She read out a litany of problems that afflict her residents who live in Geylang.
"Crowding, congregation of people, open soliciting, noise pollution, littering, crime, moonlighting by foreign workers, gambling and a lot more - just to name a few, actually, all the activities that go on hour to hour, day to day, month in month out, year in year out," said Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef (above) in Parliament yesterday.
But the MP for Marine Parade GRC said the residents' worries grew when Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee said he was more worried about the Geylang area than Little India.
Mr Ng had said this during the Little India riot Committee of Inquiry.
Prof Fatimah asked Second Minister for Home Affairs Mr S Iswaran how the ministry is coordinating with relevant agencies in a "more concerted and concrete way to contain, if not to eradicate, these activities".
Mr Iswaran replied that Mr Ng's comment should be taken in the context of sharing the police's strategy and tactics in dealing with challenges across Singapore, and outlined inter-agency efforts in the Geylang lorongs to combat illegal activities.
This prompted Prof Fatimah to suggest that it would be better for the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to "solve the root cause" so manpower resources could be diverted to "more important issues... at the national level".
Mr Iswaran said he was not sure what Prof Fatimah meant by the "root cause" of the problem, or whether it can be eradicated.
"But if she means, by that, removing it from the Geylang area, whilst it may solve her problem, it may become somebody else's problem, and certainly for the police and the MHA, it will remain a pressing problem," he added.
This article was published on April 15 in The New Paper.
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