Updated: 02/19/2014 20:24

Geylang is also an area of concern: COI



Geylang is also an area of concern: COI

The Committee of Inquiry hearing into the Little India riot started this morning with Senior State Counsel David Khoo highlighting the evidence that will be brought forward in the coming weeks. 

In an opening statement, Mr Khoo said that the first three weeks will focus on establishing how the riot unfolded and how the responding ground forces managed the incident. 

Witnesses will include those who were parties to the fatal traffic accident involving 33-year-old Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu, as well as first responders from the Police and Singapore Civil Defence Force. 

The fourth to sixth week of the inquiry will focus on evidence establishing the facts and circumstances that led to the riot. 

Mr Khoo notes that many have attributed the incident to the ill-effects of alcohol and others to the mistreatment of workers, such as salary and employment issues. 

He says it would add it is entirely possible that the incident could be attributable of a combination of factors rather than a single factor, noting that the focus must be on "fact-finding". 

Mr Khoo also says the COI will also hear evidence that will show that Geylang has also been identified as an area of concern. 

He says that the evidence will address one of the COI's terms of reference, which is to consider whether current measures to prevent the recurrence of riots in areas where foreign workers congregate are adequate. 

Mr Khoo says the evidence will show that policing issues encountered in Geylang and Little India bear many similarities and parallels. 

He also named some of the witnesses who will give evidence during the hearing. 

They include non-governmental organisations Maruah, Transient Workers Count Too and Workfair Singapore. 

Mr Khoo says they will give their personal views on the possible cause of the riot and suggestions on how the situation can be improved.

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