MP to ask about protecting residents when town councils fail in corporate governance

Protecting residents' interests when town councils fail to observe good corporate governance and responsible accounting practices is one issue to be raised at Monday's Parliament sitting. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Protecting residents' interests when town councils fail to observe good corporate governance and responsible accounting practices is one issue to be raised at Monday's Parliament sitting. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Protecting residents' interests when town councils fail to observe good corporate governance and responsible accounting practices is one issue to be raised at Monday's Parliament sitting.

Member of Parliament Alvin Yeo (Chua Chu Kang) is asking the Minister of National Development about measures available to the ministry to protect residents in such cases.

This comes after Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam last week directed the Auditor-General to audit the accounts of a town council run by the Workers' Party.

His directive was in response to the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council's auditors identifying 13 items as issues of concern, which led them to give a disclaimer of opinion on its FY2012/13 financial statements.

A disclaimer indicates that there was a lack of proper records and procedures in place. Consequently, the auditor is unable to obtain the necessary evidence to certify the financial statements as either accurate or inaccurate.

Mr Tharman had exercised his powers under the Audit Act, at the request of National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

Another hot topic to be aired in Parliament is the shortage of beds at public hospitals, which made the headlines last month.

Although Health Minister Gan Kim Yong had spelt out measures to tackle the bed crunch in the House last month, Mr Arthur Fong (West Coast GRC) wants to know if his ministry could have taken action earlier to resolve the shortage so as to avoid having to house patients in tentages.

A new Protection from Harassment Bill is set to be tabled as well. The wide-ranging law targets both online and real-world harassment, including cyber bullying and stalking, and will bring current anti-harassment legislation under one roof.

The debate on the Budget announced on Feb 21 will resume after the introduction of the bill.

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