To answer that question, one must ask the further question of: “Why is AHPETC not collecting S&CC charges”? It is a question that begs to be answered.
Writing about the opposition in Singapore is always a touchy business. It’s almost impossible to write a balanced or fair piece, mainly due to the dearth of information available. Either ways, even with information, there will always be people crying out about bias or blatant propaganda.
The Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East are areas of interest, ever popular with the opposition and its supporters. Every time that these areas are in the news, there is without doubt that there will be a flurry of comments – from both supporters of the PAP and supporters of the opposition – following it.
There’s been much talk about how the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) has been mismanaged, with substantial amount of arrears in the service and conservancy charges (S&CC).
It is known fact that the Hougang TC has had a spotty history when it comes to financial matters, with much deficit being apparent even in 2010. It was only until Hougang and Alujunied merged into one TC that the deficit wasn’t as steep. This came as a result of Ajunied TC’s operating surplus of $3.3million, according to Minister for State and National Development Desmond Lee.
While Worker’s Party Low Thia Khiang said that these arrears “would not affect daily operations much”, I find this unconvincing. How do you maintain optimal working conditions and operations with a financial balance that is in the red?
Although (Desmond) Lee expressed concern with the state of their finances, there doesn’t seem to be much worry on the part of residents from those areas. There has also been the argument that it can be taken to be a sign of WP’s compassion in allowing households to fall back on payment if they are unable to pay.
There haven’t been complaints about facilities under AHPETC falling apart or in disrepair, which can also be taken as a good sign and a point in the right direction for WP. Say what they might about the financial reports, at least the needs of the residents are still being met.
While we cannot know for sure what goes on at the AHPETC and the real state of their financial matters, red flags have been raised. The town council had reportedly failed to submit its financial statement and much of its monthly S&CC arrears reports. It would be fair for Singaporeans to know what is going on behind the closed doors of AHPETC.
After all, transparency was one of the rallying war cries of this Party at each election.