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Questions to ask your PAP MP


Alfrescian (Inf)
#1: Should you be serving as a MP on a full-time basis? If you are so busy with a daytime job as a lawyer/doctor/accountant/businessman/top executive, how can you discharge your duty as an MP effectively?

Forum: MPs should go full time
PUBLISHED JUL 17, 2020, 1:15 AM SGT

It was nice to see Members of Parliament wanting to get down to serving their constituents quickly (MPs get going with Meet-the-People Sessions online, July 14).

With residents bringing up a wide range of issues, it would be ideal for MPs to handle those issues on a full-time basis if they hope to discharge their duties effectively and in a timely fashion.

They must pay maximum attention to their grassroots. They need to escalate residents' woes and concerns to our Government, and reflect residents' sentiments. This is what residents and younger voters expect.

If an MP holds a separate full-time job, it would be difficult for him to discharge his duties passionately.

By becoming a full-time MP, he can dedicate himself to residents and deliver what he promised during campaigning. MPs must walk the talk.

Residents would also be more willing to put their faith in a full-time MP.

Balu Visvanathan


Alfrescian (Inf)
#2: What is your view on the post of NTUC secretary-general? Do you think that the workers can be better represented by a minister?

Forum: Labour chief post should be held by Cabinet minister
PUBLISHED JUL 17, 2020, 1:15 AM SGT

National Trades Union Congress president Mary Liew believes that Mr Ng Chee Meng should retain his position as secretary-general of NTUC, as the position is independent of political appointments (NTUC reaffirms support for Ng Chee Meng as labour chief, July 15).

I believe that given a choice, most workers would disagree. NTUC shares a longstanding symbiotic relationship with the ruling party, which was reiterated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last year (Workers won't be alone as economy transforms: PM Lee, Oct 16, 2019).

Due to this relationship, for decades, the NTUC secretary-general has been appointed to the Cabinet. This speaks volumes about the level of importance and trust the Government places on the position of labour chief.

With the ongoing severe economic disruption and huge job losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, NTUC needs a leader in the Cabinet who can push for workers' welfare and interests. The close relationship between the Government and NTUC must be maintained to have a harmonious labour relationship. It would be difficult to convince workers that their interests have been taken care of if their labour chief is not a Cabinet minister.

Foo Sing Kheng


Alfrescian (Inf)
#3: Do you think that PA should be independent of affiliation to any political party? Do you agree that the opposition MPs are better placed to be grassroots advisers since they have the majority votes of the consistency members?

Forum: Allow opposition MPs to be grassroots advisers
PUBLISHED JUL 18, 2020, 1:05 AM SGT

Former PAP MP Hong Hai's essay (Stern political realities call for shift in PAP governance, July 14) highlighted some possibly outmoded government practices, such as disallowing elected opposition MPs from acting as advisers to grassroots organisations.

It is time that some of these practices became more equitable. It doesn't seem right that unsuccessful election candidates are using taxpayers' money allocated through the People's Association (PA) for partisan purposes. Why aren't the elected MPs in these positions?

The Government will now officially recognise a Leader of the Opposition, who will be given staff and resources. Shouldn't the PA's advisers now also comprise all elected parliamentary representatives, so that the Government can build bridges to all Singaporean communities in every constituency?

Perhaps the PA should review its mission and organisation to involve opposition MPs. Elected officials ultimately work for the good of Singapore. The Government needs to eradicate outmoded practices that entrench divisions that are hurting our society today, and breathe life into our pledge "as one united people".

Mark Wong


#4: Why waste time asking these questions ?

Forum: Freedom of Speech or the gahmen just wants to hear the "right" feedback
PUBLISHED JUL 18, 2020, 3:28AM SGT

The very concept of getting the right message through to the gahmen is hinged very strongly on what is deemed the correct message or news.

Negative feedback or any information that is deemed detriment to the ruling gahmen is subjected to the ridiculous POFMA law.

A better way to address these issues is to perhaps counter these so called falsehoods with the correct facts and details instead of slamming as outright lies and ridicule the facts.

