PMDs and Pofma among issues on MPs' agenda

Four MPs have filed questions on cycling paths and footpaths, e-scooters and electric bicycles, as well as food delivery riders. Under the new rules, e-scooters are now confined to cycling paths.
Four MPs have filed questions on cycling paths and footpaths, e-scooters and electric bicycles, as well as food delivery riders. Under the new rules, e-scooters are now confined to cycling paths.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

They will also query withholding of students' results slips, when Parliament sits next week

MPs will seek greater clarity on the issue of active mobility and personal mobility devices (PMDs) when Parliament sits next Monday.

Four MPs have filed questions on cycling paths and footpaths, e-scooters and electric bicycles, as well as food delivery riders, according to the agenda for the sitting - or Order Paper - issued by the Clerk of Parliament yesterday.

These include whether there are plans to regulate electric bike use on roads, how many more kilometres of cycling paths will be built by the year's end and whether there are measures to ensure the increase in e-bike riders as a result of the PMD ban will not lead to more accidents, or road traffic and active mobility offences.

Their questions follow the implementation on New Year's Day of the Land Transport Authority's zero-tolerance stance on PMDs on footpaths.

The footpath ban kicked in on Nov 5 after a series of e-scooter-related accidents but, until New Year's Eve, the authorities had been issuing warnings to errant riders.

Under the new rules, e-scooters, which have already been banned from roads, are now confined to cycling paths.

Workers' Party Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan noted that new e-bike users who previously rode e-scooters are used to a different piece of equipment and different set of rules.

"The willingness and ability of the delivery riders to adhere to the corresponding laws applicable to e-bikes will ensure a smooth and safe transition, and hopefully preclude new incidents of traffic or active mobility offences or accidents," he said.

Other issues MPs will raise include the application of Singapore's fake news law and the Ministry of Education's policy on withholding results slips from students who have not paid in full their school fees.

Nominated MP Anthea Ong has filed two questions for Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran on the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma).

She wants to know how the threshold of public interest is determined and measured in the case of online falsehoods, whether the Ministry of Communications and Information will consider creating a central listing of all issued directions on the Pofma website, and what steps are being taken to maintain public trust in the light of perceptions of a partisan political bias over recent applications of the law.

Said Ms Ong: "Now that the Pofma office is set up and Pofma has been used, it's important and timely to seek further clarification regarding accountability and implementation, especially given the partisan nature of all the corrections so far."

Dr Teo Ho Pin (Bukit Panjang) and Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten) have filed questions for Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, asking how many students' results slips have been withheld by schools in the last few years and whether the Education Ministry will review the practice.

Said Mr Lim: "It is important to understand the intent of withholding the PSLE certificate. If it embarrasses the student or parent, then it should not be done. We should find another way to ensure that students or parents do their part to pay the fees. To me, the financial assistance route would be the preferred option."

Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh's (Aljunied GRC) question for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is whether the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee has completed its deliberations and when its report will be released to the public.

Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) and Mr Ong Teng Koon (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) will raise the issue of cat ownership in Housing Board flats.

Three Bills are up for debate on Monday, including the Health Ministry's Healthcare Services Bill that would replace the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act.

The new law has a wider scope that includes traditional medicine, allied healthcare such as physiotherapy, as well as complementary and alternative medicine to reflect changes in the healthcare scene.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2020, with the headline 'PMDs and Pofma among issues on MPs' agenda'. Print Edition | Subscribe