More to be done to help residents settle community disputes

A framework to settle community disputes is needed, as current laws do not deal with the issue, and residents do not have an alternative when such issues arise.

There is a need to set up a system to settle disagreements between neighbours, Law Minister K. Shanmugam reiterated yesterday.

"In Singapore, 80 per cent of the population live in public housing, and the day-to-day living with neighbours is throwing up a lot of issues," said Mr Shanmugam, who is also Minister for Foreign Affairs.

As community disputes are usually not criminal in nature, the police are often unable to step in to resolve the issue, explained Mr Shanmugam, who was speaking on the sidelines of a community event at The Jelutung Hardcourt at Sembawang Crescent.

Similarly, the Housing Board is unable to do much unless one party is creating a nuisance in the neighbourhood, he said.

Last Friday, he revealed in Parliament that the Government is looking into solutions to allow neighbours to settle their disputes through legal avenues. This will require the Government to evaluate current laws, and decide how they may be applied to help neighbours resolve disagreements.