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The sole breadwinner of a family of three living in a 2-bedroom rental flat in Ang Mo Kio recently received a letter of demand because of outstanding Conservancy and Service charges amounting to S$122.50.

Gilbert Goh, an activist, spoke to the man, who was diagnosed with cancer a few years back. As a result, the whole family is facing a financial crisis. Because his son has just finished serving National Service, and only works a part-time job, they struggle to make ends meet.

Adding that the family was “desperate, resigned and hopeless with nothing to live for”, Gilbert noted that the Housing Development Board (HDB) also pasted a notice on his door for late payment. He said that one of the family’s biggest concerns was eviction and not having a roof over their heads.

According to Gilbert, the man has since stopped seeking any medical treatment due to transport costs that he cannot afford. Because of the nature of his illness, he is unable to take public transportation and has to rely on taxis or private-hire vehicles for his frequent medical appointments.

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The total amount payable in the legal letter of demand sent to the man comes up to S$180, inclusive of S$32 for the late payment fee and another $25.70 for legal fees. These two fees constitute almost 30% of the whole bill – something which weighs heavily on the poor family.

“We have seen some poor families facing jail sentences when they appear in court and the hard bitter fact is that the S & C bill still needs to be paid after the sentencing is served. Moreover, the person will then have to pay another additional $500 for court appearance fee compounding the problem further”, Gilbert wrote in his Facebook post.

Shocked to see this needy family received a town council bill attached with a letter of demand from a legal office for…

Posted by Gilbert Goh on Monday, October 21, 2019

Upon visiting the man and his wife, a Malaysian at their home, Goh also shared a bit of relief brought upon the family: “We are glad to say that a Good Samaritan has stepped forward to pay the bill and all is well for the family – for now”.

Gilbert and his team also gave the man NTUC Fairprice vouchers and some cash to tide them over for a while.

It is unclear as to whether the Social Service Offices from the Ministry of Social and Family Development has been in touch with the family, or if they currently receive aid from ComCare.

The full legal letter:

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