Dear A.S.S. Editor,

There have several reports in the media of poor workmanship by contractors in which the lives of people are put at risks or are placed to much inconvenience – one of which is the frequent complaints of lift breakdowns in three precincts in Punggol West.

This had prompted Member of Parliament Sun Xueling to ask the HDB to act decisively against the contractor – “Lift woes for Punggol West residents: MP urges ‘tougher action’ against contractor Sigma”; Channel NewsAsia, 1st September 2017”.

Just as the MP is unhappy with such contractors, so are our residents who have to put up with poor and unprofessional work by contractors.

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) undertaken by the government is a good effort to provide the much-needed assistance to residents – in particular the elderly who are prone to falling down.

However, in carrying out the HIP, work has to be undertaken professionally with proper supervision by the town council and the Housing and Development Board (HDB) so that the residents live in a safe environment.

Members of Parliament (MPs) and Mayors have to take a vested interest in the well-being of their residents. To this end, I applaud MP Sun Xueling who had the courage and conviction to urge tough action against the lift contractor Sigma as she was concerned about the welfare of her residents. This makes for a good MP.

With the government’s on-going effort to provide more support for our seniors, MPs must act swiftly and decisively when things are not run smoothly in their respectively constituencies.

My MP for my estate where I live in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 is Dr Koh Poh Koon who is also Minister of State in MND and my Mayor is Ms Denise Phua.

Although there are targets to be met, there must be no rush jobs in carrying out upgrading works or the safety of residents will be compromised – as with my own experience.

The HIP which was carried in my estate last year has resulted in very poor workmanship in my kitchen toilet whereby every day I have to scrub and remove all the sand that is coming out of the bottom part of my toilet commode.

Left unchecked, the sand will eventually clog up my toilet drainage. With sand seeping out every day what would happen one day if the toilet commode were to give way? Surely, the whole purpose of the HIP is to provide a safe environment for residents.

The government has advised people to save water as it is precious, but how can I do it when washing my toilet has become a daily affair given the poor workmanship; and then have to pay bigger water bills.

When the HDB and town council staff inspected by flat with the contractor to check on the finished work, I pointed out these flaws to them, but I was assured that it was in good order and that it was okay and that there will be no problems. Excuse me, it is not okay!

All parties concerned – the HDB, town council and the contractor must bear liability and take responsibility to rectify any sloppy workmanship.

Constructive feedback must be taken seriously so I trust that after this article is published, concreate action will be taken to put things right so that residents like myself who is trying to cope with several health issues that includes weak visibility due to cataract problems and eczema can live in safe environment. More so when I have been actively contributing ideas and suggestions to improve the lives of all our citizens.

One of these suggestions which I first mooted 10 years ago during my career in broadcasting through the Staff Suggestion Scheme and separately as a proposal to the then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong was for the HDB to build child care centres back-to- back with nursing homes. My reasoning was to bond two groups of lonely people together for more fulfilling journeys; and I am glad to see my idea bear fruit as I read the report in the Straits Times on Saturday, September 2, 2017 ,“Children bring smiles to elderly faces”

A.S.S. Contributor

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