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Update on Status of Community Dispute Management Framework (CDMF) Review

Response to parliamentary question on the public consultation feedback and implementation timeline of the proposed CDMF enhancements

Oral PQ 5672 Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) how many individuals or organisations have submitted feedback during the public consultation on the proposed enhancements to the Community Dispute Management Framework (CDMF) from 11 to 31 May 2023; (b) what are the salient points of feedback received; (c) when will the enhancements to the CDMF be implemented; and (d) what are the reasons for the long duration for the implementation of the current review since it was first announced on 24 August 2020.

  1. The CDMF, introduced in 2014, aims at facilitating effective resolution of neighbour disputes, and fostering a more gracious and harmonious living environment. Since then, agencies have introduced upstream as well as downstream measures to improve the management of neighbour disputes, ranging from:
    1. Public education to promote neighbourliness and amicable dispute resolution, through initiatives such as the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM)’s Be Greater campaign and Singapore’s Friendly Neighbourhood Award, and the recently concluded Noise Experiential Lab to raise awareness of how our everyday actions at home can create noises and affect our neighbours, and practical ways to reduce noise levels and better communicate with our neighbours;
    2. The setting up of a Community Advisory Panel (CAP) on Neighbourhood Noise to develop community norms, which reflect a shared understanding of the acceptable behaviours to manage noise disturbances among residents;
    3. Developing mediation capabilities among grassroots leaders to informally mediate disputes; and
    4. Increasing awareness and accessibility of community mediation, while increasing the capacity of the Community Mediation Centre (CMC) to handle a higher load.
  2. As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the management of neighbour disputes, it was earlier announced that an inter-agency committee, comprising MCCY, MinLaw and MND, is reviewing the framework to ensure its continued effectiveness.
  3. The review is a comprehensive one, encompassing three broad areas of enhancements to better manage neighbour disputes.  Since we announced the review, steps have also already been taken to lay the groundwork to implement these enhancements:
    1. First, piloting a unit of dedicated personnel with the powers to investigate and enforce against residents weaponising noise against others. The Municipal Services Office (MSO) has already stood up an initial team that is currently working closely with HDB, Grassroots and other agencies to develop operational protocols to address such severe neighbour noise cases where neighbours intentionally cause noise disturbances over a prolonged period.
    2. Second, enhancing the mediation framework to resolve more neighbour disputes at an earlier stage, including through mandatory mediation and by allowing settlement agreements to be registered as a court order.
    3. Third, enhancing the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals (CDRT) processes to simplify the service journey for affected residents, and equipping it with the necessary tools to deliver quick and effective relief for affected residents.
  4. We are studying these measures carefully, as neighbour disputes can be complex and multi-faceted, and we need to take into account various considerations in developing operationally feasible solutions, to strike an appropriate balance.
  5. In this regard, we had conducted a public consultation in May 2023, as well a series of engagement sessions with members of the public, academic experts and frontline officers in July 2023, and received more than 400 responses. Overall, respondents were supportive of the enhancements. A summary of the public feedback, and our response can be found on the REACH website.
  6. It is not desirable for the Government to step in and resolve all differences between neighbours all the time, so as not to take away the community’s capacity to resolve private disputes when they first occur. Where our private actions impinge on the lives of others and the peace of the neighbourhood, neighbours are encouraged to proactively engage with one another and come to a compromise in the first instance, with intervention by the Government only when necessary. We will continue to work with Singaporeans and community stakeholders to strengthen the spirit of neighbourliness and graciousness through shared social norms.
  7. We are intending for the existing legislation to be amended in 2024, to effect the enhancements to the CDMF.  This will, amongst other steps, enable the pilot unit to be operationally ready and effective, alongside enhancements to the mediation framework and the CDRT processes. Further details on the implementation process of the proposed enhancements will be provided in due course.
Last updated on 07 February 2024