Friday, 27 February 2015

AHPETC WP Favors Their Friends - FMSS

AHPETC Workers Party Supporters Benefit

Friends with Benefits: WP favors its own.

The WP town councillors say that they had to use FMSS, they had no choice because no one wanted to work with them. This is patently false (hyperlink to “Crying wolf) because there are many companies that work with both PAP and WP TCs.
Instead, the truth is that WP actively chose to favour its own supporters
1. The WP benefits its friends at the expense of residents
FMSS was clearly set up with the intention of taking over the management of the newly-formed AHTC. The personnel behind FMSS likewise knew that they would be doing so. Otherwise, why would anybody bother forming FMSS?
FMSS was only incorporated 4 days after the 2011 General Elections, and is largely-owned by AHPETC Secretary Mr Danny Loh (Secretary) and his wife Ms How Weng Fan, General Manager of the town council. These material facts were not recorded in town council meeting minutes.
Shortly after its set-up, FMSS was awarded AHTC’s 1st MA and EMSU Contracts for FY2011-12 by waiver of tender.  In other words, AHTC did not call any tenders, and neither did it make any effort to inquire if other companies would be keen to provide the services. 
AHTC had already decided beforehand that it wanted to award these contracts to FMSS.  This is made clearer by the Audit’s finding that, for the 1st EMSU contract, the TC had in fact paid FMSS fees of some 36.7% higherthan those charged by two incumbent contractors. For the 2nd MA and EMSU Contracts for FY2012-15, FMSS, as sole bidder, was awarded both tenders.  Specifically, FMSS’ MA rate for FY2012-13 was some 20% higherthan the former ATC’s MA rate and some 50% higher than Tampines TC’s (comparable in size to AHPETC) MA rate for the same FY. 
The increased MA rates led to higher S&CC for residents.
Clearly, the WP had decided from the start that it would award the contracts to FMSS. That is why they got their supporters and AHPETC officers to set up the company in the first place.

By favouring FMSS, the WP has also allowed FMSS to set higher rates than other MAs.  

2. The entire arrangement appears only to benefit FMSS, with no real benefit to the TC or residents.

The AHPETC had allowed its officers to set up FMSS to provide services to the TC, instead of hiring them directly, as was the case in Hougang.  Such an arrangement meant that, on top of paying these officers’ salaries (which formed part of the MA fees), the TC had to fork out an additional 3.5% project management fee to FMSS. 

It is also curious that FMSS, being a company with no track record and only one client, was given the contracts, since it offered no economies of scale and/or cost savings to AHPETC. 

3. WP politicized Town Councils

By using an MA set up by WP associates, AHPETC has effectively politicised town council management. This makes Mr Low’s complaint that town council management is politicised hypocritical - he himself had politicised AHPETC management in the first place.

Nobody is ‘out to get them’, nor are companies intentionally avoiding them.

The WP is crying wolf to say that no one wants its business. We would play into its hands should we continue this political baiting, pitting the WP against the PAP. This is primarily a municipal and not a political issue.

The TC has clearly not served the interests of its residents. The residents are the real victims of this saga. There are more than 150,000 residents in the town– and $3 million in S&CC fees coming in each month. The issue at hand must surely be to correct the mistakes and put in measures to safeguard the funds and interests of the town.

Martyn See Makes Police Report - Ulterior Motives

In a false act of standing-up for Singapore Indians, failed Singaporean film-maker Martyn See has made a police report against MP Lam Pin Min for an allegedly seditious Facebook comment.

martyn see makes police report against lam pin min

We must however see Martyn See's actions for what it truly is - a deliberate attempt to subvert the course of justice.

It is telling that Martyn's decision to make the report came more than 3 weeks after MP Lam Pin Min's post, but only 4 days after the editors of The Real Singapore (TRS) was arrested for sedition. It is also telling that Martyn stretched and convoluted the truth to accuse MP Lam of sedition - the same charges that the editors for TRS were arrested for.

Given Martyn's close connections to TRS, the fact that no Indians saw MP Lam's comments as seditious, and the fact that Martyn has never championed minority rights in his career, Martyn's police report reeks of ULTERIOR MOTIVES. In our opinion, Martyn (and probably the editors of TRS) are falsely filing a police report in the hopes of subverting the course of justice. In their warped minds, they mistakenly believe that by implicating MP Lam Pin Min, it will save the editors of TRS.

