Second Reading Speech by Lim Hwee Hua Minister of State for Finance on The Appraisers And House Agents (Amendment) Bill 2004, at The Parliament, 26 Jan 200526 Jan 2005
1. Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time".
2. The Bill will amend the Appraisers and House Agents Act to remove the licensing requirement for appraisers of motor vehicles, cargo and marine surveys, plant and machinery as well as those categorised under "others".
3. Sir, I shall now explain the amendments in the Bill.
Removal of Licensing Requirement
4. Appraisers are currently licensed individually by IRAS under the Appraisers and House Agents Act, based on criteria such as academic qualifications and membership of industrial associations. Doing away with the licensing requirement will reduce red tape and regulatory burden on businesses. There already exists sufficient market discipline to ensure that the interests of customers are protected.
Motor Vehicle Appraisers
5. Motor vehicle appraisers are engaged for damage assessment relating to accident insurance claims. Hence, their customers are mainly large insurance firms. Insurance companies have been taking active steps to protect their interests. In 2002, the General Insurance Association established the Independent Damage Assessment Centres to prevent errant workshops from inflating claims. In recent years, IRAS has not received any complaints against the appraisers. Thus, it is timely to remove the licensing requirement for motor vehicle appraisers.
6. Like motor vehicle appraisers, appraisers of cargo and marine surveys, as well as plant and machinery, also serve businesses within their respective sectors. These businesses can look after their own interests and resolve disputes through the legal system. Likewise, IRAS has not received any complaints against these appraisers in the last 5 years.
7. Appraisers categorised under "others" include appraisers of gold, jewellery as well as works of arts. Again, these persons serve specialised niche markets which have the ability to assess the credibility of the appraisers.
8. There is thus no need to license such appraisers.
9. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move.