SINGAPORE: The People’s Association (PA) is looking to raise its voice for the community in the year ahead.
Speaking at the PA’s annual grassroots seminar on Saturday, its deputy chairman, Mr Lim Swee Say, said the PA’s focus is on the silent majority.
In January, residents of two Woodlands HDB blocks petitioned against plans to build a new eldercare centre at their void decks.
Grassroots leaders like David Sim went on house visits, held dialogues and sent feedback to government agencies.
Their efforts paid off.
The Woodlands Zone 4 Residents Committee says 90 per cent of the 130 households living in the area now support the project.
Mr Sim, who is the chairman of the Woodlands Citizen’s Consultative Committee, said what grassroots leaders do is to "connect" and "facilitate".
"...a lot of policies are very unpopular...(What’s) more important is the communication between the grassroots leaders and the residents — how to explain (policies) to them clearly," he said.
"The grassroots movement is about bonding the community and the people, and being their voice. Along the way, if there are obstacles, including social ones like the ’not in my backyard’ response, PA’s strength is that we’re close to the ground and the residents," said Mr Lim.
"What’s important is that we want to mobilise the ground to do the right thing, for the long term. Change the community, change Singapore for the better."
As the government begins a national conversation on the future of the country, Mr Lim said the PA wants to cultivate opinion leaders who can "walk the talk".
"Over the years, we’ve been reflecting the views of the community, meaning the silent majority. That will continue. What we intend to do is to make this whole process more visible. In other words, grassroots leaders will speak up more for the community...not just to speak out more, but to do so in a more visible manner," he said.
To date, PA has some 32,000 grassroots leaders and 20,000 project volunteers.
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