Thursday, 17 October 2019

"Divisive approach to politics is polarising Singapore society"

Update 4 Nov 2019: Municipal projects - Which town councils got how much in CIPC funds?
Community Improvement Projects Committee funds received by each town council in Singapore for the financial years 2015 to 2018 ended March. SOURCE: Town council annual reports

Funds disbursed through the Community Improvement Projects Committee (CIPC) amounted to $25 million last year, distributed among the 15 People’s Action Party town councils. The year before, CIPC grants totalled close to $42 million, checks with the financial reports of town councils showed.

In those two years, the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC), led by Workers’ Party MPs, did not get any CIPC funding. The year before, in 2016, it received $316,000. It is unclear if that amount was for the ramp that is now the bone of contention between the WP and grassroots leaders.

These figures were obtained from the reports of all 16 town councils which listed the funding under “payment from Citizens’ Consultative Committee” or “CIPC Grant”.


Pritam Singh says he has proof that PA grassroots groups commonly ignored AHTC’s upgrading proposals
The WP chief revealed that he has collated proof of his correspondence with the grassroots groups that show a trend of ignoring AHTC's proposals for CIPC funding

Workers’ Party secretary-general Pritam Singh has re-asserted that People’s Association (PA) grassroots groups and the team of grassroots advisers appointed by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) ignored Aljunied-Hougang Town Council’s (AHTC) community upgrading proposals, in response to former PAP candidate Chua Eng Leong’s “serious allegations” against him.

In a Facebook post published on 15 Oct, Mr Pritam decried the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) practice of appointing defeated PAP candidates as grassroots advisers in opposition-held wards and revealed that this practice allows the defeated candidates to “campaign for votes well before the General Elections” and gives them the authority to dispense “large sums of taxpayer dollars.”

Noting that the WP has to go through these defeated PAP candidates to raise projects and gain approval on spending the S$40 million that is made available to all town councils for community upgrading projects, Mr Pritam asserted that these grassroots advisers are able to delay community improvement projects in opposition wards for years or ignore proposals altogether.


Pritam Singh 17 hrs

CIPC Funding in AHTC

In his Facebook post of 19 Oct 2019, Mr Chua Eng Leong, Grassroots Adviser, Aljunied GRC alleged that I had made "unsubstantiated comments" about the delays to the completion of the Barrier Free Access (BFA) ramp at Blk 108 Bedok Reservoir Road. He also stated that my comments were "politically divisive" and "factually inaccurate". He also argued that any insinuation of a delay to the completion of the BFA ramp because it was mooted by the opposition was "unjustifiable". Finally he stated that it was "politically mischievous" to suggest proposals by (opposition) MPs were commonly ignored by the CCC.

In light of these serious allegations, I have collated a substantive summary of all communication pertaining to CIPC funding since 2012, that I have sent to or received from PA-appointees - from Grassroots Advisers, CCC Chairmen, PA Constituency Directors and CCC appointed consultants for public scrutiny. The facts speak for themselves. Mr Chua's position on the matter is untenable.


CIPC Funding in Opposition Constituencies: The AHTC Experience

In his Facebook post of 19 Oct 2019, Mr Chua Eng Leong, Grassroots Adviser, Aljunied GRC alleged that I had made “unsubstantiated comments” about the delays to the completion of the Barrier Free Access (BFA) ramp at Blk 108 Bedok Reservoir Road. He also stated that my comments were “politically divisive” and “factually inaccurate”. He also argued that any insinuation of a delay to the completion of the BFA ramp because it was mooted by the opposition was “unjustifiable”.  Finally he stated that it was “politically mischievous” to suggest proposals by (opposition) MPs were commonly ignored by the CCC.

In light of these serious allegations, I have collated a substantive summary of all communication pertaining to CIPC funding since 2012 that I have sent to or received from PA-appointees – from Grassroots Advisers, CCC Chairmen, PA Constituency Directors and CCC appointed consultants since 2012 for public scrutiny. The facts speak for themselves. Mr Chua’s position on the matter is untenable.

