When Mr Murali Pillai , the People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate for the Bukit Batok by-election, announced the unveiling of the $1.9 million worth of infrastructure plans for a neighborhood in the single-member constituency, he told reporters that the plans will only be able to carry out these plans should he be elected.
Media quoted him saying on 24 April, “This plan we are presenting is a plan by the PAP Jurong-Clementi Town Council. So it’s really up to our residents. We will only have the mandate to carry on if we are returned at the by-election,”
Following criticism from the Singapore Democratic Party about his subtle threat to voters and accusations that his antics might be contravening election regulations, Mr Murali somehow backtracked on his initial stance and said that the funding is neutral and is not dependent on whether PAP wins or not.
On 28 April, media quoted Mr Murali saying, “The S$1.9 million project which I referred to, is the Neighbourhood Renewal Project, which I mentioned time and time again, it is a funding-neutral project. It really doesn’t matter, it’s a town council run project, it’s not really dependant on whether the PAP wins or loses. That is part and parcel of what was estimated by Mr Ong.”
However, in his earlier statement on the 24 April, there was no mention of the $23.6 million improvement plan and that the $1.9 million project comes from the plan that former PAP MP for Bukit Batok SMC, Mr David Ong has promised the residents, should he be elected in the General Election 2015.
When Mr Murali announced the $1.9 million project, why was he not up front with how the project is to be funded and what did he try to achieve with his initial claim/ half-truth that the plans will only be able to carry out these plans should he be elected. After all, the funding for the plans would have been released and the winning candidate in the by-election will be able to access the funds to proceed with the project or another similar project with inputs from the residents.
In any case, it is clear now to residents of Bukit Batok that no matter who is elected in the by-election, they can still look forward to the much-anticipated upgrading projects in their estate.
Now with similar social programmes in place from both candidates, perhaps the choice is only to choose between a full-time MP or a part-time MP.