Corruption in Our Neighbourhood

With the “Corruption” being the buzzword lately, many of us were quite disturbed on the Keppel news and our Govt’s (non)reactions as the news flashed across the world.

Most Singaporeans were relieved that the old man is no longer around to witness such tragedies with PAP in power.

As a bird enthusiast, I visited Serangoon North 1 recently. As you can see in the photo, it’s stressfully shocking to see how common areas have been invaded by shopkeepers with the display of goods.

With so many bird shops, all are trying to outrun each other, as common areas outside shops have been ‘taken over’, leaving minimum space for people to walk.

Back in 2014, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: “Unfortunately some shopkeepers go overboard, with indiscriminate stacking and display of goods that spill beyond the yellow boxes. This can inconvenience shoppers and compromise fire safety”.

For the record, one in four HDB shops is in breach of the guidelines on displaying goods outdoors.

You may wonder what this got to do with Corruption.

Understand from some bird enthusiasts that most of the shopkeepers are illegally occupying, with “blessings” from HDB and Resident Committees, who turn a blind eye due to the massive “donations, sponsorship, hampers, red-packets” that are being given to community events, with even some businessmen sitting in various organizing committees.

Is this tantamount to Corruption at grassroots level?

When safety and well-being of shoppers are inconvenienced or compromised, authorities from HDB and grassroots leaders from Resident Committees must ensure compliance to rules and regulations are enforced with heavy fines and penalties. But what’s the point when such people are from the “same camp” going to these businesses for monetary support.

CPIB’s definition – “Receiving, asking for or giving any gratification to induce a person to do a favour with a corrupt intent. There are many kinds of gratification, including money, sexual favours, properties, promises, services and etc. Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs. Favours also come in different forms such as seeking confidential information, leniency, special privileges, contracts and etc.”

Common sense suggests that Corruption is the root of the non-action or blind-eye approach by authorities in such cases, which has been going on for many years, like the recent Keppel incident.
Showing leniency or non-enforcement by officers is definitely allowing favouritism to these shopkeepers, as they flout rules and safety, in order to receive “financial favours” for events.

Incidentally, most of the community events are actually organised by People Association, the propaganda mouthpiece of PAP through its community centres, similar to GLCs-run corporations.
Corruption is a criminal offence; regardless the scale as it harmful to humans and society.

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