The JTC, National Parks Board (NParks), and Singapore Land Authority (SLA) have issued a final notice to the caretakers of an illegal makeshift shrine on a roadside green verge along Science Centre Road today, to vacate the site by 12 December 2022. A statement by the authorities said that this was communicated to the shrine’s caretakers today.
The site where the shrine is currently located is public land. It is part of the Jurong Lake District Masterplan, and is required for land preparation and infrastructure works which are scheduled to begin in the near term to support the development of the area.
The agencies said that the makeshift shrine is an illegal encroachment on public land. In the latest episode of engagements with the caretakers beginning on 28 July 2021, agencies had requested them to relocate the shrine. It added that further engagements followed in August 2021 with an advisory issued on 19 August 2021 requesting the caretaker to vacate the site by the end of the month.
Upon receiving an appeal from the caretakers, the agencies held a joint engagement on 14 September 2021 with the caretakers. As the caretakers shared that they had difficulties in searching for a new site to relocate to, agencies granted an extension of four months and the caretakers agreed to move out by 13 December 2021.
However, the caretakers updated agencies on 28 September 2021 that they would not be able to relocate by the December deadline due to COVID-19 restrictions. On 6 October 2021, agencies requested the caretakers to provide details of the challenges that they faced in relocating, but the caretakers failed to show any documentary proof.
The agencies said that there was lack of evidence, but still, the caretakers were granted a second extension to the caretakers on 13 December 2021. They were informed that they had to vacate the site by 13 January 2022.
On 25 December 2021, the caretakers appealed to NParks to allow the shrine to remain on site. Their request was rejected by the authorities on the grounds that it is an unauthorised encroachment on public land.
On 3 January 2022, agencies engaged the caretakers again and reminded them to vacate the site by 13 January 2022. On 5 January 2022, the caretakers requested for an extension of the deadline to allow them to seek independent legal advice. The agencies said that they met the caretakers at a meeting on 19 January 2022 and granted a third extension until 13 February 2022.
The Government said that it has provided the caretakers ample time to look for alternative sites for the shrine and to facilitate its removal. “However, despite the multiple extensions and engagements with the shrine’s caretakers, the illegal shrine remains on site,” it added.
A final deadline of 12 December 2022 has been extended by the Government for the removal of the shrine. This final extension the agencies said is “a full year after the very first extension deadline was granted to the caretaker.”
The agencies warned that if the caretakers fails to remove the shrine by this final dateline, they will have no alternative but to issue formal enforcement notices under the State Lands Encroachments Act and the JTC Common Property Rules to compel the caretakers to vacate the site.
The Government however, promised that it will continue to provide the necessary assistance to facilitate the removal of the shrine with due respect and sensitivity.