The classics example is the attempted POFMA of Ho Ching's salary by the gahmen, which in all honesty, is it a gahmen directive or just because she is the wife of the PM?

If the so called $100m salary is incorrect, then perhaps the way forward id then to let us know what is the "correct" figure unless that information, if fall into the hands of Communist China & Capitalist USA can cause great harm to our economy.

Bobby Lim


Alfrescian (Inf)
#5: As an MP, do you know what is the size of the national reserves that you are helping to oversee? If you do not, then how do you know whether the government is spending too little or too much when the government draws down on the reserves to fight covid-19?

Coronavirus pandemic: Supplementary budget debate
Why size of reserves cannot be revealed
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said Singapore's reserves serve as a strategic defence to protect the Singapore dollar from speculative attacks.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said Singapore's reserves serve as a "strategic defence" to protect the Singapore dollar from speculative attacks.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
PUBLISHED APR 8, 2020, 5:00 AM SGT

Danson Cheong

The size of Singapore's reserves is a matter of national security and cannot be disclosed, lest its economic and financial stability be threatened, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

Responding to Workers' Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC), who spoke about the size of past reserves, Mr Heng said that these funds serve as a "strategic defence" to protect the Singapore dollar from speculative attacks and bolster the confidence of investors and citizens.

He compared the country's reserves to the Singapore Armed Forces' arsenal, and said: "No country's armed forces will ever tell you exactly how much ammunition and weaponry they really have.

"To do so is to betray valuable intelligence to potential adversaries. This is obviously not a wise defence strategy, and likewise should not be adopted for our financial reserves."

Mr Heng cited how then President S R Nathan gave the nod for $150 billion from past reserves to be used to guarantee bank deposits during the 2008 financial crisis, which helped calm depositors and prevent a run on banks. "As a small country without any natural resources and highly dependent on imports, our reserves are vital to our overall economic and financial stability, and our well-being," he said. "It is neither in the interest of Singapore or Singaporeans to repeatedly ask about the size of our reserves. We are in the middle of a storm, and I am very disappointed that Mr Pritam Singh has used this occasion to raise this question again."

Singapore's past reserves comprise assets invested by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Temasek and GIC. While MAS and Temasek disclose the sum of the funds they invest, those invested by GIC are not disclosed.

MAS has about $396 billion in foreign assets, while Temasek's current portfolio is valued at $313 billion, according to latest figures.

In response, Mr Singh said the WP seeks figures on the reserves because "when the Government introduces policies where reserves have to be employed, the question we have to ask ourselves is: Is it enough, or is it too much... or is it too little?".
He also asked if there could be a more nuanced way to "consider some of these numbers and have a deeper conversation about them".
Mr Heng said the current system was rigorously designed, and provided checks and balances.
The Government has to seek the President's approval for any draw on the reserves. "I spent a lot of time explaining the details. And I can tell you that the President and CPA (Council of Presidential Advisers) asked very good questions," he said.
Mr Heng also said the Covid-19 crisis has reaffirmed Singapore's fiscal policy of spending prudently, investing wisely and setting aside money for the long term.
"I am extremely grateful that we have been able to tap the deep financial reserves - our current and past reserves which have been so carefully built up, invested and managed. This has allowed us to respond to the crisis without having to borrow, and without burdening our future generations with repayment obligations," he said.
The Government has twice sought and obtained President Halimah Yacob's in-principle support to draw up to $21 billion from the reserves to fund Covid-19 support packages.
Said Mr Heng: "The aftermath of the Covid-19 outbreak may be with us for a long time, and we will need to deal with it on a sustainable basis. If the crisis deepens, our economy and government revenues shrink, we may have to make use of our past reserves again for a recovery."
The three support packages - $6.4 billion from the Unity Budget in February, the $48.4 billion Resilience Budget unveiled last month, and the $5.1 billion Solidarity Budget announced on Monday - amount to $59.9 billion, or about 12 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
In all, the spending in the 2020 financial year will be the largest in Singapore's history. It will also see the country run its largest deficit ever - $44.3 billion or 8.9 per cent of GDP.


Alfrescian (Inf)
#6: Why are you not speaking up against such partisan politics? What about those constituency members who voted for the PAP? Why is the PAP punishing them?

