MINISTER TAN CHUAN JIN: SOME COMMERCIAL DISPUTES DO NOT VIOLATE OUR LAWS

Some of you have written to me about the Sim Lim case. I fully agree with your sentiments. I’m shocked at the behavior shown. The chap didn’t seem remorseful either. It brings to mind other concerns that I have been working on with residents on errant contractors who drag their feet after causing damage, some who have encountered scam investors, individuals who do not follow up on court injunctions etc. Some individuals choose to close their set-ups and then start up other companies.

But we also know that there are errant consumers. And I get appeals from business owners and employers too.

Be that as it may, we should see how to strengthen or adjust our laws to deal with these cases where individuals face such hurdles to seek resolution. Some are disputes that may fall short of violating any laws or regulations, but they clearly assault our sensibilities!

We operate closely to the law. In some instances, the laws do not provide for particular actions and even if we may not like it, we can’t go beyond the remits of the laws. So in these instances, we may have to review it.
We face the same thing on some counts on the labour front. Hence, we are going to set up an Employment Claims Tribunal to help with some disputes that are not presently covered directly by regulations. Some things we have changed the laws so that we can better protect the vulnerable. We should similarly explore what we can do on the management of these other issues as well.
(Divorces and how difficult it is for women in particular, and the family, was also an area which was messy but some improvements have been made to help administer it better. Not ideal but important steps forward have been taken.)

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