A new law to keep the peace in Little India will take effect from Tuesday, replacing existing measures invoked on a weekly basis since the Dec 8 riot last year.
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Here is the statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs:
On 1 April 2014, the Public Order (Additional Temporary Measures) Act will come into force. The Act will enable the relevant government agencies to continue to take calibrated security, traffic management and alcohol restriction measures to maintain public order in Little India. The Act is a temporary provision and will expire on 31 March 2015.
The Public Order (Additional Temporary Measures) Act will come into force on 1 April 2014 to allow the Police to continue to take calibrated measures to maintain public order in Little India. Parliament passed this legislation on 18 February 2014.
With the Public Order (Additional Temporary Measures) Act in place, it will no longer be necessary for the Government to invoke the Public Order (Preservation) Act to proclaim Little India as an area in a state of danger to public order during weekends, public holidays and their eves, which had been done since 8 December 2013. This means that the wide-ranging powers under the Public Order (Preservation) Act will no longer apply to Little India henceforth.
The Public Order (Additional Temporary Measures) Act will provide for a limited and focused set of powers to support the current security, traffic management, and alcohol restriction measures in Little India. There will be no changes to the current restrictions against the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol in Little India. The measures will continue to apply as they do now. The Act will apply to the same area in Little India previously proclaimed under the Public Order (Preservation) Act. This designated area will be termed a "special zone".
To ensure that public activities that take place in Little India do not disrupt public order, the exemption accorded to indoor meetings under the Public Order (Exempt Assemblies and Processions) Order will be lifted from 1 April 2014. Organisers wishing to hold such indoor meetings in the "special zone" would be required to apply for a Police permit.
These measures will be limited temporally and geographically. They will be valid for a period of 12 months starting from 1 April 2014. Hence both the Public Order (Additional Temporary Measures) Act and the permit requirements for indoor meetings within the "special zone" that is covered under the Public Order (Exempt Assemblies and Processions) Order will expire on 31 March 2015. This will provide sufficient time for the Ministry of Home Affairs and other agencies to deliberate on and implement longer-term measures, taking into account the findings and recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry into the riot, and the review of the liquor licensing regime.