Member of Parliament (MP) for Bukit Batok SMC Murali Pillai took to his Facebook post on Monday (7 September) to make a clarification regarding the lack of footpath at Bukit Batok Block areas, which was raised by Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Dr Chee Soon Juan earlier.
According to Dr Chee’s Facebook post on Sunday, he said he had witnessed several incidents where cars were driving uncomfortably close to pedestrians along Bukit Batok Block 190 due to absence of a proper footpath.
The SDP chief noted that he had spoken to several residents following the numerous almost-accidents, many of whom pointed out that they wish to see a proper pavement constructed along that path as it has been an ordeal for them without one so far.
He also shared that one of the residents had brought the matter to Mr Pillai last year but was told that if a footpath was built, then the residents would require a shelter to cover the walkway, which is not possible.
Aware of the concern, Mr Pillai was quick to deny the claims while giving his assurance to the residents that there are “barrier-free access routes which are also sheltered” at that areas.
“I will like to appeal to residents to make good use of the pre-existing access route which are much safer for daily commute,” he added.
Mr Pillai also attached several photos showing the pavements are provided at the areas of Blk 190, 192 and 193.
To strengthen his point of view, he then shared an email sent from a resident of Bukit Batok, which he claimed the resident has pointed out that the suggestions of no footpath provided “are simply misconstrued”.
As seen in the email, the resident, who goes by Mr Lim, who is a resident of Bukit Batok for 32 years said that there is pavement provided near the building from Blk 190 to 193, but a handful of people have chosen to walk on the road and then complained no footpaths.
The resident then asserted that “there is no need to provide additional footpaths” as he observed most of the residents are making use of the void deck and pavements provided.
The MP for Bukit Batok also shared the Jurong-Clementi Town Council (JRTC)’s Facebook post which clarified that there are alternative sheltered routes through the void deck of the blocks which are safer routes.
“It is simply wrong to say that there is a lack of footpaths or viable routes under these circumstances. Whatever political view we hold, facts must remain facts. Otherwise, people may get misled and in the event we suffer,” Mr Pillai noted.
Under the comment section, some netizens spoke up regarding the issue of high-rise littering, which it may also pose a safety risk to the residents who walk along the footpath. The netizens urged the authorities to take the matters seriously as this is their responsibility to prevent accidents from happening .
However, the netizens’ feedback on the high-rise littering has not received any response from the MP yet.
A netizen also pointed out that the issue has yet been addressed since so many years of residents’ feedback, but the authority has finally responded when there are alternative voices speaking up.
Residents use the building apron directly beneath the windows of the flats is not a safe solution given the problem of killer litter, says Dr Chee Soon Juan
On Tuesday (8 Sept), the SDP chief responded to Mr Pillai’s clarification on his Facebook page, calling the MP and the town council “not to give any more excuses” and do the necessary before something untoward happens.
Dr Chee said that the photos showed by Mr Pillai have demonstrated how the residents using the building apron directly beneath the windows of the flats.
“This is not a safe solution given the problem of killer litter in HDB estates,” he noted, asking the MP amend his post to urge the residents not to use the building aprons as pathways.
On the use of void decks, Dr Chee also described that the void-deck spaces are often used for weddings and funerals and are rendered inaccessible to passers-by at such times.
“Passageways at void decks are also often maze-like and have drain-lets and structures that make it difficult, especially for older folks and families with young children, to navigate,” he added.
In fact, he pointed out that the authorities have also built a pavement there “albeit for only a few metres” before and after the carpark gantry.
He noted, “Obviously, the authorities were expecting pedestrians to use that side of the road, hence the construction of the pavement to prevent the gantry barrier-arm from hitting passers-by.”
He went on to question that why the pavements could not be extended for the remainder of the road, but just constructing for only a few metres.
In the end of his post, Dr Chee said, “I urge Mr Murali and JRTC not to give any more excuses and do the necessary by building a simple footpath for the safety of the residents. Please do this expeditiously before something untoward happens.”