PMDs can 'make a comeback' with improved regulations, infrastructure: Pritam Singh

PMDs can 'make a comeback' with improved regulations, infrastructure: Pritam Singh

Many Singaporeans approve of the effort to rein in the scooters, which now number about 100,000 in
An e-scooter on a footpath in Singapore. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Personal mobility devices (PMD) can make a comeback in Singapore if regulations and infrastructure are improved, said Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh.

“I believe PMDs will make a comeback in Singapore, provided the regulations are fine-tuned and the infrastructure catches up,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday (Nov 13). “The latter is easier said than done.”

Mr Singh’s post comes a day after Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min held a dialogue session with food delivery riders affected by the PMD ban, the latest in a series of meetings between riders and Members of Parliament (MP) over the past week. 

On Nov 5, the Government banned PMDs from footpaths after a rising number of accidents involving the devices.

Despite earlier regulations put in place to reduce speed and make riding safer for both the user and pedestrians, about 370 errant riders are still caught each month.

In September, an elderly cyclist died from her injuries several days after colliding with a non-compliant PMD in Bedok.

READ: E-scooter riders gather to voice frustration over ban at Meet-the-People session in Ang Mo Kio

READ: Food delivery riders have 'genuine concerns' about new e-scooter rules: Desmond Lee

Mr Singh said he and fellow Aljunied GRC MP Faisal Abdul Manap had visited the cyclist, Mdm Ong Bee Eng, in Changi General Hospital after the Sep 21 accident. 

Mdm Ong’s “condition was critical, her family distraught”, Mr Pritam wrote.

She died in hospital four days later. A 20-year-old man has been charged with causing her death and given two other charges of riding an unregistered and non-compliant device.

“In the course of our work, the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council MPs and councillors also meet residents who are fortunately not hospitalised, but suffer painful injuries arising from collisions or report near misses, with the safety of children coming up frequently,” Mr Singh said.

However, the devices have also provided opportunities for people to make a living.

"The food delivery business has provided Singaporeans, especially the low-income and those who seek to supplement their income, with on-demand work," said Mr Singh.

“In many cases, the opportunities provided by GrabFood, Foodpanda, etc go a long way to support families where breadwinners find it difficult to secure a job,” he added. “PMD food delivery is an honest job.”

READ: S$7 million in grants to help food delivery riders trade in e-scooters following footpath ban

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In his post, Mr Singh also attached a CNA article on Dr Lam calling out an opposition party member for politicising the issue and stoking emotions during his dialogue session with PMD riders.

Mr Singh said that the WP “fundamentally believes” that the opposition plays an "important check and balance role" and forms an "integral part" of Singapore's Parliamentary democracy, regardless of the party in Government and the person represented by the opposition.

“To that end, our objective is not the destruction of our political opponents,” he wrote. “It is beyond the horizon - a better Singapore for all Singaporeans. The way the WP approaches opposition politics is a reflection of this.

“We believe this approach is one that Singaporeans, even People’s Action Party supporters (who we also must level with and persuade rationally) endorse - a loyal opposition.”

Mr Singh also acknowledged that “not every opposition party believes the same thing”, and that opposition unity - despite friendly discussions and relationships among opposition members - remains a “real challenge”.

“Indeed, many Singaporeans hope the opposition can unite and coordinate their efforts so as to become a more relevant political force. Intuitively, the argument makes sense,” he wrote.

“But the reality is that different parties and individuals have different philosophies, both ideologically and in terms of how we engage the issues of the day.”

Source: CNA/jt(aj)