Raymond's letter to the press is published today in the New Paper, Wed, 23 Dec 2009, page 21. Check it out!
I refer to the article, “More cases of falling windows” (The New Paper, 12 Dec ).
The move of HDB and the Building and Construction Authority to impose a fine of $10,000 or a one-year jail sentence, or both on homeowners who fail to maintain their windows is heavy handed.
It will cause more hardship to Singaporeans who may not be able to afford to replace their aliminium rivets and screws with stainless steel parts.
Unlike flat owners, offices have maintenance staff who can monitor the windows in buildings.
Many Singaporeans are still struggling to pay the mortgages on their HDB flats and for those earning below $1,500, the $10,000 fine can be as much as they spend on household expenses for a whole year.
The stiff jail sentence will also cause more anxiety to our citizens when many are already worried about their jobs. A build-up up anxiety can lead to depression and other mental disorders.
Instead of setting out a blanket rule to penalise homeowners, the HDB with the assistance of grassroots leaders and the MP for the area should visit homes to find out why flat owners have not switched to the recommended rivets and screws.
For needy Singaporeans, can't an interest-free affordable instalment plan be worked out to fix the stainless steel rivets and screws?
Rather than fine people for this and that, the Government should look into the welfare of the needy, the elderly and the sick, many of whom are either cramped in one-room flats or are dying alone.
I also found the report on the elderly who live in one-room flats, “ I may also die alone” (The New Paper, 13 Dec) terribly upsetting.
Surely our old folks who have planted their roots here deserve better support.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO