New Singapore bill to maintain law and order in Little India: The government of Singapore introduced a new bill in Parliament on Monday that empowers authorities to continue with measures aimed at maintaining public in Little India in the wake of the Dec 8 riot of last year, say reports.
The bill was announced as Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean gave a detailed account of the Little India riot and subsequent measures taken to deal with the incident.
The new law allows police and other agencies to enforce alcohol restrictions and regulate movement of persons in the Little India area, said Mr Teo.
He said the new bill is more tightly scoped than the wide-ranging powers that come with invoking the Public Order (Preservation) Act.
The bill is proposed to be valid for one year.
After the riot, a part of Little India was declared as an area in a state of danger under the Public Order (Preservation) Act, resulting in restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol on weekends, on the eves of and on public holidays, and when large-scale events are planned, according to reports.
The riot was sparked by a fatal bus accident that killed Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu.
Mr Teo referred to the riot as the “worst public order disturbance in Singapore in more than four decades”.
But he also stressed that it did not “spread in time or space, and was contained.”
Mr Teo said: “The riot, though serious, did not spread to the surrounding neighbourhoods, or other parts of Singapore. It was contained within a particular area in Little India.
“Foreign worker dormitories that night, and workplaces the next day, remained calm and peaceful. Not a single shot was fired that night, and there were no fatalities amongst the rioters, innocent bystanders, or our Home Team officers.
“Police completed their intensive investigations at the incident area overnight, and by 6.45am the next morning, Race Course Road was re-opened to the public. All was calm at the Little India train station, adjacent to the incident area, too.”
He said the entire situation was brought under control within two hours of the beginning of the riot.
When Special Operations Command officers moved in, just over an hour after the riot broke out, the mob dispersed.
Authorities have taken action against 295 persons, including 57 who have been repatriated.