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IMDA expresses ‘grave concerns’ over SingPost’s service lapses, vows to take ‘firm action’ for any breaches committed

SINGAPORE — The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) said on Tuesday (Jan 29) it will take "firm action" against SingPost for any breaches of its public postal licence requirements and service standards, after a postman was arrested for allegedly discarding undelivered mail in a rubbish bin.

IMDA expresses ‘grave concerns’ over SingPost’s service lapses, vows to take ‘firm action’ for any breaches committed

IMDA said it has launched an investigation — separate from a police probe — into an allegation of discarded mail which affected numerous residents living in the Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 and 5 area.

SINGAPORE — The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) said on Tuesday (Jan 29) it will take "firm action" against SingPost for any breaches of its public postal licence requirements and service standards, after a postman was arrested for allegedly discarding undelivered mail in a rubbish bin.

Expressing “grave concerns” over the latest incident as well as the recent spate of service lapses by SingPost, IMDA said: “SingPost must investigate all complaints and feedback raised, and take urgent steps to improve its service standards and restore public confidence in its postal services.”

The authority said that it has launched an investigation — separate from the police probe — into the latest incident, which affected numerous residents living in the Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 and 5 area. 

Under the Postal Services Act, it is an offence for “any officer, employee or agent of a postal licensee to destroy or throw away any postal article or anything contained therein”.

If convicted, the offender may be fined up to S$10,000, jailed for not more than three years, or both.

On Monday night, Facebook user Alyce Kathlyn posted a series of photos showing unopened letters from government agencies such as the Land Transport Authority and the Ministry of Health's Community Health Assist Scheme, addressed to residents of Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 and 5, all lying in public dustbins.

Under IMDA's Postal Quality of Service standards, SingPost is required to submit quarterly reports of various indicators such as the timeliness of the delivery of local basic letters and the despatch of outgoing basic letters.

For example, it has to deliver 99 per cent of all basic letters by the next working day after they have been posted, and 100 per cent within two working days.

Failure to comply with these standards may result in a fine of up to S$50,000 a month for each indicator.

On Jan 14, SingPost — which processes an average of three million mail items a day — made a lengthy public apology on Facebook for its "service failures" over the holiday period, saying there were unexpectedly high volumes of mail.

The apology came after rumblings on social media about poor service by postal workers.

In February last year, then-Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said in Parliament that a postman has to deliver mail items to an average of around 20 Housing and Development Board blocks, or about 2,000 dwelling units, in six hours.

Dr Yaacob was responding to a question tabled by Mr Louis Ng, Member of Parliament for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency, who asked whether there was a cap on the number of letterboxes a postman has to cover a day and whether there are regulations to safeguard postmen’s working conditions.

Mr Ng’s question came after a high-profile incident in January last year involving a postman who was caught on video discarding returned letters and direct mail. The postman, who has since been dismissed, claimed in the video that he had more than 2,600 letterboxes to cover in a day.

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