Relaying the story of a frustrated Bukit Batok (BB) resident, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Secretary-General Dr Chee Soon Juan reiterated his stance that Members of Parliament (MPs) should be full-time positions.
He said in a Facebook post on Friday (19 March), “As I indicated during the GE last year, MPs should go full-time. This would allow them to hold more than one MPS a week – and not only during the evenings – to cut down on waiting time for residents.”
The story was of a Bukit Batok resident named Salim bin Said who wrote to Dr Chee about a matter that he hoped the constituency’s MP Murali Pillai would help him with.
“Unfortunately, according to Mr Salim at least, after waiting for 2.5 hours at an MPS (Meet-the-People Session) to see the MP, his request was not attended to,” Dr Chee wrote.
He then asked, “Why do MPs, working part-time only but drawing a salary of $16k a month, make residents suffer such a time-wasting ordeal just to seek assistance?”
Dr Chee also reproduced Mr Salim’s letter in full within the post.
The letter details Mr Salim’s and his daughter’s trip to a Meet-the People-Session (MPS) on 5 March to see Mr Murali and ask for help with his case. Mr Salim noted that he was told to attend the MPS as they wanted to assist him with his case of appealing for re-employment.
Given that only one person was allowed to enter the meeting area due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, Mr Salim’s daughter went in to represent him.
“After about 45 minutes of waiting, it was our turn,” recounted Mr Salim in his letter to Dr Chee.
“According to my daughter, the officer took notes of what the issue was. After which, the officer suggested to speak to MP Murali further with regards to the matter.
“We were hopeful,” he added.
However, they were told by the same officer that they would need to wait a little longer. At this point, they asked the officer what action would be taken with regards to Mr Salim’s case.
“…the officer gave us a glimpse of hope that they may write in to the company with regards to the matter as I failed to get through with union and MOM previously,” wrote Mr Salim.
In total, Mr Salim and his daughter had to wait for two and a half hours before they finally saw Mr Murali.
However, Mr Murali was not as helpful as they hoped he would be.
“To her utter disappointment, Mr Murali did not even mention about the action taken for the matter at all which is what we are waiting to hear,” recounted Mr Salim.
“He merely told my daughter to advice me to come for a career fair or job exhibition at the community centre. That’s all.”
“After probing further about how MP Murali will help to get me re-employed, he sternly re-emphasized about the career fair which is obviously not answering our question.”
Mr Murali then instructed Mr Salim’s daughter to call her father in as “he thought that my daughter didn’t answer what he was trying to imply,” said Mr Salim.
“As my daughter went out, he quickly barged out and called me in. He then explain the same to me just like what he told my daughter,” he added.
“He was very rude in his reply and used a sarcastic tone as I tried to explain that he is not answering my query at all. He kept repeating the career fair over and over again,” the BB resident lamented.
Noting his frustration over the less than satisfactory encounter, Mr Salim said he was hoping that Mr Murali would, at least, write in to the company to appeal for re-employment on behalf of Mr Salim.
An exasperated Mr Salim went on in his letter, “What is the point of making us wait for 2.5 hours and gave us a standard reply which could be done over email. He should have just emailed us that less than 1-minute reply and not get us to come over MPS for nothing.
“Worst, they made us wait for 2.5 hours. He could have told us he is not able to assist but will try to write in to the company. But no, he did not at all.”
Mr Salim added that this incident has affected him and his daughter “emotionally” as they felt like they were “fools to come for the MPS and get ridiculed by them.”
He also said that it was “a shame” that his daughter had to witness this of the People’s Action Party (PAP), adding that this was their first time meeting their MP at an MPS and that it will also be their last.
“We were surprised to be treated in that manner. We did not expect such treatment from the MP,” he continued.
Mr Salim concluded, “With this experience, [Mr Murali] is definitely not suited to be the MP and represent Bukit Batok.”