Stricter Laws for Using Handphone While Driving in Singapore, Constitute Fines and Jail Terms

Singapore Parliament has just passed amended laws governing the use of mobile devices while driving on Monday, 8 September 2014. The changes to the Road Traffic Act now governs handphone driving as a criminal offence and will impose fines and jail term.

Holding and using mobile devices while driving, be it a phone or tablet will be constitute as an offence as it is seen as an act that not only endangers oneself’s life, but as well passengers and other road users. However, these apply only if the device is held in one hand while the vehicle is moving.

First-time offenders may be fined up to S$1,000 and/or jailed for up to six months. The penalty is doubled for repeat offenders.

The amended laws, will come into effect in February 2015 which calling, sending text message, internet surfing, playing games, checking emails or social media and download content with a mobile device while driving is considered as an offence.

Mixed Feelings Among Members of Parliament

While the stricter laws is implemented for handphone driving, there are still some devices that mounted on the dashboards, gaming devices and other IT gadgets such as Google Glass that are not covered under the law which are equally distracting while driving.

Some mentioned that it should also be an offence to hold and use these devices even when the vehicle is not moving, e.g. stopping at traffic lights or in a traffic jam.

Hri Kumar, MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC has commented that even though through the usage of hands-free devices, it is still equally dangerous as using handheld devices as showed in many studies. Reason behind because the real distraction is the phone conversation and not having both hands not on the steering wheel. He has suggested that restrictions should be apply to the entire driving process and should be lifted off till the car is safely parked.

The Summons Numbers 

Reports shows that using mobile phone while driving has increased over the years, from 2,817 cases in 2011 to 3,572 cases in 2013. In the first six months of 2014, there has already been a case of 1,761 summonses were issued. The increase number in summonses was extreme measured approach in tightening the rules on handphone driving as mentioned by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.

Other Changes To Road Traffic Act

Some other changes to the Road Traffic Act as below:

  • Drivers of light goods vehicles and small buses will need to take the Practical Driving Test when renewing licences. They will then be issued with a full Class 3 licence.
  • Vehicle owners need to give Traffic Police details of a traffic offence within 14 days of receiving notice, extended from seven days. Otherwise, owner will be charged with failing to furnish the information on top of the traffic offence.
  • Motorists involved in accidents that have caused damage or injury are to provide their particulars to the owner of the vehicle or property, even when no one is around to ask for information. For example, if a motorist hits a parked car, he should leave a note on the damaged car with his particulars.
  • Unless contacted by the owner, all motorists must report the accident to the police within 24 hours or the motorist will be liable to be charged under the offence of hit-and-run.

What Is The Fine Penalty For Internet Hacking In Singapore ?

While countries are developed, they tends to rely heavily on technology and computerised process to fasten and provide better security. However, hidden in the backstage was a group of hackers that will be ready anytime to take down the basic internet infrastructure that every citizen are enjoying.

Under the Computer Misuse Act, first-time offenders who are found guilty can be fined up to S$10,000 and/or jailed up to three years.

That applies to Singapore as well. To deal with new potential abuses of computer systems, the Parliament introduced Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill on 1st June 1998. The bill passed on 29th June 1998 and came into force on 1st August 1998. The Computer Misuse Act was renamed the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act in 2013.

Case Studies

In 2013, hacktivist organisation, Anonymous, represented by a member known as “The Messiah” carried out ongoing cyber attacks since October 2013, partly in response to web censorship regulations in Singapore, specifically on news websites. Wearing the signature Guy Fawkes mask, “The Messiah” aka Mr. James Raj threatened to “bring down key infrastructure in Singapore”.

In afternoon of 2nd November, he took down 19 government websites simultaneously and alleged used a government agency use Twitter to announce that sites were down due to “planned maintenance”. Mr. James Raj was charged in the Subordinate Courts on 12th November 2013. Despite his high-profile hacking activities, 13 schools website hosted on a single server was hacked and reportedly defaced between 3.30pm to 5pm on 20th November 2013.

