Essential air, sea and land transport operators could be subject to more controls under new draft law

Under the proposed amendments, designated entities will face three types of controls, said MOT’s spokesperson. 

Ownership controls will ensure oversight of changes in their effective control “to safeguard against adverse influence”. 

For example, buyers and sellers may need to notify or seek approval from the authorities depending on the amount, and the designated entities must notify the authorities within seven days of becoming aware of these changes in ownership and control. 

Suggested controls over management appointments will ensure that the people who are “principally responsible” for the management of the designated entities are fit and proper, and not “inimical to national interests”, the spokesperson added. 

Under the proposed legislation, designated entities will have to obtain approval from the relevant authority when appointing their CEO and the chairperson of their board. This extends to directors of the boards if the designated entity is also a licensed operator, said the spokesperson.

Current laws already require licensed public transport operators to seek LTA’s approval for the appointment of their CEOs and boards.

If the Bill is passed, designated entities will need to notify the relevant authority of events that could “materially impede or impair” the provision of essential transport services in Singapore, said the MOT spokesperson. 

These operations or resourcing controls will ensure that designated entities have enough resources and capabilities to provide essential transport services, they added.

If the Bill is passed, the Transport Minister, upon application by the relevant authority, can issue a special administration order to ensure the service continues, in the “extreme scenario” where the designated operating entity cannot provide essential transport services safely and reliably.

Under the proposed laws, if designated entities breach these controls, including conditions for approval, they could be subject to remedial directions, including the disposal of equity interest and the removal of key appointment holders, said the MOT spokesperson. 

Breaching the controls and any of the remedial directions will also be considered an offence, and the penalties for these offences will take reference from existing penalties under the relevant Acts. 

A person may appeal to the Transport Minister within 14 days of being informed of the relevant authority’s decision on designation, and applications for approval for ownership or management appointments. 

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