Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lapses In Governance

It's a sad day when the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) is roped into the shenanigans of the political foray. The bureaucrats should remember that they are civil servants first and foremost, and they are accountable to the government of the day, and governments do change. In 1997, Law Minister S. Jayakumar directed then  Attorney General Chan Sek Keong to express a legal opinion on the Workers' Party complaint about Goh Chok Tong, Dr Tony Tan and Brigadier-General (NS) Lee Hsien Loong being caught inside a Cheng San GRC polling station on Polling Day. The conclusion,  "while it is illegal to be within 200 metres of a polling station unless you are voting, IT IS NOT ILLEGAL IF YOU ARE INSIDE" will continue to haunt the parties involved for a long long time.

In the AGO's highlights of the "lapses" in the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council’s (AHPETC) accounts for Financial Year 2012-13, most were qualified comments e.g. "as required by the Town Councils Financial Rules", "inadequate oversight", "no assurance that arrears are properly managed". These are accusations easily turned on a subject closer to the citizens' hearts, after all the original CPF rules did require that full withdrawal is available at age 55. And we are yet to be comforted that there is adequate oversight and proper assurance that our life savings are properly invested and managed. How did they put it? When you point a finger at someone, many more at pointing backwards at yourself.

AHPETC is wise to choose to give its response in Parliament, since a motion filed to debate the matter on Thursday 12 February 2015. That way the wild accusations will be recorded in the Hansard for posterity. Only kids resort to Facebook postings to trade barbs.


  1. Conflicts of interest were 'inadequately managed', said the Accountant -General. And the ST concedes, in the wake of AIMgate, meekly states that such "double hatting, however, is not uncommon among Town Councils, including those run by the Peoples Action Party". It is time to put a stop to this as it cannot be in the interest of the people instead of "managing" it. Conflicts of interest runs deep in this little red dot. Indeed it is even entrenched in the Constitution. We have the former Attorney-General Walter Woon being reported as having said that the creation of the Deputy A-G's post was good as it would separate the functions of the A-G as the government legal counsel from that of the Public Prosecutor as he would feel "uncomfortable" with the apparent conflict of interest. It is time to outlaw any form of conflict of interest in governance.

  2. the rope to hang themselves is getting longerer and longerer..

    1. That is a very good analogy ! Although the most problematic of all the lapses concern conflict of interests, we see that all the time with the PAP ran Town Councils. MP Sylvia Lim have have more than one chance to remind Members and indirectly Members of the Public the many short comings within the PAP ran TC. What about that "bad investments " in some " Bonds " , years back ?

    2. Very true!

      The pap is not politicising this and fixing the Opposition? Well then, send in the same AGO team to exact the same level of audit scrutiny on Temasek or Bukit Panjang TC.

  3. The average person would not understand the significance of debate in parliament and it being recorded.

    If they are eventually informed, the question is:

    "So, how?"
    " What next?"

    This is the strength of the incumbent. They know that there are more daft people than daft people know about themselves.
    Observe the number of people reading chinese language papers in the coffee shops, the number of people queueing up to read the free "Today" at MRT & bus stations.

    Even the younger ones are too busy fighting online games and do not bother to think about politics.

    Critical thinking was not encouraged in schools, universities or polytechnics... even at work, it would be thumbed down and you would be branded as an upstart.

    It all fits the scheme of things.

  4. Haha.....

    Stay daft a little longer and Sinkies will wake up one day not knowing what happened whilst they were asleep.
    By then, waking up may mean having to face the consequences that are due to their apathy to state affairs. Most Singaporeans believe they are in the Good Hands of the Rulers. Hence, they can sleep soundly with nary a worry. Let's hope the Good Hands belong to good people.

    Hope and pray hard.


  5. The minimum penalty for drug trafficking is death. I wonder what is the maximum penalty?

  6. I don't ever remember the Shitty Times devoting 1 or 2 page(s) to the whole PAP AIM scandal. Neither do I remember any mention of the mango scandal involving a PAP MP on the front page of the pangsai paper.

    But for the WP 'shortcomings', they devoted both the front page and 1 whole page inside. If we look at the bright side, maybe it is free advertising for WP without having to spend a cent of their monies.

    PAP already stinks but yet they themselves can't even smell their own shit. I am quite sure come election time, the WP election rallies will certainly beat PAP by a wide margin of popularity.

    Anyone want to bet with me ?

  7. Most Singgies place a high value on fairness.

    All this bashing of the opposition particularly WP evokes feelings of unfair treatment... and WP does not respond with total denials or shouting. ( Either that or the media simply does not allow them space.)

    WP may well have poor financial management of a Town Council, but this unfair treatment overshadows it and I will not be surprised if votes will go in their favour based on this alone.

    The daftness of the people may work against the PAP this time round!

  8. Very wise for WP to give their replies in parliament. This will avoid Shit Times from manipulating news to make WP look bad because every answer in parliament, has to be reported in its entirey with no spice added.