Thursday, 21 April 2016

Bukit Batok by-election to be held on May 7

Update 26 Apr 2016: Murali unveils Bukit Batok infrastructure plans, Chee says he wants to 'focus on the campaign'

Lawyer Murali Pillai, the People's Action Party (PAP) candidate for Bukit Batok, on Sun (April 24) unveiled $1.9 million worth of infrastructure plans for a neighborhood in the single-member constituency if he were to be elected at the May 7 by-election.

The plans -- which include covered walkways, ramps, a jogging track and a small park -- come under the Neighborhood Renewal Programme for the precinct at Blocks 140 to 149, Bukit Batok West Ave 4. Some 640 of the 12,000 households in the seat live in these blocks.

Mr Murali told reporters at an exhibition on these plans on Sunday morning that residents were surveyed late last year on how the neighborhood can be enhanced.

related: PAP's Murali glad date set for BB by-election, sets out residents' top concerns

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PAP lays out rejuvenation plans for Bukit Batok if elected, but SDP hits back

A multi-generation fitness park, sheltered walkways and a jogging track are on the cards for Bukit Batok residents -- but this is if the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Murali Pillai prevails in the coming by-election.

Detailing these proposed improvements to the estate -- the first of several plans Mr Murali said he would share before Nomination Day on Wednesday (Apr 27) -- the lawyer said these are part of plans by Jurong-Clementi Town Council, under the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP). The NRP is fully funded by the Government and implemented by town councils. Bukit Batok was among the estates selected for the programme last year.

“We would only have the mandate to carry on if we are returned in the next by-election. If we don’t have the mandate, then we don’t have the ability to carry on because we can’t form the town council,” Mr Murali told reporters during a visit to the ward on Sunday. 

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Multi-generational park, covered linkways in the pipeline for Bukit Batok residents: PAP's Murali

Speaking to the media on Sun (Apr 24), Mr Murali said he would ensure the plans are implemented well. But he added that he would only have the mandate to carry on if he was elected on May 7.

"This plan that we are presenting is part of the PAP Jurong Town Council..... If we don't have the mandate then we don't have the ability to carry on, because we wouldn't form the town council," he said. "That's the rules."
The plans are part of a Neighborhood Renewal Programme for the precinct at Blocks 140 to 149, Bukit Batok West Ave 4. Residents were surveyed late last year by the Jurong-Clementi Town Council to get their views on how the neighbouhood can be enhanced.

Murali Pillai outlines plans for Bukit Batok
PAP's Murali Pillai organises carnival for low-income residents in Bukit Batok
By-election candidates outline plans for Bukit Batok
PAP team ready for Bukit Batok by-election: Murali Pillai

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Bukit Batok by-election: Elderly residents in mature estate the focus

At a time when residents across Singapore are asking for more playgrounds to be built, some in Bukit Batok feel there are too many.

They say their neighborhood could do with more fitness parks for the elderly instead.

It is perhaps a reflection of the maturity of the public housing estates in Bukit Batok, which was developed in the 1970s.

Bukit Batok by-election: Focused on jobs, help for needy
Bukit Batok by-election: National concerns 'likely to outweigh municipal issues'

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Bukit Batok by-election: Focused on jobs, help for needy

May 7 is an important date for Bukit Batok residents, as it will be the day they decide who is the best person to represent their interests amid the gloomy economic outlook, lawyer Murali Pillai said yesterday.

Mr Murali, 48, the People's Action Party (PAP) candidate in the by--election, said he will release his plans for the single--member constituency (SMC) "between now and Nomination Day'', which falls on Apr 27.

He told The Straits Times his visits to the homes of the residents in recent weeks have shown that one of their main worries is adequate help when the slowdown threatens their ricebowl. Many people in the SMC live in rental HDB flats and they are concerned about how the economy could affect their job prospects, he said.

