The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken up the Singapore economy. Many of us have been forced to think anew about how best to craft policies that can take us to a better future. There are many policy areas that need an overhaul, but one that does not get sufficient attention is consumer protection. Indeed, a persuasive case can be made that Singapore needs a much more vigorous approach to consumer protection. That will better ensure we achieve the two goals by which policies are measured against — whether they achieve fair treatment of the average citizen and whether economic growth is maintained at a vibrant level.

Why consumer protection — the issue of fairness

Encouragingly, Singapore has started to strengthen consumer protection laws in recent years. The Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act was passed in 2003 — but that was 24 years after the founder of the Consumer Association of Singapore first proposed it. It was further amended in 2016 to strengthen some of its provisions. The question is whether these enhancements have gone far enough.

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