CIPC funds: Which town council got how much

Updated: Feb 11

  • A public spat over funding for Singapore’s most famous ramp has brought the disparity in grants received by opposition towns back into the spotlight
  • In the past two years, grants for community improvement projects in all 15 PAP town councils totalled $67 million. WP’s AHTC received none of these funds
By Daryl Choo

Community Improvement Projects Committee funds received by each town council for the financial years 2015 to 2018 ended March. SOURCE: TOWN COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORTS

Funds disbursed through the Community Improvement Projects Committee (CIPC) amounted to S$25 million last year, distributed among the 15 People’s Action Party town councils. The year before, CIPC grants totalled close to $42 million, checks with the financial reports of town councils showed.

In those two years, the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC), led by Workers’ Party MPs, did not get any CIPC funding. The year before, in 2016, it received $316,000. It is unclear if that amount was for the ramp that is now the bone of contention between the WP and grassroots leaders.

These figures were obtained from the reports of all 16 town councils which listed the funding under “payment from Citizens’ Consultative Committee” or “CIPC Grant”.

Unlike Government grants which are disbursed directly to all town councils based on the number of lifts, HDB flat units and flat types in each estate, CIPC funds must be sought through the constituency’s Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC). This top-tier community body under the People’s Association (PA) will vet applications from the ward’s elected MPs, and decide which project should be proposed to the CIPC for funding. The 2019 Budget statement showed that $45 million has been set aside for CIPC funds this year.

Over the years, opposition politicians have complained that the CIPC process is biased in favour of PAP MPs, as they are appointed invariably as advisers to the CCCs. In non-PAP wards, they are often the losing PAP candidates. The PA adviser to Aljunied, Mr Chua Eng Leong, for example, was part of the PAP’s Aljunied GRC team in 2015 General Election and currently serves as the party’s branch chairman for the Eunos ward.

The main CIPC body also consists of 10 PAP MPs, as well as former PAP candidate Mr Victor Lye, also a member of the losing PAP Aljunied GRC team.

CIPC allocations differ among town councils with Nee Soon Town Council receiving the most since 2015, followed by Ang Mo Kio Town Council and Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council. One reason could be the high density of HDB flats in these wards, necessitating more funds for improvement projects.

AHTC received the least. Its chief Pritam Singh said in Parliament in 2015 that while Aljunied was in the PAP’s hands prior to the 2011 elections, its town council had received about $12 million in grants through the CCC from 2009. He contrasted this with the zero CIPC funds AHTC got in 2014 and 2013. The town council’s financial statement showed it received $363,000 in 2012.


Aljunied-Hougang Town Council received the least in Community Improvement Projects Committee funds over the past five years. PHOTO: ETHAN TAY

CIPC projects have ranged from $445,000 worth of covered walkways in Sembawang to $29,000 worth of landscaping in East Coast-Fengshan, as well as the barrier-free access ramp in Eunos that is the subject of an online dispute between Mr Singh and Mr Chua.

From 2015 to 2018, the 16 town councils received a total of $146.3 million from the CCC according to a tabulation of the town councils’ financial reports. The sum of CIPC funds received in each financial year, which closes in end-March, was $25.2 million in 2018, $41.8 million in 2017, $40.8 million in 2016 and $38.4 million in 2015.

The CIPC issue is part of the opposition’s bigger complaint made over the years that CCCs are usurping the powers of MPs by, for example, presenting government bursaries to students or denying the opposition the use of community centres.

The Government’s stock reply has been to point out that these grassroot leaders are best able to explain the nature of government policies to the people, which opposition MPs cannot be expected to perform.

As for the CIPC issue, various replies have been given, ranging from allowing improvements to areas outside HDB estates and community bonding priorities.

In the 2015 budget debate, Senior Minister of State Mohamad Maliki Osman, who was then-Minister of State for National Development, defended the role of grassroots leaders in securing CIPC funds. “We started CIPC with the intended objective of getting residents together, getting residents to come up and work with their community leaders – who amongst themselves are fellow residents – and bring about the cohesion in the community,” he said.

