Wednesday 23 May 2012

Hougang By-election: WP Rally, May 22

Town council post for Png if he wins
By Leonard Lim, The Straits Times, 22 May 2012

THE Workers' Party (WP) promised to appoint Mr Png Eng Huat to the post of vice-chairman of Aljunied-Hougang Town council, if he wins the Hougang by-election.

Making this pledge last night was party chairman Sylvia Lim, who along with fellow MPs made a fervent show of support for the WP candidate.

As they hit back at the People's Action Party's (PAP) accusations and countered with criticism of their own, WP speakers attested to Mr Png's integrity and ability.

They maintained that he was the best man for the job, and highlighted his track record and what he had done for Hougang.

'I'm very sure he will serve Hougang to the best of his ability, and treat one and all with compassion, dignity and respect,' said Aljunied GRC MP Pritam Singh.

If Mr Png is given the post of vice-chairman, he will be ranked alongside WP chief Low Thia Khiang in the town council, which is headed by Ms Lim.

The Aljunied-Hougang Town Council was formed after the WP snatched Aljunied GRC from the PAP last year.

Non-Constituency MP Gerald Giam also praised Mr Png's heart for the needy. The 50-year-old did not just 'parachute' into the ward before the by-election, he said, but had worked the ground since 2006, helping residents through programmes such as a food rations scheme.

Last night, Mr Png himself listed some improvement ideas he had for Hougang which he had mentioned briefly earlier. They fall under national schemes to build covered walkways, drop-off points and elderly fitness centres at 54 blocks of flats, and repair works to rectify leaks and spalling concrete at 15 blocks.

Repainting and re-roofing works for selected blocks will also be done later this year after a tender is called, he added.

Remark on opposition MPs sparks retorts
By Teo Wan Gek, Cheryl Ong, The Straits Times, 22 May 2012

AT THE People's Action Party rally on Sunday night, Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Denise Phua had said it was possible to have a check on the Government, without voting more opposition MPs into Parliament.

She also suggested that bloggers and independent-minded PAP MPs could provide enough diverse voices to bring about change.

Last night, Workers' Party members hit back, questioning her understanding of the parliamentary process, as well as her own independence.

Non-Constituency MP Gerald Giam cited his own experience as an active political blogger, and said: 'If I had heard her speech back then, I wouldn't have bothered going through all the trouble of joining the WP and contesting in elections.

'I would have stayed at home and blogged the way to real change in Singapore.'

He accused Ms Phua of having a 'fundamental misunderstanding' of the parliamentary process.

'By her logic, we can all go to Facebook and debate and make laws over there,' he said. 'Why bother with Parliament?'

Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim also had a dig at Ms Phua's claim of being able to provide an independent voice.

'She praised herself as a good example of a PAP MP who speaks her mind and is better at checking the Government than the opposition,' she noted. 'Let me ask Denise one thing - if she receives an instruction from the PAP leaders to keep quiet, is she not going to shut up?'

PAP has discriminated against Hougang voters: WP
By Goh Chin Lian, The Straits Times, 22 May 2012

HOUGANG residents have been penalised for voting against the People's Action Party (PAP), Workers' Party (WP) speakers charged last night, as they accused the ruling party of discrimination.

The ward, they said, had been deprived of the amenities they should have got because they backed the opposition.

Last night's rally saw speaker after speaker list their complaints over issues from lift upgrading to funding for improvement works.

WP chairman Sylvia Lim detailed cases right back to the 1990s, after Hougang went into opposition hands.

Hougang, she said, was thrown to the end of the queue for the national lift upgrading programme, so its town council had to use its own funds to build lift landings in six blocks. When it wanted to do the same for two other blocks using its own funds, the Housing Board (HDB) said no.

The ward also faced difficulties when it wanted to tap Community Improvement Projects Committee funds for upgrading, she said, and cited six cases between 1992 and 1997 in which the town council could not get funds to build things such as carpark signs and covered walkways. She said the council had to fork out its own money. 'So is the PAP always here for you? Maybe they should say, they are always here to jam you,' she said, drawing cheers.

Aljunied GRC MP Pritam Singh took a dig at PAP's Mr Desmond Choo, who had said he was moved to tears after an elderly woman encouraged him to work hard after he lost last year: 'But for 21 years, many old ladies in Hougang had to use the staircase to get to their flats because the PAP denied them lift upgrading. I hope Mr Desmond Choo shed some tears for those old ladies as well.'

Mr Singh compared what he said was PAP's brand of politics with that of the WP. The opposition party, he said, had helped the People's Association (PA) get venues for its activities in the ward.

He said: 'No matter how much the PAP uses national institutions like the PA or HDB for its own political purposes, let us not forget we are all Singaporeans and we do not need the PAP to divide us as a people.'

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