Political Links: What's buzzing online in political news (June 25)

Education Minister and Tampines grassroots adviser Heng Swee Keat is overseeing a taskforce set up to handle the concerns of residents of Centrale 8 in Tampines. - ST FILE PHOTO
Education Minister and Tampines grassroots adviser Heng Swee Keat is overseeing a taskforce set up to handle the concerns of residents of Centrale 8 in Tampines. - ST FILE PHOTO

ST Political Desk's round-up of what's buzzing online.

DBSS woes

Yet another Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project has made headlines. Education Minister and Tampines grassroots adviser Heng Swee Keat is overseeing a special taskforce set up to handle the concerns of residents of Centrale 8 in Tampines, who have been unhappy with defects and design issues. 

Readers have largely praised the move, although some have questioned why Mr Heng is picking up the slack when housing issues should come under the portfolio of National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan. Two readers opined that it might be a "conflict of interest" for Mr Khaw to take the lead, because his ministry also oversees the Housing Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Reader Jon Huang said: "Residents would think that the whole process is unfair."

Another reader, Tommy Ong, compared the Tampines grassroots' fronting of the taskforce to that of a condominium's Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST). He said: "For building defects, it happen every time and everywhere... The grassroots acts as an organised community group to help affected residents. What's wrong with that? It's just like if the condominium you live in has problems, the MCST will represent you to speak to the developer."

For some netizens with long memories, this incident has recalled Mr Khaw's words in Parliament in February. At least three Straits Times readers pointed to his speech during the parliamentary debate on the accounting and governance lapses at the Workers' Party (WP)-run town council, during which Mr Khaw had implied that severe punishment should lie in store for leaders who slip up.

One such reader was Guo Xiongwei, who listed seven DBSS projects islandwide that had run into problems. He said: "Who was the Minister that said: 'In Japan, the chairman and CEO would call a press conference, take a deep bow and, in the good old days, they may even commit hara-kiri?'"

Phey Yew Kok

Former National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Member of Parliament Phey Yew Kok also continued to dominate online chatter, a day after he unexpectedly turned himself in to face criminal breach of trust charges - following his dramatic escape from prosecution in 1979. 

Many readers cheered the long arm of the law in finally capturing Phey. But others were cynically speculative. A few have questioned the timing of his return, noting that Phey only chose to come back to face the music after founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had passed away. Others even joked that the 81-year-old might have been eyeing the SG50 benefits - or Pioneer Generation goodies - doled out by the Government.