Singapore — Former Nominated MP Calvin Cheng, who is known to be pro-Government, has called out Workers’ Party MPs for not asking the question that brought up the matter of TraceTogether data being available to the police for criminal investigations.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday (Jan 6), Mr Cheng wrote: “Ownself check ownself” seems to be working better than the official “checkers”.
He pointed out that the MP who asked the question about the Criminal Procedure Code and how it governs Trace Together data was a People’s Action Party (PAP) MP, Mr Christopher De Souza (Holland–Bukit Timah GRC).
On Monday (Jan 4), Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan had responded to a question from Mr De Souza, who had asked if TraceTogether data will be used for criminal investigations and what the legal provisions and safeguards are for using such data.
A privacy statement on the TraceTogether website had earlier said the data would only be used “for contact tracing purposes”.
The site was updated on Monday, which “clarified how the Criminal Procedure Code applies to all data under Singapore’s jurisdiction”.
In his post, Mr Cheng was critical that: “With so many lawyers, not one WP MP thought to ask this question?”
He added: “The Workers’ Party has so many lawyers in their ranks.
LO Pritam Singh is a lawyer. Chairman of WP Sylvia Lim is a lawyer. He Ting Ru is a lawyer, who is married to a senior WP member who is ….. a lawyer. Their CEC member Dennis Tan is a lawyer. And when Trace Together was introduced, Chen Show Mao was still in Parliament and guess what? He was also a lawyer.”
He pointed out the irony that it was a PAP MP that brought up the matter.
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (Jan 5), Foreign Minister and Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, issued a clarification on the collection and use of TraceTogether app data after it became public knowledge from the previous day’s sitting that the data could be used for police investigations under the CPC.
Dr Balakrishnan noted that under Section 20 of the CPC, the police have the power to order anyone to produce data for the purposes of a criminal investigation. He emphasised that TraceTogether data will be protected for all “normal use cases”, but that it is not exempt from the CPC.
He added that the police can only ask for access by requiring a person involved in or assisting in criminal investigations to produce his mobile phone or his TraceTogether token. /TISG
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