It is heartening to see non Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) politicians fulfilling their promises to hold the ruling Government accountable for their policies.
Most recently, news that the biodiversity-rich Dover Forest could soon be cleared to make way for flats has led to understandable public dismay.
It is noteworthy that this news comes barely 3 months after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (PM Lee) said on his Facebook page that sustainability was “at the forefront of our planning” and that “our new estates reflect this“. He further shared a Bloomberg article which explored how the Tengah estate would be built from the ground up to be as green as possible.
How do the exhortations of sustainability gel with the potentially wanton destruction of such a large swathe of greenery (such as Dover Forest) that is teeming with possibly irreplaceable flora and fauna? It is ironic that PM Lee was talking about how the building of the Tengah estate would be as green as possible when a forest is now probably going to be destroyed just to build a new estate.
Further, it is also noteworthy that shortly after the general election last year, PM Lee announced the rebranding of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, renaming it the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE). PM Lee had said at that time that the rationale behind the change of name was to highlight that “sustainability had become an increasingly important part of our national agenda”.
It has been barely 6 months since that name change. Is it not too soon to seemingly renege on your commitment to sustainability by potentially destroying a beautiful green space (according to an environmental baseline study) that is rich in both history and nature?
Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Hougang SMC, Dennis Tan (Tan), has shared on his Facebook page that he was “saddened to hear that Dover forest” would be cleared for housing, after being left untouched for 40 years”. He further expressed his desire for the Ministry of National Development (MND) to make the outcomes of the public consultation for Dover forest available to the public.
“In early January, I had filed a Parliamentary Question asking MND to consider reviewing the status of development of Clementi Forest and other forests. However, according to the answer given, its planned status as a “residential zone” remains (https://www.straitstimes.com/…/zoning-stays-but-no…) For now, a public consultation is also being conducted by MND on Dover forest (https://services2.hdb.gov.sg/survey/se/16DCE1662C45E2FE). I hope that MND can make public the outcomes of such consultation.“
WP’s Youth Wing president, Nicole Seah also backed up Tan’s request for the results of MND’s consultation exercise on Dover forest to be made public.
“I urge you to make your voice heard on this issue. Public consultation on Dover Forest is being conducted by MND (https://services2.hdb.gov.sg/survey/se/16DCE1662C45E2FE). I hope that MND will make public the outcomes of such consultation. Some groups have also prepared templates to write to your MP if this is an issue you’d like to highlight“
We need to be more mindful of the environment and fight for our green spaces before it is too late. In Tan’s words: “The climate crisis is real and urgent, and conserving forests is an important part of tackling this crisis. We must continue to advocate for the conservation of our important green spaces in Singapore.”