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

MEETING RESIDENTS: PAP candidate for Bukit Batok byelection Murali Pillai (above) on a walkabout at Bukit Batok.
VISITING: SDP's candidate Dr Chee Soon Juan (above) greeting a Bukit Batok resident.

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.

BUSES

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.

CLEANLINESS

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."

RESPONSIVE MP

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

Jurong Island fire was at light crude oil tank

Tank containing light crude oil on Jurong Island catches fire

FIERY: (Above) SCDF fighting the fire. The plume of black smoke could be seen from about 2km away.

A fire broke out on Jurong Island yesterday shortly before 3pm amid heavy rain.

The rising plume of black smoke could be seen from about 2km away, a reader who works at Tuas told The New Paper.

The reader, who declined to be named, said he could not smell the smoke from that distance, but could see "explosions".

He estimated that the flames went up as high as 60m.

An engineer who works on Jurong Island said he felt his office shake slightly, but thought it was due to the stormy weather.

It was only when his colleague saw the fire from a window that he realised it was something more serious.

"My project manager told us, 'If you don't feel safe, you can leave the site.'

"Most of us chose to leave," said the 26-year-old.

Although they were scared, they "managed to remain calm" and evacuate the island with their belongings, he said.

BLACK SMOKE

FIERY: The plume of black smoke (above) could be seen from about 2km away. PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/SCDF, TNP READER

He said there was "a lot of black smoke", although the fire looked quite small from his office, which is about 300m from the site.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said on its Facebook page that the fire at Tembusu Road on Jurong Island involved a tank containing light crude oil.

FIERY: (Above) SCDF fighting the fire.  PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/SCDF, TNP READER

The tank measured about 40m in diameter and 20m in height.

"Upon SCDF's arrival, the fire was raging and the in-house company emergency response team (Cert) was already fighting the fire with ground water monitors," the statement said.

"The intensity of the fire caused the affected tank to fold and buckle."

The affected tank was contained within a bund wall that measured 100m by 150m.

SCDF deployed its large foam monitor, which can shoot about 22,700 litres of water per minute, to fight the fire.

At the same time, it used several ground water monitors and fixed drencher systems to cool down two nearby oil tanks.

In all, about 150 SCDF officers and 38 vehicles were deployed.

One member of the Cert team was taken to the National University Hospital for heat exhaustion.

SCDF said in another Facebook post that the fire was extinguished at 7.45pm.

"This operation was a race against time in view of the tank that has buckled and on the need to prevent the intense fire from spreading to its immediate surroundings," the post said.


My project manager told us, 'If you don't feel safe, you can leave the site'. Most of us chose to leave.

- An engineer who works on Jurong Island

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