Rather than being just a “glorified estate manager”, a Member of Parliament’s “real value” to residents is to lead, bond, inspire and fight for them, said Mrs Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss from the Singapore People’s Party yesterday.
In making this point, the Opposition candidate in Mountbatten Single Member Constituency put down her rival for his handling of the authorities’ plans to redevelop the Dakota Crescent housing estate, which is one of Singapore’s oldest.
Criticising Mr Lim Biow Chuan, the incumbent MP from the People’s Action Party, for saying previously that most of those who like the estate’s heritage do not live there, Mrs Chong-Aruldoss said residents have told her otherwise and would like to save the place.
“It is you the residents who should have the first say and be consulted as to what should be done about the local heritage,” she said, speaking at a rally held in the ward last night — the third straight day the SPP has held one. Residents of rental blocks there, which were built in the 1950s, were notified last year they were required to move out of their homes by Dec 31 next year.
She added that primarily, an MP should be a legislator, making sure laws are debated thoroughly and well-considered before they are made. The job falls on the Opposition, she added, given that the PAP’s MPs form an overwhelming majority in the House.
“There are widening gaps in our society, which if left unchecked, will affect our future and our children’s futures. There is a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots in our society, and not enough is being done to arrest income inequality. There is a gap between the aspirations of Singaporeans and the reality of poor social mobility … between the good intentions behind government policies and the reality of people falling between the cracks,” she said.
Responding to Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s recent comments that the PAP is its own check, Mrs Chong-Aruldoss said this is a “dangerous and undemocratic” idea.
She then drew the crowd’s attention to the recent Auditor-General’s report, which showed financial lapses across several ministries and agencies.
“The PAP MPs are mice when talking about the accounting lapses flagged by the Auditor-General. Do you want Parliament to be our rubber stamp? We cannot afford to let Parliament write our government’s blank cheques,” she added.
Last night, she also plugged the SPP’s track record of running the Potong Pasir Town Council for about two decades “successfully and without a hitch”, in bolstering her credentials to run a town council, if elected.
“Under Mr Chiam (See Tong)’s capable hands, the accounts of Potong Pasir Town Council were always clean and always in surplus. Recently, the PAP government has made it their national agenda to cast doubt on the ability of Opposition parties to run a town council successfully.
“As far as SPP is concerned, that is a myth. With SPP’s backing, my team and I are more than confident of running Mountbatten town council. This will be my first call of duty and the first order of my business,” she said.
Ms Chong-Aruldoss stood in Mountbatten under the National Solidarity Party’s banner at the 2011 General Election, taking 41.4 per cent of the votes. She joined the SPP this year.