SM notes Joo Chiat's progress on return visit

Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean returned yesterday to the ward in which he began his political career - Joo Chiat.

Speaking to residents, he noted the changes the ward has gone through since he presided over it between 1992 and 1996.

Back then, a third of Joo Chiat comprised shophouses, which reports said often showed signs of age because of low rents under the Rent Control Act. The Act was repealed in 2001, which Mr Teo said encouraged the rejuvenation of Joo Chiat. "Today, Joo Chiat is known for being a modern, clean and safe estate, while retaining its rich history and multicultural heritage."

He was one of four former Joo Chiat MPs who were invited to a National Day dinner by its current MP, Mr Edwin Tong. The others were Mr Lim Chee Onn, Mr Chan Soo Sen and Mr Charles Chong.

Joo Chiat was absorbed into Marine Parade GRC for the 2015 polls. In 2011, Mr Chong beat Workers' Party candidate Yee Jenn Jong by a slim 388 votes.

Yesterday, Mr Tong noted that "a degree of cohesion has been built up" in this fully private estate constituency over the years but acknowledged there are challenges in meeting local municipal needs.

But he said the ward's identity as a fully private estate gives it its own character, which he hopes to capitalise on to strengthen community bonds. For example, he and his volunteers host a lot of street parties. "They are small-scale, but a lot more effective in getting to know neighbours down or across the street, and one of the key objectives is to build a stronger community."

Rachel Au-Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2019, with the headline 'SM notes Joo Chiat's progress on return visit'. Print Edition | Subscribe