Cleaning saga: Public needs info to make judgment

SINGAPORE - The Workers' Party has called on the public to "make its own judgment" on several occasions ("WP: Unproductive to continue arguing"; Sunday).

As a member of the public and a Singaporean, I wish to make an informed judgment based on proper understanding of the hawker centre cleaning saga.

To help me do so, I would need clarity on the following: WP chief Low Thia Khiang said last Wednesday that there was no need for further investigations into complaints related to hawker centre cleaning in Aljunied GRC ("Low: No need for further probe into hawker centre cleaning row"; last Thursday).

This means the party must have conducted an investigation. For the purpose of transparency and to facilitate proper understanding, it should make the details of the investigation available for public scrutiny.

In Parliament last Tuesday, Mr Low attributed the dispute to a misunderstanding between the town council, hawkers and National Environment Agency over quarterly spring cleaning versus annual cleaning.

A day later, he said town councils have the prerogative to decide on annual cleaning schedules for markets.

There is a need to clarify if the town council had decided to carry out annual cleaning or otherwise at the two Bedok hawker centres.

From what was reported, the five-day closure at one hawker centre would have indicated that annual cleaning was being carried out, for which high areas had to be cleaned.

The WP MPs have said that Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan made serious allegations against their integrity.

If they are so aggrieved, and since Dr Balakrishnan has waived his parliamentary privilege, why have they not taken legal action to protect their integrity?

And now that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has mentioned that what Dr Balakrishnan said in Parliament was also the Cabinet's position, there is an even greater need for the WP leadership to prove its position in order for the public to make the right judgment.

Mr Jeffrey Law Lee Beng ("Discuss national issues in Parliament"; last Saturday) said Parliament should debate national issues. Politicians' "integrity" is a national issue - and a very important one that may decide the future of Singapore.

- Anthony Lim

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