Review of town councils: Residents prefer apolitical agencies
Most of them feel it is not necessary to link town council duties to politics
One finding of a government-led review of town councils is that it is not uncommon for these agencies to appoint supporters and affiliates of their political party to work for them.
This practice goes to the heart of why town councils were set up more than 20 years ago: to let MPs take charge of their own estates and be held accountable to voters.
But the political aspect of town council management is now the subject of debate, after the Ministry of National Development (MND) released its report last Friday.
The report, which was accepted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, calls for a strategic review of town councils and comes ahead of a ministerial statement by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan in Parliament next Monday.
VIEWS FROM THE GROUND
MPs SHOULD RUN TOWN COUNCILS
“It makes the MP directly accountable and responsible for its residents, creating a direct link from grassroots to the Government. This fosters a sense of ownership, and the MP cannot evade responsibility because of the political implications.”
– Student Joyce Lee, 22
TOWN COUNCILS SHOULD BE DEPOLITICISED
“Municipal issues must be separated from political considerations so that town councils can be administered in a transparent manner, serving public interest and not party interests. After all, town councils are funded by public monies.”
– Entrepreneur Sahara Sadik, 34
WHO SHOULD CONDUCT STRATEGIC REVIEW?
“The investigation shouldn’t be done by a Government body or a body affiliated to the Government.”
– Mr Herbert Eng, 27, who is awaiting entry to a PhD programme
THE PERCEPTION OF AIM
“I think the original decision of PAP to set up a company providing IT services, which while at the time may seem to make sense from an efficiency standpoint, is ill-advised because it begs the question of why a political party should own a company at all, let alone one that is in a business that the private sector can do.”
– Corporate governance expert Mak Yuen Teen from the National University of Singapore