A parallel issue concerning CIPC funds had also been used by WP as political ammunition in the campaign run-up to the 2015 General Election. Then-WP chief Low Thia Khiang claimed that the previously PAP-run Punggol East Town Council was in deficit before it came under WP’s charge at the ward’s 2013 by-election.

The argument was over a stated deficit of more than $280,000 in the town council’s financial statements when the council funds were handed over to WP. The PAP refuted that claim, saying that the same report also showed an amount of $303,372 claimable as reimbursement from the CCC, which would have put the town council in net surplus.

WP’s Pritam Singh put the CIPC issue back in the spotlight again on Oct 15 when he complained about the CCC’s tardiness over the town council’s proposal that CIPC funds be used to build a ramp in Bedok Reservoir Road. He said that it took seven years before the project was completed last month, and released a series of correspondence between the town council, the CCC, former Aljunied GRC MP Zainal Abidin and various project consultants over the matter.

The grassroots adviser Mr Chan described Mr Singh’s complaint as a “red herring” to distract the public from the court case involving the WP members and the Aljunied-Hougang town council entity.

WP MPs Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim had been found by the High Court to have breached their fiduciary duties, and Mr Singh to have breached his “duties of skill and care” when appointing the managing agent for the town council in 2011. The case will return to court to determine the amount that should be recovered from the parties involved in the suit.

The CIPC funds are an additional buffer for town councils as they supplement the two other main sources of income: HDB residents’ service and conservancy charges and other government grants. Checks showed that for almost all town councils, what they collect in charges would not be enough to cover operating expenses. Government grants are given to all town councils for their use while CIPC grants have to be applied for on a project basis.

However, the CIPC only partially funds town improvement projects, and the CCC is responsible for raising 10 per cent of the cost of the project.

The lack of CIPC funding meant that opposition town councils will have to use more of their own surpluses to fund improvement projects, Mr Singh wrote in a subsequent Facebook post: “Doing so invariably eats into (town council) surpluses that can be used for other needs/purposes, while PAP Town Councils can rely on CIPC funding and/or keep their surpluses intact or tap on a lesser amount compared to opposition wards.”

Whether a red herring or not, the CIPC issue is not about to go away. Various political commentators have asked for more transparency in the allocation of funds by the CIPC or to remove the appointment of MPs as advisers to grassroots groups to ensure non-partisanship.

Parliament on Nov 5 voted in favour of a motion tabled by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat to call on AHTC to require WP MPs Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang to "recuse themselves" from all financial matters related to the town council.

In January, MND issued an order under the Town Council Act to force AHTC to restrict the powers of Ms Lim and Mr Low to make certain financial decisions. The town council complied.


Alfrescian (Inf)
"How much of your allowance are you setting aside for worthwhile causes?"

"Why didn't you do it in the past? Why is it that an opposition MP has to make the first move?"

WP's Pritam Singh to set aside half of pay as Leader of the Opposition for his party, residents, or charitable causes
As Leader of the Opposition, Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh will get double the allowance of an elected MP, and his annual package will be $385,000.

As Leader of the Opposition, Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh will get double the allowance of an elected MP, and his annual package will be $385,000.PHOTO: ST FILE
29 JUL 2020

Tham Yuen-C
Senior Political Correspondent

SINGAPORE - Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh said on Tuesday (July 28) that he will contribute half of his salary as Leader of the Opposition towards his party, programmes for residents in the party's three constituencies, as well as charitable causes.

After the Government announced the duties and privileges that will be accorded to him in the role, Mr Singh said in a Facebook post that he had discussed the appointment with his wife and they both "felt strongly that a percentage of the salary should be used for a greater purpose".

As Leader of the Opposition (LO), Mr Singh will get double the allowance of an elected MP, and his annual package will be $385,000.

He said he would allocate 50 per cent of the salary, after taxes, to any of several uses, including to the WP Community Fund or WP Grassroots Committee to help low-income residents in Aljunied GRC, Sengkang GRC and Hougang SMC, community programmes in the three constituencies, charitable or worthy causes, and specific needs of the WP.

His post drew more than 400 comments from netizens, who expressed their respect and thanks.

