On Monday (19 October), Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan came forward to question the move of Jurong-Clementi Town Council (JRTC) to include the project which will be soon completed as part of the proposed work in the 5-Year Master Plan for Bukit Batok.
Writing in his Facebook post, Dr Chee revealed that the installation of an elevated boardwalk at the Bukit Batok Neighbourhood Park which was started since 2019 and “is already under way and almost completed” was featured in one of the sections in the Master Plan.
“Why did JRTC include this project among items proposed for future work when it is going to be completed soon? Why did it include the project as part of the Master Plan for 2020-2025?
“This is, to put it mildly, highly misleading,” the SDP chief said.
He also raised his concern on whether this elevated boardwalk will be “another one of those white elephant structures that looks and sounds good but residents hardly use”, which he had cited another example of unnecessary structures in his Facebook post previously.
Earlier on 17 September, Dr Chee highlighted that there is a lookout point over a canal which hardly anyone uses and an “amphitheatre” with seats facing a patch of overgrown grass built in the middle of nowhere “that no one asked for and nobody uses”.
“These are expensive structures that serve no apparent purpose,” he said, adding that such construction reflects “the kind of top-down approach to town planning where residents are not consulted that result in an enormous waste of resources”.
Giving another example, the SDP chief in his Monday’s post pointed out that the pergola – a stand-alone structure with wooden beams and no roof – near Blks 192 & 193 “did not serve any useful function” because “Singapore weather is such that if it is not hot, it’s rainy”.
He said, according to the residents, the pergola was then turned into pavilion after a roof was added on top of the beams, however, it was too narrow and small to hold activities.
He also added that someone has proposed to turn it into a linkway, but “the idea is apparently now abandoned”.
“Today, it stands as an impractical and purposeless concrete structure – again, money wasted like the canal-lookout point and the amphitheatre,” he noted.
Dr Chee who contested in the Bukit Batok SMC during the 2020 General Election, went on to criticise, “This is the kind of construction that the PAP likes to indulge in – grand, ostentatious projects that are announced just before elections – which subsequently become white elephants. This is a huge waste of tax dollars which can be used to help Singaporeans in more beneficial ways.
“BB residents (and in a larger context, Singaporeans) must question how our money is spent.
“With people slogging so hard to make a living, it seems a cruel sin that the government indulges in such mindless building without careful planning and consultation with residents.”
The online users also concurred Dr Chee’s view that there are too many “unnecessary upgrades and installation” that have “no practical usefulness”. They opined that such installation is a “pure waste of public fund” and “should be strongly condemned”.
Another online user also pointed out that there are many useless things that the authorities had removed after built and then rebuilt it again. “Their standard is. You want, I built. Can use or not, not my problem,” he wrote.
Earlier, Dr Chee has vowed to continue to come forward with the concerns of Bukit Batok’s residents regarding the municipal matters, especially on the People’s Action Party (PAP)’s proposals made in its 5-year masterplan during GE2020.
“Why do I do this? The short answer is that residents have the right to seek transparency and accountability (get those in office to explain what they’re doing and why they’re doing it),” he noted.
He also urged JRTC to construct a pathway for pedestrians in an area surrounding several housing blocks in Bukit Batok after he observed that the lack of pavements has forced residents to walk on the grass patch or walk on the road that endangered their safety.