A local online publication recently posted a letter from an unnamed member of the public who alleged that Orchid Park Secondary School teachers were instructed to park elsewhere to make way for Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who attended the school’s racial harmony day celebration on 20 July.
This comes after Minister Ong was singled out for flak in recent weeks after he advocated for teachers to pay annual parking charges as part of a new clean wage policy meant to make hidden perks transparent, while elected MPs pay only $365 a year for parking in HDB estates and in Parliament House.
Sharing photos of lots at the school being set aside and Minister Ong’s vehicle occupying one lot, the writer claimed in a letter to TOC: “Early morning, parking spaces in school were already reserved for them and teachers were told to park elsewhere.
“The current implementation of [carpark] charges in schools after 1 Aug has no gantry (unlike higher institutions), so any visitors (Ministers inclusive) park for free whereas those who make contributions to their schools everyday (e.g. teachers, canteen operators, coaches, etc.) are made to pay for parking charges.
“This is exactly MP Seah Kian Peng’s point on why this is an insult to teachers. Apparently, clean wage policy only applies to teachers but not Superintendents and above. So much for clean wage policy and self-discipline.”
Less than two years ago, Ong made headlines when he parked his vehicle in a reserved parking lot that was set aside for emergency vehicles at the National Library. A check of the license plates on the vehicles parked at the Library and at the Secondary School appear to show that the car is Minister Ong’s vehicle:
Pointing out that there was a HDB carpark just metres away where the ruling party politician could have parked, the letter writer continued: “Minister himself, as an elected member of parliament, is already enjoying the heavily subsidized HDB parking of $1/day at all HDB carparks…Please help to create awareness on how unfairly the implementation of parking charges in schools are being implemented. Thank you!”