WP misquoted me on purpose: Charles Chong

PAP's Punggol East candidate Charles Chong.
PAP's Punggol East candidate Charles Chong.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

People's Action Party veteran Charles Chong last night accused the Workers' Party (WP) of deliberately misquoting him to give voters the impression that he had said the Punggol East town council had a surplus of $1 million before the opposition party took over.

He said he was referring to the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council, which Punggol East was part of before the WP won a by-election in 2013 and took over the ward.

Mr Chong was targeted at the WP's final rally in East Coast GRC last night, when party chairman Sylvia Lim accused him of talking about a $1 million surplus in Punggol East when there was no such thing. Last weekend, WP chief Low Thia Khiang said Punggol East had an operating fund account deficit of $282,000, not a surplus.

Ms Lim said Mr Chong had not explained where the $1 million figure came from, as the sum was not in its audited accounts.

Within an hour, Mr Chong issued a statement with a chronology of events since his interview with a Chinese-language newspaper last month after he said he would contest Punggol East in GE2015.

On Aug 25, Lianhe Wanbao reported that when the single-member constituency was handed over to the WP in 2013, the town council had a surplus in excess of $1 million.

Mr Chong said: "This was clearly a reference to the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council, there being no entity known as Punggol East Town Council. The WP has deliberately misquoted me to give the impression that I said that Punggol East had a surplus of $1 million when it was handed over to them."

What WP had done only served to "confuse and mislead the public" and distract voters from the main issue of lapses in the accounts of WP-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), he added.For the record, he said, the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council ended its 2012-2013 financial year with a surplus of $1.7 million.

He urged the WP to subject AHPETC to an independent third-party audit. "This will allow the public to have a clear and unqualified picture of (AHPETC's) financial health ... and bring closure to this issue."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2015, with the headline 'WP misquoted me on purpose: Charles Chong'. Print Edition | Subscribe