Debate In 2 Minutes

Changes to laws were passed by Parliament yesterday to beef up Singapore's security, against both terrorist attacks and cyber threats.

MPs also highlighted areas where the law appeared not to go far enough, whether in combating fake news or punishing those who commit sex crimes against minors.

In both areas, reviews of the law are ongoing.

Parliament sits again today.

More security for large-scale events

Security at large-scale events, such as sports matches or music concerts, will be boosted, with the passing of a new Public Order Act.

The changes come as terrorists increasingly target public events.

Organisers must notify the police of large-scale public events at least 28 days before they are held, and put in place stringent security measures the police deem necessary.

These events can be cancelled, postponed or required to change venues if there is an imminent terror threat or they have severely inadequate security in place.

Combating fake news

Singapore is considering how to combat fake news as current laws are limited in tackling the issue.

It will announce its position when the review is completed, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.

A review is needed as fake news can have serious consequences, such as unnecessarily alarming the public, and diverting emergency responses from real emergencies, he added.

Beefing up cyber security

Those who deal and trade in personal information, even if they were not the ones who hacked into computers to obtain the data, are liable for criminal offences, under changes to the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act passed yesterday.

One change is that the buying and selling of hacking tools for illegal activity has been made a criminal offence.

People who commit cybercrimes abroad against an overseas computer which leads to "serious harm" in Singapore can also be prosecuted under the Act.

Covert cyber attack on Mindef system

Investigations show the breach of the Defence Ministry's IT system, in which the personal details of 854 personnel were stolen, happened weeks before it was detected on Feb 1.

The way the cyber attack was carried out was consistent with a covert attack, "with means used to mask the perpetrator's actions and intent", said Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung.

Mindef is reviewing the storage of personal data on its Internet systems to minimise the risks of cyber theft, he said.

Sexual crimes against minors

Offenders who commit sexual crimes on minors could soon face harsher penalties.

The Government is studying whether to enact new laws on child pornography and sexual crimes on minors, and whether to have stricter punishments. The review is likely to be completed by the end of the year, said Mr Shanmugam.

Supporting women

MPs from both sides of the House spoke on a motion to affirm the familial, social and economic contributions of Singapore women. More MPs will speak on it today.

Charissa Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2017, with the headline 'Debate In 2 Minutes'. Print Edition | Subscribe