Non-exhaustive TL;DR of CIPC communication:
  • CCC fully aware of AHTC’s proposal for Blk 108 Bedok Reservoir Road BFA ramp and Blk 633 Bedok Reservoir Road shelter from 2012.
  • Multiple chasers sent by AHTC MP to PA representatives over seven years, including calls for meetings with PA representatives, Grassroots Advisers or CCC representatives.
  • AHTC’s new CIPC proposals dating 2016 ignored, despite repeat reminders.

As I stated in my original post, no matter who is in Government or who is in the opposition, Singapore and Singaporeans deserve better.


Pritam Singh does not back down, calls out the People’s Association’s ‘repeated’ failure to communicate
“I am delighted to see the CCC finally engage this issue, albeit only after things have to go public. Repeated emails, requests for answers have gone unanswered and ignored, over many years,” said the WP secretary-general

In the third part of a saga involving the time it took to build a Barrier-Free-Access (BFA) ramp in Aljunied GRC, Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh alleged on Saturday (19 October) – in a response to Grassroots adviser Chua Eng Leong – that the Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) in the ward, which answers to the People’s Association (PA), consistently failed to communicate municipal projects to the WP in a timely fashion.

In his post, Pritam wrote, “I am delighted to see the CCC finally engage this issue, albeit only after things have to go public. Repeated emails, requests for answers have gone unanswered and ignored, over many years”.

Responding to another post by the Grassroots Adviser, the WP Chief added, “Mr Chua contends that the BFA ramp is a red herring. He is wrong. It is a metaphor – A very powerful metaphor for the double standards when it comes to CIPC funding in opposition wards”.


PAP grassroots adviser says no ‘double standards’, Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh rebuts him in 3 hours
Chua was part of the losing PAP team that ran in Aljunied GRC against WP during the 2015 General Election

The People’s Action Party’s (PAP) grassroots adviser for the Eunos ward wrote a lengthy reply on Saturday, Oct. 19, responding to Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh. This was after Pritam wrote on Oct. 15 where he publicly questioned if a barrier-free access ramp in his Eunos estate took a relatively long time of seven years to complete because it was mooted by the opposition party.

The PAP grassroots adviser, Chua Eng Leong, denied that this was the case, calling what Pritam wrote as “unsubstantiated comments”, and criticised him for making “politically divisive and factually inaccurate comments”.

Within three hours of Chua’s reply, Pritam responded via another Facebook post. In response to Chua bringing up the AHTC court case, Pritam said he “fully expected some reference in any reply to my original post to the ongoing court case”. “As the matter remains before the courts, I am sure the public can understand why I will not be commenting on it,” Pritam said about the trial that is moving on to a second stage where the court will assess the quantum of compensation that the town councils are entitled to from the defendants.


People's Association's 'repeated' failure to communicate with WP on municipal projects leads to 'irresistible conclusion'
Singh claimed that the CCC was only engaging on the issue now because it had gone public

In the latest round of an online feud over a Barrier-Free-Access (BFA) ramp in Aljunied GRC, Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh alleged on Saturday (19 October) that the Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) in the ward, which answers to the People’s Association (PA), consistently fails to communicate in a timely fashion on municipal projects with the WP.

“Repeated emails, requests for answers have gone unanswered and ignored, over many years,” said Singh, who also slammed the “persistent conduct of ignoring repeated communication attempts to the People’s Association” in his response to Aljunied grassroots advisor Chua Eng Leong’s comments on the latter’s Facebook page earlier Saturday.

In his Facebook post, Singh added, ‘If you do not communicate with your counterpart, and you do not explain why repeated Extension of Times (EOT) are required - what is the irresistible conclusion? Is a seven year wait for a proposal to come to fruition the norm in PAP wards where taxpayers monies are also used to fund CIPC projects?” He was referring to projects overseen by the Community Improvement Projects Committee (CIPC).



Pritam Singh shared a post. 14 hrs
CIPC Double Standards - The CCC replies

I am delighted to see the CCC finally engage this issue, albeit only after things have to go public. Repeated emails, requests for answers have gone unanswered and ignored, over many years. A comment or two about this persistent conduct of ignoring repeated communication attempts to the People’s Association would have been helpful, but I will come back to this at the end.

