PM Lee at Aljunied rally: Vote for PAP and things will work again
At the Aljunied GRC rally, PM Lee Hsien Loong says WP 'demolished' PAP's years of hard work, promising...
There was no avoiding the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council saga at the rally about Aljunied GRC.
But Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong touched on it only briefly, pushing home his point that the good work achieved by People's Action Party (PAP) had been undone by the Workers' Party (WP).
Since an audit by the Auditor-General's Office earlier this year found serious financial and governance lapses in the town council, the Government and WP have been embroiled in a war of words.
When former Foreign Minister George Yeo and his team took over in 1988, they ran it well and it was financially sound, PM Lee said last night.
"It's many years' work, decades of work. But it doesn't take long to demolish it, to waste it away. Four years ago, we didn't win... we handed over the town council to WP. It was in working order then," he added.
"WP, we told them, here you are, a working town council. WP took it over, signed off the accounts... all properly kept and certified by auditors (with) a surplus.
"But unfortunately, for the last four years, things have not gone well.
"That's why we are sending a good team here to contest and persuade you that PAP is the right choice.
"You vote for my team. Vote for them, they will stop things from going wrong and they will put things right. Things will work again."
PM Lee then moved on to other national issues such as the Central Provident Fund and education.
A large part of his speech was devoted to painting a picture of what Aljunied GRC would look like in a few years' time and why voters should choose the PAP team to run the constituency.
Among the developments:
- A Wisma Geylang Serai in two years' time.
- Four train stations in Aljunied GRC when the Downtown Line 2 is up and running in two years' time.
- New homes when Paya Lebar Airbase eventually moves to Changi.
PM Lee spoke of the greening and redevelopment of the Defu Industrial area and bringing more jobs to the area as well as plans around Sungei Pinang, which flows into the Serangoon Reservoir.
Elaborating on the river plans, he said: "We are going to have active, beautiful and clean waters. If you go along Potong Pasir, you can see what it looks like because the Kallang River is going through - (that's) what it looks like."
But the biggest plan involves Paya Lebar airbase "because in the middle of Aljunied, you have a big piece where there is nobody living, only the aeroplanes live there".
PM Lee said that when Paya Lebar airbase is moved to Changi, "we are going to have 800 hectares of land opened up - bigger than Bishan, bigger than Ang Mo Kio".
This will, in turn, allow for the building and redevelopment of high-rise homes, factories and parks.
"But you need the PAP government to do that," he said.
PM Lee tracked his own history with Aljunied. As a military man, he served in a camp at Jalan Kambing.
"The camp is gone, the Jalan Kambing is gone. The kambing (goat) also is gone but I'm not gone. I'm back," he said.
Aljunied has over the years evolved from a series of villages to the greenery of Bedok Reservoir and the enhancements in Serangoon Gardens, which was formerly part of PM Lee's Ang Mo Kio GRC.
"For some time, I was the MP covering Serangoon Gardens. When I was looking after Serangoon Gardens, we introduced the Estate Upgrading Project (EUP) and we made sure that Serangoon Gardens was in the first batch of the EUP. So the circus... the roads, the longkangs... the hawker centre are better," he said.
"Four years ago, we didn't win... we handed over the town council to WP. It was in working order then."
- PM Lee