Yesterday’s headline told us that PAP unveiled a $1.9m upgrading carrot. Then opposition leaders cried foul about it, especially one Leon Perera of the Worker’s Party.
What’s wrong with it really?
The HDB disburses funds to the town councils, even opposition managed town councils and they’re free to use the same carrots.
During the Budget debates of 2015, Pritam Singh of the Worker’s Party was reminded by Ministry of National Development (MND) Minister Maliki Osman that “the MND has been fair to the WP-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) and has treated it no differently from other town councils”.
The politically neutral Citizen’s Consultative Committees appointed by the Government had even worked with the Worker’s Party town council to identify upgrading projects.
“I don’t know why Mr Singh would now turn around, blame the CCCs for tardiness, and unfairly paint them in such a negative light, when the CCCs took the time and trouble to seek, go through and gave significant consideration to the town council’s proposals and were prepared to support many of them?” chided Dr Maliki.
Altogether AHPETC was given six Home Improvement Programmes and three Neighbourhood Renewal Programmes over a two-year period from 2012 to 2013. This is comparable to the number of projects received by other town councils.
So you see – both the Dr. Chee’s SDP and the PAP are free to use the same funds to develop Bukit Batok.
The only difference?
Speed and economies of scale. The edge that the PAP will have is that they also run the neighbouring Jurong-Clementi Town Council. By running Jurong together with Bukit Batok, residents will be able to enjoy economies of scale.
They will also have the benefit of time as there is no need to establish a town council from scratch.
Dr Chee responded to Mr Pillai’s ‘upgrading carrot’ yesterday and said that “building infrastructure for Bukit Batok should be based on the needs and wishes of the residents of Bukit Batok, and should not be an election issue.”
Well – actually the upgrading was delivered after extensive consultation sessions with residents of Bukit Batok and was never an election issue.
Chee is perhaps unfortunately out of touch with the ground. Singaporeans are a practical bunch. He is still trying hard to drive the SDP’s private agenda of human rights, Western ideals, liberal freedom and a liberal social policy.
These principals, although noble… doesn’t pay the bills, doesn’t put rice on the table and doesn’t solve pressing problems of defence and economics.
Chee is better off pursuing these ideals away from politics instead.