Mr Singh, who had thanked his wife, Loveleen Kaur Walia, on social media for her support, revealed he had discussed his appointment as LO with her as it would take away time from his family.

He said: "While I am grateful to receive the additional support and remuneration that comes with the title of Leader of the Opposition, the appointment will require more investment of my time and longer hours away from my family.

"After putting the girls to bed, my wife and I knew there were some things we wanted to talk about arising from the LO appointment. Amongst other things, we spoke about what the salary increase would mean for our family. Both of us felt strongly that a percentage of the salary should be used for a greater purpose."

Describing it as a privilege to be appointed as LO, he said: "The LO appointment carries with it many additional responsibilities that I will have to shoulder. The road ahead will not be easy but I thank Singaporeans for their support and encouragement."

Besides higher pay, Mr Singh will also receive an allowance to hire up to three legislative assistants and will be provided with a secretary to support him administratively in Parliamentary business.

This is meant to help him in his new duties, which include leading and organising scrutiny of the Government's positions and actions, and leading opposition in presenting alternative views during debates on policies.

He will also be consulted on the appointment of opposition MPs to select committees, and may sometimes be asked to attend official state functions and meetings alongside members of the Government and the public service.

To ensure he can fulfil his role, the Aljunied GRC MP will be accorded certain privileges.

These include, among other things, having the right of first response among MPs and also being given a longer speaking duration for speeches, equivalent to that given to political officeholders.

He will also get briefings on issues of national interest, such as on national security and external relations, on top of the government data and information available to other MPs.


Alfrescian (Inf)
"All of the cases are imported. Why do I have to bear the inconvenience of a swap test and pay $5 to $10 for a problem that is not caused by me or by the citizens, but by inbound travellers? Why are the citizens bearing the burden of the spread of covid-19 in the community. Why isn't the government closing the borders for a while at least, or reduce the number of inbound travellers?"

Forum: Many fears about swab testing are unfounded

22 JAN 2021

It really is a sign of the times when people do not want to see a doctor for fear of being given mandatory five days of medical leave (People may need to be persuaded to see doctor when unwell, Jan 21).

The fear is unfounded, for even though medical leave is compulsory after a viral swab test is done, the efficiency of the system lets test results be made known normally within 36 hours, and even 24 hours for urgent cases.

Home stay is no more compelled once negative results are announced, although preventive measures like masking and social distancing must of course continue.

Of the hundreds of swab tests conducted in my clinic, as with most others, the incidence of a positive result is extremely low, as reflective of the situation in our community.

A strong reason why Singaporeans under-report illness is the fear of swabs.

Some have been told that the test involves vigorous probing and scraping of the inside of the nose with a long stick as thick as a pencil, and many have been terrified by exaggerated tales of bleeding after the swab.

And then there are those who simply fear stepping into a medical environment presumed to be toxic with infectious patients gathering for tests. This, in spite of ample education from various government ministries debunking these and other urban horror stories.

In truth, Covid-19 swab tests are easily done within a minute with no pain. Whole cities cannot be swabbed otherwise within a week or two without a major incident.
There may be a little discomfort and some minor irritation of the nasal passages, which, at most, may trigger a sneeze or cough.

Finally, some patients may baulk at the issue of cost, not knowing that for all cases that qualify for a swab, the cost is almost fully subsidised with a co-payment of only $5 to $10.

While government agencies must now work, in the midst of all the misinformation perpetuated on the Internet, towards herd immunity by encouraging more Singaporeans to be vaccinated against Covid-19, they must also continually assuage public fear of swab testing through mass education and campaigns.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)


Alfrescian (Inf)
"Eh, MP, how come the government allow the banks and financial institutions to call me and asked for information to verify my identity when I do not even know if the caller is a genuine caller from the financial institution?"

Forum: Advice on online security muddied by mixed messages

22 JAN 2021

At least several times a week, I receive scam calls purporting to be from DBS, DHL, Singtel, StarHub and others, with the callers trying to get hold of personal information that can be used for identity theft and fraud.