Source: Wikipedia

Delson Moo Hiang Kng was fined $8,000 on 5th June 2014 for hacking of Istana website. The 43-year-old pleaded guilty to one charge of unauthorised access to the server hosting the Istana website, carrying out a cross-site scripting attack on Google search function embedded in the website. With the embedded script, he could cause the search function to display text and images that he had specified.

The businessman was charged last November with two counts of unauthorised modification of computer material under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.

Source: ChannelNewsAsia, 5th June 2014.

Heavy Penalties for Late or Non-payment for Employee Salary in Singapore

employer did not pay my salary

Singapore is a country that focuses much on human resources for its economical growth while the country’s itself does not have much of natural resources to boost the economy. As such, the Singapore’s government has taken serious measures to protect the local labour workforce, ensuring that they are being protected by unfair practices engaged by companies.

A law was enacted in 1968 called The Employment Act by one of the ministries, Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to ensure that reasonable employment standards is practice throughout the industry while still helping businesses’ to achieve competitiveness in the market.

First time offender will be liable to a fine between S$3,000.00 and S$15,000.00 and/or 6 months’ jail term while a subsequent offence will be liable to a fine between S$6,000.00 and S$30,000.00 and/or 12 months’ jail term.

One of the protection was the payment of salary to the employees are to be on time and without unreasonable deductions of the salary to be make by the employers. Their main aim is to ensure that individuals such as directors or partners of the companies are made liable for the offences, whom has failed to exercise reasonable supervision or negligence of their part.

As stipulated under the Employment Act the payment of salary to the employees shall be:

  • Paid before the expiry of the 7th day after the last day of salary period
  • Additional payments for overtime work shall be paid not later than 14 days after the last day of salary period
  • Salary due to an employee on completion of his contract of service upon completion of the contract.
  • Any employee dismissed by the company to be paid on the day of dismissal or within 3 days of the dismissal (excluding rest day or public holidays)

The maximum composition fine for employers has been increased from the previous S$1,000.00 to S$5,000.00.

Penalties has been imposed for flouting of the late or non-payment for employee salary while an revision has been made much recently for heavier penalties for the non-compliance of the Employment Act. Government inspectors are also granted the power to arrest any person whom he believes to be guilty of failure to pay the salary and allowed to enter and workplace to conducts checks. Though the law, employers are still able to rebut the presumption by proving evidence that he has exercised reasonable supervision or oversight to avoid penalties by the MOM.

Case Studies

Five Companies in the construction sector are charged for a series of employment-related offences, including late salary payments and workers exceeding lawful overtime hours. In a statement by MOM, JK Integrated, Ng Brother Scaffolding, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering (Singapore) and Straits Construction (Singapore) where charged in the State Courts for failure to comply with Employment Act, each firm facing between 26 to 47 charges each.

Source: ChannelNewsAsia, 5th June 2014.

Article updated on 10th June 2014

Penalties For Flouting “Do-Not-Call” Laws in Singapore

The Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA), the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry came into effect on 2nd January 2014. This is to give individual will have more control how personal data is collected, used and disclosed.

The Do Not Call (DNC) Registry allow individual to opt out of unsolicited marketing calls, message and faxes. This allows individual to have more control over the kind of message receive on telephone, mobile phone or fax machine.

The DNC regime prohibits organisations from sending message to Singapore telephone numbers, including mobile, fixed-line, residential and business numbers.

Star Zest Tuition Agency became the first company to be charged with a breach in the Do Not Call Registry requirements under Personal Data Protection Act on 4th June 2014. The agency received 37 charges for sending unsolicited telemarketing message to local telephone numbers registered with the Do Not Call Registry. This was after many complaints made by the public, according to a media statement by PDPC on 23rd May 2014.

The tuition agency’s director, Law Han Wei, similarly faces 37 charges for authorising sending of the unsolicited messages. Law intends to plead guilty to the charges.

Source: ChannelNewsAsia, 4th June 2014.

