Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan highlighted additional municipal issues faced by residents at Bukit Batok SMC.
He managed to do so after building a unique relationship with residents through many years of community outreach in the single member ward.
Dr Chee, who contested Bukit Batok SMC in the 2016 by-election and the 2020 general election, has been actively walking the ground in Bukit Batok over the past few years.
Expressing his intention to re-contest the ward in the next election after the July polls, Dr Chee launched a grassroots campaign to help Bukit Batok residents.
The SDP secretary-general also invited residents to write to him at a dedicated email address if they need help with any issue.
He is so well known for raising issues on behalf of the residents leading some of them to tag him when they highlight concerns on the Facebook page of the ward’s incumbent MP, the People’s Action Party’s Murali Pillai.
On Monday evening, Dr Chee revealed that he received a deluge of emails and messages from Bukit Batok residents in the past few weeks.
They were seeking his help with a number of estate maintenance matters in their ward. The opposition leader highlighted more issues in a Facebook post published on Tuesday (29 Sept).
Pointing out that a resident highlighted how the park in the vicinity of Blk 181 is not well maintained with “weed and algae forming around the basketball court,” Dr Chee said:
“I can attest to the poor upkeep of the facility. I came upon this BBQ pit in the area. When I lifted the cover, cockroaches and lizards scurried away where food remains could still be seen. This was way before the Covid-19 forced the temporary closure of the amenities.”
Another resident asked Dr Chee to raise the issue of a pungent stench emanating from the canal near Blk 184 along Ave 8, which reminded the resident of how the Singapore River smelled like in the 1970s.
The location of a sheltered walkway in the open space at the market at Blk 154A is another issue. One resident told Dr Chee, “Ask them to build a sheltered walkway for residents to walk to the bus stop [and] they go build one unnecessarily at the market where it will simply make it more claustrophobic than it already is.”
Revealing how intimately aware he is of this issue thanks to his regular outreach in the ward, Dr Chee raised several matters with regards to the walkway. First, he highlighted concerns aired to him the proposed walkway was for the HDB to lease out more shop space to make larger profits.
He also detailed how building a walkway in the middle of the open space will make the area more crowded and dank. Pointing out how this could give rise to a rat infestation, Dr Chee also noted that the walkway could displace elderly residents who enjoy using the open space in the mornings.
Dr Chee wrote: “This is a serious problem where grand structures are often proposed by the PAP for election purposes but which serve little purpose and which residents don’t want but have to pay for. Whatever the final decision, BB residents especially those living in and frequenting the area should be consulted.”
The last issue that Dr Chee raised in his latest post has to do with a drain along the walkway between the BB Bus Interchange and MRT station where a resident sustained a bruised knee. A resident who fell into the drain, which did not have a drainage cover, told Dr Chee:
“I am concerned that other people, particularly the elderly and wheelchair-bound, may not be so lucky if they accidentally fall into these drains. I hope you will be able to reach out to the JRTC…or Mr Murali Pillai to retrofit drainage covers along the full stretch of the walkway.”
Calling on the authorities to take expeditious action on this matter, Dr Chee promised to monitor the situation. He added that he will be forwarding these issues to the town council overseeing Bukit Batok SMC for its attention.
In my previous post, I raised several matters regarding estate maintenance in BB. Here are more: 1. A resident pointed…