The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), run by the Workers' Party (WP) has issued a strongly-worded rebuttal of the statement by the Ministry of National Development (MND) on Saturday.
The MND had made allegations against the town council, claiming that its managing agent had "profiteered" from dealings with the town council.
AHPETC wrote to Mr Han kok Juan, Senior Director (Housing) at the MND and lambasted the ministry for making "spurious statements" about AHPETC.
Below is the statement from AHPETC's chairman, Sylvia Lim, issued also on Saturday.
RESPONSE TO MND’S LETTER ON FMSS’ ACCOUNTS
29 August 2015
To: Mr Han Kok Juan
Senior Director (Housing)
Ministry of National Development
Dear Mr Han,
We refer to your letter, received today.
We are appalled at the series of careless accusations made by your Ministry against Aljunied Hougang Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC). It is shocking that despite our clarifications on your allegations relating to lost monies and overpayment, your Ministry continues to make spurious statements to distract the public and aimed at politically discrediting AHPETC. A copy of our Open Letter to Residents published in June 2015 can be found at this link (http://www.ahpetc.sg/sylvia-lims-open-letter-to-residents/) for your reference.
We reiterate that FM Solutions & Services Pte Ltd (FMSS) was appointed the Managing Agent (MA) of the AHPETC for FY 12/13 and FY 13/14 pursuant to a contract awarded through a public tender. Similarly, FMSS bid for, and was awarded, a contract to provide Essential Maintenance Services Unit (EMSU) services, after an open tender. Payments made by AHPETC to FMSS were made pursuant to these contracts. Payment in accordance with contracts cannot be overpayment.
With regard to paragraphs 3 to 5 of your letter, we wish to highlight that arrangements between FMSS and its employees are entirely commercial and not within the control of AHPETC. I am not aware of the matters you have highlighted therein, as AHPETC does not ask its contractors about their profitability or internal arrangements. We emphasise that AHPETC has ensured that payments made to FMSS are in line with and within the budget provided under the tender awarded.
In any case, it is misleading and unfair to compare MA rates charged by FMSS with MAs of other town councils under the People’s Action Party (PAP), since their MAs did not submit a single bid for our public tender for MA services in 2012. FMSS’ bid for MA services in 2012 was assessed, using the former rates charged by CPG Facilities Management for the PAP-managed Aljunied TC as a baseline. It is also ambiguous as to what the Ministry means by an “abnormal” profit margin, when it is not clear what the other MAs’ levels of profit are in other town councils.
It is unfortunate that the political environment has put non-PAP town councils at a financial disadvantage due to the lack of competitive bidders. Your Ministry ought to recognise the existence of an imbalanced system and take into consideration the political reality of the situation.
Lastly, our stand remains that there is no basis for your Ministry to apply to the Court to appoint Independent Accountants. We also question your Ministry’s political motivation for issuing a public release on this matter at such a premature stage, when you say that your Ministry has not even completed a review of the findings by ACRA.
IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN
ALJUNIED-HOUGANG-PUNGGOL EAST TOWN COUNCIL