Weigh consequences before relaxing laws

Weigh consequences before relaxing laws

A number of laws and regulations have been relaxed in recent years, in tandem with more calls for such moves.

We have seen a pilot project in Chong Pang that allows HDB flat dwellers to keep cats, with plans to extend it to other constituencies ("Hello, kitty may get to Marine Parade yet"; Sunday).

Then, there have been requests to allow parents to park illegally near pre-schools ("Give parents parking near day-care centres more leeway" by Ms June Chen; Jan 5) and to allow unicycles on pavements ("Give the unicycle a chance here"; last Saturday).

While the underlying rationales for some of these calls - such as finding more humane solutions for strays, and encouraging more environmentally friendly modes of transport - are laudable, I hope the authorities will weigh the consequences carefully before relaxing the rules.

If unicycles were allowed on pavements, will pedestrians be safe with electric-powered machines zooming past them from all directions?

And if cats were allowed in HDB flats, what is there to stop residents from buying cats from pet shops instead of adopting them, then abandoning them once they tire of the animals, adding to the stray population.

What about those who dislike cats? Have the authorities surveyed HDB residents to find out how many are for or against cats in their blocks?

I am aware that guidelines are in place to mitigate the consequences when existing rules are relaxed, but these are useful only if they are enforced.

Take how the cycling town idea was meant to be for only Tampines.

It did not take long before people elsewhere started cycling on pavements and against traffic, and behaving aggressively towards pedestrians.

Singapore has matured into a First World city after decades of development and enforcement of the law.

I would hate for the nation to regress to how it was in its early years.

Agnes Sng (Ms)

This article was first published on January 14, 2015.
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