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In Parliament: Sylvia Lim hopes that the ‘bankruptcy experience can be a less painful one’ in Singapore

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She hoped that the move towards having private trustees in bankruptcy would soften the blow of going bankrupt.

SINGAPORE — Workers’ Party MP Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) said in a speech in Parliament on Monday (Jan 9) that there are several reasons why people end up in bankruptcy, “including misfortune, bad timing and being guarantors for the debts of others.”

She also noted that bankruptcy could be debilitating and disempowering, given that people who experience this have been stigmatised and disqualified from public office and various professions. “I do hope that as we move towards a system of having PTIBs as the default, the bankruptcy experience can be a less painful one,” she added.

Ms Lim, who is also the WP chair, made a speech concerning the Insolvency, Restructuring, and Dissolution (Amendment) Bill, raising the question of what has been observed in the last five years, ever since private trustees in bankruptcy (PTIBs) began to be utilised in cases involving institutional creditors.

The debate on Monday revolved around proposing to extend PTIBs to non-institutional creditors as well as voluntary bankruptcies. Ms Lim raised the question of whether there have been complaints from creditors or debtors regarding the issue and, if there have been, what the questions were, including whether they involve efficiency or neutrality.

She also asked what resources would be available to help non-institutional creditors and debtors choose an insolvency practitioner as PTIB. “Bankruptcy cases are now being handled not by a public officer from the OA’s office, but by a PTIB chosen by the creditor, whose fees are also underwritten by the creditor.

It is sometimes said that he who pays the piper calls the tune. Have there been any complaints from debtors that the PTIBs have been unfair to them?” she asked. Ms Lim’s speech may be viewed in full here. /TISG

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