As far as possible, I have sought to avoid naming the relevant Grassroots Advisers in person because this is not a personal issue. It is a systemic problem, as it has been between the PAP and non-government political parties between for many decades. Please see parliamentary replies on this matter over many decades here: https://singapore2025.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/community-improvement-projects-committee-cipc-waiting-for-the-ccc/

Let me deal with the points in turn:
1. Each division in Aljunied GRC - Paya Lebar, Eunos, BRP – Hougang, Serangoon and Kaki Bukit and separately, Hougang SMC are each represented by a CCC. Eunos had put up two projects in 2012 (the Blk 108 BFA and a linkway from Blk 633 to 635 [not 634 as communicated in Mr Chua’s post below]). In 2015, in the heat of the general elections, the People’s Association came out to say that they had approved a number of CIPC projects for AHTC – the two for Eunos were included amongst them. So naturally, my attention would be fixed on why one of the two projects in Eunos had taken seven years to be finally completed. There has been no news from the PA on the other proposal for Blk 633 to 635, in spite of repeated reminders. We now know from the post below, this will be done in the course of “next year”.


Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh, PA grassroots adviser spar over allegation of 'double standards'
Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh and People's Action Party grassroots adviser Chua Eng Leong are sparring over a barrier-free access ramp that took seven years to complete.PHOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO, SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

He described the WP chief’s remarks as a “red herring”, a distraction from the issue of the opposition party’s accountability in the light of a recent High Court verdict, which found Mr Singh and fellow Aljunied GRC MPs Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim liable for damages suffered by Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) and Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council.

Justice Kannan Ramesh had described what Mr Low and Ms Lim did as “inexcusable” and “egregious”, and said “they were expected to not subordinate the interests of AHTC, not to mention their statutory and fiduciary duties, to their own political interests”.

Mr Chua said that as a result of the recent court verdict, he has “received queries from numerous residents about what the incumbent town council has done for them over the course of these past eight years”,


PAP grassroots adviser hits back at WP chief Pritam Singh’s allegation of ‘double standards’
The barrier-free ramp at Block 108 Bedok Reservoir Road was handed over by the People’s Association to the Workers' Party-run Aljunied-Hougang Town Council on Oct 15

The People’s Action Party’s (PAP) grassroots adviser for the Eunos ward has hit back at Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh’s insinuation of a delay in the completion of a barrier-free access ramp because it was mooted by the opposition party.

Calling the issue a “red herring”, Mr Chua Eng Leong — who was part of the PAP team that lost to WP in Aljunied GRC during the last General Election — sought to turn the tables on Mr Singh, by pointing out the need for accountability by those found to be in breach of their fiduciary duties.

Earlier this month, Mr Singh and his fellow Aljunied GRC Members of Parliament Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang were found liable by the High Court for damages suffered by the Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC) and the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council.



Chua Eng Leong is at Blk 108 Bedok Reservoir Road; Void Deck. 17 hrs · Singapore

Regrettably, MP Mr Pritam Singh has made unsubstantiated comments online about delays in the completion of a Barrier Free Access Ramp (“BFA Ramp”) at Block 108 Bedok Reservoir Road.

At the outset, I should state that these are politically divisive and factually inaccurate comments that I have chosen to respond only so as to maintain a level of accountability to our residents and my fellow Singaporeans. I also have no intention of engaging further on this issue after this clarification post unless the need arises.

1. BFA Ramp being only one of many projects undertaken by the Citizens’ Consultative Committees.


PAP Grassroot Adviser Hits Back At Pritam Singh Over Access Ramp, Claims “7-Year Delay” Made No Sense
Chua Eng Leong Claims Eunos CCC Concurrently Proposed The Access Ramp

Earlier this week, Workers’ Party (WP) leader Pritam Singh took to Facebook lamenting about the much delayed opening of an access ramp in Bedok Reservoir.

Just 4 days later, Chua Eng Leong – a People’s Action Party (PAP) grassroots adviser who ran for the 2015 elections in Aljunied GRC – responded to Pritam Singh’s earlier statement, disputing several allegations that he made. In particular, Mr Chua claimed that the proposal for the access ramp was mooted by both the WP and the Eunos Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC). Thus, it did not make sense for the CCC to delay its construction.

