I refer to the article “1,500 pre-schoolers receive S$130 grant for schooling needs” (Channel NewsAsia, Dec 21).
It states that “As part of its WeCare @ North West — Ready for School programme, the North West Community Development Council raised around S$200,000 from 80 corporate partners and individuals.”
The subject news report raises several questions.
Why are CDCs competing with other charities for “limited” charity donations?
Do MPs arguably – may have an “unfair” advantage when they raise funds vis-a-vis other charities?
Why is such an essential programme for needy preschoolers not funded by the Government, since it had a cash Budget surplus of $25.3 billion in FY2013 as well as FY2012 under IMF fiscal reporting guidelines?
Do preschoolers from the other four CDCs get these $130 vouchers too, since it would appear that this “Ready for School programme” may be unique to only the North West Community Development Council?
Also, why is it that “When Mr Low was elected as MP for Hougang in the 1991 General Election, the only bursary available in Hougang was from the Education Fund of the Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) under the Hougang Community Centre…
When Mr Low learnt from a source that the CCC, whose Adviser as is the case with all opposition wards was (and still is till today) potential election candidate of the PAP, would no longer be giving out bursaries to assist these families, he was very concerned and disturbed. While he had to face numerous other challenges as a newly elected MP then, he was adamant that families facing financial strains, especially at the start of a new academic year when their children needed to buy new books and school uniforms, should not be left struggling on their own.
Although Mr Low initially assisted some constituents who approached him from his own personal resources, he was aware that he needed to find a long-term solution. More importantly, he believed that the solution should be community based, involving the Hougang residents themselves.”
The rest is history as they say and today, four of the original trustees from Hougang are no longer with us to witness the fruit of their hard work and warm-heartedness. I will always have full admiration for the way the community rallied together to start the bursary initiative and most important of all, to keep it as a going concern for 23 years” (“Hougang Constituency Education Trust: The community spirit“, TR Emeritus, Dec 19).
Leong Sze Hian