We are constantly warned to beware of such scams, and given advice such as:

• To be wary of incoming local calls with the prefix +65;
• To never give personal information to an incoming caller;
• To not click on suspicious links in e-mails and SMSes.

This is all very good advice, but unfortunately, it is muddied by mixed messages.

The other day, I received an incoming +65 call from someone from Singtel offering a promotion and who sounded a lot like the scammer who had called a few days before.

It turned out that the second call was, in fact, genuine. But then why does a Singtel number have a +65 prefix?

I frequently get calls from bank staff or telemarketers who ask me for personal information for verification, when they are the ones calling me.

The authorities, too, have sent out SMSes with Web links. Within hours of these being sent, scammers were sending out fake messages.

This led to the genuine SMSes being flagged in Facebook and WhatsApp posts as scams.

These examples cause confusion and dilute the message of taking sensible precautions.

Ian Selbie


Alfrescian (Inf)
"MP, how come no minister or MP has brought up this security flaw before?"

Forum: Is security of online banking based solely on not losing one's phone?

22 JAN 2021

Initially, banks said we needed two-factor authentication to secure our online banking transactions.

It began with a one-time password (OTP) sent to our mobile phones, subsequently reinforced with physical tokens, as presumably, mobile phone OTPs could be intercepted or phones hacked.

Fast forward to today, and DBS Bank has joined other big banks in dropping the physical token from online banking.

So to recap:

Before: Online banking on personal computers had to be authenticated by user identification (user ID) and password, and OTP on a phone or physical token.

Now: Online banking on mobile phones is done with password or phone bio verification only. User ID is saved in the banking app for convenience. And the phone is the de facto digital token.

Am I missing something when I conclude that online banking security is now contingent on not having one's phone hacked and not losing the phone?

Teo Hoon Seng


Alfrescian (Inf)
"MP, NTUC FairPrice was started as a co-operative to keep prices low for the low and middle-income workers. How come FairPrice is making so much profit and so profit-oriented nowadays? Why haven't any of the MPs raise this in Parliament?"

Forum: FairPrice cafe prices seem too high for most customers

JAN 24, 2021, 10:55 PM SGT

Recently, I went to the newly opened FairPrice Xtra supermarket at Parkway Parade.

There is a cafe inside the supermarket, and a piece of cake there can cost between $5.90 and $6.90.

Even a simple doughnut can cost $2.50, as compared to a popular curry puff being sold in the same shopping centre for $1.80.

There are many elderly customers at the supermarket who may need to take a break but who may not be able to afford the prices at this cafe.

FairPrice should set the trend and have hawker stalls instead at its supermarket cafe.

It should also not overlook its original mission to serve the working class and the fact that the majority of its customers are working-class people.

Harry Ong Heng Poh


Alfrescian (Inf)
"MP, what has LTA done all these years to curb vehicle noise?"

Forum: Time for stricter controls on vehicle noise levels

18 FEB 2021

While the Traffic Police look into road-calming measures in Tanjong Pagar (Police looking at taking extra measures in vicinity of BMW crash, Feb 15) following the recent accident there, the National Environment Agency (NEA) should concurrently look into stricter vehicular noise controls, not just for speeding vehicles but also the starting-up and revving of car engines.

I live in a quiet street in a residential estate in the north-east.

The peace is often broken by the sound of revving sports cars that are then driven noisily down the street in the middle of the night or the early hours of the morning.

My family members and I are often awakened by the very loud noise emitted by these cars.

I managed to note down one of the cars' licence plate number and shared my concerns with the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

While LTA replied to say that it would look into the matter, it said that action could be taken only if the vehicle was found to have been illegally modified.

Enforcement agencies should look at reducing the allowable level of noise emission for vehicles.

The permissible noise level set by NEA for construction sites located less than 150m from residential buildings ranges from 55 to 70 decibels outside the hours of 7am to 7pm, yet the maximum noise level allowed for cars is 96 to 100 decibels.

For the health and safety of residents in our densely populated country, it is time the noise emissions of such vehicles were subjected to stricter regulations.

Teo Leng Lee


Alfrescian (Inf)
Why need such a highly-paid mayor when each constituency have a few MPs?

