This article first appeared on TREmeritus.
Yesterday (20 November), in response to media queries, MND reiterated its “observations” that the financial position of WP’s town council, AHPETC, has deteriorated rapidly. It said:
“MND has observed that AHPETC’s financial position has deteriorated rapidly, based on AHPETC’s own financial statements.
Despite an increase in income (AHPETC’s income in FY12 was S$29.8 million, compared to $26.8 million in FY10, a 11 per cent increase), its expenditure increased more significantly (its expenditure in FY12 was S$35.4 million, compared to $27.3 million in FY10, a 30 per cent increase). Its operating deficit before grants was $5.6 million in FY12 compared to $500,000 in FY10 (1,120 per cent increase).
After grants and less transfers, it ran an operating deficit of S$734,000 in FY12 compared to a surplus of S$3.3 million in FY10.”
That is, AHPETC’s financial position was:
|AHPETC (in $million)||FY10/11||FY12/13|
|Operating deficit before grants||(0.5)||(5.6)|
|After grants and less transfers||3.3||(0.7)|
However, when examining, say, the financial position of Tanjong Pagar Town Council, it is noted that TPTC also raked up operating deficits and its expenditure had increased. In fact, in FY10/11, it even ran a deficit after government grants were given:
|TPTC (in $million)||FY10/11||FY12/13|
|Operating deficit before grants||(9.3)||(8.7)|
|After grants and less transfers||(2.3)||0.9|
Aljunied residents “calling for answers” from AHPETC?
Meanwhile, mainstream media TODAY published a news saying the Aljunied residents are “calling for answers” on the arrears issue of AHPETC (‘Call for answers on arrears issue from Aljunied residents‘, 21 Nov).
It reported, “Some residents living in estates managed by the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) whom TODAY spoke with have urged it to be more transparent about the source of its high arrears rate and what it is planning to do to tackle the problem.”
“Calling on the town council to share more information about the issue, the residents said they wanted to know, for example, who are those who are not paying, why they are not doing so and what is being done about those in need,” it added.
It turns out that of the 30 residents TODAY interviewed, only 8 (27%) are demanding AHPETC to be more transparent about the arrears issue.
TODAY even cited IPS’ senior research fellow Dr Gillian Koh commenting, “… some may think that the WP is compassionate and even hope arrears in S&CC owed may be forgiven. Others may feel that … it is not fair if some pay and others don’t, especially since the government now already gives GST vouchers, so that the poor are already assisted with their S&CC.”
IPS is part of LKY School of Public Policy. The Director of IPS is Janadas Devan who is also the Chief of Government Communications at the Ministry of Communication and Information. The Dean of LKY School of Public Policy is Kishore Mahbubani, the former Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Ministry.
In response to TODAY’s queries, AHPETC’s vice-chairman Pritam Singh reiterated that the town council is “currently checking the S&CC arrears data and will address this matter in due course”.