Potong Pasir SMC

Sitoh defends track record over past four years

A garlanded Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, the PAP candidate for Potong Pasir SMC, thanking supporters at the end of his rally last night.
A garlanded Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, the PAP candidate for Potong Pasir SMC, thanking supporters at the end of his rally last night.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

In his final rally speech, the People's Action Party man (PAP) who took Potong Pasir back from the opposition in the last general election defended his track record over the past four years.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin listed a series of upgrading projects in the ward, showed how he improved the financial situation and defended his record in Parliament.

Speaking at a rally on a field in Potong Pasir, he rebutted several points made by his rival, Singapore People's Party candidate Lina Chiam, who spoke on Tuesday.

At her rally, Mrs Chiam, 66, charged that Potong Pasir had lost its "kampung" spirit and that she had a better track record in Parliament than Mr Sitoh, 51.

She is mounting a second bid for the ward held by her husband, Mr Chiam See Tong, for 27 years until 2011. Mr Sitoh defeated her that year on his third try by 114 votes.

In his 90-minute-long speech, Mr Sitoh shot back at her suggestion that Potong Pasir had lost its character, noting that residents continued to show strong bonds during activities he has organised.

"Kampung spirit doesn't mean you have to stay in a kampung... with no amenities. To me, kampung spirit means caring and being happy for one another."

Mr Sitoh trotted out a long list of improvements in store, including an expanded community club gym and a free bus shuttle service. The lease for a hostel in Sennett Estate that has caused problems for residents will also not be renewed.

As for speaking up in Parliament, he likened his approach to Jackie Chan's career. He pointed out that the actor makes only one movie a year, but his show is always a hit.

"I do not talk for the sake of talking... Talk is cheap," he said.

Mr Sitoh also told voters that when the PAP took over the town council in 2011, there were 402 units that had not paid their fees - making up almost 10 per cent of households in the constituency. Not one cent of the arrears has been written off, he added.

Total arrears exceeded $300,000, he added. Since then, the number in arrears has fallen by more than half and the amount owed has also dropped.

He said he has no intention of displacing, or replicating, Mr Chiam's legacy. But what he does offer is a drive and energy to help residents with their issues, he said, throwing a challenge to Mrs Chiam.

"Even if you have all the resources I have, if you have raised all the money I have raised, do you have the energy and drive to power this through?" Mr Sitoh said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2015, with the headline 'Sitoh defends track record over past four years'. Print Edition | Subscribe