Workers’ Party secretary-general and MP for Hougang, Low Thia Khiang, has hit back at the PAP for playing politics with residents of opposition wards, and not respecting the will of the people. He decried the practice of the PAP’s unelected grassroots adviser leading the gathering and planning residents’ needs instead of the the elected MP.
Here is his letter published in the Straits Times today:
No basis for MP not to announce lift upgrading: Low
I REFER to the HDB’s reply yesterday (‘Why grassroots advisers announce lift upgrading’).
The HDB deems the grassroots adviser as the appropriate person to announce the lift upgrading programme because he gathers input from residents, ensures that the plans meet residents’ needs, can propose changes based on residents’ feedback, and seek residents’ support.
On what basis does the HDB assume that the Member of Parliament, who has the support of the constituency’s electorate, is unable to do the same and is therefore inappropriate to play the same role as the adviser?
The HDB acknowledged that it is the town councils that have an in-depth knowledge of the schedule and status of the works and can coordinate other projects to minimise inconvenience to residents.
Moreover, town councils are required to co-pay for the lift upgrading programme whereas grassroots organisations are not.
Why is the chairman of the town council, the elected MP statutorily responsible for town management and who must decide to pay for the programme, deemed inappropriate to play a leading role in it?
The role of the elected opposition MP in this process is relegated to an administrative role, perhaps merely to authorise payment for the programme from the town council funds.
This is the manifestation of the Government’s attitude towards elected opposition MPs, that they are not representative of the constituency but the grassroots advisers are, despite the fact that the grassroots advisers, candidates of the People’s Action Party (PAP), had been rejected by the voters in Potong Pasir and Hougang.
I suppose the PAP wants its potential candidates in the next election to claim credit for the programme, although the money does not come from either the PAP or the grassroots organisation. This is playing politics.
I am prepared to work with anyone from the Government for the benefit of my constituents.
However, I feel compelled to respond because the HDB’s justification for the role of advisers in opposition wards in the programme touches on the fundamental issue of respecting the will of the people expressed at elections.
The elected MP in opposition wards is here reduced to performing a municipal function.
This says much of the respect of the ruling party for the will of the people expressed at general elections and how mature we are as a democracy.
Low Thia Khiang
Member of Parliament for Hougang