Straits Times: Jeya: I’ll revamp grassroots bodies in ward

MR J. B. JEYARETNAM, Anson’s MP-elect, yesterday served notice that grassroots organisations in the constituency were in for a revamp.

He said: “I’m not going to inherit them in their present form. I am going to try and make them more representative of the people.”

And what he hopes to encourage are committees elected by the residents they serve, not appointed by the powers that be.

“I have heard a lot of complaints from the constituents about the residents’ committees, for instance, about the manner of appointment, how they are run and supervised. It is all stage-managed,” he said.

My Jeyaretnam stressed that he believed in the need for residents to participate in community development but “what I want is real community participation, not an order from above saying ‘you will come and sit and serve on this committee.'”

Premises

On the issue of securing premises for the Workers’ Party to meet his constituents, he said he would be writing to the Housing Board to ask: “Well, what about making an office available for the MP for Anson now?”

“I believe the problem of getting premises will ease up. They could go on ignoring us in the past but now things are different,” he added.

On the prospect of Mr Jeyaretnam having an office in Anson and his statement that he wanted Anson residents to have the final say in the election of residents’ committees, Dr Yeo Ning Hong, the Minister of State for Defence, said Mr Jeyaretnam could make all the claims he could think of.

“The committees are appointed by the Prime Minister’s Office. The existing ones will continue to serve the people but you must remember that they are all volunteers,” said Dr Yeo, who accompanied the defeated PAP candidate, Mr Pang Kim Hin on a “thank you” tour of the constituency.

Asked about the future of the PAP’s Education Centre in Jalan Bukit Merah, which the Housing Board said was leased to the former MP for Anson, Mr C. V. Devan Nair, Dr Yeo replied that the party would have to study its agreement with the board.

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