Bankrupt owes $370 parking fines: 2 instalments can, 6 cannot?
Bill (not his real name) is a self-employed sole proprietor whose business failed. He was a guarantor for a friend, and was made a bankrupt.
His debt was about $6,000 plus, before legal and debt collection costs.
He owes HDB $370 of parking fines.
He has given up his car, and went to see his Member of Parliament for assistance in respect of his parking fines.
His MP wrote to HDB and the HDB replied allowing him to pay in two monthly installments. I feel that the HDB’s offer to help Bill by letting him pay in two monthly instalments instead of a lump sum, may not be very helpful. If a bankrupt is in dire straits, how much does it help to let him pay in two instalments, which is effectively giving him just one more month to cough up the entire sum? Some bankrupts in financial stress may never even be able to have more than say $50 in their pocket or bank at any one time.
Bill then wrote to HDB to request to pay in six monthly installments, as he has not been able to pay for his HDB flat as well as other expenses.
HDB replied denying his request, and gave him an extension of two months to pay the fines by end June, failing which he will be charged in court and possibly fined or jailed.
The HDB wrote to Bill on 4 June – “I refer to your email of 8 May 2012 concerning your request to pay the outstanding fine in instalment.
We note from our records that you had earlier made an appeal through your MP in Jan 2012 to settle your outstanding parking fines by monthly instalments. In view of your appeal, we had allowed you to settle your outstanding parking fines in 2 monthly instalments by 29 Feb 2012 and 31 Mar 2012 respectively. However, you did not settle the outstanding parking fines as arranged.
We have considered your request carefully. We regret that we are unable to accept your request for another instalment plan. However, we will extend the payment date for all your outstanding fines till 30 Jun 2012. If the payment is not made by the due date, we will proceed with court action“.
Is it a big difference for the HDB to allow Bill to pay in six monthly installments, instead of two?
For a bankrupt Singaporean who is struggling to make ends meet, perhaps the civil service can be more compassionate.
In this connection, with reference to the Civil Service’s seven principles, perhaps it could re-look Bill’s case in accordance with its principle of Care.
Leong Sze Hian