Speech by Mr. Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP for Nee Soon GRC at the Second Reading of the Public Utilities (Amendment) Bill [Bill No. 4/2018]
Sir, I welcome the move to revise the Licensed Water Service Plumber Scheme (LWSPS), requiring all sanitary plumbers to be licensed under a new Licensed Plumber (LP) scheme, along with water service plumbers.
Efforts to streamline regulations, and combine both types of plumbers under a single scheme, can only lead to enhanced professionalism for the plumbing industry. Enhanced professionalism of our plumbers can only lead to a more reliable water system with fewer faults. Having just one scheme also means we can now engage with one plumber to carry out both sanitary and water service plumbing.
These points will benefit all Singaporeans I stand in support of this Bill.
Clarification on the interim period
I understand that the interim period given to plumbers to undergo training for the new license is 6 months, from 1 April to 30 September 2018. After this period, plumbers who have not undergone additional training will not be able to offer their services. I would like to ask how this 6-month duration was determined, and the factors considered to ensure that this length of time is sufficient.
I would also like to ask what steps PUB have taken to ensure that our nation’s plumbers have been well-informed of this change, and what steps will be taken to ensure a smooth transition for this group. Were stakeholder consultations conducted prior to the Bill and if so what were some of the concerns raised and how were they addressed?
Other groups, which I believe will be affected, include handymen who want to upgrade themselves and obtain a plumber’s license. I understand that information has been published on the PUB website, but as many in these groups are older in their years, they may need additional assistance navigating these changes and I hope that Minister will consider this.
Next, I understand that LWSPs are required to attend a mandatory refresher course once every 3 years. Will sanitary plumbers, once under the same LP scheme as LWSPs, also be required to take this course?
Clarifications from the consumer’s point of view
Lastly, from the consumer’s point of view – let’s say if I am renovating my house and need a plumber – how would I know if my usual plumber has obtained the new licence?
Would licensed plumbers carry around a card? Furthermore, let’s say if I needed repairs on the water pipes in my house, how would I know if I am required to engage the services of an LP, or if a freelancing handyman would suffice?
Notwithstanding the above clarifications, I stand in support of the Bill.