Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Pritam Singh has revealed that a simple Barrier-Free-Access (BFA) ramp at Blk 108 Bedok Reservoir Road that could have been built in months took about seven years to complete due to what he calls “political double standards”.
Revealing that the BFA ramp project was first mooted by residents to the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council in late 2012, Mr Singh said that the People’s Association (PA) only handed over the completed ramp to the WP-held Aljunied-Hougang Town Council yesterday (15 Oct) – about seven years later.
In a Facebook post published yesterday (15 Oct), Mr Singh decried the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) practice of appointing defeated PAP candidates as grassroots advisers in opposition-held wards as one reason why such community improvement projects are delayed.
While Mr Singh and his fellow WP parliamentarians represent Aljunied GRC in Parliament and manage the town council, the Government has placed non elected PAP representatives and branch chairmen who run grassroots activities in the ward. Some of these non-elected PAP representatives ran against the WP in previous elections and lost.
Curiously, none of the opposition parties that have been defeated in other wards have had the opportunity to place their representatives and branch chairmen to run grassroots activities in the wards they hope to contest, in between election terms.
Pointing out how unfair this is, Mr Singh noted that making defeated PAP candidates grassroots advisers in an opposition ward makes these ruling party members “relevant for residents” and allows them to “campaign for votes well before the General Elections” since their appointments as grassroots leaders gives them the authority to dispense “large sums of taxpayer dollars.”
Noting that the WP has to go through these defeated PAP candidates to raise projects and gain approval on spending the $40 million that is made available to all town councils for community upgrading projects, Mr Singh asserted that these grassroots advisers are able to delay community improvement projects in opposition wards for years or ignore proposals altogether.
One such example of a long-delayed project is the BFA ramp at Bedok Reservoir Road. Mr Singh said:
“A simple BFA ramp that could have been built in months, took years to complete. How many senior citizens, immobile, and yet others recovering from episodes such as debilitating strokes could have benefited from this facility earlier, but for how the PAP determines the People’s Association operates in opposition wards? Other proposals by opposition MPs for the community are commonly ignored by the People’s Association.”
He added: “This will not do, no matter who is in Government and who is the opposition. Singapore and Singaporeans deserve better.”
The BFA ramp was opened for the use of residents yesterday but AHTC is still awaiting the completion of documentation and additional pipe diversion works.