AHTC lawsuits

Ex-WP chief 'directed' FMSS even before appointment: Lawyer

Senior Counsel Davinder Singh (right) and his legal team. He said Mr Low Thia Khiang had "directed" FMSS to bring Hougang Town Council's staff under its control even before it was officially appointed.
Senior Counsel Davinder Singh (right) and his legal team. He said Mr Low Thia Khiang had "directed" FMSS to bring Hougang Town Council's staff under its control even before it was officially appointed.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Former Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang had "directed" a new managing agent to bring Hougang Town Council's staff under its control even before it was officially appointed, lawyer Davinder Singh said yesterday.

The Senior Counsel also charged that Mr Low had already conceived a plan to fund the newly formed FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) using monies from the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).

But Mr Low said his May 2011 e-mail to Ms How Weng Fan, whose late husband Danny Loh started FMSS, was just stating the conditions FMSS would have to meet in the event the firm was appointed managing agent for AHTC.

Mr Singh repeatedly questioned Mr Low about where FMSS would find the money to hire the staff from Hougang Town Council.

Mr Low replied: "They will go and find the money. It is their company... I am sure they have their own plan."

Mr Singh said: "You were the one who told Ms How to set up the company, and told Ms How that FMSS should engage the Hougang (Town Council) staff... When you say their plan, it was all your plan... It was you who was driving the entire thing."

Mr Low said it was up to FMSS to find an investor and the money.

 
 

Mr Singh made the case that Mr Low and his fellow WP MPs had already decided to terminate the incumbent managing agent for Aljunied Town Council, CPG Facilities Management, before CPG told them on May 30, 2011, that it wanted out.

That was evident, he said, in an e-mail circulated among the WP MPs days before May 30. It said "the existing managing agent of Aljunied Town Council will report to us until we release them at such date, no later than Aug 1".

Mr Low said this was just an assumption the town councillors made, that CPG would ask to leave.

Nothing in the e-mail suggested any such assumption, said Mr Singh, who is representing Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council in the civil lawsuit.

Mr Low said: "It is not here (in the e-mail), lah. It has always been on our minds."

Mr Singh responded: "I am sorry to say that you are not being honest."

Mr Low replied: "I am here looking you in the eye and telling you the truth."

Mr Singh said many people have looked him in the eye and told him things that were untrue.

"I declare I am honest," Mr Low responded.

After being pressed again by Mr Singh, Mr Low said: "I think you are right. It appears to be that we have decided. But the fact is that we haven't."

The High Court also heard yes-terday that in FMSS' Letter of Intent sent to AHTC in June 2011, the firm said its scope of work would follow the specifications stipulated in CPG's contract with Aljunied Town Council.

Mr Singh said that Mr Low should have checked CPG's contract before deciding to sign on FMSS, as it was what a "responsible town councillor" would have done.

Mr Low agreed, and said he himself did not look at the contract, but he could not assume that others also did not, including then AHTC chairman Sylvia Lim.

Mr Singh also asked about why FMSS' managing agent fees were structured in a way to include a $1.1 million annual cost for employing all the existing staff of Hougang Town Council.

Mr Low said the negotiations had been left to Ms Lim, and he was not privy to the information.

Mr Singh responded to Mr Low, who was on the stand for the second day in a row: "And that might shorten your cross-examination."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2018, with the headline 'Ex-WP chief 'directed' FMSS even before appointment: Lawyer'. Print Edition | Subscribe