by Tan Kwong Moh
An article titled "Charles Chong's million-dollar surplus claim in General Election 2015" had appeared in The Online citizen on 17 Jan 2018.
Inside the article, we are reminded how the saga surrounding Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) continues after Workers' Party won the GRC in 2011, and how Mr Charles Chong, who is now the Member of Parliament and Town Council Chairman for Punggol East SMC, made unsustained claims about amount of money from the town council being unaccounted for by the WP town council in the General Election 2015.
Because of the two elections caused by Micheal Pahmer's resignation and the General Election 2015, the Town Council's management changed hand twice.
Many people like me, feel that the current town council system wastes time, public funds and manpower if any new political party' MP is elected. So, I would suggest that the Ministry of National Development (MND) or the Housing Development Board (HDB) consider reverting back to the old system where HDB is in charge of all the Town Council Management of the respective constituencies.
Currently, every Town council has its own set of rules and Governance. For instance, HDB residents have to pay for a different rate of Conservancy Charges depending on which constituency they stay. If MND take back all the TCs' management, it can make use of this viable system to standardise Town Councils' Governance rules, and all HDB residents will pay the same rate of charges based on the size of the house owners.
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 have more time to concentrate on other national issues and commitment in parliamentary debates.
Furthermore, I don't think our Prime Minister and ministers have much time to run the town council because of their heavy official commitments. Currently, almost all town councils are solely managed by the Estate Managers with MPs just endorsing the work done.
As for the opposition MPs' side, they further face many restrictions to run the Town Council as there are various matters which they have to seek approval from grassroots leaders, unlike the ruling party's MPs because they are appointed by People's Association as grassroots leaders.