Sunday, June 11, 2006

Today’s headlines from the Sunday Times with quotes

Page 1: Upgrading for all wards, but PAP ones first

“We intend to honour this commitment, 2015, all eligible blocks will have their lifts upgraded” – Mah Bow Tan

Please remember to honour what you said. It also means that by 2010 (or by the next elections), the lift upgrading works would have to start or else I don’t think the upgrading can be completed.

Page 10: Opposition can use surpluses for upgrading
But MP’s must follow Government rules like Co-payment by residents, says Mah Bow Tan

- Town Councils were allowed to tap into 10% of their sinking funds, which is used for long-term cyclical repairs like replacing water pumps, reroofing and repainting blocks.

- Money from Community Improvement Projects Committee (CIPC) is used to build amenities such as street soccer courts, playgrounds and sheltered linkways but cannot be used for major projects such as upgrading.

- Opposition MP’s charge that they are unfairly left out as money is disbursed through Citizens’ Consultative Committees (CCCs), which has PAP politicians as their advisers.

- “The CCC is not political. It is a committee made up of mainly residents within each constituency”, replied Mr. Mah

May I ask how the Single constituencies are to raise enough money for upgrading costing millions when they have a population of 16000 and 23000 for Potong Pasir and Hougang paying to the Opposition Town Councils?

Page 10: Mah surprised that bread and butter issues not top concern

- Survey by Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) taken after elections showed that
1. 83% think its important to have Opposition MP’s
2. 22% think Upgrading is not important and 33% think Upgrading is not so important
3. Sample size is 985 eligible voters

Mr. Mah’s replies
- “My own interactions with residents and those of many of my fellow MPs suggest that jobs, cost of living, condition of their estates and things like lifts, facilities, infrastructure are important to them.”
- “On the contrary, every person I meet, whether young or old, the first question on their lips when I knock on the door is, ‘When are we getting upgrading?’ ” own impression of Tampines is that it has a vibrant centre near the Tampines Station and some 3-room flats and low storey shophouses. Perhaps the 3-room flats need some lift upgrading as it may have been around since 1970s...but do the majority of the GRC need it?

And tucked in a small yellow box is this important headline
No S$100million upgrading package for Hougang

Quotes from the story:
After the election, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said that Mr. Low Thia Kiang could still ask for the money as the Government had been prepared to put up a budget for it.

But Mr. Mah told the Sunday Times that since Mr. Low (Eric Low of PAP) lost, Hougang will not get the money

He said, “The upgrading package that was offered for Hougang was part of the PAP candidate’s programme for residents in the estate. The residents have decided they are not ready to say ‘yes’ to the package. We will respect their decision.”

They took back their words, er. Now the S$100million may be allocated to more investment money for Temasek or channeled to other places who needed upgrading "more urgently".

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