Like many Singaporeans, we at SG Bumiputera are elated that the police has finally taken actions against the editors of TRS. TRS is a site that deliberately mis-represents the truth in a calculated attempt to incite xenophobia. Ironically, while they claim to be the voice of average Singaporeans, TRS is run by foreigners. Similar to the fate of the TRS editors, we hope that after its due process, the Singapore Police Force will also take actions against Martyn See for making a false report.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Low Thia Khiang Cries Wolf Over AHPETC

Stop Crying Wolf Mr Low Thia Khaing ....
“No one wants to work for me. That’s my problem Prime Minister!”

Your problem, Mr Low, is that you are economical with the truth.
Low Thia Khiang in Parliament AHPETC

In the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) saga, related party transactions (RPTs) that the TC has with managing agent FM Solutions and Services (FMSS) came under fire.

Workers’ Party (WP) Chief Low Thia Khiang claims that the WP faces difficulties in attracting companies as its managing agent – “No one wants for work for me. That’s my problem Prime Minister!” he cried out in Parliament.

Law Minister K Shanmugam asked Mr Low to stop playing the victim card.

Companies exist to make profits. There is no reason any SME would avoid a contract worth millions of dollars. If the conditions are feasible and profitable, why would anyone not want to put in a bid for AHPETC? It is a huge town council and promising in terms of business profitability.

And this is indeed what happened.

Vendors have served both PAP and WP town councils.

The fact is that vendors do not serve PAP or Opposition TCs exclusively -- as shown by the list of tender results here at AHPETC’s own website Tender Results

Almost all these companies do business with government agencies as well as other town councils.

The WP is not a victim. It is crying wolf. Companies do not care if your money is blue or white – as long as it is green.

So Mr Low, it is not true that nobody wants to work with you. The question is: Why did you nevertheless only want to work with FMSS when awarding the $26 million Managing Agent contract? Was it because you wanted to favor your friends?

Law Minister K Shanmugam said in Parliament you gave contracts to your friends. You did not rise to contradict him.

Till this day you have not contradicted him. It must be because you cannot deny the charge.

You favored your friends. And it is not because nobody wanted to work with you – for it is clear many SMEs are only too happy to work with AHPETC. It is because you preferred to funnel money to your friends.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

More Singaporeans Are Turning Away from the Workers Party

Not workers party supporters

WP IS ONLY GOOD IN RHETORIC, NOTHING ELSE!

This note was originally a post on my timeline on 14 February 2015 in response to this blog post on Petulantchild.

I reproduced the post into this note (with some refinements) to preserve my thoughts for posterity.

I identify with the above blog post totally! I didn't start out being a PAP supporter either!

The writer of the above blog may not be a PAP supporter now but I see the "eureka" moment down the road.

Most may find it hard to believe, I used to be a SDP supporter!

Back when I first started studying law back in the late 1980s, I was a diehard supporter of the SDP that Mr Chiam See Tong led as its founding Secretary-General. Exposed to the western models of democracy in the study of Constitution Law, I wanted the PAP to be checked too! Mr Chiam's approach in Parliament of focusing on issues rather than rhetorics and personal attacks appealed to me. By contrast, the approach of the then WP Secretary-General made me adverse to the WP.

I cheered for SDP in the elections in the early 1990s and was elated when SDP won 2 more seats (Bukit Gombak by Ling How Dong and Nee Soon Central by Cheo Chai Chen) in addition to Potong Pasir where Mr Chiam had always stood, using the by-election strategy. I was so proud of Mr Chiam when the then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew called him the de facto leader of the opposition in Parliament.

By the time I became a lawyer in 1998, I had given up on the SDP. In just a few years from winning 3 SMCs, Mr Chiam was kicked out of SDP by his protégé, Chee Soon Juan. The petty politics within the opposition camp also became quite obvious, these folks weren't interested in the big picture. They were interested in themselves. The SDP with CSJ embraced the rhetorics and personal attacks that made me adverse to WP. I became a fence sitter, I became neither for the opposition or the PAP.

After becoming a lawyer, I started taking part in committee work in the Law Society. I figured I should play a part in improving the environment I work in. By 2003, I stood in an election for Law Society's Council and won.

