Workers' Party rally

WP chief Low keeps up queries on town council

Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang returning to his seat on stage after delivering his speech at last night’s rally in Simei Road. He was the only speaker yesterday who touched on the town council issue.
Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang returning to his seat on stage after delivering his speech at last night’s rally in Simei Road. He was the only speaker yesterday who touched on the town council issue. ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

The issue of town councils, which was reignited on Saturday when Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang said the PAP had misrepresented facts, was conspicuously missing from the WP's rally last night.

Only Mr Low touched on the topic at the party's rally in East Coast and it was only to reiterate his stand that the Punggol East town council had a deficit and not a surplus when it was handed over.

Speaking in Mandarin, he also asked the PAP to explain the differences in the numbers cited by different PAP candidates.

The WP leader first brought up the issue at his party's rally on Saturday, when he held up a page of Punggol East's accounts, showing an operating fund account deficit of $282,000. He said the PAP had "misrepresented" facts by claiming on several occasions that it was in the black when the WP took over.

PAP Punggol East candidate Charles Chong had told Lianhe Zaobao the constituency had a surplus of $1 million, and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean had also spoken about this.

Refuting the WP claims, the PAP's Mr Zainal Sapari said there was actually a surplus of about $21,000, after taking into account $303,000 due to the town council from a government-run community improvement projects fund.

Yesterday, PAP Pasir Ris-Punggol candidate Zainal Sapari took to his Facebook page to refute the claims by the WP.

He said there was actually a surplus of about $21,000, after taking into account $303,000 due to the town council from a government-run community improvement projects fund.

Mr Zainal was chairman of the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council, of which Punggol East was a part. The WP took over the ward after a 2013 by-election and also took over the management of its town council.

At last night's rally, Mr Low did not comment on whether his party had in fact got the $303,000.

But he said that Mr Chong and Mr Zainal had cited different numbers.

The WP's Punggol East candidate, Ms Lee Li Lian, who also spoke at the rally last night, did not address the issue.

Earlier, while at a walkabout in Bedok South yesterday, Mr Low declined to answer questions from reporters about the Punggol East accounts, saying he would address the issue during his party's rally, since it is election time.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2015, with the headline 'WP chief Low keeps up queries on town council'. Print Edition | Subscribe