Being a Money Mule In Singapore Command Heavy Penalty

Money mules are believed to have responded to online advertisement offering them jobs to transfer money using their own bank accounts, sending monies for a non-existent overseas company operated by the scam syndicate and getting a percentage of commission. In most cases, a fraudster befriends a potential money mule online, establishes a relationship and convinces him or her to accept funds through their bank account from an unknown source, and either transfer it to another account or withdraw it to hand to another person unknown to the mule.

The offence of Money Laundering carries a punishment of a fine not exceeding $500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years or to both. Non-individual could risk a fine of up to $1,000,000.

The money mules then provided their bank account details to the scam syndicate. The amount of money, typically ranges between S$50,000 to S$200,000 is quickly withdrawn or transferred out of the mule’s account. For every inflow of funds to the money mule’s account, a transaction fee and commission from the principal amount will be deducted before the remaining amount is transferred to an overseas bank account provided by the scam syndicate.

Some syndicates are even more sophisticated, setting up “companies” and inviting unwitting mules to take on the role of a “Singapore representative” or “Singapore-based agent”, whose sole job is to open a new personal bank account and receive funds from similarly-unknown sources.

There has been a rise in such cases in Singapore, from 93 cases reported in 2012 and 133 cases reported in first three quarter of 2013.

Source: Photo by Jornale.

Stiffer Penalties for Taxi Fare Evasion in Singapore

Fare evasion penalties were also made harsher in 2008, with cheats facing a penalty of S$1,000 for a first offence and S$2,000 or a jail term up to six months for subsequent offences.

While there are rising cases of commuters evading paying taxi fare in Singapore, the Singapore government authorities have came up with a more stringent penalties in order to deal with these offenders.  In usual cases, passengers in their 20s or 30s would try to make a run for it, leaving the taxi driver in trail.  While older passengers would mentioned going to ATM or home to get the cab fare but never return.

Fact and Figures

Public Transport Council (PTC) and Land Transport Authority (LTA) has reported an increase of 17.6 percent from 68 case in 2012 to 80 cases this year with cases of fare evasion reported. Fare evasion penalties were also made harsher in 2008, with cheats facing a penalty of S$1,000 for a first offence and S$2,000 or a jail term up to six months for subsequent offences.

In December 2012, Singapore’s largest taxi company, ComfortDelGro has began putting decals on taxi windows, reminding commuters that fare evasion was against the law.

A $10 Bribe in Singapore Can Give You Jail Term in Singapore

Singapore is know to be a clean and green city, while we are not talking about the appearance itself, but as well as the system. Singapore is governed by Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) to prosecutes corruption in public and private sectors. The government agency is established during British colonial government in 1952 and when Singapore attained self-government in 1959, it was shifted from Attorney-General’s Chambers to Prime Minister’s Office by then Singapore first prime minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. While investigations is being carried out by CPIB, it is usually done in a efficient and limited public exposure with rare cases of high profile probes.

Corruption by any Government agent is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years or both.

There was a recent case that happens on 19th Jan 2014 when a former Certis CISCO security officer was sentenced to a week’s jail and $10 penalty for accepting bribe from a domestic helper. Kalaiarasan Muniandy, a 22-year-old Malaysian was carrying out his duties at Paya Lebar MRT when he prompted a helper that she will be given a summon of $300 for drinking water. The helper replied that she was unable to pay the fine and only had $10 with her, the security officer took the money and asked her to leave.

The entire matter came to light after the helper’s employer found out about the incident and lodged a police report which was referred to CPIB.

Corruption Practices Investigation Bureau
Prevention of Corruption Act
Channel Newsasia

Heavy Fine for Animal Abuse in Singapore

Some of the animal is human’s best companion, but some of the people choose to torture these small animals, inflicting harm and severe pain on them. It is understandable that some of us are trying to tame an animal, while some have used extreme methods to ensure that these animals are being tamed. In Singapore, the authority and animal activist are very against pet cruelty and heavy fines has been imposed for those guilty of animal cruelty. The authority that are governing the pet cruelty in Singapore is Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), binding at Animal and Birds Act. Below is a video by RazorTV to feature on Animal Cruelty.