As I got involved in "governance" of the Legal Profession in Council, I realised that it was not an easy job at all. You may have the best of intentions but nobody sees it. The good that you do is nullified by detractors as a matter of course and any lapses are amplified. Those who support you, do so in silence because they have more important things to do, like practise law and building a clientele. Detractors usually have an axe to grind because of self-interest and because they fail to see the larger picture of the needs of and the threats to the profession. Gradually, I came to appreciate the difficulties of running a country. I was only involved in the running a profession of 4,000, the PAP Government was running a country with a population of more than 4 million. By extrapolation, I could imagine their stresses being 1000 times more than mine as a Council member. I started to see things from the PAP's angle and saw the difficulties of running this little "red dot", the difficulties of avoiding the threats and maximising the opportunities.

I had warmed up to the PAP. So when I was asked by  Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon (whom I met through volunteering with my primary school alumni association) to help her in Bukit Timah in the 2006 General Elections as a volunteer, I obliged. There was a walkover on Nomination Day. The opposition was still using Mr Chiam's by-election strategy. By now, there were 2 opposition MP, Mr Chiam who's still in Potong Pasir on his new party's ticket and Low Thia Khiang, WP's new Teochew Sec-Gen, who had taken Hougang by storm. SDP under Chee was nowhere to be found in Parliament.

After helping Mrs Yee-Foo very brief campaign in 2006, I was asked to stay back to help in Bukit Timah. I volunteered with the Grassroots and Mrs Yu-Foo's MPS. Then one day a green form with a lighting logo was pushed to me, I signed it without much hesitation. I had by then realised that there was so much being done on the ground and people were being genuinely helped.

I became a Young PAP member and later became the YP Chair in Bukit Timah. Being in YP exposed me to PAP Ministers and MPs and gave me opportunities to understand why they do what they do. I realised that they are just ordinary people who try to do things extraordinarily. They know they are not perfect but try to do the best they can for the country. I had the opportunity to give feedback and criticise them and I got to understand things from their angle. I came to understand the constraints of our country and the trade offs that are needed. I see them listening although they may not agree with what they hear.  I see them tweak and change what's no longer working and fiercely defending what works. I realise that like Council work, this was hard work and a thankless job.

I saw the PAP make the error of not giving credence to the Internet, allowing alternative sites to spread toxic rumours and responding to these only through the mainstream media. The PAP thought that as long as it ran the country well, the citizenry will vote for them. Big mistake.

Meanwhile, even after becoming a PAP member, I still held the firm belief that check and balance is necessary. By 2011, WP seems very promising as LTK started bring in the likes of Chen Show Mao but I was alarmed that the opposition had ditched Mr Chiam's by-election strategy. Mr Chiam, who was by then in poor health, was himself claiming that those in the opposition camp could be ready to be government. People were clamouring about the need for change. I was skeptical. Really? Change to what? All that Singapore enjoys today are the results of PAP policies. By no means perfect, the PAP government tries its best. PAP has a track record. Whilst I can accept that check and balances are needed, a WP (definitely not CSJ's brand of SDP) government is not something Singapore is ready for. LTK by his own admission was not ready. Ditching the by-election strategy was unsafe. This drove me to defend the PAP even more because someone else being government then was unthinkable.

The 2011 election was a watershed election. The WP won a GRC in addition to Hougang with the war cry of a "First World Parliament". But Potong Pasir was lost by not Mr Chiam but Mrs Chiam. Mrs Chiam came into Parliament as a NCMP, so did WP's Gerald Giam and Yee Jenn Jong. WP's Eric Tan left WP over this.

WP's Yaw Shin Leong MIAed over allegations of extra-marital affairs. By-election was held for Hougang, WP's Png Eng Huat got into Parliament.

PAP's Speaker, Michael Palmer resigns for the same failings as Yaw. By-election was held for Punggol East and WP's Lee Li Lian got into Parliament. 

WP now have 9 MPs in Parliament, 7 elected and 2 NCMPs. They now hold 2 SMCs and 1 GRC.

Did the check and balance, with the largest number of opposition MPs in Parliament in all of history, do some good? Yes. The PAP government was definitely put on its toes. So was the civil service. Whilst there was some changes for the better, there is also a risk of policies turning populist. Civil servants were also getting unprecedented complaints and unreasonable demands that take their attention off their normal functions.

Did the WP measure up to their "First World Parliament" war cry? They majored in rhetoric and minored on policies. They voted against PAP motion on revision of ministerial salaries and raised an alternative suggestion that came back to the same result. Much precious Parliamentary time was spent checking on the WP's running of its town council but the WP was evasive, played the victim card and gave lame excuses.

Are we ready for a WP government? Are we ready for a non-PAP government?

