Little India riot: Crowding, alcohol are ongoing issues being tackled

Little India riot: Crowding, alcohol are ongoing issues being tackled
Mr Iswaran and Mr Lui talking to the media after visiting shop owners along Race Course Road, Chander Road and Kerbau Road.

SINGAPORE - Even before Sunday night's riot in Little India, overcrowding and alcohol consumption in the area by foreign workers were in the authorities' sights, two ministers have said.

Measures have been taken over the years to manage crowds of foreign workers, Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran told reporters on Monday evening.

These include patrols by auxiliary police officers, police deployment, and engagement both at the community level and with operators of worker dormitories.

Transportation arrangements were also made so foreign workers "can come in and leave without creating much disruption", added Mr Iswaran.

"So a series of measures have been taken on a whole-of-government basis."

The authorities will have to assess what more can be done. In this, he said, they will be informed by findings of the Committee of Inquiry into the incident.

He was speaking to the media after visiting shop owners along Race Course Road, Chander Road and Kerbau Road, together with Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew.

These included the bosses of several shops selling hard liquor - an issue Mr Lui has long hoped to tackle.

"I have always expressed, on behalf of the residents, that we think there is proliferation of alcohol licences," he said.

He has been pushing for tighter alcohol rules there along with fellow Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Denise Phua. He noted that a Ministry of Home Affairs consultation on this issue had begun before Sunday.

"We have given our views. We look forward to fewer licences, we look forward to stricter guidelines on where alcohol can be consumed and the hours that people can consume alcohol," he said.

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