Reporting all births to become compulsory in S'pore but no need to register deaths

The new Bill makes it compulsory for births that occur outside of a hospital to be reported as soon as possible. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - It will become compulsory to report the birth of every child in Singapore but there will be no need to register the death of a family member under proposed changes to the law.

The new Bill makes it compulsory for births that occur outside of a hospital to be reported as soon as possible. The parents of the child will need to go to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to report the birth in person.

Those who fail to do so can be fined up to $1,500 and jailed for up to a month.

The new rules, which came up for a first reading in Parliament on Monday (May 10), will allow the Government to have a comprehensive record of all births in Singapore. If the Bill is passed, only parents or a legally appointed person can register the birth of the child.

A legally appointed person can be the legal guardian of the child, the protector of the child appointed under the Children and Young Persons Act, or the director-general of social welfare from the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the Home Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The Registrar-General of Births and Deaths will have the powers to register a birth if an application was not made, or if the application is incomplete.

For deaths, relatives will no longer need to provide the particulars of the dead person at a registration centre under new rules as the information will be automatically registered when the death certificate is issued.

There would also be no need to surrender the dead person's NRIC for invalidation as this will be done automatically. The family should, however, destroy the NRIC to ensure that it is not misused.

Family members can download the digital death certificate from My Legacy, a website that provides information on post-death matters.

The Bill also proposes to make it compulsory for all deaths to be reported to a medical practitioner as soon as possible. This includes deaths that occur on an aircraft, vessel or train bound for Singapore.

In such cases, the relative of the deceased who is on board or the person in charge of the vehicle is responsible for reporting the death.

The Bill will give the authorities the power to register a local death before the coroner's certificate is issued, and where the body of the dead person is destroyed, irrecoverable or cannot be located.

This is provided that the registrar-general is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to identify the deceased and show that the death occurred in Singapore.

Under the new rules, ICA officers will take over from the police the investigation of offences relating to the registration of births and deaths.

Now, all hospital births - or children brought to the hospital within 24 hours of being born - are reported but it is not mandatory for births outside of hospitals to be reported to the authorities.

Almost anyone, including parents or a proxy on behalf of the parents, can provide the child's birth particulars to ICA for registration within 42 days from the date of birth.

In Singapore, natural deaths are already being reported to medical practitioners as family members require a certificate stating the cause of death from them in order to register the death.

An unnatural or violent death or the death of an unknown person is required by law to be reported to the police.

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