Singapore Town Councils

Monday, June 26, 2006

Killer litter

To: Feedback Unit
cc: Amy Khor - Chairman, Feedback Unit

26 June 2006

Please see attached email from a concerned resident and do the necessary. Thanks

Jeffrey Ho

Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 10:50:55 +0800 (CST)

From: Swarni Kaur

Subject: Re: LITTER BUG

To: West Coast-Ayer Rajah TC BL ,Jeff Ho, NEA ,Tan Lai Oi , Toh Peirong

See my letter dated Dec 05 and attached photo. The resident is still throwing rubbish down from the flat. Getting the cleaners to clean the place is not a permanent soln.

Appreciate NEA/Town council to warn the resident and take action before some resident/cleaners get hurt by bigger killer objects.

Thanks and regards!

--- West Coast-Ayer Rajah TC BL wrote:---------------------------------

Dear Ms Swarni

Thank you for your feedback. We have instructed our Conservancy Contractor to inspect and clean the area regularly. We will monitor the area closely.

If you have any other maintenance feedback, please do not hesitate to contact your Senior Property Officer in-charge, Mr Toh Peirong at tel no. 68964864 (DID) or email me at, so that I can lookinto the feedback promptly.

We thank you once again for your feedback.

Tan Lai Oi
Property Manager or Secretary / General Manager
West Coast - Ayer Rajah Town Council >

Swarni Kaur > 19/12/2005 07:08 PM >

I refer to blk 517c jurong west.

At the void deck (near the kitchen/master room of) unit 567, I always see a lot of tissues paper on the floor.

Appreciate it if HDB could look into investigate and warn/fine this litter bug.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Accountability & Transparency for Town Councils: ST (15 Jun 2006) - 'WASTEFUL' PRACTICES BY TOWN COUNCILS: Have panel examine use of public funds

To: Feedback Unit
cc: Ms Amy Khor - Chairman, Feedback Unit
cc: Opposition MPs and NCMP
cc: sg_review
cc: Today - fyi
cc: Straits Times - fyi

15 June 2006

I read with interest the letter in The Straits Times, "'WASTEFUL' PRACTICES BY TOWN COUNCILS: Have panel examine use of public funds" (15 June 2006) - attached below.

I have been reading letters to the newspapers about such wasteful practices of many town councils and I find this very disturbing.

You can understand the concern and uneasiness of many citizens when such practices become prevalent in town councils as they deal with residents' money, in this case, their monthly Service & Conservancy ( S & C) fees which amount to hundreds of millions collectively. Their concerns are excerbated when the finances of the town councils are not publicly and openly reviewed, discussed/debated and accounted for annually in the presence of the residents in the respective town councils, as is the requirement of "private town councils" which collect conservancy or "maintenance" fees from residents, the MCSTs running private condos. These MCSTs are subject to annual AGMs where their accounts are openly reviewed and discussed/debated as to how they are spent .

I believe the government needs no reminding how the NKF became such an issue when the public's money entrusted to it are "abused", precisely because of lack of proper "accountability and transparency".

Given the prevalence of such imprudent practices in many town councils (as reported in the newspapers and through letters to the forum pages), and for the sake of transparency and accountability, I suggest that the government mandate that town councils convene annual "meetings" equivalent to MCSTs' AGMs where their finances are openly accounted for. This is important as town councils deal with residents' money and as stakeholders, residents have the right to know how their money is spent.

I sincerely hope that the government does not wait till another "NKF-type" case to unfold before taking serious action.

Jeffrey Ho

ST (15 June 2006) - Ltr: 'WASTEFUL' PRACTICES BY TOWN COUNCILS - Seniors' corner, pond gone to waste - cost: $200,000

June 15, 2006
Seniors' corner, pond gone to waste

SOME town councils are not spending money wisely. Here are two examples:

A senior citizens' corner was constructed at the void deck of Block 134, Teck Whye Lane, at an estimated cost of $80,000. It was not used by senior citizens. Instead, groups of motorcycle youths frequently congregate there, making a din throughout the night and leaving rubbish behind.
An 'Eco Pond' was constructed in the small park behind Block 134 and opened with fanfare by the MP a few years ago. Estimated cost? $120,000. Today, it is a mosquito-infested pond with stagnant water and nothing in it.
I hope the Minister for National Development will appoint an audit team to stop such wastage.

