SINGAPORE: If there is a clash between residents’ interests, and his personal and job priorities, People’s Action Party (PAP) Bukit Batok candidate Murali Pillai said on Tuesday (Jul 7) he will put residents’ interests first.
He told reporters: “I said four years ago, during the by-election when this issue was raised, that if there is a clash of priorities in terms of doing what I need to do for my residents against what I need to do on my personal or job fronts, I will always prioritise my residents’ interests."
Mr Murali's 2016 opponent was the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan, who is making another bid this year for the Bukit Batok seat. Dr Chee had earlier questioned Mr Murali’s ability to serve his residents effectively as a “part-time” Member of Parliament.
READ: GE2020: In Bukit Batok broadcast, PAP's Murali cites ‘strong community plan’; SDP's Chee vows to be 'full-time' MP
Mr Murali, who stopped to address the media in the middle of his walkabout on Tuesday morning, added that he spent six days a week in Bukit Batok speaking to residents and dealing with programmes for the community.
According to Mr Murali, the projects include the Green Ribbon task force, where volunteers support families struggling to care for mentally challenged family members and expanding the tuition programme for children in rental flats under Project Beacon.
Responding to a question on estate issues in Bukit Batok, Mr Murali said that he does not “condone shortcomings”.
“I would look at the issues and see whether it's a systemic issue, or is it something that is particular to the officer-in-charge, and we take appropriate measure to deal effectively with the issue,” he said.
Dr Chee previously raised several delayed upgrading projects and safety lapses in the constituency in Facebook posts, and asked if Mr Murali was aware of them.
Particular attention may be drawn to certain incidents in the Internet age, and people “may not necessarily have a perspective of the other matters that are happening as well”, said Mr Murali.
“Bukit Batok residents know ultimately how the town is managed and I’m very sure that they will come to a fair conclusion.”
He added that it was “beneficial” for Bukit Batok residents to have town council affairs managed with the Jurong and Yuhua constituencies.
By managing their town council affairs together, they would be able to “tap on the collective wisdom of elected councillors” including Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, Mr Murali said.
The town councils will also get a “very significant scale of operations”, which would translate to “cost savings and more resources”.
For example, this would apply to newsletter distribution and upgrading projects for the estate, he said.