Tariff Advisory Commission Ordinance

Bill No. 175/1962

Read the first time on 26th March 1962.
An Ordinance to provide for the establishment of a Tariff Advisory Commission and for matters incidental thereto.
Be it enacted by the Yang di-Pertuan Negara with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Singapore, as follows: —
Short title and commencement
1.  This Ordinance may be cited as the Tariff Advisory Commission Ordinance, 1962, and shall come into operation on such date as the Minister may, by notification in the Gazette, appoint.
2.  In this Ordinance —
“Commission” means the Tariff Advisory Commission established under section 3 of this Ordinance;
“Chairman” means the Chairman of the Commission appointed under section 3 of this Ordinance.
Establishment and constitution of the Tariff Advisory Commission
3.—(1)  There shall be established in Singapore a Tariff Advisory Commission, which shall consist of a Chairman and not less than two but not more than four other members, all of whom shall be appointed by the Minister.
(2)  No person shall be appointed to the Commission who is a member of the Legislative Assembly, and if any member of the Commission is elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly, he shall cease to be a member of the Commission as from the date of such election.
(3)  The Minister may revoke any appointment made under the provisions of subsection (1) of this section without assigning any reason therefor.
Members to be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of the Penal Code (Cap. 119)
4.  All members of the Commission shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of the Penal Code.
Oath of office
5.  All members of the Commission, any person co-opted to serve on the Commission under the provisions of section 6 of this Ordinance and any person appointed to be Secretary to the Commission under the provisions of section 7 of this Ordinance shall, on appointment or on co-option as the case may be, take an oath or make an affirmation, in the form set out in the First or the Second Schedule to this Ordinance as may be appropriate, before a District Judge.
6.  The Commission shall have powers to co-opt on an ad hoc basis, one or more persons who possess special knowledge of any matter relevant to any inquiry undertaken by the Commission to assist it in its deliberations.
Appointment and duties of Secretary
7.  The Minister shall appoint a Secretary to the Commission who shall not be a member of the Commission. He shall attend the sittings of the Commission, record its proceedings, have custody of its records and generally perform such duties as the Chairman may direct.
Members not to be present if pecuniarily interested
8.  A member of the Commission shall not be present during the consideration or discussion by the Commission of any matter in which he has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest.
Matters for reference to the Commission
9.—(1)  The Minister may refer to the Commission for inquiry and report any of the following matters requiring in his opinion: —
(a)the grant of protection (whether by the grant of subsidies or the levy of protective duties or in any other suitable form) for the encouragement of any industry in Singapore, including any industry which has not commenced production but which is likely to do so if granted suitable protection;
(b)modification or abolition of any prevailing customs or other duties levied for the protection of any industry according to the circumstances of the case; or
(c)action to be taken where an industry is taking undue advantage of the tariff protection granted to it, particularly with reference to whether the protected industry is —
(i)charging unnecessarily high prices for its products;
(ii)acting or omitting to act in a manner which results in high prices being charged to consumers through limitation of quantity, deterioration in quality or inflation of the cost of production and the like; or
(iii)acting in restraint of trade to the detriment of the public.
(2)  The Minister may also refer to the Commission for inquiry and report any of the following matters, and the Commission may, in submitting a report in respect of any of the matters referred to in subsection (1) of this section, have due regard to such of the following matters as may be relevant to such report: —
(a)the effect of protection on —
(i)the general level of prices in Singapore;
(ii)the cost of living of any specified section of the community; or
(iii)the different sectors of the economy of Singapore;
(b)the effect of tariff concessions under trade or commercial agreements on the development of any specified industry;
(c)any anomalies that may result from the working of protective duties;
(d)the prices of particular commodities, whether protected or not;
(e)the manner in which protection in relation to any industry has been working, with particular reference to —
(i)the cost of production of the protected commodity;
(ii)the scale of output of the protected industry;
(iii)the quality of the protected commodity;
(iv)the prospects of future expansion of the protected industry;
(v)the relative competitive position of the industry land the factors entering into it; or
(vi)any other factors having a bearing on the usefulness of the industry to the economy of Singapore; or
(f)any special conditions which may have been imposed on a protected industry, with particular reference to —
(i)the extent to which and the manner in which the obligations have been discharged;
(ii)the further steps that would be necessary to implement them fully; or
(iii)the difficulties, if any, in the way of the full discharge of such obligations.