He also described Mr Singh’s statement as being “politically divisive” and erroneous.


PAP's 'divisive approach' to politics is polarising Singapore society: Pritam Singh
“This will not do, no matter who is in Government and who is the opposition. Singapore and Singaporeans deserve better”

A few days after three Aljunied GRC Members of Parliament were found by the High Court to be liable for damages suffered by Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC), Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh has gone on the attack, accusing the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) of practicing “political double standards” in the approval of municipal projects.


As the next general elections get closer, Singh said he is hearing various 4G leaders speak of the “dangers of a polarised society, dysfunctional politics with social media often blamed”.


In a scathing Facebook post on Tuesday (15 October), he added, “The 4G leaders also repeat calls for an inclusive society, co-creating policies etc. But would the 4G leaders dare consider that the PAP’s divisive approach to politics may be the elephant in the room that will make Singapore a politically polarised society?”


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Residents’ ramp took 7 years to build due to PAP’s ‘divisive approach to politics’: Workers’ Party Pritam Singh

Pritam Singh, Secretary-General of the Workers’ Party (WP), has some strong words for the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) about the role that grassroots organisations play in opposition-held constituencies.

He put up a post on Oct. 15 with photos of a Barrier-Free-Access ramp in his estate, which will be open at Block 108 Bedok Reservoir Road on Oct. 16, 2019. However, the suggestion for the ramp was apparently first raised in 2012 — ultimately taking seven years to go from conception to construction to implementation.

Pritam said the ramp had been a “long time coming”, and it was handed over from the People’s Association (PA) to the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) earlier on Oct 15. The remarks come a few days after Pritam, along with fellow MPs Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim, were found liable for damages in the AHTC case.

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Pritam Singh 21 hrs
CIPC Funding

This Barrier-Free-Access (BFA) ramp at Blk 108 Bedok Reservoir Road has been a long time in coming. First mooted by residents to the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council in late 2012, it was finally handed over to the Town Council by the People’s Association this afternoon, seven years after it was first proposed. While the TC continues to wait for all the documentation and additional pipe diversion works to be completed, we have received approval to open the BFA for resident use. It will be open tomorrow.

Each year, the Government makes available about $40m to all Town Councils for community improvement upgrading projects. But all MPs must go through their Grassroots Advisers to raise projects for consideration. In opposition wards like Aljunied and Hougang, the losing PAP candidates are the Grassroots Advisers.

Through such upgrading projects, losing PAP candidates are made relevant for residents and can be said to campaign for votes well before the General Elections because they are embedded as leaders in various grassroots organisations that approve the dispensation of large sums of taxpayer dollars. I spoke about why the PAP has adopted such political double standards at a rally during the 2015 elections.

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‘Double standards’ in how People’s Association and grassroots groups operate in opposition wards: Pritam Singh
Mr Pritam Singh, Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC, said that a simple barrier-free access ramp (pictured) in his Eunos ward that could have been built in months, took years to complete

Referring to a barrier-free access ramp in his ward that took seven years to build, Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh accused the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) of being “divisive” and having “double standards” when it comes to how certain processes operate in opposition wards.

Mr Singh, a Member of Parliament (MP) for Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC), said on Facebook that the ramp at Block 108 along Bedok Reservoir Road could have taken just months to complete when the project was first mooted in 2012.

However, it was finally handed over to the WP-run Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) by the People’s Association only on Tuesday (Oct 15).

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WP’s Pritam Singh questions policy of PAP candidates as grassroots advisers

The barrier-free-access (BFA) ramp at Blk 108 Bedok Reservoir Road is now open to the public, announced Worker’s Party MP Pritam Singh in a Facebook post, seven years after it was first proposed.

Mr Singh noted that the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, which he chairs, has been waiting for documentation and additional pipe diversion to be completed before receiving approval to open the BFA for resident use.

Using this ramp as an example, Mr Singh explained how the government allocates about S$40 million to all Town Councils around Singapore for community improvement projects. However, for projects to be funded, MPs have to raise them to the Grassroots Advisers for consideration. This can be challenging as the losing PAP candidates are appointed as Grassroots Advisors in opposition wards like Aljunied and Hougang.

