Outspoken critic of littering to take over as NEA chairman

Outspoken critic of littering to take over as NEA chairman

The National Environment Agency (NEA) will have an outspoken critic of littering as its next chairman from next month, when Mr Liak Teng Lit takes over from Ms Chew Gek Khim.

Mr Liak is currently group chief executive of the Alexandra Health System, which includes Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, the upcoming Yishun Community Hospital, and future Admiralty Medical Centre and Woodlands Integrated Healthcare Campus.

He is also chairman of the Public Hygiene Council, and led the launch of the Keep Singapore Clean Movement in 2012.

Mr Liak told The Straits Times that he looks forward to working more closely with the agency and the community to keep Singapore clean.

He said Singapore's litter problems are due to a lack of social graces, not insufficient infrastructure: "Infrastructure-wise, we are very good. What is disappointing is our lack of social graces. I hope we can work more closely with the community and industry on Singapore's cleanliness."

Mr Liak had said last month that he felt Singapore had become "reluctant to do the bad thing" when it came to littering. He was referring to enforcement, including the issuing of fines and corrective work orders.

Ms Chew has been NEA's chairman since 2008. Under her leadership, the agency set up the Department of Public Cleanliness in 2012 to consolidate the cleaning of public areas, which was previously managed by multiple agencies. This allowed NEA to plug gaps across the agencies, to better keep the island clean.

Building on her strong links with industry, she galvanised firms to work with NEA to minimise waste and recycle more.

Mr Choi Shing Kwok, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, said: "We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to Ms Chew. She has guided the organisation well and NEA has benefited greatly from her insights and perspectives."


This article was first published on March 20, 2015.
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