Home singapore Tengah’s early residents bemoan lack of amenities, transport options and connectivity

Tengah’s early residents bemoan lack of amenities, transport options and connectivity

Tengah’s early residents bemoan lack of amenities, transport options and connectivity
Residents of Tengah’s recently completed projects in Plantation District are concerned about the lack of amenities and food options in the areaHDB recently announced the installation of vending machines and a mobile grocery truck for its residents, but many feel they are not enoughResidents also cited difficulties with transportation, poor cellular networks and the prevalence of dust and mosquitoes in their estateDespite the myriad issues raised, several residents added that they understood that the amenities would take time to build

By Renald Loh Published December 17, 2023 Updated December 17, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

SINGAPORE — It was 4am and Mr Jay Chan was up and about, prowling his neighbourhood. He was looking for Panadol.

His wife had suddenly fallen ill, and Mr Chan was struggling to find a convenience store near his new Tengah flat. 

He eventually found a 24-hour supermarket that was a 25-minute walk from the Plantation Grange development where he lives. But he only managed to return with the medicine an hour after he left home. 

“It’s ridiculous,” said the 36-year-old civil servant of the situation. That incident even made him flirt with the thought of getting a personal mobility device in case of emergencies when public transport is not available. 

Plantation Grange is one of the three projects in Tengah’s Plantation District that the Housing and Development Board (HDB) have issued keys for. According to HDB, keys for around 2,019 out of the 3,753 units in these projects have been collected as of Dec 5.

Presently, the only bus stop in the vicinity for residents there is located near Plantation Acres — which is about a five- to 10-minute walk from Plantation Grange.

Residents said that the closest supermarket and eateries are at Le Quest Mall, with a food court also nearby at Bukit Batok West Avenue 8. They are four bus stops and around a 10-minute walk away from Plantation Acres respectively.

However, those establishments are not open overnight. 

This lack of accessible amenities is just one of the concerns that Tengah’s early residents raised to TODAY, which also included a lack of transport options, poor mobile connectivity, and the prevalence of dust and mosquitoes. 


On Wednesday (Dec 13), HDB said in a statement to the media that Tengah’s residents can buy food items and daily necessities from an NTUC FairPrice mobile grocery truck and food vending machines in the estate. 

The truck operates from 3pm to 8pm on Wednesdays and Fridays every week at the loading bay of Block 111A in Plantation Acres, and at the first-storey car park near Block 133A at Plantation Grange on Thursdays. 

The five vending machines are located near the lift landing of Block 111A. 

These are part of interim measures to improve accessibility to groceries and daily necessities, and enhance residents’ convenience while the new town is progressively built up, HDB said. 

Some residents told TODAY that they appreciated these efforts, but they said that the truck and vending machines do not fully meet their needs.

“I think the timing (of the truck) is a bit off. At 3pm everyone’s working, not everybody’s at home,” said 37-year-old preschool teacher Vijayalakshmi Amarthalingam, who moved into her flat at Plantation Grange three months ago.

Both Ms Vijayalakshmi and Mr Chan said they had managed to visit the mobile truck only once since the initiative started on Nov 22 as its opening hours did not align with their schedules. 

“There’s also not much inside unless you need emergency groceries like rice and eggs… If you want to get other things, it’s still better to get them from elsewhere,” Ms Vijayalakshmi added. 

When TODAY visited Plantation Acres on Friday and Sunday, three of the five vending machines at Block 111A stated that cashless payment was unavailable due to “inadequate network coverage”. However, the slots to insert coins were also sealed up.

Ms Serene Teo, a 42-year-old corporate secretary who will move into her flat at Plantation Grange before the year ends, said she was concerned about her child’s food options after he returns home from primary school next year.

“There’s nothing here, really nothing… Once the kid comes back, then how? We are also working. We have to solve this issue before we move in,” she said.

For another couple, who wanted to be known only as Mr and Mrs Chai, the lack of food options and amenities was “expected, but (still) inconvenient.”

The couple, whose flat in Tengah is currently undergoing renovations, added that residents would be more enticed to move in once there are more food options available to them in the vicinity. 

The option of getting food and groceries via delivery applications is not straightforward either, said some residents who live in Plantation Grange.

The road leading to the car park and drop-off point there is currently only accessible via Tengah Boulevard off Tengah Drive, and not Plantation Crescent where the Plantation District’s only bus stop is located. 

Food delivery riders also have difficulties navigating the estate, as the global positioning system (GPS) on online maps has not been updated, said Mr Saiful Anwar, a 30-year-old assistant engineer who plans to move into his flat early next year.


The GPS issue affects the residents’ transport needs, too. 

“Can you imagine if there’s an emergency at night? If I want to call a cab, the cab cannot even come,” said Mr Chan. He was first attracted to the developments in Tengah because of the greenery and promise of a car-lite neighbourhood.

Mr Patrick Lai, a 76-year-old retiree who lives in Plantation Grange, said that he had tried multiple times to book a ride via ride-hailing applications, only to have his ride cancelled after waiting 10 to 15 minutes. 

“The (drivers) cannot find the place. The GPS will cut off once they reach Tengah Drive, so they don’t know where to go,” he said.

Two new bus services – 992 and 870 – were introduced in Tengah on Sept 24 and Nov 26 respectively to connect residents to transport hubs and key amenities in Bukit Batok and Jurong East. 

While some residents were glad that Service 870 was added, others said that getting around via public transport is still a troublesome affair.

Several parents bemoaned the buses’ lack of connectivity to nearby primary schools. 

Mr Ng Chee Nang, a 56-year-old engineer, said that his son would be enrolling either to Dazhong or St Anthony’s Primary School next year. 

Both schools are less than 3km or a five-minute drive away from their home in Tengah, but his son would have to spend 25 to 35 minutes taking two public buses to reach his destination every morning.

“It’s the classic ‘so near yet so far’,” Mr Ng said.


A host of other concerns surfaced in TODAY’s conversations with almost 20 Tengah residents about their estate.

Chief among them was the issue of dust, which residents said would get into their homes.

Mr Chan, the civil servant, said that he developed rashes soon after moving into his flat and had to buy air purifiers for his home — but he would still leave his windows open for ventilation. 

Mr Jonathan Clyde said he and his wife “do not intend to open our windows for the next three to four months” when they move in next week.

“Because it’s a new area and there’s constant construction, there’s no way around it,” said the 32-year-old who works in sales. 

HDB said on Wednesday that its contractors have increased the frequency of washing the roads to twice weekly to mitigate the issue of dust arising from ongoing construction works.

Some residents are also concerned about the estate potentially breeding mosquitoes. 

“The landscape here is not fully done up and some areas are quite soiled, and this may attract mosquitoes,” said a senior bank manager in his 40s who wished to be known only as Mr Goh. 

“There’s a ponding of water here whenever it rains… so I think that’s a safety issue, especially for a family like ours with young kids.”

Connectivity is also an issue in several parts of the estate. Indeed, on both of TODAY’s visits to the Plantation District in Tengah, cellular networks were unpredictable.

“The reception here is really bad. In my house, there’s only one corner that has reception. If my boss wants to call me, he has to call me over Wi-Fi,” Mr Chan quipped.

Despite the myriad issues raised, several residents added that they understood that the amenities would take time to build.

“We have to consider that because of Covid-19, all these (developments) have been delayed for the longest time. So I don’t think it’s that easy as HDB would have a lot of constraints to set up these amenities,” Mr Goh said.

“I think a place to stay is more important than amenities.” 

TODAY has reached out to HDB and Dr Amy Khor, who is the Member of Parliament for Hong Kah North Single Member Constituency, for comment.