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To decentralise worker crowds, improve amenities at dorms: Little India COI

Congregation areas such as Little India are desirable to maintain, but size and density of crowds should be addressed, recommends Committee of Inquiry.

SINGAPORE: To ease the congestion at areas where foreign workers congregate, there is a need to make more services and amenities available beyond established congregation areas, such as Little India, and preferably at their dorms, the Committee of Inquiry (COI) into the Little India riot recommended.

“Little India and other foreign worker congregation areas are social meeting points which the COI sees as desirable to maintain,” it said in its report, released on Monday (June 30). “However, it may be possible to reduce the size and density of the crowds in these areas by having more locations where the services and amenities workers need to access are available.”

The committee recommended that Government agencies and employers of foreign workers look into bringing in vendors to provide common services, such as remittance and phone card services, to dorms. Dormitory-based shops with reasonably priced items would also reduce the need for workers to head to congregation areas.

Agencies managing congregation areas should also form communication platforms among stakeholders, such as residents and shop owners, to seek regular input on whether measures to decongest the areas should be pursued.

For existing congregation areas, the committee suggested that general infrastructure like toilets and sheltered walkways should be provided, alongside improving security in these places. These measures should also be extended to other congregation areas, especially Geylang, which bears similar challenges and features to Little India, the committee said.

“What the COI recommends is to enhance the security of such spaces, if the crowds there cannot be avoided or greatly reduced,” it said in the report.

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