SINGAPORE - PAP candidates contesting the new Sengkang GRC have said they will set up a new town council within three months if they are elected in the July 10 polls.
Labour chief Ng Chee Meng, who is leading the People's Action Party team in a face-off against the Workers' Party, noted that the areas falling under the new Sengkang GRC are served by two town councils at the moment.
Anchorvale is covered by Ang Mo Kio Town Council, while Compassvale and Rivervale fall under Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council.
Creating a new Sengkang Town Council would help them to "know residents' requirements much more intimately", said Mr Ng, 51, in a virtual press conference on Thursday (July 2). He did not say where the town council would be located.
Fellow candidate Raymond Lye, a lawyer with more than 20 years of town council experience, would be in charge of setting up this town council.
"We aim to be more responsive and more focused in terms of the services for our residents," said Mr Lye, 54, adding that residents they spoke to said they liked the idea.
Mr Ng and Mr Lye are part of the PAP's four-man team for the new Sengkang GRC. The other two candidates are Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin, 41, who has moved from Sembawang GRC, and Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport Lam Pin Min, 50, whose former Sengkang West single seat has been partly absorbed into Sengkang GRC.
Candidates have noted that the town council would help introduce amenities such as playgrounds, fitness zones, barrier-free access routes, covered linkways and community gardens. Lifts would also be upgraded with enhanced safety features.
The team's members are keen to get feedback from residents as they develop their plans. They call this approach "Sengkang Together".
Dr Lam said: "We want to co-create this development of the town, not only looking at infrastructure development, but also looking at programmes that we can have for residents of different demographics."
Sengkang GRC is shaping up to be a hot battleground in the election.
The PAP is up against a WP team comprising lawyer He Ting Ru, 37, economics professor Jamus Lim, 44, social enterprise founder Raeesah Khan, 26, and equity research analyst Louis Chua, 33. Associate Professor Lim, who represented the WP in a political debate on TV on Wednesday night, is quickly becoming the party's star candidate.
Mr Ng declined to say what he thought of his WP opponents and their proposals.
Mr Amrin said the PAP candidates have had experience running town councils and "would provide a certain measure of confidence to our residents that the town council administration will be properly done, funds will be responsibly used".
The new Sengkang GRC was formed by taking the Pasir Ris-Punggol ward of Sengkang Central and combining it with the single seat of Punggol East and part of Sengkang West SMC. The four-member constituency would have four main areas, Mr Ng added.
These areas would be known as Sengkang West, Sengkang East, Sengkang Central and Sengkang North and be helmed by Dr Lam, Mr Lye, Mr Amrin and Mr Ng respectively should they win the vote.
On some residents' concerns that the town could get more crowded, Mr Ng said Sengkang has open spaces, for example near the river along Anchorvale.
"We are flanked by two very nice rivers, with very good NParks works to make living enjoyable. Sengkang Central is sandwiched in the middle, and we will see how we can make the environment more green, and more liveable, even if there are new BTOs (Build-To-Order flats)."
The candidates were also asked about the WP's criticisms of the Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) scheme, which allows the "best-performing losers" from the opposition to enter Parliament after a general election.
On Wednesday, the WP's Mr Dennis Tan had argued that the NCMP scheme was aimed at making sure "no other party can lay roots into each constituency" aside from the ruling party.
Asked about this issue, the PAP's Mr Ng replied: "We have debated this long and hard in Parliament... I don't think I need to rehash this."