SINGAPORE: The People's Association (PA) is a statutory board and its participants are average Singaporeans from all walks of life, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing said, refuting claims from Workers's Party MP Sylvia Lim on the PA being partisan.
Mr Chan, who is also the Deputy Chairman of the PA, said the statutory board does not check on the political allegiance of the participants of its activities, nor does he or anybody know their voting preferences. "It is not relevant to our work," he said.
The PA's mission is to strengthen the social fabric of the nation, Mr Chan added.
He said this is done in three ways: Strengthening people-to-people connection; working with ministries to provide timely feedback to the Government of the day on the people's concerns and aspirations so that policies can be better; and working with ministries, and explaining and executing the policy intent of the Government of the day.
Ms Lim had said on Wednesday in Parliament that some of the PA's activities have deviated from its objectives, and pointed to the mobilisation of PA activists to campaign for the ruling People's Action Party's candidates during elections as an example.
WON'T ALLOW PA TO BE POLITICISED
Based on his personal experience, Mr Chan said he has seen participants of PA activities supporting both the incumbent PAP and the Opposition during the General Election.
"When I see my own residents, participants of my PA activities, supporting the Opposition, I can only ask myself: 'How can I work harder to win them over?'" he said.
"The PA is a statutory board. It executes the directions for the Government of the day, as per any statutory board. The PA does not allow any political activity or canvassing on our premises or in our activities. And we certainly do not mobilise anyone for any political party," Mr Chan reiterated.
"If Ms Lim has any such evidence of wrongdoing, you can let me know, and I guarantee you I will follow up. I will be the last person to ever allow the PA to be politicised."