No need to be a full-time MP to serve residents: Murali Pillai

(Photo: Safhras Khan/Yahoo Singapore)

There is no need for Members of Parliament (MP) to serve residents on a full-time basis and give up their day jobs, said Murali Pillai, who is contesting in the Bukit Batok by-election.

Murali, the People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate for the 7 May by-election, told reporters at a doorstop interview on Thursday (28 April) that MPs from the ruling party have been doing so for years and have not faced any problems going about their duties.

The lawyer was responding to a comment by Chee Soon Juan, the Singapore Democratic Party chief, who said on Wednesday (27 April) that he would be a full-time MP if he were to win the by-election.

Serving the residents of Bukit Batok will be his top priority, said Murali, who was speaking at Blk 104, Bukit Batok Central.

“They (the PAP MPs) would prioritise the needs of the residents ahead of their own. If I get elected into parliament and if ever the needs of the residents compete with my own, I’ll always put their needs above mine,” he said.

This value, Murali added, was taught to him by his late father, P. K. Pillai, who was a trade unionist.

If he were to win the by-election, Murali said that Bukit Batok will continue to be part of the Jurong family. This is important because the Jurong-Clementi Town Council will have the resources to help the Bukit Batok Town Council, he added.

When asked about Chee’s comment on Wednesday about the $24 million masterplan for Bukit Batok that was proposed by ex-MP for the constituency David Ong last year, Murali pointed out that the exact figure was $23.6 million, which was to be allocated over a period of five years.

“I would like to invite SDP to walk around the estate and look at the improvements that have been made,” said Murali.

Responding to Murali’s comments, Chee, who was speaking to reporters at the Bukit Batok MRT Station on Thursday, said that it is good if some of the works for the constituency are already in the pipeline and that he will continue to make sure the projects are completed should he win the by-election.

(Photo: Bryan Huang/Yahoo Singapore)

“We will make sure that we give this top priority when we take over the town council. This is something that we have already pledged.

"Whoever comes in will continue with the projects that are already underway and we will not in any way give it any less priority,” said Chee.

He added that the SDP would want to involve residents and let them have a say on how the town council will be run.

“If you really want the kind of transparent and accountable system, I think it’s important to involve residents,” said Chee.

- additional reporting by Bryan Huang