SDP unveils a plan for running a town

SDP unveils a plan for running a town
Dr Chee Soon Juan

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has released its plan for the running of a town, with town councils set to become an election issue, said party secretary-general Chee Soon Juan yesterday.

"We want to allay whatever reservations (voters) have, by saying we've got things in place," he said at the launch of the SDP's 17-page town council management plan.

The move comes amid a spat between the Workers' Party-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) and the Ministry of National Development (MND) over the town council's finances and management.

Dr Chee said, though, that the plan was not motivated by current events.

When asked by reporters, he also declined to comment on AHPETC or draw a link between the WP town council and the SDP town council plan.

In February, a report by the Auditor-General's Office identified major lapses in AHPETC's accounting and governance practices, and concluded that there was no guarantee that public funds were being spent properly.

The MND, which has withheld grants to AHPETC, has applied to the High Court to appoint independent accountants to oversee the use of the grants at the town council.

AHPETC has opposed the appointment and a decision by the High Court is pending.

Yesterday, Dr Chee said that in his experience, there was no "deliberate sabotage" by the old town council managements after the SDP won the Bukit Gombak and Nee Soon Central seats in the 1991 General Election.

"We didn't see anything that showed that they deliberately tried to sabotage us. Sometimes they dragged their feet on this and that, but you expect that of anybody else being taken over," he said.

Dr Chee also believed that any future SDP town council would not be starting from scratch as the outgoing administration would not "pull the plug on all the computers and take them all home".

In its plan, the SDP gives details on how it would ensure a smooth takeover of a town council and run a transparent operation involving the residents.

It sets targets and deadlines, such as aiming to gather all of the town council's financial information within the first 30 days of taking over.

The party also plans to start a blog to update residents daily on the progress of the transition and the level of co-operation from the outgoing management team.

In addition, the SDP says it will hold elections within the constituency to elect residents to the town council's board.

ziliang@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 17, 2015.
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