Teo Ho Pin

Teo Ho Pin proposes framework and code of conduct for town council handovers

Coordinating chairman of the People's Action Party (PAP)-run town councils Teo Ho Pin on Monday proposed establishing a framework and a professional code of conduct to guide elected MPs in the handover of town councils.

Kicking off the debate following National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan's statement on his ministry's review of town councils, Dr Teo said he understood that there were public concerns regarding such handovers following a change in political party running the town or a change in constituency boundaries.

He said elected MPs should not get into a "blame game" and politicise the handover. There could be a code of conduct to effect a smooth handover, similar to what is practised in strata management when there is a change of managing agent, said Dr Teo, who is also chairman of Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council.

He called for the Ministry of National Development (MND) to review this aspect of the handover. MND could also be the arbitrator in the event of any dispute during the handover, he said.

Noting the ministry's findings that the transaction between the PAP town councils and the PAP-owned IT firm Action Information Management had complied with Government rules, Dr Teo said he wanted to reiterate that PAP town councils have "always exercised good governance". As guardians of residents' and public funds, town councils must always be accountable to residents and offer them value for money.

Dr Teo cited examples of how the PAP town councils working together has benefited residents, such as banking on economies of scale, generating cost savings from calling joint tenders on improvement projects and sharing best practices.