The nasty consequences of unkempt financial accounts: Part 1
Parliament sittings always promise to be full of excitement and drama, especially with the presence of the opposition Workers’ Party (WP). Who could forget the mouth-watering clash between WP chief Low Thia Khiang and PAP leader Lee Hsien Loong?
WP has now come under scrutiny again in Parliament for questionable financial accounts of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) that it runs. We rate the best comments from both sides from a truly objective point of view:
Khaw Boon Wan:
1. “Sad”, “Unreliable”, “Inaccurate”
The Auditor-General’s Office recently released a report detailing several lapses in governance of the AHPETC. Minister Khaw used the above adjectives to describe what he thought about the state of affairs at AHPETC in response to the report.
Truth O’Meter: 10/10 The AHPETC really screwed up in this one.
2. “incompetence”, “negligence”
The AHPETC has not submitted a single report on time ever since they were formed in 2011. One particular report was even four months late. There was also a case of conflict of interest, where $27 million worth of public contracts were given to two separate parties that were related to AHPETC.
Truth O’Meter: 10/10 I don’t even dare submit my work one week late, let alone four months.
3. “evasive, unresponsive and misleading”
Because current legislation does not allow the Ministry of National Development (MND) any power to investigate individual town councils, Khaw accused the AHPETC of exploiting these lax laws to not do a proper job for their financial accounts.
Truth O’ Meter: 5/10 Be careful there, Minister Khaw. We sense a little personal attack going on there.
Low Thia Khiang:
1. “hard to attract a Managing Agent”
Low defended AHPETC’s action of awarding $6 million worth of claims without tender . He claimed that those who serve town councils run by the PAP are “unwilling” to help rival town councils such as the AHPETC.
Truth O’Meter: 6/10 Although unsubstantiated and weak a claim, it’s easier to believe. The opposition doesn’t have it easy because of the sheer dominance of the PAP in Singapore politics. However, we also think Low appears to be that indignant little kid who must have the last word on things, even if his last word doesn’t make any sense.
2. “takes seriously the Auditor-General’s findings of lapses in governance and compliance”
Thank goodness. We were elated when the Workers’ Party finally muscled its way through the narrow doors of Parliament. Although we’re disappointed at such administrative lapses, we certainly hope that they will clean up their act and truly be on their way to making Singapore have a “First World Parliament”.
No Truth O’Meter for this one, but we’re giving it a 10/10 on our Hope O’ Meter.
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