Cow Beh Cow Bu

The AHPETC Saga: Do the Workers’ Party and PAP Leaders Think We the Public are Fools?



It’s not been pretty at all, the exchange between Minister of State Desmond Lim and Workers’ Party Chairman Sylvia Lim. I always believe that it’s best that people put their money where their mouth is – give us the facts, explain yourself, and let us decide. But it’s a sad day for Singapore politics because judging from the discourse, members of both the Worker’s Party and PAP seem to think we’re fools. Here’s why.

(1) Petty Name-Calling by Our Supposed ‘Top Dogs’

Is the ruling People’s Action Party using Minister of State Desmond Lee to fix the Workers’ Party? He’s certainly gone on a wild, and some say unprovoked rampage against the WP, and everything that the party. Here’s what he’s said so far:

Desmond Lee: “This series of excuses calls into question not only AHPETC’s local competence, but also the WP leaders’ integrity and national reputation”

Desmond Lee: “We have seen a coordinated online campaign to distract the public, using falsehoods, half-truths and speculations, by friends, sympathisers and proxies of the WP. The aim is to confuse the public and distract them”

Wow, what’s in a name, Desmond? So much name-calling, to the extent of dragging the public in too. I’m the public, and I don’t agree with you at all.

(2) ‘Gu Niang’ Accusations with No Facts Presented

All these accusations about potential mismanagement of Town Council funds. If there’s really something fishy going on in AHPETC, why can’t our politicians be mature enough to present the facts to public and let us judge? What’s with all the hinting, and more hinting… Singaporeans tend to call this damn bloody ‘gu niang’ (a reference to delicate women of the ancient times, meaning to be very soft and wishy-washy). If you’ve something to say then say it, gov!

Sylvia Lim: “First, the public can expect that the PAP will be the first to hold WP to account. Secondly, the PAP government has all the investigative arms within its disposal to hold WP to account on any matter under the sun”

Desmond Lee: “Ms Sylvia Lim in her statement yesterday put the responsibility on the Government and the AGO to establish AHPETC’s true state of affairs. This is a remarkable proposition: The elected MPs of Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East, who pride themselves on checking the Government, are now 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.”

(3) Our ‘Co-Driver’ Can’t and Won’t Slap Back

Come on, Sylvia. It’s time to come clean with us on what exactly is going on. We’re relying on the WP to be a credible opposition, and one that keeps the government in check for now. Why all these delaying tactics, if all is in order in AHPETC?

Sylvia says: The WP didn’t submit its S&C forms since April 2013, because it’s computer system cannot generate the forms required.

It’s been one and a half years. The forms haven’t changed. If up till now, our First World Opposition can’t put together a system that can get such forms in place, then it should probably stop calling itself First World. AIMS? The WP has been in charge of Aljunied for 4 years now. I think we’ve given the team ample time to get its act together. After all, elections look like they’re just around the corner.

Sylvia Lim: “We have said many times that we will account to the public in due course, and we will.”

When, Sylvia? Do we really have to wait for Christmas?


I’m trying to be objective about this whole AHPETC saga. It does appear that the PAP is trying to score points by attacking the WP on this ‘non-starter’ issue. And sadly, the WP seems toothless to fight back.

I’m eager to hear the WP’s explanation because I trust the party enough to believe it is doing what’s best for Aljunied residents. But the silence so far has indeed been pretty worrying.

Tell me what you think in the comments, or drop us a mail at

*for the still blur like sotongs, AHPETC stands for Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council



  1. george

    December 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I wouldn’t fault the WP at all for the simple reason that all these difficulties can be traced back to the original AIM saga. We all know what took place in that incident. As to why it is taking the WP so long. I would be rational to take into account the fact that the PAP TCs spent millions for the services of an IT company to put the system together and then blithely and incomprehensibly and INSANELY sold it to AIM AND then sign a contract with it to use the system and in the process this ploy left the WP out in the cold by refusing service to the Aljunied TC after the WP won the GRC. How would you describe such BS behaviour, playing politics with municipal (and hence the people’s welfare?

