Mental Capacity Act 6
An update on the draft MCA:
Draft Mental Capacity Bill to be fine-tuned following feedback
By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE: The draft Mental Capacity Bill will be fine-tuned, following feedback from over 140 people and organisations last year, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) announced in Parliament on Wednesday.
The changes will address issues such as the definitions of what constitute ill-treatment of those who are mentally incapacitated, and who can be empowered to make decisions on their behalf.
The landmark regulation was first proposed last August, and MCYS has explained that under the Mental Capacity Bill, an individual (or donor) can voluntarily plan in advance for a time when he/she may lose mental capacity to make decisions.
Through a legal document called the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), the donor can give another person (or donee) the authority to make decisions on his/her behalf regarding matters related to property, finance, and personal welfare, including healthcare.
The donee can be a family member, a relative, a friend or a professional.
Among the changes proposed, the Law Reform Committee suggested that the ministry define more clearly what constitutes ill-treatment and wilful neglect, which the Act criminalises.
The National Council of Social Services (NCSS) also recommended the original list of disqualifying criteria for donees to be removed.
Originally, the list excluded bankrupts and those convicted of offences involving fraud and dishonesty from acting as proxy decision makers for matters related to property and finance.
It also excluded those convicted of any sexual offence, or offences involving violence or the threat of violence.
NCSS' view was that the donor should be given a choice in who he or she would like to appoint, because sometimes the best person to be the donee is a son or relative who may have committed certain offences.
Taking this feedback into account, MCYS said it will remove the disqualifying criteria for donees, except for bankrupts, from the Bill.
MCYS will also expand the list of excluded decisions which a donee cannot make on behalf of the donor. These are: adopting or renouncing a religion; receiving treatment for change of gender; and making and revoking of any nominations made under the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act where insurance policy proceeds are concerned.
The other exclusions are: consenting to marriage or sexual relations; executing, amending or revoking a will; and making or revoking a CPF nomination.
MCYS will amend the draft Bill based on the feedback, and it will publish a code of practice to provide guidance to caregivers and professionals after the Bill is passed in Parliament.
angry doc finds it interesting that the bill will disallow a bankrupt from acting as a donee, but not someone who has a history of violence or sexual offence. It is as if we expect a criminal to be a friend or family first and a criminal second, and not the other way round, or that we allow people to exercise their judgement when it comes to character, but not if the person being judged is a bankrupt. How odd.