Lew Sin Hoe

ST (15 Jun 2006) - 'WASTEFUL' PRACTICES BY TOWN COUNCILS: Have panel examine use of public funds

June 15, 2006
Have panel examine use of public funds

I AGREE fully with Mdm Cheryl Lai Oi Lee's comments in the letter, 'Are town councils spending wisely?' (ST, June 3).

I moved to Sengkang two years ago and noticed regular wastage of resources by the town council. I raised my concerns with my MP, yet such actions went on unabated.

Early this year, the town council dug up two nicely landscaped plots with healthy plants and replaced them with plainer ones. Why waste time and money?

In March, it constructed a 1m by 5m pebble patch, covering a 0.5m by 0.5m turfed spot. In doing so, the council turned a common area into a private recessed area for the ground-floor unit beside it. Residents were not consulted on whether they agreed to such a move.

Many of my queries to the Property Manager went unanswered.

Last month, the council cut down a healthy tree in a turfed mini-roundabout and constructed a pebble patch there, then added a railing in the middle of the patch. Three days later, workers came and hacked up the pebble patch.

Needless to say, residents had to put up with all the noise. Now we are left with a railing in a mud patch.
I wonder what other costly experiments are in the works.

There is certainly a need for an independent oversight committee to examine the use of public funds by town councils and to ensure accountability, responsibility and transparency in the use of these funds.

Lau Hwai Eng (Mdm)

ST (Jun 3, 2006) - Ltr: Why were stone seats demolished?

Jun 3, 2006
Why were stone seats demolished?

I REFER to the letter 'Why keep changing tiles and who pays?' by Mdm Natalie Hwang Geok Lan. I recently wrote to one of our MPs, Dr Amy Khor, to find out why stone seats and a table that were in perfect condition were demolished before the recent elections and replaced with flimsy metal ones. Hong Kah Town Council's property manager replied that there were crack lines, chipped off tiles, and they were old.

All these years my wife and I have been using the stone seats when we take a rest in our trips back from the supermarket. The stone seats and table were in perfect condition. I even had a picture taken of the beautiful structure. There were definitely no missing tiles. It also baffles me how a tiled surface could crack. If so, could not these be repaired?

Many of the questions I posed to the property manager were not answered. I was told the decision to demolish had the approval of the residents' committee. The fact is none of us in this estate had elected any committee to waste public funds in this manner.

Since then, I have made a comprehensive survey of all the remaining structures in the estate. Except for one or two missing tiles, all were found to be in perfect condition.

Roland Soh Oon Teck

ST (3 June 2006) - Ltr: Are town councils spending wisely?

Jun 3, 2006
Are town councils spending wisely?

I COULD not agree more with Mdm Natalie Hwang's letter 'Why keep changing tiles and who pays?' (ST, June 1). The time has come for the relevant government agency to be more transparent in how it manages the conservancy charge residents pay monthly.

With some households paying $85 a month, they need to be consulted when upgrading works are carried out. My Sengkang estate, for example, started installing rain shields for all the flats a few months ago, only to take them down after residents expressed their dismay.

Why do we waste money this way? I am sure the town council had to pay the contractor to fix and then remove them. The workers also left unsightly holes on our once faultless floor.

Another white elephant project is the cycling track which Pasir Ris Town Council undertook last year. A lot of money was used to build the steep track that leads straight to a road junction. It is also meandering with boulders and it is safer and easier to ride on the pavement. The track is badly constructed without much thought.

Would the town council be able to account for the work it had done? The residents need to know that the $85 they pay every month is put to good use.

Cheryl Lai Oi Lee (Mdm)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Problems of stray cats at Block 56, Strathmore Avenue

Sent to the government on 19 May 2006:

19 May 2006

Attached is email from resident complaining of lack of action from the Tg Pagar Town Council. Please do the neccessary to address this resident's complaints. Thanks


Subject: RE: Town Council Blog

Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 01:05:01 +0800

Sorry for the late reply... Don't have too much time.