Forum: Clear the air on mayors and immigration

11 MAR 2021

Two hotly debated issues on social media lately are the need to have five mayors and the impact of immigration on the lives of ordinary Singaporeans.

The Government should explain clearly the mayors' duties and responsibilities, and the bases applied to determine their compensation. These issues should be adequately addressed, otherwise disrespect towards the mayors may render it impossible for them to perform their duties.

On immigration, the Government has consistently argued that Singapore needs foreigners to complement its limited human resource to drive economic growth and create jobs for Singaporeans.

Over the years, this strategy has resulted in more new citizens, permanent residents and employment permit holders.

Is reliance on foreigners sustainable, and will it unwittingly suppress our ability to build home-grown skills and talent? To ensure that Singaporeans can compete on a level playing field for jobs, how do we root out discriminatory hiring of foreigners by unscrupulous employers?

In the broader context, has the inflow of new citizens unsettled the prevailing racial, cultural and linguistic balance among Singaporeans?

No matter how politically inconvenient and socially sensitive, these issues will have to be managed.

Ang Ah Lay


Alfrescian (Inf)

"Why haven't the PAP, government and LTA done something about these cyclists? Wait until someone dies before taking action?"



Alfrescian (Inf)

1 town council estate officer manages 100 blocks of flats? HDB residents shortchanged by estate manager
by The Online Citizen

过去五年  四成上班族曾遭性骚扰!仅30%受害者举报

Letter written by: Phillip Ang
Sent to: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Cc: Second Minister for National Development Indranee Rajah, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, The Straits Times (ST), TODAY, Lianhe Wanbao, The Online Citizen (TOC)
Dear Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong,
I refer to my emails to the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PR-PTC) part-time chairman/MP Taha (13 Apr) and the Ministry of National Development (23 Apr).
It appears that answers to my queries are state secrets or could be an embarrassment to PR-PTC.
A ‘reliable source’ has informed me that a town council estate officer could be assigned HDB blocks within five Residents’ Committees, i.e. at least 100 HDB blocks since there are about 20 blocks within an RC. (This may be about to change?)
The number of blocks is mind-boggling and has resulted in obvious issues requiring feedback by residents. PR-PTC does not conduct visual inspection of common areas, corridors, chutes, playgrounds, drainage, etc.
PR-PTC has therefore been shortchanging residents – for years. Adding insult to injury, residents are effectively performing its job.
The Government has also put in place legislation which is detrimental to HDB residents, i.e. TCs are autonomous bodies, not answerable even to the MND despite managing public housing and have right of non-reply to feedback and queries.
Should residents then take legal action against PR-PTC, say, for refusing – for years – to remove potential killer litter objects to prevent stupidity causing injury/death?
What are the issues that should have been resolved years ago? Part-time chairman/MP Taha must be sleeping on the job if he is still unaware.
PR-PTC should also not conceal information which residents deserve to know; town councils are funded by residents and taxpayers.
I hope the Government will put a stop to PR-PTC’s mismanagement.


Alfrescian (Inf)
Which MP did Grace write to?


Forum: Faulty fire alarms going off in the early hours​

Jul 15, 2021

While the need to work from home has been trying for everyone in Singapore, it is perhaps more so for some residents in Punggol West.
The issue? Rogue fire alarms going off in the early hours of the morning.
Unable to tolerate the noise further, I wrote to my MP on June 4 regarding a fire alarm that went off at about 4.10am that morning. The town council replied to confirm it was due to faulty heat detectors.
On June 21, a fire alarm went off again, at about 4.40am. During both incidents, the alarms rang for at least 10 minutes, so only the really well-trained would have been able to sleep through it or go back to sleep after being awakened. The June 21 incident was traced to faulty sub alarm panel components.
On Saturday, an alarm went off just after 7am. It rang for about an hour.
Residents are quickly being trained to be a community of early risers. Maybe that is the silver lining to this!

Grace Tan Mui Gek


Alfrescian (Inf)

Your picture: Clear racks of discarded bikes​


 Bicycles in a bicycle bay at the void deck of Block 408 Pasir Ris Drive 6, in May 2017.


