Friday 13 December 2013

Authorities introduce cooling-off measures following Little India Riot

Alcohol ban will cover hundreds of businesses
Move to calm and stabilise the situation in Little India
By Royston Sim, The Straits Times, 13 Dec 2013

THE alcohol ban in Little India this weekend will cover 374 establishments over a large part of the Serangoon Road area.

The affected area is as large as Gardens By The Bay, and includes the popular City Square Mall and Mustafa Centre, as well as hotels, pubs, numerous eateries, coffee shops, liquor shops and 24-hour convenience stores.

Nobody is allowed to sell or consume alcohol in the roughly 1.1 sq km zone which has been declared a "proclaimed area" under the Public Order (Preservation) Act for the weekend.

This means anyone who is drunk or disorderly in the area can be arrested for being a public nuisance, said Deputy Commissioner of Police T. Raja Kumar.

"If the person is completely drunk and rowdy, police may take action to arrest the person," he said.

"But some may not have realised it because the news of the ban hasn't percolated down to the last person. Our officers will tell them, if you are cooperative and throw away the alcohol or walk out of the area, that is fine."

In a joint statement, the police, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Land Transport Authority (LTA) highlighted the need "to calm and stabilise the situation" following last Sunday night's riot.

"This will also allow police to assess the next steps in consultation with the various stakeholders for a more permanent intervention to ensure that a repeat of last Sunday's riot does not occur, and to restore the sense of safety and security for residents, shopkeepers, visitors and other stakeholders in the area," it said.

The riot, sparked by a traffic accident that killed a 33-year-old Indian national, left 39 Home Team officers injured and 25 police and Singapore Civil Defence Force vehicles damaged. Some of the 400 rioters were said to have been drunk at the time.

Yesterday, four more Indian nationals were charged in court, bringing the total facing charges for the incident to 31.

The message ringing out loud and clear yesterday was that foreign workers should keep away from Little India this weekend.

The LTA has suspended 25 private bus services this Sunday that would normally have ferried thousands of men to Little India, where they usually spend their days off.

It will put public buses and trains on standby in case additional capacity is needed.

MOM urged major operators of foreign workers' dormitories to provide more recreational activities to keep the men within their living quarters.

"The combined efforts by the authorities are to enable the community to cool off and reflect on what happened," said the joint statement.

Speaking to reporters in Seoul, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this weekend's measures will be just the first step in ensuring order and safety in the area. The Government will look at how transport flow can be made safer and speed up moves to curb the drinking problem in the area.

The police said that in deciding the next steps, they will have to weigh the interests of various groups.

"Even after we have lifted the alcohol ban, there will in most likelihood continue to be certain restrictions on the sale of alcohol, and certain areas where alcohol consumption will not be allowed," the statement said.

Understandably, affected establishments were unhappy. "We wait all week just to get the weekend crowd. The ban will hit our businesses hard," said Mr Ajay Maddila, director of Zsofi Tapas Bar in Dunlop Street.

Businessman Loo Aik Seng, 53, a resident for 32 years, called the suspension of bus services a pity. "There is nowhere else in Singapore for the workers to mingle and buy their groceries. The businesses here will also be unfairly penalised," he said.

Four-member Committee of Inquiry on Little India riot appointed
By Sara Grosse, Channel NewsAsia, 13 Dec 2013

The four-member Committee of Inquiry (COI) tasked to investigate the reasons behind the riot that broke out at Little India on Sunday evening will start its proceedings as soon as possible.

It will submit its report to the Home Affairs Ministry within six months, even if criminal investigations into the riot have not been completed.

The COI will be headed by former Supreme Court Judge G Pannir Selvam.

Other members of the COI are former police commissioner Tee Tua Ba, former president of the National Trades Union Congress John De Payva and chairman of West Coast Citizens' Consultative Committee Andrew Chua Thiam Chwee.

Measures also have been implemented this weekend to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol in and around Little India.

Speaking to the media on Friday evening, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean said that further measures will be implemented if necessary, even before the COI completes its report.

He said that Singapore had been conducting consultations on the possible implementation of no-alcohol zones and restricting the sales of alcohol in the country even before the recent riot at Little India, and the consultations will continue.

Mr Teo said: “As an example, there has been since October, an ongoing consultation on no-alcohol zones and restricted hours for sales of alcohol.

“This has been ongoing since October, so (it has been) two months already, and this is something which is ongoing. And if we have good findings from this, which are implementable, we will do so, we won't have to wait for the COI.

