Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang (Nee Soon): Sir, this Bill will improve water efficiency requirements, increase PUB’s administrative effectiveness and ensure consistent application of taxes to private suppliers. I have three clarifications to raise.
My first point is on the WBT. Section 20(4)(g) allows the Minister to impose different amounts of WBT for persons “differently situated”. It lists situations where a different WBT can be imposed. The explanatory statement states that this amendment is to allow finer calibration to the circumstances where WBT is imposed and the amount of WBT imposed.
Can the Senior Minister of State share specifically what changes to the imposition and calibration of WBT are envisaged? Can the Senior Minister of State also share if the list is intended to be exhaustive? If the list is not exhaustive, will PUB make clear the basis for imposing differentiated WBT?
My second point is on PUB’s power on the relocation of any water installation. The new section 26 sets out PUB’s powers on the water installations. In granting approval for a water installation, PUB is allowed to impose a condition requiring ownership of any water installation to be transferred to PUB. Can the Senior Minister of State clarify if PUB will make payment to a person who transfers ownership of a water installation to PUB? If so, how will the quantum of payment be determined?
Next, section 26(10) allows an authorised officer to enter the premises and carry out works or take any measures if a person fails to comply with a notice. Given the intrusiveness of these powers, can the Senior Minister of State confirm that reasonable time will be given for a person to comply with the notice? Can the Senior Minister of State also confirm that force cannot be used to secure any entry? What are the types of other measures that an authorised officer may take if there is non-compliance?
My final point is on water efficiency requirements. Section 40 of the amendments introduces water efficiency requirements for new facilities built for business purposes that require water. I understand that there are presently existing best practice guidelines published for certain industries. Can the Senior Minister of State share if further changes will be made to the current best practices guidelines for these industries? Will guidelines be introduced for more industries as well? Can the Senior Minister of State also share whether the water efficiency requirements take into account the present technology that is available to maintain water efficiency?
Sir, notwithstanding these clarifications, I stand in support of the Bill.
Watch the speech here