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GE2020: In Sembawang GRC broadcast, PAP focuses on estate development; NSP highlights cost of living, support for residents

GE2020: In Sembawang GRC broadcast, PAP focuses on estate development; NSP highlights cost of living, support for residents

Ong Ye Kung of the People's Action Party and Spencer Ng of the National Solidarity Party teams contesting Sembawang GRC speaking at the constituency political broadcast on Jul 7, 2020.

SINGAPORE: The People’s Action Party (PAP) team for Sembawang GRC has pledged to stay true to the character of the constituency if elected, while their opponents, the National Solidarity Party (NSP), promised to be a voice for residents on concerns they have raised.

The two parties were delivering their constituency political broadcasts aired on Tuesday (Jul 7), with the PAP speaking first as the incumbents in the five-member Group Representation Constituency (GRC).


From the PAP, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung began by recalling former Sembawang representative and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s work in the GRC. The “most significant initiative” of Mr Khaw was to persuade the Housing and Development Board (HDB) to build “so many more” new flats in the constituency.

“Why did he do that? Because residents (gave) feedback to him, and these are residents who used to live in the kampungs there but resettled into the HDB flats,” said Mr Ong.

“They said, we’re growing older, our children are growing up, getting married, and they’re moving out of our homes, but all the BTOs (Build-to-Order flats) are in the northeast, meaning Punggol, I think. They asked, why don't we have more BTO flats in Sembawang? So Mr Khaw pushed for it.”

READ: GE2020: PAP team led by Ong Ye Kung to face NSP in Sembawang GRC

Integrated development Kampung Admiralty, was another project arising from residents’ feedback, Mr Ong cited, adding that many seniors told Mr Khaw they wanted to live close to amenities, lead a healthy lifestyle and have neighbours who can take care of one another.

“What residents wanted was put into action and crystallised in a very meaningful, concrete way that benefited them.”

The GRC’s elected representatives “need to take this approach” and must understand Sembawang’s “character and DNA”, Mr Ong said. “Be in touch with the roots and the history of the place and the people.”

Representatives must also be prepared to innovate, he said. “Be prepared to develop those one-of-its-kind projects in the area. If we don’t succeed, we learn, and we improve. If we succeed, share the idea with the rest of Singapore, like (with) Kampung Admiralty.”

The work of consulting residents goes beyond compiling requests and feedback forms, added Mr Ong. “It means really listening to them and understanding (their) aspirations and ... delivering what they really want.

“If we can do that, then we can preserve the character of Sembawang and build it up further.”


The PAP team for Sembawang “has internalised this approach”, said Mr Ong, adding that this was demonstrated when they redeveloped Sembawang Hot Spring Park.

“Today when I visit the park, I can see it’s a charming, rustic place. Singaporeans from all over the island come here to enjoy the hot spring park. It’s like a nice little local tourist attraction.”

In every project the team will undertake, including the Bukit Canberra community hub, the Woodlands integrated healthcare campus, new park connectors, BTO projects and the Woodlands waterfront, they will have to “give it tender loving care”.

“Make sure the project embodies the characteristics of Sembawang GRC: Character, innovation, consultation. This is our promise to the residents of Sembawang GRC,” said Mr Ong

“We’ll make this a special place in Singapore — more facilities, more convenient, yet green, rustic, historical and a unique place in Singapore.”

(Left to right) Ong Ye Kung, Vikram Nair, Mariam Jaafar, Poh Li San and Lim Wee Kiak of the People's Action Party team contesting Sembawang GRC speaking at the constituency political broadcast on Jul 7, 2020.

His team-mates, Mr Vikram Nair, Ms Mariam Jaafar and Ms Poh Li San spoke mostly in Tamil, Malay and Mandarin respectively, while Dr Lim Wee Kiak, who spoke in English, shared their plans for Bukit Canberra, Sembawang’s community hub.

READ: GE2020: From RSAF search and rescue pilot, to PAP candidate ready to 'serve from the heart'

Dr Lim said the blueprint for the development was made in consultation with residents.

“This will be a green and sustainable development, with our very own Sembawang hawker centre, Sembawang swimming pool, indoor sports hall, gym and the state-of-the-art Sembawang polyclinic together with childcare and eldercare facilities — all this in a luscious greenery setting, among fruit trees and organic farming gardens,” he said.

The new Woodlands integrated healthcare campus will have 2,200 beds and is now under construction, he said. It is set to be “one of the largest” medical facilities in Singapore.

The team also plans to build cycling and pedestrian paths linking Woodlands Regional Centre to the Woodlands waterfront, he continued. “All these new exciting developments will make Sembawang more happening, and special.”


