On the ground: PAP

Sitoh unveils lift upgrading plans for Potong Pasir

HDB has given in-principle approval for eight low-rise blocks of flats in Potong Pasir

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin helping Mr Chiam to clean up after they met up over pancakes and coffee during their walkabouts yesterday. Beside them is Mrs Lina Chiam.
Mr Sitoh Yih Pin helping Mr Chiam to clean up after they met up over pancakes and coffee during their walkabouts yesterday. Beside them is Mrs Lina Chiam.ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG

Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin yesterday had good news for residents of eight low-rise blocks of flats which previously did not qualify for lift upgrading as there were too few units to share the cost.

The Housing Board has given in-principle approval to select their blocks for the national programme, he said in letters to 32 households that will get lift access, which he delivered in the evening.

Mr Sitoh told reporters that he "had been working very hard" to get the blocks included and hopes construction work can begin in the first six months of next year. 

He also hoped residents would continue to give him a mandate to do more for them.

"I went to take a look at our manifesto in 2011," he said. "We can put a tick to every box, we have fulfilled all the promises we have made."

Lift upgrading was a key platform of Mr Sitoh's campaign to spruce up the ageing ward in the People's Action Party's (PAP) bid to wrest the seat from veteran opposition politician Chiam See Tong.

Mr Sitoh won the seat on his third attempt in the 2011 General Election, when Mr Chiam left the ward he held since 1984 to contest neighbouring Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

Mr Sitoh had a majority of just 114 votes against Mr Chiam's wife - Mrs Lina Chiam of the Singapore People's Party (SPP) - who intends to contest again in the next general election.

Yesterday, Mr Sitoh ran into Mr and Mrs Chiam and over 20 SPP activists at a coffee shop during their respective walkabouts, and they met up like old friends over peanut pancakes and coffee.

Mr Sitoh said he respected Mr Chiam enormously, and disclosed that for many neighbourhood renewal projects that were being carried out, he had given instructions to retain plaques that bear Mr Chiam's name beside the facilities.

"As much as possible, even if we are to open a new amenity, at best our plaque will be side-by-side with his. His 27 years of legacy in Potong Pasir are intact," he added.

Mr Sitoh has expanded the neighbourhood's community club and brought in FairPrice and a POSB outlet to Potong Pasir in the four years since he took over as MP.

Yesterday, he asked residents for a chance to embark on "the next chapter" of his 10-year plan, which includes a project to cover up all the drains and install more surveillance cameras in the estate. 

 "We know exactly what we need to do, and our manifesto is ready. We will unveil it when the hustings come," he said.

Yesterday, Mr Chiam was fondly greeted by Potong Pasir residents. Mrs Chiam told reporters later that she and the SPP will speak up on issues such as rising medical costs, housing and transport if elected, and try to "bring the kampung spirit back" to Potong Pasir, "of course with modern facilities".

"The needs of the residents come first, not the facade of a constituency," she added before visiting Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and Mountbatten where SPP also plans to contest.

Also working the ground in Potong Pasir yesterday was former National Solidarity Party (NSP) secretary-general Tan Lam Siong, who handed out rations to residents a day after he said he would contest there as an independent.

The Democratic Progressive Party is also interested in the ward .

Asked about such a contest, Mr Sitoh said: "That's interesting, isn't it? (But) our attention and our focus must be on the residents here."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2015, with the headline 'Sitoh unveils lift upgrading plans'. Subscribe