Masagos: PAP team remains focused on delivering services to Aljunied residents

Minister Masagos Zulkifli shaking hands with a Aljunied GRC resident during his visit to Eunos ward.
Minister Masagos Zulkifli shaking hands with a Aljunied GRC resident during his visit to Eunos ward. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Masagos interacting with residents at a block party at Block 620, Bedok Reservoir Road.
Mr Masagos interacting with residents at a block party at Block 620, Bedok Reservoir Road. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - The People's Action Party (PAP) team in Aljunied GRC remains focused on delivering services to residents and conveying their concerns to the Government, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said on Sunday (May22).

He was speaking to reporters after a visit to Eunos ward in the GRC held by the opposition Workers' Party since 2011, and where the PAP got 49 per cent of votes in last September's general election.

Asked how he would evaluate the progress of the team in Aljunied since the GE, Mr Masagos said they were "as united as ever".

"Their focus is to bring services the People's Association(PA) brings to residents all around Singapore.

"The political battle is over. More importantly, we must make sure we serve our residents with the services, the amenities they deserve - and have as much feedback as possible so residents have a channel for them to bring up their concerns, complaints, to the Government as quickly and effectively as possible."

Mr Masagos, a PA board member, also said a new adviser to grassroots organisations in Paya Lebar will be appointed to take over Mr Murali Pillai, who was elected Bukit Batok MP in the May 7 by-election.

In the meantime, other grassroots advisers are helping residents. Accompanying Mr Masagos on his visit were Aljunied GRC grassroots advisers Chua Eng Leong, Victor Lye, and Shamsul Kahar - who contested Aljunied GRC in last year's general election alongside Mr Murali and former MP Yeo Guat Kwang. Hougang grassroots adviser Lee Hong Chuang was also present.

Ministerial community visits are organised regularly to help introduce new ministers to Singaporeans and keep the bond between the Government and the people strong, Mr Masagos added.

Asked if there was any significance to his visiting an opposition constituency, he said: "It does not matter if it is an opposition ward or non-opposition ward because ministers serve everybody."

"Therefore we ought to know the ground," he added, "to make sure the connection between the Government and the people continues."

Mr Masagos, who used to coordinate such visits but has now handed over to Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, also said such visits are supposed to be "organic" - not to welcome ministers with say, lion dances, but to let them meet heartlanders going about their daily lives.

Such visits are also a chance for officials to look at possible improvements to facilities, especially those under the visiting minister's charge.

And Mr Masagos said he was happy to see the market and hawker centre, where he spoke to stallholders and residents, was running well.

"There are some municipal issues they raised, but this ought to be settled by the town council. Otherwise, people are quite happy with the amenities," he added.

Wet markets and hawker centres are managed by the National Environment Agency, a statutory board under Mr Masagos' ministry.

He started his visit at the Alkaff Kampung Melayu Mosque where he mingled with students attending Sunday classes. He then dropped by a void deck party where residents gave feedback on the ongoing construction of the nearby Downtown Line 3's Bedok North station, scheduled to open next year.

He also visited the wet market at Block 630, Bedok Reservoir Road.

His final stop was at a block of HDB flats, where he spent about 20 minutes chatting with residents in one family's living room.

After the community visit, Mr Masagos held a closed-door dialogue with Eunos grassroots leaders at the community club.

Mr Chua, the grassroots adviser in Eunos ward, outlined some initiatives he had been doing for residents, such as monthly distribution of food to the needy and dementia prevention talks for the elderly.

"The ground is more receptive to us. We are recognisable on the ground like residents are," he said.