Thursday, 13 June 2013

Low Thia Khiang: "Time for WP-run town councils & NEA to move on"

Update: 13 Jul 2013

Grave doubts about Workers' Party MPs’ integrity must be resolved: PM

Grave doubts about Workers' Party MPs’ integrity must be resolved: PM
PM Lee Hsien Loong speaking at a haze situation press conference at Istana. Photo: Don Wong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday turned up the heat on Workers’ Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang, saying that the latter cannot leave unresolved “grave doubts” about the integrity of WP Members of Parliament Sylvia Lim and Pritam Singh.

In a strongly-worded statement — issued through the Prime Minister’s Office — Mr Lee said that if any of his People’s Action Party (PAP) colleague were found to have lied, “there is only one option — he has to go. If he is innocent, I will insist that he clear his name publicly.”

“The matter has to be resolved one way or other. It cannot be left as an ‘I say, you say’ matter of opinion, which leaves a permanent question mark hanging over his reputation, and the reputation of my government.”

Good politics is about integrity: PM Lee

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PM Lee Hsien Loong says good politics is first and foremost about integrity

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says good politics is first and foremost about integrity.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang cannot leave grave doubts about the integrity of his fellow MPs unresolved.

Earlier this week, Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that Workers' Party MPs Sylvia Lim and Pritam Singh were untruthful regarding the hawker centre saga in Aljunied GRC

A day later, Mr Low referred to Dr Balakrishnan's comments as personal attacks.

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Press Secretary to the Prime Minister issues response regarding AHPETC

Chang Li Lin, the Press Secretary to the Prime Minister has issued the following response to the media after queries regarding the Workers' Party's statement to the Prime Minister’s Office:

AHPETC’s conduct in this matter has raised very serious questions of integrity and honesty. These arise both from what the Town Council did, and what Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Pritam Singh said. Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament, and the Prime Minister in his statement yesterday, pointed out that Ms Lim and Mr Singh had made false and untruthful statements, and tried to cover up the Town Council’s wrongdoing.

Mr Low’s latest non-statement addresses none of these serious charges, which therefore stand unrebutted.

The release of a “dossier” by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources
Workers' Party issues a statement to the Prime Minister’s Office

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Charges against WP MPs remain: PMO

There was another exchange of statements in the Aljunied-Hougang- Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) saga on Saturday.

Responding to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's statement on Friday, Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang said the party had already made its position known and did not find it "productive to continue" the argument.

The Prime Minister's Office described this as a "non-statement" and said "serious charges" against two of the party's MPs remained "unrebutted".
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PM urges WP chief to clear doubts on fellow MPs' integrity

A PAP MP who lies will be out; and if innocent, must clear his name, he says 

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday urged Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang not to leave grave doubts about the integrity of his fellow MPs unresolved, following the recent hawker centre cleaning dispute.

At the heart of the issue, he said, was integrity and honesty. "If we cannot trust a politician to tell the truth, then we cannot trust him or her to safeguard public funds, to put public interest ahead of personal gain, or to make decisions affecting the well-being and security of Singaporeans 

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Vivian vs Workers' Party: What's at stake?

Minister Vivian Balakrishnan had harsh words for Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim and her fellow Aljunied GRC MP Pritam Singh during Tuesday's Parliament sitting, when he accused them of being "false and untruthful" in a dispute over the cleaning of hawker centres in Bedok North.

But his tone was distinctly different when he addressed WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang, whom he called "an honourable man". What was the Minister for Environment and Water Resources up to?

He was replying to a PAP MP's question on town councils' duty to clean hawker centres and bear the costs of doing so.

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Integrity of 'Public Procurements' Vs Integrity of 'Ceiling Cleaning'

PM thru his Office had fired another exchange in the AHPETC ceiling cleaning saga stating that charges against WP remains 'unrebutted' and raised serious questions of integrity and honesty of WP.

On the other hand, the Auditor General Office has just release its report of procurement lapses in our Civil Service involving millions of Public dollllars similar to it's 2012 report.

Is there integrity involving an aledged couple thousands of dollars against millions of our people's money?

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Integrity is key issue in hawker centre cleaning saga: Balakrishnan

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan says that the key issue in the cleaning of two hawker centres under the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) is about integrity

He made the point in Parliament on Tuesday during an exchange with Ms Sylvia Lim, chairman of the Workers' Party and chairman of AHPETC.

