Speech by Mr. Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP for Nee Soon GRC, at the Second Reading of the Active Mobility (Amendment No. 2) Bill (Bill No. 22/2020)
Sir, I am glad that we are moving upstream in addressing the hazards posed by active mobility devices by introducing an import controls regime.
It is also sensible for us to address the fire risk posed by non-compliant active mobility devices held by the LTA before any incidents occur.
I have three clarifications to raise on the Active Mobility (Amendment No. 2) Bill.
Return of a non-compliant forfeited vehicle
My first point relates to the return of a non-compliant forfeited vehicle that has been deemed dangerous.
The new Section 53(1A) provides that a non-compliant vehicle forfeited by the LTA under the new Section 51(3) may be returned to a person if the LTA receives from the person a written objection showing good cause for its return and there is no reasonable cause to believe that the vehicle is linked to an offence.
Even if such a vehicle were not linked to an offence, it seems extremely unsafe to return a vehicle that is too dangerous for the LTA to retain to an individual.
Can the Minister clarify under what circumstances such a vehicle may be returned to the individual? Will the safety of the vehicle be a pre-condition for such a return?
Notice before selling, destroying or disposing a vehicle
My second point relates to the notice requirement before selling, destroying, or disposing of a non-compliant vehicle that is dangerous to retain.
The new section 53(3A) provides that the LTA may sell, destroy, or dispose of a non-compliant vehicle if it is dangerous for the LTA to retain custody or it increases the likelihood of an outbreak of fire at the holding yard. The LTA may do so after giving one month’s notice in the Gazette of its intention to do so.
I appreciate that the e-Gazette was made public earlier this year. However, the reality is that publication in the Gazette will not be meaningful notification for the average individual.
The new section 53(3A) applies to vehicles that are moved to a holding yard under section 45 or section 46. Both sections require the LTA to give notice of the move to the owner of the vehicle as soon as practicable, if the owner is known.
This requirement does not seem to apply where the LTA intends to exercise its powers under section 53(3A).
Can the Minister clarify in a situation where the owner is known, whether the LTA will be required to give notice to the owner of its intention to sell, destroy, or dispose of potentially dangerous non-compliant vehicle under the new section 53(3A)?
Measures and liability relating to fire outbreaks at holding yards
My final point relates to the risks that continue to be posed by non-compliant vehicles held at the holding yards.
Even under the expedited procedure introduced by the amendments, there is still a one-month notice period before the LTA can sell, destroy, or dispose of a forfeited vehicle that is dangerous or that materially increases the likelihood of an outbreak of fire.
Accidents can happen during this one-month period. The danger is compounded when you consider that there are other vehicles in the holding yards that are similarly dangerous or materially increase the likelihood of an outbreak of fire.
Can the Minister share what safety measures are put in place to mitigate the risk of fire at the holding yards?
Further, in the worst-case scenario that a fire breaks out, who is liable for the damage caused? For instance, in the event that the fire can be traced back to a single vehicle, would the owner of that vehicle be liable for the damage caused by the fire caused by their vehicle notwithstanding that the vehicle is now in the custody of the LTA?
Sir, notwithstanding these clarifications, I stand in support of the Bills.
Watch the speech here
Watch the response here