by Jewel Philemon with contributions from Rina Choo/
“At its core, the SPP believes that able Singaporeans should look out for the less able. We believe that a society is only as successful as it’s weakest members. Our service must therefore be to the less advantaged first.” – Singapore People Party’s 2nd assistant Secretary-General, Mr Benjamin Pwee.
The Singapore People’s Party (SPP) launched its first community service outreach programme, since the last General Election, in Toa Payoh, amongst rental flats residents. The event, titled ‘MPS to the doorsteps’, began at 10am, and went on for four hours, during which SPP members and volunteers met and distributed food to needy residents.
In a later statement, Mr Benjamin Pwee, the party’s second assistant secretary-general, deemed the outreach as ‘very successful’, adding, “We were glad to notice that while many of the residents faced challenges and had fallen through the cracks of disparate government policies (like the 2 1/2 year rental flat eligibility requirement), they were full of spirit and actively trying to help themselves.”
“We believe that with more direct assistance coupled with tweaks in the respective policies, most of these families can survive and thrive in Singapore”, he elaborated.
However, despite the success of the event, Mr Pwee said that the hesitation some corporate organizations and VWO’s still have about working with alternative political parties, proved a challenge. “We are sad to note that this is still the reality in Singapore and we will work hard to gain the trust of residents and partners as we serve.”, Mr Pwee said, “We hope that in time, the Corporations, VWOs, the PA, CCs and RCs will look beyond their immediate perceived political concerns and work with alternative political parties, like the SPP, in partnership to better serve residents.”
Mr Pwee also remarked that community service is nothing new to the SPP. He cited Mr Chiam See Tong’s 27 years of community service to Potong Pasir residents as well as needy Singaporeans, as key examples. “As the party rejuvenates with new volunteers and members, we wanted to induct them into Mr Chiam’s tradition of humble service”, he expressed, “We are glad that many of our volunteers and members have responded with gusto and are keen on developing long term relationships with the residents to understand and meet their needs.”
In regards to future such endeavours, Mr Pwee said that the SPP will follow up by linking the residents with their network of supporters and resources as well as raising key systemic policy failures in parliament through their non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP), Mrs Lina Chiam.
“As we attract more volunteers, we intend to expand our outreach to more areas and families and to follow up with these families on a regular basis.”