The People’s Action Party’s (PAP) MP Zaqy Mohamad took to his Facebook on Thursday (23 July) to slam Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) member Bryan Lim for wrongly quoting him for things that he didn’t say during a recent house visit at Blk 115 and 119 Marsiling Rise.
“Came across a post by SDP yesterday. In an effort to credit themselves for work that is not done and politicking post-elections, the post mentioned things that I didn’t say during my house visit to Blk 115 and 119 Marsiling Rise last weekend,” the recently elected MP for the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC wrote.
The post that Mr Zaqy was referring to was a post made by Mr Lim on his Facebook on Wednesday (22 July).
In the post, Mr Lim pointed out that grassroots have informed him that Mr Zaqy told the residents of the mentioned blocks that the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) would take place in four months’ time.
As such, Mr Lim questioned why didn’t the previous PAP MP, Ong Teng Koon, ensure that such works had happened during his two terms of Parliament?
In response to this, Mr Zaqy said in his Thursday’s post that he had only recently took over the area from Mr Ong, and that he will looking into the LUP issue with a “fresh perspective”.
“I had recently taken over the area from Mr Ong Teng Koon, and took the opportunity to introduce myself. I also assured residents that they were the first blocks I visited since taking over the zone, and to recognise that the LUP issue will be a priority for me,” he wrote.
He added, “Contrary to what SDP said, as the newly-elected MP, I have just taken over, and sought residents’ understanding that I will look at this with a fresh perspective.”
Mr Ong was part of the PAP MP at Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC for two terms. However, he did not contest in GE2020. This year’s PAP comprised of Lawrence Wong, Alex Yam, Hany Soh, and Mr Zaqy himself. The PAP beat SDP, which includes Mr Lim, Damanhuri Abas, Benjamin Pwee, and Khung Wai Yeen, by winning 63.18 per cent of the votes at Marsiling GRC.
Mr Zaqy went on to say that he will bring his own experience to deal with this matter, given his previous works with the LUP. As such, he asked for more time to be given to work on the appeal, adding that he will get back to the residents by end of 2020.
“Having worked on LUP before, I will bring my experience into this, taking the approach that every appeal needs to be weight on its merits. So, I asked to be given some time to added the merits of the case, even getting into technical details if needs be, to work on the appeal.
“I will return to residents before the end of the year on the outcome of my efforts.”
Additionally, Mr Zaqy also stressed that he spent nearly 10 hours engaging with residents and responding to their concerns during his weekend visit, adding that this would not be possible if SDP’s claim is true.
“My visit lasted 9.5 hours, from 1pm to 1030pm engaging residents and assuring them, and responding to concerns they have. I found residents open and assured in sharing their views and for some, their frustrations. Far from the good news that SDP claimed, if true, wouldn’t have needed me to engage each resident at length,” he explained.
He also stated that he would like to requests “latitude” from the residents as he wants to make a difference and address their issues.
“There is much to do ahead. Each MP brings his or her own approach, and perspectives in overcoming challenges. As I had asked of residents, give me latitude to work this issue. It’s my responsibility now, I want to make a difference and address our residents’ issues,” he said.
LUP issue at Marsiling Rise
On 14 January this year, 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 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!”