“And similarly, if there are other issues we need to address, we will do so without waiting for the COI.”

When asked whether the COI will look into the general grievances of foreign workers, Mr Teo said the committee is empowered to look into the factors which had led to the riot.

As for larger issues, he said the government already has an inter-ministerial committee which looks at foreign worker welfare issues.

Responding to media queries, the COI’s chairman G Pannir Selvam said in a statement that he shares the concerns of many who want to know what caused the riot and whether such incidents can be prevented.

He said a comprehensive approach will be taken to consider whether current measures to manage such an incident are adequate.

Mr G Pannir Selvam said: "The Little India riot on December 8 was a grave incident. Frontline officers were injured and public property was damaged.

“More importantly, it impacted the lives of residents in the Little India area and affected the deep sense of safety and security that Singaporeans have always had.

“I share the concerns of many who want to know what caused the riot and whether we can prevent such incidents from happening. We will take a comprehensive approach to establish the factors that led to the riot, and consider whether current measures to manage such incidents are adequate."

On Friday, Mr Teo also weighed in on why Little India was declared a proclaimed area under the Public Order (Preservation) Act this weekend.

He said: "We don't currently have laws that restrict consumption of alcohol and that's one of the reasons why we put in place legal and procedure requirements in order for us to be able to do so in Little India."

The police will be stepping up its presence and deploying more officers at Little India and other areas where foreign workers usually congregate -- such as at the Golden Mile Complex and Geylang -- this weekend.

The officers will include those from the Special Operations Command, and they will be conducting more vehicular and foot patrols in the Little India vicinity to prevent and deter public order incidents from occurring.

Officers will conduct checks on persons seen to be consuming alcohol in public places in Little India, as well as checks on outlets within the affected areas for breaches of the suspension on the sale and consumption of alcohol.

Mr Teo said that police will be reviewing the restrictions in the coming week, which could be eased.

But he added that the priority is on maintaining security while allowing life to proceed as normally as possible.

Mr Teo also said that he has appointed committee members who are experienced with the law, understand security requirements, and are familiar with workers' issues and with managing relations between the community and workers.

He said this is to allow the committee to study the issue thoroughly, come to a fair and objective assessment, and make its recommendations.

The COI is to establish the factors and circumstances that led to the riot on December 8, how the riot unfolded, and how the response forces managed the incident.

It will also consider whether current measures to manage such incidents in areas where foreign workers congregate, such as Little India, are adequate, and recommend any further measures to improve their management and reduce the risk of such incidents.

The committee is to conduct itself in accordance with the provisions of the Inquiries Act.

Chairman of the Law and Home Affairs Government Parliamentary Committee Hri Kumar Nair hopes that the facts will shed some light on what happened on the night of December 8.

Mr Nair said: "I think, first and foremost, we need to know what happened. There are a lot of versions and speculations are not helpful.

“So we need to know how the poor gentleman was killed and get to the bottom of that.

Then also find out who was responsible for the actual damage and the actual rioting.

“The pictures show many people milling around the area but not everyone was engaged in criminal behavior, and in fact there were some foreign workers, as we have seen, who persuaded their friends to try not to do anything.

"So obviously there are some who engaged in criminal behaviour and some who were behaving heroically.

“So let's get the facts. Let's see what really happened, who was behaving criminally, who was not, who was behaving heroically because they should be applauded, then take a step back to see how we could have done things differently and how we can do things better going forward."

No clampdown on hiring of foreign workers from South Asia: Tan Chuan-Jin
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia, 13 Dec 2013

Singapore's Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has said there is no clampdown on the hiring of foreign workers from South Asia.

Mr Tan noted that this has been a concern raised by several workers during dialogue and outreach sessions in the aftermath of the Little India riot on December 8.

He also said investigations so far show that those involved in the riot were not facing any employment disputes.

Mr Tan was replying to questions from Channel NewsAsia during an interview with the local media.

He said many workers from South Asia working in Singapore have denounced the riot. Mr Tan said he has received this feedback during recent outreach sessions.

Mr Tan explained: "Certainly the riot is very serious, something that shouldn't be taken lightly, but I don't believe that we should generalise and therefore label all South Asian foreign workers as being of the same ilk. It doesn't represent that at all.

"Many of them denounce the actions, many of them are shocked at what happened, and this is not an action that represents the community. I think it would be wrong for us to conclude that, and it would be inappropriate for us as a nation to look at it that way."

