Singapore — On Monday (July 27), Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat wrote a letter to the residents who had voted for his team in East Coast GRC on the East Coast plan he had brought up on June 30, Nomination Day.
In a surprise move, the People’s Action Party had fielded him in East Coast GRC, moving him from Tampines GRC, where he had been MP for nine years.
Aside from the “East Coast Plan” becoming a meme due to Mr Heng’s seemingly flustered speech that day, he has now announced what the MPs plan to do in the GRC. He is also asking for volunteers to help him and his team see through their plans.
Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, wrote on the East Coast GRC Facebook page that he understood the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, as he had heard not only thanks from residents for the financial support the Government has extended since the pandemic began, but also their concerns and worries over safety, job security, the future of their children, and others, concerns he said other MPs across Singapore have heard as well.
He said that Dr Maliki Osman, the GRC’s MP for Siglap, who has been promoted to full Minister and appointed as Second Minister in two ministries, Education and Foreign Affairs, “will have much to contribute in education” as well as further develop the UPLIFT programme, that would ensure that children from disadvantaged backgrounds would receive “necessary support to do well”.
Mr Tan Kiat How, who is the GRC’s MP for Kg Chai Chee, has been appointed Minister of State in the Ministry for National Development and is “in a good position to champion issues of infrastructure and sustainability, and ensure that our East Coast Plan will be part of our broader national effort for the next phase of Singapore’s development”.
Mr Tan has also been appointed as a member of the Prime Minister’s Office as well as Chairman of REACH. Mr Heng wrote. “Kiat How can start his outreach and communications with our East Coast Conversations, in the same way that I did Our Singapore Conversation back in 2012.”
He appealed to residents to join in to see these plans come to fruition, encouraging them to sign up at www.eastcoast.sg “and make a difference!”
The GRC’s MP for Changi-Simei, Ms Jessica Tan, will remain as chair of the East Coast Town Council. Mr Heng wrote: “Jessica will oversee our efforts to work and support businesses (especially our SMEs) as they transform to stay relevant to provide quality jobs and services for our residents in East Coast. This is part of our effort to keep East Coast vibrant.”
Finally, Fengshan MP Cheryl Chan, who was a volunteer in the area for 10 years, will be caring for the GRC’s seniors. Mr Heng said she “will oversee our efforts to reach out and support our seniors, to lead active and healthy lives, while paying special attention to vulnerable members and their caregivers who need support”.
Mr Heng’s focus will be on protecting workers, which is in line with his new position as Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies. He wrote that he will help workers keep their jobs, make the transition to new jobs and grow new skills.
As East Coast has residents from very diverse backgrounds, Mr Heng said: “Let’s harness this diversity and turn this into a strength. So let’s continue to discuss how we can improve the design of our East Coast Plan, and to put them into action together with our residents.” /TISG