Dr Balakrishnan called on the Secretary-General of the Workers' Party Low Thia Khiang to conduct an internal investigation into the matter.

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Vivian Balakrishnan says PAP should be upfront, transparent and not to misuse their power

Vivian Balakrishnan, the Minister of something, during his engagement with WP’s Sylvia Tan was mentioned to have said the following in his closing speech:

  • You know, let me make this further point. Politics is a contest of power. But you know, the key principle is when you have power is, don’t take advantage of people under your charge and always be honest and upfront with your people.
  • All of us will make mistakes and when a mistake is made, just come clean and say so. But don’t cover up. That’s why I have not let this go
  • Because it is not about cleanliness of the ceiling. It is about clean politics.
Bravo!! He is one of the few PAP MPs who are willing to stand up to PAP and point out all the faults of PAP and ask them to clean up their acts and run clean politics (or was it the politics of effective cleaning.. I wonder).

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TR Emeritus: Vivian accuses Sylvia Lim of being untruthful over AHPETC cleaning issue
The Online Citizen: Politicising it again? Media sense-knocking needed on hawker centre saga
Singapore Recalcitrant: A Comical Display Of Pomposity
Singapore News Alternative: NEA Minister Likes to Play Politics
Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources: release of a “dossier

Petty politics

Now we have a full minister that is making a clown out of himself and the party.

Many of my foreign friends had asked me “So what is your minister talking about? Is he even responding to the counter argument at all? And what is all that hoo-ha on cleaning issues in an eatery? Isn’t there bigger issues like the haze and that dengue epidemic?”. It’s embarrassing on so many levels. So much time and effort spent on discrediting the opposition party when bigger problems loomed.

It’s a disgrace to the country and a disgrace to me as the citizen of this nation.

Public can make own judgement on hawker centre cleaning saga: WP

Public can make own judgement on hawker centre cleaning saga: WP

The Workers' Party Secretary General Low Thia Khiang said his party has made its position known on the issue relating to the cleaning of hawker centres in Bedok - both inside and outside of Parliament.

In his latest statement to the media, Mr Low said the relevant documents are already in the public domain and that the public can make its own judgment on the matter.

Mr Low's response came as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a statement on Friday said that Mr Low cannot leave grave doubts about the integrity of his fellow MPs unresolved.

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Town council will keep working with NEA to solve problems, says Low

Mr Low Thia Khiang struck a conciliatory note, saying that the hawkers need peace to do business. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

WORKERS' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang sought to draw a line under the long-running dispute over the cleaning of hawker centres in Aljunied GRC yesterday, calling on all parties involved to move on.

Weighing in for the first time on the saga, Mr Low struck a conciliatory note, saying the WP-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) will continue to work with the National Environment Agency (NEA) "to solve problems on the ground and to address the issues".

"We should move on from the current issue," he told The Straits Times at his Meet-the-People Session in Aljunied GRC last night.

How about an apology?

Minister for EWR Vivian Balakrishnan is asking for an apology from WP. I find that horribly ironic, since the minister himself has never been the shining beacon of apologising for any of the gaffes and mistakes he has made over the years.

The YOG overspend, his famous “If you want to dance on a bartop… people will DIE” quote. Not a single apology from his mouth. But now he wants others to apologise? A sterling and exemplary leadership model, I see. At least he can leave it to his PM to apologise on his behalf. The day Mr Balakrishnan learns to say “sorry” is perhaps the day some other people will be willing to have coffee with him. Not that I think I will ever see the day Vivian Balakrishnan makes a public apology. Perhaps in his own mind he is perfectly blameless.

Baiting Low Thia Khiang into joining the mudslinging is bad enough, but to bait him with such snarky arrogance is beneath a minister, methinks.

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Low Thia Khiang says time to move on

Low Thia Khiang gets it.

Asked for his response to Dr Balakrishnan yesterday, Mr Low said: "I would like to move on. So let's move on. And I think the hawkers need, very much, peace to do their business." 

There is no need for the WP to do anything except doing their jobs well and be vigilant against underhanded attacks from the low class PAP members. Just let them dig a deeper and bigger hole.

The PAP Needs to Evolve and Move On

2013 has been a busy year for sociopolitical affairs in Singapore. From the Punggol East By-Election, to the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council and Aim saga, to the Population White Paper 2013, back to the Aim saga and recently, with the Media Development Authority (MDA)’s “Licensing Framework” against “online news sites” and the standoff between the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) regarding the cleaning of the food centres at Bedok.

