Singapore MP wants to turn Little India into alcohol-free zone

Singapore's Little India could be declared an alcohol-free zone soon if several MPs and business owners had their way.

The “Straits Times” reported that the idea had the full support of the shopowners who were previously against it.

The daily reported that the Ministry of Home Affairs had mooted the proposal and is now seeking the views of the people on two aspects which are – “banning alcohol consumption in common areas like void decks and pavements and limiting the hours during which stores can sell alcohol”.

The concerns about drinking in public have been raised by MPs and residents, who, along with business owners, are calling for tougher measures to be taken.

Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Denise Phua, whose constituency includes Little India, urged the Government to “take a bold stand in the matter”.

Phua said the ministry’s previous measures, such as counselling, have not worked because they needed time and most workers were only there temporarily.

She suggested that stores near residential zones should not be issued any liquor licences, adding that a separate building be used for the workers to gather.

A survey of the area by the “Straits Times” showed that it was filled with foreign workers at night on weekends.

A shop worker was quoted as saying that at least 1,000 workers frequent his store on a Sunday night.

Another store owner admitted that business had gone down by 30%, adding that he planned to convert his business to one selling phones as it will be “much more peaceful”.

A resident of Little India – R.P. Ramalingam told the “Straits Times”: "I can't go out on Sundays and my relatives don't want to come here. There are bottles everywhere and the smell of urine".

Last night, riot broke out in the area around 10pm after a Bangladeshi worker was hit by a bus. The mob is believed to consist of mostly foreign workers.

In the incident, at least two police vehicles were overturned and an ambulance was set on fire. – December 9, 2013.

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