More power to tackle nuisances

More power to tackle nuisances

SINGAPORE - The police may soon get more teeth to deal with rowdy residents or those who burn joss paper indiscriminately.

The Government is looking at changes to legislation, such as the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, to deal with such public nuisances, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said in Parliament yesterday.

He was responding to Mr Vikram Nair (Sembawang GRC), who had asked if the authorities were considering changing the legal framework to deal with residents who, for instance, make excessive noise at void decks.

Mr Wong said: "Our key thrust is on public education and mediation, but we recognise that there are cases which do require rules and penalties."

Mr Nair had pointed out that the authorities are now unable to do much about inconsiderate residents, as there are no clear rules on what are acceptable levels for various public nuisances, and what penalties may be meted out.

Every year, government agencies receive more than 70,000 complaints about noise - residents' top peeve. Other common grouses include verbal abuse and how common corridors are used.

Mr Nair, a lawyer, said the rules could be developed as part of the public consultation exercise on a new community dispute resolution framework.

This framework could see the setting up of a new tribunal in the second half of the year. Under the tribunal, a judge will hear the cases and have the power to issue orders. Those who refuse to abide by the orders may be prosecuted.

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