Public feedback shows good neighbourliness key to managing community disputes

Public feedback shows good neighbourliness key to managing community disputes
File photo.

SINGAPORE - Suggestions to promote good neighbourly ties include having mobile hawker centres and shopping opportunities - in the form, for example, of food stalls and shops on pushcarts - close to where people live; as well as involving neighbourhood committees to help residents move into their new homes.

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Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth statement:

1. Close to 100 responses were received during the six-week long public consultation exercise on the proposed Community Dispute Management Framework.

2. The public consultation was conducted from 9 March to 21 April 2014. Members of the public were consulted on the four key themes:
i) Encourage good neighbourliness and considerate behaviour
ii) Role of the Government in improving the management of community disputes
iii) Access to effective mediation in the community
iv) Adjudication to resolve difficult disputes only where mediation has failed

3. There was a strong consensus about the need to cultivate good neighbourliness, bring back the 'kampong spirit', and to step up public education efforts. Some ideas the public proposed for promoting good neighbourliness included:
i. Having mobile hawker centres and mobile shopping opportunities close to where people live for residents to mingle with one another;
ii. Involving neighbourhood committees to help residents move into their new homes so as to initiate good relations and conversations on neighbourhood norms;
iii. Publicising positive examples of neighbourliness by having neighbourhood-based initiatives to collect and share stories through notice boards in the neighbourhood; and
iv. Having a "Happy Neighbour's Day" for neighbours to unite to do kind deeds and host community events.

4. Respondents were largely supportive of informal mediation by grassroots leaders and formal mediation by the Community Mediation Centre to help resolve disputes. However, a few said that formal mediation was not always effective, especially since parties could decline to show up or expressed concern that mandatory mediation may be abused by vindictive neighbours. There was strong support for adjudication by a tribunal as a last resort, when all other efforts had failed. A number of respondents also called for government agencies to enforce rules against repeated anti-social behaviour by neighbours.

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