All publications on the e-Gazette website will be made available to the public without charge, including publications that have been published for more than 5 days, by the end of January 2020, announced Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran.
In written parliamentary reply on Monday (6 January), Mr Iswaran responded to the question filed by Workers’ Party Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera who asked what are the considerations behind the current arrangement of making the Government e-Gazette only available for the past five days and requiring a paid subscription to access the archive online.
According to the minister, previously, documents that were electronically published in the Government Gazette on the e-Gazette website were available for free access by members of the public for 5 days.
He stated that it was an agreement between the Government and Toppan Leefung Pte Ltd (“Toppan”), formerly known as the Singapore National Printers Pte Ltd, that had been in place since September 1998 when the e-Gazette website was implemented.
Toppan was granted a non-exclusive licence to publish documents in the Government Gazette in electronic form.
As Toppan had invested in procuring, configuring, maintaining and operating the system which was used for the publication of Government Gazettes on the e-Gazette website, it was allowed to recover costs by imposing subscription fees for access to the e-Gazette archives, explained the minister.
Mr Iswaran stressed that the documents on the e-Gazette website are mostly legislation.
“Current and earlier versions of all legislation are also available on the Singapore Statutes Online website hosted by the Attorney-General’s Chambers. This website provides 24/7 free public access,” the minister said.
It is unknown when the plans were put in place for the post-5 days documents in e-Gazette to be publicly accessible prior to Mr Perera’s question in Parliament.