Good neighbourliness key to managing community disputes: Survey

Children enjoying the playground facilities at Dawson Estate in Queenstown. -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO
Children enjoying the playground facilities at Dawson Estate in Queenstown. -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - There was a "strong consensus" on the need to cultivate good neighbourliness among nearly 100 respondents in a public consultation, said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth on Thursday.

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; as well as involving neighbourhood committees to help residents move into their new homes.

Respondents in the six-week-long consultation on managing community disputes largely support informal mediation by grassroots leaders and formal mediation by the Community Mediation Centre to help resolve disputes, the ministry said. But a few said the latter was not always effective, especially as parties could decline to show up, and 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.

In view of the feedback received, the Government will focus on strengthening public education efforts to promote good neighbourliness and improve frontline responses for community disputes, it said. Grassroots leaders will receive specialised training to help them mediate disputes, and the Community Mediation Centre will also increase its capacity and ability to help disputing residents reach amicable outcomes.

The Government will also further study the proposed mechanism for the adjudication of difficult cases and work with frontline agencies to strengthen enforcement efforts against repeated anti-social behaviours, the ministry added.

A summary of the responses from the public consultation can be found on