SINGAPORE: The four candidates for the Punggol East by—election outlined their plans for the ward as they hit their campaign trail on Thursday.
Workers’ Party (WP) candidate Lee Li Lian said that she will be pushing for more feeder bus service for residents.
Speaking to the media during a morning meet—and—greet session with residents at Karkar LRT station, Ms Lee said there is a shortage of feeder buses to support the population, posing a problem for people going to work.
She believes that with more feeder services, the load on the LRT can be eased.
"The LRT is not very big...has only one carriage, so it seems people have to wait for two or three rounds before they could finally enter, so it could delay their time, and not be on time for work...feeder services can play a complementary role," she said.
Besides addressing transport issues, Ms Lee hopes to champion for more amenities in the area such as childcare facilities for young families.
Ms Lee hit the campaign trail at 7am to catch the working crowd, after conducting house visits until 11pm on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, she was accompanied by WP Members of Parliament Png Eng Huat, Chen Show Mao, Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap as well as NCMP Yee Jenn Jong.
Ms Lee said she hopes to reach out to 100 per cent of residents in this by—election. In the 2011 General Election, she covered 60 per cent of the blocks. This time, she will be starting out at the remaining blocks that she did not personally cover in 2011.
Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) candidate Desmond Lim wants to set up a residents’ cooperative to build a hawker centre in the ward.
Mr Lim said he intends to invite interested parties to invest in a joint—venture with the residents.
He said such programmes cannot be funded by the town council.
However, he said that his five—year plan for the ward can be funded by the town council as it has the operating and sinking funds.
He added that his five—year plan was announced during the General Election in 2011 and it includes building a hawker centre, bicycle tracks, childcare centres and coffee corners.
He was speaking to reporters while conducting block visits.
Mr Lim said he started his campaign at 6.30am, delivering pamphlets to residents block by block.
Accompanied by a group of about 15 youth, he said the house visits were "okay".
"Our aim is to cover this entire vicinity (of Rivervale Crescent) by today... I think it is possible. Even when one group of supporters go home, I will try my best to continue," he said.
Reform Party’s (RP) candidate Kenneth Jeyaretnam was also busy reaching out to residents on Thursday.
Mr Jeyaretnam said the five—year plan he has in mind for residents of the ward will not cost a lot of money.
The plan includes setting up a legal clinic to help those in debt, as well as a tuition club.
Speaking to the media, Mr Jeyaretnam said he will elaborate on his plan later, and that he is in the midst of discussing it with his grassroots team of Punggol East residents.
Mr Jeyaretnam, who is also RP’s secretary—general, was at Rivervale Drive for block visits.
Based on his interactions with residents, Mr Jeyaretnam said the issues they face include poor maintenance and ageing infrastructure, as well as poor transport links. He also cited the lack of a cinema, wet market, sports facilities and amenities.
"Just because we are new in the scene doesn’t mean our message isn’t going down well with the voters," he added.
People’s Action Party candidate Koh Poh Koon said resolving local problems is still of primary concern for Punggol East residents.
One main issue he wants to address is the number of pre—school places in the ward.
Dr Koh said that the party is looking at building more childcare centres at void decks so that it is more convenient for parents.
"Childcare capacity is obviously in demand here with a lot of young children. In terms of capacity, we must look at infrastructure and clusters where childcare centres are in demand," Dr Koh said to the media on the sidelines of his visit to Rivervale Mall.
Earlier Thursday, Dr Koh met with residents and children at the PCF centre at Rivervale Drive after his block visits in the morning.
While the Workers’ Party has deployed its party bigwigs to help with its candidate Lee Li Lian’s campaign, Dr Koh said the lack of PAP leaders’ presence in his walkabout does not signify that the party places less emphasis on this by—election.
"I prefer to have a personal touch with residents, I prefer to interact with them personally," he said. "By listening to them, I can tell the issues are very much local," he added.
"If I get into Parliament, I will champion for more to be done in this area. Families are a concern, especially families with young children like mine, struggling to take care of them," said Dr Koh.
Dr Koh said he is not avoiding national issues like the high cost of living and transportation woes. But he feels that tackling local issues first will bring about more immediate reprieve for the residents.
Dr Koh also ran into Mr Jeyaretnam when he went to the Rivervale Mall for lunch. The two exchanged pleasantries.
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