Australian PM Tony Abbott came to Singapore today (28 Jun) as part of his 2-day official visit in Singapore. He came to give his support as PM of Australia to 50 years of bilateral relations between Singapore and Australia this year.

Australia was one of the first countries to recognise Singapore’s independence in 1965.

To celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Australia, as well as Singapore’s Golden Jubilee, the Australian High Commission in Singapore sponsored various arts and community engagement programmes in Singapore.

And among the community engagement programmes, the High Commission helped to set up Aussie barbecue parties at the various locations – mostly in HDB estates – in Singapore today. Some 10,000 free beef and lamb steaks were set up across 22 locations in Singapore.

Mr Abbott and PM Lee presided over one barbecue at Bishan Park, with about 1,000 people participating. The 2 PMs barbecued some steaks.

According to the Australian organizer, tickets to the free BBQs were controlled and given out by the People’s Association [Link]:

PA grassroots members hogging BBQ tickets for friends and family members?

According to posting on the Australian organizer Facebook page, some of the netizens are accusing grassroots members at PA hogging the BBQ tickets for themselves.

Some netizens complained that there were no announcements by CCs or RCs for netizens to collect the tickets. When someone called a CC, he was told that there were no tickets left. When he complained about this, he was suddenly given 2 tickets:

Netizens think that the tickets have been reserved for friends and related parties of grassroots members instead:

Someone asked where to find information about the BBQ events. The Australian organizer replied that CCs and RCs will publicise the event individually. But as revealed above, netizens said no publicity was seen and they had to call PA:

The reader who alerted TRE about what’s happening on the ground, asked, “Is PA leveraging on the Australian Embassy’s goodwill to earn brownie points with their RC members?”

“The Australian Embassy has clearly stated that it will be an event that is open to the public. Yet, PA has conveniently subsumed this into yet another event to reward their loyal grassroots supporters. So how now?” he further asked.

Close relationship between PA and PAP

In Singapore, RCs, CCCs (citizens’ consultative committees), and CCs (community clubs) are all grassroots organizations that come under the purview of PA, a statutory board funded by taxpayers’ money, which is tasked to take care of all the grassroots activities in Singapore.

The relationship between PA and PAP is a close one. The chairman of PA is none other than the PM himself, who is also the Secretary-General of PAP.

Former PM and Secretary-General of PAP, Lee Kuan Yew, once said that the PRCs have been sending teams of officials from China to study Singapore for years. He told of a lesson the Chinese learnt, “They discover that the People’s Action Party has only a small office in Bedok. But everywhere they go, they see the PAP – in the RCs, CCCs and CCs.”

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