The 16 town councils were assessed on cleanliness, maintenance, lift performance and the extent of overdue service and conservancy charges (S&CC).
The report was done by the Ministry of National Development (MND).
Potong Pasir Town Council scored 23 points out of a possible 30. The only other opposition-held ward, Hougang, was second last with 19 points.
Ang Mo Kio-Yio Chu Kang and Tanjong Pagar Town Councils topped the list with eight points each.
But the report means little to Mrs Therese, 83, who has been living alone in her three-room flat in Potong Pasir for more than 10 years. She said: “I find no fault with the level of cleanliness. I’m satisfied with the conditions here.”
Her views were shared by two other Potong Pasir residents we spoke to.
Housewife Karpaga M, 38, who has been living in a three-room flat there for three years, said: “I don’t really agree with the report. I think Potong Pasir is just like any other estate. The level of cleanliness is quite average. I only hope that lifts could stop at every floor.”
But two other residents we spoke to felt the maintenance of the estate needed to be improved.
Potong Pasir Town Council did not reply to our queries by press time.
Over at Hougang, the sentiment from Chin Jun Fa, 19, was not positive. The NSman, who grew up in a five-room flat there, felt the estate is poorly maintained.
He said: “It is not very clean and the lifts are in quite a bad shape.
“Generally, the estate looks very old compared with others in Singapore. Public amenities are also lacking.”
Could it be a coincidence that the two opposition wards scored poorly?
Ngee Ann Polytechnic real estate lecturer Nicholas Mak said opposition wards have fewer upgrading programmes. As a result, these estates may have more maintenance and lift issues than others.
How they were evaluated
The Main Upgrading Programme, for example, was launched by the Government in 1990 to enhance the overall living environment of HDB estates.
The town councils were evaluated by MND and HDB for six months, from October to March.
They were graded from levels one to five (five being the worst) in the different areas by MND and HDB.
Retiree Monica Yeo, 71, who lives in top-ranked Ang Mo Kio, is proud of her estate. She has lived in a three-room flat there with her husband for more than 30 years.
“This estate is quite clean and well-maintained as it was upgraded quite recently. And the lifts stop at every floor.”
Putting things in context, however, MNDsaid the report should not be used to compare the towns.
This is because each town differs in terms of its residents and property profile.
For example, towns such as Hougang may have older flats than, say, Punggol. This would mean that the flats in Punggol would be in better condition.
There are also estates with a greater concentration of bigger flats (five-room types) and those with more two- and three-room units. It is less likely that the more affluent residents in the “richer” estates will default on their S&CC payments.
MNDsaid the report provides residents with information about the key areas of estate management.
It would also facilitate discussions between the town councils and residents on how they can jointly improve the upkeep of their estates.
Ngee Ann Poly’s Mr Mak added that the report would be more relevant to the town council than to residents.
From it, the town councils could see how they fare and how they can improve.
He said: “I’m sure some residents may raise certain questions about their own town council but I won’t be surprised if the majority won’t care much.”
Mr Mak noted that most estates here are clean and well-run, and residents have little to complain about.
“But if there’s gross mismanagement of funds or fraud (in the town council), then it will raise alarm bells and lead to more citizen action,” he said.
This article was first published in The New Paper.