SINGAPORE LEGISLATION

Published date01 December 1998
Date01 December 1998

DIGEST OF ACTS PASSED BETWEEN OCTOBER 1997 AND JANUARY 1998 IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

(correct as at 28th February 1998)

Civil Defence Shelter Act 1997
Act No. 12 of 1997

Long Title: An Act to require new houses and flats and new buildings which are subdivided into flats to be provided with civil defence shelters for use during a state of emergency, to empower the Commissioner of the Singapore Civil Defence Force to require civil defence shelters to be provided in new buildings owned by statutory boards and to designate any part of any building as a civil defence shelter, for use by persons needing to take refuge therein during a state of emergency, to regulate the use of civil defence shelters and to provide for matters connected therewith, and to make a consequential amendment to the Building Control Act (Chapter 29 of the 1990 Revised Edition).

Passed by Parliament on: 7lh October 1997.

Assented to by President on: 15th October 1997.

Publication date: 7th November 1997.

Commencement date: 1st May 1998 vide S 487/97 with the exception of Part IV and V.

Summary: Section 1 relates to the short title and commencement and provides that the provisions of Parts IV and V of the Act will come into operation when the Minister by order so directs. Such an order may be made whenever it appears to the Minister that —

  1. (a) a Proclamation of Emergency by the President under Article 150 of the Constitution or a declaration of a state of civil defence emergency by the Minister under Part XII of the Civil Defence Act (Cap. 42) is imminent; and

  2. (b) it is necessary or expedient to do so for the securing of public safety,

but will not be in force for a period exceeding 7 days from the commencement of the order unless it has been made with the approval of the President.

Part II of the Act (consisting of sections 3 and 4) deals with the provision of household and communal shelters. Section 3 provides that —

  1. (a) every new house must be provided with a household shelter; and

  1. (b) every new building which is to be subdivided into flats must be provided with —

    1. (i) a household shelter in every flat in that building; or

    2. (ii) in lieu of a household shelter being provided in every flat on any storey of the building, at least one storey shelter on that storey of the building.

Section 4 sets out the duties of owners or occupiers of houses, flats and buildings subdivided into flats in relation to the household or storey shelters provided therein.

Part III of the Act (consisting of sections 5 and 6) deals with the provision of public shelters. Section 5 empowers the Commissioner to require any statutory board to provide a public shelter in any new non-residential building which is owned by such statutory board. Section 6 sets out the duties of the owner or occupier of a building in relation to any public shelter provided therein.

Part IV of the Act (consisting of sections 7 and 8) deals with improvised shelters. Section 7 empowers the Commissioner, during the period when Part IV is in operation, to designate any part of any building as an improvised shelter in which any person may take refuge. Section 8 sets out the duties of the owner or occupier of a building in relation to any improvised shelter therein.

Part V of the Act (consisting of sections 9 to 11) deals with the use of shelters during a state of emergency. Section 9 empowers the Commissioner, during the period when Part V is in operation, to serve a notice on the owner or occupier of any house, flat or other building which is provided with, or which consists of, a shelter, requiring such owner or occupier to prepare within the period specified in the notice the shelter for occupation by persons needing to take refuge therein. Section 10 sets out the powers of the Commissioner in the event that a person served with a notice under Section 9 fails to comply with the notice. Section 11 sets out the duties of the owner or occupier of any part of a building which consists of a shelter arising during a state of emergency.

Part VI of the Act (consisting of sections 12 to 29) deals with miscellaneous matters. Section 12 relates to the use of shelters in times other than a state of emergency. Section 13 concerns the delegation of powers by the Commissioner. Section 14 empowers the Commissioner to issue or approve the specifications, technical codes and standards relating to the design, construction and maintenance of shelters to be provided under the Act and the equipment to be installed therein, and to modify

the requirements of any of the specifications in respect of any building, house or flat in which a shelter is to be provided under the Act. Section 15 and 16 concern the powers of entry and inspection of the Commissioner or any authorised person under the Act.

Sections 22 to 25 concern the prosecution of offences under the Act. Section 26 empowers the Commissioner to compound any offence under the Act or the regulations which is prescribed as a compoundable offence.

Section 29 makes a consequential amendment to the Building Control Act (Cap. 29). The effect of the amendment is that a shelter provided under the Act will fall within the definition of “building” in the Building Control Act. As such, the approval of plans relating to shelters and the construction of shelters, will be governed by the Building Control Act and the regulations made thereunder.

The Schedule (which is to be read with section 2) specifies certain existing public shelters which are deemed to be public shelters provided under the Act.

Comments: This Act —

  1. (a) implements the requirement that new houses and flats be provided with shelters for use during a state of emergency;

  2. (b) empowers the Commissioner of the Singapore Civil Defence Force —

    1. (i) to require shelters to be provided in new non-residential buildings owned by statutory boards; and

    2. (ii) to designate any part of any building as a shelter,

    for use by persons needing to take refuge therein during a state of emergency;

  3. (c) regulates the use of shelters; and

  4. (d) provides for matters connected therewith,

    and makes a consequential amendment to the Building Control Act (Cap. 29).

This Act will only apply to building plans which are approved six months after the Act comes into force. Certain shelters provided before the commencement of the Act e.g. in MRT stations, schools, community centres, are deemed to be shelters provided under the Act.

Related Legislation: Building Control Act (Cap. 29).

Community Mediation Centres Act 1997
Act No. 10 of 1997

Long Title: An Act to provide for the establishment and operation of Community Mediation Centres to provide mediation services connected with certain disputes.

Passed by Parliament on: 7th October 1997.

Assented to by President on: 15th October 1997.

Publication date: 9th January 1998.

Commencement date: 9th January 1998 vide S 14/98.

Summary: Section 3 provides for the establishment and premises of Community Mediation Centres. Section 4 provides for the appointment of a Director for each Community Mediation Centre and section 7 requires the Director to keep proper records of the activities of the Centre and allows these records to be disposed of after 3 years from the date of settlement of the dispute before the mediator, or the date of withdrawal from or termination of the mediation, as the case may be.

Section 8 empowers the Minister to appoint any person (other than the Director) as a mediator for a Community Mediation Centre on the recommendation of the Director and to revoke any such appointment. A mediator so appointed may be paid such remuneration as may be determined by the Minister and shall abide by the terms of any Code of Conduct as may be approved by the Minister.

Section 9 empowers the Director to provide mediation services and to operate and manage the Centre. Section 10 lays down the procedure for the conduct of mediation sessions. Section 11 provides for other sources of referral to the Community Mediation Centres for mediation by any person of a case concerning a family, social or community dispute that does not involve a seizable offence under any written law. Section 12 provides for the voluntary nature of a mediation conducted at a Community Mediation Centre.

Section 13 provides that the terms of any settlement or agreement reached in a mediation shall, if the mediator thinks fit, be reduced to writing and signed by or on behalf of the parties to the mediation and no settlement or agreement shall be binding on the parties unless it has been reduced to writing with a statement signed by or on behalf of the parties to this effect. Section 14 prohibits a party to a mediation session from being represented by an agent except in certain circumstances.

Section 15 empowers a Magistrate who takes cognizance of an offence upon receiving a complaint made by a private person under section 128 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap. 68) where the offence is one for which a summons will ordinarily issue in the first instance under the first column of Schedule A to the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap. 68) to refer the complaint to a mediator of a...

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