Senior Political Correspondent
SINGAPORE – The People’s Action Party (PAP) Aljunied GRC team on Wednesday (July 1) said Aljunied is “not owned by one party”, and that the issues at hand, including the Covid-19 pandemic, are larger than a fight between the PAP and Workers’ Party (WP).
The team was asked to comment about residents adopting a “buy one get one free” mentality, with the PAP team having campaigned for nine years in the opposition-held GRC.
Responding to reporters after a morning walkabout at a hawker centre in Bedok North Street 3, PAP candidate Alex Yeo said the focus remains on the residents.
“(You can) see our track record over the past nine years – even when we couldn’t find any government funds to tap, and even when we don’t run a town council.”
The 41-year-old cited the example of how his team in Paya Lebar privately raised funds to build sheltered walkways for children studying at the Living Sanctuary Brethren Church and En-Naeem mosque kindergartens.
As the sheltered walkways – which connect their back gates to the nearest Housing Board blocks to shelter kids and caregivers on rainy days – address only the needs of specific groups of people, they do not benefit from Community Improvement Projects Committee (CIPC) government funding.
“It’s about going the extra mile, and trying our best to understand the concerns of our residents,” he said.
Mr Shamsul Kamar, 48, of the Kaki Bukit division, said the issues the team champions are based on ground sensing, feedback and data.
“It’s not just about reaching out to residents, but implementing government policies in areas ranging from health to employability.”
Eunos division’s Chua Eng Leong, 49, pointed to infrastructure improvements made in Aljunied – such as the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) for Housing Board flats.
He said these took place even after the 2011 General Election, when WP wrested control of the GRC from the PAP with 54.7 per cent of the vote share.
“Aljunied has not been left behind. It has been improving and we haven’t shied away from our responsibility.”
“We are able to do this, and to have personal conversations with the (country’s) leaders. I think this is very important,” he said.
Mr Chua also repeated a point made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, that the expanded Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) scheme now guarantees there will be 12 opposition members in Parliament, even in the event that the PAP wins all the seats.
PM Lee had said in a virtual press conference on Tuesday: “As far as the Constitution is concerned, as far as Parliament’s operations are concerned, there is no difference between NCMPs and elected MPs in terms of their rights and privileges.”
Bedok Reservoir-Punggol division’s Mr Victor Lye, 58, said: “If we are in Parliament, do you think we will be a passive voice?
“We will work even harder, not just to prove to the people of Aljunied, but also to the whole of Singapore.”