Mr Tan said South Asian workers have contributed significantly to Singapore and have "made a difference to our lives" in their own ways.

"In very meaningful ways, they are earning a living, working hard, and they are very much part of our community even though they are foreigners," he added. 

Mr Tan shared some perceptions foreign workers have about working in Singapore.

Recent surveys conducted by the Manpower Ministry among foreign workers showed that the workers are happy with their working conditions in the country.

Mr Tan cited a survey conducted in 2011 among 3,500 foreign workers, comprising 3,000 work permit holders and 500 S Pass holders.

He noted that nine out of 10 were "relatively contented" with their life in Singapore, and seven out of 10 would recommend to their family and friends to come and work in Singapore.

About 80 per cent of them want to continue working in Singapore.

Mr Tan said even from his conversations with foreign workers, he has noted that by and large, many of them are comfortable with things in Singapore.

Turning to disputes involving foreign workers, Mr Tan said that the Manpower Ministry has dealt with about 3,700 complaints this year, a small percentage of the nearly 950,000 to 970,000 work permit holders employed in Singapore.

He said that there had been some extreme views posted online after the riot, which could have serious impact on the people involved and their families.

But he was also encouraged by more rational views that have been emerging.

Mr Tan said: "For example, the allegations that people were killed, policemen were killed. Can you imagine the impact on the families, children whose fathers or mothers may be on the line and the number of hours of anxiety that you have just created because you deliberately created false news?

"Or, allegations of certain groups of people doing certain create a lot of hate and anger from others...That's where we need to come in and have a balance of voices.

"So you see the negative elements. But what has been encouraging is that you see the positive side (too). A lot of Singaporeans are beginning to speak up and say, 'let's hold the ground, and let's not generalise and say all foreign workers are like that', because the majority of foreign workers are not like that at all."

Shanmugam rejects foreign media allegations
By Amelia Teng And Priscilla Goy, The Straits Times, 13 Dec 2013

LAW Minister K. Shanmugam yesterday fended off allegations in foreign media reports that claimed Sunday's riot in Little India happened because foreign workers here were not satisfied with their work conditions.

"I'm not saying you can't say it, but I think I'd like to see some evidence to back up a fairly substantive statement," he said.

"It's a classic case of first deciding on what a sexy outline is and then writing a story without regard to the facts."

Mr Shanmugam, who is also Foreign Minister, was speaking to reporters before a dialogue with a group of foreign workers at Simpang Lodge 1 dormitory in Yishun. Joining him in the visit were Nominated MP R. Dhinakaran, and unionists M. Ramasamy and G. Muthukumar.

Turning to the Government's decision to ban the consumption and sale of alcohol in Little India this weekend, he said: "We want to go the extra mile to make sure that everything is completely locked down and safe. Primarily, because... of the possibility of copycat acts.

"So you take no chances. So you do much more than is necessary and if you're a resident in the area, you'll welcome it, and if you're outside, you'll understand why, because this is really to protect the area, to protect the residents, so people will understand, I think."

Separately, Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah continued to urge the Ministry of Home Affairs to implement no-alcohol zones in public spaces such as bridges and walkways at nightspots - in the light of this weekend's ban in Little India. When asked if the temporary alcohol ban this weekend at Little India should be extended to other areas such as Robertson Quay, she said: "It's tempting I think for people to draw parallels but they're not quite exact."

The Tanjong Pagar GRC MP has been pushing for no-alcohol zones in her constituency, which includes Robertson Quay, since 2011. She added that alcohol activity there leads to primarily "social disamenities" like "peeing in the river, barfing on the sidewalk, having a lot of noise... and littering, which clogs up the walkways and makes it difficult for residents and hotel guests to walk".

What happened in Little India is "slightly different", she said, as it is a "law and order issue".

This weekend's temporary ban there is to stabilise the situation, and give the police some time to work out a longer-term view of what to do there, she added.

But she noted that preliminary indications showed that alcohol contributed to the violence. "Wherever you have alcohol, there is potential for emotions and reactions to be inflamed."

Govt looking at more measures to ensure order
Interim safety arrangements will be in place in Little India till then, says PM
By Fiona Chan, The Straits Times, 13 Dec 2013

THE ban on alcohol sales and consumption in Little India this weekend is just the first step, as the Government seeks to ensure order and safety there following Sunday's riot.

Further measures include looking at how the transport flow can be made safer, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

Moves to curb the drinking problem in the area - which were already being discussed before the riot - will also be sped up, he added.

