E-scooter footpath ban, PSLE result slips and POFMA among issues to be discussed in Parliament

E-scooter footpath ban, PSLE result slips and POFMA among issues to be discussed in Parliament

Singapore Parliament House
File photo of Parliament House. (Photo: Hani Amin) 

SINGAPORE: The banning of electric scooters from footpaths, issues to do with the Protection From Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) and the practice of withholding Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) result slips over unpaid school fees will be discussed in Parliament on Monday (Jan 6).

Seven Bills will also be introduced during the sitting, while three are set for a second reading, including a Healthcare Services Bill that will make it mandatory for healthcare providers to contribute to the National Electronic Health Record.

Members of Parliament (MPs) Zainal Sapari and Ang Wei Neng and Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) Dennis Tan Lip Fong plan to ask for more information on the e-scooter ban on footpaths.

Mr Zainal will raise a question on whether there are plans to distinguish the different types of public paths so as to avoid confusion, and if there are plans to regulate the usage of electric bicycles on the roads in terms of age, insurance coverage, traffic rules and others.

READ: From NS deaths to fake news, here are 8 issues raised in Parliament in 2019 that you should know about

READ: More than 6,000 caught riding e-scooters on footpaths in December

READ: PMD numbers set to plunge, but devices can still play a role in urban transport, say experts

Mr Ang will ask for statistics on e-scooter riders who have been warned or summoned since the ban came into effect in November, as well as how many more kilometres of cycling paths will be built by end-2020. 

Mr Tan will also ask if the Government has committed additional resources to police the ban of personal mobility devices from footpaths, such that the public will not witness the same level of day-to-day flagrant breaches of law by errant e-scooter users as seen prior to the announcement of the ban. 

Two people were caught riding their e-scooters on footpaths on Jan 1, the first day in which the ban was strictly enforced. Those found riding on footpaths face a S$2,000 fine or up to three months in jail, or both.

Also on Parliament's agenda are issues pertaining to POFMA.

Nominated MP Anthea Ong will ask for more information on how the public interest threshold of online statements of falsehoods is determined and measured under POFMA.

Ms Ong will raise questions on what the Ministry of Communications and Information's position is on perceptions of a partisan political bias over the recent applications of POFMA, and the steps being taken to maintain public trust.

READ: Singapore defends online falsehoods law in response to articles by SCMP, Bloomberg

READ: Parliament passes Bill to tackle online falsehoods after lengthy debate

Similarly, MP Sylvia Lim will ask what the rationale is for obligations placed on digital advertising and Internet intermediaries under the Code of Practice for Transparency of Online Political Advertisements.

The Code of Practice sets out “obligations that prescribed digital advertising intermediaries and Internet intermediaries have to comply with to enhance transparency of online political advertisements”.

In December, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) raised concerns over the rejection of its advertisements on Google.

The practice of withholding original PSLE certificates over unpaid school fees will also be discussed on Monday.

READ: Practice of withholding results slips should be reviewed: Ong Ye Kung

READ: MOE clarifies why student's original PSLE results slip was withheld after Facebook posts claimed she needed it for admissions

MP Dr Teo Ho Pin will ask for statistics on students whose certificates have been withheld by schools over the last three years and the reasons for doing so. He will also ask if the Ministry of Education (MOE) plans to review this practice.

Similarly MP Lim Biow Chuan will ask if MOE will review the policy, and steps that schools take when a student is unable to pay school fees.

In November 2019, a Facebook post by activist Gilbert Goh about a student who received only a photocopy of her PSLE results slip because she owed S$156 in school fees went viral, sparking an online petition.

Source: CNA/ic(aj)

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