Essential air, sea and land transport operators could be subject to more controls under new draft law

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SINGAPORE: Key air, sea and land transport operators could be subject to more controls over ownership, operations and management appointments, if they become designated entities under a new proposed law that could come into force in the second half of 2024. 

Under draft amendments tabled in parliament on Wednesday (Apr 3), entities may be designated by the relevant authority – Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) or Land Transport Authority (LTA) – if they are “key entities involved in the provision of essential transport services” in Singapore. 

They can be designated as a “designated operating entity” if they directly provide essential transport services in Singapore or a “designated equity interest holder” if they hold equity interest in the former. 

The Bill seeks to strengthen the resilience of "key firms" in the air, sea and land transport sectors in Singapore, and safeguard their provision of essential transport services, said the Ministry of Transport (MOT) in a press release on Wednesday. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of our air and sea hubs, while mass public transport remains essential to ensuring safe and reliable commutes in Singapore,” said MOT's spokesperson. 

This review of sector-specific controls for the transport sectors complements the Significant Investments Review Act passed in January, said the spokesperson. 

The Significant Investments Review Act scrutinises significant investments, whether local or foreign, into entities that are critical to Singapore’s national security interests. It introduced a new investment management regime for specified entities identified as critical to national security. 

Entities designated under MOT’s sectoral legislation will not be designated under the Significant Investments Review Act at the same time, said MOT in a press release on Wednesday. 

Under the proposed amendments, designated entities will face three types of controls, said MOT's spokesperson. 

Ownership controls will ensure oversight of changes in their effective control “to safeguard against adverse influence”. 

For example, buyers and sellers may need to notify or seek approval from the authorities depending on the amount, and the designated entities ...

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