(3)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (1) and (2) of this section, the Minister may refer to the Commission for inquiry and report such other matters as may, in his opinion, be desirable to refer to it.
Report of Commission and action on such report
10.—(1)  Where any matter is referred to the Commission for inquiry and report under the provisions of this Ordinance, the Commission shall, as soon as may be practicable, conduct an inquiry in the manner provided by this Ordinance and any regulations made thereunder, and shall, as soon as possible after the conclusion of such inquiry, submit to the Minister a report in which the Commission may make such recommendations as it may think fit.
(2)  Upon receipt of such report, the Minister may take such action as he considers necessary in respect of any of the matters dealt with in the report.
Powers of the Commission
11.  For the purpose of conducting any inquiry under this Ordinance, the Commission shall have the following powers: —
(a)to require the attendance of any person in Singapore and to examine him on oath on any matter pertaining to, or connected with, the inquiry;
(b)to require the production of any document, article or other thing;
(c)to receive evidence by way of affidavit; and
(d)to require any person to furnish information on such points or matters as, in the opinion of the Commission, may be useful for, or relevant to, the subject matter of any inquiry.
Public representations
12.  The Commission may invite any person, body or organisation to give his or its views in writing or orally for the purpose of any inquiry held under the provisions of this Ordinance, but shall not be bound to hear any oral submissions which any person, body or organisation may wish to make to the Commission.
Statements made to the Commission
13.  No statement, written or oral, made by a person before the Commission shall subject him to, or be used against him in any civil or criminal proceedings:
Provided that nothing in this section shall be deemed to prevent the prosecution, conviction and punishment of any person for giving false evidence by such statement, if such statement is made in reply to a question which he is required by the Commission to answer and is relevant to the subject matter of the inquiry.
Restriction on disclosure of information
14.  No information relating to any industry or enterprise, being information which has been obtained by or on behalf of the Commission for the purpose of any inquiry under this Ordinance, shall be disclosed otherwise than in compliance with or for the purposes of this Ordinance.
Sittings of the Commission
15.—(1)  The sittings of the Commission may be held on such days and at such times and places as the Chairman may decide.
(2)  The sittings of the Commission shall not be open to the public unless the Commission otherwise decides.
Protection for action taken in good faith
16.  No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against any member, officer or servant of the Commission for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Ordinance.
Vacancy not to invalidate proceedings
17.  No act or proceedings of the Commission shall be deemed to be invalid by reason merely of any vacancy or any defect in the constitution of the Commission.
18.  Any person who —
(a)refuses or neglects to do anything he is by the Commission required to do under the provisions of this Ordinance; or
(b)acts in contravention of or fails to comply with any of the provisions of this Ordinance,
shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Power to make regulations
19.—(1)  The Commission may, with the prior approval of the Minister, make regulations generally for carrying out the provisions of this Ordinance.
(2)  In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing powers, such regulations may —
(a)prescribe the procedure and conduct of business of the Commission;
(b)provide for the delegation to one or more members of the Commission of such functions or duties of the Commission as it may in such regulations specify; and
(c)prescribe penalties for any contravention or failure to comply with any of the provisions of any regulation made under this section, but so that no such penalty shall exceed one thousand dollars.
(3)  All regulations made under this Ordinance shall be published in the Gazette and shall be presented to the Legislative Assembly as soon as may be after publication and if a resolution is passed pursuant to a motion, notice whereof has been given for a sitting day not later than the first available sitting day of the Assembly next after the expiry of one month from the date when such regulations are so presented annulling the regulations or any part thereof as from a specified date, such regulations or such part thereof, as the case may be, shall thereupon become void as from such date but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder or to the making of new regulations.