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Murali unveils $1.9m worth of renewal plans

But the PAP--run Jurong--Clementi Town Council, which currently looks after Bukit Batok, will only be able to carry out these plans should he be elected, he said. "Let me just say that this plan we are presenting is a plan by the PAP Jurong--Clementi Town Council.

So it's really up to our residents," he said. "We will only have the mandate to carry on if we are returned at the next by--election. If we don't have the mandate then we won't have the ability to carry on, because we will not form the town council.

That's the rules."

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Is Murali giving a false impression that residents will not get improvement plans if he is not elected?
The thing is, even if Murali is not elected, plans for Bukit Batok's improvement plans would still proceed as according to plans set by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) (see plan). This would be the case, should another candiate, like Dr Chee Soon Juan from Singapore Democratic Party is elected.

URA writes in its brochure published in 2013, "Bukit Batok will see more new housing developments in the next five years to give young families the opportunity to stay in familiar surroundings and near their parents. Existing and new residents will continue to enjoy a good quality living environment with better facilities, more recreational opportunities and enhanced transportation network."

The brochure documents the proposed plans of new parks and other facilities. Only thing different between  Murali and URA's plans is the covered linkways.
So why is Murali giving an impression to votes in Bukit Batok SMC that if he is not elected, they can forget about all the upgrading plans that he has proposed?

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‘No vote no upgrading’? WP’s Leon Perera slams PAP’s Murali Pillai’s ‘carrot’ for Bukit Batok voters

Speaking at an exhibition by Jurong-Clementi Town Council to showcase the infrastructural plans for Bukit Batok under its Neighbourhood Renewal Programme, People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Muralidharan Pillai reportedly said:
“This plan that we are presenting is part of the PAP Jurong Town Council…If we don’t have the mandate then we don’t have the ability to carry on, because we wouldn’t form the town council,” he said. “That’s the rules.”
The infrastructural upgrading for the precinct according to the plans on display include a new 3-Generation Park and sheltered walkways around Blocks 140 to 149 at Bukit Batok West Avenue 4.

related: Gov’t only takes care those who can vote for them

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Will Bukit Batok Residents Get their Upgrade “Goodies” Without a PAP MP? Apparently Yes!
Just days ago, PAP candidate for Bukit Batok SMC, Murali Pillai, warned that if he wasn’t voted in, residents might not get the upgrades they were promised.
He warned that the town council manages the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme and if the opposition takes over the running of the town council, the promised upgrades could be in danger of being scrapped.
Despite the “terror tactics”, Mr Pillai wasn’t wrong – it is up to the new town council management to decide whether to go ahead with the upgrading scheme proposed by former PAP MP for Bukit Batok, the “amorous botak” David Ong.

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In 2011, about 3-4 weeks before the General Elections, the then PAP-managed Aljunied Town Council carried out an exhibition for a Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) at a precinct in my ward of Eunos. The timing and message of the exhibition was political by any stretch of the imagination, i.e. vote for PAP, you get upgrading.

What the putative PAP candidate for Bukit Batok, Mr Murali is saying is technically not wrong. NRP projects are implemented by Town Councils. Should residents not choose the PAP candidate, the Jurong-Clementi Town Council (which Bukit Batok SMC would appear to be subsumed under after 7 May if the PAP has its way) would not be able to carry on with the NRP - as they envision it.

After the 2011 elections, the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council checked with HDB if the NRP project at Eunos Spring (the precinct in question) could go ahead because of a change of Town Councils, and an opposition Town Council at that. The answer was YES. In addition, we were free to determine if we wanted to change the proposal of the previous PAP-run Aljunied Town Council with regard to the NRP upgrading plans - that's the nature of the NRP and how it works. A Town Council then seeks resident's feedback and proposes a plan for residents to approve (requires 75% approval

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WP MP Pritam Singh’s reflections on the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme and the Bukit Batok by-election
I have no doubt HDB will not withdraw NRP funds committed for the NRP at Blk 140-149 Bukit Batok West Ave 4, regardless who wins, based on the post-2011 precedent of Eunos Spring. It would be opening itself up to a judicial review of administrative action in Court if it did.

