A reflection on the AHTC investigations: We must stop giving the PAP opportunities to point their fingers in our direction by Jack
Once again, our nation decided to put the Workers’ Party in the headlines. This time it is about an old case. WP chief Pritam Singh, Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim and former WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang had apparently been found liable in October 2019 for being “negligent” in the handling of about S$33 million in town council funds.
“The WP Members of Parliament and AHTC councillors had been accused of breaching their fiduciary duties in the appointment of town council managing agent FM Solutions & Services (FMSS). FMSS was led by Ms How, WP stalwart Low Thia Khiang’s long-time colleague from Hougang Town Council.
As a result of this appointment, they allegedly allowed “improper” payments of more than S$33 million to FMSS, its service provider FM Solutions & Integrated Services (FMSI) and third parties.” – ChannelNewsAsia
The courts/news did also report that they found that the Workers’ Party was just acting “in good faith”. Personally, I am unsure if this is their attempt at trying to make themselves sound less biased. If it is, it doesn’t actually work.
Let’s call a spade a spade.
I am rather disappointed that the WP made such a blunder. It has been a difficult battle, getting opposition members into parliament, winning GRCs, and having our first leader of the opposition. With this comes many many eyes from PAP and their supporters. What does this mean? Every mistake will be blown out of proportion. Every mistake counts, no matter how small.
We’ve seen how much public resources the incumbent put into investigating Raeesah Khan, even after she resigned. (Yeah yeah, I got it, they needed to send a message. I think there are other ways to send the same message without wasting so much resources. Let’s keep this discussion for next time.)
This means that after getting themselves into parliament, and after gaining leadership of the various GRCs, it is important that WP give extra care to make sure that they seem as faultless as possible. Yes, nobody is perfect, but they should have ensured that “negligence” should not be something that they can be blamed for. Especially negligence when it comes to handling public funds, S$33 million at that.
Instead, their negligence presented the PAP with this grand opportunity to slam them. And when it comes to PAP supporters, they will never let this slide. Forget about how the PAP refused to disclose how much HDB costs, giving us excuses like “affordability is what matters”. For the PAP and their supporters, instead of giving us answers to our questions, they will try to distract us with attacks on the opposition. (Just read P AP’s Lim Biow Chuan’s post about how AHTC’s negligence “undermined” the system).
To the Worker’s Party and other opposition parties, I do hope that you will take extra care in future to make sure that the PAP doesn’t get these opportunities to undermine your credibility. We have great opposition party members who bring up very valid and important points in parliament. We need to make sure that the parliament is focused on discussing these points/policies and bettering Singaporean’s lives.
We need to make sure that the parliament is not a place for childish fights with finger pointing and personal attacks. In order to do that, we must try our best not to give the PAP any chances to point their fingers in our direction, because we all know that they will definitely take every opportunity they can to do so.