Singapore is a “fine” city, as the T-shirt says.
Perhaps sensing it’s been missing out on something, the Ministry of Information Communications & the Arts (MICA) is seeking to massively increase its ability to inflict damage on telcos.
The ministry proposes to lift the maximum fine for breach of licence conditions by operators from S$1 million ($744,000) to 10% of turnover.
Outlining proposed changes to the Telecommunications Act, it doesn’t give a specific reason for this, apart from saying the current ceiling “may not be adequate” as a deterrent and that other industry regulators have this power.
That’s not to say the current penalty fine doesn’t deter. In the view of MICA, it may deter, but equally it may not. That’s enough to change the law.
MICA also wants to change the current rules, in which IDA gets to approve all telco CEOs, to require regulator approval for any change in voting power in a telco.
The proposed amendments also empower the minister to take control of a carrier in order to ensure “the security and reliability” of service.