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A simple ramp took 7 years to build due to the PAP’s “political double standards” – Pritam Singh

Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Pritam Singh has revealed that a simple Barrier-Free-Access (BFA) ramp at Blk 108 Bedok Reservoir Road that could have been built in months took about seven years to complete due to what he calls “political double standards”.

Revealing that the BFA ramp project was first mooted by residents to the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council in late 2012, Mr Singh said that the People’s Association (PA) only handed over the completed ramp to the WP-held Aljunied-Hougang Town Council yesterday (15 Oct) – about seven years later.

In a Facebook post published yesterday (15 Oct), Mr Singh decried the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) practice of appointing defeated PAP candidates as grassroots advisers in opposition-held wards as one reason why such community improvement projects are delayed.

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Bedok Reservoir Ramp Should Have Been Completed In Months If Not For Politics, Says Pritam Singh
Divisive politics may create “politically polarised society”

However, one such access ramp in the opposition ward of Aljunied took a whopping 7 years to complete after the project was mooted.

On Tuesday (15 Oct), Workers’ Party (WP) leader Pritam Singh took to Facebook, announcing the opening of the ramp, at the same time lamenting about its major delay due to “divisive politics.”

With the increasing number of elderly people in Singapore, amenities like access ramps have become a necessity in some estates.

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A Ramp In Aljunied GRC That Took 7 Years To Build, Because PAP Refuses To Yield To WP

As he explained in the same FB post, the government grants $40m to all Town Councils for community improvement upgrading projects. However, MPs must go through their Grassroots Advisers to raise projects for consideration. For PAP wards, Grassroots Advisers are always the elected PAP MPs themselves, so basically, they ownself allow ownself to use funds. But for opposition ward, the Grassroot Adviser happens to be the very same PAP candidates that were defeated by the WP in the Elections, thus it is no surprise that they have their own agenda against WP doing good work for their residents.

Pritam also question how the Grassroot Advisers are allowed to be making themselves very visible in an official capacity, thereby conveniently campaigning for votes way before the Election period, as they embed themselves in the consciousness of the residents.

How is this fair? Imagine losing Opposition MPs being grassroot advisers at all the other PAP wards that they won. Surely, the PAP will not allow that, right?

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AIM saga thrust back in the limelight after WP chief’s comments on “political double standards”
In 2018, WP parliamentarian Png Eng Huat shared the notice AIM sent to AHTC informing them of the termination of contract in 2011

Netizens are recirculating old news articles and Facebook posts on the AIM saga in the wake of the High Court judgment in the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) case as well as Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Pritam Singh’s recent comments on “political double standards.”

In a Facebook post published on Tuesday (15 Oct), Mr Singh revealed how unfair the playing field is for opposition town councils when he shared that a simple access ramp that could have been built in months took about seven years to build.

Mr Singh decried the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) practice of appointing defeated PAP candidates as grassroots advisers in opposition-held wards as one reason why community improvement projects are delayed and called this practice a “political double standard” since defeated opposition candidates do not get the same benefits.

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Pritam Singh points out how unfair it is that defeated PAP candidates are made grassroots advisers in opposition wards

Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Pritam Singh has highlighted how unfair it is that losing People’s Action Party (candidates) are placed in opposition wards as grassroots advisers when losing opposition candidates are not given the same benefits.

Mr Singh is one of the Members of Parliament (MPs) representing Aljunied GRC – the very first and only group representation ward that any opposition party has ever won in Singapore’s history. While WP politicians serve Aljunied GRC as their elected parliamentarians and town councillors, the PAP has placed non elected PAP representatives and branch chairmen who run grassroots activities in the ward. Some of these non-elected PAP representatives ran against the WP in previous elections and lost.

Curiously, none of the opposition parties that have been defeated in other wards have had the opportunity to place their representatives and branch chairmen to run grassroots activities in the wards they hope to contest, in between election terms.

