Originally posted by alize:
HDB abusing its power as land owner, says WP
By Joanne Chan | Posted: 22 August 2011 2333 hrs Workers’ Party
SINGAPORE: The Workers’ Party (WP) has accused the HDB of abusing its power as land owner by transferring the management rights of 26 common areas from the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council to the People’s Association.
It also said that the PA has curtailed the ground presence of the elected WP MPs by warning residents who apply for permits to hold events at these sites not to invite the elected WP MPs or risk having their applications turned down in subsequent years.
The WP took over the town council from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), following their win at the General Election in May.
In a statement to the media, WP chairman Sylvia Lim said the town council received an email from HDB on June 21, informing them of a list of sites to be excluded from their management.
This included 26 sites which had previously been managed by the former Aljunied Town Council under the PAP, said Ms Lim.
She noted that “no background nor rationale was given for the decision”.
Ms Lim said many of the sites are strategically located, being hard courts or amphitheatres which are highly suitable for organising social activities.
She said the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council also wanted to explore the joint use of the sites with the PA. However, an email from PA dated June 15 indicated that “booking (of the sites) by WP will not be allowed”, said Ms Lim.
Ms Lim also said residents of Paya Lebar who applied for permits to hold the lunar Seventh Month events at the sites were told verbally that they could not invite the elected WP MPs or risk their applications being turned down in future.
However, the former PAP MPs are not under such restraints as they are invited as “advisors” to the grassroots organisations. Ms Lim said such actions would give PAP candidates a ground advantage and permanent presence in advance preparation for the next elections.
Responding to media queries, the HDB said it adjusts its list of sites managed by a town council from time to time and this is based on legitimate requests from relevant agencies or civic organisations.
HDB said in this case, PA requested tenancy for the sites to organise community activities. The request was approved as PA had been using the sites frequently, added HDB.
Also responding was the PA which said the practice of leasing public spaces for community activities is not new, nor is it peculiar to Aljunied GRC. It added that the Citizens’ Consultative Committees under the PA may rent various sites across Singapore for community activities.
The PA reiterated that it is non-partisan and does not allow any political party or MP to hold activities on PA premises or other facilities managed by the PA. And this applies to all political parties and MPs, including the PAP.
PA: 'People's Association' or 'Political Auxiliary'?
References (Conduct of civil service):
- 'Separation of powers' [wiki]: [i]"The separation of powers is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic. Under this model, the state is divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that no one branch has more power than the other branches. The normal division of branches is into an executive, a legislature, and a judiciary. ..."
- '(PSD) Maintaining High Standard of Conduct': "The Civil Service works under a Code of Conduct based on the principles of incorruptibility, integrity and propriety. Civil servants are expected to conduct themselves with impartiality and honesty at all times, by: Remaining completely neutral in all political matters and matters of public controversy ... " [PSD (Role)> Nurturing Talent> Progressive Policies]
- 'Integrity of election process a hot topic during youth forum': "'Civil servants under the constitution hold their allegiance to the president. The symbolism that is attached to that is we actually serve at the pleasure of a politically neutral institution. It is one of the values of the civil service that we are politically impartial,' said Ms Owi. " [CNA, 17May2009]
References (PM Lee's misuse of the PA for PAP partisan objectives):
- 'Upgrading in Opposition Wards- MPs should front initiative': "Why did the HDB choose to work with unelected candidates instead of the elected MPs in the constituencies?.. shouldn't the mandate that the residents gave to the elected MPs be respected?" [ST, 07Oct2009]
- 'How PAP uses taxpayer-funded grassroots for political gain': "The People’s Association (PA), ..Like all other stat boards, it receives a yearly grant from the government to run its programmes and cover operational costs. .. It spent a total of $320 million last year. However unlike most stat boards, whose chairmen are usually the permanent secretary of the parent ministry or some other senior civil servant, PA’s chairman is none other than the Prime Minister [pict][board]. The de facto leader of all the CCCs, CCMCs, RCs and NCs in each constituency is known as the “adviser to the grassroots organisations (GROs)”. This adviser is appointed by PA, presumably with the nod of its chairman, the Prime Minister. In PAP constituencies, PA always appoints the elected MP as the adviser. But in opposition wards, PA appoints the PAP candidate who lost in the last election, not the opposition MP" [G Giam, 10Oct2009].
- '‘Adviser over MP’ raises many questions': "PAP MPs are appointed as advisers to the grassroots organisations in their wards by the People’s Association (PA). In the two opposition wards, the PA picked the PAP candidates who contested but lost in the wards in the last two polls as the grassroots advisers." [ST, 22Oct2009][alt link]
- 'MND continues to throw smoke bombs over role of PAP 'grassroots advisers'': "There is absolutely no reason why opposition MPs cannot be appointed as grassroots advisers unless they decline to work with the government. The root cause of the problem lies in the lack of a clearly defined demarcation between the state and the party which resulted in many supposedly apolitical institutions like the People’s Association being made use of by the PAP to serve its partisan interests.
As the People’s Association is a statutory board, its members and grassroots advisers should have no political affiliations.
It is disingenuous of the PAP to appoint their losing candidates to continue “serving” in the opposition wards under the veneer of being the “grassroots advisers” appointed by the PA." [TR, 27Oct2009][alt link]
- 'Town Council Act (CAP 329A) states clearly that Govt must work with Town Councils (run by MPs) to implement LUP': "It is a joke that for some strange reasons or another, Mr Shanmugan’s ministerial colleague has refused to obey the Town Councils Act by choosing not to work with Hougang Town Council and even has the audacity to TWIST the facts by claiming that 'it is the role of the grassroots advisers to implement the LUP' through his press secretary when it was stated NOWHERE in the Town Councils Act that the LUP has to be carried out by the grassroots advisers! From beginning to end, there was no mention of the words 'Grassroots advisers', 'People Association' or 'PAP losing candidates' and so how did Mr Eric Low come into the picture at all? " [TR, 29Oct2009][alt link]
- 'Grassroots Organizations should stay non-partisan': "By appointing PAP candidates as grassroots advisers in Opposition held wards, the government is effectively bringing partisan politics into governmental institutions. Using the PA as a vehicle for PAP candidates as grounds to gain political capital so that they may fight their next battle with more goodwill, the governmental risks costing itself the position of Singapore as a Parliamentary Democracy; and put Singapore in par with communist states like Cuba, China and North Korea." [TR, 03Nov2009][alt site]
- 'PAP has blurred line between State and party': "THE cry for multi-party representation in Parliament is the People's Action Party's own doing.. The PAP has blurred the line between the State and the party: What belongs to the State belongs to the PAP... The People's Association becomes a PAP instrument... The money belongs to the State". [STforum, 13Apr2011][alt link]
- Chang NY: 'Delink political affiliations of grassroots bodies': "I would like to suggest that the People's Association (PA) be run like a civil service organisation in order to single-mindedly and unmistakably carry out its sole purpose of serving the people. Board members of the PA should not hold any political office. There is then no conflict of interests." [ST,4June2011][alt link]
why do we need PA just like why do we need President?
MCYS can do the job to take ovr PA
PM can double as President, but if this being the case we need change PM.
With gahmen bodies like these, who needs a Prez to keep a "rogue gahmen" in check?
Originally posted by Kuali Baba:
With gahmen bodies like these, who needs a Prez to keep a "rogue gahmen" in check?