The People’s Association (PA) has flat out denied hogging tickets to the “first come first served” mass barbeque event organized by the Australian High Commission. The BBQ took place simultaneously at 20 locations in Singapore in celebration of 50 years of good Singapore-Australia ties.

In its statement, the PA said a total of 4,800 tickets were given out, and explained that the ticketing system was to control the crowds and assure ticket holders the chance to enjoy their food.

PA’s statement comes in the wake of a massive public outcry over the PA’s missteps in its management of the event. Some people who were turned away from the event complained that they were told they needed a ticket for the event only when they turned up. Netizens have also accused the PA of giving tickets to grassroots volunteers and PA staff first while leaving few tickets for the public.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott were at one of the barbecues at Bishan Park, which saw a turnout of as many as 2,000 people.

Other locations included community centres, James Cook University, Jem Shopping Mall, Haji Lane and other public spaces.

The PA said “publicity for the events was done locally, through posters on noticeboards and through online channels”.

“As the evening progressed, our volunteers welcomed people until the food ran out.”.

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