What is disconcerting is how the issue is left hanging in the air days after the “carrot” is publicly “announced”. For political reasons to favor the PAP? One cannot help but to draw that conclusion.

For some reason, this reminds me of Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob’s comments as she rounded up the recently concluded Committee of Supply debate. The Speaker noted that in the course of the debate, she continued with her house visits and observed that many residents were generally disinterested about what was going on in Parliament over the course of the Committee’s debate.

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PAP Starts “Terror Tactics” in Bukit Batok: No Vote Me, No Upgrades

It’s an old trick that’s been played many times over the years.

This time, Bukit Batok residents will get to feel the scare tactics firsthand.

Speaking to the media yesterday, PAP candidate Murali Pillai said that proposed upgrades might not be come to fruition if he isn’t elected as MP for the SMC.

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PAP candidate Murali abuse S$1.9 million taxes as campaign material
Despite not being elected, PAP candidate Murali for Bukit Batok SMC By-Election openly abused S$1.9 million taxes as campaign material. PAP candidate Murali made the S$1.9 million promise to invest in infrastructural plans for a neighbourhood in Bukit Batok during a press conference on Sunday (April 24).

The plans – which include covered walkways, ramps, a jogging track and a small park – come under the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme for the precinct at Blocks 140 to 149, Bukit Batok West Ave 4. Some 640 of the 12,000 households in the seat live in these blocks.

In other countries, this vote-buying method is corruption and indicated that the ruling party government display preferential treatment to constituencies that support the ruling party and punishes those in the Opposition wards. While his opponent SDP Dr Chee Soon Juan has unveiled policies proposals and even pledged his salaries to support 10 low income families, the former Aljunied GRC suicide team PAP candidate Murali have no policy insights and is not willing to part with his would-be luxurious S$15,000 a month MP salary.

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related: BB By Elections - Pork-barrel politics

Not quite a barbed Bukit Batok BE yet

MR MURALI Pillai playing a simple tune on the piano in a resident’s house, and Dr Chee Soon Juan producing heartfelt videos featuring his family. The Bukit Batok by-elections are being fought over who is the man of the people… Or more accurately, the man of Bukit Batok.

One would’ve imagined there’d be some chatter on national issues, given the economy’s poor showing lately, and the recent conclusion of Budget 2016 Parliamentary debates. There have been the usual calls by Dr Chee for retrenchment insurance, and Mr Murali has said that he would give residents employment help if elected, but no exchanges between the two.

And, with about 32 per cent of residents living in one- to three-room rental flats, little has come up on national policies to help the poor, though both candidates have vowed to help needy families. Mr Murali held a carnival for 360 low-income households earlier this month, while Dr Chee held a food distribution drive. Dr Chee’s efforts drew a swipe from Mr Murali who said: “If you were to deliver goods to their houses, one would have to assume what they want.” The carnival allowed each household to use 30 points to redeem groceries of their choice.

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Lee Hsien Loong Facebook about an hour ago
DPM Teo Chee Hean (who is Acting PM as I am away) has advised the President to issue the Writ of Election for Bukit Batok constituency. Nomination Day will be 27 April (Wednesday) and Polling Day 7 May (Saturday). Details here:

DPM Teo and I spoke earlier. Now that the Budget is out of the way, we are calling this by-election to enable residents of Bukit Batok to have their own MP as we work together to improve Singaporeans’ lives.

Partnership between Government and citizens is key to our success. I hope Bukit Batok residents will elect the candidate who will be concerned for their welfare, represent them ably in Parliament, and make Bukit Batok the best home for them. – LHL

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PM Lee urges residents to elect candidate who will ‘make Bukit Batok the best home for them’

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged Bukit Batok residents to “elect the candidate who will be concerned for their welfare, represent them ably in Parliament, and make Bukit Batok the best home for them”.

