SINGAPORE - I live in a Bishan HDB block whose ground floor is occupied by shops.
The passageway leading to the lifts and stairwells is cluttered with goods - including shelves, poster stands and even entire dining sets - that impede movement and compromise residents' safety. There is even a computer business operating along this passageway.
Such a situation is not unique to my block and can be found in many other estates.
While I understand the need for some shops to display their wares, this cannot be done in a way that endangers residents. During emergencies such as fires, these obstructions hinder quick and safe evacuation.
I have sent feedback to the town council numerous times, but no action has been taken.
I urge the authorities to ensure that these passageways are clutter-free, so as not to compromise our safety.
Town councils and shop tenants can explore ways to display goods outside shops in a safe manner. Those who are not tenants should not be allowed to operate businesses in these spaces.
Those who flout the rules repeatedly should be dealt with quickly and firmly.
While we cannot always prevent accidents such as fires, we must do our part to ensure that everyone is well-prepared in times of emergency.
Jeffrey Lee Heng Kheng
This article was first published on July 4, 2014.
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