Workers’ Party’s Member of Parliament (MP) for Hougang SMC Png Eng Huat took to his Facebook on Saturday (15 June) to question who is in charge of implementing Housing Development Board’s Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP).
NRP was introduced by HDB in 2007 to handle block and neighbourhood improvements, and it is fully-funded by the Government.
In Mr Png’s post, he explained that the construction of the first void deck for elderly and adult fitness corner is currently taking place at Hougang.
Since the town council (TC) is actively implementing NRP initiatives in the area, residents have strangely been receiving publicity about the upgrading works from the previously defeated People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate, Lee Hong Chuang.
As such, Mr Png said it prompted the residents to wonder “who is actually carrying out the NRP plans for the estate, as they all understood it to be the WP-run TC.”
According to the MP, this question was actually answered by PAP three years ago during the 2016 Bukit Batok by-election. The ruling party clarified that if a candidate is not elected as a MP, he/she along with the party’s TC will not be allowed to carry out any NRP plans for the estate.
“The PAP added it is the TC that prioritizes and nominates the neighbourhoods for NRP, when it applies for government funding. The PAP candidate for the by-election also said that the implementation of NRP was incumbent on ‘whoever Bukit Batok residents choose..to lead the town council,” he clarified.
If that is not all, HDB also mentioned in its website that TC will be the one who implements the NRP, Mr Png added.
In fact, in 2016, PAP’s candidate Murali Pillai for the Bukit Batok by-election unveiled S$1.9 million worth of infrastructure plans for the neighbourhood, and noted that he will only be able to carry out the plans only if he is elected.
“If we don’t have the mandate, then we won’t have the ability to carry on because we will not form the town council. That’s the rule,” Mr Pillai was quoted by ST.
Since the Mr Lee was defeated in the last election, some Hougang residents asked how could he “claim or imply that he was implementing the NRP, when his own party said it cannot be done unless the candidate was elected”.
As such, Mr Png questioned: “Has the PAP gone back on its word or was the defeated candidate misguided? If a PAP candidate is expected to implement the NRP, come what may, even if he is not elected as MP, then why did the PAP mislead the voters of Bukit Batok in 2016. The party has to decide which is which.”
Having said that, Mr Png said that since the people of Hougang have selected him to lead the TC since 2012, he “will continue to implement the upgrading plans for the estate” and not think about the “political doublespeak to mislead, confuse, and divide the community over such public-funded programmes.”
TOC has reached out to Mr Lee for his comments.