Legal Updates


Personal Data Protection Bill 2012
On 10 September 2012, the Personal Data Protection Bill 2012 (B24/2012) was introduced in Parliament.
This Bill makes provision for the protection of the personal data of individuals, as follows:
1.   Regulating the collection, use and disclosure of personal data by organisations;
2.   Imposing obligations on organisations to safeguard personal data in their possession or under their control;
3.   Establishing the Personal Data Protection Commission to enforce the Bill; and
4.   Establishing a Do Not Call Register to enable individuals to opt out from receiving specified messages.
The Bill also makes related and consequential amendments to various other Acts.
Civil Law (Amendment) Bill 2012
On 10 September 2012, the Civil Law (Amendment) Bill 2012 (B25/2012) was introduced in Parliament.
This Bill seeks to clarify and expand the scope of s 27 of the Civil Law Act, and to make related amendments to the Public Trustee Act to allow the Public Trustee to assist in some matters relating to otherwise ownerless property that accrues to the government (bona vacantia) upon the death of individuals.
Section 27 of the Civil Law Act (which allows the Minister to transfer bona vacantiaproperty on the basis of equitable or moral claims) will be repealed and re-enacted for the following purposes:
1.   Make clear that the section also covers land that the government may become entitled to upon the death of an individual;
2.   Empower the Minister for Law (the “Minister”) to bring within the scope of the section, property that may accrue to the government (as bona vacantia) as a result of distribution in accordance with certain written laws which deem the property as not part of the estate of a person. The Minister can prescribe what these laws are by an order published in the Gazette. An example of such a law is the Central Provident Fund Act, under which property that would otherwise form part of the estate of a person are deemed not to so as to protect the property from creditors; and
3.   Clarify and refine the process by which the Minister may disclaim and release the government’s right to estate or property that has accrued to the government bona vacantiain favour of persons who establish an equitable or moral claim thereto. The Minister may by warrant provide for such persons out of the whole or any part of the estate or property or (if sold) its proceeds devolving upon the government. The warrant may also authorise or order the giving, conveyance, transfer, grant or payment in such share, proportion and manner and upon such terms and conditions as the Minister thinks appropriate (including the payment of moneys).
Section 4 of the Public Trustee Act will be amended to allow the Minister to assign functions and duties to the Public Trustee in relation to bona vacantia, which may include the administration of estates with property that may be claimed as bona vacantia.
Moneylenders (Amendment) Act 2012
The Moneylenders (Amendment) Act 2012 (A8/2012) (the “Amendment Act”) will come into operation on 2 October 2012.
The Moneylenders Act is amended for the following main purposes:
1.   Add a new activity constituting the offence of assisting an unlicensed moneylender (referring a potential borrower to an unlicensed moneylender, intending to facilitate or knowing it to be likely to facilitate the lending of money by the unlicensed moneylender to the potential borrower);
2.   Amend the power to require information and documents; and
3.   Provide that the Registrar of Moneylenders or an authorised officer may be assisted by other persons when exercising certain monitoring powers under s 25(1) of the Moneylenders Act.
Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Act 2012
The Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Act 2012 (A19/2012) came into operation on 1 October 2012.
The Goods and Services Tax Act is amended to put into effect tax changes announced in Budget 2012, as well as changes arising from the periodic review of the goods and services tax (“GST”) system. Key amendments include:
1.   GST exemption on the import and supply of investment-grade gold and precious metals;
2.   A new Approved Refiner and Consolidator Scheme to relieve cash flow for refiners and local consolidators of precious metals, and enable them to claim input tax to make the first exempt supply of investment-grade precious metals after refining;
3.   Extension of the scope of GST zero-rating of prescribed financial services relating to goods situated outside Singapore;
4.   Allowing the Comptroller of Goods and Services Tax and the Minister for Finance to set conditions when granting GST remission;
5.   Extension of the Temporary Removal Scheme to goods that are removed temporarily from approved warehouses for repairs; and
6.   Allowing zero-rating of repair services performed on qualified goods outside the Approved Specialized Warehouse.
  Elizabeth Wong
      Allen & Gledhill LLP