Parliament: Latest batch of upgrading projects for private estates delayed

The Clover estate in Bishan is among the nine estates selected for the upgrading works.
The Clover estate in Bishan is among the nine estates selected for the upgrading works.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The newest batch of upgrading projects for private estates has been delayed, in order to better manage the demand for construction workers, Senior Minister of State for National Development Koh Poh Koon said Monday.

Responding to Mr Edwin Tong (Marine Parade GRC), who had asked for updates on the Estate Upgrading Programme (EUP), Mr Koh said the tenth batch had been "deferred somewhat" after a review of public sector projects.

Last April, the Government told grassroots organisations that requests to spruce up the estates would be put on hold, The Straits Times understands.

The EUP, introduced in 2000 to upgrade and develop infrastructure in private estates, has been implemented in 63 private estates over nine batches, to the tune of about $187 million. Residents do not pay anything.

On Monday, Mr Koh told MPs the ninth batch had been approved in May.

Nine estates, including Clover in Bishan and Sea Breeze Garden in MacPherson, were selected. In total, there are 17 estates with ongoing projects, including the most recent batch.

Said Mr Koh: "We would like to complete some of these ongoing projects first, before calling for new nominations. This will allow us to devote the requisite resources to better manage the new projects."

He added that it would take about eight to 10 months after nominations are submitted for the authorities to select the eligible estates.

Mr Tong, who oversees Joo Chiat ward, was concerned that private estates, which do not have access to town council or Housing Board grants, would be unable to upgrade aging facilities like drains, sidewalks and roads. Mr Koh said he can contact the relevant government agencies to manage emergency situations in the meantime.

Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) also asked if MPs in opposition wards can work with the Citizens' Consultative Committee to draw up plans for EUP. Mr Koh replied that proposals for an EUP project are meant to be by a working committee "largely made up of the residents who are staying there."