These could include a prohibition on alcohol consumption in common areas such as void decks and pavements, as reported in The Straits Times on Monday.

"Serangoon Road is crowded every weekend and we want to make sure that everything is orderly and safe this weekend and thereafter," PM Lee told Singapore reporters in Seoul, where he was on an official visit.

"We've decided this weekend, no alcohol, and thereafter we'll work out some interim arrangements... until such time as we can come to firmer conclusions and make some more permanent arrangements."

Given how rare such events are in Singapore, Mr Lee also noted that there has been "a lot of" international interest in the riot, including from investors.

Korean business leaders he met during his trip to Seoul had expressed surprise at the riot and asked how the authorities planned to proceed.

The Government must hence respond properly, and Singaporeans also have to react in a measured and responsible manner, he said.

Though understandably shocked, Singaporeans have generally reacted calmly, he added, and those who witnessed the incident have also been forthcoming in providing evidence.

Mr Lee called for continued restraint.

"Whether online or anywhere else, we have to exercise some restraint," said the PM.

"The anxiety and the alarm is quite understandable, but if we express ourselves in unrestrained, unreserved terms and sometimes xenophobic terms... I don't think that is helpful."

Investigations into the riot - which was sparked by a traffic accident and culminated in a 400-strong mob throwing objects at public officers and attacking vehicles - are carrying on well, he added.

The Government hopes to announce "within a day or two" more details on the Committee of Inquiry set up to look into the incident, including its makeup and the terms of reference.

The authorities have to deal with the matter firmly and make clear that rioting is unacceptable, Mr Lee said.

But they must also be fair in their treatment of those who were and were not involved, and allow the law to follow its due process.

So far, 31 Indian nationals have been charged for their involvement in Sunday's melee.

Mr Lee pointed out that most of the over one million foreign workers in Singapore are law-abiding, and their crime rate is lower than that for Singaporeans on average.

Describing the incident as a "localised riot" with specific circumstances, he said those involved will be treated severely, but it would not be fair to tar the rest of the foreign worker population with the same brush.

"The other foreign workers... who are making a living here, who are making a contribution to our economy, who have nothing to do with this, I think it would be quite unfair for Singaporeans to look at them all and say they are a problem, we cannot accept them.

"We need the foreign workers... If we didn't have them, we would not be able to achieve our housing plans, or our public transport plans, and Singaporeans would be severely affected," he said.

"We have to see how we can manage (the foreign workers) better."

Police mark out 1.1 sq km dry zone
By Yeo Sam Jo And Kash Cheong, The Straits Times, 13 Dec 2013

LITTLE India was drawn into a 1.1sq km dry zone yesterday, as the police defined the boundaries for this weekend's ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol.

The zone begins from Selegie, where the famous Rochor Original Beancurd shop is located, and ends in the Serangoon Road area, near the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple. It also spans across the Indian ethnic enclave from Dorset Road to Jalan Besar Road.

At the heart of the dry zone is the junction of Race Course Road and Tekka Lane - the scene of Sunday's riot, which eventually led to the blanket ban on businesses that hold liquor licences. This comes after it was believed that alcohol consumption could have contributed to the violence.

Deputy Commissioner of Police T. Raja Kumar said the demarcation was decided upon after a ground assessment that took into consideration the location of liquor stores, as well as areas popular with foreign workers.

"It would not make sense to confine it along that stretch of Race Course Road given that there are so many (liquor) outlets within a stone's throw of that area," he said.

He was speaking during a joint briefing for the media by the police, Land Transport Authority and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday.

In a statement issued shortly after the briefing, the authorities said the suspension of alcohol sales and consumption is necessary to "calm and stabilise the situation at Little India" after Sunday's riot and to prevent further public-order incidents.

"This will also allow police to assess the next steps in consultation with the various stakeholders for a more permanent intervention to ensure that a repeat of Sunday's riot does not occur," they said. "And to restore the sense of safety and security... in the area."

The police will be deploying officers to conduct enforcement checks on liquor outlets within the dry zone to ensure the ban is complied with.

Business establishments found to be selling alcohol during the suspension period this weekend would have contravened the Customs (Liquors Licensing) Regulations, and would be liable to a fine not exceeding $5,000 on conviction.

"There would also be liquor licensing consequences for errant establishments that sell liquor." the authorities added.

