MP vows to clean up rowdy Geylang

MP vows to clean up rowdy Geylang

Hundreds of hours of talk with little action from the authorities has left Marine Parade GRC Member of Parliament Fatimah Lateef frustrated.

But she has vowed to forge ahead and improve conditions in the rowdy red-light district - despite the red tape.

In a personal Facebook post on Monday, the MP wrote that there is still no "concrete action plan", despite the time and effort spent to deal with the situation in Geylang.

The lengthy, strongly worded post highlighted "for the first time" her efforts to clean up the area, since she entered politics in 2006.

Associate Professor Fatimah said she patrols Geylang "at least twice a week or more if required" to sort out and resolve "many issues".

She has also been working with residents, grassroots volunteers and agencies like the Ministry of Manpower, Land Transport Authority and police.

Among the problems she "regularly" deals with: The high human traffic, littering, parking and safety issues. But she is frustrated by the lack of a definitive plan.

"As an action-oriented person who expects results, I have indeed waited very long for the higher authorities to effect the change I, my grassroots leaders and my residents want to see.

"Hundreds of hours (maybe more) of meeting police, anti-vice, agencies (multiple) and yet I am still waiting for their CONCRETE action plan (sic)."

She continued: "I have been waiting... Not just waiting but, waiting and DOING a lot of things within my capabilities as one person, one MP, one woman.

"I am still waiting for the relevant authorities to ACT in a major way, in a major cleanup... eight years of efforts and small positive changes already effected cannot go to waste and my perseverance will not dwindle (sic)."

Geylang was in the spotlight after Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee said last week that he was more worried about the area than Little India, where a riot involving foreign workers took place last December.

Political observers who saw Prof Fatimah's post noted she sounded exasperated because of a lack of a concerted plan of action to manage the various issues that have long plagued Geylang.

Singapore Management University associate law professor Eugene Tan said: "The remarks by the police commissioner last week may have given the impression that she, as the MP, has not done enough to raise crime-control issues in Parliament and to the relevant agencies."

A police spokesman said they are aware of Prof Fatimah's concerns and have been working together to curb illegal activities and offences in the area.

In her post, Prof Fatimah said she will not be giving up.

"I will do what I have to do as the people's rep, even if it takes a long time... I have the stamina."

This article by The New Paper was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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