PAP 'misled voters on financial status of Punggol East'

PAP 'misled voters on financial status of Punggol East'
People at a nearby HDB block watching Workers' Party candidate Chen Show Mao speaking at last night's rally at Punggol Field. WP's Ms Lee Li Lian will be contesting in Punggol East SMC.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang accused the People's Action Party (PAP) of "misrepresenting facts and misleading voters", as he claimed Punggol East ward had a deficit, and not a surplus, before joining Aljunied-Hougang Town Council in 2013.

At the WP rally in Punggol Field last night, Mr Low held up a printout of the ward's town council accounts dated April 30, 2013 - when it merged with the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.

"The PAP misrepresented the facts, misled the voters. It was the bully that cried foul first. They are bullies. It is a deficit of $280,000 and not a surplus. You all have to get this clear," Mr Low said.

His remarks run contrary to what PAP's Punggol East candidate, Mr Charles Chong, told Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao last month, that the Punggol East SMC had a surplus of $1 million before the PAP handed it over to WP. The opposition party won the seat in a 2013 by-election.

Mr Low last night added that Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Mr Chong had both spoken publicly about Punggol East's surplus before it was handed over to WP.

He said: "I now urge the PAP to answer to WP and to the residents of Punggol East: Where did the money go? We want their answer." Mr Chong is challenging WP's Ms Lee Li Lian in Punggol East SMC.

In an interview with The Straits Times published on Aug 28, Mr Chong also asked Punggol East residents if they wanted to help subsidise Aljunied and Hougang, as the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) was found to have financial lapses.

Punggol East SMC had joined forces with Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC to form the AHPETC in 2013. Before that, it was part of the PAP's Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council.

Yesterday, WP chairman Sylvia Lim and Mr Pritam Singh, who are contesting in Aljunied GRC, also hit out at the People's Association (PA) and the HDB for what they described as unfair, partisan practices against WP-held constituencies.

Ms Lim said HDB had asked AHPETC if it could host a welcome party for new residents when the Rivervale Arc was completed last year. Ms Lee, the Punggol East MP, had agreed. "She unhesitatingly instructed the town council to approve it. But when the day came, Lee Li Lian was not invited. Instead, the guests present were grassroots adviser Teo Ser Luck and Dr Koh Poh Koon," said Ms Lim.

Mr Teo is the grassroots adviser to the ward, while Dr Koh had lost to Ms Lee in the by-election in 2013.

"Is HDB, a government department, helping the PAP campaign against a WP MP? HDB even had the cheek to ask AHPETC to stand by its cleaners to clean up after the event," said Ms Lim, citing it as an example of the unnecessary politicking Ms Lee has gone through.

HDB is a statutory board of the National Development Ministry.

Mr Singh said the Aljunied Citizens' Consultative Committee (CCC) under the PA rejected many improvement projects proposed by AHPETC between 2011 and 2015, such as upgrading playgrounds.

AHPETC had suggested 50 projects but only 17 were approved in the four-year period, and works have not started on any, he said.

The CCC chairman is "indifferent to helping the community in a bigger way in opposition wards" as this would mean facilities will be built on "highly visible town council common property", Mr Singh said.

leepearl@sph.com.sg

Additional reporting by Rennie Whang


This article was first published on September 6, 2015.
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