Singapore GE2020: Bird's nest for Aljunied residents not from public funds, says Kaki Bukit Community Centre

Sin Rak Sin Party Facebook page posted a picture of two bottles of bird's nest wrapped together with a PA name card bearing Mr Shamsul Kamar's name. PHOTO: SIN RAK SIN PARY/ FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The People's Association (PA) did not use public funds to buy bird's nest for Aljunied residents, and a picture of the item packed as a gift is not related to the ongoing general election campaign, the Kaki Bukit Community Centre said on Sunday (July 5).

It was responding to a post by the Sin Rak Sin Party Facebook page, which on Saturday posted a picture of two bottles of bird's nest wrapped together with a PA name card bearing Mr Shamsul Kamar's name.

Mr Shamsul is the adviser to the Kaki Bukit grassroots organisation in Aljunied GRC.

He is also part of the five-member People's Action Party (PAP) team contesting Aljunied GRC against the Workers' Party (WP) team in the July 10 election.

In a statement, the Kaki Bukit Community Centre said: "It has come to our attention that a post has been circulating alleging that PA had used public funds to purchase bird's nest for Aljunied residents in order to buy votes during GE2020.

"We wish to clarify that the bird's nest were donated by grassroots leaders.

"They were given to Merdeka Generation residents who attended the Kaki Bukit Health Fiestas held in June and August 2019 as tokens of appreciation for their contribution to nation-building."

It added that the packs that were not distributed at the events were subsequently given to families under the Kaki Bukit social assistance programmes.

"We hope that members of the public will not misunderstand the intentions of our volunteers," it said.

Earlier this week, Mr Shamsul was accused of baiting Malay voters with offers of meals from fast-food restaurant Texas Chicken after a copy of a letter dated June 27 was posted online.

The letter, written in Malay, was for a food distribution event on July 4.

Mr Shamsul, who denied the allegation, explained that his team had worked over the last five years with various stakeholders, including private organisations, to assist Kaki Bukit residents.

"In this instance, the organisation wanted to focus on the lower-income, Malay-Muslim families... Planning for this event started before the general election was announced," he had said.

Mr Shamsul has since postponed the event until after the general election, and apologised to residents.

"It is unfortunate that there were allegations by netizens that I am only helping the Malay community and that I am luring people to vote by providing them with free food," he said.

"I would like to state that these allegations are untrue."

The Sin Rak Sin Party Facebook page was on July 4 issued a correction direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma).

It was in relation to an article which contained a false statement that the Urban Redevelopment Authority had released a "plan to build underground infrastructure ready for 10 million population", said the Pofma Office.

Separately, Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong on Saturday refuted claims that an elderly support scheme in Joo Chiat is aimed at "buying votes".

Lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss had posted pictures of a campaign flier featuring Mr Tong on the front page and details of the scheme - which gives a one-time assistance of $500 to eligible elderly residents - on the back page.

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss was a member of the Singapore People's Party until she left the party last year. She was later spotted campaigning for the WP.

Mr Tong, who is one of the PAP candidates contesting Marine Parade GRC, said the scheme was launched even before the election was called and funds were raised by well-wishers.

"The scheme is available to Joo Chiat residents who meet the criteria, regardless of how they vote... Further, it is not only valid during the elections, as claimed," he said.

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