What has Aljunied-Hougang TC’s IT system got to do with Changi airport?

By Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the report “Aljunied-Hougang town council could have asked for service extension: IT firm” (Channel NewsAsia, Dec 17).

It states that “Last Friday, the Aljunied-Hougang town council said the termination was one reason its corporate governance audit was delayed. 

In a letter to the media, Action Information Management Pte Ltd (AIM) said it had extended its services to the town council twice, in August and September last year.

AIM’s chairman S Chandra Das said the company would have agreed to a further extension, if the town council had requested for it.

When contacted, council chairman Sylvia Lim said they understood that no further extensions would be forthcoming at the time.

She also questioned why AIM terminated its services in the first place.”

According to the Workers’ Party’ statement on this issue, “After the General Election in May 2011, the Town Council was served with a notice that the Town Council’s Computer and Financial Systems will be terminated with effect from 1 August 2011 due to material changes to the membership of the Town Council. This Computer and Financial Systems had been developed jointly by the 14 PAP Town Councils over a period of more than 15 months but was in January 2011 sold to and leased back from M/s Action Information Management Pte Ltd, a company which was dormant.”

Questions galore?

Why did the 14 PAP town councils transfer the ownership of the IT system that they had developed to a dormant company?

Presumably, it was developed using the town councils’ funds which belongs to the residents. So, how much money was spent in development and how much was it sold?

Was a tender called and what was the process and decision-making procedure which ended up with the sale to a dormant company?

Why did the company terminate its services to Aljunied-Hougang town council?

How much are the 14 PAP town councils paying to the company now and in the future for the use of the IT system which it developed in the first place?

Was anyone consulted or informed of the sale – residents, Parliament, media?

Since three directors of the company are former PAP MPs – any conflicts of interest?

Who are the shareholders of the company?

Transparency and accountability?

What this issue shows once again is the lack of transparency and accountability in Singapore.

Sale of Changi airport

For example, Changi airport was approved by Parliament to be sold to Temasek Holdings without even a price tag, and the subsequent amount disclosed when the sale was completed was arguably very low, at only $3.3 billion. (“From State to Temasek“, Jun 20, 2011)