Ministers to speak on riot, foreign worker management in Parliament on Monday

Two ministers will deliver statements in Parliament on Monday on issues related to the riot in Little India.

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean will speak on the Dec 8 riot involving several hundred foreign workers, and Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin on foreign worker management.

They are expected to deal with the 36 questions tabled by 19 MPs on the riot. The questions span the process to repatriate foreign workers and restrictions on alcohol sale and consumption, to security management at worker dormitories and efforts to assimilate the workers, and ensure they have proper housing and space for social activities and recreation.

Mr Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC), a member of the Government Parliament Committee for Home Affairs and Law, will ask what investigations have revealed about the cause of the riot and about the evidence relied upon to issue police advisories and repatriation orders to workers.

Nominated MP Laurence Lien wants to know whether the Ministry of Home Affairs will put in place "a more transparent and objective process in deeming immigrants undesirable and cancelling their entry permit".

Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) is questioning the policing arrangements in Little India, while Mr Alex Yam (Chua Chu Kang GRC) wants to know about safety measures for Singapore Civil Defence Force rescuers.

Mr Yam, who has several worker dormitories in his ward, also wants to know if further security measures have been taken in these places and at areas with a high volume of migrant workers.

On foreign workers congregating when they are off work, Ms Tin Pei Ling (Marine Parade GRC) and Nominated MP Teo Siong Seng are asking if their rest days could be staggered on different days of the week, to ease the crowds at certain areas.

Several MPs such as Ms Denise Phua (Moulmein-Kallang GRC) will ask about restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol, which has been seen as a contributory factor in the riot.

Besides the riot, MPs have also submitted questions on traffic conditions on the newly-opened Marina Coastal Expressway, which saw major jams initially, and the move to exempt businesses from having to check the Do Not Call Registry when sending SMS and fax messages to existing customers.

Seven new Bills are due to be introduced, on such issues as public order, tourism, public health and air navigation. Mr David Ong (Jurong GRC) will also make an adjournment motion to give him more time to speak on employment and the employability of seniors.

chinlian@sph.com.sg