Wednesday, 2 September 2015

SPP’s Chong-Aruldoss plans to make managing town council her priority

Looking after residents living conditions come ahead of being their voice in Parliament
By Lee Yen Nee, TODAY, 31 Aug 2015

If she is elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Mounbatten, Mrs Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss aims to ensure that an “orderly” handover of the town council will be done within the first 30 days, and a procurement committee with at least one chartered public accountant will be set up within 60 days.

These are among her plans for the single-seat ward, which are listed in the manifesto launched by the 52-year-old lawyer today (Aug 31).

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss, a Singapore People’s Party (SPP) candidate, told reporters that while an MP has the dual roles of managing the town council and representing the people’s voice in Parliament, she plans to make the former role her priority.

“If elected, I will take seriously ... the role of chairman as town council because our living environment is something that residents face on a daily basis. We have to put that as priority to get the house in order,” she said at the launch of her manifesto in an open-air amphitheatre at Kampong Arang.

On the issues that she will champion in Parliament, Mrs Chong-Aruldoss said accountability and transparency will take centre stage.

One specific issue she has in mind is to query the annual report issued by the Public Transport Council to ensure that fares are not increased without an improvement in service reliability.

“In this day and age ... the job of holding the Government accountable, the job of checks and balances are shouldered by a very miniscule number of opposition MPs,” she said.

“Being an MP who is not from the ruling party, I would have the freedom to talk about legislation,” she added.

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss cited SPP chief and veteran Opposition politician Chiam See Tong, who was also Potong Pasir MP for 27 years until 2011, as an inspiration for his ability to manage the dual roles of an MP well.

“When Mr Chiam handed over the town council to his successor, his books were in order and the accounts were in surplus,” she said.

If elected, Mrs Chong-Aruldoss also plans to establish a Mountbatten Social Mobility Bursary to help students, aged 15 to 21, who want to make the transition from an Institute of Technical Education to polytechnic, or from polytechnic to university.

To improve connectivity in the constituency, she plans to enhance feeder bus services.

She also wants to push for the conservation of at least three blocks of the iconic Dakota Crescent Residences and the Dakota Dove Playground, as well as work with government agencies to ensure rentals for hawkers are kept affordable.

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss is expected to face the ruling People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Lim Biow Chuan in the Sept 11 polls, in a repeat of their 2011 election face-off.

In the previous General Election, Mrs Chong-Aruldoss, who contested under a National Solidarity Party’s (NSP) ticket, garnered 41.35 per cent of the votes.

Asked how ground sentiments have changed since then, she would only say: “I have not stopped working so the difference between now and before is five years of work.”

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss joined the SPP early this year after leaving the NSP, where she served as its secretary-general from October 2013 to January this year.

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