“Unlike your former MP, I am not bound by Party Whip. I will speak up without fear in Parliament” – SPP’s Jose Raymond

“Unlike your former MP, I am not bound by Party Whip. I will speak up without fear in Parliament” – SPP’s Jose Raymond

On 3 July 2020, SPP Chairman and candidate for Potong Pasir SMC hosted his first e-rally on his Facebook Page. In his e-rally, he focused on answering the question “What can you do for me that the current PAP MP can’t?”

The PAP MP refers to Sitoh Yih Pin. His answer to the question was threefold.:

  1. I will ensure that all your needs are looked after on a personal level.
  2. At the constituency level, I will ensure that the town council and amenities are managed well.
  3. I will be your voice in Parliament. I will speak up for you fearlessly

Firstly, he assured residents that their needs will be taken care of at a personal level. Jose suggested that the age-old model of the Meet-The-People sessions may have run its course. He argued that technology should be harnessed so that resident’s concerns could be looked into without needing them to queue for hours once a week.

He drew attention to the “Get Help” tab on his website, potongpasirhosay.sg – which allows residents to send him their appeals directly. He promised to put in place systems so that “people who are in need will be able to reach out and get the help they need as soon as they need it … not once a week, but immediately”

In relation to the first point, he also gave some real examples of how he managed to assist residents in a timely and efficient manner. In the first case that he shared, Jose said a resident who asked Jose for help in relation to not having received the solidarity payment.

Within 20 minutes, Jose sent an appeal to the Ministry of Finance. Within 2 days, MOF got back to the resident and the matter was resolved. He also shared another example of an appeal to HDB where a resident sought his help after the appeal letter sent by MP Sitoh Yih Pin had failed.

Jose went to the resident’s place to peruse the documents, reframed the issue and then sent an appeal letter on behalf of the resident. Not long after, the HDB reviewed her case and she was successful in her request. Jose’s appeal letter succeeded where the Sitoh’s couldn’t.

Photo taken immediately after the accident.

Jose also shared a tragic tale which TOC had covered previously about how an elderly man was left paralysed due to alleged negligence on the part of the town council’s contractors. The man unfortunately passed away in April this year.

He shared that his personal lawyers are acting for the family on a pro bono basis and that there is an ongoing suit in the High Court where the family is seeking damages from the contractors. Jose noted that he had sight of the correspondence between the Town Council and the family but did not elaborate on the contents of the same.

When asked by TOC about what was the “secret” behind his effective remedies to the problems residents face, Jose said “We cannot rely on templated appeals. The problems of residents require personal attention, strategic framing and you need to know what are the people that you will need to direct the letter to. I am also blessed to have a network of professionals that I can tap on for help and assistance.”

Secondly, Jose assured residents that the constituency and town amenities will be well taken care of. The Singapore People’s Party’s former Secretary General Mr Chiam See Tong has had experience operating the Potong Pasir Town Council for more than 20 years. Jose promised to be inclusive, innovative and take a ground-up approach in relation to community buildings. He also referred viewers to his manifesto which sets out his plans for the constituency.

In relation to his final point about what distinguishes him from Sitoh, Jose said that

If elected, I will speak up in parliament without fear and  ask hard questions and shine a light on issues which deserve more attention like cost of living, wage inequality, the HDB lease decay, climate change, mental health and discrimination.

Unlike your previous MPs, I will not be bound by the party whip and I will be able to speak up without fear or favour.

He stressed that MPs are not just estate managers but also legislators. He said he will be the voice of constituents in Parliament and speak up on their needs, their concerns and their desires.

He ended his e-rally by stating that “I hope to be your elected representative. But more than that, I hope to be your voice and your friend”.

TOC understands that Jose will be holding his next e-rally on Monday. We could not find any information on when Sitoh will be holding his e-rally.

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