The candidates: Workers' Party, Singapore People's Party

Separate SPP manifestos for different constituencies

In launching her manifesto for the Mountbatten ward yesterday, lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss (seated at table) said that "it represents my commitment, and belief, and passion, for Mountbatten".
In launching her manifesto for the Mountbatten ward yesterday, lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss (seated at table) said that "it represents my commitment, and belief, and passion, for Mountbatten".ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The Singapore People's Party (SPP) is taking the unusual move of having separate manifestos for the four constituencies it is contesting, with the first launched yesterday by lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, 52.

Although called a manifesto, the 40-page booklet resembles a masterplan for the area, and outlines ideas she has for the 24,096-strong single-seat Mountbatten ward should she win the contest against the People's Action Party's Lim Biow Chuan.

The Straits Times understands that the SPP will also detail the issues that the party plans to campaign on, and that this document will be put out later in the week.

The other three constituencies being contested by SPP candidates are Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, and the single-seat wards of Potong Pasir and Hong Kah North.

The initiatives Mrs Chong-Aruldoss outlined include a Mountbatten Social Mobility Bursary to help those aged 15 to 21 from lower-income households make the leap from the ITE to polytechnic, or from polytechnic to university.

She aims to raise $100,000 for the pilot project to assist 100 recipients as a start.

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss also intends to work with architects, residents, heritage groups and local businesses to construct a plan to present to the Urban Redevelopment Authority to conserve at least three of the 17 low-rise blocks in Dakota Crescent.

Built in 1958 by the Singapore Improvement Trust, the HDB's predecessor, the neighbourhood is one of Singapore's oldest public housing estates. Residents there have till the end of next year to move out, after redevelopment plans were announced last year.

"The incumbent has been reported to have said to the media that the decision whether or not to conserve Dakota Crescent is one for conservation experts to make and for the State to decide," she said, referring to Mr Lim.

"I beg to differ: Heritage belongs to Singaporeans, not to conservation experts; we should have a say on what is kept and what is not."

But the manifesto also touches on policy changes that she intends to fight for in Parliament, such as pushing the Government to release more non-classified information into the public domain, with an eventual goal of enacting a Freedom of Information Act. Such open record laws typically establish a process for the general public to request government-held information.

The coming contest will be a rematch for Mrs Chong-Aruldoss, who contested in Mountbatten in 2011 against Mr Lim. Then, she garnered 41.38 per cent of valid votes.

Yesterday, she told reporters that her manifesto was the product of many conversations she had with residents there.

"This manifesto wasn't something that was cobbled overnight or, for that matter, just because of the GE, but is the product of thought processes that have been going on for an extended period of time," she said. "It represents my commitment, and belief, and passion, for Mountbatten."

• Additional reporting by Olivia Ho

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2015, with the headline 'Separate SPP manifestos for different constituencies'. Print Edition | Subscribe