Before embarking on his round of cycling across Bukit Batok on 2 May, the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) Dr Chee Soon Juan spoke to reporters about his plans for the SMC and its residents, touching on the Hearts for Bukit Batok initiative as well as proposed improvements to Meet-the-People Sessions.
As the SDP’s candidate for the upcoming by-election in Bukit Batok, Dr Chee has been busying himself with visiting residents’ houses, dropping by at the coffeeshops and rallies in the evenings to reach out to as many of the voters as possible.
“The message that we want to get across is there’s some very real, concrete programmes that we have in store for the residents at Bukit Batok and this will benefit them in terms of raising their quality of life,” Dr Chee said at the media doorstop. He highlighted plans to help residents with both financial and social issues.
“For people who are very worried bout their financial situation, the economic situation right now. We’ve got a team of experts in place,” he said, inviting these residents to approach the SDP for further advice.
Dr Chee also noted that while the People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai has spoken about providing jobs for the people, there will be no simple solution if there are no jobs available at the national level.
Instead, Dr Chee proposed a “safety net” for jobseekers. “In parliament, if I am elected, I’m going to push very hard for the retrenchment insurance scheme,” he said. He also highlighted the need to work with PAP and Workers’ Party (WP) Members of Parliament (MP) towards such a common goal.
For social support for Bukit Batok residents, Dr Chee spoke about the Hearts for Bukit Batok initiative, which he hoped would include not just professionals, but the community as a whole.
“Hearts for Bukit Batok is something where we want to get people involved,” he said. “The community must come in and care for the people around them. That’s how you build up the community, the kampung spirit.”
Dr Chee also emphasised the need for the programme to focus on the elderly to prevent boredom and deterioration.
He acknowledged that the plans for Hearts for Bukit Batok were still in their early stages, with the SDP aiming to reach out to more families in the area and to sort out the specifics of the initiative.
Improving Meet-the-People Sessions is also on Dr Chee’s to-do list. He told reporters about the long waiting times observed at such sessions for residents to speak to their MPs. Additionally, he noted that while members of the public who worked typical office hours would have no problems attending the sessions which are held in the evening, other individuals working odd hours such as night shifts would not have such opportunities.
“It’s something I think we can handle if the MP were to spend more time in the constituency, meaning full-time,” Dr Chee said.