Town councils’ historical habit of answered questions?

I refer to the article “TOC Breaking: The curious case of the tender notice with no details” (theonlinecitizen, Dec 30).

After more than two weeks of the continuing saga of the town councils’ software, there are still so many unanswered questions.

Other answered questions historically?

The other obvious question that comes to mind, is whether there are other answered questions about town councils in recent years, which affect Singaporeans at large?

Well, here’s a list of what arguably, are some questions about town councils which never received straight answers.

How much losses exactly did the respective town councils which invested in Minibond type products in the last financial crisis of 2008/2209 suffer?

Why is there not greater transparency on town councils’  investments? (“$1 billion in town council funds : What’re they used for?“, Dec 3, 2007)

Why is it that despite much higher government grants, the Service and Conservancy Charges (S & CC) have historically, generally been higher than the opposition wards? (“$2 billion in PAP town councils’ sinking funds but need to increase charges?“, Mar 18, 2010)

Why were the rules for the use of town councils’ funds changed such that the opposition wards could no longer use enough of  their accumulated  funds for lift upgrading, without residents having to pay anything? (“Residents willing to pay more for service and conservancy“, Dec 2, 2007)

Why is it that according to Aljunied town council’s annual report for 2008/2009, the Conservancy and Service Receivables Provision for impairment was apparently written down by about 99 per cent compared to the previous year’s (2007/2008)? (“Town councils’ report: More cash-strapped families in opposition wards?“, Dec 15, 2012)

Why is it that town councils’ with operating and accumulated surpluses also need to increase S & CC? (“Each town council different, but raise charges together?“, Oct 3, 2012)

Why is it that Aljunied-Hougang town council can cut its S & CC after it took over the ward? (“Town council: $4.38m surplus – still increase fees?”, Jul 26, 2012)

Misleading statements?

Now back to the saga of the town councils’ software. I find that the town councils’  two statements so far, may arguably be somewhat misleading.

24 December

“We would like to state that the contract between Action Information Management Pte Ltd (AIM) and the PAP Town Councils with regards to the Town Council Management System (TCMS) was transacted in accordance with the Town Councils Financial Regulations.
To price the value of the TCMS , and to facilitate the options for future development, the PAP TCs called an open tender (advertised in the Straits Times on 30 June 2010) to sell the ownership of the developed application software.” – the tender process and outcome, and  the wording of the tender is misleading as it reads like the town council wants to purchase software, instead of selling one – I leave it to you to decide whether it is misleading or not?

29 December

“Ms Lim should come clean on the facts. Why state that AIM wanted to terminate, while suppressing the fact that AHTC had on June 10, 2011, written to say that it wanted to develop its own software? The question has not been answered by her” – Since AHTC had already explained that they informed AIM that they were developing new software because of the fear that their contract could be terminated with just a month’s notice, and it was AIM that subsequently terminated the contract – do you think this is somewhat misleading?

Since it was AIM that terminated AHTC’s contract and cited that the termination was due to “material changes to the membership of the Town Council”, how can “The contract he (Teo Ho Pin) said, was terminated with mutual agreement in September“? – Do you not find this misleading too?

Leong Sze Hian




About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.