~ By: Chiam See Tong ~
I refer to the article “MP wants more time to pay for Potong Pasir lift upgrading” published in The Straits Times on 21 April 2012, and to other newspapers running the same story. Some residents of Potong Pasir and well-wishers have expressed concern to me that the article is misleading, had misinterpreted certain facts, and therefore in need of clarification.
I can categorically state that my town council and I would have executed the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) project without any hassle. We had a clear financial plan and were reserving funds even from our operating accounts. Our audited balance sheet was self-explanatory – it reflected that the total available residential property fund to be $6.7 million as of 31 March 2011.
The LUP project was expected to be completed by 2014, and we still had 4 years more to accumulate our funds. It should also be noted that LUP payments to HDB are progressive and not made as one lump sum payment.
A few years back, my town council had in fact built 29 lifts free-of-charge for the residents of Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, without them having to make any co-payments like for the LUP. We also did major rewiring work there, contrary to Mr Sitoh Yih Pin’s assertion that we had not done any such work in the constituency for 26 years.
At the same time, we were able to build interaction parks, around 16 linkways, do re-painting, make changes of water pumps, re-roofing and many other important improvement works.
All this was achieved without a single cent from Community Improvement Projects Committee (CIPC) funds, which all PAP-managed town councils in Singapore receive. We had planned our finances meticulously and had saved sufficient funds to be able to complete all these projects.
To apply for CIPC funds, we were required to have the endorsement of the Adviser of the Potong Pasir Residents’ Committees (RC), who incidentally was the PAP candidate for the constituency in three general elections, Mr Sitoh Yih Pin.
All our applications over the years were rejected, the sole exception being one application made in 2011 for a barrier-free accessibility project.
In any case, I am happy for my former residents to be able to get assistance and grants from the government now, to enhance their living environment in Potong Pasir.