Residents relate their problems at Sembawang GRC block party

March 22, 2012
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

Even as our Healthcare Advisory Panel works on pushing for reform of our healthcare system, our ground campaign teams continue to reach out to Singaporeans at the constituencies through block parties.

Last week, the Community Services and Ground Operations Units held yet another party, this time at the Sembawang GRC to meet with residents.

Listening to the people and addressing their concerns remains a priority for us and get-togethers like this helps us achieve our objective.

As in past block parties, many of those who showed up related to us their stressful lifestyles and having difficulty in coping with the high cost of living in this country. (See here and here)

One of them was Mr Lim, 60, who told us that the Community Development Council (CDC) had helped him find a full-time job with a cleaning company which required him to clean up the common areas of a foreign workers’ dormitory.

The job pays him a meagre $900 (after CPF deduction, he’s left with $803) which he needs to supplement with a part-time job as a dishwasher (hourly rate of $5). He works 13-hours a day. As if the situation is not bad enough, he tells us that the cleaning company has not given him a confirmation letter, making him feel insecure.

He asked the CDC to help but it said that the matter is between the company and him. He doesn’t dare to ask the company for the confirmation letter as he is afraid it may use the “request” as an excuse to terminate him.

This is the tragedy of our system. Little is done to protect the worker who is at the mercy of his/her employer. Not only is Mr Lim underpaid, he doesn’t seem to have a contract or agreement letter which guarantees him certain rights that he can enforce should a dispute arise between him and his employer.

And all this is condoned, even encouraged, by the Government which continues to cripple workers’ rights in this country.

In another instance, a resident was looking for Dr Chee Soon Juan because he wanted to congratulate the SDP not contesting the Hougang by-election. He wanted to express his endorsement of our statement that Hougang must not fall into the PAP’s hands.

Another constituent said the residents are aware of our presence and that many of them are quiet supporters. He encouraged us to continue to work hard in the constituency as many of them are unhappy with the PAP.

Two elderly lady-residents said that the SDP should hold such events more frequently as they were very happy to see us there.

On a more sombre note, a married couple (both former divorcees) have children from their previous marriages but no home of their own.

They both have sufficient CPF to buy a flat but cannot come out with the 5 percent cash of the flat’s value to secure a loan.

They lamented that the system is unfair because they do have sufficient CPF money but cannot buy a flat due to the bank loan requirement (HDB has rejected their loan application).

They sold their flats in their previous marriages not for profit but because they were now married and needed a new home.

As a result of the HDB’s ruling, they are derived of a new home and are separated from their children.

Members took not of their situation and are seeking ways to assist. Apart from helping these people, the Singapore Democrats will take note of these matters when we formulate our alternative policies. This is why we organise block parties, it is an important communication channel with the people and to highlight and, in time to come, rectify bad policies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 See more photos at SDP’s facebook album.