SINGAPORE — Labelling Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh’s recent comments “unsubstantiated” and a “red herring”, Aljunied GRC grassroots advisor Chua Eng Leong maintained that a Barrier-Free-Access (BFA) ramp at Block 108 Bedok Reservoir Road was completed “within a reasonable period of time” once the underlying issues had been resolved.
In a Facebook post on Saturday (19 October), Chua noted that the BFA ramp was “concurrently proposed by the Eunos CCC and definitely not proposed only by the Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC) which Mr Singh seems to be alluding to. Considering this BFA Ramp was proposed by Eunos CCC, why would Eunos CCC delay the project?”
Chua added, “Any insinuation that there was a delay in the completion of the BFA Ramp because it was a proposal mooted by the opposition party is therefore unjustifiable.” The private banker was part of the People’s Action Party (PAP) team that was defeated by the WP in the contest for the Aljunied GRC in the 2015 General Elections.
The 48-year-old was responding to remarks on the ramp by Singh, who had said it was an example of how the PAP practises “political double standards” in the approval of municipal projects.
Singh, who was one of the three MPs found liable for damages in the AHTC case, noted that the ramp was handed over to the AHTC by the People’s Association (PA) seven years after it was first proposed.
Singh said that the ramp could have been built in months. “How many senior citizens, immobile, and yet others recovering from episodes such as debilitating strokes could have benefited from this facility earlier, but for how the PAP determines the People’s Association operates in opposition wards?”
While the government makes available about $40 million annually to all Town Councils for community improvement upgrading projects, Singh noted that all MPs must go through their grassroots advisers to raise projects for consideration. In Aljunied and Hougang, the losing PAP candidates from the last election are the grassroots advisers for the constituencies.
But Chua, the PAP’s Eunos branch chairman in Aljunied GRC, called Singh’s words “politically divisive and factually inaccurate”.
“Pertaining to the BFA Ramp specifically, construction commenced in December 2018, completed and handed over to Town Council in October 2019,” said Chua.
“Along the way, the contractors in charge of the projects did ask for extensions of time. However, such extensions are part and parcel of construction works. Nonetheless, it is important to highlight that the BFA Ramp, like all other CCC projects, were completed within a reasonable period of time once the underlying issues were resolved.”
The son of former Cabinet minister Chua Sian Chin stressed that the ramp was just one of many projects successfully undertaken by the Citizens’ Consultative Committees, pointing to the covered linkway for a BFA ramp at Blk 118 Hougang Ave 1 and the linkway from Blk 409 to Blk 460 at Hougang Ave 10, which have been “conveniently ignored” by Singh. Hougang is a Single Member Constituency run by WP MP Png Eng Huat.
Chua added that it was “politically mischievous” of Singh to suggest that proposals by opposition MPs are commonly ignored, noting that Singh had acknowledged in 2015 that 17 of AHTC’s proposed projects were accepted.
“In any event, regardless of whether it is the People’s Association, the CCCs or the opposition MPs, I believe there should be no distinction drawn when serving our fellow Singaporeans and we must not forget our promise to the people, which is to serve them with our hearts,” said Chua.