WP pledges to explain handling of S&CC arrears

WP pledges to explain handling of S&CC arrears
Ms Sylvia Lim, Workers' Party chairman.

The Workers' Party (WP) has reiterated that it will account for its handling of service and conservancy charges (S&CC) arrears.

Party chairman and Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim said it would also leave the public to make their own judgment on the matter.

In a statement yesterday, she said the Government's responses to WP's explanations about its Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) were "regrettable".

The AHPETC chairman was responding to a statement on Thursday from the Minister of State (MOS) for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, and an earlier comment by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong.

"It is instructive to note the various positions taken by the PAP. When we said that we would explain to the public the S&CC arrears in due course, this was sarcastically labelled 'the sound of silence'," she said.

"When we explained to the public the circumstances why AHPETC was unable to submit the S&CC arrears report in the format demanded and that MND (Ministry of National Development) had refused to accept our S&CC arrears submission in our own data format, this was labelled as 'making excuses'."

Ms Lim's reply was the latest in a series of exchanges between her and Mr Lee.

AHPETC has been in the spotlight over a sharp rise in its S&CC arrears as at April last year - after which it stopped submitting monthly arrears reports to MND - as well as over matters of corporate governance. It earned the worst scores in these two areas in the annual report card of town councils, released last month.

Ms Lim said Mr Lee did not deny that his accusation that AHPETC and WP were not accountable and transparent on S&CC arrears was a "non-starter".

"We had pointed out that the public could expect that the PAP would be the first to hold WP to account; that the PAP government had all investigative arms at its disposal to hold WP to account for any matter under the sun, and that AHPETC was facilitating the audit of its accounts and systems by the Auditor-General's Office and that, like all other town councils, its annual audited accounts would be published.

"MOS Lee has now shifted his position to say that 'WP is relying on the Government to check them, instead of taking responsibility themselves for accounting to the public what they have done or have not done'."

The party has said it would "account to the public in due course, and we will", she said.


This article was first published on Dec 13, 2014.
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