Forum Letter: Rules must be more accommodating of new ideas

The Internet and the sharing economy have enabled the entry of new business models into unregulated and, sometimes, even forbidden areas.

Our regulators tend to adopt a "wait and see" attitude, and allow these start-ups and business models to flourish before stepping in with new rules to regulate them.

But at times, the regulators end up sending mixed signals.

One example is whether the Monetary Authority of Singapore should regulate virtual currencies or stand on the sideline and issue caveat emptor warnings (MAS to regulate crowdfunding involving digital tokens; Aug 2).

Another instance is whether taxis and private-hire cars should be allowed to deliver goods (Cabbies as couriers: LTA may review ban, Aug 4; Cabbies, private-hire drivers cannot do courier jobs: LTA, Aug 2).

This is just the beginning of a new trend, and the number of start-ups pushing the regulatory limits will only increase.

To encourage entrepreneurship among Singaporeans and to attract more foreign entrepreneurs to Singapore, the Government may want to reconsider its approach to regulations and be more accommodating of new ideas.

Yeo Chee Kean