"Bishan East celebrates SG50 with grassroots adviser Mr Wong Kan Seng; Funpack Distribution," writes a banner for a buffet dinner organised for a private condomiun and the nearby landed properties.
It was announced earlier that every Singaporean and PR household will receive a SG Funpack for Singapore's jubilee anniversary while NDP 2015’s spectators will receive a National Day Parade Funpack.
Sharing the findings from conversations with condo Management Committee, Bishan East Neighbourhood Committee, Bishan-Toa Payoh CCC, the resident informs The Online Citizen (TOC) of fun pack distributions carried out by the Citizens' Consultative Committee (CCC) in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC with free buffet dinners paid by the CCC.
"Since they (took the) trouble to bring to our condo door steps, with free dinner to boot, I went down with my family of 4 to collect." said the resident.
The resident added, "Event started 6.30pm and I saw families streaming down. Around 50-60 were already at BBQ area. I went there 7.30pm.
Consider buffet caters for 200, and using average three household members attend, est 70 households present. This is only about 31% (70/224) who would be collecting their fun packs.
This is also collaborated by my observation of the name list I signed which has less 50% signed."
In fact, this is not the only funpack distribution organised for the residents. According to the committee members, this funpack distribution is being held within all condominiums for the residents and in parks for landed properties. The resident also heard from the managing committee that dinners are held at individual condos on different dates.
One MC member who mentioned to the resident that a typical function which MC organize, caters to about 200+ people with a budget of $12 per pax.
- Curry chicken
- Fried fish in tomato sauce
- Chicken franks
- Fried toufu in oyster sauce
- Cauliflower veg
- Curry samosa
- Fried maggi mee
- Fried rice
- Desserts (assorted cakes, almond jelly)
- Fruit punch drink
The caterer confirmed with the resident on the event that took place, was meant for 200 at a special corporate rate $10/pax (normal $15.90/pax). The caterer also shared that if anyone were to book at such quantity, they would not be giving such special rate.
This means it would have cost the CCC at least $2,000 to run the event. With at least 13 condos and a number of landed properties in the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, the CCC is likely to spend over $20,000 on such buffet dinners to give out the funpacks to residents with the presence of the Member of Parliament who doubles up as the grassroots advisor.
The resident said, "Whereas public housing citizens have to go to CC (community centres), queue to collect fun packs. Wonder if RCs do this for (the) convenience of their HDB blocks?"
It is also said that CCC will fund private residential function up to 50% of operating cost, with a limit of $1000 for festive events e.g., Chinese New Year, lantern festival, etc.
Grassroots organisations such as the CCCs, RCs and MCs were in news recently over the Auditor General's Office report on their accounting lapses, which involved sums totalling $17.78 million.
In the budget debate earlier this year, expenditure for the governing body of GROs, People's Association (PA) was increased 51.3% to over S$1 billion.
Minister Lim Swee Say, Minister (Prime Minister’s Office) and Deputy Chairman of PA, said that the budget allocated to the PA “reflects a higher level of commitment by the Government towards promoting social cohesion and racial harmony.”
He explained that the increase of $100.3 million or 29.5% in operating expenditure will go into implementing the Pioneer Generation Ambassador programme where staff and volunteers reach out to seniors where they live, as well as supporting the work of the grassroots organisations (GROs) and Community Development Councils (CDCs) in assisting the needy and in building and bonding our multi-racial and multi-cultural communities.
According to polling agents in the last General Election 2011, the ruling party, People's Action Party saw lower supporter from the higher income voters. Specifically in the Holland Bukit Timah GRC where most of the opposition votes came from the landed properties.
It is to be seen in the upcoming General Election if such bonding exercises and spending of public money would improve the ruling party's standing with the well-to-do Singaporean voters.