- At the request of the People’s Association (PA) in May, the Housing & Development Board (HDB) has leased 26 sites on HDB land within the Aljunied Town, to PA for them to organise community activities.
- Such requests are not unusual. From time to time, HDB has received similar requests from other Government agencies or civic organisations, including religious bodies. Where they are legitimate, HDB has approved such tenancy requests.
- In this instance, PA has explained to HDB the reasons for their request. First, PA has been using such sites frequently to conduct community activities. PA intends to continue organising such activities in order to carry out their mission of promoting bonding among the residents.
- Second, PA has had no difficulty getting access to sites managed by the PAP Town Councils. However in Hougang, PA and the local grassroots organisations have had many difficulties getting access to Town Council sites. PA was concerned that they might encounter similar difficulties in Aljunied. To avoid unproductive wrangling, PA decided that it would be best if they could lease their own sites. PA has further assured the HDB that they would ensure that their leased sites would be fully open to all residents so long as the activities were non-political in nature.
- HDB had carefully assessed the request and approved it. The Aljunied Town has many open areas. In approving the request from PA, HDB has ensured that there will be sufficient open areas to meet the demand from other users.
- Indeed, there have been occasions when organisers of grassroots and community events applied to use sites managed by Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC), and were told that they were expected to invite the local MP. It was only on 19 August that the Chairman of AHTC stated publicly that the town council would not impose any condition on whom the organisers could invite, when using sites managed by AHTC.
- PA welcomes this new position of AHTC, and is likewise lifting its current restriction on invitees for events organised by non-GROs on sites leased by PA from HDB, as long as they are of a non-political nature.