10 May 2015
The main objective of an SDP-managed Town Council (TC) is to maintain a clean and well-kept housing estate while keeping expenditure down so that Services and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) can be kept to a minimum.
The statement was made today at the launch of A Promise To The Residents: The SDP Town Council Management Plan this afternoon.
Presented by Party Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan and Vice-Chairman John Tan, the paper said that SDP MPs will run the TC on a full-time basis rather than engage a managing agent (MA).
Currently, most TCs engage MAs except for the Bishan-Toa Payoh TC. MAs are profit-driven private companies and charge an additional fee for managing the TC. This is an added layer of cost to the residents.
The SDP will, instead, hire qualified and experienced professionals to assist the MPs in running the TC. The savings of not engaging an MA will be passed on to the residents through lower S&CC.
Dr Chee said that while there have been suggestions that MPs be allowed to focus on legislative work in Parliament while leaving the management of TC municipal matters to others, the SDP's stand is that we relish the challenge of doing both.
In government, lawmakers, especially cabinet ministers, are not only responsible for making laws but also for running their ministries.
Similarly, being able to effectively manage TCs while performing our parliamentary roles such as debating legislation, proposing alternative policies, tabling amendments are part and parcel of our duties.
Managing TCs will provide SDP MPs the necessary platform to excel in management and give the public confidence that we will be able to eventually takeover as government. Dr Chee said: “We welcome the challenge and are confident that we will surpass it.”
Mr John Tan presented some of the initiatives spelt out in the document, including how SDP will effect the transition from an outgoing PAP TC administration for the first 3 days, 7 days and 30 days.
"We have also listed the milestones that we will have hit after the 100-day mark," Mr Tan said. Some of these include an established TC with fully integrated management teams, a clear budgetary plan, the first interim financial report, etc.
"We've laid out these measures and initiatives so that the voters in the coming elections know exactly what to expect when they vote for the SDP," Dr Chee said. "We invite residents to track our performance."
This is the only way that we can raise the standard of transparency and accountability in governance in Singapore.
For the full document of A Promise To The Residents, click here.