Veteran opposition leader of the Workers' Party Low Thia Khiang's was worried about problems with the handover of Aljunied GRC after the WP victory there in 2015, and was reminded of the chaos following his win in Hougang SMC in 1991.
These circumstances led the WP chief to rely on Hougang SMC's existing managing agent and IT systems, he wrote in a document submitted in the annexe of the WP's defense statement denying all claims of wrongdoing on the part of the WP town councilors.
According to Low, when he won his first SMC in General Elections (GE) 1991, the ruling People's Action Party left him alone to face the huge challenge of managing the constituency. Within a month after he took over, he was told that the incumbent managing agent would be ending their contract with the WP-run town council and that his town council would now have to find another premises on short notice.
Low learnt important lessons from the subsequent GE1997, when the Singapore Democratic Party lost its seats in Bukit Gombak and Nee Soon Central because they could not cope with the responsibilities of running a town council. In that election, only he and Singapore People's Party chief Chiam See Tong were able to retain their seats in Hougang and Potong Pasir respectively.
Low says that he had expected the PAP to not do a proper handover of Aljunied GRC in 2011, and so he and his team comprising Low, Sylvi Lim, Pritam Singh, Chen Show Mao and Faisal Abdul Manap decided to put the continuity of essential services as top priority, which led them to depend on the existing staff and IT system in Hougang Town Council.