Tag Archive | "Lim Biow Chuan"

The battle for Mountbatten could be the closest of all

The battle for Mountbatten could be the closest of all

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The Single Member Constituency is gearing up for a fight between two lawyers. The best part? Both candidates are well-known for being very nice.

IN A Group Representation Constituency, it is a fact that the heavyweight candidate fronting the pack will always hog the limelight and publicity.

So if you cannot hold your own, especially in a SMC, you’re more or less done for.

Which is why the battle for Mountbatten might just be the most exciting to watch yet.

Lim Biow Chuan from the People’s Action Party is a lawyer who first stepped into the shoes of an MP after the 2006 General Election when he was fielded in the Marine Parade GRC that went uncontested.

Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss from the National Solidarity Party is facing her first fight this election in a constituency she knows like the back of her hand. And she is planning to take it on as a (even more?) well-qualified and credentialed lawyer.

Here are some interesting facts: Both candidates are 47 years old, which means they have crossed paths professionally and personally many times before this GE.

Based on their replies, both candidates advocate for more to be done for the elderly.

Lim obtained his Bachelors of Law from the National University of Singapore. Chong-Aruldoss has a Masters in Law from the London School of Economics (gasp!).

And from what New Nation has seen on the ground, both candidates have their fair share of supporters.

This fight could be the closest of all among the 12 SMCs that are being contested.

Click on the links below to view the questions New Nation posed to both candidates and their replies.

Q&A with Lim Biow Chuan | Q&A with Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss

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Q&A with Lim Biow Chuan

Q&A with Lim Biow Chuan

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New Nation speaks with the incumbent MP for Mountbatten SMC.

Mountbatten has recently been carved up into an SMC, from a GRC. Do you think that contesting in an SMC is to your disadvantage?

I don’t think it’s an advantage or disadvantage. It was carved up on the requirement that we should have 12 single member constituencies. And based on the population profile, the boundary review committee decided that this would be best as a single member constituency.

Do you think it’s disadvantageous that you have to contest on your own now, instead of riding on SM’s coattails?

I think there’s always security when you’re contesting in a GRC. Nevertheless, every MP that I know are prepared to go single member if they’re called upon to do so. Again, I don’t see the issue of it being an advantage or disadvantage.

Put it this way, SM Goh has reputational advantage, and you don’t have that this time. Do you think this puts you at a significant disadvantage?

I wouldn’t see it that way. At the end of the day, when we first came it, it certainly helped because there may not be a level of recognition. But having worked the ground for five years, I should be able to command the respect with or without Mr Goh. Even if we are part of the GRC, I would certainly be required to hold my weight, and not hold on him. Because if I still have to rely on SM Goh to pull up my votes, I think I would have failed. I wouldn’t have done my work as an MP covering this area.

What advantage do you think you have against Jeanette Chong Aruldoss from NSP?

Certainly there would be the advantage of being the incumbent. It has always been a surprise to me as to why the opposition would feel that they would only come to a constituency to work the ground just before the elections. I always felt that a serious opposition would be working the ground that they want to contest in, if they’re serious in it. And they should be here a few years ago.

Not necessarily Mountbatten but they should be working the ground around the entire area if they’re really interested in serving the community. I think being an MP is not just going to parliament to debate about issues. You must be able to have an impact of people’s lives. The question is how you want to impact peoples’ lives, how you want to make their lives better…

What do you think is the biggest impact you’ve had on the people of Mountbatten?

I think it’s really to help those who need help. There’s a segment of people from the lower income, people who have issues that they can’t solve. So together with the grassroots leaders we see what we can do to make a positive influence on their lives. Not everything they ask for we can solve for them. We try our best.

Am I right to say that the most pressing issue for you this coming elections is helping the lower income?

Not necessarily so. I think that the lower income has an inherent set of problems that you want to help them with. There are various aspects to being an MP, it’s not just doing one thing only…

How about this coming elections, what’s the most pressing issue you would ‘harp’ on?

I personally don’t think that there’s one particular issue area.

If you had to pick though?

I won’t ever run an election in that manner. At the end of the day you have to ask the residents, who do you want to be your representative to represent you not only in parliament but also to look after your estate, to make things work if things are not working. You want to make sure that someone is there, someone who is dependable, able to empathise with your situation and say “look, I want to help you”.

There are many types of residents though – lower, middle, higher income brackets. Which group do you think you appeal to the most?

My intent is to serve everyone. Everyone who feels “I have an issue”, they can come and see me I’ll do my best to help them. I have a large number of private estate dwellers and they do come and see me for their issues. Some of them complain that… “can you cover the drains in my estate”, “can you help chase the NEA to clean the drains up”, “can you sure that the litter is cleaned regularly”…

So are you saying that an MP is like an aggregator of complaints?

Not really so. That was in direct response to your question, “do you only cater to this group of people”. My answer is that we cater to everyone, who’s involved, who feels that they need a solution to their problem.

An MP is like a caretaker of the town, these are part and parcel of being an MP on the ground. And apart from that, you have to go to parliament to voice the people’s concerns….

Do you think the government is spending excessively at the moment?

No, I think they’re always prudent when they spend their money, because there’s this accountability and in the event they spend excessively, there would be several people who would look into it, who would take the government to task. This would be the MPs.

If you had to raise issue with the government right now, which issue would you target?

You have to see what’s the current issue of concern. I’ve raised issues about rental flats, because this is reflective of my constituency. I’ve raised issues about education, about transport. I’ve recently filed a question in parliament, about whether the government should consider building lifts and escalators and overhead bridges where there is a significantly larger number of elderly people. Because elderly people struggle to climb up. So could the government do something about it.

MPs also spend a lot of time talking to ministers. Some of it is behind the scenes, a lot of it are requests to speak to ministers. And a lot of times we don’t do a big song and dance about it. Because it is really work in progress all the time. I seldom want to say something and make a song and dance about it because that’s not necessarily the best way to solve a problem. You can always stand up, shout and scream and say “you must do this this this” but what is the reaction that you will stir up? If you put people on the defensive, my experience is that you will always get more difficult solutions to the answer.

But if you work with people to find a solution, it always turns out better that way. So a lot of times we work with the ministers to say “Look, how can we solve this problem”. And the ministers have, based on my five years there, always been receptive. If they feel that you have a concern that is valid, they would sit down with us, send down their civil servants to work with us, to look for solutions.

Q&A with Lim Biow ChuanQ&A with Jeanette Chong-AruldossMain story

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