The MOM has been in close touch with dormitory operators and employers' associations, encouraging them to provide more recreational activities for their residents this weekend. "We understand that some of the major dorms are already holding such events for their own residents."

Significance of Little India being declared “proclaimed area"
By Claire Huang, Channel NewsAsia, 14 Dec 2013

Little India has been declared a proclaimed area under the Public Order (Preservation) Act following Sunday evening's riot.

And, as an expert tells Channel NewsAsia, it is perhaps the strongest order the police can use at this time, for such a situation.

Jack Lee, Assistant Professor of Law at Singapore Management University, said: "Well, it gives the police, the authorities, very wide powers to do a number of things within the proclaimed area.

“For example, they are allowed to close off roads, or to restrict the use of certain roads, a curfew can be imposed, and they could even arrest people for committing some kind of crime within the area, or even carrying offensive weapons or materials that could be used in an offensive manner."

The law came into force in Singapore's pre-independence years.

Assistant Professor Lee said: “It was first enacted by the Malaysian parliament in 1958 and it became applicable to Singapore when Singapore became a state in the Federation in 1963, and after independence in 1965, we retained it as one of our pieces of legislation."

He said the law was used twice in 1964, in July and in September, during the race riots.

Following the outbreak of communal violence in July 1964, the Malaysian federal government declared the whole of Singapore as such an area.

This triggered the special powers the police had.

Then in September 1964, there was another outbreak of violence and a second proclamation was made.

Ban must be respected: Indian envoy
By Audrey Tan, The Straits Times, 13 Dec 2013

THE decision by the Singapore Government to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol in Little India this weekend after Sunday's riot must be respected, said India's High Commissioner to Singapore Vijay Thakur Singh.

She said the violence in the Indian enclave was isolated and will not affect close ties between India and Singapore. She said: "The relationship between our peoples and two countries is very strong, and that relationship will continue."

Mrs Singh was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a visit to a foreign workers' dormitory in Mandai yesterday evening.

The Indian High Commission, she added, also appreciated Singaporeans' desire to reach out to the family of Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu, who was killed after being run over by a bus in Little India. His death allegedly sparked the violence that has resulted in 31 Indian nationals being charged in court for rioting so far.

"Once the collections and donations (for Mr Sakthivel's family) have come through, we will help transmit them back to India and the family," she said.

India’s Sun TV apologises for erroneous report on Little India riot
TODAY, 12 Dec 2013

Indian news channel Sun TV has apologised for an erroneous report on the Little India riot on Sunday and broadcast the “correct” version, following complaints.

The Tamil-language report was carried in the channel’s 7pm prime time bulletin on Tuesday, which is broadcast in Singapore at 9.30pm, said Mr R Umashankar, Editor In Charge of Sun TV’s News Section, in a letter sent to Mr Roy Kho, Singapore’s Consul-General in Chennai. A copy of the letter was released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) yesterday.

The first report on the riot, aired on Monday, had created a stir among Singaporeans who saw the broadcast. Sun TV’s report had said Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu — the victim of the fatal accident that preceded the riot — had been pushed out of the private bus by the driver and that Singaporeans and Chinese had attacked Indian national Tamils, leading them to hide in their homes for fear of further attacks and harassment by the police.

This prompted a sharp response from the MFA the next day, with Singapore’s High Commissioner to India sending a letter to Sun TV network, saying it has reported three “entirely false” points, which was “irresponsible and brings to question its journalistic integrity”. He refuted the points made and asked for an immediate correction online and on air.

“I would like to put it on record that there was absolutely no intention on our part to do anything that will spoil the centuries-old cordial and friendly relationship among various communities living in Singapore.”

He also added that the second report was given the “same prominence and duration” as the first report.

2-day ban on alcohol sale in Little India
3 more men charged with rioting as police step up security in area
By Lim Yan Liang, The Straits Times, 12 Dec 2013

THERE will be no sale of alcohol in Little India this Saturday and Sunday, the authorities confirmed yesterday, as three more men were charged over Sunday night's riot there.

The blanket ban will apply not only to liquor stores but all establishments, from upscale restaurants and bars to more humble convenience stores and hostels.

Any business that flouts the order risks having its licence revoked, said the Liquors Licensing Board.

The announcement comes as the police move to beef up security in the area ahead of the weekend by installing more closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

Employers have also started warning their workers to stay away from the area temporarily.

The alcohol ban extends from 6am on Saturday to 5.59am on Monday - a change from an earlier circular sent out that said the ban would be effective for three days, starting tomorrow.

