The first public post by Pritam Singh ever since the court concluded its judgement on the AHTC, was a blame. In short, he blamed the PAP for being a barrier in their quest to build a ramp for their constituents.
It goes like this: there’s a committee of people called the Community Improvement Projects Committee (CIPC) that manages the distribution of $40m to all town councils for…well, projects that improve the community. This is not funding, this is co-payment. The Committee will work with both the local town council and the Citizen’s Consultative Committee (CCC) to determine which project will get attention.
CIPC funds are disbursed through the CCCs, not the town councils. It is very unlike other programs such as the Home Improvement Programs (HIP) and the Neighbourhood Renewal Program (NRP). The Town council has flexibility over the proposals for HIP and NRP. For Community Improvement Projects, it is the CCC that has the flexibility to assess proposals and priorities them for implementation.
Why? The CCCs are close to the ground and will be better able to decide on the projects which will be most useful for the residents. CIPC is community oriented. Its key objective is to bond residents, working together with their community leaders, to improve the living environment. CCCs have to be prudent in what they decide to do as they have the responsibility to raise the funds, thus the need to consult the residents and know what the residents want and whether the residents are prepared to support the CCCs in their fund raising efforts.
This meant that there was a long list of proposals, 90 that the CCCs received from the residents, plus 52 with some overlaps between them. The CCCs, which comprised community volunteers, needed time to go through all these proposals. Eventually, the CCCs identified 17 projects which could be funded within the allocated budget: 6 were proposed by both the TC and CCCs that is the overlap; six were proposed by the TC and the remaining five were proposed by the CCCs. So AHPETC’s proposals actually accounted for 12 out of the 17 projects selected. The CCCs would need a bit more time to implement the projects.
It would then be wrong for the Worker’s Party to blame the CCCs for tardiness and unfairly paint them in a negative light to the public. Especially when the CCCs took the time and trouble to seek, go through and as it is clear, gave significant consideration to the TC’s proposals and were prepared to support many of them.
In fact, the MND had once clarified in Parliament that the CPIC funds are not subject to political consideration. This point was raised by Mr. Mah Bow Tan, then the Minister of National Development.
“We are not excluding any Town Council from applying for these funds. Everybody is welcome to apply for the funds and, in fact, we have written to every Town Council, including to Mr Low Thia Khiang, to apply for the CIPC funds in order to implement BFA. So I do not think there should be any problem in so doing. This is not subject to political consideration, it is just commonsense.”
Pritam’s latest accusation that they are being delayed and victimised does not for commonsense make. Papers need to be filed, construction projects need to be considered and the budget checked against the rest of Singapore. It is not something that can be done in days or weeks. Perhaps if Pritam wanted the CPIC to work fast, the WP town council ought to have been just as fast with its paperwork.
Aljunied-Hougang has several implemented several projects successfully through the CPIC, so why are they obsessed with this one ramp? And why was this ramp left unfinished when it wouldn’t have taken much money to complete?
The case of this ramp raises more questions about the Workers Party instead.