Michael S Chia

*Article first appeared on https://www.facebook.com/notes/michael-s-chia/seeing-the-light-and-makin...

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Aljunied Residents' Regret Voting for The Workers' Party

In response to the Workers' Party of Singapore stunning declaration that they do not need to answer to Parliament for their actions, residents of Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East are beginning to voice their regrets voting for the WP.

Aljunied residents regret voting for workers party of singapore

One pool of extremely unhappy Aljunied-Hougang residents are those living in the former HUDC estate at Hougang Avenue 2 (now known as Florence Regency). Since gaining the rights to privatize their estate on 22 May 2014, these residents (via their Management Corporation) have been in protracted and one-sided negotiations with AHPETC to recover money owed to them.

The main point of contention is the amount of Sinking Fund which owners of the HUDC estate have due from AHPETC. By their own estimates and records, in 2012, residents of the estate had accumulated more $1.2 million in Sinking Funds. Hence, residents were taken aback when AHPETC offered to refund the estate $385,000. After rejecting the offer, AHPETC counter-offered to refund the estate $600,000. While much less than the $1.2 million owed, residents had no choice but to accept. Unfortunately, correct as at today, even the reduced amount of $600,000 has not been fully paid to the estate despite a written promise by AHPETC to do so by August 2014.

There are several issues with this matter. Firstly, why is the amount AHPETC owes in Sinking Fund subjective? According to the Town Council Act, a fixed proportion of monthly S&CC is to be set-aside as Sinking Fund. So if AHPETC had done this, what happened to the additional $600,000. Secondly, if AHPETC is as financial sound as the Workers' Party claimed in Parliament, then why is AHPETC unable to pay the outstanding amount to the residents of Florence Regency?

Unfortunately, the residents of Florence Regency are helpless in this situation and have no recourse. They had chosen to elect the Workers' Party into Parliament (and by default to run their Town Council). As the Workers' Party has openly rejected the authority of Parliament and government agencies to check on them, there is little that the Government can do.

The only option that remains is for the residents of Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East to see the Workers' Party for who they truly are and to vote wisely at General Election 2016. #VoteWPOut

Leong Sze Hian Puppet Master of Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui

It is interesting to note that in response to news that Roy Ngerng, Han Hui Hui and four other protestors would be charged in court for the role in the 27 September 2014 Hong Lim Park heckling incident, Leong Sze Hian immediately posted an appeal on his Facebook page asking for people to come forward to stand bail and pay the expected $6,000 fine and legal fees.

Leong Sze Hian the puppet master of Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui

It is a well-known fact that Leong Sze Hian has been mentoring Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui on how to use civil disobedience to force the Government to review the CPF system and the much debated minimum sum requirement.

As an observer, Leong Sze Hian’s Facebook post raises many questions. Firstly, where was Leong Sze Hian during the protest gone wrong? Did he instigate Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui to do his bidding and then take the cowardly act of standing aside to watch what happens? Rumours have it that Leong Sze Hian told Roy and Hui Hui that he needed to be “innocent” so that he can act on their behalf if they were arrested.

Leong Szw Hian Facebook page

The second question is why is there a need to appeal for six people to stand bail? Can’t Sze Hian himself stand bail for Roy or Hui Hui? Or is Leong afraid that his puppets will not show-up in court and he will then be liable for Roy and Hui Hui’s actions. Once again, rumours have it that Leong Sze Hian is unwilling to put himself in this potentially difficult position.

The third question is why is there a need to appeal FOR MONEY to pay the expected legal fees and fine? Didn’t Roy Ngerng claim to have raised over $110,000 for his legal defence fund? As such, isn’t there a huge surplus which will enable Roy to pay the small $6,000 fine plus legal fees? Or, could it be that Roy’s claim of massive public support is a scam? Surprising, many donors have been calling for Roy to be transparent with how he has used the FUNDS, but he has remained silent on the matter. Isn’t Roy guilty of the same thing he is accusing the Government of?

It is this observer’s view that Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui are mere puppets in enabling Leong Sze Hian’s to achieve his personal agenda. Hopefully, Leong Sze Hian’s actions when the chips are down will open Roy’s and Hui Hui’s eyes to the fact that they are being used.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

AHPETC Does Not Honor Its Promises - Florence Regency

The former owners of HUDC Estate at Hougang Avenue 2 (under AHPETC) have started speaking up.

