Did the HDB ignore letters written by Aljunied GRC MP Faisal Manap over a resident’s complaint and instead choose to work with the grassroots to address the problem?
That’s what the Workers’ Party, which runs the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council wants to know.
Commenting online, WP member Bernard Chen shared a reply which the resident received over the home defect, in which the grassroots was given credit while Mr Faisal was reduced to a mere footnote.
Mr Chen questioned the extent of which the complaint was shared with the grassroots, and why this happened since it was Mr Faisal who wrote letters to the HDB about the problem since in his capacity as MP.
He also questioned whether the HDB is doing this to claim credit for the grassroots association, and the party it represents.
This comes in the wake of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Deputy Chairman of the People’s Association, Chan Chun Sing, saying in parliament that the People’s Association is not partisan to any political party.
This is Mr Chen’s comment in full:
“As part of his work as Member of Parliament, Mr Faisal writes appeal letters to the respective ministries on behalf of his constituents and in due course, he will receive cc-ed copies of the reply letters to the residents.
A rather interesting letter pop by the mailbox the past week (not the first time though). MP Faisal, the member for Kaki Bukit wrote three letters for three different constituents regarding a spalling concrete issue that they were facing in their units. Letters were drafted on their behalf and sent to the Bedok Branch Office. The letter was signed off by MP Faisal himself as the elected member for Kaki Bukit, Aljunied GRC.
The reply was interesting and troubling to say the least, in particular the second paragraph.
“Nevertheless, we have informed Mr Shamsul Kamar bin Mohamed Razali, Advisor to Aljunied GRC Grassroots Organisation, about the spalling concrete problem. He has asked us to assist you [the constituent] to repair the spalling concrete and to look into co-paying the cost of the repair.”
It was MP Faisal in his capacity as elected Member of Parliament who spoke to his residents and wrote the appeal letter, asking HDB to assist with the repairs. Instead it was the grassroots advisor appointed by the People’s Association who was credited with assisting the resident. In the first place, the resident came to see MP Faisal and entrusted him to look into the issue, not the grassroots advisor. This was the not the first time he and the residents have received such a reply from HDB.
Now a couple of questions:
The branch office had “shared” with the grassroots advisor, in this case Mr Shamsul Kamar and brought to his attention the issue faced by this resident. So by sitting in his office, Mr Shamsul is made aware of the issues that was studied and brought up by MP Faisal. Now that’s convenient.
More fundamentally, what was the extent of the “sharing” made by the HDB to the grassroots advisor? Was MP Faisal’s appeal letter shared with the grassroots advisor? In order to solve a problem, you need to know the details and thus did HDB Bedok Branch Office shared with the grassroots advisor details (some of which are personal) as represented in MP Faisal’s appeal letter?
Should the HDB be doing this in the first place, and in so doing advance the interests of the grassroots advisor, and by extension the Party he represents?
MP Faisal in this letter was nothing but a footnote. He was mainly responsible for alleviating the problem(s) faced by his residents, but it was the appointed grassroots advisor (who derived his authority from the People’s Association, a non-partisan entity according to Minister Chan Chun Sing) who was positioned and perceived as the problem solver. The elected member did the work and the grassroots advisor was informed. Is that “good politics”?”