Bukit Batok residents on concerns for upcoming poll
The much-anticipated Bukit Batok by-election will be on May 7. The New Paper spoke to residents about their concerns for the upcoming poll
For the second time in eight months, residents of Bukit Batok SMC will be heading to the polls.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam issued the writ of election yesterday for the by-election, which comes after the previous MP for Bukit Batok, Mr David Ong, resigned on March 12 over an alleged affair.
It will fall on May 7, with Nomination Day scheduled for Wednesday. There will be nine days of campaigning and one mandatory cooling-off day.
Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) secretary-general Chee Soon Juan and People's Action Party's (PAP) Murali Pillai have declared their intentions to stand in what looks like a one-on-one contest.
Both parties have been out in full force walking the ground these past weeks.
The New Paper yesterday spoke to residents at Bukit Batok who highlighted some hot-button issues they would like to see addressed, such as the frequency of buses, the cleanliness of the estate, the cost of living and a more responsive MP.
A resident who wanted to be known only as Mr Loh, 61, told TNP he had problems getting on the buses every morning because they were always crowded. He asked if there could be a higher frequency of buses for the estate, especially during peak hours.
Residents like Mr Lim Joo Yam, 63, who is self-employed, and train captain Abdul Alim, 65, said they would like the elected MP to engage more efficient estate cleaners.
Said Mr Abdul: "The rubbish chute area in my block is always very dirty. Sometimes I have to clean it myself."
Many residents spoken to said it was important for their MP to be responsive to feedback.
Madam Wu, 71, said she had given feedback to the previous MP regarding the needs of autistic children in the area, but no response was given.
"I've voiced out my opinion, but no one seems to be taking any action," Madam Wu said. #
COST OF LIVING
Residents also shared concerns over national issues such as the rising cost of living.
A student, who gave his name as Mr Shafiq, 22, said the cost of living was something that residents, especially the elderly, were concerned about.
Said Mr Shafiq: "Everywhere the prices are increasing, like the cost of food in hawker centres and cost of flats."
- Additional reporting by Krystal Chia, Tracy Low, Phyllis Lee and Marian Govin
BY THE numbers
BUKIT BATOK SMC
Number of voters:
73% People's Action Party
26.4% Singapore Democratic Party
0.6% Independent candidate Samir Salim Neji
SOURCE: THE STRAITS TIMES AND SINGAPORE ELECTIONS DEPARTMENT WEBSITE
He plans to help seniors and the needy
Speaking to reporters yesterday at a Housing Board block in Bukit Batok, People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai said he would be announcing plans for the estate in the next few days.
He said the plans would relate to senior citizens, needy families, upgrading facilities and helping those affected by the gloomy economy.
Mr Pillai said: "These plans are based on what we have learnt from our Bukit Batok residents over the past few weeks conducting house visits... (They) are what has surfaced as part of (residents') concerns and aspirations."
Fight for every vote and not take anything for granted. That's the attitude that I bring from Aljunied to Bukit Batok. This is something which I think is clearly the hallmark or the core of PAP activists. You need to reach out to residents and don't take anything for granted.
- PAP's Murali Pillai
He plans to run 'model' Town Council
Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Chee Soon Juan said yesterday that he would step up on his ground campaigning efforts.
He also said that his party would be "sharpening" its message to emphasise that the SDP would not only manage a "model" town council, but would also enhance the quality of life for residents.
Dr Chee said: "I'll also be an MP who will be that alternative voice for the people and not be reluctant to raise important issues in Parliament such as the continued rise in the cost of living, job security of our workers and care for our elderly poor."
Our aim is to make Bukit Batok the envy of Singapore when it comes to building a sense of pride and belonging in the town, a place where we are more than just residents but people who care about one another.
- SDP's Dr Chee Soon Juan