In a letter dated 15 August 2014, Mr Png Eng Huat clearly stated that “AHPETC will pay a second installment by August 2014 ...” Up till today, 18 Februray 2015, no payment has been received. To the residents, it is becoming increasingly evident that they are not willing (or able) to pay. Is AHPETC in financial trouble? Where has all the money gone?


AHPETC Financial Trouble Worker Party Singapore


AHPETC financial trouble hudc florence regency

Parliamentary Debate on the AGO's Special Audit Report on AHPETC

Parliamentary Debate on the AGO's Special Audit Report on AHPETC

aljunied special report ago workers party
 
The recent parliamentary debate on the AGO's Special Audit Report on AHPETC has revealed many things.
 
To some, the ruling PAP was out to fix the opposition by pointing out "innocent" mistakes of the Worker's Party, while to others, it was the Government that was out to protect the interests of Singaporeans living in Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East. What many seem to forget, is that the Worker's Party only won 54.72% of valid votes cast at General Elections 2011. This means 45.28% of residents do not support the Worker's Party and they want (and expect) the Government to ensure that their interests are also protected.
 
What is however the most disturbing is the attitude of the Worker's Party. When asked to answer valid questions posed to them in the forum in which they were duly elected to, the Worker's Party without shame or hesitation responded that they do not need to answer to Parliament. This is the same Parliament in which the WP campaigned to be elected to so that they can be a check and balance against the People's Action Party (PAP). If WP does not respect Parliament as the seat of democracy, then what is it that they believe in?
 
One can only speculate, but the likely embezzlement of millions of tax-payers dollars (via FMSS and FMSI) points to money being their motivation.
 
Mr Low Thia Khiang and Ms Sylvia Lim, AHPE is not a fiefdom. You and your party members are not WARLORDS who are free to do whatever you want without consequences. You were elected to be a check and balance in Parliament. For you to fulfill your election promise, you must respect the role of Parliament. You must therefore answer to it.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Parliamentary Debate: AGO's Special Report on AHPETC

As the initial dust from the Parliamentary Debate on the AGO's Special Report on AHPETC settles, one thing is clear. The Workers Party of Singapore are a group of artful dodgers.

workers party responses to ago report

Dodge #1: Sylvia Lim has spent much time trying to convince the House that AHPETC’s payments were generally approved and issued in order. The Worker's Party has claimed that it is not unusual for representatives from a Town Council’s managing agent to hold positions in the Town Council. They are talking about processes in order to dodge a question of substance. The problem is ownership of the Managing Agent (MA). The same people who own the MA issue invoices for work done for AHPETC, and are the same people at AHPETC verifying that the work has been done and issuing cheques to pay the MA. This is an unlawful structure that no other TC has, and no PAP-owned TC will ever approve. Why have they done so?

Dodge #2: Sylvia Lim repeatedly highlighted that no company except FMSS responded to AHPETC’s open tenders. This dodges the fact that the AHPETC had consented to pay FMSS far higher rates for town management services than the rest of Singapore. Why did they do so?

Dodge #3: When pressed for answers, Pritam Singh they will give answers if residents ask. He is trying to dodge his responsibility to Parliament.

Dodge #4: Low Thia Khiang has tried to distract the public by calling for the de-politicisation of the TC handover process. This is a smokescreen designed to divert attention away from the important questions of why the AHPETC entered into an unlawful structure with an MA owned by his friends and supporters; and why the AHPETC is paying much higher rates for town management services than the rest of Singapore to a company owned by his friends and supporters. None of these have anything to do with the TC handover process.

Dodge #5: The biggest and boldest dodge of all – WP’s gamble is that that supporting the debate motion, they can get away with paying lip service to transparency and avoid answering any real questions. Supporting the motion is not being transparent; giving real answers to serious questions is. And they have given none.

Singaporeans must really vote wisely at GE 2016.

Friday, 13 February 2015

AHPETC How Weng Fan - The Highest Paid Town Council GM in Singapore

Ms How Weng Fan - The Highest Paid Town Council General Manager in Singapore

AHPETC GM How Weng Fan

In response to public curiosity, SG General Elections 2016 put on our investigative hat and dug deep and went wide (all the way to Malaysia) to find out more about the woman of the moment - Ms How Weng Fan. 