Concurrently, there were also arrests, investigations and threats levied upon common Singaporean citizens, such as Alex Au, Lynn Lee and Leslie Chew, among others.

Much has occurred in the political awakening of Singaporeans in only the first half of 2013, and this should be seen as a much welcomed outcome for Singapore. However, how has the PAP responded?

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Low: Time for all parties to move on

In response to Minister Vivian’s recent outburst, Mr Low said, “I would like to move on. So let’s move on. And I think the hawkers need, very much, peace to do their business.”

On Tue (11 Jun), Minister Vivian told the media that he stands by his comments in the recent spat with AHPETC over the cleaning of hawker centres in Aljunied GRC. He had earlier accused AHPETC Chairman Slyvia Lim of being “arrogant and wrong” to make a political attack on NEA officers for “simply doing their job”.

He said that it is a “completely unnecessary distraction caused by the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) and its managing agent FMSS”.
He added that hawkers are honest, hardworking people just trying to make a living and there is no reason to charge them more for cleaning the ceiling.

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Vivian Balakrishnan and NEA versus Aljunied Town Council: Storm in a Teacup

Before I begin my article proper, I hereby request that Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and the National Environment Agency (NEA) stop politicizing the issue about AHPETC’s cleaning of Hawker Centres and escalating it out of proportion.

The urgent issues at hand are to tackle the Dengue outbreak effectively and ensure that the Singapore environment is kept clean, hygienic and healthy. Stop this silly political exercise at once, if you wish to preserve whatever credibility you have left. If you really put Singaporeans first and the welfare of citizens above partisan bickering, then cease this foolish political game, which has fallen to a level that is beneath contempt.

The misleading information provided by the government authorities has been exposed. It is time for NEA to back down and take a conciliatory approach, like what Mr Low and the WP have suggested. It is also time for Dr Balakrishnan to stop playing petty politics and focus his efforts on the bigger things at hand. Otherwise, one can only conclude that his value system is wrong and he deserves to be given the boot in the next General Elections.

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Grassroots leader in hawker centre cleaning dispute: 'I have no political motives'

A grassroots leader and patron of a market association involved in a dispute over the cleaning of hawker centres in Aljunied GRC has responded to online allegations about his role in the spat.

Mr Ng Kok Khim, 60, who had been the target of online speculation in recent days since it emerged that he was a PAP member, told Singapolitics that he had no political motives in his handling of the cleaning issue and stressed that he had never asked the cleaning contractor engaged by the town council for a quotation.

“We were surprised when we got the quotation,” he said.

Cleaning market 538 – as clear as mud

Last Saturday, I asked someone at a barbeque his opinion as to what Singaporeans were thinking with regard to the Aljunied hawker centre controversy. He said he didn’t think people were paying attention to it. Consistent with his observation, I had noticed that there was hardly any online talk about the issue, at least among my circles, but then it was also the same period when the government’s new restriction on online media was the hot-button issue. The latter could have overshadowed it.

Last night, it was revealed that Ng Kok Khim, the chair of the Block 538 Market Association, was a recipient of the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) long service award. With this twist, I am sure people will take notice now.

What had been a highly convoluted, as-clear-as-mud issue is now easily reduced to a contest between Good and Evil.  Few things capture popular attention as easily as such a clash. Look at the blockbusters coming out of Hollywood and you will see this principle in action.

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Dr Balakrishnan calls on WP to clean hawker centre, apologise 

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan has said that the Workers' Party (WP) should clean up the hawker centres under their charge and apologise to the hawkers involved in a long-running dispute over the cleaning of hawker centres in Aljunied GRC.

Only once the cleaned hawker centres have been inspected would he sit down for a meeting with WP chief Low Thia Khiang, said Dr Balakrishnan on Tuesday.

“At that point, I will be happy to invite Mr Low Thia Khiang for a cup of coffee with me,” he said to reporters, adding that  the meeting would also have to involve the hawkers.

Workers' Party town council invites minister to settle issues at dialogue

The New Paper Thursday, Jun 13, 2013

The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) has invited Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan to a dialogue to "settle any outstanding matters".

Its vice-chairman, Workers' Party MP Pritam Singh, extended the invitation at the end of a statement he released on Monday.

Dr Balakrishnan had issued a statement on Sunday, in response to accusations from AHPETC chairman Sylvia Lim that the National Environment Agency (NEA), which comes under his ministry, was "politically motivated" to tarnish the name of the town council.