Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan took to Facebook on Friday (5 March) to urge Bukit Batok Member of Parliament (MP) Murali Pillai to address the residents over Jurong-Clementi Town Council (JRTC) refusal to build a sidewalk along the service road between Blk 190-193.
In an earlier post, Dr Chee had highlighted that a resident was hit by a vehicle while she was walking on the abovementioned service road as there isn’t an accompanying sidewalk on that particular road.
Another resident also told Dr Chee it’s “just a matter of time before an accident happens” at the area after observing the situation for years.
As such, residents living in the area have been requesting JRTC to build a sidewalk and a large number of them have signed a petition and submitted it to the Town Council (TC) on Saturday (27 February), Dr Chee said.
However, TC’s General Manager Jeffrey Wong listed a number of considerations that have to be made before building the sidewalk. He cited six factors which include safety, that the walkway must serve mobility challenged residents, if there are existing walkways that can be used by residents, that the walkway is wide enough for everyone, if there are challenges to build due to presence of trees, lamp-posts and uneven terrain, as well as cost.
“One can only hope that the TC is sincere when it says that it “will review and study” the matter,” said Dr Chee.
He added, “But one cannot also help but be suspicious that the TC made the above list in order to shoot down the idea. This is because it has repeatedly said no in the past by citing the above as reasons.”
If that’s not all, the SDP’s chief also questioned Mr Murali’s “conspicuous absence in the matter”.
“He needs to come out and say clearly to the residents whether he supports the building of the sidewalk.
“No one elected Mr Wong. Mr Murali, on the other hand, is the elected representative and should, therefore, assume the key role in the matter,” expressed Dr Chee.
He also pointed out that it was Mr Murali who asked residents to support the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme during the elections, and that he should not leave the TC to just handle the matter without showing any concerns on behalf of the residents.
“Good or bad, comfortable or uncomfortable, he must now not act as if the matter doesn’t concern him and leave it to a bureaucrat to front it. At the minimum, he should meet with the residents directly and hear for himself their concerns,” noted Dr Chee.
He continued, “I have taken the trouble to meet with them individually and they have expressed – overwhelmingly – their desire to have the sidewalk built.’”
“A face-to-face meeting would also allow residents to gauge whether the MP is indeed sincere in ‘reviewing’ and ‘studying’ the feasibility of the project or whether the whole thing is an exercise to justify its rejection.”
Dr Chee concluded by saying that the residents need to hear from their MP Mr Murali as this is a questions of “transparency, of accountability, of leadership”.