The Workers’ Party (WP)’s candidate for Hougang SMC this year alleged that his contender from the People’s Action Party (PAP) “has once again tried to claim credit for various upgrading programmes” in the constituency.
Dennis Tan, who succeeded WP’s two-term Hougang MP Png Eng Huat as a candidate in this year’s election, wrote in a Facebook post on Monday (6 July) that Lee Hong Chuang — chair of the Hougang branch of PAP — has done so “in his recent election flier” to residents in the ward.
“This is not the first time he has tried to do so,” said Mr Tan.
His comments were attached to a shared post originally made by Mr Png on the ongoing Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) last year.
“The NRP is not implemented by Mr Lee. It is implemented by the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council under the leadership of the Hougang MP,” said Mr Tan.
Mr Png highlighted in his Facebook post on 15 June last year “came out to clarify that if a candidate is not elected as MP, he and his party’s TC basically cannot carry out the 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.”
“The HDB also said on its website it is the TC that implements the NRP,” he explained, in reference to the Bukit Batok 2016 by-election.
Highlighting that some Hougang residents at the time have asked the same, Mr Png subsequently questioned how it could have been possible for “a defeated PAP candidate” to carry out the NRP if PAP itself said that only the elected candidate could enforce such measures.
“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,” he stressed.
“The residents of Hougang have given me the mandate to lead the TC since 2012. I will continue to implement the upgrading plans for the estate but minus the political doublespeak to mislead, confuse, and divide the community over such public-funded programmes,” Mr Png concluded.
In a Facebook post on Monday night, Mr Png said that Hougang residents today “have gotten well over $300m in upgrading” under the NRP and other upgrading projects such as the Home Improvement Programme, Lift Upgrading Programme and car park upgrading — all “without voting for the PAP”.
“So should I say, “I did it”? No, the people of Hougang did it. They saw through the charade from day 1.
“The TC, under the charge of the elected MP, implements the NRP, while HDB and LTA do the rest.
“So if the PAP candidate can claim to do all that upgrading without being elected, we should let him be and elect Mr Dennis Tan to speak for the people of Hougang in Parliament,” said Mr Png.
He also highlighted the efforts of the “warm hearted VWOs and charities” who have been caring for the elderly in Hougang, and have been carrying out “the Senior Activity Centres and Eldercare services throughout the estate”.
“Can anyone really say, “I did it”, with a straight face?” said Mr Png, adding that one cannot “reinforce something” one “doesn’t understand – the Hougang Spirit”.
Mr Lee lost to Mr Png in the last general election in 2015. However, he remained in the constituency as a grassroots advisor.
TOC has contacted Mr Lee’s official Facebook page for comments on the matter.