Last night the Member of Parliament (MP) wannabe, Mr Murali Pillai said that if elected he will not be a full time MP. He said that he will instead harness the support of his own political party’s grassroots activists as well as volunteers from welfare and religious organisations to meet the needs of his residents instead. Mr Pillai is the candidate of the People’s Action Party (PAP) for the by-election.
“We need a team, not just a single person working full-time,” Mr Pillai said.
Candidate of Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) for Bukit Batok by-election, Dr Chee Soon Juan, took issue with Mr Pillai’s explanation as to why he does not need to be a full time MP.
Writing in his Facebook, Dr Chee referred to an article in Channel NewsAsia which quoted Mr Pillai as saying:
“There are a number of occasions where (we) meet residents in Bukit Batok where they have more than one job, they have two jobs, occasionally they may even have three jobs. Many of these situations are driven by need and we must help these people where we can, through our social programmes. But if you were to ask them, are you able to cope, would you be able cope with the demands, I don’t think you’ll get a different answer. They say ‘Yes we will do it, we can do it, because we are driven by issues of need, we are driven by being passionate about service.’ So these are the kind of responses that you’d get. So I’m driven by the passion to serve our Bukit Batok residents.”
Dr Chee asked if Mr Pillai was comparing “his situation with those residents holding down two or three jobs just to survive.”
Dr Chee further thanked the PAP for confirming that the $1.9 million Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) is part of the $24 million upgrading programme which Mr David Ong, the constituency’s former MP, promised his residents at the last General Election; and for clarifying that the MP, regardless of which party’s candidate is elected, will have access to this funds to upgrade the estate.
Mr Pillai had earlier reportedly said that the rules meant, “this plan that we are presenting (NRP) is part of the PAP Jurong Town Council…If we don’t have the mandate then we don’t have the ability to carry on, because we wouldn’t form the town council.”
Dr Paul Tambyah, SDP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) member took issue with Mr Piilai’s statement on NRP and said that, “to say that major improvements will come only if the PAP candidate is elected is unethical and could even be a contravention of the Parliamentary Elections Act (Section 59) which prohibits parties or persons from bringing undue influence on voters.”
Yesterday Mr Pillai clarified: “The S$1.9 million project which I referred to, is the Neighbourhood Renewal Project, which I mentioned time and time again, it is a funding-neutral project. It really doesn’t matter, it’s a town council run-project, it’s not really dependant on whether the PAP wins or loses. That is part and parcel of what was estimated by Mr Ong.”
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