Forum: Public works contractors that put public safety at risk should face severe penalties

It is puzzling that the Sewerage and Drainage Act provides only for fines of up to $50,000 for works affecting the storm-water drainage system, and up to $20,000 for unauthorised alteration of the system (Construction firm Samwoh to face action over Pasir Ris flood, Sept 12).

The flash flood in Pasir Ris last month disrupted people's lives and damaged property. Thirteen vehicles were partially submerged and several motorists needed help to leave their vehicles. One person was taken to hospital.

PUB confirmed that the drainage system in the flooded areas was more than adequate to cope with the rainfall intensity on that day.

It was reported that construction company Samwoh did not seek approval for the drainage diversion and the subsequent unauthorised works.

Nowadays, it is quite common to see public road works carrying on even during weekends. Motorists and pedestrians have to put up with the traffic jams, noise and dust for the betterment of society.

Public works contractors should not endanger people's lives and risk damage to their property.

Such disregard for public safety should be punished with more severe penalties. A fine in the range provided by the Act will be a mere slap on the wrist and may not deter future infringement. Repeat violators should be barred from bidding for public projects.

Public safety must not be sacrificed.

Foo Sing Kheng