Posts Tagged ‘AIM’

AIM’s sotong trap

In Accounting, Political governance on 27/08/2015 at 4:36 am

 This piece is my reaction to

— what TOC reported MP Ravi as saying on the running of a town council if he wind Hong Kah’; and

— a letter to TRE from a reader.

Mr Philemon said that residents can be assured that he would be able to run a town council if he were to be elected as he is supported by the party machinery of SPP, which had run Potong Pasir for twenty over years.

“We have twenty over years of experience with Mr Chiam leading the town council in Potong Pasir. And when he left, he left with a surplus. And there were lifts upgraded, I think about 29 lifts that were upgraded, without residents co-paying for it. So that is the kind of assurance the residents can have, when they elect someone from SPP.

Not so easy Ravi. I hope that the appropriate people in SPP read an article in TRE on how AIM fixed the WP in Aljunied. To double confirm, I append the piece in full below and I sent this post to Ravi.

Last December, I asked if AHPETC had a 21st century IT systema world-class town council town council management software package?

It turned out that according to the Auditor-General, AHPETC didn’t even an accounting system that was fit for purpose.

Here’s a piece from TRE that has a plausible explanation for part of the WP’s accouting woes: that the WP was fixed. The writer makes certain assumptions like AIM uses Oracle or that the WP used Excel to store files, but ignore these very technical issues.

At heart waz he saying is that the WP or (rather I suspect) its Managing Agent walked into a trap laid by the PAP: “When the export [of data from the AIM system] is done, you will need to import the data to the new system. And you can only do it after the new system is developed. Most likely the new system will be a subset of the old system.

Therefore with the removal of the system from AHPETC, all this information is gone. They will need to manually extract the information from the exported files. Definitely no easy task.”

This explains why the AHPETC had problems submitting data to MDA, And why Auntie and Pritam took so long to verify the arrears issue.

Now this begs the question: Why did the WP not foresee the problem? Or did it think, minor IT issue? (No, I don’t ask why did AIM fix the voters’ choice, it’s in the DNA of the the PAP: fixing the Oppo and all voters.)

And is it now too pi seh to admit it got screwed?

But it still doesn’t explain why its Managing Agent didn’t keep proper records of the transactions that the Managing Agent undertook when it started operations or why the WP didn’t monitor its Managing Agent. Remember it had three hot shot lawyers, and JJ (Masters in finance). OK it didn’t have a trained accountant at a senior level.


What you should know about the AHPETC-AIM saga

 With the elections coming, I decided to pen this article about the whole AHPETC saga. So far the articles that have been written have always been about the accounting lapses and what not. But none of them were written from an IT perspective. (Maybe no more SG IT professionals since all of them are replaced by FT, including me)

This is what we know so far.

The town council system that was used previously by the old Aljunied is a S$24 million software solution and it was sold to AIM for S$140,000.

I wasn’t involved in the project nor am I a member of WP. But anybody who has done Application Development projects with the government will know this is a huge project and it will probably involve hundreds of developers and testers, a couple of Project Managers and more Business Analysts. The size of the project tells me that they are using Oracle database (its license can easily reach $1million at least). The type of servers it is running on should be very high end, always turn on and has to be constantly kept cool (Air con is always on. Redundant air cons must be on standby in case the main one failed). This should be at least a 16 months project. I will not be surprised if it is 24 months.

However this is not the main issue. The main issue is the information from the database. And there are lots of it.

For example, these are the scenarios that I can think of.

Who has paid S&CC fees for last month? Who hasn’t? If you haven’t paid, is this your first time? Any reminders send? If so when? If this isn’t the first time, then how many times haven’t paid? If this isn’t the first time, then what are the months that have missed payments?

What type of flat? Based on flat type, penalty fees can be calculated.

Whether you are a PR or a citizen? Because the rates may be calculated differently.

If you have moved to a new flat within the GRC and you have missed the payments, what is the new address? How to ensure that the bill will be send to the new address and not the old?

These are just the tip of the iceberg. For a S$24 million project, there will be hundreds of scenarios more.

So if AHPETC was given 1 month to migrate the data, it will be an impossible task. Because to migrate, you need a new system for the migration to work. You need to migrate from the old to new system.

