The police have traced a number of the individuals who gathered around the Robertson Quay area amid the circuit breaker period, and these individuals are non-Singaporeans, said the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Monday (18 May).
Earlier on 16 May, Facebook user Lectress Pat posted a series of photos showing crowds of people gathering around Robertson Quay, noting that no enforcer was seen patrolling the area when the photos were being taken at around 6.25pm.
Some individuals were spotted not wearing a face mask in the photos, while others were seen sitting near to each other without social distancing. The photos have since gone viral on social media.
Following that, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on 17 May stated that it has ordered the restaurants at Robertson Quay to cease the sale of takeaway alcohol immediately.
In response to the incident, Mr Masagos confirmed in a Facebook post on 18 May to affirm that the URA officers have been patrolling the area. He noted that a number of the individuals who gathered in the area have been traced by the police.
“These persons are non-Singaporeans, and are currently under police investigation,” he wrote.
Mr Masagos stated that some of the restaurants were selling takeaway alcohol, which had led to individuals gathering around the premises there.
He reassured the public that the URA will continue to monitor the area with the police officers to ensure compliance by operators and individuals.
“Enforcement action will be taken against business operators and individuals found to be in breach of safe distancing measures,” Mr Masagos asserted.
Furthermore, Mr Masagos reiterated that the “circuit breaker can only work when everybody plays their part”. He urged everyone to abide by “both the letter and spirit of the law to contain the COVID-19 virus”.
“If you see any offenders, please don’t just take photos for a posting. Report it through the #OneService app with specific details and photos,” he said, adding that Singapore is seeing progress made during the circuit breaker.
Netizens asked why the “double standard” for non-Singaporeans who breached the circuit breaker measures
Although Mr Masagos had stated that the police have tracked down the individuals who gathered at Robertson Quay and that they are non-Singaporeans, no clarification was given on whether these individuals have faced any punishments.
This has led many netizens to question why foreigners get “double standard” treatment by the authorities as compared to migrant workers or Singaporeans who failed to comply with the safe distancing measures.
One netizen brought up about the case of a Singaporean man who was sentenced to a six-week jail term after breaching the stay-home notice to eat bah kut teh, noting that the Government should act fairly and “not allow a dual-class treatment”.
One more netizen brought up the case of 24 migrant workers who had their work passes revoked for “eating, drinking and gathering in groups”. He asked why were the foreigners at Robertson Quay treated differently.
Another netizen noted that some migrant workers at Tuas View dormitory were fined and deported home after they were found gathering and drinking in public. He pointed out that the Government should not place two different rules for work permit holders and employment pass holders.
Netizens say OneService app is not effective, which explains why people rather post photos on social media
Mr Masagos urged people to report offenders through the OneService app, instead of taking photos and posting them on social media. But many netizens who have used the app complained that the app is not effective.
One netizen wrote that he spotted a group of retirees not wearing mask properly and were loitering around his neighborhood. He reported the case via the OneService app, but was told to call the police instead. He claimed that no action was being taken even after he had called the police, and the group is still meeting almost everyday.
Another netizen wrote that people have been reporting on the OneService app for weeks about crowds of people gathering around at Robertson Quay but no action was taken until the photos became viral on social media. This explains why people are posting such photos on social media rather than reporting the cases via the app.
She added that congregating cases at East Coast Park, Holland Village, Bukit Timah, and other places have also been reported via the app but no action was taken.
A netizen, who goes by the name Leon Yong, commented that the OneService app is not effective. He reported a case via the app about a cook in a coffee shop who refused to wear a mask when cooking, but no action was taken.
Netizens asked why offenders at Robertson Quay under investigation while offenders at Heartland were fined straightaway
Meanwhile, some netizens raised a question on Hardwarezone forum as to why the individuals who flouted the circuit breaker measures at Heartland area were immediately fined while the offenders at Robertson Quay are still under investigation.