What Victor Lye has to say about WP Sylvia Lim and APEHTC (Worker Party)

TRADE FAIRS, GREED & AHPETC’S REAL MOTIVE

AHPETC trade fairs are about greed, not about benefiting shopkeepers & residents in Hougang

In the 25 Dec 2014 ST article “WP-run Town Council fined $800 over unlicensed fair”, Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) Chairman, Ms Sylvia Lim said, “we are unable to organise activities to benefit residents and businesses in the area.”

Do not be fooled by this desperate playing of the “victim card”.  The record shows that AHPETC trade fairs have hurt shopkeepers due to high frequency and long duration.

Instead, Ms Lim revealed AHPETC’s true motive when she said, “The town council has also lost a source of revenue to manage its operations.”

It is very clear. AHPETC’s trade fairs are about money. It has little to do with benefiting residents and businesses in the area.

Here is the background.

After AHPETC was formed, it took over common property at Hougang Central and at Kovan where Hougang Mall and Heartland Mall are located respectively. Hougang and Kovan MRT stations there ensure good crowds. It became apparent to AHPETC that it could generate revenue by renting out common property for commercial activities.

The more frequent and the longer the duration, the more money AHPETC gets. AHPETC pockets money from the highest bidder with little risk. The trade fair organiser takes the risk because he has to sublet and rent out the stalls to cover what he paid AHPETC. The stalls often sold items similar to those of the surrounding HDB shopkeepers.

At first, Hougang HDB shopkeepers were friendly and tolerated. As the trade fairs became more frequent and longer,their businesses were affected. They became unhappy. When the shopkeepers complained, AHPETC staff called the police. The issue was reported by the press. AHPETC’s gravy train was derailed.

AHPETC does not want to be restricted from making money by renting out common property for commercial activities.

The NEA trade fair application form states that “consensus of shopkeepers” and/or “letter of support from the Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC)” are required, depending on where the fair is held.

The rules are meant to protect local shopkeepers against unfair competition and to balance community interests. Even trade fairs organised by grassroots organisations need approval from the authorities. There are self-imposed limits on frequency and duration with guidelines to minimise adverse effects and to benefit the community.

AHPETC questions the need for a letter of support from the CCC. This was not a show stopper for AHPETC’s earlier trade fairs. The CCC does not approve trade fairs. The National Environmental Agency (NEA) does. The CCC’s role is to assess if community interests are safeguarded. Nonetheless, the shopkeepers’ consensus appears paramount in the case of trade fair permit applications to the NEA.

In fact, AHPETC organised many trade fairs after it took office. It was not hampered at all. Truth is greed likely got the better of AHPETC. Its trade fairs became more frequent and longer in duration until the gravy train was derailed by angry shopkeepers.

How can AHPETC believe it is special and exempt from such checks and approvals?

AHPETC has cynically disregarded our laws and disrespected civil servants doing their duty. In chasing easy money, AHPETC trade fairs have hurt shopkeepers in Hougang. Based on AHPETC’s poor financial management, it appears that every two Aljunied households are paying for one other. Is there a shortfall of funds available to maintain the estate? Can Aljunied residents say the standard of cleanliness is as good as before?

In playing the “victim card”, Ms Lim has deviously failed to reveal that the CCC had given its support to the AHPETC trade fair in question. Yet AHPETC chose not to submit the application so that it could contest its case in court. Why?

AHPETC wants to challenge the checks and approvals required by law so that it can raise money freely using common property under its management.

 

The key questions to ask are:

 

  • Are town councils allowed to earn money by renting out common property for commercial activities?
  • Is AHPETC facing cash flow problems that it must raise funds, but for whom really, and for what purpose?

Thanks to Ms Lim’s revelation of AHPETC’s true motive, it is now of utmost public interest for AHPETC to disclose how much money it has generated from trade fairs held on common property, the number of trade fairs and the duration of each since it has been in charge.

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the “Complex” arrears report format that Worker’s party and other TC need to submit

Overheard :

The arrears report format that WP need to submit like any other TC which they themselves had in previous years submitted but is probably too ‘complex’ now that they have to manually count and sort.

