So a Tampines resident who built a koi tank at the steps outside his house did not apply for a permit when he installed it. Even its MP, Baey Yam Keng, noted that there has been no complaints from the residents since it was installed. Now, after the man retroactively tried to apply for a permit, HDB has instructed for its removal citing safety concerns in relation to its materials and structure.

Firstly, why does HDB or the Town Council consider the steps on which the tank was built as a public area? Isn't it a part of the house and as such, needs to be regarded as a private space?

Secondly, any safety concerns that may arise can be easily remedied by working with the homeowner, not working against him. Indeed, if there are exposed electrical wires, or the glass may shatter, what HDB can do is to provide recommendations to the man. Instead, what they are doing is just lazily executing a policy, applying the rule of law fully. 

By all accounts, including by the MP for the area, since it was built, there have been no complaints. If HDB is worried about people falling into the tank or crashing into the tank, then they should ask for the man to put up signs and posters to warn or educate others.

We are trying to build a creative society full of entrepreneurial spirit. Such a black and white application of the law will surely is not conducive to fostering that spirit.



The writer, Faith, loves kois.





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