Political parties should not treat residents as votes to be traded: Tan Chuan-Jin

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin (in white) and with Marine Parade GRC MP Fatimah Lateef (centre) chatting with a group of elderly residents before visiting Tai Keng Gardens in Geylang Serai Division on Aug 23, 2015.
Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin (in white) and with Marine Parade GRC MP Fatimah Lateef (centre) chatting with a group of elderly residents before visiting Tai Keng Gardens in Geylang Serai Division on Aug 23, 2015. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - While it's good for residents to have options, political parties should treat them as people, not as votes to be traded, said Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development, during a walkabout in Tai Keng Gardens on Sunday.

"Competition allows residents to have choices, and it also keeps (the incumbent Members of Parliament) on our toes to stay focus on what's important, which is the people, not about horse trading," said Mr Tan.

The anchor minister for Marine Parade GRC added that competition is always welcome in his GRC, and his team is "looking forward to the choice being presented to (residents)".

"For us, the work continues. Work didn't start because the elections are coming. (The work) just never ceased, and we keep improving where we can."

On Sunday, he was accompanied by Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, the Marine Parade GRC MP who represents the Geylang Serai ward. Residents told him and Prof Fatimah, that they hope for a bus feeder service that brings them directly to the train station, among other things.

The incumbent People's Action Party has yet to announce its line-up for Marine Parade GRC, but Mr Tan said that he is "looking forward" to Prof Fatimah's continued service.

"Many of the residents have met (Prof Fatimah) before... She has been working the ground here for many years. She knows the residents by name and the level of warmth that's extended (to her)," he said.

"We are looking for MPs who really do care."