Party taken to task over transparency, accountability

The Workers' Party (WP) is guilty of the very issue it previously charged the People's Action Party (PAP) with: that of not being transparent and accountable, Mr Sam Tan (Radin Mas) said yesterday.

He recalled that the WP repeatedly stressed the importance of accountability and transparency in Parliament while campaigning during the 2011 General Election as well as the Hougang and Punggol East by-elections in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

"The WP MPs and candidates sounded very eloquent and righteous over this matter," said Mr Tan, who spoke in Mandarin.

He was among seven MPs who spoke during the debate on the Auditor-General's report on the 2012/13 accounts of the Aljunied- Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

Mr Tan said WP MPs again "showed strong resolve over accountability" in a 2013 Parliament debate about the sale of IT software by PAP town councils to a party-owned company, Action Information Management (AIM).

"Today, we are here again discussing the town council management issue. However, this time around, it is the WP-run AHPETC that is in the spotlight. And it is far worse this time," said Mr Tan, who is Minister of State (Prime Minister's Office).

In the case of the now-defunct AIM, the National Development Ministry looked into the software sale and found no loss or misuse of public funds from the transactions. But in the case of AHPETC, the WP did not handle its own conflict of interest problem properly, he said.

Its key town councillors were also majority owners of its managing agent company - something that was not recorded in AHPETC documents. This lack of transparency in disclosures "was also the point raised by WP when talking about the AIM issue", he recalled. "I am glad to hear (AHPETC and WP chairman Sylvia Lim) has said that in the future, they will try to solve all these problems. I think this is a very positive response."