The judgement of the courts is quite damning – the trial judge said that there is “serious doubt” about the integrity of Ms. Sylvia Lim and Mr. Low Thia Khiang. Both had “failed to act in AHTC’s best interests and had acted for extraneous purposes”.
Sylvia, Low Thia Khiang and even WP chief Pritam Singh could now be liable for part of the S$33.7m in claims. As for Mr Singh, while “it cannot be said that he has breached his fiduciary duties to AHTC”, he had breached his “duties of skill and care”, the judge said.
All three MPs were “clearly involved from the beginning to effect the appointment” of FMSS without a tender, and they had “collateral motives in doing so”.
The judge also chided Ms Lim and Mr Low for their “lack of transparency and candour”, which he said was apparent in an email sent by Ms Lim to FMSS’ Ms How and Mr Loh, asking them to examine a draft report on the managing agent appointment if it would “pass the auditors’ eyes”.
So how now, Blue Cow?
The Workers Party election rhetoric has always weighed heavily on integrity, check and balance, administrative accountability…amongst other things. This case concludes that they are incapable themselves of these things.
They have lost the moral high ground to be this such balance. How can it be that a checker needs to be checked themselves? And failed that check for goodness sakes.
Throughout the case they have been haughty. “If they think we have taken the money, report us to the CPIB”, said Sylvia Lim. “We will only respond to you if you’re our constituents”, said Pritam. Well, they’ve lost that cockiness today.
I have doubts they’ll be able to compensate the S$33.7m to the funds. They can go to the internet all they want, but short of launching an IPO I don’t think they’ll have the means to raise that sort of money and if they do, the authorities better check the source of that funding.
So more than likely the three WP MPs would be made bankrupt and consequently, be unable to stand for elections. The question will then be, who will lead the Workers Party?
The case also cast doubts on the party’s ability to manage funds and ultimately, to govern. The size of Singapore’s expenditure amounts to about S$55b each year. I shudder to think how a team like this would use this money.
Reports from constituents living in that area tells us that the town council is particularly interested in acrylic projects, such as replacing signboards and block numbers. Take a look at Mr. Low’s name card, what do you see? An acrylic company. Is there a link? I don’t know. This is a common attribution and until now, neither the Workers Party nor the town council has come up to clarify it.
I won’t go as far as to say the party in blue is done for.
It will, however mean that they have lost that much more credibility. And that they will have to work very hard to explain these matters to the electorate.
Cannot blame the PAP
It is also not a partisan matter. The PAP didn’t even need to act. Being responsible and accountable for corporate money is a matter that is universal across industries. As a matter of fact it is an independent panel, appointed by AHTC, supported by Pritam Singh and chaired by Philip Jeyaretnam (yes, JBJ’s son) that has led the legal suit. The PAP didn’t even needed to act.
And no, this is not “timed for the elections”. If the legal team of the Workers Party was fast enough, they would have concluded this case much much earlier. It was the WP legal team that requested for time extension (to get documents in place) over and over again.
The Workers Party has unfortunately hung themselves with their own rope. No one else needed to do anything.