SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has said that the country may need to consider new ways of dealing with conduct seen as a social nuisance.
He said this may require a legal framework which sets out what Singaporeans should avoid doing, so their behaviours do not unreasonably impact their neighbours.
In his latest Facebook post, Mr Shanmugam spoke of a recurrent issue which he’s come across, when what happens in one HDB flat impacts the others.
Mr Shanmugam cited a lady who said the singing and drumming from her neighbour’s flat kept her awake.
He said such issues are not new, but the sense is that people seem to be less willing to put up with such conduct now, compared to some years ago.
At present, Mr Shanmugam said there is no satisfactory legal solution to deal with these problems.
Most of such conduct is social nuisance, but not criminal.
Mr Shanmugam said the second approach is for residents to go to the civil courts, which is not really feasible either.
Thus, there may be a need to come up with new norms.
MP Christopher De Souza said the proposal aims at filling a gap.
"Presently, if there is an unfortunate breakdown in neighbourliness, there is redress through the criminal law, for example through a Magistrate’s complaint... Alternatively, the person could seek civil redress in a Court of Law. Neither option is ideal if we want to reconcile differences," said Mr De Souza.
"Therefore, if any framework is brought in, I would sincerely hope that one of its key aims would be to reconcile differences and mend ties," he added.
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