Bernard Chen contested as a candidate of the Workers’ Party (WP) in the 2015 General Election. He faced a three-cornered fight in MacPherson single member constituency and lost to incumbent Tin Pei Ling. He is now assisting the Member of Parliament (MP) for Aljunied Faisal Manap in his Meet-the-People-Sessions.
Mr Chen said that MP Faisal wrote three letters to various government agencies on behalf of his residents regarding spalling concrete problems that they were facing in their units, and that the reply the MP got from the Housing and Development Board (HDB) was troubling.
The letter in part said: “Nevertheless, we have informed Mr Shamsul Kamar bin Mohamed Razali, Advisor to Aljunied GRC Grassroots Organisation, about the spalling concrete problem. He has asked us to assist you [the constituent] to repair the spalling concrete and to look into co-paying the cost of the repair.”
Mr Shamsul Kamar is part of the 5-men team from the People’s Action Party (PAP) which lost to WP in the 2015 election. He now serves as the Grassroots Advisor for the Kaki Bukit division of the constituency.
Mr Chen said that it was the WP MP who wrote the appeal letter, but that HDB had unfairly credited the PAP member for assisting the resident.
“The resident came to see MP Faisal and entrusted him to look into the issue, not the grassroots advisor,” Mr Chen said. He added: “This was the not the first time he and the residents have received such a reply from HDB.”
Mr Chen cried foul because “by sitting in his office, Mr Shamsul is made aware of the issues that was studied and brought up by MP Faisal.”
Mr Chen further questioned how much of the residents’ personal information from the WP MP’s appeal letter did HDB share with the PAP member. He further asked: “Should the HDB be doing this in the first place, and in so doing advance the interests of the grassroots advisor, and by extension the Party he represents?”
Even though MP Faisal was the man mainly responsible for alleviating the problems faced by his residents in the division, HDB in its reply to the residents merely referred to him in a footnote.
Pointing out that Mr Shamsul derived his authority from the People’s Association which Minister Chan Chun Sing said is a non-partisan institution, Mr Chen asked if it was fair that HDB caricatured Shamsul as the problem-solver when it was MP Faisal who actually helped the residents.
Mr Chen asked, “is that “good politics”?”
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