Straits Times Forum..

NEA, be more tolerant of non-wilful offenders

LAST Wednesday, I received a warrant of arrest from the Warrant Enforcement Unit. It advised me that, to avoid the distress and embarrassment of physical arrest, I was to report to the Warrant Enforcement Unit with an adult bailor to stand surety pending court trial. Questions like what crime had I unknowingly committed raced through my mind as I read the letter.

As it turned out, on Jan 15, a National Environment Agency (NEA) officer had issued me with a summons after finding mosquitoes breeding in some water in an empty flower box leaning vertically against a wall more than 1m inside my front porch. On Feb 6, I called the officer and explained that normally breeding would not have occurred except for the unusually strong January storms. I find it rare for rain water to be blown this far inside my porch. I had then just returned from almost two weeks of overseas travel. The officer advised me to write in to appeal – which I did immediately.

A few days later, I received a rejection letter giving me seven days to pay the compounded fine or attend court. I decided to pay the fine. As sometimes happens, the bills got mixed up and lost, but I believed the fine had been paid. A check of my bank statements later showed I had somehow forgotten to pay – and the letters were misplaced.

The day after I received the warrant of arrest, I reported to the Warrant Enforcement Unit with my wife as my bailor. I was told to settle with the NEA and go to court on the trial date with the receipt. Contacting the NEA that afternoon, I was told I could pay the fine only at NEA Building in person and with the bond and bail bond papers. I complied immediately.

I believe the NEA has an important job and needs the strong arm of the law to haul wilful offenders to court. But it should differentiate between wilful and cooperative offenders.

This is the first time in my 53 years I had to be bailed out. Was my warrant of arrest really called for? I can’t help but look back at this experience with a very bitter after-taste. May I suggest the NEA review its procedures of initiating warrants of arrest with more tolerance of non-wilful offenders like me?

Tan Thiam Chye

Have you read the above article? I’m like, a loss of words. Non-wilful offender? Well my understanding of non-wilful seems to be if you are compliant with the law?

A few days later, I received a rejection letter giving me seven days to pay the compounded fine or attend court. I decided to pay the fine. As sometimes happens, the bills got mixed up and lost, but I believed the fine had been paid. A check of my bank statements later showed I had somehow forgotten to pay – and the letters were misplaced.

Decided to pay the fine? Good. Bills got mixed up and lost? Believed the fine had been paid? Hello? If you were responsible, you would have made-sure that you paid up isn’t it? If you arn’t a responsible citizen, obviously you are a wilful offender.

Dictionary.com’s Explanation of Wilful
1. deliberate, voluntary, or intentional

Well, some Singaporeans are quite nonsensical, arn’t it?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s