People’s Action Party (PAP) activists in Aljunied GRC have gone on the offensive, distributing flyers today (March 13) urging residents to quiz their Workers’ Party (WP) Members of Parliament (MPs) over the accounting and corporate governance lapses committed by Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).
Titled “What You Should Ask WP’s Aljunied Hougang Punggol East Town Council”, the flyer — which was in English and Chinese and came complete with a chart — compared AHPETC’s managing agent rates with those of some PAP town councils. Among other things, it charged that there was improper governance by AHPETC and that the town council had “overpaid its friends at FMSS by at least S$6.4 million”.
“This is our ‘lost money’. It means we have less money to clean and maintain our estate,” the flyer said, reiterating that serious problems that could affect residents were flagged by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO).
The lapses, which were highlighted by the AGO in its audit report on AHPETC, prompted National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan to table a motion in Parliament last month. Among other things, the motion called on town councils to uphold higher standards of accounting and reporting to safeguard residents’ interests.
During the parliamentary debate, PAP ministers and MPs had zeroed in on a potential conflict of interest: AHPETC secretary Danny Loh and his wife, the town council’s general manager How Weng Fan, are also the main directors and shareholders of AHPETC’s managing agent FM Solutions and Services (FMSS).
Adding that the WP had deliberately remained silent to queries posed by auditors and in Parliament, the flyer also listed questions that residents should confront the WP MPs with, including how much FMSS and other businesses owned by AHPETC employees earnt from the town council, as well as what the town council’s latest financial situation is. The flyer added: “Why did AHPETC allow the husband-and-wife team to verify and approve payment on work done by FMSS, which is owned by them?”
It was not stated on the flyer who had come up with the contents. When contacted, PAP Paya Lebar branch chairman K Muralidharan Pillai confirmed that the flyers — which were distributed to units in Kovan — were handed out by PAP activists today. Adding that it was a ground-up initiative by the activists, he said they had nothing to hide and that “there was no difficulty in understanding that (the flyer) was from the PAP”. The plan is to distribute the flyers throughout Aljunied GRC, he said.
He pointed out that the WP MPs had said in Parliament that they would answer to residents directly on AHPETC’s lapses. Adding that the flyers contained publicly available information, Mr Muralidharan said: “Our activists decided to help residents understand the core issues and suggested questions that they may wish to ask of their MPs. Residents are free to make up their own minds as to what they wish to do after reading the flyer.”
The WP did not respond to queries by press time.
Some Kovan residents who received the flyer told TODAY that they were wondering who had distributed them. Nevertheless, a resident who gave his name only as Mr Seah said: “Everything in the flyer is directed at WP. It is quite obvious that it is from the PAP.”