PAP's Dr Koh: More void deck childcare centres at Punggol East

Satish Cheney
Satish Cheney
PAP's Dr Koh Poh Koon speaks to a Punggol resident, Vena Xie, on the issue of childcare centres.

More childcare centre services at void decks.

That’s what the People’s Action Party’s candidate for the Punggol East by-election Dr Koh Poh Koon says he will be looking at to ease the problems faced by many young parents in the area.

“I don’t see the point in building childcare centres, far far away and while they have a space , they still will face logistic challenges of bringing the child to the child care centre in the morning and bringing the kid home,” the 40-year-old colorectal surgeon said during a walkabout at Punggol East on Thursday.

“We need to have a little bit more conversation with the stakeholders to see if it is possible and whether the infrastructure and the void decks’ structure allow for it to be possible,” said Dr Koh to reporters during his walkabout.

There is also the possibility of a childcare centre being built at the upcoming community centre that is being planned in the ward.

Dr Koh said half of the funding needed for the community centre is ready but residents and stakeholders would need to be consulted to see if perhaps a student care centre or elderly services centre may make more logistical sense at the new facility.

During his walkabout, he visited the Punggol East Education Centre where he spoke to a few young parents.

One of them was Ms Vena Xie, a 35-year-old police officer, who has been finding it tough to find a childcare centre for her child who will be attending Primary One next year.

She said she’s tried four childcare centres but they were fully booked. Dr Koh assured her that he will also look into trying to get relevant schools in the area  to provide after school services.

Besides the need to increase the number of childcare centres, the rising cost of living in Singapore was also brought up.

Remisier Lim Eu-Gene, 40, spoke to Dr Koh about the challenges of raising three children at a time when prices are going up.

The PAP candidate said he understood the problems and also remarked that a lot of people are facing such issues.

Help from PAP heavyweights?

Meanwhile, Dr Koh reiterated to reporters that he doesn’t want to rely on party heavyweights to lend support during his walkabouts.

"I prefer to have a personal touch when meeting with residents. I prefer to interact with them personally.  Of course we have people helping to distribute flyers, but my preference is always to listen, appreciate, empathise and also have a chance to communicate with them, so I prefer to be knocking on doors myself,” he said.

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