Singapore – The Workers’ Party (WP) is considering establishing a standalone town council for Sengkang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) instead of combining it with the existing Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).
The WP team highlighted their plans on Sunday (July 12) through a virtual press conference. “We believe Sengkang has the economies of scale for it to be a standalone town council,” said WP chief Pritam Singh in a straitstimes.com report. “That’s our approach and preference going forward, subject to further meetings with the existing managing agents,” he added.
The Aljunied GRC and Hougang Single Member Constituency (SMC) town councils were combined after the 2011 General Elections. They later added Punggol East following the 2013 by-elections when the WP won all three areas.
They also acquired the newly formed Sengkang GRC last Friday, with 52.13 per cent of votes against the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) 47.87 per cent, which became the biggest upset of the 2020 General Elections. The WP team representing Sengkang is comprised of Ms He Ting Ru, 37, head of legal and communications at a multinational company; Dr Jamus Lim, 44, associate professor of economics at Essec Business School; Mr Louis Chua, 33, Credit Suisse’s equity research analyst; and Ms Raeesah Khan, 26.
Issues arose during the 2011 handover when the AHTC filed a lawsuit against its town councillors which is currently on appeal after the court deemed the WP MP’s liable for damages. When asked if similar issues could occur in Sengkang, such as the managing agent pulling out, Mr Pritam replied that they didn’t want to prejudge the situation. “What I would and can say is we haven’t met the existing managing agents yet, so I think we want to go into discussions in good faith…and we’ll take it from there.”
The WP Sengkang GRC team were already spotted at Riverdale Plaza on Sunday morning, with Professor Lim taking down notes on his iPad as he chatted with residents. They were also greeted with a round of applause by bystanders.
Members from the online community agreed that Sengkang should have a separate town council and provided reasons such as the decision being a “less problematic” one. “It will be a mammoth task to expand the existing AHTC,” commented Facebook user Siah Jin Kim.
Meanwhile, Facebook user Kent Lim Kim Teck noted the demographics of Sengkang, which is comprised of younger families and thus could handle a separate TC. “Many things can be online like survey, and opinion collection, payment, work notices, etc.,” he noted. A netizen mentioned that having an independent Sengkang town council would better cater to the needs of residents.