Andrew Loh / Deputy Editor
In just one day, polytechnic students who are seeking signatures of support for fairer public transport fares have collected 250 signatures. About “9 in 10” students who were approached signed on, spokesman for the group, Bernard Chen, told The Online Citizen.
“They were not afraid to even put down their nric numbers [and were] very receptive to the petition,” he said. “This issue is very sensitive to them… [many] of them stopped eating just to listen to us,” Bernard said, referring to the first day of the petition drive held concurrently in the five polytechnics.
Asked if there were any reactions from the teachers of the polytechnics, he said that they were “quite encouraging” and told the students to “do what you think is right”. A few teachers and parents have also signed the petition so far. Bernard revealed that the issue was tabled to be asked at the National Youth Forum held last Saturday where the Prime Minister was the guest. But the question was not selected or picked from those which were put forward to the Prime Minister eventually.
TOC asked Bernard if he was worried that the campaign could be viewed as a partisan undertaking, given that he is a member of the Workers’ Party and is its Secretary in the party’s Youth Wing. He replied that all his group members know about his political membership and they do not mind it. “They know where I am coming from,” he said. “This petition is not my petition. It’s their petition,” he explained, referring to the students who have come on board to help push for change. “They’ve shown so much ownership.”
“If they are so concerned about my political affiliation, they wouldn’t [have] come on board,” he added.
He said that the petition is not a “seek-trouble” kind of petition. “If a compromise is reached – between the operators, the PTC and the students’ interests and this issue is properly addressed and resolved - we can drop the petition anytime.”
But for now, the group has planned to be at Bugis Junction this Saturday to gather more signatures of support. They will be there from 12 noon to 2 pm, near where the Starbucks café is.
Once they’ve achieved a critical mass of signatures, they intend to send the petition to all the political parties, including the opposition parties.
Meanwhile, the Facebook group which was set up earlier has 3,294 members so far.
Read TOC’s earlier report: Poly students want fairer transport fares.