Singapore

Chan Chun Sing: 'I will not allow PA to be politicised'

Aljunied MP and Workers' Party Chairman Sylvia Lim raised her concerns about the role of the People's Association (PA) during MCCY's Committee of Supply debate on Wednesday.

Labour chief and Deputy Chairman of the PA Chan Chun Sing addressed her concerns in a speech yesterday...

Ms Sylvia Lim (above ):

While we understand that the 2015 budget was much larger than usual due to the SG50 activities and building residents' facilities, the 2016 budget is still very high at nearly $900 million. This is a significant 34 per cent increase from 2014. How is the high expenditure justified?

Mr Chan Chun Sing (above) :

The budget in 2016 is about five per cent lower than 2015. This is not exactly because of the SG50 celebrations.

The SG50 expenditure only increased the PA's budget by $4 million. Most of the SG50 activities ride on existing programmes that had already been planned by the community.

The first significant increase in 2015 was due to the start-up of the Pioneer Generation office to reach out to the Pioneer Generation elders.

This accounted for the bulk of the increase in PA's operating expenditure.

The bigger bulk of the increase in budget was due to the capital expenditure.

There are two projects which contributed to the significant increase - Tampines Hub and Wisma Geylang Serai Civic Centre.

This year, we are embarking on a programme to upgrade 24 community clubs.

On the timing of the upgrade - during the current economic slowdown, if there are opportunities for us to lock in good prices to do our routine projects, I think we should do it.

It doesn't do us good to have a feast and famine strategy in our capital expenditure.

Ms Lim:

An unhealthy culture seems to have developed within some quarters of the PA who see its role to include advancing the ruling party politically, and undermining the work of opposition MPs.

Mr Chan:

The PA participants are average Singaporeans from all walks of life. The PA does not check on the political allegiance of the participants of our activities.

We do not know their voting preference.

The PA is a statutory board. The PA does not allow any political activity or canvassing on our premises or in our activities. We certainly do not mobilise anyone for any political party.

If Ms Lim has any such evidence of wrongdoing, you can let me know and I will follow up.

I will be the last person to allow the PA to be politicised.

Ms Lim:

When I tried to simply get information from Ministry of National Development on the plans for private estate upgrading projects within Aljunied GRC, the Ministry referred me to the Citizens' Consultative Committees (CCC). I then wrote several times to the CCC, but it seems that my letters do not even merit a reply.

Mr Chan:

I don't have the details of the incident you raised. I have heard from both sides on the ground, accusing each other of being uncooperative.

I urge both sides - town council and CCC - to put interests of the residents first.

parliamentMINISTRY OF CULTURECOMMUNITY AND YOUTHSingapore BudgetChan Chun SingSylvia LimWorkers' PartyPeople's Action Party