Inquiry Commissions Act
Chapter 48, 1970 Revised Edition
Commission
N 31
G.N. No. S 4132/1972

REVISED EDITION 1990
( )
[26 December 1972]
By BENJAMIN HENRY SHEARES, President of the Republic of Singapore.
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Whereas it is provided by the Inquiry Commissions Act that it shall be lawful for the President, whenever he shall deem it advisable, to issue a Commission appointing one or more Commissioners to inquire, inter alia, into any matter in which an inquiry would in the opinion of the President be for the public welfare:
And whereas I am of the opinion that it is in the public welfare that an inquiry should forthwith be made by Commissioners so appointed in accordance with the following terms of reference, namely, to inquire into:
(a)the causes of the outbreak of the fire that destroyed Robinson’s Departmental Store at Raffles Place on the morning of the 21st day of November 1972 resulting in the death of a number of persons;
(b)the adequacy of the existing fire protection measures with regard to Robinson Building, in particular —
(i)in lifts;
(ii)the means of egrees in the event of fire;
(iii)the use of fire resistant materials in the building;
(iv)the storage of inflammable goods;
(v)staff training in the event of fire and frequency of fire drills;
(vi)the frequency of inspection of all electrical wires and other connections; and
(vii)generally the adequacy of fire preventive measures adopted by the management of Robinson’s Departmental Store or the owners or lessees of the building;
(c)the structure of the building itself with particular reference to partitions, walls and floors; and
(d)the adequacy of steps taken by the Fire Brigade in extinguishing the fire.
Now, therefore, I, BENJAMIN HENRY SHEARES, hereby appoint the following persons, namely:
(a)Mr. Justice F. A. Chua;
(b)Mr. Jimmy Chen Wie Ying; and
(c)Mr. C. A. V. Chew,
to be Commissioners and hereby authorize the Commissioners to conduct such inquiry in the manner hereinafter directed:
1.  I direct that Mr. Justice F. A. Chua shall be the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry;
2.  I direct that the first sitting of the Commission shall take place in the High Court on such date and at such hour as the Chairman may designate;
3.  I direct that the Commission shall normally hold its sittings in the High Court but shall have power, in the discretion of the Chairman, to adjourn to any suitable place to hear evidence or for any other purpose connected with its duties;
4.  I direct that the Inquiry shall be held in public:
Provided that the Chairman may in his discretion direct that any evidence shall be heard in camera or otherwise recorded without being made available to the public;
5.  I appoint Mr. Lee Chow Soon to be Secretary to the Commission and to exercise the powers conferred and to carry out the duties imposed upon such Secretary as are referred to in section 6 of the Inquiry Commissions Act, and I authorize the Secretary to employ such clerical or other assistance for the purpose of the Inquiry as the Commission may require. In case of necessity, I also authorize the Commission to appoint any suitable person temporarily to act as Secretary;
6.  I direct the Commissioner of Police to detail police constables to attend upon the Commission for the purpose of preserving order during the proceedings, to serve summonses on witnesses and to perform such ministerial duties as the Commission may direct; and
7.  Finally, I direct the Commissioners, after completing the Inquiry, to render to me their report with such recommendations thereon including such proper preventive measures which the Commissioners may see fit to propose in the light of their findings so as to ensure that adequate steps are taken by owners, tenants or occupiers of buildings to prevent disasters of a similar nature.
Given at Singapore this 21st day of December 1972.
By Command,