Bicycles in a bicycle bay at the void deck of Block 408 Pasir Ris Drive 6, in May 2017. COURTESY OF HENG TWA KIAT
    JUL 29, 2021

Having more bicycle bays at void decks is not a solution if abandoned bicycles are locked and left to fall into disrepair without the town council removing them (Have more bicycle bays at void decks, July 26).
These two photographs show a cluster of bicycles in the same bicycle bay at the void deck of Block 408 Pasir Ris Drive 6.
The first photo was taken in May 2017.
The second, taken this month, shows the bicycles in various stages of deterioration - rusty, and some with their seat or basket missing.
In the meantime, regular bicycle owners have no place to park their bicycles and end up leaving them along corridors and stair landings locked to railings and pipes.
Town councils need to monitor the situation regularly and take necessary and timely action as some bicycles at stair landings pose a danger in the event of mass evacuation.

Heng Twa Kiat


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Noise generated by dismantling of bulky items is disruptive​

Aug 5, 2021

I live in Anchorvale Lane in Sengkang. There is a constant loud, very unpleasant noise from the hammering and throwing of bulky objects at Block 312, outside the multi-storey car park.
I have observed that workers use hammers to break down furniture, refrigerators and other items.
The noisy works happen almost daily, even on Saturdays and Sundays, and make it difficult for me to concentrate on my work.
I reported this issue to the town council a few times and finally raised it with MP Jamus Lim.
Associate Professor Lim explained that this noise is generated from the manual dismantling of bulky items. These items are dumped into a skip tank at Block 312, and then taken away.
Prof Lim and his team have taken some measures to reduce the noise. But unfortunately, the noise continues.

Why do the workers need to dismantle the bulky items in the open, and generate such disruptive noise daily in a residential area?
There are harmful chemicals such as mercury that can be released from the refrigerators in the dismantling process, exposing workers and residents to harmful chemicals.
I hope the authorities can look into this issue to reach a long-term solution so that we can live and work in peace at home.

Chen Xiaorong (Dr)


Alfrescian (Inf)
"MP, why is it that you do not notice this clutter when you go on door-to-door visits?"

Your picture: Enforce guidelines to keep common corridors clutter-free​



SEP 10, 2021

I refer to The Straits Times article, "Residents say clutter in corridor fuelled Telok Blangah blaze" (Sept 8), on the fire at Block 3 Telok Blangah Crescent.
The fire resulted in the evacuation of at least 100 people, with some requiring medical attention. Residents said the fire was fuelled by clutter at the lift landing and along the corridor.
Over the years, I have witnessed a plethora of large items lining common corridors, ranging from wardrobes and cupboards to large racks and trolleys.
I have even noticed a four-seater dining table in a corridor, as can be seen in this photo taken of Block 264 Waterloo Street.
I am not certain if these items meet the fire safety guidelines for common corridors issued by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
Corridor clutter seems to be common in Housing Board estates and is an issue that needs to be seriously looked into, with guidelines for corridor use reviewed and communicated to residents.

For the safety of everyone, owners of public housing need to understand that they do not own that piece of real estate around their front gate, and cannot use it as storage space.
Members of Parliament visit homes regularly with a team of representatives from various government agencies.
It would perhaps be useful to have representatives from HDB and SCDF in this group to take note of households in outright violation of guidelines, and to follow up with them on measures to remedy the situation.

Stephen Tan


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: No wrongdoing by oBike, but no sight of deposit money lost by users​

SEP 15, 2021

I'm appalled by the outcome of the investigation into oBike's operations here (Police probe finds no evidence of wrongdoing by oBike, Sept 7).
As a victim, I still cannot believe how a company can simply forfeit monies collected that were meant to be deposits for using bicycles.
We completed a spreadsheet requesting personal details, and submitted old credit card statements as proof of payment (I'm baffled as to why we needed to do so), but there is still no sight of our monies being refunded. While guidelines and best practices for bike-sharing operations have been improved - bike-sharing firms now have to pay a performance bond to the Land Transport Authority - the grievances of victims of oBike's exit are still left unaddressed.

Chong Kah Weng