TL;DR – Don’t treat voters like donkeys… stop using “carrots” and “sticks, can?
Amongst the plans highlighted by Mr Murali are a multi-generational park and covered linkways. But Mr Murali said:
“This plan that we are presenting is part of the PAP Jurong Town Council…If we don’t have the mandate then we don’t have the ability to carry on, because we wouldn’t form the town council. That’s the rules”
Wow… that sounds so much like the old PAP, who treat voters like donkeys, using sticks and carrots to scare and cajole voters into voting for them. In fact, it sounds terribly like what the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew said in GE2011:
No. No, just don’t go THERE.
And what Mr Murali said doesn’t quite make sense.
Yes. The money set aside to build the park and the linkways are currently from Jurong Town Council. But that money comes from the residents’ service and conservancy charges and taxpayers. If SDP wins, Jurong Town Council will have to hand over the accounts and funds to the newly formed town council that SDP will form. Just like how WP had to hand over the Punggol East’s accounts to PAP’s Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council after GE2015.
Unless PAP’s Jurong Town Council refuses to handover the accounts and funds, the newly formed town council will have the necessary funds to build the park and linkways if they wanted to. Of course, the newly SDP’s newly formed town council may decide not to build a park.
And according to SDP’s media release that we received, if elected, they may eventually decide against building a park:
In response to Mr Murali’s proposal of a new 3-Generation Park, as reported, the SDP takes a different approach. We see the need to consult the residents before committing so much of their own and other taxpayers’ money into such a project. The facilities must meet the needs and expectations of the residents. Such a huge undertaking requires due consideration of not just the cost of construction but also the cost of ongoing maintenance. Our social programms are designed to meet such needs already.
If elected, our first move would be to hold void-deck forums to consult with residents on improvement projects instead of taking the decision away from them.
As for linkways, the SDP’s stand is that any responsible MP would ensure such basic necessities are available to the residents and not made into an election issue.
That is SDP’s prerogative if they get elected. Or, the prerogative of the new Bukit Batok MP, depending on the will of the people.
We hope that the Bukit Batok by-election will be a contest of ideas (to be fair, the PAP team has said that they will reveal more plans in due course before nomination day), and a clean fight to convince residents who has the better team to implement their ideas.
The plans unveiled by PAP’s Mr Murali are part of a Neighbourhood Renewal Programme for the precinct at Blocks 140 to 149, Bukit Batok West Ave 4. These residents were surveyed late last year for their views on how the neighbourhood can be enhanced. Two main issues oft brought up by the residents have been taken into consideration and incorporated into the renewal programme – sheltered linkways and focus on elderly residents in the estate.
So, Mr Murali actually has solid grounds to go out there and share the renewal plans, since the plans have been drawn up after consulting the residents and all. He doesn’t have to go back to the old (and proven ineffective too!) ways of GE2011. We hope this is the last we hear of ‘sticks’ like this for this by-election.
It’s also really about ‘how you say what you say‘, rather than ‘what you say‘ sometimes. We suggest that Mr Murali sticks to
“So we’ll continue to do more for residents, but the key is to get their feedback and understand what their needs are, so we can cater properly to them.”
[Featured image: from CNA]