GE2015: AHPETC will have surplus of $1.7m once it receives Govt grant, says Sylvia Lim in letter to residents

Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim has told residents of Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol that the town council is in a strong financial position.
Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim has told residents of Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol that the town council is in a strong financial position.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE -Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim has written a second open letter to the residents of Hougang, Aljunied and Punggol East, assuring them that the town council was in a strong financial position.

Ms Lim wrote that while its latest audited accounts - for Financial Year2014-2015- show that the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) recorded an annual deficit, this is only because the town council has not received some $7.2m in operating grants from the government.

Once those funds are received, she said the town council's statements will show an annual surplus of $1.7 million.

"The past operating deficit was largely the outcome of higher tender price for various service contracts and start-up costs. The current positive position came about through a combination of steps taken by AHPETC. These included lowering its utilities costs by using contestable energy, reducing its general and administrative expenditure, and increasing its revenue," she said.

The Ministry of National Development(MND) had said it was withholding grants from the town council until it gets its accounts in order.

Ms Lim, who is also chairman of AHPETC, added on Monday: "Throughout the difficult initial years, AHPETC management believed that it could improve the TC's financial position, and the latest audit shows that it has.  We expect to further consolidate and improve AHPETC's financial position going forward."

The AHPETC issued has reignited in the past few days, with the PAP , MND and the WP clashing over the matter.

Last week, a government review said that AHPETC's former managing agent(MA) FM Solutions and Services (FMSS) was "grossly profiteering" from the town council. Then on Monday, The New Paper t reported that FMSS had sent a letter of demand to AHPETC in July over $3.5 million that the town council is said to owe the company.

In her open letter to residents, Ms Lim stressed that there was no conflict of interest between FMSS and AHPETC.

She said that no WP MP or member has ever had any interest in the business of FMSS, and that the husband and wife team that ran FMSS while working in AHPETC did not freely sign cheques to themselves.

She wrote: "When WP took over in 2011, one of the first decisions made by the new Aljunied-Hougang Town Council was to require any cheques to the MA, no matter how small the amount, to require the counter-signature of AHPETC Chairman and Vice-Chairmen who have no interest in the MA's business."

In her first open letter to the residents in June, Ms Lim has said that AHPETC did not reserve contracts for its friends, did not overpay the MA and pegged the MA rates to the ones paid by its PAP predecessors in Aljunied Town Council.