MacPherson RC apologises for charging new citizens less for community event, offers refunds

The MacPherson Zone B RC had charged Singaporeans $3 and new citizens $1 for tickets to the event, an open house at the RC.
The MacPherson Zone B RC had charged Singaporeans $3 and new citizens $1 for tickets to the event, an open house at the RC.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/MACPHERSONRCZONEB

SINGAPORE - A Residents' Committee (RC) in MacPherson constituency apologised on Thursday for charging Singaporeans three times more than newly-naturalised citizens for tickets to a community event on Sunday (July 30).

Singaporeans paid $3 and "new citizens", $1 for tickets to an open house that included arts and crafts activities, dance performances and lunch.

The pricing by the MacPherson Zone B RC was criticised online by residents and netizens, with some saying the RC was discriminating against Singaporeans born here.

The MP of the single-seat constituency, Ms Tin Pei Ling, told The Straits Times she was upset when she found out about the issue on Wednesday.

But the RC members had no ill-intent and had been counselled, she added.

Ms Tin also said she had asked the RC to "right the wrong" by refunding the ticket money to all who attended the event.

The RC organises activities for 11 HDB blocks in Circuit Road. It posted its apology on Facebook, saying the tiered pricing has "caused disquiet" and was an "unwise decision".

It was an "honest error in judgment" and there was no ill-intent, the RC said.

It explained that the event was to bring neighbours together, and it had wanted to encourage more newly-naturalised citizens to attend.

"We thought a lower ticket price will encourage more new citizens to come forward.

"In doing so, we have neglected the feelings of the majority of our residents," it said, adding that the move was a one-off decision and not a policy of grassroots organisations in the area.

"As fellow residents, we have never harboured any intent of discriminating (against) fellow citizens," the RC said.

Data analyst Benny Tay said the RC should have been upfront from the start about its intention in charging different prices.

"Their intentions are good but they should have explained the price difference when they advertised the event," said the 28-year-old who lives in Circuit Road.

Ms Tin acknowledged the different charges would have been difficult to implement given that all Singaporeans hold the same pink identity card.

"In principle, a citizen is a citizen, there shouldn't have been a tiered charge," she said.