This was part of Workers’ Party and AHPETC chairman Sylvia Lim’s rallying cry at the WP rally in Hougang last night.
Ms Lim said that the town council was still in deficit, but that doesn’t mean the WP had been overpaying its managing agent, FMSS.
Refuting allegations by the Ministry of National Development, Ms Lim said that neither the AGO or other auditors had made such allegations.
She highlighted the range of different MA rates even across PAP-run towns.
“If PAP says that we overpaid based on an average, then many PAP Town Councils also overpaid, including Nee Soon Town Council and Sembawang Town Council.”
Ms Lim explained that the takeover for the first few years needed “significant but necessary costs” due to the various start-up costs incurred.
This included the new IT system to replace the old one that was terminated and increased lift costs from the Lift Upgrading Programme .
Ms Lim added that the AHPETC contract wasn’t awarded to “friends”.
She hit home the point that there was an open tender called for the town council’s estate management contract.
“After the WP took over Aljunied Town Council, it called open public tenders for the Managing Agents (MA) contract and the contract to run the Essential Maintenance Service Unit (EMSU) . These tenders were called in 2012 and were advertised in the Straits Times as required by the Town Council financial rules. We called open tenders for these contracts again in 2014 to 2015.”
Ms Lim also addressed the issue of the contract going to FMSS, a company formed mainly staff from the former Hougang Town Council.
She said that the PAP’s managing agent refused to carry on working for the WP, just like how software company AIM had terminated its contract with Aljunied GRC.
Hence, she explained, the contract was awarded to FMSS without tender for a “short period” of only one year to ensure a “smooth takeover” with no interference.