Speech by Mr. Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP for Nee Soon GRC at the Second Reading of the International Enterprise Singapore Board (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 1/2017]
Madam, IE Singapore has come a long way from its days as the Singapore Trade Development Board. Together with its subsidiary, the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, they have been effective agents in assisting Singapore companies from a spectrum of industries to internationalise, expand and become globally competitive companies.
I believe the amendments of the Act allow IE Singapore to better its ability to promote the growth of Singapore companies and international trade.
Handling confidential information
Madam, I support the repeal and re-enactment of Section 20. Section 20 has not been amended since 2002, the year in which the Act was passed.
Much have happened since then, such as the enactment of the Personal Data Protection Act 2012. Hence it is perhaps timely for Section 20 which governs how members of IE Singapore handle the confidential information they receive during their tenure in IE Singapore, be reviewed.
Section 20 as it currently stands, allows members to disclose information under three broad exceptions, which could be open to misinterpretation under the first two exceptions.
The re-enactment provides for specific situations as exceptions for disclosure, which I trust bequeaths much needed clarity to what may be disclosed by taking into account practical issues and exceptions that non-disclosure agreements typically include.
Can IE also assist not only government and public authorities
I note that the verb “assist” in section 5(1)(k) of the Bill, does not exist in the current Act, which was seemingly added to better reflect the role of IE Singapore.
Further I note that IE Singapore may “advise” and “assist” only the Government and public authorities.
Would it be more helpful for businessmen and women and companies if IE Singapore could also “advise and “assist” any person, body or organisations, since IE Singapore is currently already able to act as agents for them?
Continuing to be a big player in rubber
Next, while rubber production in Singapore has fallen over the years, Singapore remains as a big player in this industry. In this regard, this is still an industry that the government should remain interested in and assist as much as possible.
I refer to the Second Reading of the Securities and Futures (Amendment) Bill 2016 by Minister Ong, where he mentioned that the intention of the SFA Bill is to “streamline existing regulatory regimes for commodity derivatives and exchange-traded derivatives”, which I note is to be done with the view of minimal impact to industries. On this note, may I ask:
i. Why IE Singapore, through the Singapore Rubber Fund continues to regulate forward trading in rubber, instead of allowing the MAS to regulate it.
ii. Sub-sections 5(1)(l) to (lc) does not strictly appear to exclusively relate to rubber commodities alone. Hence it appears that the Singapore Rubber Fund may delve into commodities outside the rubber industry. Is there any reason for the broad drafting?
iii. Are there any plans or ideas in the pipeline regarding the regulation of the rubber trade and industry?
Madam, the above comments notwithstanding, I stand in support of the Bill.