If there is no new system, then you have to export the data out. Given the time constraint, most likely to Excel files. And it will not be to 1 file. There will be hundreds/thousand of Excel file because of the way relational databases are designed. With Excel, it is very difficult to sort, filter and analyse the huge amount of data.

However that is only half the story.

When the export is done, you will need to import the data to the new system. And you can only do it after the new system is developed. Most likely the new system will be a subset of the old system.

Therefore with the removal of the system from AHPETC, all this information is gone. They will need to manually extract the information from the exported files. Definitely no easy task.

In short, I hope everyone will know the significance of what AIM has done.

Yours Sincerely,


SGX FTs still want Cina cos to list here?/ Juz look at AIM

In Casinos, Corporate governance, Financial competency on 08/05/2015 at 1:09 pm

AIM in London is having problems with Chinese listings.

First Naibu

Now Sordic (see below).

“The LSE should never have allowed these Chinese companies to list,” the FT reports

Sorbic International PLC Thursday said its former Chief Executive Wang Yan Ting is refusing to hand over the corporate seals and business licenses of its Chinese operating subsidiary, and he is also refusing to handover about GBP7.7 million in cash that Sorbic claims belongs to it, meaning its financial position remains uncertain.
Sorbic last month said it had removed Wang as group CEO and as CEO of its Chinese subsidary, Linyi Van Science and Technique, because it was still frustrated by its inability to move money out of China, a move that Wang was blocking. It wanted the money to repay outstanding loan stock of about GBP3.75 million and to cover its own costs. It also terminated Wang’s role as its legal representative in China, replacing him with a Chinese lawyer, and said it would focus on releasing the funds held within China.

On Thursday, Sorbic said Wang has declined to hand-over the company’s corporate seals, known as chops, and business licences, which he removed from the premises before he was dismissed. The local police were contacted, but deemed Wang’s non-cooperation as a commercial matter and were therefore unwilling to assist, the sorbate food preservative producer said.

That means that the subsidiary’s bank accounts and day-to-day operations still remain under Wang’s control.

“Furthermore, Mr. Wang has confirmed that he has transferred funds belonging to the company which remain under his control and, to date, he has refused to return them,” Sorbic added, saying that management accounts as of end-March showed total cash balances of about CNY72 million, or GBP7.7 million.

“The board has been informed that the company’s factory in Linyi continues to be fully operational and Mr. Wang remains in regular contact with the company,” Sorbic said.

Sorbic is wholly reliant on the transfer of funds from China to meet its operating costs and to repay the GBP3.75 million in outstanding loan notes, which are in default.

Sorbic’s shares were suspended last week at the request of the company pending clarification of its financial position. It said Thursday its shares will remain suspended and it will provide further updates in due course.



Even PM disagrees with Doc

In Political governance on 09/01/2013 at 6:43 am

No basis to suggest AIM transaction was improper, says Teo Ho

I was planning to blog on the significance of Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s comments on the PAP “volvo” over AIM.

But given that “PM Lee directs MND to fully review AIM transaction”, need I say anything more for the time being? Except that Mayor Doctor Teo Ho Pin has been shown to be a talk cock, sing song artiste, like KennethJ. Isn’t a PAP MP supposed to be better than an Opposition man?

And by directing “MND to take a broad-based approach, including re-examining the fundamental nature of town councils, with a view to ensuring high overall standards of their corporate governance”, PM is also recognising that there is serious public disquiet about Baey Yam Keng’s comments that,“They[town councils]’re not public institutions; they’re not a public service company … “I feel that we may be reading too much into the political association. Because in the first place it’s a political organisation.”

I was planning to blog on this issue given the significance of these words

— They came from an MP who was until recently the head of the regional branch of an int’l leading PR firm: a man who knows the importance of words.

— There are constitutional and governance issues if these words reflect the govt’s thinking on town councils.

But let’s watch and wait for the report.

Note: “And …” was added after first posting.

Doc, pull the other leg, its got bells on it

In Political governance on 06/01/2013 at 6:13 pm

No basis to suggest AIM transaction was improper, says Teo Ho Pin

There is no basis to suggest that the transaction to provide computer services to the PAP Town Councils by the company, Action Information Management Pte Ltd (AIM), was improper or disadvantageous to the town councils.

