'We have to be sensitive to owners' needs'

'We have to be sensitive to owners' needs'
(From left) SLA collectors Tan Ming Boon, 27, Nelson Liew, 35, and Leow Siew Jin, 27, in Pearls Centre.

SINGAPORE - A civl engineer by training, Mr Nelson Liew did not imagine his job as collector would eventually mean being a "one-stop shop" for land owners affected by acquisition.

As a collector, the 35-year-old makes sure the voices of these owners are heard, especially when it comes to matters of compensation and relocation.

Take the recent case of Pearls Centre, which the Government wanted back for the Thomson Line.

Collectors were put on standby 24 hours a day in the first week of the announcement in August last year, in case owners called them with questions.

"Acquisition is never easy on the owners. We have to be sensitive to their needs and emotions," said Mr Liew, who has been a collector for 10 years.

Collectors today take a softer approach in their work.

Whereas owners in the past would be notified of the acquisition with just a notice on their door, collectors these days must meet them face-to-face to deliver the news.

It also helps that concessions have been given where feasible.

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