Sunday, June 11, 2006

Shocking! …yet not unexpected? “Upgrading for all wards, BUT PAP ONES FIRST”

Upgrading for all wards, but PAP ones first (Sunday Times 11th June 2006)

NATIONAL Development Minister Mah Bow Tan has come out to clear the air on the upgrading of opposition wards, saying that their lifts will be upgraded by 2015 at the latest, but PAP wards will still get priority.
His comments will surprise those who thought that the policy of upgrading PAP wards first was ripe for change, after the ruling party failed to win back Hougang and Potong Pasir at the recent polls despite offering $180 million in improvement works for the two ageing estates.
After the election results on May 7, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the People's Action Party (PAP) would have to review its strategy in the opposition wards.
But in an interview with The Sunday Times on Friday, Mr Mah made it clear that this review would not affect the policy of giving lift upgrading priority to PAP wards. 'There is no change, that policy still remains. We've looked at it and we believe that that is still something we have to do,' he said.
Giving PAP wards priority does not mean that the Government intends to deprive opposition wards of upgrading, he added, although this point might have been lost in 'the heat and the noise of the elections'.
The Government has pledged that by 2015, all HDB blocks will have lifts that stop on every floor, with the exception of a small number of blocks whose designs make such works too costly.
Mr Mah said this includes blocks in opposition wards.
'We intend to honour this commitment, 2015, all eligible blocks will have their lifts upgraded,' he said.
The ramping up of the lift upgrading programme means a close to two-fold increase in the national upgrading budget over the next few years, to between $500 million and $600 million per financial year.
About 130 blocks in Hougang and Potong Pasir are eligible for improved lifts but they are not the oldest blocks to have gone without upgrading.
Mr Mah said about 800 blocks in PAP wards are as old or older and have not been upgraded at all. They are located in areas such as Queenstown, Bukit Merah, Tiong Bahru, Marine Parade, Serangoon, Woodlands, Marsiling, Yishun and Kampung Ubi.
'I can't put the opposition blocks at the head of the queue, ahead of these 800. Surely not,' he said.
To select precincts for upgrading, the ministry uses three criteria: the age of the blocks, the geographical spread to ensure upgrading is not concentrated in only a few constituencies and support for the Government.
While acknowledging that many thought it unfair to link votes to upgrading, Mr Mah defended the policy as 'not unreasonable'.
He said the massive and costly upgrading programme was only possible because of the Government's policies, which generated economic growth and the Budget surpluses needed to fund it.
And these policies could only be implemented if the Government received the people's mandate.
'We really need to be fair to the people who voted for the PAP candidate. Upgrading has been a major election platform for the PAP and those who support the PAP candidate expect their MPs to deliver on their promises.'

I cannot recall who said,” The more things change, the more they remain ..the same!”
Did we ( or I ) expect something different and better from the authorities? Is that why I am disappointed that the PAP’s policy towards using upgrading as a carrot remains unchanged? I am flabbergasted and lost for words. That is why I will refrain from any more comments (on this issue) at this moment lest I say something I will regret later.

Have a nice weekend everyone. Condolences to football widows and orphans! For the rest of us (fans and gamblers), good luck!

Dr. Huang Shoou Chyuan


Anonymous said...

Nobody is born to govern. Everyone has a learning curve including PAP. When PAP first became government, they too make many mistakes. Until today, PAP is still making mistakes but less and maybe their mistakes are less broadcast. Didnt PAP screw up the economy before?

When you got your first job, did you have a track record to prove you are worthy of your job? Everyone needs to start somewhere.

Worker's Party should be given their chance to govern Singapore one day. If they cannot make it, they will be voted out. This is what elections are for.

If we support WP's growth and have two choices for government. Isnt it better than having PAP as the only choice?

It is chicken and egg question. What comes first ??
Given Singaporeans we produced under PAP regime are kiasi and kiasu, they will never join Alternative Parties unless got 90% chance of voted in.

If we want to see real concrete changes to our society, only way is to see a Non-PAP Government. Then your children and grandchildren can become different Singaporeans from the ones you, your parents and your grandparents are.

PAP has done well for Singapore economically but has has F grade for social and political advancements. It is time Singapore move on to the next phase of development or we will remain stagnant forever. PAP must go to achieve that. PAP have done their job. It is time to let Worker's Party do theirs.

Anonymous said...

hi. dr huang. cool blog! i used to teach a boy whose dad was the same name. perhaps you and him are the same guy! anyway, i've always enjoyed your incisive and critical commentary. Cheers! :)

nofearSingapore said...

I agree that more choices is better than less!
But sometimes I wonder if Singaporeans really want something different. Are they so pampered and lazy that they rather sacifice their liberty in exchange of materialism that the PAP provides.Are we like George Orwell's animals of the farm?
I really wonder!
Dr. Huang