SINGAPORE: In the wake of the recent news of a couple who was charged with murdering their two-year-old child in 2014, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area Lily Neo has expressed concerns about what happened.
While details of the crime will only come to light later in court proceedings, Dr Neo told CNA that she has several unanswered questions.
“I feel sad that such a thing happened. I feel very concerned about why it happened,” she said.
The remains of the two-year-old were found on Sep 10 this year in a flat in Block 52 Chin Swee Road, more than five years after the alleged murder happened.
While Dr Neo has made efforts to investigate the circumstances of the family, she said several social service agencies are active in the block and the surrounding area. Official support programmes are in place for the elderly, who make up a majority of the Chin Swee area, and for children.
SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES PROACTIVE IN CHIN SWEE
Social service agencies make their rounds in the area, and there are organisations that help on an ad-hoc basis, such as delivering food and cleaning up homes.
However, Dr Neo said that help can only be provided once it is known that assistance is required.
“If they are completely isolated, it can be difficult to help them. If you don’t even get to see them, and they don’t want to see you, how do you go about it?” she asked.
Not everyone opens the door when she and her team do home visits, she said.
“It could be that they are not in, they want their privacy, or they don’t want to be disturbed,” she said.
Dr Sheena Jebal, chief executive of NuLife Care and Counselling Centre, said her staff have had similar experiences.
As part of outreach efforts following the organisation’s move to Chin Swee Road in February this year, Dr Jebal arranged for a team of staff, volunteers and counsellors to knock on doors to help spruce up homes.
They had trouble offering these services in some instances, she said. “Even before they knew why my staff, volunteer or counsellor were there, some of them were not interested,” she said.
She added that there were times they were ignored, despite the door being open and someone was clearly at home.
Dr Jebal noted that many social service organisations have set up in the area to provide services to the residents.
"In spite of the availability and accessibility of such resources, residents hesitate to come forth to seek social assistance and emotional support," she said.