While not easy, as Ms How and her husband (Mr Danny Loh Chong Meng) are extremely secretive people, we were however able to piece together some surprising facts about the Highest Paid Town Council General Manager in Singapore. Before we reveal what we discovered, we must first congratulate Ms How and her husband  for doing an awesome job of covering their digital footprint. Unfortunately, as long as you are a living breathing human being, there will be physical footprints. Relying on good old fashioned techniques, SG General Elections 2016 discovered the following:

#1: As revealed by the Auditor-General's Office (AGO), How Weng Fan and Low Chong Meng are both employees of AHPETC and owners of FMSS and FMSI. Mr Low is also the sole proprietor of FMSI.

#2: Ms How Weng Fan was a Malaysian who gained Singapore citizenship in the 1990s. 

#3: Ms How Weng Fan and Low Chong Meng "live" in Blk 863 Yishun. Unfortunately, neighbours we talked to have told us that Weng Fan and Chong Meng do not actually live in their HDB flat.

#4: Friends of friends told us that How Weng Fan and his husband live in a condo and have also purchased another private property. BOTH PURCHASED SINCE THEY TOUCHED THE "AHPETC LOTTERY".

#5: Friends of friends we spoke to told us that Ms How Weng Fan earns a monthly salary of between $20,000 to $30,000Based on our checks with  various HR Professionals, the average monthly salary of a Town Council General Manager is no more than $9,000Ms How is paid close to 3 times that of other GMs and from what we have seen and heard about the state of Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East, it does not require you to be good at your work. AHPETC RESIDENTS PAID FOR A ROLLS ROYCE - BUT GOT SECOND HAND PROTON WIRA SERVICE!

Wow!  It does pay to have friends in high places.   

As we mentioned in one of our earlier posts, this is legalised corruption. There is no two ways about it! If we do not stop the Worker's Party at the next election, our Reserves will be looted.

SG Bumiputra 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

AHPETC Taken to Court Over Delayed Refund of S&CC

SINGAPORE. In Parliament today, Worker's Party of Singapore Ms Sylvia Lim stated that the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) was financially stable and that they were not facing any cash flow problems. 

This is indeed ironic as AHPETC was only recently taken to Court by a resident for non-refund of S&CC fees paid in advance covering the period beyond the HUDC privatization date.

AHPETC Aljunied Town Council Sued

According to the former HUDC resident, AHPETC was giving all sorts of lame excuses to defer payment. The resident had lodged his claim at the Small Claim Tribunal forcing AHPETC to settle amicably before Hearing (via cash settlement on 29.1.2015). Another resident who pursued this matter with AHPETC for months to no avail had filed a police report but was advised to pursue such civil suit in Court.

For the benefit of other affected residents, the claimant had agreed to publish this matter here on condition of anonymity. At present, a total outstanding sum exceeding $13,000.00 is still owing by AHPETC to many residents here in respect of advance S&CC fees.

What is disturbing is that AHPETC has been re-directing residents to claim from MCST instead, and stating that the money was already remitted to MCST, being part of the $60k and $450k remitted in 2 separate tranches (when in fact the latter are separate issues).

The question that is being asked by many is "where has the millions gone?" If AHPETC is indeed financially strong as claimed by Ms Sylvia Lim, why then the delays in making a simple refund of $138.70? Or for that matter the $13,000 it owes to its residents?

Since Mr Pritam Singh said that they would answer only to their residents, perhaps AHPETC will provide answers to the many residents they owe money to.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

AHPETC AGO Special Audit - A reasonable man's response

The AGO special audit report for AHPETC may be in, but the jury is still out. I live in East Coast, right next to Aljunied GRC and for now I am willing to give Worker's Party of Singapore (WP) the benefit of the doubt. There is some documentation missing, and some hard questions still need answers, but overall, the Worker’s Party deserve to be heard before we make up our minds.

I know many of my neighbours are interested in the money issues of the Aljunied TC and watching them closely.  The key questions we have to consider are:

1. Have the WP MPs been taking money for their own personal use?

2. Have they been swindling the residents, not cleaning their areas and not providing services?

3. Have they been practising good governance?

Let’s take these questions one at a time.

1. Money for Personal Use?

There is some $6.6 million that cannot be accounted for. This may seem to be a large amount but bear in mind that the monthly collection of a town council is around $3 million.  It is not so much the money, but where it has gone.  So far, we cannot trace where it has gone, but there is no proof that it has gone into the pockets of the MPs.