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Citizens express concern for Workers’ Party over AHTC case

On 14 October (Monday), Workers’ Party (WP) member and former non-constituency Member of Parliament Gerald Giam took to his Facebook to share concerns raised by citizens he encountered over the latest Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) case involving three members of the WP, including its chief Pritam Singh.

In his post, Mr Giam said that while he was distributing food in Fengshan last weekend, many worried residents asked him about the court case.

Just a few days earlier (11 October), the High Court found WP Aljunied GRC Members of Parliament (MPs) Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang liable for damages against AHTC and the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC).

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Gerald Giam 严燕松 13 October at 16:30

During food distribution in Fengshan over the weekend, an elderly resident asked me about the court judgment, which she watched on TV but couldn't quite understand. With deep concern on her face, she asked if the amount our MPs had to pay was 'banyak' (a lot). An elderly friend called me early in that morning saying he was so upset he couldn't sleep the night before. Another texted me to convey a message to our MPs that "you had our backs, now we have yours". It's so touching how so many Singaporeans have stepped forward in solidarity during these trying times. Our work will continue, come what may!

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How AHTC verdict will play out at the General Elections

Way back in 1986, the ever-cunning Lee Kuan Yew came up with a plan to erect one more hurdle for the opposition. The Town Council concept, which made Members of Parliament responsible for the upkeep of public housing estates, was born. Tied to that concept was an overt message that if voters were to elect politicians without the right credentials, the estates might become unliveable as rubbish piled up and other basic necessities like lifts, lighting and water supply were disrupted.

That was the nightmare scenario painted by Lee. As he said in the 1988 National Day Rally, "If your MP is not honest, or not competent, you will know it soon enough. And if your estate is poorly run, repairs slow, and lift maintenance poor, you will be inconvenienced and worse, the resale value of your flat will be affected... Your personal well-being will be at stake when you choose your MP."

Some 33 years later, a very different scenario is playing out. The dominant opposition Workers’ Party (WP) is on the brink of losing two of its top leaders, as the High Court found them guilty of a conflict of interest in employing “conflicted persons” to run the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) and overpaying the managing agent, possibly to the tune of millions. Many had expected the verdict but what was damning was Justice Kannan Ramesh’s strong language. His judgement was sprinkled with words like “inexcusable” and “egregious” in describing the actions taken by then secretary-general Low Thia Khiang and chairman Sylvia Lim.

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DPM Heng to table motion calling on AHTC to require WP’s Lim, Low to recuse themselves from finance matters

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat will be introducing a motion in Parliament next Tuesday (Nov 5) that will call on Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) to require Workers’ Party (WP) leaders Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang to “recuse themselves” from all financial matters related to AHTC.

In a notice paper sent to Members of Parliament (MPs) which was seen by TODAY, the motion would “affirm the vital importance of MPs maintaining high standards of integrity and accountability”.

The parliamentary motion introduced by Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, comes after High Court Judge Kannan Ramesh called out the WP MPs for dishonest and improper conduct, in a verdict delivered after a year-long trial.


Parliamentary motion calls on Low Thia Khiang & Sylvia Lim to recuse themselves from AHTC financial matters
The motion was passed in Parliament today (Nov 5)

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat introduced a Parliamentary motion today (Nov. 5), calling on Workers’ Party (WP) MPs Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang to recuse themselves from all financial matters at the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC). Heng delivered a 65-minute long speech when he moved the motion.

The motion affirms the importance of Members of Parliament maintaining high standards of integrity and accountability. It notes that Lim remains Vice-Chairman of AHTC, and Low remains an elected member of AHTC.

AHTC is called on to “discharge their responsibilities to their residents”. This means that Lim and Low are required to recuse themselves from all matters relating to, and oversight over, AHTC financial matters.


DPM Heng calls on Workers' Party MPs Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang to recuse themselves from AHTC financial matters
DPM Heng Swee Keat (left) tabled a parliamentary motion for WP's Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang to recuse themselves from all financial matters at the AHTC. PHOTOS: NG SOR LUAN, ST FILE

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (Nov 5) called on Workers' Party (WP) MPs Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang to recuse themselves from all financial matters at the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).

