Govt remains committed to all residents in PAP or opposition wards: PM Lee

PM Lee Hsien Loong speaking at the opening of the new Rivervale Community Club on July 30, 2022. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - The Government is committed to serving residents, whether they live in a ward controlled by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) or the opposition, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

Speaking at the opening of the new Rivervale Community Club on Saturday (July 30), he noted that the old Rivervale CC was situated at a HDB void deck in that area and was “too small” for the growing population there, and plans for a new standalone CC was announced in 2016 to provide a wider range of facilities with many residents approached for ideas and suggestions for the new building.

PM Lee said: “At that time, Sengkang East was under the PAP. Then in the 2020 General Election, it went to the opposition, Sengkang GRC. But the Government remains committed to serving residents here in Sengkang. 

“So work on the CC carried on, because the needs of the residents remain – needs for a larger community space, for a wider range of facilities and programmes.”

The area was part of the Punggol East SMC under now-retired PAP veteran Charles Chong, before it was absorbed into the Sengkang GRC following an Electoral Boundaries Review Committee report in 2020, ahead of the general election that year.

The Workers’ Party team of Ms He Ting Ru, Mr Louis Chua, Associate Professior Jamus Lim and Ms Raeesah Khan beat PAP’s team of then-Minister Ng Chee Meng, Dr Lam Pin Min, Mr Amrin Amin and Mr Raymond Lye with a 52.12 per cent vote share in that election. 

“Whether Sengkang East is in a PAP or opposition ward, many activists and volunteers continue to serve on the Community Club Management Committee (CCMC) and on its sub-committees, to organise activities and programmes for residents,” PM Lee said.

“We also continue to maintain a full grassroots network to inform residents about government policies, to help vulnerable households through many government assistance schemes and to gather feedback so that we continue to have a good sense of the ground.”

He added that Mr Goh Yeow Tin is the grassroots adviser in Sengkang GRC taking charge of the Sengkang East grassroots organisations.

Also spotted at the launch event were Dr Lam, Mr Lye,  Mr Ling Weihong, Ms Theodora Lai and Associate Professor Elmie Nekmat.

In March 2022, the PAP unveiled Mr Ling, Ms Lai and Prof Elmie as chairs of PAP party branches in Sengkang East, Sengkang North and Sengkang Central respectively. 

The new Rivervale CC, located next to Rivervale Plaza, is the first CC in Singapore to be built using the more eco-friendly mass engineered timber construction method.

The material is renewable and pre-fabricated to reduce work done on site, and also lessens the need for extra cooling and heating of facilities, thus limiting its carbon footprint, according to a press release.

The new Rivervale CC is the first CC in Singapore to be built using the more eco-friendly mass engineered timber construction method. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The CC also has a modern wooden facade and features such as a vertical green wall meant to complement other green spots in the area, such as the Sungei Serangoon Park Connector and Sengkang Neighbourhood Park.

It also has a co-working space called The Cube targeted towards young people and working adults.

A fitness centre operator was also brought in to offer functional body workout trainings which are popular with the younger residents, said a CC spokesman.

Elderly residents can tap the Gym Tonic initiative, which provides senior-friendly gym facilities and wellness programmes meant to help them age gracefully.

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The new CC has a childcare centre and two enrichment centres to cater to young families in the area.

It also has a multipurpose hall, culinary studio, dance studios and classrooms.

CCs continue to remain relevant today, and are an important part of Singapore’s social landscape as they provide shared spaces for community activities and create opportunities for residents to meet and interact, PM Lee noted.

This is even so as people moved out of kampungs into modern flats, and even though people do not huddle around a communal television set anymore like they did during the kampung days.

CCs played an important role in the last few years amid the Covid-19 pandemic, when grassroots leaders and community volunteers came together at CCs to distribute masks, hand sanitisers, and TraceTogether tokens, as well as food packs to those isolating at home.

Mr Goh Yeow Tin, adviser to Sengkang East grassroots organisations, said he hoped Rivervale CC would serve as a second home to residents, "as they come here to attend courses, to use the facilities, or even as a social gathering point, where they get to meet like-minded neighbours and make new friends".

Mr Goh served with PM Lee in Teck Ghee grassroots for 33 years before he was moved to help in Sengkang earlier this year.

Electrical engineer Muthuvel Nandakumaram, who has two sons aged nine and five, said the old CC premises at a void deck were insufficient as the space was small and congested.

The new CC - less than a five-minute walk from his home - has many more facilities, said the 40-year-old. He plans to continue sending his elder son for taekwondo classes at the CC.

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