Recently, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) issued two notices to the Jurong-Clementi Town Council (JCLTC) due to infringements the SCDF encountered during a fire-fighting operation at Blk 210A in Bukit Batok.
According to the SCDF, the fire-hose compartments were padlocked and there was no water supply to the hoses.
In an update on his FB page, Murali Pillai, MP for the area, shared that the town council has taken disciplinary action against the town council (TC) officers responsible for locking-up the fire-hose compartments. They had purportedly locked the equipment to prevent cases of vandalism.
With regard to the lack of water supply, Pillai informed that the contractor responsible, JKeart Pte Ltd, has disputed the findings and has come forward with its own video evidence of the water supply working on the same day. The parties are still looking into the matter.
SDP Secretary-General, Dr Chee Soon Juan, who came up against Murali PIllai in the previous General Elections (GE), has taken a keen interest in the events.
Dr Chee took umbrage at the explanation that Pillai provided and questioned if the PAP treated Singaporeans lives so cheaply, and if they were too focused on their profit-oriented approach.
Quite separate from the sheer callousness of the act, the incident raises a bigger question: Does the PAP treat Singaporean lives so cheaply? So what if a few fire hose reels are vandalised (which the authorities have not provided any data on: How many were vandalised, what’s the frequency, how much to repair them, etc?)
Are the authorities saying that it would cost more to repair the vandalised equipment than the lives of the Goh family or, for that matter, the average Singaporean? (It’s hard to believe that such padlocking is confined to one block of flats in BB. The photo on the left was allegedly another fire hose cabinet padlocked at Punggol.)
The matter reveals the mindset of the PAP, one that is all about the cold calculation of dollars and cents even when the people’s lives are literally at stake.
Indeed, this is a valid question that the PAP has to ask of themselves.
What are their priorities? Is managing cost due to vandalism a more pressing concern than the safety of their residents?
Since then, netizens have come forward with allegations of similar practices in other TCs.
Netizens alleged that these locked firefighter inlets were found at Tampines blocks 937 and 146. They also claimed that there are others that were also locked, although they did not provide photographs for those.
If these allegations are true, then the relevant TCs responsible must similarly take action against those responsible for locking-up access to the firefighting equipment.
All TCs, regardless of whether they are under the PAP or WP, must conduct an immediate review to ensure the serviceability and accessibility of their firefighting equipment.
The Bukit Batok incident must serve as a wake-up call to everyone to not be complacent and take people's safety for granted.