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. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1245602/1/.html
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 (http://leongszehian.com/?p=2449) 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, http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/already-criticized-freeport-deals-raises-questions-of-conflicts/ 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.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/dec/26/twitter-facebook-school-libel-lessons
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.