystem of oil refineries and oil traders, and a high volume of ships call at Singapore for various services.

Singapore will match Malaysia's road charge

Singapore will match the RM20 (S$6.40) road charge that Malaysia has imposed on foreign vehicles since Nov 1 last year, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

He also said drivers of Singapore-registered vehicles entering Malaysia via Woodlands and Tuas paid an estimated RM13.9 million in road charges between Nov 1 and Dec 20 last year.

New law to better protect retail investors

Parliament passed a law with stringent safeguards that will help ensure unaware or illiquid retail investors do not inadvertently buy risky financial products.

The changes to the Securities and Futures Act will also allow the Monetary Authority of Singapore to designate the Singapore interbank offered rate and the swap offer rate.

This means the central bank will regulate the entities that manage these key financial benchmarks to ensure a credible rate-setting process.

Re-employment age to be raised from July

From July, the re-employment age for Singaporeans will be raised from 65 to 67.

The law passed by Parliament also allows an employer who cannot find a suitable position for the employee to transfer his re-employment obligation to another employer, if the employee agrees.

Pearl Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2017, with the headline 'Debate In 2 Minutes'. Subscribe