What we should do: Give the WP more time to answer. Keep asking questions

2. Swindlers?

Much has been made about the related party transactions (RPT).  This is essentially what happens when the same person does the work and approves payment for it. There are no “checks and balances” – I agree. But it could be just a practical reason – the general manager Ms How certifies that the work was done and approves payment for it. Usually these are two steps by two different people but since they are small team, maybe they wanted to save a step.

The deeper problem is that Ms How is also the one receiving the money.  She and her husband own FMSS, the managing agent for the town council. And since the contracts are for large amounts - $26 million so far – this may cause some concern. But remember that the town councillors also knew that the parties were related. So they are not doing anything that was not known to the WP MPs.

What we should do:  Ask questions. Check if work was really done.

3. Good Governance?

Clearly, their governance is poor. Anyone who trades shares will know that RPT is bad news for a company. The AGO also found that there is poor oversight in the use of sinking funds – for example, $17,000 was used for a Lucky Draw event rather than for estate works. But the thing is, once they were told this, the town council did the right thing and put the money back.

The deeper problem is that of the surpluses. When they took over the council, there was a $3.3 million surplus. At the time of the audit, there was a $700,000 deficit. This is worrying because day to day, missing documentation is ok, but a deep hole of about $4 million is quite serious. But we don’t know what this means until we get a comprehensive statement from WP.

What we should do: Overall, the AGO report shows that many things could have been done better, and that there are still documents missing. For now, I say, let the WP look for these documents. Let them answer the questions posed. Let’s keep an open mind.

The only thing I want is to make sure that there are enough safeguards for the sinking funds in my own Town Council. I am willing to give the AHPETC more time to answer, but until they answer, the reasonable thing to do is to keep my own sinking funds safe. Not hand it over to them. Some may say this is kiasu, but I think it is the reasonable thing to do.

Monday, 9 February 2015

AHPETC AGO Report - Something is Wrong

AHPETC AGO Report Major Lapses

The Auditor-General's Office (AGO) audit of AHPETC's financial records revealed some interesting facts. One of the most interesting is that the Managing Agent (MA), an employee of AHPETC, was allowed to set-up and run companies which were eventually awarded multi-million dollar contracts from AHPETC.

In quite a few instances, the AGO found evidence that the MA initiated invoices for work to be done (some without an open tender), certified that the job was completed, and then paid themselves. To those who work in any organization, this is indeed a very strange arrangement. Essentially, it means that as the MA I can defraud my employers. In this case, the "employers" being the residents of Aljunied, Hougand and Punggol East.

The AGO also found evidence that FMSI, a sole-proprietorship owned by the Secretary of AHPETC, was awarded a contract (without an open tender) that was 30% more than what the previous vendors charged. All this within months of taking over AHPETC.

While the AGO's audit report may be filled with legal and accounting jargon, what is undeniable is this ....

"You are employed as the Managing Agent for AHPETC"
"You set-up and run companies to supply AHPETC services"
"You award your own companies contracts without open tenders"
"You certify the job is done"
"You then issue and sign the cheques to pay your own company"

It does not take a genius, but something is very wrong here. And I find it hard to believe that Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang are not aware of this.

#fraud? #somethingnotright

AHPETC Audit AGO Findings - All in the Family

SINGAPORE. Auditor-General's Office (AGO) founds major lapses in governance and compliance by the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC). Specifically, the AGO found several major lapses in Governance of Related Party Transactions.

AGO report on WP-led AHPETC town council

"The Auditor-General's Office (AGO) found that AHPETC did not have the necessary checks and balances in payment to related parties. PwC observed 84 invoices amounting to $6.61 million from FMSS and FMSI which were issued and signed by the General Manager and Secretary of AHPETC in their roles as director of FMSS and owner of FMSI respectively. Of these, 11 invoices amounting to $1.69 million were certified (for work done) by the General Manager on behalf of AHPETC and 9 invoices amounting to $264,000 were verified by the Deputy General Manager who is a shareholder of FMSS. For these invoices, the General Manager also approved the payment vouchers and / or the cheques before the cheques were handed over to the cheque signatories for signing. The Secretary was also one of the signatories for some of the cheques."

In essence, the husband and wife team of Mr Danny Loh Chong Meng (Secretary for AHPETC) and Ms How Weng Fan (General Manager for AHPETC), could freely issue invoices for "work", get it "certified as completed" and then "pay themselves". This is an ideal arrangement that allowed them full access to any amount of money they needed.

