Bukit Batok by-election

PAP has experienced team in managing estates: Murali

Mr Murali Pillai visiting residents at Block 114, Bukit Batok West Avenue 6, during his walkabout. He has pledged to put his constituents first, saying his late father had taught him to "always put community before self".
Mr Murali Pillai visiting residents at Block 114, Bukit Batok West Avenue 6, during his walkabout. He has pledged to put his constituents first, saying his late father had taught him to "always put community before self".ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

An experienced team to manage the Housing Board estates and take care of their needs is what Bukit Batok residents will get if they vote for the People's Action Party (PAP) on May 7.

This, said the party's candidate, Mr Murali Pillai, sets him apart from his rival, Dr Chee Soon Juan of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

Also, he pledged to put his constituents first. "I will unequivocally say that I will always put my residents' needs above my own.

"If there's a situation where Bukit Batok residents' needs will compete with my own, I will always put them first," he said.

His late father P.K. Pillai, a unionist and former political detainee, had ingrained these values in him, he added, teaching him to "always put community before self".

Mr Murali was speaking to reporters last night in between his walkabouts and visits to homes in five HDB blocks.

In pointing out why the PAP is the better party for the job, he highlighted its volunteer links, partnerships with non-profit organisations and experience in running a town council.

"It is this team approach that is needed to address the needs of Bukit Batok. So if anyone has the notion that a single MP working full time would be able to address their needs, I'm afraid he may have to reassess the situation," he said.

"That does not accord with my experience, having spent 16 years here under the late MP Ong Chit Chung and other MPs."

His remark was directed at Dr Chee's pledge to be a full-time MP if he was elected.

Dr Chee, a former academic, does not hold down a full-time job.

Mr Murali is head of commercial litigation for Rajah and Tann, a top law firm.

"PAP MPs have been doing this day in, day out," he said.

"And this was part and parcel of what I had done for many years," he added citing his experience as the PAP's branch secretary in Bukit Batok, then as the branch chairman in Paya Lebar ward in Aljunied GRC.

If elected, Mr Murali said Bukit Batok will remain in Jurong-Clementi Town Council and continue to be part of the Jurong family, which includes Jurong GRC.

He also said competence and experience matter in carrying out upgrading projects, like the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme, which will be done regardless of who is elected the MP.

"It's one thing to have the funds, but it's another to come up with ideas that resonate with residents and not be white elephants," he said.

"There's no need to experiment," he added, stressing that the Jurong-Clementi Town Council has an exceptional track record in implementing plans to the satisfaction of Bukit Batok residents.

Rachel Au-Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2016, with the headline 'PAP has experienced team in managing estates: Murali'. Print Edition | Subscribe