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Published: Wednesday December 11, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday December 11, 2013 MYT 6:43:23 AM

Singapore bans alcohol in riot-hit Race Course Road area

SINGAPORE: There will be a complete ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol this coming weekend in the Race Course Road area where a riot broke out in Little India on Sunday night, Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran said.

The details of the ban, such as exactly what time it would apply and what geographical area it would cover, would be worked out by the police, Iswaran told reporters.

Though it was too early to say definitively what caused the riot – which was triggered after a fatal traffic accident – it was “plausible that alcohol consumption was a contributory factor”, he added.

“And that is why we have taken this step in the first instance in order to stabilise the situation.”

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, who is the MP for the ward in Moulmein-Kallang GRC, said that he had wanted curbs on the sale of alcohol in the area for some time, after seeing the proliferation of liquor licences there.

“I know my residents will fully support this immediate measure,” he said.

He and Iswaran were speaking to the media after a visit to the area on Monday evening, during which they spoke to shopkeepers.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday that a committee of inquiry (COI) would be set up to investigate the causes of the riot.

“The COI will look into the factors that led to the incident and how the incident was handled on the ground. It will also review the current measures to manage areas where foreign workers congregate, whether they are adequate and how they can be improved. MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) will provide more details when ready,” he said in a statement.

Lee said the riot was an isolated incident arising from the unlawful actions of an unruly mob reacting to a fatal traffic accident.

“The vast majority of foreign workers in Singapore are law-abiding workers. They contribute to our economy, working hard to earn a living and support their families back home. We must not allow this bad incident to tarnish our views of the foreign worker community here,” he said.

He also offered his deepest condolences to the family of Sakthivel Kumaravelu, who was killed in the traffic accident that preceded the riot, and urged Singaporeans to remain calm and continue with their daily lives.

“Support our frontline officers in the Home Team, and share any leads you may have with the police. Let us stay united as one people as we deal with this unfortunate incident, and keep Singapore a safe and orderly country,” he said. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Tags / Keywords: World, world

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