SINGAPORE: The Law Ministry is proposing amendments to the Moneylenders Act (MLA) as part of on-going efforts to tighten the regulation of Singapore's moneylending industry.
Introducing the Bill for its first reading Tuesday was Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Law), Ms Sim Ann.
The Ministry said the amendments are in three main areas.
These include strengthening the Registry of Moneylenders' enforcement powers, safeguarding information on borrowers from unlicensed moneylenders and enhancing clarity of the provision governing moneylenders' place of business.
Explaining the rationale for the changes, the Ministry together with the Registrar of Moneylenders and the Insolvency and Public Trustee's Office said currently the Act empowers the Registry to authorise only public officers to exercise statutory powers in relation to conducting inspections of licensed moneylenders.
These include requiring the moneylender to furnish any information or document, and seizing and removing documents or equipment from the premises inspected.
The amendments will allow the Registry to engage any person, for example, auxiliary police officers, to assist the Registrar or an authorised officer in conducting inspections.
This will enhance the Registry's ability to conduct more regular and thorough enforcement checks on moneylenders.
But the powers to seize and remove documents or equipment from the premises inspected will continue to be exercised by public officers only.
The changes will debated at a future sitting of Parliament.