  • “We will leave it to the public to make its own judgement.” ~ Chairman of Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) Sylvia Lim
    kekkekekekekeke….
  • AHPETC, just submit the report asap in the format available to you since it is ready; revise into official format later. The public only wants to know the truth, not your administrative problem.
  • Ms Slyvia, please submit AHPETC accounts and immediately. Don’t dodge the issue. Set a deadline to complete your reports!
    Your past profession as a Teacher also ask your students to hand in their assignments on time.

Reference :
1. Source of the table ->  Funding for town councils based on flat types, number of units: MND

Worker’ Party, Kay Siao !

Overheard : 

Here’s a compilation of WP’s excuses for AHPETC:

Excuse 1: It is AGO’s fault

  • “He reiterated that he was not sure why the TC did not submit the relevant financial information to MND, but he guessed it could be because the TC needed to handle the AGO audit, and therefore did not have time to organise the information to give to MND”.
    (ZB report quoting Low Thia Khiang, 6 Nov 2014)
  • “From May last year, the council also stopped sending its monthly S&CC arrears report to the ministry despite reminders. Asked why, he said it had “prioritised resources for the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) audit””. (ST report quoting Png Eng Huat, 7 Nov 2014)
  • “The AHPETC has not been submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report after April last year, and also did not submit its FY13 financial statements and self-declared corporate governance checklist. The town council chairperson Sylvia Lim attributed these to the Auditor-General’s audit over the past few months delaying the town council’s internal audit workflow.” (ZB report quoting Sylvia Lim, 11 Nov 2014).

 

  • Truth:
  • AHPETC stopped submitting the monthly S&CC arrears reports from May 2013, 10 months before the AGO audit even began.

 

Excuse 2: It is the press’ fault

  • When the mass media interviewed me on 10 November 2014 on the MND’s Town Council Management Review (TCMR) results for Financial Year 2013, I was asked about the circumstances leading to AHPETC’s non-submission of two sets of documents – the TC’s audited financial statements for FY 13 as well as the arrears reports. I had told the media that the audit for FY 13 could not reasonably commence while the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) special audit was still in progress; as for the arrears reports, I told them that the finance team had been tied up with audits by our commercial auditors for FY 12 and then by the AGO.

    Unfortunately, my responses to the two matters were conflated in certain media reports. At no time did I say that focusing on the AGO audit was the sole cause of the delay in submission of the arrears data to MND. In any case, MND should have known this from my earlier correspondence.” (Sylvia Lim’s media release, 10 Dec 2014)

 

  • Truth:
  • Workers’ Party MPs didn’t offer Excuse 1 only once. They offered it on three separate occasions.

 

Excuse 3: It is MND’s fault

  • “Minister Wong may have not known that the TC had explained to MND its challenge in submitting arrears data in MND’s format from mid-2013. I had explained that while the IT system being used at AHPETC could churn out arrears reports, manual counting and sorting was required to get the information into the format required by the MND.

    I had also informed MND that AHPETC had requested its software developers to enhance the system to churn out the reports in the required format, but this was work in progress.

    MND had been informed that AHPETC’s Finance Team and its software developers had been involved in (two consecutive) audits, first by the TC’s own auditors (commencing mid 2013) and then by the Auditor-General (commencing March 2014), and that this had led to a deferment of reporting requests, including MND’s request for arrears data in its prescribed format.

    I had concurrently offered to submit to MND the arrears data the TC had as it was, but this was rejected by MND. (Sylvia Lim’s media release, 10 Dec 2014)

 

  • Truth:
  • The monthly S&CC arrears report template is a simple table, stating how many households owe S&CC and for how long. It has been used by all TCs — including Hougang TC since 2008 when it was managed by the Workers’ Party and the same General Manager, Ms How Weng Fan. It was also used by AHPETC itself till April 2013, when it stopped abruptly.
  • Also, in addition to blaming AGO for its own tardiness in 2014, Ms Lim now also blames AHPETC’s own auditors for its own tardiness in 2013. However, AHPETC was audited by the same auditor, Foo Kon Tan Grant Thornton, in 2012. That did not prevent the TC from submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report until April 2013.

