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Aljunied’s surplus transferred to sinking fund when PAP lost to WP?

ahpetcBy Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the article “Lim on arrears: What’d happen if WP were in charge of SG?” (TR Emeritus, Nov 16).

It states that:

“Mr Lim (Boon Heng) said that the WP-run town council’s (AHPETC) swing from an operating surplus to a deficit in the short span of 3 years is worrying. “It begs many questions,” he told reporters who were present.

The Aljunied Town Council had an operating surplus of $3.3 million in the 2010 financial year, when it was under PAP. In contrast, AHPETC had a deficit of $734,000 in the 2012 financial year.”

100% of accumulated surplus transferred to sinking fund when PAP lost to WP? 

As a resident of Aljunied, I am curious as to why there was no mention that under Section 34 of the Town Council Act, when a different party takes over a town council after an election, 100% of the accumulated operating surplus has to be transferred to the sinking fund.

This in effect, deprives the residents of the surplus for operating expenditure in the future.

Why would any Parliament pass such legislation on town councils?

So, what was the amount of accumulated surplus that was transferred to the sinking fund, when the Workers’ Party won Aljunied in the last elections?

Aren't the remarks arguably somewhat misleading, as it may give the impression that the AHPETC had squandered the operating surplus of $3.3 million after it took over the town council, when in fact – was it transferred to the sinking fund?

Editor's note:

Part VI section 34(3) of the Town Councils Act, "Transfer of surpluses after Parliamentary election", states that:

Where there is an election in any or every whole constituency within a Town without any prior alteration to the boundaries of such constituency, the Town Council for the Town shall, subject to subsection (7), transfer its surpluses in the following manner:

(a) if the Member or Members elected and the previous Member or Members for the constituency stood in elections for the same political party — 80% of its surpluses relating to such area of the Town comprised in that constituency shall be transferred to the prescribed sinking funds of the Town Council relating to that area; or

(b) if the Member or Members elected and the previous Member or Members for the constituency stood in elections for different political parties — all its surpluses relating to such area of the Town comprised in that constituency shall be transferred to the prescribed sinking funds of the Town Council relating to that area.