Final tranche of funds for Punggol East will be transferred after audit, says WP's Pritam Singh

 Aljunied GRC MP Pritam Singh outside the Worker's Party HQ after the office-bearers were determined on June 7, 2016.
Aljunied GRC MP Pritam Singh outside the Worker's Party HQ after the office-bearers were determined on June 7, 2016.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The audit of Punggol East constituency's accounts is underway and the final portion of sinking funds will be transferred to the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC) once it is completed, Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) chairman Pritam Singh said on Sunday (June 12).

He did not want to give an estimated date of when the audit will be finished, but added that it should not take longer than 20 months from last September's General Election for the sum to be transferred.

"Once that audit is finished, you know exactly what is the amount to be transferred, because the last tranche is usually your few dollars and cents at the end," he said.

Mr Singh said it took 20 months for the final instalment of sinking funds to be paid to the Workers' Party (WP)-run town council after the party won the Punggol East single-seat constituency in a 2013 by-election .

The People's Action Party won back the constituency in last September's general election.

Speaking about AHTC's final sinking funds transfer to PRPTC, Mr Singh said: "I don't foresee the last tranche to take so long, but I shouldn't jump the gun. At least let the audit report come out and then it should take its course, but I don't foresee any reasons to delay purposely or intentionally. It doesn't serve any function."


AHTC has transferred $20 million in sinking funds to PRPTC.

PRPTC chairman Zainal Sapari had said previously that his town council 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 in the 2013 by-election.

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

Mr Singh, an MP of Aljunied GRC MP, who was speaking to reporters during a WP walkabout in his Eunos ward to sell the party newsletter, said he has been a full-time MP since shortly before last year's polls to focus on his political work and town council responsibilities.

Mr Singh did not want to be drawn into discussing the significance of his new appointment as the WP's assistant secretary-general, saying that the party leadership works as a team and does not focus on individuals.

"There are a lot of younger members and we want to move forward as a collective leadership," he said.

He acknowledged that WP chief Low Thia Khiang - whom he described as "larger than life" - has been the face of the party over the years, but said the WP was moving towards a "collective leadership".

"(Mr Low) single handedly transformed the party, changed the perception of the party, made it into a more disciplined party. And so his name is of course very central to the WP image," Mr Singh said.

"You will see a move away from one person... Not that Mr Low controls the party as one, but you will see a move to a whole team," he added.