Denise Phua aims to avoid duplication of services

Ms Denise Phua plans to launch several programmes in the coming months, ranging from talks to build interfaith understanding to a pilot scheme for former Sungei Road hawkers.
Ms Denise Phua plans to launch several programmes in the coming months, ranging from talks to build interfaith understanding to a pilot scheme for former Sungei Road hawkers.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

Mayor of Central Singapore District also hopes to encourage volunteerism

Various organisations have sprung up in the Central Singapore District to help needy residents there, but they sometimes end up providing duplicate services.

To reduce the overlap, Central Singapore District Mayor Denise Phua plans to bring in an "integrator" that will help to coordinate and manage the different services.

This will be one of the key focuses for Ms Phua, a Jalan Besar GRC MP, during her three-year term as the head of Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC).

Outlining her plans for her current term yesterday, she said she also hoped to encourage volunteerism and build a district where people "do good".

The Central Singapore District - which includes towns like Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Toa Payoh and Jalan Besar - is home to about one million residents, and contains about half of Singapore's rental flats.

Ms Phua pointed out that in estates with many needy elderly residents, for example, there could be hospitals, voluntary welfare organisations, senior activity centres and grassroots organisations providing similar health services independently of one another.

"We need to ensure that the residents' needs are understood, and social services are coordinated," she said, adding that this would cut wastage.

She said the CDC could bring in a partner, such as a grassroots organisation, to handle the task of coordinating services for residents.

Yesterday, Ms Phua also unveiled other programmes that will be launched in the coming months, ranging from talks to build interfaith understanding to a pilot scheme for former Sungei Road hawkers.

"If we are trying to encourage volunteerism, we have to give (people) many options," said Ms Phua, who was appointed for a second three-year term as mayor in May.

The talks on faith are a collaboration with South East District Mayor Maliki Osman. They hope to develop short modules about the basics of different faiths and take them to offices as lunch-time talks, said Ms Phua.

On the scheme for Sungei Road hawkers, she said some have moved into hawker centres and Central Singapore CDC will help to refurbish and renovate their stalls so they can better display their merchandise and draw more customers.

So far, the CDC has helped one stallholder, Madam Kew Poh Geok, 70, who now sells second-hand clothes and knick-knacks at the North Bridge Road Market and Food Centre.

Said Madam Kew: "I never liked to idle around and this is an opportunity for me."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2017, with the headline 'Denise Phua aims to avoid duplication of services'. Print Edition | Subscribe