Sunday, October 09, 2005

The pot calling the kettle black.

Now, this is what I call the pot calling the kettle black.

SINGAPORE — Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday criticized the corruption and pork barrel politics that have bedeviled Japan’s political system.

Lee, speaking at a luncheon organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association, said Japan is a good example of an Asian-style parliamentary democracy that has worked well. “But they landed into problems because of corruption, money politics, pork barreling, and then necessary changes were not made and the country, instead of making adjustments and prospering like America, just flew straight on and went into a storm. So how do we maintain our system and not end up like that?”

Japan Today 7 Oct, Singapore's PM criticizes Japan pork-barrel politics.

Oct 9, 2005
$160m plan to transform Aljunied
By Chua Kong Ho

IN THE next five years, Aljunied GRC will be a hive of building activity.

About $160 million will be poured into its five divisions to give its 250,000 residents a lifestyle that promotes sports and family bonding.

Each will have its own sports or adventure park so that residents need not travel a long way to access them, said Foreign Minister George Yeo last night when he unveiled the masterplan.

However, the top project will be a bid to give HDB home owners lifts that stop on every floor. Some $65 million has been set aside for lift upgrading.

'As our population is ageing, we must take care to look after the elderly, the less mobile and the handicapped,' said the minister, one of five Aljunied GRC MPs.

He was speaking at a dinner to launch a roving exhibition of the proposed plan to get residents' feedback.

Aside from the lift upgrading, ramps and guard rails are to be built, and more seats at void decks and parks will be added.

The cost of the massive redevelopment programme is one-third more than the $120 million being spent under the current five-year plan, started in 2002. Among other things, markets and food centres have been refurbished and pavilions built.

Its announcement, the first by a constituency this year, is seen by some as a sign that the General Election is imminent.

The GRC is a potential hot spot, with reports that the opposition Workers' Party has stepped up its grassroots work there in recent months.

At the last GE in 2001, a WP team was disqualified from contesting because of incomplete nomination papers.

Said political scientist Ho Khai Leong of the Institute of South-east Asian Studies: 'In the past few months we have been getting signals from the mass media of positive new government policies...But this is the clearest sign yet that an election is on the horizon.'

Asked whether the plan was being timed to garner support from voters for the GE, Mr Yeo told The Sunday Times: 'If you ask me whether this has anything to do with serving residents, winning their support, yes, the whole idea is to serve residents, win over their support and serve them better.'

Whatever the goal, all residents interviewed welcomed the promise of new and improved facilities.

Said teacher Juny Iskawati, 27: 'It will encourage families to come together and use the facilities without having to go too far.' She now works out at a centre in Yishun, near her workplace.

She is looking forward to an adventure park to be built on an empty plot next to Paya Lebar Kovan Community Club (CC).

There will also be a sports arena next to Kampong Kembangan CC and a sports hub next to Punggol CC. Both will be built on empty plots.

Water sports facilities at Bedok Reservoir Road will be upgraded and there will be open spaces at Eunos Park for jogging and even skateboarding.

Also being planned: a new remote monitoring system to tighten access to the pump rooms and rooftops of all HDB blocks; and more linkways between HDB blocks and schools.

With these changes, Mr Yeo is hoping 'to make Aljunied GRC a preferred residential area for family life and an active lifestyle'.


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