By Tan Kwong Moh, retiree
In light of the prolonged saga of former Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol-East Town Council (AHPETC) and the investigation by Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau upon the Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) have been widely reported by the mainstream media recently, I would like to suggest that the Ministry of National Development (MND) to consider to take back all the Town Council Management from the respective constituencies.
I personally feel the current town council system is wasting public funds, manpower and time if any NEW political party’s MP is elected. This is including the handing-over and taking-over procedures. And the TC’s office has to be demolished as well, which was what happened after Li Li Lian from WP won in by-election 2013 and lost to PAP in GE 2015.
These are very good examples to tell us that this is a wrong idea to let political parties to run the Town Councils. Is it not wasting money and time?
On top of that, MND can also take this opportunity to standardise all the Town Councils governance rules by taking back the TC management. This measure also can prevent any wrongdoing and lapse in future. Many people want to know, why ONLY AHTC has being audited? Why not others, including those that lost monies through investments?
Here are other points to make my suggestion more constructive. MND can always engage an Estate Manager to manage the Town Council instead of passing the responsibility to an elected MP to run. So that the MPs will more time to concentrate on other national key issues and commitment in parliamentary debates, furthermore, I don’t think our Prime Minister and Ministers have much time to run the TCs’ jobs to begin with, as all are dependent on the Estate Managers too.
As for the opposition MPs’ side, they have many restrictions to run the Town Council unlike the ruling party’s MPs, because the Peoples’ Association themselves are largely PAP Grassroots leaders as well.