SINGAPORE – A new unit is slated to be formed by the end of 2023 to help resolve protracted and egregious disputes between neighbours over noise disturbances.
This group will be given the power to investigate disputes and stop certain nuisance behaviour, said Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann on Thursday during the debate on her ministry’s budget.
It will also have stronger laws – such as mandatory mediation under the enhanced Community Dispute Management Framework (CDMF) – to resolve “serious cases that are beyond self-help”, she added in response to Mr Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang) and Mr Henry Kwek (Kebun Baru).
Mr Kwek had highlighted disputes arising from intentional anti-social behaviour, which Ms Sim said is a serious matter the Government is closely monitoring and studying.
She noted that there is a small set of severe cases where the conflict between neighbours becomes entrenched and acrimonious.
“Often, there are signs that at least one of the conflicting parties purposely weaponised noise to cause suffering to their neighbours over a prolonged period. We think this is wrong and that strong actions are needed to put a stop to this,” she said.
The Straits Times reported in 2020 that a couple was barred from their Bukit Panjang flat for a month after they were found to have breached an earlier court order to stop disturbing their neighbours in the unit above.
The couple finally sold their flat, ending the protracted dispute that began in 2017.
It was the first time an exclusion order had been issued by the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal (CDRT) under the State Courts.
Cases where noise is used as a weapon to disrupt the peace among neighbours will be included under the new legal framework on mandatory mediation for community disputes.