Little India riot: Details of inquiry panel by end of this week

Little India riot: Details of inquiry panel by end of this week
DPM Teo having lunch on Tuesday with Special Operations Command officers who were deployed on Sunday. He expressed his appreciation to them for restoring order promptly and without major injuries.

SINGAPORE - Details of the Committee of Inquiry convened to look into the cause of Sunday's riot in Little India will be ready by the end of the week, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday.

"We will have names and the terms of reference ready," he said in a statement.

"This will provide a more in-depth look into this incident and also review the current procedures we have for places where foreign workers congregate and see whether there are improvements that are needed."

On Sunday, about 400 people rioted, overturning police cars and setting fire to them and an ambulance, after a foreign worker was run over by a bus at the junction of Race Course Road and Tekka Lane. The committee was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday.

DPM Teo issued a statement after he and Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli had lunch on Tuesday with police officers from the Special Operations Command who were deployed in Sunday's incident.

DPM Teo, who is also Minister for Home Affairs and Coordinating Minister for National Security, expressed his appreciation to the Home Team officers for restoring order promptly and without major injuries to any of the parties involved.

Following the visit to Queensway Base, he said that besides the alcohol ban in Little India, police presence has been stepped up in foreign worker dormitories and places where workers congregate "so that life can go on as normally as possible and everyone has a feeling of security".

Law and Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam also said on Tuesday that the full force of justice has to be meted out.

"Many Singaporeans, like-minded Singaporeans, recognise that we do need these several hundred thousand foreign workers here to build our flats, roads, MRT stations and so on. At the same time, Singaporeans want our society to be peaceful, structured, orderly. We don't want any kind of violence... We need a framework of rules, structures, enforcements, to reduce (violence) to the minimum," he added.

Speaking to the media at an event where he signed a condolence book for the late Mr Nelson Mandela, he stressed that there was nothing to suggest that the workers involved in the incident were angry with either their employers or the Government.

He said the majority of Singaporeans would want the workers to be treated in a humane way.

"They recognise that many of them are good people, they are here to earn a living. But we must make sure that the minority don't create trouble."

The National Solidarity Party also issued a statement saying, "Whatever their grievances, the rioters' actions broke the law and the rule of law must be respected by all, Singaporeans or not".

"The party commends the manner in which the police, auxiliary and civil defence officers acted quickly and decisively to restore order on our streets," it added. "We wish speedy recovery for our 39 officers who were injured in the course of their duty."

joseow@sph.com.sg


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