Singapore – Opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) leader Chee Soon Juan took to social media to further explain in detail why Bukit Batok residents need footpaths, noting they weren’t “spoilt and unreasonable” for making such requests from their Member of Parliament Mr Murali Pillai.
Dr Chee was again in Bukit Batok Block 190 yesterday after being invited by a resident named Mr Ong. Based on his Facebook post on Thursday (Sept 17), Mr Murali was also invited by the resident although he could not make it. Mr Ong, however, had communicated with their MP regarding the matter. He was told that “cost was a factor against the construction of the pavement.” A sheltered walkway is too expensive to construct and maintain, said Dr Chee, citing Mr Murali’s reply to the request.
“Let me address this first point. If Mr Murali had spoken to the residents, he would know that they are not asking for a sheltered walkway but simply a concrete pavement to be built so that they don’t have to walk on the road or in mud on the grass patch.” The shelter argument is a strawman one, he added.
Dr Chee provided numerous points to justify their requests, one of which was a landscaped mini-park constructed right next to the road with a few “expensive structures that serve no apparent purpose.”
There is a lookout point over a canal which is rarely used, and an amphitheatre-like area with seats facing a patch of overgrown grass built “in the middle of nowhere that no one asked for and nobody uses,” illustrated Dr Chee.
“This is the kind of top-down approach to town planning, where residents are not consulted that result in an enormous waste of resources. But that’s another matter for discussion on another day.”
Touching on costs playing a factor for building a pavement, Dr Chee gave other examples where a budget was allotted such as “paying nearly S$1 million for a rubbish dump or spending S$40 million for a National Day parade.”
“But when it comes to a footpath in Bukit Batok, he (Mr Murali) becomes very cost-conscious.”
Another point made in his post was the suggestion made by Mr Murali for residents to use the “pre-existing access routes” which necessitates residents to use building aprons or void decks.
Killer litter is a safety risk when passing under windows of flats while void decks mean residents have to traverse a zig-zag route navigating through structures and uneven ground, explained Dr Chee.
“I have asked numerous residents in the area and every single one that I’ve spoken to say that they don’t use the void decks because they are much longer and more inconvenient.”
He asked if Bukit Batok residents were “spoilt and unreasonable” for making such requests when other areas have walkways. Dr Chee used Toa Payoh Central as an example and asked, “If the authorities can build an additional walkway right next to an existing one in TP, why can’t they do it in BB?”
“BB residents, and Singaporeans for that matter, are not unreasonable or unintelligent. They know the difference between valid reasons and strawman excuses,” said Dr Chee. “I hope Mr Murali will not offer up any more excuses and build a concrete pavement in the area without further delay. Ultimately, I repeat, it is the safety of the residents that is most important.”
I was at BB Blk 190 again yesterday afternoon on the invitation of a resident, Mr Ong. Mr Ong had also invited Mr Murali…