TCs and CCs say no to healthcare town hall meetings

The Holland-Bukit Panjang and Sembawang-Nee Soon Town Councils (TC) as well as the People’s Association (PA) have rejected the SDP’s applications to hold town hall meetings to discuss our SDP National Healthcare Plan.

The reason they gave is that only activities organised by grassroots organisations, not political parties are allowed (see replies below).

This is how the PAP dumbs down the country. It refuses to allow legitimate and important discussions of national issues and policies that affect the people.

This has held back the intellectual development of our society, leaving many Singaporeans uninformed and unable to make the right choices.

Effectively, what the PAP is trying to to do is to ensure that the people depend on it – and only it – for information. This allows the party to manipulate public opinion and, more importantly, manufacture consent.

Why does an honest discussion about the nation’s healthcare system depend on whether the event is organised by a political party? Does it make the debate any less worthy just because it comes from a political party? Why can’t the ideas and proposals be debated on their merits?

But while the TCs and PA prevent political parties from organising talks at these premises, PAP MPs freely conduct such activities with their residents. For example, PAP MP for Bukit Panjang Dr Teo Ho Pin is seen here talking to residents about a recycling project at a void-deck.

PAP MP Teo Ho Pin (inset) addressing residents at a void-deck meeting

Why is this allowed but an SDP discussion on healthcare in a similar venue prohibited? The answer must go beyond ‘because we don’t allow activities organised by political parties’.

This is the kind of answer that shows contempt for Singaporeans’ intelligence. Why is is all right for grassroots organisations to hold activities but not political parties? How are these two kinds of activities different? How else can residents debate alternative policies proposed by opposition parties?  

The people want to be reasoned with, not be dumbed down by non-answers.

The PAP must also show some confidence. Why is it afraid of allowing the people to know and understand the SDP’s alternative healthcare plan? We are willing to let Singaporeans scrutinise our proposals and, if they feel that our ideas are wrong or inadequate, they are free to reject them.

But, first, they need to know about our the plan to be able to judge for themselves.

Our society must graduate to a level where people can come together to learn about alternative policies and debate them on their merits. For the longest of time, the PAP has criticised the opposition of not coming with alternative ideas. Now that the SDP has, why does it prevent us from educating the public?

The SDP has developed to the point where we are now proposing alternatives to rival the PAP’s policies. And it is based on these policies that we will ask for support from Singaporeans.

In other words, we are taking opposition politics to a new level – a level where mature and civllised debate is the order of the day. This can only be good for Singapore. The PAP must, likewise, evolve.

Dear Mr Irwan Sahrul,
(Head of Community Services, SDP)

Please refer for your email dated 3 April 2012.

Our Town Council allows the use of  common areas in HDB estates for community activities organised by grassroots organisations, but not those by  political parties.

Hence, your application for use of pavillion behing Blk 259 of Bukit Panjang Ring Road is not approved.

Best Regards,

Albert Teng
General Manager
Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council


Dear Mr Irwan Sahrul,

Thank you for your email dated 3 April 2012.

Sembawang-Nee Soon Town Council allows the use of common areas in HDB estates for community activities organised by grassroots organisations, but not those by  political parties.

Best Regards,

Soon Min Sin
General Manager
Sembawang-Nee Soon Town Council


Dear Sir,

We refer to your email to the Chairman of the People’s Association (PA) dated 4 April 2012.  The  PA does not allow party-political activities at its Community Clubs and premises.  Hence, we are unable to accede to your request.

Thank you.

Ms Adlina Jaffar
Corporate & Marketing Communications
People’s Association

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