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GE2020: In Bukit Batok broadcast, PAP's Murali cites ‘strong community plan’; SDP's Chee vows to be 'full-time' MP

GE2020: In Bukit Batok broadcast, PAP's Murali cites ‘strong community plan’; SDP's Chee vows to be 'full-time' MP

Murali Pillai of the People's Action Party and Dr Chee Soon Juan of the Singapore Democratic Party, contesting Bukit Batok SMC, speak during the constituency political broadcast on Jul 3, 2020.

SINGAPORE: The People's Action Party's (PAP) Murali Pillai and the Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) Chee Soon Juan delivered their constituency political broadcasts for the Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency (SMC) on Friday (Jul 3).

Incumbent Mr Murali's address was broadcast first.

PAP’S MURALI PILLAI: HAVING A PLAN, AND THE ABILITY TO EXECUTE

Mr Murali, who won the by-election in the SMC against Dr Chee in 2016, spoke briefly in Mandarin, Malay and Tamil, before turning to English in his speech of nearly three minutes.

He noted how he had laid out plans in his manifesto to “make Bukit Batok a stronger community with a brighter future”.

Singapore, he said, faces an uncertainty “like never before” arising from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: GE2020: PAP’s Murali Pillai to face SDP’s Chee Soon Juan in Bukit Batok SMC

While the Government will have to have plans to help everyone, in Bukit Batok, “we need to have a strong community plan to make sure that we retain our shape”.

He shared the story of a Bukit Batok SMC resident who recently succumbed to the coronavirus. A taxi driver, the man was the main breadwinner in his family and had been caring for a grandchild with special needs, Mr Murali said.

“His widow came to me asking for assistance, and that was how we set up the Helping Hands Fund. Through the fund, we helped her, and we intend to help other low-income families as well. In our manifesto, we have other plans,” he said.

But simply having plans was not enough, he added. “You need to have the ability to execute it. You need to have the leadership, the people, the resources and the organisations,” he said.

“And this is where I lay down before you my service in Bukit Batok,” said Mr Murali, who has been a PAP member since 2001 and was at one point its branch secretary in Bukit Batok . “I have served for 20 years, of which four are as your MP (Member of Parliament).”

Urging Singaporeans to vote PAP and vote for him, he said: “I have forged close bonds with community volunteers, with community partners, and most of all, with you. With your support, I’m confident of making these plans a reality.”

Dr Chee in his broadcast explained why MPs “ought to” go full-time, noting that Mr Murali “insists on doing his work on a part-time basis”.

Citing the need to run a town council, attend to residents’ concerns, do homework on proposed Bills and speak up in Parliament, Dr Chee said: “It is not humanly possible for an MP to have a daytime job and, at the same time, give his full attention to his responsibilities in the constituency.”

He said that PAP MPs “contract out their work to profit-making businesses called managing agents”.

“Residents end up paying an extra layer of costs for such agents when the MP was elected to do the work in the first place,” he said.

There is also the danger that in overlooking procedures, the MP will “jeopardise the safety of the residents as has happened in more than a couple of instances in Bukit Batok”, he said.

READ: GE2020: PAP's Murali, SDP's Chee speak out on 'scurrilous attack' on the former's family

For these reasons, Dr Chee said he intended to work as the MP for Bukit Batok SMC on a full-time basis. He would “personally see to it that only the most qualified and experienced professionals handle the job” and be “directly answerable to me”.

He pledged, in his first 100 days of taking over the town council, to publish an interim financial report, report on the handover process, announce a budgetary plan, and produce a 12-month work plan.

“This is to make the running of the estate transparent and accountable, as well as for you to track my performance,” he said. 

He said he would set aside a portion of his MP allowance to fund activities for the elderly, set up a trust fund to assist lower-income households, and run enrichment programmes for students.

“Bukit Batok needs someone who genuinely cares about the residents and will give his 100 per cent for you. You have that someone in me,” he said.

Source: CNA/ja

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