Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Why Singaporeans Should Be Concerned with the AHPETC Town Council Saga

Why Singaporeans should be concerned with the AHPETC Town Council saga
(A Reader's Contribution)
The Workers’ Party has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. As a resident living next to Aljunied GRC, I am very worried what will happen to my estate if the WP wins in my GRC and takes over the town council.
The news reported that the 2013 MND Town Council Management Report gave the WP Town Council a red banding or the worst rating in the arrears management and the corporate governance categories.
I was so shocked to learn that the WP Town Council has an arrears rate of almost 30 per cent when the average arrears rate in other areas is only three per cent. I understand that not everyone is able to pay their arrears on time because of financial difficulties or other reasons. But the WP has remained silent on what they will do to recover the money. Besides keeping mum, is the WP going to allow a 30 per cent arrears rate in the other constituencies as well?
The near 30 per cent arrears rate was for the financial year until April 2013. Since May last year, the WP has stopped submitting its financial statement for the arrears rate. So I agree with Bertha Hanson when she said that now the hole is surely bigger than before. Again, I cannot believe that the WP thinks it is OK not to answer any questions on what is the financial situation of the town council.
Is the high arrears rate the reason why the upkeep of the estate within Aljunied GRC is not encouraging? This is particularly troubling for me because I live in a mature estate with many elderly residents. If the WP wins and starts allowing such a high arrears rate, can it afford to pay for the upkeep and upgrading of my estate? I am worried for my grandparents for it would mean that they risk injuring themselves because the covered walkways, the ramps at the void decks or the lifts would not be upgraded to become more elderly friendly or well-maintained over time.
Cleanliness and hygiene are important for me because my mother runs a flower stall in my constituency. If the town council goes into deficit and cannot afford to clean the market and clean centre regularly, then her business will definitely go down because no one will patronise unclean premises.
WP proclaimed in the last elections it wants to build a First World Parliament. But what we have seen are duds like Chen Show Mao who cannot even hold a proper debate in Parliament. Notwithstanding Chen’s diminished star appeal, will that vision of a First World Parliament come at the expense of the welfare and interests of residents because of its incompetence in managing town council finances? If the WP cannot even manage the finances of a town council, I cannot trust them to become the government and run Singapore’s economy or finances.

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