SINGAPORE — A few days after three Aljunied GRC Members of Parliament were found by the High Court to be liable for damages suffered by Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC), Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh has gone on the attack, accusing the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) of practicing “political double standards” in the approval of municipal projects.
As the next general elections get closer, Singh said he is hearing various 4G leaders speak of the “dangers of a polarised society, dysfunctional politics with social media often blamed”.
In a scathing Facebook post on Tuesday (15 October), he added, “The 4G leaders also repeat calls for an inclusive society, co-creating policies etc. But would the 4G leaders dare consider that the PAP’s divisive approach to politics may be the elephant in the room that will make Singapore a politically polarised society?”
Singh, who was one of the three MPs found liable for damages in the AHTC case, made his remarks in relation to a Barrier-Free-Access (BFA) ramp at Blk 108 Bedok Reservoir Road, which opens on Wednesday. He noted that the ramp was handed over to the AHTC by the People’s Association (PA) on Tuesday, 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.
“Through such upgrading projects, losing PAP candidates are made relevant for residents and can be said to campaign for votes well before the General Elections because they are embedded as leaders in various grassroots organisations that approve the dispensation of large sums of taxpayer dollars,” said Singh, who also claimed that other proposals by opposition MPs for the community are “commonly ignored” by the PA.
Singh, who has been an MP since 2011, also alluded to former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s initial response after the PAP lost the constituency of Anson to the WP in 1981. Goh, who was Minister for Health and Second Minister for Defence at the time, was then one of the leading contenders to succeed Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Goh and his team were minded to transfer the Anson Community Centre and control of grassroots organisations to the victorious WP chief JB Jeyaratnam “to be fair”. But their natural instincts were “overruled”, said Singh.
Singh concluded, “This will not do, no matter who is in Government and who is the opposition. Singapore and Singaporeans deserve better.”
Yahoo News Singapore has reached out to the PA for comment.