Better-known People’s Action Party politicians – Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and Senior Minister of State Amy Khor – went on a walkabout meeting residents at Aljunied GRC, days after the first firm step towards the next General Election (GE) was announced.
On 4 Sept, the Elections Department (ELD) announced that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) was formed sometime last month. The formation of the EBRC precedes the calling of the next election and has been taken to mean that the next GE is imminent.
Days later, on 14 Sept, Ms Teo and Dr Khor paid a visit to the Kaki Bukit Division of Aljunied GRC. Aljunied GRC is the very first group representation ward to be won by an opposition party in Singapore’s history and has been held by the Workers’ Party (WP) since 2011.
The ward is represented by elected Members of Parliament Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim, Pritam Singh, Chen Show Mao and Muhamad Faisal. Mr Muhamad Faisal is in-charge of the Kaki Bukit division.
While WP politicians serve Aljunied GRC as their elected parliamentarians and town councillors, the PAP has placed non elected PAP representatives and branch chairmen who run grassroots activities in the ward.
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.
One of the five PAP branch chairmen installed in Aljunied GRC is Shamsul Kamar, who oversees PAP activities in the Kaki Bukit division. Three of the five branch chairmen, including Mr Shamsul, faced off against the WP parliamentarians in the 2015 General Election and lost.
Last Saturday, Mr Shamsul and his grassroots team at the Kaki Bukit division of Aljunied GRC hosted Ms Teo and Dr Khor for a walkabout in the ward. The two better-known PAP politicians accompanied Mr Shamsul as he visited residents at Block 538 Bedok North Market and Food Centre.
Ms Teo wrote on Facebook: “Had my regular dose of Teh-C Kosong (my favourite drink besides water) this morning during a visit to Block 538 Bedok North Market and Food Centre with Amy Khor. It’s a wonderful estate with lots of great food and amenities. Many residents I met shared with me that it was a lively and bustling neighbourhood, especially on weekends. They said that it was even more so during this school holiday period.
“It was great seeing so many families come down early in the morning to have breakfast together. One of the best things in life is family time! I also had a great chat with many residents, and happy to know that many of you found the recent #NDRsg announcements on the subsidies very helpful. I also noticed a few residents bringing their own reusable bags to do their grocery shopping, which is a great step in combating climate change. Kudos!
“Last but not least, cheers to Shamsul Kamar and the Kaki Bukit team for being such great hosts this morning!”
Dr Khor added on her Facebook page: “Had a fruitful morning walkabout at Block 538 Bedok North Market and Food Centre, the nearby shops, as well as Block 531 Bedok North Eating House together with Minister Josephine Teo and Advisor Shamsul Kumar. Had a nice chat with the patrons at the market, food centre, shops and eating house, and took the opportunity to answer their questions regarding various government policies.”
Earlier, another heavyweight PAP politician – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and labour movement chief Ng Chee Meng – was spotted meeting residents at Potong Pasir.
A video circulating online shows Mr Ng surrounded by a group of men as he makes his way around a neighbourhood coffeeshop, smiling, shaking hands and making conversation with residents.
The video caused some to speculate that the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) is desperate to hold on to the ward, which belonged to the opposition for 27 years, from 1984 to 2011.
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