Coordinating Chairman of the PAP-run town councils, Dr Teo Ho Pin made this point in his latest rebuttal to comments made by Ms Sylvia Lim, the Chairman of the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.


If there was “No basis to suggest AIM transaction was improper”, why did the explanation take so long to come out?

First Doc Teo tried to rubbish WP’s comments. When that failed he then tried to throw smoke. Finally, we were given details, sort of. To get info that should have been made available when WP bitched about AIM cancelling the contract, after a long tortuous process, akin pulling a rotten tooth without pain killers, makes one wonder why the delay in giving an explanation that addresses the various issues?

And how come Uncle Leong  ( is able to pick so many “holes” in the statement?

While, I don’t agree with some of his criticisms and comments, his analysis especially his pointed questions and observations make it clear that the latest statement from Doc Teo has not dispelled reasonable concerns about the deal. In particular, while the PAP Town Councils saved $8,120 from selling the TCMS software to AIM, they had to pay AIM an additional $33,150 as “management fees” for the period of November 2011 to April 2013.

So this deal cost the PAP Town Councils $25,030 (33,150- 8120). Doubtless Dr Teo could quibble with this sum as it doesn’t take into account the time-value of money.

Dr. Teo’s and AIM chairman Chandra Das’ earlier statements had suggested that AIM did not financially benefit from this contract. So is this amount being rebated to the PAP town councils?

And the statement does not still answer the following issues:

– As Aljunied GRC seems to be one of the GRCs that paid for the development costs of the software that was transferred to AIM, how come AIM can cancel contract if a GRC moves on to the Jedi (OK, OK, I exaggerate) from the Dark Side of the Men in White? Sure it’s in contract, but is this ethically or morally correct? Didn’t LKY say we are a Confucian society? Ethically behaviour is expected.

– Is the WP being fixed by being deprived of AIM’s services? And what are the implications if there is a change of govt? Will the civil service, armed forces, police and government agencies cancel contracts with the new govt? From what happened with AIM’s contract, sounds reasonable to assume this.

— Can a contract between PAP town councils and a company 100%-owned by former PAP MPs be considered arm’s length? Should it be allowed at all to avoid even the slightest appearance of any potential conflict of interest? (BTW, gives an interesting take on the conflicts of interest in a recent US deal, and how difficult it is for those who are unhappy with it to sue.)


Is the Doc trying to join the PAP Comedy Club? Founder members are VivianB (tasteless joke about the poor etc), Yacoob (once in 50-years flood happening twice in two months) Tharman and Hng Kiang (COE prices doesn’t matter if not buying car), and the patron is one Christopher Palmer. I’ve blogged on their jokes and routines.

BTW, wonder if lawyers’ advising Alex Au, for free, can count time advising him on the law relating to defamation, against their pro bono quotas?

Seriously I hope Alex Au seeks and gets advice (for free) on how to avoid defaming* PAPpies. They are kinda sensitive people. Worse for Alex (and other bloggers), they got the funds to pay lawyers. And while the PAPpies have been pretty decent, so far, in not asking for costs, they may change their minds on this issue.

At the moment, defaming PAPpies on the internet is cost free. But the PAP has to pay its lawyers.

And the PAPpies, like any other S’porean, deserve respect. Query, and comment their statements and actions. But give them the respect that all of us are entitled to. Calling anyone “corrupt” without reasonable evidence is wrong**.

A teacher in a fee-paying school in England put it this way when explaining why the school introduced a course on how to avoid libel: “We’ve been trying to make them accountable – if you wouldn’t say something to a person’s face, if you wouldn’t say it in front of me or your parents, then you don’t say it. I think that’s the key bit that we try to get across to them.”

Perhaps the Law Soc should start a course for bloggers? Or maybe this is something SDP (the Real Opposition) can do, given that Dr Vincent Wijeysingha has just apologised to Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin for defamatory comments about him in an article on the illegal strike by SMRT bus drivers from China.


*While the law on defamation can be very technical, Alex Au’s defamatory statements were in legal terms very elementary, and could have been easily avoided.

**There is a pragmatic reason too. The Opposition in the 1980s and 1990s, made allegations of corruption against the PAP government. Well people like JBJ were sued successfully, and the credibility of the Opposition was damaged badly among the potential “swing” voters. This tactic had been tried and failed. And should not be repeated it unless there is credible evidence of corruption.