Anyone convicted of animal cruelty, an offender can be fined up to S$10,000 and/or be imprisoned for up to 12 months.

There is an exclusive case that happened just recently in England. Radoslaw Artur, a Polish immigrant was charged with eleven counts of animal malice and also with the comtempt of misleading police investigation. The convicted has to pay $500,000 on bail and has to spend 55 years in jail, charged with five years prison for each count. Moreover, the court has attached a $5 million surety bond condition to his bail. Check out the full story here.

Looking to Join Forces with Singapore Animal Rights Activists ?

If you are looking to protect these little animals from animal abuse, below are two of the more prominent animal activists group in Singapore that you may wish to join.

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Singapore – They have been existed since 1800s to aid in the help of poor animals and was one that has proposed to Singapore government to increase fine penalty from previous $500 and 6 months jail term to a S$ 10,000 fine and one year jail term.

31 Mount Vernon Road, Singapore 368054
Tel: 6287 5355 ext. 24

Animal Lovers League (Pets Villa) – Pet Villas was opened on 15 Feb 2004 to rescue strays dogs and cats, giving their a place called home. The non-profit organization provides lodging, food and proper care to these animals through a network of dedicated volunteers who helped out with everyday cleaning and upkeep of the place.

61 Pasir Ris Farmway 3
Visiting on Sat & Sun, by appointment only

King of Fruits being rejected entry in Singapore’s MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) Train

Singapore, being a tropical country is well known for its wide variety of fruits from all sides of asia, this includes the “King of Fruits”, Durian. Durian is a strong flavoured fruit which suggested that those in love with it find their smell aromatic while others think it is a pungent smell. As a tropical country, Durians are being sold along streets in Singapore, just like in a usual fruit stall. However, the smell magnify itself in air-conditioned environment, especially in public transport like buses and MRT (Mas Rapid Transport). Singapore MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) has banned commuters from bringing Durian into trains so as not to “pollute” the clean air environment for all commuters.  Though being banned, a fine amount was not determine for offenders for bringing Durian into the train at the moment.

Apart from Durian, there are also some other fines that are being imposed on the public transport as well.

No eating / drinking, S$ 500 fine
No smoking, S$ 1,000 fine
No flammable goods, S$5,000 fine

Singapore Enforce Stringent Licence For All General Cleaning Business

With the Environmental Public Health (EPH) Amendment Bill coming into force on 1st April 2014, the cleaning businesses are to submit their applications for cleaning business licence.

From 1st September 2014, general cleaning businesses found operating without a valid licence will be liable to a maximum fine of S$10,000 and/or up to 12 month’s imprisonment, and S$1,000 every day for continuing offences.

The deadline was on 1st September 2014 where all general cleaning businesses in Singapore would need to obtain the licence even if these services were just part of their overall business. While National Environment Agency (NEA) are strongly encouraging applications submission with necessary documents to be done by 15 July 2014 in order for these business to obtain the licence without delay.


License cleaning business found to be in breach of licensing conditions may also face a maximum financial penalty of S$5,000, including the risk having their licences suspended or revoked.

This move by the government is to ensure that cleaners are receiving wages that commensurate with their skills, training and productivity which an estimated 55,000 resident cleaners will benefit from the scheme. Through the new licensing scheme, the aim is to raise productivity, professionalism and service standards of the cleaning industry.

While the Commissioner of Labour has fully adopted the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners’ (TCC), recommending starting basic wages for resident cleaners. Licenced cleaning companies from 1st April 2014 would have to submit progressive wage plan for resident cleaners and specify basic wages no less than those indicated under the progressive wage model (PWM). While these cleaning businesses would also have to provide their cleaners with pay slips and employment contracts that state wages in accordance with their submitted progressive wage plan.


Risk being fined up to S$10,000 and S$1,000 every day for engaging unlicensed cleaning businesses. 

While on the other hand, consumers can look forward for a more reliable and better quality cleaning services by these general cleaning contractors while service buyers / consumers must also ensure that their cleaning service providers are licensed or they might be fined.