Pritam Singh, vice-chairman, Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC):
“We invite the Minister to a dialogue with the elected members of AHPETC to settle any outstanding matters, on this or any other matter in future, should he wish to do so.”
11 June 2013:
Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Environment and Water Resources (MEWR):
“At this point in time, my advice to the Workers’ Party would be to clean up the place, apologise to the hawkers. After the place is clean, NEA and myself will be inspecting the quality of work. At that point, I’d be happy to invite Mr Low Thia Khiang to have a cup of coffee with me.”
I will not delve into the nitty gritty of the quarrel between the 2 sides on the matter of the cleaning of the Bedok hawker centre. I think it is a sorry state of affairs to see our parliamentarians engage in such petty quarrels over municipal matters. And there is a high likelihood that things were raised (by the Hawkers’ Association and the minister) to score political points against the Workers’ Party.
And that is the sad thing here – that the minister for MEWR, instead of being a conduit to resolve the matter, unfortunately chose to wretch up the temperature in the dispute with his arrogant and unbecoming remarks which I find to be rather disrespectful of our elected MPs.
I would think that as the minister concerned, that he would facilitate a resolution to the matter, and to do so in private. As minister, he has the clout and the authority to get the various parties together, behind closed doors so that there is no playing to the gallery (especially when political parties are concerned, even for WP), and things can be discussed openly.
A minister who sincerely wants to help would do this, wouldn’t he?
Why would he take sides and make dismissive, arrogant remarks to the press, no less, which solve nothing at all?
I hope we have not reached the stage which our Prime Minister once feared – the he would have to spend all his time thinking of ways to “fix the opposition”, if Singaporeans elected more opposition MPs into Parliament.
I would like to see our ministers – who are there to serve all and not selected parties or their own supporters – be aware of the higher moral authority which they are suppose to embody, and not bring down our public institutions to the level of gutter politics.
Thankfully, the WP’s Low Thia Khiang showed what a more mature politician should do.
Kudos to him.
[Cartoons from Cartoon Press.]