Speech by Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP for Nee Soon GRC, at the Second Reading of the Hijacking of Aircraft and Protection of Aircraft and International Airports (Amendment) Bill (Bill No. 2/2021)
This Bill gives effect to Singapore’s obligations under the Beijing Convention.
The Bill proposes to criminalise certain dangerous actions relating to aviation, including the use of aircraft as a weapon. Even in this time of reduced air travel, it is a necessary update to our law and helps enhance aviation safety.
With the passage of this Bill, Singapore is once again standing with the international community and showing its commitment to the international rule of law.
I have just two short clarifications on how we can help the airline industry comply with the requirements under this Bill.
Technical guidance for airline industry
My first point has to do with technical guidance to assist compliance by the airline industry.
The Bill introduces offences relating to the transport of certain dangerous materials and BCN weapons.
Airlines routinely transport dangerous goods. This is why the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has in place the Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air.
When drafting the Beijing Convention, the International Air Transport Association had proposed to deem an airline carrier as compliant with the Beijing Convention as long as they can show compliance with the Technical Instructions. This was not accepted by the delegates at the Beijing Diplomatic Conference where the Beijing Convention was drafted.
Nevertheless, to provide guidance to airlines in navigating the implementation of the Bill, can Minister share if and how the ICAO’s Technical Instructions should be considered by the Courts in Singapore in the interpretation of this Bill?
Assistance with compliance for airline industry
My second point is on support extended to the airlines to ensure compliance with the provisions in this Bill.
This Bill tackles serious crimes and exposes airlines to significant criminal liability.
Can Minister share if the Government has worked with the airline industry to ensure proper review of their cargo processes so that airlines do not inadvertently expose themselves to criminal liability under the Bill?
Notwithstanding these clarifications, I stand in support of the Bill.
Watch the speech here.