AHPETC Audit Report by AGO - Legal Corruption


AHPECT Audit Report by AGO - LEGAL CORRUPTION


AHPETC AGO Audit Report Corruption


If I had her handphone number, this is what I would ask Ms How Weng Fan.

“Hey Ms How - are you getting a $1 million dollar salary without being a minister?”

The WP town council is managed by FM Solutions and Services (FMSS), set up four days after WP in Aljunied in 2011.  FMSS owned by husband and wife - Danny Loh and How Weng Fan, aassentor and proposer for the WP in Ang Mo Kio GRC in 2006 General Election.

Today Mr Loh is the secretary and and Ms How is the deputy secretary/general manager of the AHPETC.

Hey Ms How, are you still a strong supporters of WP? You must be doing well lah.

You have given away more than $26 million of contracts already.

$5.2 million handed over to your own company without a tender. And today, you are totally milking the town council right?

You charge very high rates - 70% more than a PAP town council.

Surpluses are down - from a $3.3 million surplus, AHPETC has run down the accounts to minus $700,000 after mingling their accounts with Hougang.

And you don’t really have to work very hard – nearly one third of people don’t pay their SC and C fees. Two-thirds are subsidising one-third of residents, who just decided that they don’t need to pay.  And you don’t even need to collect from them – you are your own boss what!

So you issue invoice to the town council wearing your MA hat.

You issue cheques to yourself wearing your TC hat.

Damn good business model.

1.      We are paying you and your husband 70% more than others.
2.      You own the company and can take profits.
3.      And each month, you get $3 million in S and C.

Wah! That’s like a minister’s pay right?

Where is this money going?  Are you paid twice – once as GM and again as owner of FMSS?

Being a WP member has its rewards. How can I join? How big is my cut?

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Is SDP's Dr Chee Soon Juan A Changed Man?

In recent months, opposition figure of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Dr Chee Soon Juan appears to have turned over a new leaf. 


In recent public exchanges with the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) over Chee Soon Juan's on-going efforts to denigrate Singapore in front of an international audience, Chee had departed from his traditional confrontational kamikaze approach. Instead of responding with wild (and often unfounded) accusations against his detractors, Chee Soon Juan adopted a more muted stance by acknowledging the accusations and presenting his "side of the story" without any inflammatory remarks or counter-claims.

While we at Singapore GE 2016 find this a refreshing approach for Singapore opposition politicians to adopt (and which is inline with PM Lee's call for constructive politics), we are however reminded of the old proverb that "a leopard cannot change its spots." As such, much as we want to believe that Dr Chee Soon Juan (and the SDP under his leadership) can be a credible opposition in Parliament, we believe in the laws of nature and that it will be only a matter of time that Chee Soon Juan reverts to his former self.

With the future of our children at stake, we believe that we cannot take the risk and we urge Singaporeans not to be tricked by Dr Chee Soon Juan's dog and pony show.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Survey Shows 79% of Singaporeans Satisfied with the Government

MEASURING THE PULSE OF SINGAPORE by Blackbox Research

Accordingly to Blackbox Research, 2014 was a year in which the Government announced major changes to medical insurance (Medishield Life) and new benefits for the elderly (the Pioneer Package) andexperienced a contrast in fortunes in two major areas –public transport and CPF.

After facing considerable unrest over public transport responses through 2012-13, the Government successfully turned things around in 2014. Community satisfaction with its public transport efforts rose from 53% in January to 73% by the year’s end.

Overall, Blackbox Research shows that 79% of Singaporeans surveyed are satisfied with the way things are going in Singapore, while 65% rate current economic conditions in Singapore as Excellent/Good.

This is a pretty good outlook for the People's Action Party (PAP) as Singapore prepares for General Election 2016.

Survey on Singaporean Perception of Government

Who is Blackbox ResearchBlackbox Research is a privately owned Singapore-based, award-winning agency operating since 2002. Proficient across both commercial and public policy research, Blackbox offers communications research expertise and innovative digital research services across the Asia Pacific region.

About the Survey MethodologyEach month Blackbox conducts one thousand [1000] face-to-face interviews with Singapore residents aged 15 and above across the nation. The data is collected following a systematic random door-to-door methodology. The sample is nationally representative and geographically stratified down to the district level. Each monthly sample composition mirrors the residential distribution across the island as well as additional demographic factors such as gender, age, household type and ethnicity. The sample error is approx. +/- 3%. For further information about the survey findings and our research services, please contact us at bboxpoll@blackbox.com.sg.