Singapore PM says riots were ‘spontaneous’
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Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that last Sunday's riot in the city state was spontaneous and there is no reason to believe that it was due to unhappiness among foreign workers.
The incident was "spontaneous", and the migrant workers involved were employed by a variety of companies and lived in different places, Lee said in Tokyo.
Asked whether one of the possible causes of the riot was the eruption of pent-up tensions among foreign workers in Singapore, Lee said, "We have not seen any evidence of that. There is no tension, there is no sense of grievances or hardship or injustice."
"The riot happened spontaneously, it was localised. The people who were involved in the riot were not from one company, or one dorm (dormitory); they were from several dorms, many different companies, and it is unlikely that all the companies will have the same problem," The Sunday Times quoted Lee as saying.
"We believe that foreign workers in Singapore ought to be treated fairly and properly. We do not stand for ill treatment or unfair treatment of foreign workers. We have to make sure they are well treated, they are paid properly on time, their safety is taken care of, their living conditions are up to standard, and they are given full protection of the law," he said.
Lee has ordered the formation of a special committee to probe the riot and warned to use "full force of the law" against trouble-makers.
A two-day ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol were imposed after the riot covering an area of 1.1 square kilometres in the Serangoon Road area, most of which covers Little India, which was the scene of the riot on December 8.
The Prime Minister said that there were some signs that alcohol was a factor in the rioting. Even as authorities tighten the inflow of foreign workers over the years, Lee said their population needs to be managed, and there was an on-going inter-ministerial committee that looks into their welfare.
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