A month ago, I wrote an article asking myself why I would reject any change to the Town Council’s Act that would benefit the residents.
A month later, I have my answer: Last week, the Worker’s Party voted agains the Town Council Amendment Bill.
But first, here’s a very brief overview of what the changes include:
- It keeps the Town Council Act up to date with protections that are consistent with the Charities Act
- Town Councils must submit audited financial reports within 6 months of a financial year
- Conflict of interest must be declared
- The Ministry of National Development will have powers to do regular checks on the financial health of town councils and investigate irregularities
Sounds decent doesn’t it? Sounds like every organisation should be under the scrutiny of something like that doesn’t it?
If your supervisor or manager in your company is against this type of checks, what is the first thing that runs through your mind? “What on earth is he trying to hide?” In fact, a company whom has nothing to hide would be all too willing to offer themselves up for scrutiny.
Well, all 9 Worker’s Party MPs are voting against this scrutiny.
They don’t like it that the MND would have the power to investigate the discrepancies and irregularities that are going on within their town council.
Senior Minister of State Desmond Lee assured Parliament, and the opposition MPs that “these powers will generally be exercised when a town council is uncooperative or recalcitrant, refusing to correct irregularities despite due and fair notice”.
In fact, the individual conducting these investigations (if needed) will be an independent auditor, an independent individual.
So even with an independent auditor and a reasonable power to check on irregularities, the Worker’s Party refuses to be checked.
Are the respectable members telling us that this country is better run with less checks, less scrutiny, less protection of public funds and resources? That it is better if there is no need to be held to account? It goes against the reason for the need of an opposition: they’re supposed to hold the government to account, not the other way around hur hur…