Chen Show Mao barred from events in Paya Lebar?

Photo of a retraction of an invitation to MP Chen Show Mao from an event organiser. (Chen Show Mao)
Photo of a retraction of an invitation to MP Chen Show Mao from an event organiser. (Chen Show Mao)

Member of Parliament for Aljunied, Chen Show Mao, said on Saturday that invitations for him to attend events at the Paya Lebar division of the GRC have lately been withdrawn by organisers over concern they would not get venue approval from the People's Association (PA) otherwise.

In a Facebook post at 2:06pm on 20 August 2011, Chen, a member of the opposition Workers' Party, recounted that he had been scheduled to attend a Seventh Month dinner in the Paya Lebar ward last week but organisers had called him a few weeks earlier to let him know that they could no longer have him show up.

"The organizers as in previous years had planned to hold the festivities on a hard court in the HDB estate, but this year were told by the Paya Lebar CCC (Citizens' Consultative Committee under the People's Association) that, as a condition for receiving CCC approval to use the venue, they may no longer invite their MP to the event," Chen wrote.

Future approvals would be withheld from errant organisers, he said, adding that the organisers were profusely apologetic.

"It pains me that they felt so embarrassed to pass me the news. Regrettably, this is not the first time it has happened since I was elected," Chen said.

He pointed out that August is a month of festivities, including that of National Day, a "day of our progressive nationhood."

Many residents have talked to him about the events they are organising in the neighbourhood, and some of them wish to invite him, while others do not see the need to, he shared.

"That is all fine by me... there is really no call to force our residents into a quandary over whom they may invite as guests to their own events," he concluded.

Yahoo! Singapore sought a reaction from the PA on Saturday evening and is awaiting a response.

The PA was established as a statutory board on 1 July 1960 to promote racial harmony and social cohesion in Singapore. It has a network of 1,800 grassroots organisations.