Little India Riot COI: 'People who stay there feel uncomfortable'

Little India Riot COI: 'People who stay there feel uncomfortable'
Tekka Residents' Committee chairman Martin Pereira.

LITTLE INDIA RIOT INQUIRY

Living in Little India can be a challenge.

That was what the Committee of Inquiry (COI) into the Dec 8 riot there was told on Tuesday.

A litany of problems, like prostitution, alcoholism and the loss of privacy plague the residents there, said Tekka Residents' Committee (RC) chairman Martin Pereira, 44.

He spoke on behalf of the 10 residential blocks, consisting of about 900 households in Little India, next to where the riot happened last year.

The root cause of the complaints all boiled down to one fact: foreign workers love to congregate at public areas of residential estates there every Sunday.

Residents have told him that these areas - staircases, void decks and playgrounds - are heavily utilised by foreign workers on the weekends.

This deprives them of the facilities, which are maintained by the town council with fees paid by residents. "How is that fair?" Mr Pereira asked.

He said: "You have a hive of activity when you allow congregation below the void decks and that is what the residents find totally unacceptable."

PROSTITUTION

They are not "normal ladies", said Mr Pereira of the women who accost foreign workers at the void deck, offering their services.

These were observations made by his RC members, he testified to the COI. Male prostitutes also wander around the void decks.

In Klang Lane, for example, male prostitutes and transvestites would engage in "activities" with foreign workers at public staircases. These staircases are blocked by doors which anyone can access. These doors function as a fire prevention measure, Mr Pereira said.

"It's something which is not very nice," he said.

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