On Monday (10 June), Jose Raymond of Singapore People’s Party took to his Facebook to seek answer on why the residents of Potong Pasir were not given adequate information or consulted regarding the construction of a new nursing home in the vicinity.
The politician was referring to the building of a nursing home with 438 beds in Potong Pasir by Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital which had been approved by the Ministry of Health, and is expected to be completed by 2021. This news was published by mainstream media, including the Straits Times in May 2018.
“It is somewhat inexplicable that many residents of Potong Pasir are not even aware that there will be a new nursing home which is being built right in the heart of their estate. Quite a fair number of residents have informed me that they were aware of rumours or coffeeshop talk about the nursing home and only realised that they weren’t rumours at all when construction started a few weeks ago,” he wrote.
He added, “What irks them most is that they have not been engaged or perhaps consulted in the decision making process at all, which is a shame if true”.
Since the construction has started two months ago in front of the St Andrew’s Village in the area, Mr Jose raised a number of questions that should be addressed regarding the lack of consultation given to the people.
1. How were the residents of Potong Pasir engaged over the building of the nursing home in their neighbourhood?
2. Was their feedback taken at all before a decision was made?
3. Were residents of Potong Pasir estate, especially those nearest the proposed location of the nursing home engaged on the matter at all? If yes, was this done prior to the announcement and through what methodologies? If no, then why not?
4. Have residents of the estate been informed of the duration of construction?
5. Have the residents nearest the area where the nursing home will be constructed been informed of the construction plan and the noise alleviation plan, especially since Potong Pasir has a substantial number of elderly folk?
6. What is the traffic management plan for the area since it is a well known fact that traffic is very heavy during peak hours and with the construction of a condominium – The Tre Ver – already in full swing just across the plot where the nursing home will be built.
Mr Jose also highlighted that it’s important for the community and stakeholder to be engaged in such a big project before the announcement was made, adding that “consensus building” in today’s time is critical in ensuring harmonious communities and “the residents in the estate should be the first, and not the last to know”.
“The issue isn’t whether or not the nursing home should be near their homes. The issue is why were the residents of the estate not engaged and consulted on the matter prior to announcement and construction,” said Mr Jose.
Additionally, he noted that “community consultation and engagement should be part of the decision making process and not an afterthought after the fact”.
Mr Jose who has been walking the grounds at Potong Pasir SMC and set to contest in the next general election, also noted that the residents do not have any problem with the building of the nursing home, but were unhappy with the process in which they were consulted.
He said, “It is the lack of engagement in the decision making process. Plus nursing homes aren’t the way of the future. Successful ageing in place, ie. in homes, is the way of the future.”
TOC has reached out to Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, the Member of Parliament at Potong Pasir SMC for his comments on this matter.
After TOC published this article, a netizen named Soros L’chaim who claims to be the resident of Potong Pasir highlighted a few concerns that he has regarding the development, despite mentioning that the residents love the construction of a nursing home in their area. Commenting in TOC’s Facebook page, Soros said that the building is on a “small plot of land” which is “geographically inconvenient” especially during a fire break out.
He also noted that residents in the area are unaware of the traffic flow, and during an emergency or peak hours, it makes things extremely bad due to the heavy congestion.
Other online users said that residents were never consulted “under Pappies rule”, adding that everyone should vote wisely for the next general election.