Sale of town council software revisited

THE Workers' Party (WP) continued its attack last night on the business transaction between a company owned by the People's Action Party (PAP) and the town councils its MPs run.

Party chief Low Thia Khiang said that if the WP had not won Aljunied GRC in the 2011 polls, Singapore would not have known of Action Information Management (Aim) and that it does business with PAP-run town councils.

He said in Mandarin: "If we did not get elected in Aljunied, we wouldn't have known how the PAP town councils operate... (and) that the PAP can set up a company to do business."

The Aim saga started last month when WP chairman Sylvia Lim raised the issue of the sale of the rights of the computer software developed by PAP town councils to the company.

She did it in the course of explaining why her Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) did not get a banding for corporate governance in a government report card on town councils. She has since locked horns with Aim and the PAP town councils. The saga has led to a government review of the Aim transaction as well as the "fundamental nature" of town councils.

Last night, Ms Lim raised the issue again for the second day in a row. She rebutted a statement that Dr Teo Ho Pin, coordinating chairman for the PAP town councils, made on Tuesday night after she criticised Aim's termination of the agreement with AHTC.

Dr Teo had said it was AHTC which ended it, and the key issue was how well WP manages town councils.

Ms Lim pointed out that this contradicted his statement on Christmas Eve last month that it was Aim which ended the contract.

She said the agreement's termination clause does not give the town council the right to end it. But Aim could, if the town council membership changed.

She also said the bigger question of public interest was the sale of the software to Aim.

"The fact that the Prime Minister had seen it fit to order a review of the transaction shows there are serious questions and the public deserves answers," she said.

Aljunied GRC MP Pritam Singh raised some of these questions.

He asked for the number of companies PAP owns in Singapore and other countries, as well as the names of the companies and their directors.

Hougang MP Png Eng Huat promised that if another party won a WP ward, it would get the computer system "intact with the original software".

"The WP believes the interests of the residents must come above politics. We would never put a town at risk or make the residents suffer unnecessarily for political gains," he said.