While jittery Little India residents voiced support for the alcohol ban, businesses were quick to express unhappiness.

"A blanket ban is ridiculous. The authorities should consider what kind of business we are and the customers we attract," said Ms Petrina Loh, chef-owner of Morsels, a restaurant in Mayo Street with a mainly expatriate and local clientele.

The action comes in the wake of Sunday's riot that saw police cars overturned and set ablaze by a mob of 400 angered by a traffic accident, which left a 33-year- old Indian national dead.

Yesterday, three more men were charged with rioting, with more details emerging about their involvement on Sunday.

Rajendran Ranjan, 22, Moorthy Kabildev, 24, and Sathiyamoorthy Sivaraman, 26, were alleged to have used a metal drain cover, a dustbin and a wooden stick, among other things, to smash the windscreen and window of the private bus that had run over the man who died.

This brings the total number charged to 27 Indian nationals. Eight others were arrested but released after police established that they were not involved. One man has been released on bail.

Meanwhile, employers began advising workers to avoid trouble this weekend by returning to dormitories earlier or giving Little India a miss altogether.

Many workers told The Straits Times they planned to avoid the place at least for the time being.

Police had said on Tuesday that investigations into the riot were ongoing, with some 3,700 foreign workers interviewed at more than 10 dormitories across the island.

Of these, at least 176 have had their statements taken at the Criminal Investigation Department.

Since Tuesday, police have also started installing 26 more CCTV cameras in the vicinity of Race Course Road and Buffalo Road.

Law Minister K. Shanmugam told about 40 Indian national workers at a dialogue yesterday night that the incident has affected Singapore deeply.

But he assured them that foreign workers who abide by Singapore's laws have no reason to be worried about their jobs, and that Singapore remains steadfast in its commitment to treating them well.

Foreign worker dormitories entice residents to stay in
By Sara Grosse, Channel NewsAsia, 11 Dec 2013

Following the announcement of the alcohol ban in Little India this weekend, some dormitories for foreign workers are planning extra activities to encourage their residents to stay in on their day off.

Outdoor movie screenings are usually shown at the Westlite dormitory in Mandai Estate twice a week. The dormitory plans to have such an activity for its residents as an alternative to them going to Little India.

"Based on the incidents of last weekend, we believe that as a dormitory operator we should actually encourage them to avoid going there. So we should create more activities on the weekend to attract them to stay back on the weekend," said Westlite Dormitory chief operating officer Kelvin Teo.

The dormitory plans to host basketball or volleyball competitions this weekend -- something they usually do quarterly but not on Sundays.

Operators say that on average about 70 per cent of their residents leave the premises on their day off, either to run errands or for leisure, though they expect that more will stay in this weekend.

Mr Teo, who is also the President of the Dormitory Association of Singapore, manages three dormitories. He said the police have told him that so far, none of his residents were involved in the riot.

The dormitory is also working with the Migrant Workers Centre to hold an event at its premises this weekend which could involve performances and games.

The Dormitory Association of Singapore has also sent an advisory to its members to be extra vigilant following Sunday's riot in Little India. Members of the association make up about 80 per cent of local dormitories in Singapore.

"We have stepped up security. We have asked our senior staff and our emergency response team -- those who are involved -- to be on the alert. We have also asked the workers to go about their business as per normal," said Dormitory Association of Singapore Secretary General Simon Lee.

After a meeting with the Ministry of Manpower, the Singapore Contractors Association has also sent out a circular to its members to urge them to talk to their workers about the riot.

Straits Construction, a construction company, says it briefed its workers on the legal consequences of the riot.

"We show them the newspaper report and things like that, and advise them that this is not accepted in Singapore and if they are caught doing that, then they'll be subjected to our local law," said executive director Kenneth Loo.

Straits Construction also educates new workers on Singapore laws as well as the health effects of alcoholism.

The Manpower Ministry says it undertakes outreach efforts to educate foreign workers on their responsibilities and social norms. It has not received any news that work sites were disrupted due to the riot.

As for the labour movement, it says it has reached out to workers immediately after the incident to reinforce the view that the actions of a small group do not reflect the views of the majority of foreign workers.

“In fact, the local workers and foreign workers all these years have always been working in harmony, living peacefully together, (and) I think that must continue."

To celebrate International Migrants Day on Sunday, Transient Workers Count 2 will be holding a carnival while the Migrant Workers Centre is holding an event at SCAL Recreation Centre to mark the occasion.

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