Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) chief Dr Chee Soon Juan, who is the party’s candidate at Bukit Batok SMC, said that he will not contract out works at the constituency to “managing agents”, just like what the People’s Action Party (PAP) had done before.
While speaking at the first constituency political broadcast for Bukit Batok SMC, Dr Chee said residents have to the bear the cost of paying such agents when the job should be done by the Member of Parliament (MP) at the constituency.
“What PAP MPs do is to contract out their work to profit-making businesses called managing agents. Residents end up paying an extra layer of costs for such agents when the MP was elected to do the work in the first place,” he said, adding that it “doesn’t make sense”.
As such, Dr Chee reiterated the importance of having a full-time MP as it is possible for a part-time MP to miss procedures, which could put the safety of the residents at risk.
“What’s more, when you do the work on a part-time basis, there is a danger that you will overlook procedures and jeopardise the safety of the residents as it has happened in more than a couple instances in Bukit Batok,” the alternative party’s chief said at the live broadcast which was telecasted on MediaCorp on Friday night (3 July).
He added, “If an MP doesn’t give his full attention to his responsibilities, dangerous situations are more likely to happen.”
Earlier, Dr Chee highlighted in Facebook posts about a construction site that was left in a hazardous manner, as well as overdue contracts and expired permits at Bukit Batok. As such, Dr Chee questioned the PAP MP of the constituency, Murali Pillai, on his efforts.
Dr Chee pointed out that this is why a full-time MP is needed in the SMC as it’s impossible for an individual to give his full attention to the people who voted for him if he has another day job elsewhere.
“This is what I mean when I say that MPs must go full-time. It’s impossible to give your 100% if you spend all your time in your day job. This is what happens when you have a part-time MP,” Dr Chee stated in a Facebook post.
Mr Murali had said in 2016 by-election that it is not necessary for an MP to “give up their day jobs”.
Mr Murali is currently a partner in Commercial Litigation practice at Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.
During the Friday’s political broadcast, Dr Chee also stressed that he will go full-time as an MP if elected and not “contract out (his) responsibilities to a managing agent”.
“This will save more costs for residents. Instead, I will personally see to it that only the most qualified and experienced professionals handle the job and they will directly be answerable to me,” he said.
Plans for first 100 days
If that’s not all, Dr Chee also laid out the plans that he will carry out for the first 100 days if he wins the upcoming GE.
“In the first 100 days of taking over the Bukit Batok Town Council, I promise to accomplish the following: publish an interim financial report, report on the handover process, announce a Town Council budgetary plan, and produce a 12-month work plan.
Dr Chee went on to explain: “This is to make the running of the estate transparent and accountable as well as for you to track my performance.”
He also said that he will set “aside a portion” of his MP allowance in order to fund “activities for the elderly, set up a trust fund to assist lower-income households in the constituency and run enrichment programs for students to help them develop analytical skills”.