Pritam puts up e-mails, letters to back up double-standards claim

A barrier-free access ramp that took seven years to complete has sparked a dispute between Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh and People's Association grassroots adviser Chua Eng Leong.
A barrier-free access ramp that took seven years to complete has sparked a dispute between Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh and People's Association grassroots adviser Chua Eng Leong.PHOTO: PRITAM SINGH/FACEBOOK

Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh yesterday made public his communications with People's Association (PA) grassroots leaders, continuing a spat over a barrier-free access ramp that took seven years to build.

He posted a summary of the correspondence on his blog to rebut the "serious allegations" by PA grassroots adviser Chua Eng Leong, who said last Saturday that Mr Singh's comments about delays in the ramp's construction were "unsubstantiated" and "politically divisive and factually inaccurate".

In his Facebook post, Mr Singh said: "The facts speak for themselves. Mr Chua's position on the matter is untenable."

The summary, going back to 2012, details e-mails, letters and reminders that Mr Singh and the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) sent to PA representatives over Community Improvement Projects Committee (CIPC) funding for various projects, including a ramp in Bedok Reservoir Road.

Funding for such projects is disbursed through citizens consultative committees (CCCs), which are grassroots organisations under the PA. MPs must go through their grassroots advisers to raise projects for consideration.

The dispute arose when Mr Singh suggested in a Facebook post last Tuesday that the ramp, first mooted in 2012, had been delayed because it was proposed by the WP-run AHTC. He also raised the issue of "double standards" in CIPC funding for community projects in opposition wards.

Mr Chua then hit back. Among other things, he called Mr Singh "politically mischievous" for suggesting that proposals by opposition MPs are commonly ignored by the PA. Mr Chua was part of the People's Action Party (PAP) team that unsuccessfully contested Aljunied GRC in the 2015 General Election.

Yesterday, Mr Singh said the "substantive" summary he collated shows AHTC sent multiple chasers to PA representatives over seven years, including calls for meetings with grassroots advisers or representatives from PA and the CCCs.

He also noted that AHTC's new CIPC proposals since 2016 were ignored despite repeat reminders.

 

According to the summary, Mr Singh first raised the need for the ramp and linkway in e-mails to the PA constituency director on April 4, April 29 and June 3 in 2012.

Between June 2012 and July 2013, he also brought up the projects in e-mails to former PAP MP for Aljunied GRC Zainul Abidin Rasheed, who was then Eunos grassroots adviser, as well as to the Eunos CCC chairman.

According to the summary, the construction of the ramp was also delayed due to a request by Eunos CCC that required a new design to be drawn up.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2019, with the headline 'Pritam puts up e-mails, letters to back up double-standards claim'. Print Edition | Subscribe