I think at this moment, everyone has his own perspectives regarding this saga. In the newspapers today, Dr Tan said town councils are public institutions while in the same report, it was reported that Mr Baey Yam Keng say town councils are political institutions. After reading the two different viewpoints by a former MP who was the Chair of a town council before and a full-time MP, I could not help but recall a similar debate before on nature of the People’s Association which was also discussed during the by-election of Hougang in 2011.
“Is the People’s Association (PA) a public institution or a political institution?” some have asked during the debate. Before the Opposition swept a full GRC, a very high percentage of PAP MPs are also Grassroots advisors to their wards, thus when WP took over the helm of Aljunied GRC as its MPs, they are not the PA grassroots advisors though they can form their own grassroots networks and become advisors of their own grassroots networks. My personal take on this is that PA is definitely a public institution as it is a Statutory Board under the government of the day and as the aim of PA is to foster cohesiveness in the community, I still think that the advisor of PA’s grassroots organisations could be the MPs of the wards, who have won the mandate of the ward’s constituents, regardless of whether they are from the PAP or the WP. The fostering of community cohesiveness, should be, in my opinion be carried out by the MP of the ward who has won the mandate of the larger fraction of the community who has elected them.
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