Tharman: Condo resident’s behaviour is example of ‘sense of entitlement’

Screenshot: Incident Eight Riversuites condominium on 26 October 2019/YouTube
Screenshot: Incident Eight Riversuites condominium on 26 October 2019/YouTube

SINGAPORE — Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has commented on the incident in a Whampoa area condominium where a resident was caught on camera hurling vulgarities at a security officer working there, saying that it was an example of “a sense of entitlement”.

In a viral video, the resident quarrels with security officers after they tell him that his guests, who arrive in a car at Eight Riversuites condominium, have to pay a parking fee. The incident took place on Saturday (26 October), a day before the Deepavali holiday.

“I buy the f**king property for $1.5 million, you know...Tell the management f**k off...We are not staying in an HDB,” the resident shouted at a security officer, telling him that his guests were visiting him for Deepavali. Two security officers can be heard trying to calm down the resident and telling him that they are enforcing the rules.

Tharman said in a Facebook post on Sunday night, “What this resident did and said was wrong - at so many levels. It is these examples of modern-day bigotry and a sense of entitlement that the light of Deepavali seeks to dispel.”

The minister praised the security officer for handling “the abuse and a very unpleasant situation in a dignified way.”

At the same time, Tharman urged people to avoid threatening and harassing the resident, adding that a police report has been filed by the security officer and that the police will handle the matter.

Earlier Sunday, labour MP Zainal Sapari also addressed the issue and urged more protection to be given to security officers. Security officers working in condominiums and private establishments are not considered as public service workers and not covered under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA), Zainal said.

“Myself and MP Patrick Tay have urged MHA to consider covering all private SOs under POHA regardless of their worksite,” he added.

Raymond Chin, General Secretary of Union of Security Employees, commented in a Facebook post that the security officer acted with restraint in the incident. While Chin empathised with the resident’s unhappiness, the latter should seek recourse through his management committee.

“We strongly condemn any form of abuse of our security officers. We encourage our officers to report any abuse they experience or witness to the union,” Chin said.

The resident’s employer, financial services company JP Morgan, told the Straits Times on Sunday that it is looking into the matter.

Many netizens have expressed anger at the resident’s behaviour and left strongly worded messages on JP Morgan’s Facebook page, urging stern action to be taken against its employee.

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