Press Releases

Introduction of the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) (Amendment) Bill 2024

Published: 07 March 2024

1. The Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) (Amendment) Bill (the “Bill”) was introduced for First Reading in Parliament today. The Bill seeks to extend the operation of the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (the “Act”) for a further period of five years with effect from 21 October 2024. 


2. The Act was enacted in 1955 and has been extended by Parliament 14 times. It was last extended by Parliament from 21 October 2019 and will expire on 20 October 2024. 

3. Among other things, the Act allows the Minister for Home Affairs to detain or place under police supervision, persons associated with activities of a criminal nature as listed in the Fourth Schedule of the Act, where the Minister is satisfied that this is necessary in the interests of public safety, peace and good order. A person issued with a Detention Order (“DO”) may be detained for up to 12 months from the date of the order.  A person issued with a Police Supervision Order (“PSO”) is subject to the supervision of the Police in the community for up to three years from the date of the order. These orders may be extended by the President if deemed necessary. 

4. The power to issue DO and PSO was introduced in 1958, to break the vicious cycle of gang lawlessness and the climate of terror they instilled, that prevented witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement authorities and testifying in open court. 

5. Given the significant powers conferred by the Act, it is written to require periodic renewal, in order that Parliament may assure itself of its continued relevance. 

Continued Relevance of the Act

6. The objectives of the Act remain relevant today. It is an essential legal instrument for the Police, so that they can act effectively against secret societies and criminal syndicates (such as moneylending and drug trafficking syndicates), where prosecution is not viable because witnesses are unwilling to testify in open court for fear of reprisal. 

7. Since its last renewal in 2019, the Act has been used to detain or place under supervision, persons heavily involved in secret society activities. These include ‘Headmen’ and ‘Senior Members’ of secret societies, who recruit youths into gangs and involve them in activities such as violent attacks against other gang members and members of the public. The Act has also been used to detain leaders and financiers of organised crime syndicates such as a ‘Tua Towkay’ (‘big boss') of an overseas unlicensed moneylending syndicate who was linked to more than 1,800 reported cases of harassment. Recent cases where action under the Act was taken can be found at the Annex.


8.  In view of the powers of detention provided by the Act, multiple safeguards have been put in place, including:

(a) The Public Prosecutor’s consent must be obtained before any DO or PSO can be issued by the Minister for Home Affairs. 

(b) Every DO and PSO must be reviewed by an independent advisory committee, which is chaired by a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court of Singapore and comprises respected members of society (e.g. Justices of the Peace) and senior lawyers. The advisory committee will consider all the materials that the Minister had relied upon for the issuance of the DO or PSO. Detainees are informed of the grounds of their detention and may be legally represented before the advisory committee. The advisory committee will then submit its recommendations to the President, who may confirm, vary or cancel the order, on the advice of the Cabinet.

(c) Every detainee’s case is reviewed by a separate advisory committee at least once annually, which will make a recommendation to the President on the detainee’s suitability and readiness for release.

(d) A third advisory committee reviews detention cases that are being considered for extension beyond 10 years. 

9. In summary, the Act remains an essential and critical tool in our fight against secret societies and organised criminal syndicates, and the powers under the Act are integral to our ability to take swift and effective action to suppress such activities in Singapore.


1. Recent Cases Where Action Was Taken Under the CLTPA As Prosecution Was Not Viable Because Witnesses Refused to Give Evidence in Open Court for Fear of Reprisal (PDF, 111 KB)