SINGAPORE - The article ("Can civil society influence policies?"; Monday) said civil society groups "extracted concessions on Bukit Brown cemetery".
As key players in the civil movement trying to protect and preserve Bukit Brown, we are unclear what "concessions" the article referred to.
In 2012, the decision to build a highway through Bukit Brown had already been made before the official announcement. We were present at a briefing by the Ministry of National Development, but there was no consultation or protracted engagement thereafter to extract any concessions. We issued a call for a moratorium and moved on.
The article said the number of graves planned for exhumation was reduced from 5,000 to 3,746 as part of a compromise reached with civil society. This was not the case.
The number of graves finally affected was 4,153. The figure cited in the article was from a Land Transport Authority (LTA) statement on March 19, 2012 on the realignment of the road. The final tally of affected graves was in an Aug 5, 2013 statement by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and LTA to announce the award of the contract for the road.
Also, both statements clearly attributed the road realignment to an engineering decision. The decrease in the number of graves affected had nothing to do with consultations with civil society.
The LTA statement that announced the road design included a plan for a bridge over several creeks in Bukit Brown, rather than a design that would see the filling up of these natural drainage networks with soil.