National Solidarity Party calls on Government to de-politicise town councils

National Solidarity Party calls on Government to de-politicise town councils
Secretary-general of the National Solidarity Party, Mr Tan Lam Siong conveys his party's views in a press statement.

SINGAPORE - The National Solidarity Party (NSP) has called on the Government to de-politicise the town council to spare residents the "vagaries of a political change".

The opposition party said in statement on Tuesday that "if the management of town councils continues to be politically charged, public confidence in our political system will continue to be eroded."

With regards to the tightening of the Town Council Framework as discussed in Parliament last week, NSP also cited their concern that the proposed penalty framework "would lead to the MPs secondary role as town councillors overshadowing and undermining their primary role as MPs," hence justifying their need to de-politicise the role of town-councillors.

NSP secretary-general Tan Lam Siong, said that while NSP recognises that the government seeks to test the ability of MPs to govern the country by appointing them as town councillors, they refute this political imperative.

"Any suggestion of a correlation would imply that the best people to govern the country are town planners and estate managers, which cannot be true," said Mr Tan.

Instead of getting MPs to double up as town-councillors, NSP urged the government to consider engaging statutory boards or a centralised agency to run town councils, "so that residents will not only benefit from a seamless continuation of all services when there is a change of town councillors who are MPs from a different political party, but also from lower Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) because of economy of scale".

With regards to the Town Council Act debate that dealt largely with the adverse findings in the Auditor-General's (AGO) report on Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council's (AHPETC) use of funds, NSP acknowledges that they need to be held accountable.

However the party added that "the government should not withhold but continue to disburse the grants to pay for such essential services directly through appropriate means at its disposal.

"This will prevent the residents from being unfairly penalised for the findings of the AGO's report," said NSP.

debwong@sph.com.sg

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