17 town councils formed after GE, and Sengkang is the newcomer

The new Sengkang Town Council, which will manage Sengkang GRC (above), and the 11 reconstituted town councils have to take over the management of transferred areas by Oct 28 but they can also mutually agree to an earlier date, said the ministry. The
The new Sengkang Town Council, which will manage Sengkang GRC (above), and the 11 reconstituted town councils have to take over the management of transferred areas by Oct 28 but they can also mutually agree to an earlier date, said the ministry. The remaining five have unchanged town areas. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

A total of 17 town councils have been formed following the recent general election, with the People's Action Party (PAP) running 15 of them.

The newcomer among the 17 is Sengkang Town Council (SKTC), which will be run by the Workers' Party (WP).

Of the rest, 11 are reconstituted with changes in boundaries and five with unchanged town areas, the Ministry of National Development said yesterday.

The ministry, which oversees town councils, issued an order under the Town Councils Act to put into effect the formation of the town councils following requests from MPs of the constituencies.

The 11 reconstituted town councils are Ang Mo Kio, Bishan-Toa Payoh, Chua Chu Kang, Jalan Besar, Marine Parade, Marsiling-Yew Tee, Nee Soon, Pasir Ris-Punggol, Sembawang, Tampines and West Coast.

The five that retained their boundaries are Aljunied-Hougang, East Coast-Fengshan, Holland-Bukit Panjang, Jurong-Clementi and Tanjong Pagar.

The East Coast-Fengshan Town Council has been renamed East Coast Town Council, after the former Fengshan SMC was absorbed into East Coast GRC.

The new SKTC will manage Sengkang GRC, which was created from parts of the pre-GE2020 Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, Punggol East SMC and Sengkang West SMC, said the ministry.

The Anchorvale ward in the new Sengkang GRC is now being managed by Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC), while the Punggol East and Sengkang Central areas are overseen by the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC).

Under the law, town councils have up to 90 days from the date of the order to take over the management of transferred areas.

This means that SKTC and the 11 reconstituted town councils will have to do it by Oct 28 but they can also mutually agree to an earlier date, said the ministry.

WP's Sengkang team leader He Ting Ru, who led a four-person team to victory in the July 10 polls with 52.1 per cent of the votes, will chair the new town council.

 
 

Ms He had said on July 19 that her town council has reached out to AMKTC and PRPTC to discuss the handover.

Two days later, Senior Minister of State Janil Puthucheary, a Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP, said both town councils run by the People's Action Party (PAP) have started handing town council documents to the SKTC.

Dr Janil also said the two PAP town councils will work together to make sure the transition to SKTC is smooth.

The handover of duties will also see the SKTC taking over the management of a lawsuit initiated by the PRPTC.

PRPTC had filed the civil suit, which is ongoing, to recover alleged losses incurred by the former Punggol East SMC, which is now part of Sengkang GRC and returned to WP hands at the recent polls.

This means the WP team in Sengkang will take on the responsibility of handling the lawsuit, which was brought by PRPTC against WP chairman Sylvia Lim, former party chief Low Thia Khiang and six other defendants in the High Court.

Besides SKTC, the WP also manages the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.

As for the PAP's town councils, four new SMCs carved out before the election will join neighbouring town councils: Kebun Baru and Yio Chu Kang SMCs will be part of AMKTC, while the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council will also serve Marymount SMC. Punggol West SMC will come under PRPTC.

Dr Teo Ho Pin, a former Bukit Panjang MP, was the coordinating chairman of the 15 PAP town councils before the election. He has since retired as an MP.

A PAP spokesman said the role of coordinating chairman of PAP town councils will be decided at a later date, once all the town council chairmen have been appointed.

She did not specify any timeframe for it.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2020, with the headline '17 town councils formed after GE, and Sengkang is the newcomer'. Print Edition | Subscribe