AHTC lawsuits

Town councillor explains why he did not query FMSS appointment

Town councillor Kenneth Foo said he believed that the Workers' Party MPs had "given thought" to the matter.
Town councillor Kenneth Foo said he believed that the Workers' Party MPs had "given thought" to the matter.

The non-elected members of Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) learnt on Aug 4, 2011, that a new managing agent had been engaged, after FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) had started work.

But while town councillor Kenneth Foo had not received any updates before that, he said he did not ask questions at the meeting about whether a tender was needed.

This was because he believed the Workers' Party MPs, such as Mr Low Thia Khiang and Ms Sylvia Lim, had "given thought" to the matter, he said. He added that Ms Lim had been delegated the authority to make the decision earlier that year.

Taking the stand for the first time yesterday in a multimillion-dollar civil suit, he said that when the town council was told about the FMSS appointment on Aug 4, 2011, it was "for information" and not a discussion.

Mr Foo said that based on his own experience, most tenders would take around two to three months, and thus AHTC would not have enough time to call for a tender as incumbent managing agent CPG Facilities Management had asked to withdraw by Aug 1, 2011. This led him to go along with the MPs when they announced the FMSS appointment.

But Senior Counsel Davinder Singh noted CPG's contract could be extended to give AHTC more time to call for a tender. Mr Foo disagreed, saying CPG "wanted to go".

Mr Singh then asked what factors Mr Foo took into account to justify the waiver of the tender when it was presented to AHTC on Aug 4.

 
 

Mr Foo said he remembered it being a "short timeline to take over the town", especially as there were a number of things to settle to ensure a smooth transition.

But Mr Singh said he had difficulty with this statement because the elected MPs would have already made the decision before the meeting for these details to be presented.

"So, in your mind, what was happening was that they were telling us their reasons for the waiver, and (the announcement) was for your information and any clarifications you wanted to seek," said Mr Singh.

"For clarification if we had any questions, yes," Mr Foo replied.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2018, with the headline 'Town councillor explains why he did not query FMSS appointment'. Print Edition | Subscribe