He also asked the WP what it planned to "put its own house in order", noting it has remained "totally silent" since a High Court verdict released last month found Mr Low and Ms Lim had acted dishonestly in awarding a managing agent contract for AHTC to a company set up by their supporters without calling a tender.

"Will they at long last be conducting their own investigation? Or will they continue to duck, dodge and deny?" Mr Heng said.


Workers' Party MPs to appeal AHTC judgment; calls on House to reject 'premature' motion by DPM Heng

The Workers' Party (WP) Members of Parliament (MP) found liable for the misuse of tens of millions in town council funds by a High Court judge will appeal against the decision.

WP chairman Sylvia Lim told Parliament in a clarification on Tuesday (Nov 5) that she and co-defendants Mr Pritam Singh and Mr Low Thia Khiang have reviewed the judgment with their lawyers and will appeal against it at the Court of Appeal.

High Court judge Kannan Ramesh released his written judgment on Oct 11, saying there is "serious doubt" about the integrity of Ms Lim and Mr Low, and that they had breached their fiduciary duties in appointing FM Solutions and Services (FMSS) as managing agent of Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).


AHTC case: High Court finds WP’s Aljunied GRC MPs Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang liable for damages against town council
The High Court today (11 Oct) found Workers’ Party (WP) Aljunied GRC Members of Parliament (MPs) Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang liable for damages against the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) and the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC)

Judge Kannan Ramesh, in his written judgement, ruled that Lim and Low as town councillors had acted in breach of their fiduciary duties to AHTC.

He reasoned that such breach of fiduciary duties was evident in the waiver of tender leading to the award of the first managing agent (MA) contract to FM Solutions & Services (FMSS).

The waiver, said the judge, was “not justified under the Town Council Financial Rules (TCFR), and that subsequently, Lim and Low had “failed to act in AHTC’s best interests and had acted for extraneous purposes”.

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People’s Voice Lim Tean in agreement with veteran architect that MPs are not “estate managers”
Tay Kheng Soon calls for a separate full-time manager to handle daily tasks of a constituency

People’s Voice founding leader Lim Tean took to his Facebook on Monday (18 November) to pen his agreement with veteran architect Tay Kheng Soon who stated that the role of a Member of Parliament (MP) is to be a “legislator in Parliament to enact laws” and not exactly “be the manager of the everyday municipal affairs of his constituency”.

“We agree totally with Tay Kheng Soon that an MP is not an estate manager! I said this during the television debate in GE 2015. If you want an estate manager as MP, then make sure your MP has professional qualification to be an estate manager,” Lim Tean wrote in his post. He also noted that even if the MPs are expected to be estate managers, People’s Action Party (PAP) MPs “fare poorly compared to the Opposition ones”.

“Was very impressed with how squeaky clean Jalan Damai under Pritam Singh is, whereas parts of Woodlands under PAP are the slums Lee Kuan Yew said Opposition wards would turn into. That has not happened!” Lim Tean explained.


Lim Tean shared a post. November 18 at 9:30 PM

We Agree Totally With Tay Kheng Soon That An MP Is Not An Estate Manager!

I said this during the televised debate in GE 2015. If you want an estate manager as MP, then make sure your MP has professional qualifications to be an estate manager.

Even if we want the MP to be an estate manager, the PAP MPs fare poorly compared to the Opposition ones. Was very impressed with how squeaky clean Jalan Damai under Pritam Singh is, whereas parts of Woodlands under the PAP are the slums Lee Kuan Yew said Opposition wards would turn into. That has not happened!


Tay Kheng Soon November 18 at 5:13 PM

The role of an MP is primarily that of a legislator in Parliament to enact laws. His role in his constituency is to learn and reflect the views of his constituents regarding the laws of the land.

There has been a great misunderstanding of this role as it evolved over the years. The MP is not and never meant to be the manager of the everyday municiple affairs of his constituency. This is and should be done by full time managers employed for this.

As legislator he will of course want to seek out the views of his constituents on the laws and regulations that affect the country and also his constituents. Laws such as disallowing PMDs on footpaths or CECA or foreign policy relations with China and USA. His meet the people sessions us for this. To demand that an MP be responsible for a locked firehose in a fire is totally wrong.


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