Last year, the Town Council put up a sign that said "No feeding of StrayCats" at Block 56 Strathmore Avenue - without the mention of a fine or anything else.

People in the area persist to feed them. Everytime I send an email, I get this reply - most definitely a "template"from somewhere:


Dear Sir/Mdm,

We thank you for your valuable feedback.

Please be assured that your feedback is important to us and we will look into it as soon as we can.

For any other information, you may contact our:

Maintenance Hotline : 6272 6415 (from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm)
Essential Maintenance Service Unit : 1800-3543333 (after office hours)
Finance Hotline : 6375 3185

Thank you and have a nice day.

Best Regards,
anjong Pagar Town Council

I had taken it upon myself to remind them that the sign is there. This lady (photograph attached) told me that if I was not "happy" to report to the police to arrest her.

Despite having put up signs discouraging residents not to feed the strays, this nasty business continues.

Residents feeding strays attract even more stray cats.There are now more than 5 cats roaming the vicinity of the blocks and the multi-storey carpark. They defeceate everywhere and tear up plastic bags left as trash by other residents.

If 3 separate residents feed the cats twice a day, that means that the strays are getting 6 meals a day! As more of this activities continue, the strays become even more accustomed to human presence. Who knows what diseases the strays carry. Young children exposed to cat fur are more prone to asthmatic episodes.

Thank you

Friday, April 28, 2006

Litter on Jurong East Ave 1 from Jurong Polyclinic to Street 31

Sent to NEA on 28 Apr 2006:

I want to highlight that the skretch of Jurong East Ave 1 from Jurong Polyclinic to Street 31 are littered with paper, water bottles, sweet wrappers etc etc.

Those litters along street 31, I saw it on Mon AM and today Fri AM, the same litters are still there.

Like I said before, it is NEA responsibilities to ensure that the contractor are doing the jobs that they are paid for. Dont waste taxpayers money!

In the above example, it is clear that the contractors did not "cleansed every morning" like have you said, not even once in 5 days!

I wonder ..why...NEA dare not impose liquidated damages or terminate the contracts.

I should not have to write NEA every now and esp for this area is a repeated case which I highlighted in my email dated 1st Mar.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

TNP (27 Apr 2006) - Letter: Cleaners ignored our corridor for 10 years

Cleaners ignored our corridor for 10 years

The New Paper
April 27, 2006

I REFER to the letter, 'Our corridors not cleaned' by Rashid Osman (The New Paper, 14 Apr - see below) who said there was no cleaning for a week.

Our situation is far worse. The corridor outside our flat has not been cleaned for more than 10 years and my wife and I have had to wash the area outside our unit while still paying the service and conservancy charges.

I am a resident of Nee Soon East and have raised this matter with the town council previously.

Once when I saw a worker washing the corridor in our block, I went up to him to ask why my particular floor has been ignored for so long.

He replied that it takes two days to wash the entire block. He added that my mid-level corridor would be washed on Day 2. On that day, no cleaner showed up.

I hope that the town council can set things right.

- Robert Tay

Our corridors not cleaned

I AM a resident of Fajar Road which comes under the Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council.
Before this, I was a resident of Boon Lay Place.
There the cleaning crew swept the corridor areas every morning.
Not so at mynew place.
I have informed the town council about this three times.
On all occasions, an officer would apologise and assure me that the matter would be put right.
For the past one week, I have noticed that the corridor in my block has not been swept or cleaned.
All residents who pay service and conservancy charges to the town council have the right to expect such a basic cleaning service in the common areas.
- Rashid Osman

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

PSO40/03-2006 Enquiry on 'cleaning' responsibilities of govt agencies

Reply from PS21 on 18 Apr 2006:

Our apologies for the late reply. Please see reply in blue with regards to your query.Regards
PS21, Public Service Division
Prime Minister's Office

To: PS21
cc: Feedback Unit
29 Mar 2006

As me attached email indicates, it can be very frustrating when one can be made to go on a merry-go-round to reach a government department or agency to find out who ultimately is responsible. In my case, it relates to the cleaning responsibility of public areas. When dealing with the NEA previously, I was told certain public drains are under their jurisdiction, but others may be under PUB's jurisdiction. Now,I learn that certain public areas are under town councils (HDB estates only?) while non-HDB estates are under NEA (am I correct?). It is very confusing, to say the least.Therefore, I'd appreciate if you can confirm for me once and for all the following "Cleaning" responsibilities:

