In Parliament on Thursday, Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament for Punggol East SMC, Lee Lilian, asked the Minister of National Development, Khaw Boon Wan, how the land site in Fernvale designated for a place of worship could be erroneously sold to a private company.
She also asked how such an incident could be prevented in future.
Here was Mr Khaw’s reply:
“For many years, the tenders are open to commercial companies, with the assumption being the companies are affiliated to some religious organisations.
“And because temples or churches are non-profit- making, we just assumed that (for-profit) companies will not be taking part in a non-profit-making venture…
“A very popular Chinese opera, Butterfly Lovers, or Liang Zhu… describes the period of old China when girls, unfortunately, no matter how talented they were, were not allowed to join schools. So, there was this very young, beautiful, talented young lady, Zhu Yingtai, who wanted to study, so she disguised herself as a boy and succeeded in attending the school for three years…
“People just assumed that girls won’t turn up, and because they made the assumption, they discovered it only later (in) hindsight and (asked): “Why didn’t you know?”
“So, it is a similar situation here, that the officers assessing the tender just assumed that it must be a company affiliated to some religious organisation.”