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The fishball stick-ing point and the new Municipal Services Office

At the National Day Rally on Sunday (Aug 17), the Prime Minister announced a Municipal Services Office to coordinate the work of various Government agencies to better serve residents. And to illustrate the need for such an agency, he related a story about a discarded fishball stick.  

SINGAPORE: A complaint by one of her residents led South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling to discover the difficulty of bridging certain inter-agency boundaries. The resident claimed that the walkway towards Bukit Gombak station was often dirty, adding that a discarded fishball stick remained uncleared for two consecutive days.

The mayor said that despite the size of the area, it took several calls to different government agencies to establish what happened, and to finally resolve the issue, as the area was managed by the National Environment Agency, the National Parks Board and the Land Transport Authority. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared this story at the National Day Rally on Sunday (Aug 17), and said it illustrated the need for a Municipal Services Office (MSO). 

"The setting up of the MSO is a very timely move, because it will address the need for a common platform to bridge inter-agency boundaries in a very integrated manner. And I welcome the move in setting up of the MSO, which I hope will also address areas which fall into the gap of 'every man's island, but no agency's responsibility'," said Ms Low.

"There will be areas where responsibility overlaps across different Government agencies, so the role of the MSO will be very critical. And I think moving forward with the formation of the MSO, we look forward to better coordination, quicker response and improved ability to provide sustainable solutions for residents," she continued.

Residents Channel NewsAsia spoke to said they hope that there would be better coordination amongst Government agencies when responsibilities are split.

"There might be too many complications and too much repeated work," said one. "It's a good thing that they are coming up with all these kinds of measures to keep the place clean, but it would be better if they take care of other areas," said another.

Meantime, the fishball stick story had people abuzz on social media, but for a different reason. Many asked why the resident did not simply discard the fishball stick himself, instead of just complaining about it to the authorities. 

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