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Murali Pillai disputes Chee Soon Juan’s claim that there is a lack of footpaths near Bukit Batok block

The Bukit Batok SMC MP said that it is "simply wrong" for Dr Chee to say that there is a lack of footpaths or viable routes since residents can walk through the void decks

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Bukit Batok SMC MP Murali Pillai has hit out at , after the opposition leader highlighted the lack of a walkway in the vicinity of Block 190 Bukit Batok West Ave 6.

Dr Chee, the secretary-general of the (), said that the lack of a walkway in the area poses a danger to pedestrians since they are forced to walk on the road alongside traffic. He added that the Jurong-Clementi Town Council (JRTC) received a Bukit Batok resident’s complaint about this issue nearly a year ago but has not taken any action until now.

Dr Chee wrote on Facebook on Sept 4: “It turns out that residents had written to the Jurong-Clementi Town Council about a year ago regarding the lack of a walkway in the vicinity of BB Blk 190…It was pointed out that the situation was dangerous as pedestrians had to walk on the road with traffic going back and forth. Lighting at night was also poor which added to the problem.”

The resident who wrote to JRTC received an email in October 2019 telling him that the matter “is receiving our attention” and that he would be kept informed. Revealing that the resident has not heard back from the town council since then, Dr Chee wrote:

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“If they haven’t already done so, the least that the officials can do is to keep residents informed of plans (if any) to build a walkway.”

Dr Chee, who contested Bukit Batok SMC in the 2016 by-election and the 2020 general election, visited the area over the weekend to look into the matter. Revealing that he observed several instances of cars driving dangerously close to pedestrians, Dr Chee wrote on Facebook on Sunday (6 Sept):

“A car came dangerously close to a lady walking with a young child. The lady quickly pulled the girl closer to her while the car had to swerve outwards to avoid hitting them.

“In the short span of an hour while I was there this morning at BB Blk 190, I witnessed a few similar incidents where cars were driving uncomfortably close to pedestrians, many with young children, who had to walk on the road because there isn’t a proper and separate pavement for them.”

Dr Chee said that several residents he spoke to wanted a footpath to be constructed. He added that a resident brought the matter up to Mr Murali but was told that this is not possible since people would also want a shelter if a walkway was constructed.

“I spoke with several residents who pointed out that this is indeed a problem and wanted to see a pavement constructed. One resident said she had brought the matter to Mr Murali’s attention last year but was told that if a footpath was built, then the people would want a shelter to cover the walkway which is not possible.”

Asserting that the MPs at the town council seem to not have learnt their lesson after several management lapses arose when a deadly fire broke out in the ward, Dr Chee said: “MPs at the TC seemed not to have learnt the lesson after a fire broke out in 2019 at BB Blk 210A which resulted in the death of a resident because hosereel cabinets were locked and the water supply was cut off.

“The JRTC must look into this matter and take action before something serious happens. The safety of residents must not be compromised.”

This first photo says it all, doesn't it? A car came dangerously close to a lady walking with a young child. The lady…

Posted by Chee Soon Juan 徐顺全 on Sunday, 6 September 2020

Mr Murali has since hit out that it is “simply wrong” for Dr Chee to say that there is a lack of footpaths or viable routes since residents can walk through the void decks and disputed the insinuation that residents are forced to walk on the road or on the grass patch.

Revealing that he was alerted to Dr Chee’s Facebook posts by concerned netizens, the ruling party politician shared a screenshot of an email that a longtime Bukit Batok resident sent to him. The resident said that there was no need to provide additional footpaths.

He said: “…I hope to assure residents and netizens that there are barrier-free access routes which are also sheltered. I will like to appeal to residents to make good use of the pre-existing access route which are much safer for daily commute. Kindly see the photos annexed please.”

Implying that the facts were not accurately presented in Dr Chee’s post and that people could have been misled by the suggestions about the lack of footpath, Mr Murali added: “It is simply wrong to say that there is a lack of footpaths or viable routes under these circumstances. Whatever political view we hold, facts must remain facts. Otherwise, people may get misled and in the event we suffer.”

Friends, I understand that there are Facebook posts in circulation lately, insinuating that there is a lack of footpath…

Posted by Murali Pillai on Monday, 7 September 2020

JRTC also published a Facebook post addressing the matter. Confirming that it received a suggestion to provide a footpath in the area, the town council implied that it would not be constructing one at this time since residents can walk through the void decks of blocks in the vicinity.

It said: “The Town Council had received suggestion to provide a footpath at Blocks 190, 192, 187 Bukit Batok. We have considered the suggestion carefully. As there are alternative sheltered routes through the void deck of these blocks and that these are safer routes, we would like to encourage the residents to use these routes.”

The Town Council had received suggestion to provide a footpath at Blocks 190, 192, 187 Bukit Batok. We have considered…

Posted by Jurong-Clementi Town Council on Monday, 7 September 2020

JRTC received Bukit Batok resident’s complaint nearly a year ago but no response: Chee Soon Juan

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