SINGAPORE – Residents of Sengkang will have a new 24-hour maintenance hotline, and a new branch office in a series of developments announced by Sengkang Town Council (SKTC) about a month after starting direct management of the whole town.
The new branch office, located at Block 323C Sengkang East Way, will start operating on Monday after an official opening ceremony was held on Saturday, SKTC said in a statement on Saturday night.
The hotline will link residents to round-the-clock emergency and maintenance services, and replaces the two separate hotlines different sections of the area had, SKTC added.
SKTC said that it is also working on installing electric vehicle charging stations in the town, and piloting digital engagements such as the survey and announcement feature of the OneService app by the Municipal Service Office.
It added: “Since commencing full direct management on Feb 1, 2023, SKTC has been following up closely on feedback as well as reviewing previous concerns...
“We will also continue to hold our quarterly Sengkang Conversations led by our Sengkang Members of Parliament, a town hall event for residents to voice concerns on issues affecting our community.”
More than a month since Sengkang Town Council began direct management of the entire town, most of the residents The Straits Times spoke to were satisfied with its services, though some expressed concerns about its responsiveness and the frequency of rubbish collection.
Business support analyst Roxane Chua, 21, has lived in Sengkang since she was seven. The estate has never been as clean as it is now, she said.
Ms Chua, who lives in the Rivervale estate in Sengkang with her family of four, also said the speed at which common property such as rubbish chutes is maintained has improved.
The town council began direct management of the whole town in February after failing to receive any bids in its 2022 tender for a managing agent, and with the contract with its previous managing agent, EM Services, having expired.
The Anchorvale division had already been under direct management since Nov 1, 2021. The other three divisions are Buangkok, Compassvale and Rivervale.
The town council, run by the Workers’ Party, said in February that it has been working on transitioning into direct management of Sengkang town, with recruitment for the direct management team having begun in the second half of 2022.
This means that instead of having an agent to manage services run by the council, like maintaining common property in the area, the town council will do these itself.
The council is chaired by Sengkang GRC MP He Ting Ru. Her fellow MP Louis Chua is vice-chair, while the third and final Sengkang GRC MP Jamus Lim is an elected member.
The town council has said that it has recruited experienced and suitable individuals, including employees from both CPG Facilities Management and EM Services, for its town management work.
Some residents said it is not entirely clear to them what work the town council is responsible for.
Sengkang resident Yom Bo Sung, 27, said he has not noticed any difference in the immediate surroundings since the town transited to full direct management, adding that he was not sure when that process began – a view echoed by several other residents ST spoke to.
He added: “But I did notice that they repainted some estates, and the residents were allowed to vote on the colour.”
However, to other residents, cleanliness has not been up to scratch.
One resident who declined to be named said cleanliness has been a “big problem” since the new town council took over.
She added that she often sees piles of bulky rubbish in void decks which remain there for up to three to four days.
She had concerns about pests and dengue fever, and this has prompted her to e-mail the town council repeatedly.
The lack of cleanliness is also a common topic in her estate’s group chat on WhatsApp, she said.
In a report on town council management released in June 2022 by the Ministry of National Development, SKTC was banded “green” in all areas except for service and conservancy charges arrears management, for which it had an “amber” banding.
Chua Chu Kang Town Council and Jurong-Clementi Town Council were also banded “amber”.
Ms He said in a speech on Saturday at the opening: “The new office marks an important milestone for SKTC.
“As a relatively young town council which was established in 2020, SKTC is appreciative of the support from our valued partners and we look forward to working closely with our various community partners to serve the needs of Sengkang residents.”