'New rules' being worked out for Little India: PM Lee

'New rules' being worked out for Little India: PM Lee

First, the alcohol ban to cool things down and get the situation fully back to normal. Then, new rules for Little India.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong indicated the steps his government would take in the aftermath of last weekend's riot, Singapore's first in decades.

"We don't want anything to go wrong this week. So to make absolutely sure... we said no alcohol... and just calm down, cool down and make sure things are back to normal," he told reporters in Tokyo on Saturday. "After that, we can calibrate and establish new rules."

It may take some time to finalise the rules, but he said: "I think we should have interim rules after this week".

Late Saturday night, the police said there were no breaches of the alcohol ban and no incidents reported in Little India.

Mr Lee acknowledged that there is a downside to the timeout. But he added, as assurance to businesses in the area, that "the timeout cannot last forever".

As the authorities tighten restrictions on the influx of foreign workers, Mr Lee said their population needs to be managed and there is an inter-ministerial committee looking into their welfare.

"One of the focuses was to try our best to see how we could speed up the construction of more dorms, so that the workers who are now housed in HDB estates or private properties, which have been rented out, they can be put in proper dorms. Then I think they can be better taken care of and there can be less impact on the community," he said after the Asean-Japan Commemorative Summit.

The summit agreed on the importance of freedom in the skies, in the wake of China announcing a controversial air defence zone. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Asean leaders "agreed to enhance cooperation in ensuring freedom of overflight and civil aviation safety".

The cautious show of support for Tokyo in its bitter row with Beijing came as Japan pledged $20 billion in aid and grants for the region.


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