Straits Times: Hougang residents keeping me on my toes: Low to SM Goh

OPPOSITION MP Low Thia Khiang shot back a terse response last night to recent remarks by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

The Workers’ Party (WP) chief said he was already kept on his toes by the residents of Hougang. There was no need for grassroots leaders of the ruling People’s Action Party to do the same, he told reporters after his weekly Meet-the-People session.

Said the Hougang MP: “All my residents are keeping me on my toes so far. They are very kind, they give feedback and I take that as positive.”

Mr Low’s retort follows SM Goh’s call to grassroots leaders at a National Day dinner in Hougang last Saturday.

Keep the MP on his toes, he told them then. He suggested that, among other things, they scrutinise the town council’s accounts and check on the maintenance of the estate.

Last night, Mr Low was unable to resist injecting a dose of sarcasm in his reply.

“I wish to thank the residents of Hougang and also many Singaporeans who support the Workers’ Party for giving feedback constantly on the work of Hougang Town Council, without the need for the reminder from SM Goh.

“For the information of the Senior Minister, the Hougang Town Council’s accounts are on the website. He may want to take a look himself.”

Mr Low also said that SM Goh had forgotten his $100 million promise made during the 2006 general election.

Referring to Mr Goh’s presence in his ward last weekend, he said, “I thought maybe Senior Minister wanted to…provide some good news, and provide some funds after so many years. But to my disappointment he did not.”

SM Goh had promised $100 million to improve Hougang, but only if the PAP candidate Eric Low won the poll.

Last night the WP leader also defended his check-and-balance role in Parliament, a philosophy SM Goh had described as narrow.

Mr Low argued that if the PAP wanted more from the opposition, it should give them more political space.

“The PAP should allow the opposition more space in political participation, and not anyhow redraw the (electoral) boundaries,” he said.

While any political party would aspire to form the government, he said the WP is realistic. “Being in a political environment like Singapore’s, and given the party’s resource constraint…we can’t.”

He also said he was disappointed with the way the Government had moved to tear down nine blocks of flats in Hougang. He stressed he was not against development but was dismayed the residents would be moving to different parts of the island.

Also, his town council had done a lot of improvement work on the blocks, he said.

“Are they going to reimburse us? If they told us earlier, we could have saved some money.”


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