HDB & PA respond to open spaces issue in Aljunied

The Housing Board (HDB) and People's Association (PA) have issued official responses to the ongoing dispute over the use of community sites in Aljunied GRC.

Below are their responses:

HDB response:

Ms Sylvia Lim accused the HDB of helping the People's Association (PA) to prevent elected MPs from holding activities at those sites and to curtail the ground presence of the MPs.

A Housing and Development Board (HDB) spokesman said: "From time to time, HDB adjusts its list of sites managed by a Town Council, based on legitimate requests from relevant agencies or civic organisations.

"In this case, People Association (PA) has requested tenancy for the sites for the purpose of organising community activities."

"Anyone who wishes to use the site can apply to PA."

"HDB had granted PA's application for tenancy of these sites, which PA had been using frequently to conduct community activities."

"Aside from community sites on tenancy to PA, other properties within a Town, such as land leased by HDB for use as temples, churches and community centres are also excluded from the TC's management."

PA's response:

In her statement, Ms Sylvia Lim charged that People's Association "appears to capitalise on its close connection with the government to serve the political interests of the ruling party".

She added: "The move to let PA control the sites previously managed by the Town Council would give PAP candidates a ground advantage and permanent presence, in advance preparation for the next elections."

Responding, a PA spokesman said: "The grassroots organisations (GROs) organise many community activities for residents.

"Many are held at community clubs (CCs) and residents' committee (RC) premises."

"However, other events require outdoor spaces or bigger premises so that more residents can participate in the activities."

"As community activities are held quite regularly, some Citizens' Consultative Committees (CCCs) lease space from the relevant authorities to do so."

"The practice of leasing public spaces for community activities is not new, nor is it peculiar to Aljunied GRC."

"From time to time, the CCCs may rent various sites across Singapore from the relevant authorities for community activities."

"In Aljunied GRC, the CCC has leased 26 sites for community events."

"These sites are mainly open fields and hard courts."

"The PA and its GROs are non-partisan and do not allow any political party or MP to hold activities on PA premises or other facilities managed by the PA."

"This applies to all political parties and MPs, including the PAP."