Speech by Mr. Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP for Nee Soon GRC, at the Second Reading of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill (Bill No. 8/2021)
Sir, this Bill preserves the safety and security of our roads while allowing for new forms of vehicles to ride alongside our existing system.
I have three points of clarification on the Bill.
Languages for PMD and PAB theory tests
My first point is about the language for the theory tests for PMD (Personal Mobility Devices) and PAB (Power-Assisted Bicycles) riders.
I commend the Ministry’s amendment to improve road safety by ensuring that PMD and PAB riders are well-equipped with a basic knowledge of the roads, just as all other vehicle riders already are.
LTA’s website states that the handbooks for the tests are currently available in English and will subsequently be translated into Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
Can the Ministry share if the notices to inform existing riders of the need to take these tests will also be delivered in multiple languages, so that non-English speaking riders will be fully aware of this development and not be blindsided because of a language barrier?
Can the Minister also share if the test itself also be available in Chinese, Malay and Tamil?
Test fees for PMD and PAB riders
My second point is on the cost of theory tests for PMD and PAB riders.
As we can see on the roads, a sizable number of our PMB and PAB riders are food delivery riders who work tirelessly to make ends meet.
The test fees may be an additional cost and source of stress for them.
Can the Minister share if the test fees will be kept low or whether the Ministry has plans to subsidise test fees for PMD and PAB riders who fall below a certain income bracket, to ensure that this test does not pose an additional burden for them?
Frisk searches on public transport
My third point is the authorities’ power to conduct security checks on public transport.
The new section 127B provides a uniformed officer and authorised employees the power to conduct frisk searches. Such authorised employees such as the bus operator, bus interchange operator, a security officer or an outsourced enforcement officer.
The new section 83 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) provides that women who are searched by a police officer or ICA officer must be searched by a female officer, unless certain exceptions apply.
While maintaining the security of our public transport systems is vital, I believe it is equally important to maintain a sense of dignity for all women undergoing searches, which the new section 83 of the CPC addresses.
Can the Minister clarify if a similar limitation applies to frisk searches under this Bill?
On this note, can the Ministry also commit to ensuring all relevant persons who may be considered an “approved person” under this amendment undergo the necessary training so that we can prevent instances where frisk searches are conducted erroneously?
Notwithstanding these clarifications, I stand in support of the Bill.
Watch the speech here.