From the NSP, Mr Sathin Ravindran said he grew up in the Sembawang GRC area, and that he has heard concerns raised by constituents, which he wants to address in Parliament and in the constituency.

“There’ve been many social issues — such as unemployment, workforce discrimination, youths giving up their education prematurely — and all these are due to the increasing cost of living and the increase in workforce competition,” he said.

He is also concerned about job security for middle-aged workers, support for single parents and job opportunities for young Singaporeans. “More help could’ve been given to the families with financial difficulties, so that the children can focus on studies, instead of trying to make ends meet at home,” he said.

“Are all Singaporeans able to enjoy a world-class education system? Is our education system preparing children to face challenges ahead?”

READ: GE2020: NSP's Spencer Ng questions how many 'quality' new jobs created

He said he wanted to be an advocate for Sembawang constituents and for Singaporeans, as he understands them and has experienced similar difficulties.

“The majority of PAP candidates seem to be living the good life, but do they know the daily difficulties and financial issues many of us ordinary Singaporeans are facing?” he questioned.

He called for more grants for tertiary education and above, so that all Singaporeans are given the chance to further their studies.

“Dear residents, what has the PAP promised you in the last five years? What has your MP promised you?” he questioned. “Have you seen the changes made? Were your issues and concerns resolved? Are you doing better than five years ago?”

Adding that the NSP wants “a more proactive than a reactive” government, he said the Government must be “more constantly pushed and questioned”.

“We need to have more transparency, accountability, checks and balances,” he concluded, asking constituents to “do the right thing” and vote for the NSP.

(Left to right) Spencer Ng, Sathin Ravindran and Yadzeth Hairis of the National Solidarity Party team contesting Sembawang GRC speaking at the constituency political broadcast on Jul 7, 2020.

The NSP’s Mr Yadzeth Hairis spoke in Malay, while Mr Spencer Ng spoke in English. The latter thanked residents for their support since 2015, and said that while the NSP respected the electorate’s decision previously, the party hopes voters will now “reconsider”.

He touched on several main issues: Protecting local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), affordable housing, no further Goods and Services Tax (GST) hikes and Central Provident Fund (CPF) withdrawals.

Calling for a “level playing field” for local PMETs, he said he would like to revisit the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with India. “If the agreement is found to cause unfair competition for our local PMETs ... we’ll push to abolish that particular agreement.”

For affordable housing “for future generations of Singaporeans”, the NSP is looking at cost subsidies “as part of the mechanism to reduce the prices”.

The party will also study “increasing the liveable space of an HDB flat”, he said. “There’s so much room for improvement with the current ones. What happened to our HDB executive maisonette?”

As for GST, the party is also “looking at zero GST for basic necessities, such as rice, cooking oil and baby formula”.

He called on the Government to “stop the increments in the withdrawal age” for CPF members, adding that the NSP wants the withdrawal age criteria to be reduced progressively to honour the “legal right to withdraw” CPF at age 55.

“Make the withdrawal at the stated age by default, with the opt-out option if members wish to maintain a CPF account. This can be supplemented with wealth management advisories to ensure our retirees can have a fulfilling retirement,” he added.


At the constituency level, the NSP team will implement a “Sembawang master development plan” if elected, said Mr Ng.

This plan includes constructing more barrier-free facilities for people with disabilities, and building elderly-friendly facilities in housing and common spaces, he cited.

For example, this could mean more raised tiles for the visually challenged, and providing emergency tokens to elderly constituents for them to request assistance with apps like MyResponder.

He said the team also plans to install progressive solar cells to power common facilities to lessen residents’ conservancy charges, and improve sheltered walkways and lifts.

Besides the usual Meet-the-People Session, the NSP team will set up mobile sessions so that residents need not travel much, he added. “We’re also looking at online and virtual sessions.”

The team will also call for tenders for service providers and contracts that can be staffed by Sembawang residents as a priority, matched to the “job scope and aspiration” of the resident, he said.

The NSP team also plan to set aside their MP allowance as “seed funding” in collaboration with local enterprises for “constituency growth”, including funds for basic necessities and schooling needs for less privileged constituents.

“We want to set up a cooperative and links for small, micro and home-based businesses in Sembawang. This is to encourage residents to patronise their products and services,” he added. The team also plans to consolidate the constituency’s social service organisations, charities and similar organisations in a one-stop service centre.

“These are just some of the long list of exciting developments we have in store for our Sembawang GRC residents,” Mr Ng said in closing.

“So for a better tomorrow, let's do the next right thing. Help us build the true kampung spirit in Sembawang. Make the NSP your voice.”

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Source: CNA/hw


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