The Bukit Batok Merchants’ Association (BBMA) has thrown its weight behind the People’s Action Party (PAP)’s candidate for the upcoming by-election in Bukit Batok single member constituency, Mr Muralidharan Pillai.
The Association co-organised a carnival today (17 Apr) to benefit about 360 lower-income households in Bukit Batok with Mr Pillai. The carnival organisers gave selected households 30 points which they could use to redeem groceries, free hair-cuts and job-search assistances.
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) which has stated its intent to contest the by-election had distributed food items to the lower-income households in that constituency on two occasions in March.
Without pointing directly to SDP’s efforts Mr Murali said, “if you were to deliver goods to their houses, one would have to assume what they want. I’ve done these food distributions for many, many years, and inevitably, we deliver things they actually don’t need, and it may go to waste.”
“In this way we prevent waste because they are given a number of points which they use to choose items they actually need,” he added.
Mr Pillai’s supporters have also attempted to sinicize Mr Pillai’s name and are referring to him as “Ah Mu”.
Mr Pillai who had previously contested in Aljunied GRC as part of a 5-men team has already shortened his name from ‘Muralidharan’ to ‘Murali’ for the coming by-election. The PAP had previously stated that it is a disadvantage to field a minority candidate in a single member constituency. Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam who introduced Mr Pillai said, “race is never absent in politics.”
Dr Chee Soon Juan who is SDP’s candidate however had dismissed talk of race playing a factor in the Bukit Batok by-election, claiming that the issue is merely a ploy for the government to perpetuate its rule.
“My contest with him will not be based on the fact that he’s Indian and I’m Chinese. I will contest him as a PAP candidate and a Singaporean who means well for our country, just as we do,” Dr Chee said recently.
The BBMA had previously worked with People’s Association to commemorate Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s first death anniversary.
Mr Lee’s daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling however, had publicly condemned such hagiography.
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