People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Murali Pillai and Amy Khor must sign the petition calling for the preservation of the Bukit Batok Hillside Park (BBHP), said Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Dr Chee Soon Juan.
According to Dr Chee in a Facebook post on Monday (30 Nov), the BBHP is one of the last vestiges of unmolested greenery in Singapore that residents at both Bukit Batok (BB) and Hong Kah North enjoy and treasure.
“If Mr Murali and Ms Khor genuinely represent the interests of the residents, they must join in the call of thousands of Singaporeans who don’t want to see even more wildlife sanctuaries from being destroyed,” he asserted.
Dr Chee went on to urge his followers to sign the petition, and get their Member of Parliaments (MPs) to pledge to keep Singapore truly liveable.
“We owe it to our future generations in making sure we don’t denude this island of forests and degrade our lives and legacy,” he added.
At the time of writing, the petition calling for the preservation of the BBHP has garnered over 8,300 signatures.
The petition was created by Jimmy Tan, a concerned BB resident.
Upon making an excursion into the BBHP – with several of his colleagues as well as SDP’s Young Democrats and BB resident Jimmy Tan – Dr Chee took to his Facebook last Thursday (26 Nov) to outline several concerns that Singaporeans ought to know about the potential clearing of the forest.
Starting with health concerns, the SDP chief noted, “More development means more people and more foreigners. This will add to an already stressful environment that worsens our mental health.”
“Study after study show that improvement in health and lower mortality risk is proportionate to the amount of open green spaces,” he added.
Next was the loss of a natural treasure that is the forest. “BB residents enjoy such a treasure at the moment and would lose it all if the forest is gone. In its place would be more concrete and HDB blocks and carparks,” said Dr Chee.
The third point he raised was on the effects the redevelopment would have on air quality and temperatures.
Noting that greenery and forests help improve air quality, and keep temperatures down, he pointed out that estates in south central Singapore with more built-up areas are already about 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than estates like BB currently.
“Higher temperatures lead to greater usage of air-conditioning adding to the climate crisis. With the development of Tengah and potential clearing of BB Hillside Park, the BB’s surface temperatures are set to rise,” Dr Chee explained.
He went on say that there are other equally important factors at play, such as the loss of biodiversity and habitat for wildlife.
Dr Chee concluded his post saying, “Ultimately, Singaporeans, especially the younger generations, must ask what kind of environment they want to live in.
“Is it one that clears every pocket of forested area for more and more people and buildings and cars and pollution and stress or one that provides us with a healthier quality of life that comes with greenery, space and nature?”