Volunteers praised for looking after Bt Batok residents

BTO Task Force shows how grassroots issues are tackled in creative ways: Chan Chun Sing

Late last year, several students in school uniform were spotted climbing onto roof structures at a garden on the 24th floor of Skyline I, a new build-to-order (BTO) cluster of HDB flats in Bukit Batok.

This attracted the attention of a group of community leaders, called the BTO Task Force, whose job is to help new residents settle in and address new estate and traffic issues.

Concerned, the group - led by long-time Bukit Batok residents Rajasekeran Pragasam and Albert Lee - swung into action.

They proposed setting up roof canopy spikes to deter children from climbing onto the roof. The Housing Board agreed, and installed the spikes in February.

The episode was highlighted by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing on his ministerial community visit to Bukit Batok constituency yesterday as an example of an issue that is being tackled in new and creative ways.

Lauding their proactive action, he said: "This shows a certain dynamism among the grassroots network to keep pace with the challenges and aspirations the community is facing... They're not contented to just use conventional channels to solve conventional problems. In fact, they're constantly looking for new solutions to meet the aspirations of the new generation of residents, and to meet the new needs of existing residents."

EXPANDING NETWORK

There's special effort to continuously look for new residents who have not come to join them, to prevent a situation where they're not living alone and isolated. That's very commendable.

MINISTER IN THE PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE CHAN CHUN SING, on grassroots volunteers reaching out to residents.

Mr Chan, who is deputy chairman of the People's Association, distributed gift boxes to parents as part of the PA's Embracing Parenthood initiative. He was hosted by Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai, who was elected in a 2016 by-election.

Mr Chan also visited a community health-screening and coaching session, where seniors were taught how to live healthily, and held a closed-door dialogue with residents.

He noted how grassroots volunteers were making special effort to reach out to people who are not part of their network. They include seniors who had not done health screenings before.

He said: "There's special effort to continuously look for new residents who have not come to join them, to prevent a situation where they're not living alone and isolated. That's very commendable."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 30, 2017, with the headline 'Volunteers praised for looking after Bt Batok residents'. Print Edition | Subscribe