The Workers’ Party’s rebuttal published in the Straits Times today.
I refer to the reply from the Minister for National Development’s Press Secretary on Tuesday entitled: “Ministry: MP Low wrong on lift upgrading”. I am responding to it as Mr Low Thia Khiang is currently out of town.
MND states that HDB’s letter published last Friday “should be read in conjunction with” the Minister’s earlier explanations to the media. This impliedly acknowledges that the reason given by HDB to Mr Muhd Yusuf Osman, who had pointedly asked why protocol seemed to be ignored when HDB worked with the unelected candidates in opposition wards to announce LUP plans rather than with the elected MPs, does not stand up to scrutiny.
It is not disputed that the LUP is a government programme. After all, it is to rectify a design flaw in public housing which does not cater for an ageing society. Given this imperative, the public interest should trump politics.
Mr Low’s letter was not about wanting credit for the programme. He has stated that he is prepared to work with the government’s appointees for the benefit of his constituents, and indeed has met the grassroots advisor several times over many months to give input on the LUP plans for Hougang.
It was HDB’s unjustifiable answer to Mr Yusuf – that the grassroots advisor was more appropriate than the MP to announce the LUP plans because he was able to gather residents’ input and marshal support for the plans – which compelled Mr Low’s response. HDB should have just given the real reason in its letter and not beat around the bush.
MND’s letter goes further to state that the LUP is funded from budget surpluses which Opposition MPs are not responsible for generating. However, the budget surpluses are hardly the effort of the government alone, as they include significant contributions from the public through taxes, levies and stamp fees, which the government simply reaps.
Finally, MND also appears to interpret the General Elections as an event where the only outcome which matters is who forms the government. This shows the respect the government has for the people’s choice of Member of Parliament, who is vested with the Constitutional mandate to represent the constituency.
SYLVIA LIM (Ms)