    Purely contractual and commercial? The system was developed at great cost with residents’ money, do remember that. It’s power abuse and malfeasance of the highest/lowest order no matter how the PAP wants to window dress it, justify, or play stupid and pretend this huge moral hazard would go away from the people’s mind. As we are all aware that issue is still outstanding as for as the public is concerned and why are we still waiting for a proper explanation from the PAP?

    Coming back to the accounting packing. Let me ask you, if it took millions to develop over a not inconsiderable time, is it reasonable or logical to expect the WP to sort it out in double quick time. It took the COMBINED resources of SEVERAL PAP TCs and a lot of time to get the package develop. Is it a reasonable demand therefore to ask of the Aljunied and Hougang to perform such a ‘miracle’. Imagine that they have to start from square one integrating the details for the two WP wards. They have to start reinventing the wheel so to speak, not thanks to the act of sabo and bullying by the PAP TCs. I recall that when the Aljunied TC pointed out the difficuties, the MND minister himself, Khaw Boon Wan rejected it in a most unbecoming and condescending manner – saying the accounting software is practically available ‘off-the shelf’ NOT REALIZING the implication that by saying this he is practically ACCUSING his own PAP TCs of wasting and squandering millions on something which they too could have had bought off the shelf in stead of SINFULLY wasting huge amount of residents’ funds getting an IT firm to ‘develop’ it.

  2. george

    December 16, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    And don’t you forget that the WP has been put into a deliberately put into this dilemma of have to develop an accounting package PRACTICALLY FROM SCRATCH AND AT THE SAME TIME HAVING TO RUN/OPERATE THE TC AS BUSINESS AS USUAL WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF SUCH A SYSTEM. It would be like someone learning to drive a F1 racing car in an actual F1 race. HOW EASY IS THAT? NOW COMPARE THIS TO THE FACT THAT THE PAP TCS ACTUALLY DEVELOPED THEIR ORIGINAL PACKAGE WHILE THEY WERE STILL OPERATING ON THEIR OLD PACKAGE.

  3. Anonymous

    December 17, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Who ever you are who wrote this article is already influenced and swayed by the attack on WP. As one already knows PAP is already bend on fixing the opposition and much more viciously when they were elected into the government. Surely you can imagine how unscrupulous PAP can be to get at WP from the very start. I am sure at every turn, every corner and at every shred of opportunity PAP will make things difficult for WP to do their job and will do all means to discredit the opposition. It is not possible for WP or Sylvia to let out to the public or whine about every challenges they have been made to face when they took over AHPETC. In fact for those issues that we knew, i.e. AIM saga, trade fair, etc , it would not have been known if PAP have not been the provocateur. What WP is trying to do is just quietly get on with their work serving the constituents of their wards and work through the obstacles and booby traps placed by the PAP. It surely cannot be easy. As you already know though PAP have been running their wards for umpteeth years , it has come to light that many things were not exactly right either but no one make a sound or rather everything was covered up. So its only fair to give WP a break. Let them concentrate in doing what they are doing for their constituents of their ward and not having to fence off attacks from PAP and the public. If WP is bad their own constituents will decide..

  4. Bob

    May 29, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    The whole saga had been overly exploited and it has lost its impact. One thing we must trust PAP that event of this magnitude against the WP would definitely happen.
    One thing we are clear is that there is no wrongdoing on the part of the WP. The challenges that they are all facing now are acceptable and understandable given the fact that this is the first time handling such a huge GRC .

    But as the whole saga unfolds,the focus point isn’t on the WP,instead it is on the PAP themself on how far they carry on this onslaught.

    They take every chance to discreadit

  5. Tokdalang Alam

    August 29, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Cannot count properly say so lah. Started all the way back to the handing of money over to some HUDC estate that was going to be privatised.

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