The National Archives of Singapore to be transferred to the NLB

15/10/2012


Statutes (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 2) Bill 2012– (Ministerfor Information, Communicationsand theArts) – Second Reading

Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move, “That the Bill be now read a Second time.”

2             In August this year, the Prime Minister announced that the current portfolios of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) will be re-distributed across three ministries.

3             Firstly, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), which will be renamed the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), will focus on family and social support and development.

4             Secondly, the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA), to be renamed the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), will focus on public communications, the national and public libraries, and infocomm technology, media and design.

5             Finally, a new ministry, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), will be created to oversee matters concerning culture, community development, sports, youth, arts and national resilience, all of which now lie within the portfolios of the existing MCYS and MICA.

6             The redistribution of portfolios acknowledges the growing importance of social and community issues as Singapore enters a new phase of development. The new structures will enable a sharper focus and improved synergies across the relevant portfolios in these areas of work. The restructuring will take effect on 1 November 2012.

7             This Bill before the House contains a number of legislative amendments made necessary by the redistribution of Ministry portfolios.

8             First, a number of Acts which make express reference to the  Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports or the former Ministry of Community Development will have to be updated with the renaming of MCYS to MSF. Clauses 2, 4, 9 and 10 of the Bill amend the Casino Control Act, the Criminal Procedure Code, the School Crossing Patrols Act and the Women’s Charter for this reason.

9             Second, as part of the redistribution, the National Library Board (NLB), is to remain under the oversight of MCI whereas the National Heritage Board (NHB) overseen by MICA today, will be transferred to the oversight of the new MCCY. The National Archives of Singapore (NAS), a department currently under the NHB will be transferred to the NLB where its functions would be better aligned.

10          The functions performed by NAS are very similar to some of the functions currently served by NLB, and require similar expertise and systems. NAS is the official custodian of the Government's corporate memory, ranging from Government files, private memoirs, historical maps and photographs, to oral history interviews and audio-visual materials. It is responsible for the collection, preservation and management of Singapore's public and private archival records. NLB, on the other hand, preserves the nation's literary and publishing heritage and memories. By consolidating NAS’ archives and oral histories with NLB’s Singapore-related library materials, we will reap greater synergies and economies of scale in the protection and preservation of Singapore's documentary records.

11          Clauses 7 and 8 therefore amend the National Heritage Board Act (NHB Act) and the National Library Board Act (NLB Act) respectively to effect the transfer of the function of running the NAS and the NAS undertaking from NHB to NLB.

12          Clause 8 transfers to NLB the assets, rights, interests, liabilities and obligations of NHB which are relevant to NAS. The same clause transfers to NLB the employees of NHB who are working in NAS, including a number of pensionable officers, on no less favourable terms of employment.

13          As a consequence of the transfer of NAS, Clauses 3, 5 and 6 amend the Copyright Act, the Land Titles Act and the Limited Partnerships Act to replace references to the NHB Act with references to the NLB Act. These amendments are technical in nature, and will have no impact on the functioning of these Acts.

14          Sir, I beg to move.

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