Debate In 2 Minutes

Parliament yesterday heard a nearly three-hour debate on proposed changes to the format of the presidential elections, before a Bill detailing these changes was passed.

Earlier, the sitting opened with questions from MPs on the avenues of recourse for workers owed salaries or injury compensation by their employers.

Bosses prosecuted over salary offences

In the last three years, 158 employers have been prosecuted and convicted over salary-related offences, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said.

More than 95 per cent of about 9,000 such claims his ministry received last year have been resolved through mediation by the ministry and adjudication by the Labour Court, he added.

Trade partnerships can continue

While the United States pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a setback, the remaining 11 countries can consider having an agreement among themselves, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang.

Other options include bilateral trade agreements with the US, or ratifying the TPP first and leaving the door open for the US to join later if it changes its mind, he said.

Stricter rules for town councils

Town councils will have to submit audited financial reports within six months of the financial year ending, and keep a registry of disclosures by staff of conflicts of interest, among other things.

Those that do not comply could be fined, under proposed changes to the Town Councils Act.

Changes to the Architects Act and Patents Act were also raised in Bills tabled yesterday, while new laws were introduced to regulate kindergartens and childcare centres.

Presidential election to be held in Sept

The presidential election this year will be held in September, to avoid the campaign period coinciding with National Day celebrations.

The Government will not designate specific sites for presidential candidates to hold rallies, though they will get more television airtime to reach out to voters.

These announcements were made during the debate on the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill, which was passed yesterday .

The Workers' Party MPs and Nominated MP Kok Heng Leun voted against the Bill.

Short-term home rentals illegal

It will be illegal to rent out private residences for less than six months or to have more than six tenants, without permission, after changes to the Planning Act were passed yesterday.

But National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the Urban Redevelopment Authority is studying creating a new category for private residences to engage in short-term rentals.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2017, with the headline 'Debate In 2 Minutes'. Print Edition | Subscribe