Saturday , July 24 2021

The government is increasing ministerial visits, aiming to cover all constituencies by mid-2020

SINGAPORE: Education Minister Ong Ye Kung announced on Sunday (November 18) that ministers would increase the frequency of their community visits, monthly to weekly.

The government aims to cover all constituencies by mid-2020.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Housing and Development Board Roadshow, Mr Ong said: "Given the current momentum, which we do almost every week now, within one to one and a half years, we aim to resolve all constituents.

"The thinking is really like this – that as Holders of the Political Office (POH) we spend a lot of time in our constituency but as younger ministers and POHs, there is actually a need for us to step out of our constituency and meet residents in outside of our constituency. .

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"Only then can we have a greater understanding of how Singapore feels."

Singapore University Management law professor Eugene Tan said the increase in visits was "not surprising" and showed the People's Action Party (PAP) was shifting gears and moving into election mode.

He saw the visit as a way for fourth generation leaders to increase engagement with citizens.

During the election of the PAP Executive Committee, last Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the PAPs had only two years left to prepare for the next General Election (GE) and suggested that it could even be forwarded.

Responding to criticism that this community visit could be "for show", Mr Ong said skepticism was part and parcel of politics and "could not help".

"Keep going, keep talking to the population, keep allowing feedback from the population to you," he said. "Try to act, solve problems, keep doing it, regardless of criticism."

He also said the visit was increasingly becoming more informal and organic, rather than staged and planned.

"Sometimes people even have a surprise, & why are three of you (ministers) here? & # 39; But in that way I think you have a far more authentic, far more natural and what you hear maybe it is a more accurate reflection of how the land works. "

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In 2016, Mr. Ong was appointed as Chair of the People's Association Advisory Council for a visit by the minister's community. He also proposed a new format in which ministers and POH would work in cross-constituent teams.

Residents who Channel NewsAsia spoke with had mixed reactions.

Some welcomed the move and saw that the increase in interaction was beneficial for the people.

Sembawang, Kelvin Lee, 30, said: "Most importantly, we will have one-to-one sessions with ministers and can provide feedback on how they can improve our area."

Woodlands resident Joseph Foo, 47, said: "At least they can represent us to make decisions in future developments. By interacting with residents, from the horse's mouth, they will know what is happening. "

But others question the effectiveness of weekly visits and whether they can solve their problems.

Sembawang resident, Xavier Ang, 30, said: "Maybe some smaller problems can be solved, but what is the use of more visits if bigger problems such as transportation connectivity will not be solved."

Population Chong Pang, 32-year-old Lee Zhen Lin agreed: "Intensifying visits will not make any difference especially in a short time. It might take a minimum of two years to see the results. "

He added: "On the field, it shows that you are listening to us. But to see change, it won't be that fast. "

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