Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament (MP) and Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh took to his Facebook on Monday (26 August) to express his admiration towards WP volunteers and supporters who go all out to help the locals, despite not being recognised as grassroots representatives by the People’s Association (PA).
“At every dinner, the WP MPs are joined by WP volunteers/supporters or just individual Singaporeans who are helping their local, albeit non-government elected MP,” he wrote.
He added, “But because they are not recognised as grassroots representatives under the People’s Association umbrella of grassroots organisations, these volunteers/supporters will not, for example, get invited to events like the President’s National Day reception”.
To highlight other benefits that PA grassroots representatives can receive, Mr Singh referred to an article by The Straits Times (ST) where it reported that grassroots leaders can take advantage of the “lottery effect” of future HDB flats on the prime land at Keppel Club as people have to bid for it.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the National Day Rally this year that the 30km Greater Southern Waterfront at Keppel will be allocated for Housing Board flats. Since there were not much details on the allocation just yet, ST made their analysis on how the allocation may be made based on a previous project called [email protected] in Tanjong Pagar.
For the Pinnacle project, priority was given to former Duxton Plain tenants, first-time housing applicants, children of Tanjong Pagar resi-dents as well as grassroots leaders of Tanjong Pagar GRC.
Under the Grassroots Organisation (GRO) Scheme, grassroots leaders who have successfully and continuously serve their GROs for three years are given the chance to apply for HDB Build-To-Order flats as well as executive condominiums in constituencies within the town council boundaries which they represent, said ST.
It added that Chan Chun Sing, who is PA deputy chairman, revealed in Parliament in 2016 that an average of 28 grassroots leaders make use of the GRO scheme.
Based on the “lottery effect” that ST highlighted in its article, Mr Singh said that “there was also reference in the story to PA grassroots representatives who stand to benefit when bidding for these flats – in effect – a double lottery”.
If that is not all, the opposition party leader also noted other benefits that grassroots representatives can obtain like priority allocation of Primary 1 places for children.
As such, the politician then went on further to elaborate on why he thinks these volunteers still support elected non-government MPs who are in fact “not recognised by some institutions of the state”.
“The belief in a fairer, more equal and better Singapore. And that requires active, not passive participation. What I admire the most is that they continue to step forward – without expecting any benefits, and without begrudging what PA grassroots representatives receive,” he explained.
He ended his post by stating that due to the WP volunteers and supporters’ nobleness, it’s a privilege for him to stand as one beside them.