By Leong Sze Hian
As Parliament shall be debating the AIM Review Report immediately following the Ministerial Statement on the same subject on Monday, 13 May – it may be good to re-visit some of the possible issues or questions:
MPs are trustees?
Under the Town Councils Act, MPs are trustees. Therefore, they are not permitted to do what they like with money or properties under their charge.
Can’t do whatever they like with property acquired?
If money (town councils’ money is the residents’ money) is used to acquire property on behalf of a town council, can a town council do whatever they want with property so acquired?
In this connection, we still don’t know how much money was spent developing the software?
Town councillors are deemed as public servants?
Under the Penal Code, all town councillors are deemed to be public servants. Town councillors are trustees of public funds and property.
They have no business to sell anything to AIM. It is immaterial and irrelevant to say that they did it in good faith or that they did not gain any benefit.
Hence, was the sale of the computer software to AIM appropriate?
Was and how was approval obtained?
Was prior approval obtained (from whom (all town councillors) and through what process?) to sell the computer software?
Author of Review reports to MND Minister/Chairman of PAP?
On the matter of the Review conducted by MND, who is the author of this Review? (The report was signed off as MND Town Council Review Team)
Is the author’s superior the National Development Minister, who is also the Chairman of the PAP? Is there not an inherent conflict of interest or possible bias?
Was there any vote taken?
When the 15 PAP town councils decided to sell the software to AIM, was a vote taken? And if so, by whom – all the MPs and town councillors?
Conflict of interest?
Did the PAP MPs declare their interest in this sale, especially when it was a sale to a PAP-owned AIM?
The PAP MPs should have abstained from voting for the sale, given the conflict of interest or non-declaration of interest (if it was not declared prior to the vote (if any)).