Addenda to President's Address: Good Governance
ADDENDA TO PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS: GOOD GOVERNANCE
1 Good governance in Singapore has always been a key pillar of our success. We will continue to uphold good governance, building on our strong foundations of responsible and sustainable financial management, a fair and consistent system of rules and laws, and a first-class public service.
2 As the government increases social spending, making every dollar count will become more important than ever. We must also ensure that we can afford these social programmes over the long term. Drawing on Net Investment Returns Contribution to supplement our annual budget will help. But we must also build up other revenue streams to meet higher spending needs. We will do so in a way that keeps our economy dynamic, and maintains a fair and progressive system of taxes and benefits.
3 We will continue to build a public service that is better at serving the public. Officers involved in policymaking functions will be given more ground and operational exposure. Immersion in day-to-day issues concerning Singaporeans will give them a better feel for the impact of policies, and help them to build better and more practical solutions. Over time, we will nurture in public officers a greater appreciation for the diverse needs of Singaporeans, and preserve the status of the public service as a first-class institution.
4 Our rules and laws will evolve in response to our changing environment. For example, we need to update laws governing financial services, to protect the financial well-being of the population. We will require foreign banks important to the domestic market to incorporate their retail banking businesses locally to give better protection to depositors. We will also introduce a web aggregator to allow Singaporeans to compare life insurance products, and give Singaporeans the option to purchase basic insurance products directly from insurers more cheaply. We will review the interest rates and fees charged by licensed moneylenders, and establish a moneylenders’ credit bureau and a universal loan quantum cap, to protect vulnerable borrowers.
5 Good governance is crucial in keeping Singapore a conducive place to live, work and play. It will enable us to embark on the next stage of nation- building with confidence, and to build a better Singapore for the next generation.
6 The details of specific initiatives by MCI, MOF, MinLaw and PMO (MAS, PSD) are highlighted in the Annex.
**MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION**
- Safeguard the interests and well-being of consumers:
- Review the Media Market Competition Code, including its anti-siphoning provisions.
- Ensure content classification standards are continually aligned with community values and expectations, and expand co-regulation into more areas such as film and arts entertainment.
- Amend the Broadcasting Act to provide a single legislative framework for converged media services.
- Work with community to promote information literacy, media literacy and safe & responsible online behaviour.
- Improve public communication and engagement:
- Enhance public engagement through REACH by exploring new ways of interacting with Singaporeans. For example, REACH has initiated an open concept booth, known as the “Listening Point”, in public areas to provide information and obtain public feedback on national issues.
- Enhance online and social media capabilities to engage citizens who prefer interacting online.
**MINISTRY OF FINANCE**
- Maintaining a strong fiscal position to meet future spending needs:
- Ensure judicious allocation of resources, maximising outcomes for every dollar and keeping a lean and efficient public sector.
- Continue to build up revenues in anticipation of higher spending in the longer-term, in a way that will sustain a dynamic economy and ensure a fair and progressive system of taxes and benefits.
- Continue to tap on the Net Investment Returns Contribution to supplement our annual Budget, through a framework which allows GIC and Temasek to pursue investment strategies that generate sustainable portfolio returns for the long term.
Push for more widespread online and mobile e-services for the convenience of citizens and businesses – make data available to the public so that more can make use of the data to create useful applications for Singaporeans.
- Continue to strengthen internal controls and bolster capabilities in procurement and internal audit.
**MINISTRY OF LAW**
- Strengthen the legal system by:
- Working with MSF and the Courts to transform the family justice ecosystem, by reviewing the family court structure and working on reforms to promote parties’ access to family justice;
- Working with the Courts to implement the civil provisions of the new Protection from Harassment Act, and more generally, to strengthen the enforcement of civil orders;
- Working with MHA to rationalise offences relating to homicide and bodily hurt in the Penal Code; including the punishment for such offences; and
- Undertaking a review of the Criminal Procedure Code, including the development of a plea bargaining framework for early resolution of criminal cases.
Strengthen protection for borrowers from licenced moneylenders through a review of interest rate caps and fees charged, as well as the establishment of a moneylenders’ credit bureau and a universal loan quantum cap.
- Update and unify the individual bankruptcy and corporate insolvency regimes, and introduce a more rehabilitative regime that allows bankrupts to be discharged within clear time frames, without increasing the risk of moral hazard.
**PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE (MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE)**
Remain vigilant against inflation in light of price pressures from rising wages, through continued judicious management of the exchange rate of the Singapore Dollar.
- Fortify the resilience of financial institutions in Singapore and ensure the proper functioning of our capital markets and financial market infrastructures:
- Enhancing the capital framework for insurers, reviewing Basel III global liquidity rules for local implementation and strengthening oversight of financial holding companies and groups.
- Enhancing the regulatory framework for resolution of financial institutions such as drawing up recovery and resolution plans for the systematically important banks in Singapore, and requiring foreign banks important to the domestic market to locally incorporate their retail banking business so as to better protect local depositors.
- Introducing a regulatory framework for setting of financial benchmarks.
- Reviewing measures to strengthen the securities market to promote orderly trading and responsible investing. Proposals currently being considered include a minimum trading price for issuers listed in the SGX Mainboard, collateral requirements for securities trading, and short position reporting requirements.
- Continue to safeguard the interests of retail investors by:
- Improving the regulatory framework to raise the quality of financial advice and efficiency in distribution of life insurance and investment products, including introducing a web aggregator to enhance comparability of life insurance products and allowing consumers to purchase basic insurance products from insurers directly without advice and at lower cost;
- Reviewing the regulation of collective investment schemes; and
- Complementing measures to encourage financial prudence among borrowers with greater efforts to raise financial literacy, and to empower investors to make informed decisions.
**PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE (PUBLIC SERVICE DIVISION)**
- Improve the ability of the public service to effectively deliver Government policy.
- Improve coordination across whole of government so that citizens have smoother experience interacting with government agencies, starting with municipal services.
- Provide more operational postings and attachments to help policy officers better understand issues and make better policies. More attention will be paid to policy execution so that good policy intentions are translated effectively to services delivered by frontline officers.
- Strengthen human resources, training and leadership development.
- Appointed a Chief Human Resource Officer to lead the efforts to upgrade human resource capabilities across the public service. This includes the launch of human resources training programmes and platforms to upgrade capabilities of our HR, to better develop and prepare officers to serve Singaporeans.
- Build specialist expertise among our officers and a broader leadership development programme to nurture a more diverse pool of leaders.
- Recognise public officers who go the extra mile at work to inspire others to do the same, and create more opportunities for Public Service Leaders to engage younger officers.
- Civil Service College (CSC) will develop new training programmes to build capabilities in our officers in areas such as human resource, public communications and engagement.
- Work with MOF to review and strengthen critical governance processes to identify weaknesses in our system or adapt to new circumstances.