 

Excuse 4: It is the PAP’s fault

  • “The Town Council’s financial system that could generate the arrears report that HDB wants was terminated by the PAP-owned company, Action Information Management to whom the former Aljunied Town Council sold the system to. The arrears report that could be generated was terminated with the termination by AIM.” (AHPETC General Manager, Ms How Weng Fan’s reply to HDB TC Secretariat, 3 Dec 2014 just one week before Sylvia Lim’s media statement)

 

  • Truth:
  • AHPETC had been able to continue submitting its monthly S&CC arrears reports for 19 months after it had stopped using the AIM Town Council Management System.

    On 14 December 2012, the AHPETC stated publicly that it had “moved on to upscale and develop the Financial System which was in use at the former Hougang SMC”.

    The Hougang Town Council was also able to submit its monthly S&CC arrears reports from April 2008 until it was merged with Aljunied, without the aid of AIM.

    Thereafter, AHPETC itself was able to do the same from August 2011 to April 2013.

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Overhead  on the overheard  :

  • My take on this:
    Non political: Lack of diligence and dedication on the part of the contractors. No commitment at all to make things work. Or a simply a team of blurr cocks. A good and responsible team would have spent days and nights to ensure that the system is in order

    Political : Lack of political accument. Accidental incidental politicians. No leadership qualities. Won election through all talk and airs.

    Big picture : the town council is a microcosm of a little Singapore. Can you imagine the chaos if this were the RealSingapore

 

  • Don’t get it. Do away old system, and spent $ on new system. When new system failed, blame new system and divert attention to old system w diligent issue. When new system still not working continue w a bunch of BS and still BS. Amazing… More amazing blind turkey supporterS.

 

  • I realized that their side really has a serious issue submitting documentation and data based on the required format…1st for the fair which they organised and now the TC arrears…seriously.

 

  • It’s call Kay siao

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images : Fabrications About The PAP

With WP, Singapore’s IT infrastructure moved from first world to third world in less than 1 term.

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Should Workers Party and Opposition, position themselves as law abiding instead of picking quarrels with the government ?

6 April 2014, by AK

The opposition had in fact wasted precious time since the last general election to make themselves relevant to all Singaporeans, particularly the Workers Party having nine members in parliament.

60% did not vote for the opposition in the last GE, but the PAP wasted no time in pushing back lost grounds. The threshold should never be anything less than 60%. As a government, they have slaughtered many sacred cows if by doing so can get voters to see and understand that the PAP is truly making profound changes to the way it looks after Singapore.

There are no shortage of political commentaries as to why the PAP had embarked on so many fundamental changes. One thing that stands out among the many theories is that it wants Singaporeans to know that PAP exists for Singapore and Singaporeans and not just for power and politics. The changes taken, some very fundamental shifts will result in Singaporeans seeing the PAP publicly admitting to past errors. This is swallowing of humble pie in public. Is it worth the risk?

On the other hand, the oppositions as a whole were overwhelmed by the unprecedented swing of public sentiments against the PAP and continue to fan and sow hatred towards the PAP. Maybe that might be a correct strategy, or maybe not.

What is important for the opposition is to win over from the PAP and further dent that 60%, just as in the case of PAP to claw back from the 40% or so. But the hatred strategy may have already been fully worked in Punggol East and is very unlikely to work again.

For those who hated the PAP had already voted against it, and nothing changes that. There really needs no further adding of fuel to their anger. What remains is for them to demonstrate that they are capable, if not better in managing state affairs than the PAP.

Particularly for the Workers Party, they should have position themselves as law abiding instead of picking quarrels with the government till matters go to the courts. They have absolutely forgotten that should the opposition becomes government of the day, they too expect others to be law abiding. Why wasting so much time bickering over trivial matters, making a public scene of political quarrels. Yes the PAP haters will cheer you on, but that remains within your 40%. But the 60% are watching and analyzing what the hell is going on.

Petty and internal disagreements within individual opposition political parties spilled into the public. Leaders from different opposition political parties snub at each other. and of course the latest is found in the attachment showing certain public figure sowing discord.

Yes the ground seems sweet, but please show yourself to be Singaporeans first rather than politics first. If all you cared for is who gets the hold of power, surely the PAP will be returned as government for many terms to come. What the PAP is doing and you are not. You have wasted precious time that voters had given to you and you did not treasure it by reciprocating in good faith.