Public sector lapses to be queried by MPs

Train breakdowns, workplace discrimination also the focus of Monday's Parliament sitting

Lapses in the way public-sector agencies award contracts and handle procurement issues, among others, will come under the spotlight when Parliament sits on Monday.

Two members of the House have filed questions asking the Government for an update and more information on some of these lapses, which were highlighted in the latest report by the Auditor-General.

Workers' Party MP Png Eng Huat (Hougang), whose focus was on the People's Association, wants to know, among other things, the seven instances in which a grassroots leader had approved his own claims, totalling $114,767.

The questions from Nominated MP Ismail Hussein include what measures the ministries will take to tighten their controls to stop lapses from happening yet again, according to the Order Paper for Monday's Parliament sitting.

Mr Ismail told The Straits Times he filed the questions as he feels MPs should be even-handed in being critical of lapses that occur in government-linked organisations, just as they were critical of the WP-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

Earlier this year, AHPETC came under the spotlight for lapses and MPs "were highly critical of its handling of public funds, and rightly so", Mr Ismail said.

"The report by the Auditor-General's Office shows that government-linked organisations are not guilt-free either... Whether it is PAP or WP, these are public funds, and we should be equally concerned," he added.

Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam, on the other hand, has filed an adjournment motion on the issue of proper accountability by public sector entities for public resources.

Train breakdowns will also come under the spotlight, with Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten) asking Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew whether SMRT contingency plans to provide alternative transport during an MRT breakdown have been reviewed and approved.

His question brings into focus the massive July 7 breakdown of the ageing North-South and East-West lines during the evening peak hours that affected 250,000 commuters.

The concern of labour MP Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) is workplace discrimination, a question that comes even as the Government said it had put 38 companies under watch for not doing enough to hire and groom Singaporeans.

Mr Zainal wants to know whether the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices framework of measures is enough to send a strong message that workplace discrimination will not be tolerated.

With water shortage becoming a threat because of the hot weather, Mr Seah Kian Peng (Marine Parade GRC) wants to know how the price of water in Singapore is determined, and whether it is set on the basis of price recovery.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2015, with the headline 'Public sector lapses to be queried by MPs'. Print Edition | Subscribe