1. Which public areas are town councils responsible for?
Town councils control, manage, maintain and improve the common areas of the residential and commercial property in HDB estates and keep them in aproper and clean condition. This means town councils, will, among other things, take charge of:
(a) conservancy;
(b) landscaping;
(c) repairs and replacement of fixtures and fittings; and
(d) the provision of essential maintenance and lift rescue services. Generally, the common areas are open spaces in the public housing estates and areas within the HDB buildings which are shared by residents. They include:
(a) the columns and beams, roofs, corridors, voide decks, staircases and refuse chutes;
(b) the signboards and directional signs; and
(d) the playgrounds and game courts.
However, they do not include those public infrastructures/amenities provided and maintained by other public authorities, such as the public roads, lightings and signages along public roads, drainage reserves, etc which are located within the towns.

2. Which public areas is the NEA responsible for?
NEA maintains all expressways, flyovers, public roads (with street names), roadside tables, roadside pavements & walkways and roadside drains. NEA contractors or workers also empty roadside refuse bins, clear litters from bus and taxi shelters, pedestrian overhead bridges as well as underpasses.The cleansing work is carried out at least once a week. For areas where NEA have observed that it has more litter, the cleansing will be carried outmore frequently.

3. Which public areas is the PUB responsible for?
PUB, as the drainage authority, maintains all major public drains and waterways. However, for smaller drains within public housing estates and along public roads, they are maintained by relevant Town Council and NEA respectively.

4. Which public areas is NParks responsible for?
Nparks maintains roadside greenery (tree pruning, grass cutting, shrub pruning, clears cut branches during pruning and fallen big branches that obstruct the road). NParks also maintains (sweeping and cleaning within itsparks) its parklands. Sweeping and clearing of fallen leaves, twigs, rubbish along public roads and public drains will be taken care of by NEA.

5. Which public areas is URA responsible for?
URAs roadside car parks are cleaned together with the public roads by cleansing contractors engaged by LTA.

6. Which public areas is JTC responsible for?
JTC manages many high-rise and workshop industrial estates, vacant land and some roads located all over the island. There are clear signages to showJTC's ownership of these industrial estates. The carparks, drains and open compounds within these industrial estates are cleaned twice daily to maintain high service standard. Inspections of vacant land under JTC, to prevent illegal dumping are conducted daily while clearing of litter is done fortnightly. The frequency of works is increased where the vacant land is sited near to residential areas. JTC's managed roads & footpaths, mainly located in the industrial areas, are cleaned weekly with desilting

7. Which public areas is LTA responsible for?
LTA washes public structures which they maintain periodically, and these include bus shelters, covered walkways, pedestrian overhead bridges and pedestrian underpasses. However, the daily sweeping of public streets, including these structures are carried out by NEA. In addition, NEA clear rubbish bins found at these structures. There are similar structures which are maintained by other agencies, such as SMRT, SBS Transit, town councils and private developers. These include pedestrian overhead bridges and pedestrian underpasses which link to private buildings and covered walkways which span from HDB flats to bus shelters.

(Note: If I missed out any other government agencies involved in thecleaning of public areas, please include them accordingly. The idea is tocover all public areas' (eg drains, grounds, etc) cleaning routines andresponsibilities. Thanks)While you are at it, can you also let me know how often cleaning is done byeach of the respective bodies above?Thank you for your kind assistance.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dirtiest HDB Estates...Eunos Crescent

Eunos Crescent....

Eunos Cresent is autrociously dirty, much more dirty than Hougang, there are food bits, tissue, plastic bags, sanitary pads, rice, water thrown everywhere. The void decks have the stench of rubbish, wet full of mosquitoes and flies. And Eunos Cresent is under Marine Parade GRC.

Car Park in Eunos Cresent
Broken Piano in the void deck
A stray cat
Dirty void deck
Dirty letterbox area

3rd class kopitiam
Drink cartons and food wrappers in the void deck
Plastic bags, bird shit and tissues in the drains
Rubbish that is piled up
Another stray cat