SINGAPORE: Upgrading works at Rivervale Plaza in the Punggol East ward will be ramped up after the Lunar New Year.
Dr Koh Poh Koon, the People’s Action Party’s man for the by—election in the Single Member Consituency, gave this update on Sunday after making his rounds at the mall.
He said works will be taken down a notch during the festive season so business can continue uninterrupted, despite the prospect of some delays to the project.
The delay in upgrading Rivervale Plaza has been tipped to be a potential issue in the Punggol East by—election.
A new contractor has been found to take over from the previous one that went bust, and Dr Koh said efforts are in place to complete refurbishment by June or July 2013.
He said stakeholders, including the Housing Board Development (HDB) and merchants, have agreed for works to slow down during the period leading up to the Lunar New Year.
Dr Koh said merchants were concerned that renovation might get in the way of business during the peak festive season.
The People’s Action Party’s candidate for the by—election took time to hear residents’ concerns at the mall on a Sunday morning, accompanied by only a few helpers.
He said day—to—day issues like cost of living and adequacy of infrastructure are among people’s top concerns.
Dr Koh, "The residents have to be practical and realistic — that you must choose to vote the person who can do the work for you. I think it’s a fallacy to believe that you can have the best of both worlds — choose the person to make a statement but hope that the other person who’s voted out is going to be having all the resources, all the authority, to get the work done for you."
Campaigning hasn’t officially started and it won’t technically start until Nomination Day, but being relatively new to the political scene, Dr Koh is keen on getting to know the residents of Punggol East a little better.
He also responded to criticisms that he shared his past — growing up in a poor family, to gain sympathy.
Dr Koh said: "It is not about garnering sympathy votes. At the end of the day, if the residents feel that I am not the best person. Please do not give me any sympathy votes. I do not need sympathy. I have never been ashamed of my past. Not that it’s something that you need to be proud of — this is me."
Dr Koh said he feels comfortable on his own without the presence of political heavyweights, stressing that he runs his own race.
He also clarified that other than his HDB flat, his family owns no other private property.
Dr Koh said his family owns two cars, one driven by him and the other by his wife.
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