We refer to Mr Andrew Soo's letter, "Handle feedback on fire hazards promptly" (Aug 19).
We are saddened by the recent case of an unfortunate flat fire in Jurong East and extend our condolences to the friends and family of the resident who lost his life.
Mr Soo has correctly characterised hoarding as a stubborn issue which is difficult to resolve. A Hoarding Management Core Group, led by the Municipal Services Office and comprising government agencies such as the Housing Board (HDB), the Singapore Civil Defence Force, the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the People's Association and the Agency for Integrated Care, was set up in 2014, and adopts a multi-pronged approach through persuasion, education, enforcement, and other social interventions to address the issue of hoarding holistically.
In this particular case, once the feedback was received, HDB and the Jurong-Clementi Town Council responded by making contact, and continuously engaged the members of the household on the decluttering of the flat and common corridor, although the progress was challenging.
We have been reviewing the levers and powers available to agencies to effect decluttering more promptly, to mitigate risks that hoarders cause to themselves and others.
In the meantime, we will continue to work closely with agencies and town councils to step up enforcement on cluttered corridors and enhance the management of hoarding cases. We also seek residents' cooperation to work with us in keeping corridors clutter-free, for the safety and security of our community.
Senior Director, Service Quality and Community Engagement
Municipal Services Office
Ministry of National Development