The Ministry of Home Affairs is putting up the proposed amendments to the Penal Code for public consultation at REACH portal www.reach.gov.sg (Consultation Channel) from Thu 9 Nov 06.
2 The review brings the Penal Code up to date, and makes it more effective in maintaining a safe and secure environment in today's context.
3 The last major amendments of the Penal Code were made in 1984, and the penalties for fines in 1952. In the interim period, sections have been amended but there has not been a comprehensive review of the Penal Code. With more than 500 sections, the Penal Code is a very important piece of legislation and every effort has been made to ensure that the review has been as thorough as possible. This review covers all the sections in the Penal Code to assess whether they should be amended, in relation to the other provisions in the Code as well as other statutes in Singapore, where applicable. We also looked at relevant legislation in other countries. The review has taken into account the impact of technology, such as the Internet and mobile phones, which have become an integral part of the lifestyle in Singapore, and are increasingly employed by criminals to perpetrate their criminal activities. It also took cognizance of Police’s and the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ experience in applying the Penal Code, as well as court pronouncements and public feedback.
Updating the Legislation
4 The proposed changes cover three main areas:
- a) Expand and modify the scope of 19 existing offences and introduce 19 new offences;
- b) Update and clarify definitions, explanations and expressions (involving 21 sections);
- c) Review penalties of existing offences as well as propose penalties for new offences (altogether involving about 380 sections).
The penalties in the Code have also been reviewed and updated to ensure that they continue to effectively deter criminal activities, and to give the Courts more flexibility in sentencing. The fines have been updated to take into account changes in the purchasing power of money, as the fines have not been adjusted since 1952.
5 The review of the Penal Code has been done in consultation with the Attorney-General's Chambers, the Ministry of Law and various other agencies such as the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. The proposed amendments will also be sent to the Law Society for its views and inputs.
6 Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs A/Prof Ho Peng Kee says,
"In reviewing the Penal Code, our approach is to update its provisions so that they remain relevant and effective in view of societal and global changes.
As an important criminal law legislation, the Penal Code should reflect the values of Singapore society. Certain fundamental values remain close to our hearts, such as the need to protect minors, an area we have enhanced.
Updating the provisions on penalties will give the Courts greater flexibility in sentencing.”
Public Consultation from 9 Nov
7 The public are invited to give their feedback and views via the Consultation Channel in the REACH portal at www.reach.gov.sg. The public consultation that begins on Thu 9 Nov will last till Sat 9 Dec. The Ministry will consider the feedback received from the public consultation and from other channels, including that of the Law Society, before tabling the updated proposed amendments in Parliament in the first half of next year.
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
8 NOVEMBER 2006