WP town council's release 'misleading': PAP

The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East town council (AHPETC).
The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East town council (AHPETC). PHOTO: ST FILE

The People's Action Party (PAP) town council that manages Punggol East constituency has countered that the Workers' Party (WP) town council is being misleading, in an ongoing exchange over the transfer of sinking funds.

Mr Zainal Sapari, chairman of the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC), yesterday took issue with the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) for implying that his town council had been slow in the transfer of the funds.

The issue arose following a change of hands in the constituency. In 2013, the WP won Punggol East in a by-election. In last September's general election, the PAP won it back.

Mr Zainal recounted in a Facebook post that PRPTC had made two transfers totalling $18 million in sinking funds to the former Aljunied-Hougang- Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) within four months of losing Punggol East.

He said this amounted to 80 per cent of the $22.5 million due to AHPETC, renamed AHTC after last year's election.

His town council made a third transfer of $3 million in May 2014, after submitting the constituency's audited financial statements.

The final $890,092 was transferred in September 2014, after PRPTC "helped (AHPETC) to understand their queries about the accounts", he added.

Mr Zainal was responding to AHTC chairman Pritam Singh, who said on Monday that PRPTC had taken more than 20 months to hand over the sinking funds.

Mr Zainal said: "The media release by AHTC is misleading to infer (sic) that PRPTC was slow in transferring the sinking funds to AHPETC."

The saga started after Punggol East MP Charles Chong said last Thursday that AHTC had not handed over all the sinking funds after last year's election.

Mr Chong said that AHTC had transferred only an "interim amount" of $10 million, and the exact amount due is being worked out.

Mr Singh replied that AHTC will hand over the sinking funds in several instalments, just as PRPTC had done.

He said AHTC will ensure all sinking funds are transferred to PRPTC "in due course".

Yesterday, Mr Zainal noted that PRPTC had transferred 80 per cent of the sinking funds to AHPETC within four months of the Punggol East constituency being lost.

"Compare that to the current situation, where PRPTC has received only $10 million of sinking funds from AHTC and it has been more than four months since the handover date," he said.

He added: "I hope AHTC can get their qualified accounts in order and make the second interim sinking fund transfer as soon as possible."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2016, with the headline 'WP town council's release 'misleading': PAP'. Print Edition | Subscribe