Looming ahead is a potential rehash of the bak chor mee saga of general election 2006. The podcast classic poked fun at the ruling party’s incessant demonising of Workers' Party (WP) candidate James Gomez, for botching up his submission of election forms. The mainstream media devoted pages and pages to what amounted to a laughable "sorry also must apologize" crusade. Then some disconnected individual thought he could hire Jack Neo to produce a “mee siam mai hum” variant in retaliation, and the rest is history.
The politicized Ministry of National Development (MND) statement about the former managing agent for Workers’ Party-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) “grossly profiteering” from services rendered is insidious on its own, but the enlightening response cuts to the chase:
"With regard to paragraphs 3 to 5 of your letter, we wish to highlight that arrangements between FMSS and its employees are entirely commercial and not within the control of AHPETC. I am not aware of the matters you have highlighted therein, as AHPETC does not ask its contractors about their profitability or internal arrangements. We emphasise that AHPETC has ensured that payments made to FMSS are in line with and within the budget provided under the tender awarded.
In any case, it is misleading and unfair to compare MA rates charged by FMSS with MAs of other town councils under the People’s Action Party (PAP), since their MAs did not submit a single bid for our public tender for MA services in 2012. FMSS’ bid for MA services in 2012 was assessed, using the former rates charged by CPG Facilities Management for the PAP-managed Aljunied TC as a baseline. It is also ambiguous as to what the Ministry means by an “abnormal” profit margin, when it is not clear what the other MAs’ levels of profit are in other town councils."
What is not ambiguous is that citizens' contributions to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) have a return of 2.5% while the appointed investment houses regularly trumpet Total Shareholder Return (TSR) has been 16% since inception. Perhaps MND should share their thoughts on this mode of “gross profiteering”.
Tharman provided respite to the furor when he gave assurance that the AHPETC issue is not treated as "political game", nor "aimed at putting the WP down":
"When I speak about an issue, it's because I'm worried and I want to make sure we have responsible and honest politics in Singapore, that's all."
So do we, Mr Deputy Prime Minister, we are all on the same page for responsible and honest politics. How about having a quiet chat with the minister who is hiding behind the poison pen of the MND official?