Government remains committed to serving residents, whether in PAP or opposition wards: PM Lee
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was speaking at the opening of Rivervale Community Club in Sengkang.
SINGAPORE: The Government remains committed to serving residents, whether they are in wards held by the People’s Action Party (PAP) or the opposition, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Jul 30).
He was speaking at the opening of Rivervale Community Club in Sengkang East.
The plan to build the new standalone community club with more facilities was first announced in 2016, as the former facility located at an HDB void deck was becoming “too small” to cater to the area’s growing population. Efforts were made to reach out to many residents, especially those actively using the old community club, for ideas and suggestions, he said.
“At that time, Sengkang East was under the PAP (People’s Action Party). Then in the 2020 General Elections, it went to the opposition,” said Mr Lee.
The Workers’ Party won the new Sengkang GRC that year with 52.13 per cent of the vote.
“But the Government remains committed to serving residents here in Sengkang,” the Prime Minister said.
“So work on the (community club) carried on because the needs of the residents remain – needs for a larger community space, for a wider range of facilities and programmes,” he said.
At the same time, the People’s Association continued its work in the area to bring residents together and strengthen the community.
“Whether Sengkang East is in a PAP or in an opposition ward, many activists and volunteers continue to serve on the (Community Club Management Committee) and on its sub-committees to organise activities and programmes for residents," Mr Lee said.
“We also continue to maintain a full grassroots network to inform residents about government policies, to help vulnerable households through many government assistance schemes, and to gather feedback so that we continue to have a good sense of the ground.”
Mr Lee said community clubs form an important part of Singapore's social landscape as they provide shared spaces for community activities, as well as opportunities for residents from different races and social backgrounds to meet and interact.
Even as homes and living standards in Singapore improved vastly over the past decades, the need for common spaces in society remains.
“That’s why we continue to develop our (community clubs), upgrade the infrastructure, update the programmes to meet residents’ changing needs," he said.
Mr Lee said that community clubs also serve as essential nodes to support the community in times of crisis.
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, community clubs, grassroots leaders and community volunteers proved “invaluable” in the country’s efforts to fight the coronavirus by helping to distribute masks and TraceTogether tokens.
They also helped deliver food packs to those isolated at home and assisted residents to apply for financial aid or jobs.
Later when vaccines became available, many community clubs were turned into vaccination centres.
“With the help of the staff and volunteers, we could smoothly execute our national vaccination programme and this was a key factor which enabled us to have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world and transition to living with COVID-19 today,” Mr Lee said.
Throughout the pandemic, community clubs continued to engage residents and keep the community united, including helping seniors to make use of technology to stay socially active.
“Let us always make our (community clubs) places where residents feel a sense of belonging and community with one another," he said, as he declared Rivervale Community Club open.
The new community club is eco-friendly and features a modern wooden facade and a vertical green wall.
It is the first community club to be built with the "mass engineered timber" construction method. This method promotes productivity, sustainability and better quality control for the project, said the People's Association.
Materials used are renewable and pre-fabricated to reduce work done on site. It also reduces the need for extra cooling and heating of facilities, thus reducing carbon footprint, added the association.
The new community club's facilities include a childcare centre, two enrichment centres, a co-working space and senior-friendly gym facilities.