SDP’s Chee Soon Juan questions PAP MP Murali Pillai on the need to replace canvas roof in Bukit Batok; highlights “wasteful spending of public funds”

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan took to Facebook on Tuesday (24 November) to question People’s Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament (MP) Murali Pillai on the need to replace a fairly new canvas roof at a neighbourhood basketball court in Bukit Batok.

Dr Chee raised this question following Mr Murali’s proposal in his 5-Year Master Plan for the constituency. Mr Murali is the MP for Bukit Batok.

In an earlier Facebook post, the SDP leader urged the Jurong-Clementi Town Council (JRTC) to review “rather dubious upgrading projects” at the constituency, one of which is the roof replacement of the basketball court.

Dr Chee said that he did not see any visible signs of disrepair, adding that the roof seems to be in “good condition”.

“JRTC needs to tell residents why, if there are indeed problems, can’t the roof be repaired instead of replaced,” he stressed, adding that the bigger question is why the basketball court was built in the first place.

Referring to this particular upgrading project, Dr Chee stated in the post on Tuesday that he found out that the roof was only installed in 2011 and the company that did it said it would last for 30 years.

“A check found that the roof was installed in 2011. A resident fed back to me that the company that did the installation said that the roof would “normally last 30 years”. That would take its lifespan to 2041. It seems odd then that Mr Murali wants to replace the roof in just 10 years,” he said.

As such, the alternative party chief noted that there are a few questions that have to be answered by Mr Murali.

The first question is for the Bukit Batok MP to clarify if “the above information regarding the roof’s installation date and lifespan is accurate”.

If the information is correct, then Dr Chee wants Mr Murali to tell the residents on why the roof needs to be replaced in the first place.

He then asked, “If it is going to be replaced, how much is it going to cost the residents and taxpayers, and how long is the new roof going to last?”

Don’t waste taxpayers’ funds

In the post, Dr Chee also highlighted that a large number of these projects are being upgraded or replaced without much thought and justification, resulting in wasting taxpayers’ funds.

To illustrate his point, Dr Chee cited another example of wasting public funds, which is the canal at BB West Ave 8.

“As part of his GE 2020 campaign, Mr Murali posted the completion of the canal, replete with the rocks in apparently for aesthetic purposes.

“The problem is that these rocks trap debris that are smelly and attract pests such as rats if they are not cleared in a timely manner. Do cleaners have to climb into these canals to clear the debris?” he explained.

If that’s not all, Dr Chee also said residents have voiced their unhappiness on the maintenance of the estate to him, which he will be disclosing more about in the coming days.

He went on to say that both JRTC and Mr Murali need to prioritise spending in order to make sure the funds are not used for “wasteful vanity projects that residents do not want and need”.

“Instead, these funds should be channelled to estate management to improve maintenance services for the better upkeep of Bukit Batok. This is what residents really want,” he noted.

He continued, “They must remember that the funds that they spend are residents’ hard-earned money and many don’t earn anywhere close to what the Ministers and MPs make.”

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