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Little India riot's Committee of Inquiry hearing sees low turnout on opening day

Published on Feb 19, 2014 10:13 AM
A riot involving almost 400 people broke out in Little India along Race Course Road on Dec 8, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The Little India riot on Dec 8 may have gripped the nation, but public turnout for the first day of its Committee of Inquiry (COI) hearing appears low.

Some 10 minutes before the hearing is due to commence at 10am, the majority of the audience at the 40-seat public gallery at Court 13 of the Subordinate Courts comprised members of the media, as well as civil servants. More than 10 seats remain empty.

This, despite a queue set up outside the courtroom in the anticipation of a much bigger turnout for the hearing. Singapore's worst case of public order disturbance in more than four decades erupted after a private BT&Tan bus ran over 33-year-old construction worker, Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu.

The COI will last six weeks and involve 117 witnesses, including bus driver Lee Kim Huat and timekeeper Wong Geck Woon. It will also look at whether current measures are adequate in places where foreign workers congregate.