Govt concedes argument with WP and Singaporeans

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.

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.

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WP rebuts Minister on lift upgrading

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.

The Workers’ Party’s rebuttal published in the Straits Times today.

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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)
CHAIRMAN,
WORKERS’ PARTY

Mah to Low: Stay within your sandbox

The Minister for National Development has basically told Low Thia Khiang to stay within the confines of his town council and stop trying to manage the Lift Upgrading Programme.

In what is probably one of his most insulting and condescending statements to date, the Minister for National Development, though his taxpayer-funded press secretary, has basically told Opposition leader and Hougang MP Low Thia Khiang to stay within the confines of his town council and stop trying to manage the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP), period.

Here are excerpts of what the press secretary to the Minister wrote in his Straits Times Forum letter today:

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