Nee Soon MP: Smokers at Windows Can be Caught by NEA Cameras Without Invading Residents’ Privacy


Imagine this: it’s a beautiful, relaxing day, and you’re enjoying your rare day-off by chilling on the couch.

All is well, until you suddenly inhale a big waft of smoke and start hacking up a lung.

When you’re finally done with your coughing fit, you look up to find the irritating source of smoke, only to discover it’s from one of your neighbours smoking at their window or balcony.

Unfortunately, smoking near windows or balconies isn’t illegal in Singapore, so the best you can do is glare a hole through the head of your neighbour and retreat further into your house.

Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng Argues For His Case

For those of you who keep up with politics, you might recognise Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng as one who has been fighting to ban smoking at windows for quite a long time now.

In 2018, Mr Ng was part of the group of MPs who raised the idea of banning smoking in residential units in Parliament.

However, they were unsuccessful as the Senior Minister of State for Health, Amy Khor, had cautioned the intrusion of privacy.


On 6 September this year, he once again announced in a Facebook post that he was going to “speak up and file a motion in Parliament next month and fight hard to protect us from secondhand smoke.”

Cameras For High-Rise Littering CAN Catch Such Smokers

In a Facebook post on 19 September, Mr Ng addressed the popular rebuttal that current National Environment Agency (NEA) surveillance cameras installed to catch high-rise litterbugs cannot be used to capture smokers at windows due to the intrusion of privacy.

Referring to photos taken from NEA surveillance cameras, Mr Ng argued that these images already “show how the camera can already capture someone smoking at their windows without invading the privacy of the smoker and the neighbours.”

The images attached show mostly the building’s facade, preventing resident’s homes from being shown and thus intruding on their privacy.

However, the images also show that smokers can indeed be caught smoking at their windows—especially those who decide to throw their cigarette butts down the building.

Mr Ng went on to clarify, “We are not asking for surveillance cameras to be placed everywhere, throughout Singapore and invade everyone’s privacy. This is not needed at all.”

One of Many Options

Stressing that “camera surveillance is just one of the many options”, he pointed to the fact that “once people are aware that smoking near windows and at balconies is illegal, the vast majority of people will comply with it.”

So there wouldn’t be a need to install surveillance cameras everywhere.

“For the small number of cases where we need to deploy a surveillance camera, we can minimise concerns of privacy by doing what we already do—point it at the facade of the building,” Mr Ng added in his post.

So, what do you think of this argument?

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Feature Image: Facebook (Louis Ng Kok Kwang)

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