'My own choice,' says Malaysian woman found sleeping rough in Singapore

Nov 24, 2020 | 🚀 Fathership

SINGAPORE: "I have a home, but I like it this way. It is my own choice."

This was the reply a Malaysian woman gave when met by Bernama last night, during checks over claims that Malaysian workers are living in the streets of Singapore.

The three-hour rounds that began at 10pm covered several parts of Kallang in the central region of island.

Kallang was picked based on Singapore's first nationwide study in November last year, which found that it was one of the five areas on the island with the largest number of homeless people.

The 48-year-old who wanted to be known as Chris, from Miri, Sarawak, is a cleaner at Changi International Airport.

When met, she was sitting alone at a hawker centre watching her favourite TV show on her mobile phone.

Asked why she chose to sleep on the streets, she said she would stay in her room if she didn't have to share it with others.

"I like being alone," said Chris, who came to Singapore a year ago. She was the only Malaysian met by Bernama from about 30 homeless people interviewed last night. She later accepted a blanket that was offered to her.

Having been on the streets for the past two months, she said she often came to the hawker centre to feed stray cats.

The study released by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) at the National University of Singapore was the first nationwide study of homelessness in Singapore. It was supported by the republic's Ministry of Social and Family Development.

It found that about 1,000 people were sleeping on the streets. Some of the areas identified in the study are the hawker centre, the corners around the playground there, the stairs of the Housing Development Board (HDB) and the commercial building nearby.

Apart from Kallang, the study also found Bukit Merah, Rochor, and Geylang as the areas with the largest numbers of rough sleepers ranging between 51-100 while Downtown had more than 100 people.

Gilbert Goh, the founder and the president of Transitioning.org said most Malaysians had managed to get their own lodging.

Goh had previously shared efforts to assist the homeless people on social media and said on several occasions, they included Malaysians.

It is estimated that 25,000 Malaysians currently live in the Republic. – Bernama

PSP's Tan Cheng Bock voted out as Sec-Gen after alleged party infighting

Apr 01, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership

Former Republic of Singapore Air Force colonel Francis Yuen has been appointed secretary-general of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), taking over from party founder Tan Cheng Bock.

Dr Tan, 80, has become party chairman. This was announced by the PSP on Thursday (April 1), after its central executive committee (CEC) met on Wednesday.

In a Facebook post, PSP Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai said Mr Yuen was the committee's unanimous choice to "lead PSP to the next level".

"Francis will lead and galvanise the party while (Dr Tan) concentrates on strengthening external support for PSP," he wrote.

Chairman role is basically a glorified flower pot

In many organisations around the world, the Secretary-General position has the authority to make all the decisions of running the organisation - or party. The Chairman generally does not have any more power pe se than any other voting member of the Executive Committee, except the power to run board meetings.

Comparatively, the Secretary-General is like the Chief Executive Officer of the company.

For example, the People's Action Party chairman is Gan Kim Yong while the Secretary-General is Lee Hsien Loong.

Party infighting?

The change comes amid reports of a rift in the party. An online news site, the RedWire Times, said in March that some party cadres have demanded for Dr Tan to step down as secretary-general, and allow for "more talented rising stars" to take over.

Commenting on the Redwire Times report, PSP member Kumaran Pillai said the new CEC line-up is in no way a reflection of any disagreement over the leadership of the party. Rather, Mr Yuen assuming the secretary-general role is part of a planned transition, he added.

“When Dr Tan started the party, he said he will mentor someone younger, and he hasn’t deviated from his original mission. People shouldn’t be reading too much into it.”

Mr Pillai added that he had a long dialogue with the party cadre who was quoted anonymously by Redwire Times as saying that some cadres are mustering support to demand for Dr Tan to step down from his post.

“His intention is not to stage a coup within the party. I think people have misinterpreted it and misunderstood what he said, sometimes it's like playing broken telephone, you say one thing and by the time you get to the last person, the whole story gets distorted along the way... there’s no infighting, there's no malice,” he said.

In other words, the flower pot needs watering.