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MOS Tan Chuan-Jin: We failed to conduct a session in line with what campaigners wanted

the following are Minister of State for National Development, Tan Chuan-Jin's notes on Bukit Brown from his Facebook:


We just had a briefing and discussion on Bukit Brown. This was an opportunity to share our considerations behind the issue of the road, which I had announced in Parliament on 5th March, and to also listen to the views held by many who are passionate on the heritage and history of the place. 

Understandably, our decision to proceed with the construction of the road has caused disappointment to those who want to conserve Bukit Brown. I want to give assurance to those who have been giving us their views on this matter that the decision has not been an easy one. While we have not been able to fully accommodate their wishes, we have taken many of their views into consideration. For instance, the decision to embark on a serious documentation of the affected graves was a result of advice we received from friends from the heritage society. LTA has also factored in feedback in their design of the road to minimise impact to the cemetery, hydrology and biodiversity.
 
Going forward, we need to continue with these conversations. For example, we are now looking at working with interested stakeholders on public outreach to commemorate the history and heritage of Bukit Brown even as we continue with work on documentation.
 
(Note 2) It is illuminating to read the statement issued by the various groups.
 
Yesterday's session on Bukit Brown was never intended to be the type of dialogue desired and claimed by these groups. Nor was it a response to their earlier request. 
 
I had explained that our intent was simply to share with a range of stakeholders on some of the background information and considerations we had previously shared with other groups and to also highlight the road plans which were being announced. It was not a consultation effort to debate about whether the road would be built or not. That has already been stated in Parliament. We were announcing the details, alignment etc. 
 
However, it was clear that it did not matter. Because we failed to conduct a session that was in line with what they wanted e.g. to have their own briefs, to invite others on their invite list, it was deemed to be an inadequate effort at genuine engagement.