Grassroots David Poh is Moneylender’s Association President

Kaki Bukit Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) chairman David Poh recently posted a letter on notice boards in Kaki Bukit ward, informing the residents that Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) had not nominated the area for the HDB Home Improvement Programme (HIP).

 

Mr Poh said that the relevant town council must nominate projects before they are selected and that AHPETC did not nominate any such projects for Kaki Bukit this year (Kaki Bukit grassroots find fault with AHPTEC again‘).

 

HIP is an initiative of HDB for flats built up to 1986 and which have not undergone the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP). It is meant to help HDB residents deal with common maintenance problems related to ageing flats, such as spalling concrete and ceiling leaks.

 

“The CCC understands that many of our residents are facing problems like spalling concrete, toilet floor water leakage etc, and look forward to HIP coming to their blocks. Kaki Bukit is one of the oldest estates in Singapore, with some flats as old as 37 years,” Mr Poh wrote in his letter to the residents.

 

Responding to the latest assault by the grassroots leaders of Kaki Bukit, AHPETC published a response on its website on Friday (9 May). In its reply, AHPETC revealed that for the last 2 years, 2012 and 2013, AHPETC nominated various clusters in the Eunos, Hougang, Paya Lebar and Kaki Bukit wards for the HIP program. The Kaki Bukit cluster (Blocks 533 to 536) was, in fact, eventually selected by HDB for 2013.

 

For 2014, AHPETC nominated clusters in the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol, Serangoon and Paya Lebar wards for the HIP to give the flats in these places a chance to be upgraded. HDB eventually selected the clusters in Bedok Reservoir-Punggol and Serangoon wards in Aljunied GRC to be upgraded for 2014.

 

AHPETC noted that HDB has since announced that it would ramp up the HIP project, increasing the number of eligible units per year from 28,000 units to 35,000 units. It then promised that it will nominate more clusters in Aljunied GRC for HIP and “look forward to HDB’s fair consideration of the nominations”.

 

Ever since Aljunied GRC fell to opposition hands, the Kaki Bukit grassroots leaders have been finding faults with AHPETC, complaining about every little thing. Last year, the complaints against AHPETC about cleaning issue in Kaki Bukit hawker centres were so great that the matter was even brought up by Minister Vivian in Parliament to debate at the national level.

 

Who is David Poh?

 

Before the Kaki Bukit ward was transferred to Aljunied GRC in 2011 by the Election Department in PMO, it was residing in Marine Parade GRC. Mr David Poh Cheng Seng was in fact, a member of the executive committee of Marine Parade Town Council before 2011 [Link].

Further check on the Internet showed that Mr David Poh Cheng Seng is also the President of the Moneylender’s Association of Singapore [Link].

 

In 2012, CNA reported that some debt collectors went overboard with their tactics [Link]. It reported David Poh, as President of Moneylender’s Association, saying those who take loans may not always be prompt in their repayments. Hence, there is a need to take steps to recover the monies and interests.

 

Mr Poh said in the 2012 interview, “We did receive complaints that there are harassment, going down to their offices where they work to collect money. We as an association try to discourage and do it more professionally rather than harass them in the workplace and embarrass (them). I also received complaints that in front of their family, the house and the children, that also shouldn’t be done in a harassment way.”

 

He also added, “We also play a very important role where small time businessmen, blue collar job (workers), they need this moneylending rather than bank, they don’t get credit easily, we moneylenders will fit in this role.”

 

On the home page [Link] of the Moneylender’s Association, it stated one of its objectives as:

“To maintain good relations with governmental authorities and to assist them through regular feedback.”

Last year, in another CNA news article [Link], it was reported that the Registry of Moneylenders uncovered 50 advertising-related breaches by licensed moneylenders as of end February 2013. Moneylenders are only allowed to advertise through specific channels such as business directories in print or online media. Furthermore, they are only allowed to place advertisements within the approved place of business.

 

Regular enforcement checks on licensed moneylenders are carried out and those who flout the rules could get warnings, lose their security deposit, or even have their licenses suspended or revoked. Mr Poh then blamed the errant moneylenders for not attending trainings provided by his association.

 

He said, “I think it is quite substantial – 50 breaches to the rule. I think we, the association, have already provided training and yet they breached the rule. I feel they might not have attended our training and they might do it on their own. And after going through the trouble, they will come to us for appeal and end up with either warning or suspension but we do help them since they are our members.”

 

It was also revealed by mainstream media that Mr David Poh Cheng Seng and his younger brother Mark Poh, are now the proud owner of the Sentosa Cove ‘death bungalow’ where a PRC KTV hostess drowned to her death some years back [Link].

 

The bungalow was originally owned by Mr Adrian Chua, the chief executive and founder of real estate investment management firm Roundhill Capital. Mr Chua had moved out of the bungalow after Ms Li Hong Yan, a PRC KTV hostess drowned in the swimming pool after a night of laughter, drinking, and sex on 24 March 2009. Her naked body was found in the swimming pool.

5 months later, the three-storey waterfront bungalow was bought over by the 2 Poh brothers for $13.6 million, saving them around $6 million.

 

According to reports, Mr David Poh and his brother took only one hour to seal the deal with their real estate agent. The brothers, who live in individual units in a Bukit Timah townhouse, plan to use the bungalow as a ‘holiday home’ for family gatherings. It was also reported that they spent about a million dollars to renovate the bungalow’s exterior and interior.

 

In the same mainstream media report, it revealed that Mark Poh is the MD of Nam Leong while David Poh is Nam Leong’s Chairman:

Mr Mark Poh (right) is the managing director of Nam Leong, a steel piping equipment supplier in Singapore, while his elder brother Mr David Poh is the chairman of the company. (ST Photo)

According to a BT report in 2009 [Link], it reported that Nam Leong was a licensed moneylender in the beginning. It later branched into supplying sanitary ware and bathroom accessories. From there, it further expanded its business into steel products. BT said:

“Nam Leong has clinched major contracts at the two integrated resorts – Marina Bay sands and Resorts World Sentosa. Besides private contracts, government bodies such as JTC Corporation also form a major part of the company’s clientele.”

On Mr David Poh Cheng Seng’s Facebook page [Link], he revealed that he has been the Kaki Bukit Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) chairman since 2008:

He appeared to be well-liked by his compatriots at Kaki Bukit Community Centre (CC) as they remembered him on his birthday [Link]:

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