Singapore — There has been unhappiness online that the Kaki Bukit ward in Aljunied GRC is holding a National Day Observance Ceremony with a member of the losing PAP team there, Mr Shamsul Kamar, as the host adviser.
Mr Shamsul was in the five-member People’s Action Party team that lost against the Workers’ Party (WP) team during the recent General Election. The elected WP MPs for Aljunied GRC include party chief Pritam Singh, party Chairman Sylvia Lim, Mr Leon Perera, Mr Gerald Giam and Mr Faisal Manap.
Mr Shamsul is the current adviser of the Kaki Bukit Grassroots Organisation which is under the People’s Association (PA). One of the co-organisers of the event is the Kaki Bukit Community Centre, which is also under the PA.
The potentially political nature of the PA has been called into question before.
WP member Yee Jenn Jong, who contested in Marine Parade GRC, has mentioned that, with the Citizens’ Consultative Committees (CCCs) approving the funding for Community Improvement Projects, it means that, instead of the elected opposition MPs, the losing candidate from the PAP gets to approve projects.
The CCCs are often advised by the losing candidates of the PAP. They come under the PA, which is a statutory board to promote racial harmony and social cohesion in Singapore.
In 2016, WP’s Ms Sylvia Lim questioned the PA’s political stance in Parliament, citing the mobilisation of PA activists to campaign for PAP candidates during elections. Mr Chan Chun Sing, who was then the Deputy Chairman of the PA, declared that the PA was apolitical.
Mr Chan said the PA “executes the directions for the government of the day as per any statutory board” and that “the People’s Association does not allow any political activity or canvassing on our premises or in our activities and we certainly do not mobilise anyone for any political party”.
However, the online community has pointed to the politicised nature of the PA.
Many were unhappy with this move, which they perceived to be against the mandate of residents in Aljunied GRC.
One person also pointed out who they would want to see invited to the event.
At least one other person commented on photos of a banner in Kaki Bukit featuring Mr Shamsul wishing residents a happy National Day. In PAP-held constituencies, the Member of Parliament representing the constituency is usually featured on such banners.