The Big Read: After the high of GE, a reality check for the Workers’ Party
“Following the breakthrough in Aljunied GRC, everyone believed we could At the WP's first CEC meeting held less than a month after the GE. Low Thia Khiang and WP team meet Aljunied residents. AsiaOne. Sun, May 01, to WP · The Aljunied ground is sweet for me · AsiaOne's General Election Special This has made Aljunied GRC one of the most keenly contested in the. Singapore General Election (GE). In the wake of the .. Aljunied GRC, and that then Foreign Minister George Yeo stood a real chance of losing his seat.
And a separate month audit by the Auditor-General's Office AGO highlighted "major lapses" in governance and compliance with the law. The AGO report, released in February, led to a heated two-day debate in Parliament over its findings. These include lapses in making timely transfers to the AHPETC sinking fund; lapses in governance of related party transactions leading to conflicts of interest, and lapses in internal controls.
PAP's new approach: Up close and personal, Politics News & Top Stories - The Straits Times
They said "urgent taking-over work was needed" after WP's victory in the election, which was why FMSS was given a one-year contract to manage the estate without competition. In May, the court ruled that MND did not have the legal basis to make such an application, but added that the Housing Board and residents can seek a court order to take the town council to task. The court also found that AHPETC had breached and continued to be in breach of its duties and obligations in law, and that there were critical questions about the state of its finances.
On its part, AHPETC said it has made progress in resolving issues in its accounts and taken steps to strengthen its internal financial processes. However, its own auditors flagged eight areas of concern, prompting MND to say the latest accounts "reinforce MND's existing concern about the town council's state of financial affairs".
With the WP, it's about 60 per cent. Corridors are sometimes cluttered with other people's things, and this town council can't seem to do much about it," says Mr Chua Ren Hsiang, a year-old retired policeman and long-time Paya Lebar resident. Mr Andrew Lee, 45, who works in operations support at a bank, says: It could do with a paint job. But it could also be that this is an older estate.
Besides the usual Meet-the-People sessions, house visits and walkabouts, the party organises a variety of activities at which the MPs are present. There are 15 events planned for this month - ranging from hair cuts for seniors and durian-eating trips to Malaysia to qigong exercise and tea sessions with the MPs. Retiree Lucy Ng, 67, a regular participant, says: As they stopped to chat with residents having their breakfast, and to mingle with shopkeepers, a market-goer would occasionally approach one of the MPs with feedback on what can be improved.
Then there are residents who look beyond the events that the WP conducts on the ground.
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For them, the increased WP presence in Parliament is important, for it serves as a reminder to the ruling party not to take its position in power for granted. And in these residents' view, the larger number of opposition MPs has contributed to policy shifts.
One who believes this to be the case is printing firm owner Tan Hin Kin, Its troops on the ground have been conducting regular house visits and engaging residents in community activities.
Suppose you put five ministers in Aljunied. Does that serve the purpose? But what if the WP does the unexpected and sends one of its big guns in Aljunied, say Mr Chen, to contest in Fengshan? Then the possibilities start to multiply. He is a seasoned campaigner of six elections and has fought tough battles before. The PAP won that contest, but only just: It took the ward with His experience in close fights could prove valuable to the PAP's Aljunied team of mostly first-time candidates.
But wait, there might be more. Mr Singh, 55, who announced his retirement from politics after 18 years, has a track record as a plain-speaking MP in Parliament. He has spoken up for small firms, criticised government policies and attacked policymakers for not paying attention to the regular Singaporean on the street.
Out went the pomp and ceremony of grassroots events; in came dialogue with small groups of residents. And as election season began in earnest over the past month, the "residents first" message has been front and centre. New PAP candidates were introduced in heartland settings such as coffee shops and nursing homes, and most had been volunteering on the ground for months or years before their political debut. More significantly, the PAP made it clear which candidates were standing where.
In the past, new faces were introduced with no confirmation until Nomination Day of where they would contest or which sitting MP they would replace. This change, said party leaders, was in response to residents wanting to know earlier who would be seeking their vote.
So I'm happy with it. The party's campaign has been designed to have "very few surprises", Dr Ng noted.
But it is keeping its cards close to its chest in one area. In past elections, new PAP candidates were all introduced by the time Parliament was dissolved.