His comments were posted on Facebook shortly after the Writ of Election was issued on Wednesday (April 20).

“Now that the Budget is out of the way, we are calling this by-election to enable residents of Bukit Batok to have their own MP as we work together to improve Singaporeans’ lives,” said Mr Lee. He noted: “Partnership between Government and citizens is key to our success.”

related: Bukit Batok by-election to be held on May 7

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Singapore to hold by-election for Bukit Batok on May 7

Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam on Wednesday issued the writ of election for Bukit Batok by-election. Nomination day will be on April 27, and Polling Day will be on May 7, said Elections Department of Singapore (ELD).

The by-election for Bukit Batok has been called after Member of Parliament David Ong resigned over an alleged extramarital affair. The by-election will see more than 27,000 Bukit Batok residents heading to the polls for the second time in eight months.

Nomination Day will be on April 27. It will be followed by nine days of campaigning and the mandatory cooling-off day on May 6, before polling stations open the following day for residents to vote.

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Lianhe Wanbao’s portrayal of Dr Chee Soon Juan in a less-than-favourable manner

Last night's Lianhe Wanbao on 19 April featured the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Dr Chee Soon Juan on the front page of its publication, together with the People's Action Party's Murali Pillai, who will also be contesting in the Bukit Batok by- election.

However, Dr Chee criticised the media outlet's portrayal of him as compared to Mr Murali. Lianhe Wanbao had chosen two very different photographs of Mr Murali and Dr Chee, with a picture of the former smiling and posing for the camera, while Dr Chee was pictured with what netizens called a "grumpy" face.

Dr Chee took to his Facebook the day after Lianhe Wanbao's publication, expressing his disappointment in the "two very contrasting pictures" of him and Mr Murali.

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By the way, this Bukit Batok by-election…

WE SAID the Bukit Batok by-election will be held no later than June – and we were right! Yippee! Please allow us to blow our own trumpet. But seriously, there is little reason for Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong to delay the by-elections now that the hefty business of scrutinizing the Budget is over.
We’re all feeling hot because of the weather but not so hot under the collar as to harbor resentment against the G. The Budget, while not goodie-laden for individual households, doesn’t do anyone any harm.
Not that the Budget should be specifically tailored for Bukit Batok residents (there will be an outcry!), although you can bet that both the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) will unfurl some local plans for the single-seat ward in the north-western part of Singapore. Bukit Batok residents can expect some intense wooing, and plenty of visitors, including VIPs, swarming around the heavily-contested ward. Which will, hopefully, be devoid of rats.

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The 2-Week Battle to Erase Memories and Plant Promises of Change

A former “Bukit Batok kia”, who left after 12 years of grassroots work for Aljunied and now makes his homecoming, the PAP’s Murali Pillai is likely to win big in Bukit Batok.

He’s got the grassroots on his side, the merchants association on his side, and most importantly, the backing of Jurong GRC, of which Bukit Batok SMC was carved out of.

The heft of Tharman and Mdm Haalimah could prove too much for Dr Chee if they throw their weight behind Bukit Batok’s prodigal son.

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Lai liao: Bukit Batok by-election to be held on May 7, nomination day on April 27

Poor Bukit Batok residents, no public holiday for you on May 7.

It’s happening, folks: President Tony Tan has issued the writ for the Bukit Batok by-election, triggered by disgraced former ruling party member of parliament David Ong’s departure, which will be held on May 7.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared a link to the Elections Department press release here.

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Bukit Batok by-election announced on May 7

President Tony Tan Keng Yan issued the write of election today (Apr 20) for the election in Bukit Batok single member constituency to be held on May 7 (Sun).

Nomination day has been confirmed to be on Apr 27 and the nomination centre will be Keming Primary School.

The coming by-election will be the third by-election in 5 years. The two previous one were for the constituencies of Hougang in the year 2012, and for the constituency of Punggol East in 2013. The opposition won both by-elections.

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Bukit Batok by-election: And The Winner is
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