SINGAPORE: Mayor of North East District and Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck has met with grassroots leaders of Punggol East SMC to find out more about the needs of residents.
He has been tasked with overseeing the single—seat constituency after Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer’s shock resignation on Wednesday.
Mr Teo shared his immediate priorities with Channel NewsAsia.
Even as news of Mr Michael Palmer’s resignation starts to sink in, the focus has shifted to ensuring there is a smooth handover of duties.
Mr Teo said his priority is to make sure the needs of residents in Punggol East SMC continue to be met.
He started work immediately on Wednesday evening, meeting with grassroots leaders to reassure them and to find out what are the outstanding issues that need to be dealt with.
"I think their main concern was how could they get continuing support to serve the residents, and whether there will be a representative there for them to turn to, and that we assured them that I’ll be the contact point, and the stand—in, and covering MP at the moment," he said.
Mr Teo said his plans include finishing projects that Mr Palmer started and tackling outstanding issues involving residents, for example, pushing for the upgrading of Rivervale Plaza to be completed.
He said the stalling of work on the complex has caused a lot of inconvenience to stallholders and residents, and he will work with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and the Housing Development Board to expedite this.
Mr Teo added a new community centre, as well as other amenities like linkways were in the pipeline, and he will have to take on those projects as well.
He said he has big shoes to fill, as Mr Palmer was well—loved by residents and those he has worked with. He adds that he knows residents will need time to heal.
Mr Tang Wing Fai, Chairman of Rivervale CC Management Committee, said: "I’ve been working with Mr Palmer for six years. He is a very community—centric man, known to be humble, down—to—earth, and sincere in looking into the needs of every resident in the constituency, especially the lower—income and needy families."
Mr Teo, who is MP for Pasir Ris—Punggol GRC, will also make sure Meet—the—People sessions in Punggol East SMC go on as usual.
And MPs from the neighbouring Pasir Ris—Punggol GRC will chip in to help, if necessary.
Mr Teo will have to juggle the commitments in his own ward as well as the ones he has acquired in the Punggol East SMC. But he said he is confident that he will be able to manage.
"Having been mayor across the district that helps in some way or another to understand what’s happening. And that helps in many ways because it cuts across 18 constituencies, and I have a good sense of probably what Punggol East needs," he said.
Mr Teo said: "But on the other hand, time is of the essence and time is limited as well, so I do the very best I can to balance the time I spend between Punggol Central and Punggol East as well as the CDC work — to coordinate it carefully and prioritise it.
"That’s why I need the different teams to work with me and I’m quite confident I can do it because I’ve already met the grassroots leaders and I know quite a few of them. I’m confident that they are capable and they know their area very well and they’ve given me very good advice as well."
Even so, Mr Teo said he needs to spend more time on the ground to understand the issues thoroughly before he can engage residents effectively.
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