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SDP chief puzzled over edited Channel 5 news segment which originally said Marsiling Rise is getting lift upgrades

Last Thursday (16 January), it seems residents at Block 115 and 119 of Marsiling Rise had reason to celebrate when Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan shared on his Facebook page that they would finally be getting their much needed lift upgrade, after more than 10 years of demanding for it.

However, it seems that was a short-lived victory.

Yesterday (19 January), Dr Chee took to Facebook again to talk about the fact that the resident are apparently not getting the upgrade.

He explained that the reason he published the post about the lifts last week was because some of the residents has “excitedly alerted” the SDP that news on Channel 5 had reported that the lift upgrades were guaranteed, sending the clips of the broadcast to the party. A resident also uploaded the clip to YouTube.

Sharing a screenshot of the clip, Dr Chee said: “As you can see from the screenshots below, Ch 5 newscaster, Otelli Edwards, said: “Residents at two HDB blocks are set for upgrades that will give them lift access on every floor.”

Screenshot of Channel 5 news. (Image by Chee Soon Juan / Facebook)

Unfortunately, Dr Chee was informed by lunchtime that the segment with Ms Edwards was edited out and replaced with cut-away shots of the lifts and a voiceover quoting PAP MP Ong Teng Koon saying that “it is only a matter of time that the government will take action”.

Dr Chee also noted that the clip uploaded on Youtube by the resident has since been made private. the new version of the news segment can be still be viewed on Toggle here (at 15:25), showing MP Ong saying that the matter will be resolved in due course.

Dr Chee added in his post, “This now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t report has left residents scratching their heads.”

What happened?

On 14 January, SDP shared a petition on Facebook calling for the Housing Development Board (HDB) to install lifts in Blocks 115 and 119 Marsiling Rise that serves every floor.

Following that, MP of Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC Mr Ong said to Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao that the lifts in those blocks have not been upgraded because the costs would be too high. He was repeating what the Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong said in parliament last year when asked about the 150 blocks that have yet to benefit from the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP). Mr Wong had said that the upgrades are not feasible due to high cost or technical or site constraints.

Mr Ong added that he believes the lifts in those blocks will be upgraded, it’s just a matter of time.

In response, SDP countered: “But why must everything be calculated in dollars and cents? What about the safety of the residents especially the elderly, disabled and those with babies?”

A day after Mr Ong’s comments, SDP said on Facebook that residents have told them that they would rather have the lifts than parks or other fancy structures which residents consider as “white elephants”.

“They told us that they have never asked for these so-called amenities and would rather that the money be spent on lift upgrading.” wrote SDP.

SDP also questioned why Mr Ong says that it is only a matter of time before the lifts are upgraded after raising concerns the cost, technical, terrain and construction considerations?

“Have they all suddenly become resolvable now that elections are near?” asked SDP.

A day after that (15 January), Dr Chee shared the news on Facebook that Blocks 115 and 199 would be getting their much-needed lift upgrade. He said on the morning on 16 January, “Woke up to the great news that the good people at Blks 115 and 119, Marsiling Drive will be getting their lifts upgraded after a fight of more than 10-years. Congratulations, your hard work paid off!”

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