Singapore's People's Association

Singapore's People's Association as a counter to potential urban insurgency,
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representative. All appointments are then reviewed by the Prime Minister's office, and the appointees thus consider themselves to be partially responsible to the Prime Minister himself.
The duties of committee members suggest a cross between ward heeler, opinion sampler, and local leader, with a little of the neighborhood cop thrown in for good measure. Thus the committee acts as eyes, ears, and sounding board for the elected representative. Further, it acts as the intermediary through which the representative dispenses patronage and favors. Complaints against the government filter up; remedies decided upon by the party percolate down. In nurturing two-way communication with the people, the political committees indeed play a primary role.   Nor has Prime Minister Lee failed to note the committees' usefulness in this sense.   Hardly a week passes without his requesting an opinion or assessment from the almost 200 active committees throughout the city. How will your neighborhood react to this policy or that initiative?
Whether the committees function as a private intelligence system, as groupings of well-intentioned neighborhood leaders, or as thinly disguised political organizations, their respectability is undeniably enhanced by close identification with the "non-political" community centers. In this they are infinitely more acceptable than the PAP's local branch offices. Perhaps the one clear point in the confusion is that they are partly responsible to the Prime Minister. His understanding of neighborhood attitudes is accordingly more accurate, his ability to act quickly enhanced.
Management Committees
Not all the requirements of the community center are satisfied by the political committee, which has neither authority nor capacity to cope with daily administrative chores, financial needs, or policy matters.   In each center there is a management committee with authority over daily operations.   These committees are made up of local citizens who volunteer their time and resources for the good of the neighborhood.   As counterweight to the political committee, the management committees are appointed by the People's Association and have less relation to politics or the party in power.   Their primary task is to make the center run effectively.   So long as the committee has an energetic chairman and is composed of capable neighborhood leaders, the center usually functions smoothly, its professional staff receiving from the committee most of the guidance and direction that is needed.   More


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Posted: May 08, 2007 09:01 AM
Last Updated: May 08, 2007 09:01 AM