Since the ill-advised announcement by the so-called PAP “grassroots advisers” of Hougang and Potong Pasir about the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) in the two opposition-held wards, the Minister for National Development has had to answer three letters to the Straits Times to justify their stand on the issue. Two of those letters were in response to Workers’ Party leaders Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim, and one was to a public-spirited Singaporean, Muhammad Yusuf Osman.
In his latest letter (copied below), the spokesman of National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan wrote: “We do not expect the Workers’ Party to accept these basic facts, and we will agree to disagree.”
In saying this, the Minister is basically conceding that his argument holds no water, and he has no more points to add that could better justify the PAP’s politically-motivated stand.
The “basic facts” were that the PAP grassroots adviser is the government’s official representative, and that he is “answerable to the government”.
I can’t see how the PAP advisers, being volunteers (I hope!) and not under the government payroll are “answerable” to the government. If they mess up, how are they held accountable? At most they get removed from their post and lose a bit of face, but suffer no other loss.
The opposition MP, on the other hand, may not be answerable to the government, but is answerable to the electorate in his ward. If he makes a mess of the LUP, voters may throw him out at the next election and he’ll lose his job and a $16,600 a month allowance.
Now tell me, who do you think will work harder to make LUP a success to benefit residents?
The Ministry spokesman ended by saying: “(T)he interests of Hougang residents are best served by concrete actions, not words.”
It is clear to voters that the opposition MPs in Hougang and Potong Pasir, who have been serving their residents for 18 years and 25 years respectively, have a far more distinguished track record of “concrete actions” serving their residents than the Johnny-come-lately PAP challengers, who are very good at plastering their faces all over the ward and claiming credit for things they never did.
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Straits Times, 17 October 2009
Lift upgrading: We will agree to disagree
I REFER to Ms Sylvia Lim’s letter on Thursday, ‘WP rebuts ministry’s reply on lift upgrading’, in response to the Ministry of National Development’s (MND) earlier explanations on the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) in Hougang.
As we have pointed out, the LUP is carried out and funded by the Government, not the local Member of Parliament. The Government tasks the local adviser to grassroots organisations to work with all interested parties, including the MP, to implement the LUP. This is not a matter of protocol, but because of the need to implement government programmes through persons and agencies answerable to the Government. Opposition MPs do not answer to the Government, and implementing the LUP is not one of their constitutional or legal duties.
We do not expect the Workers’ Party to accept these basic facts, and we will agree to disagree. In the final analysis, the people of Singapore will decide. In the meantime, the interests of Hougang residents are best served by concrete actions, not words.
The MND and HDB will continue to work with the grassroots adviser and other stakeholders in Hougang to implement the LUP in the constituency.
Lim Yuin Chien
Press Secretary to the Minister for National Development