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MPs and town councils go on social media to show estate upgrades

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Town councils and MPs using videos to inform residents of estate improvements

New lifts for HDB blocks and overhead bridges, upgraded playgrounds, covered linkways and non-slip flooring for the elderly - Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Saktiandi Supaat gave a list of estate improvements in a video he posted to his Facebook page on Tuesday.

The video features him speaking to the camera as it tracks the various estate upgrades made in his Toa Payoh East-Novena ward.

Town councils and MPs like Mr Saktiandi have been going online to showcase town upgrades, as the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has led to the cancellation of community events where these improvements would typically be unveiled.

He told The Straits Times that he came up with the idea a few weeks ago to put together a video with his grassroots volunteers.

"We're using social media to share these improvements with residents. Some of these were made on the back of their feedback," he said.

"We have to inform residents in a different way, given that we are not able to meet them and update them on a face-to-face basis because of the Covid-19 situation."

Other MPs who have posted similar videos on Facebook recently include Senior Minister of State Sim Ann and Senior Parliamentary Secretary Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.

Workers' Party MPs also show their estate improvements on Facebook - party chief Pritam Singh posted this week about a pair of new railings installed by their Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.

Political observers say that as the general election draws closer, MPs are eager to show the electorate that their estates have been well taken care of.


Many town councils have also been preparing to launch their masterplans, which sum up improvements done in the estate and set out plans from next year to 2025.

But social distancing rules and restrictions on holding events put in place to deal with Covid-19 has put a crimp on the exhibitions and fanfare that accompany such events.

Over the last two weeks, Ang Mo Kio Town Council and Marine Parade Town Council have released their estate masterplans online.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whose Teck Ghee ward is part of Ang Mo Kio GRC, said in a Facebook post last Saturday that he was supposed to launch the masterplan over the weekend.

"But with the tighter measures to stem the spread of Covid-19, this was called off," said PM Lee, adding that improvements to Singapore must continue even as the country battles the coronavirus.

Besides Ang Mo Kio and Marine Parade, at least six town councils say they have cancelled, postponed or are reviewing whether to hold physical launches of their masterplans, according to checks by The Straits Times.

Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan says such messaging on estate improvements will become more frequent in the days ahead, with expectations that the next GE could be around the corner.

Associate Professor Tan said: "This is part and parcel of campaigning - MPs are courting voters by highlighting what they and the town councils have done and delivered since the last election. It's also to highlight the plans for the next five years."

Singapore Politics