The Workers’ Party (WP) chairman, Sylvia Lim, fired another salvo at the People’s Action Party (PAP) over the AIM saga at the WP rally on Tuesday night. It was a little of a surprise since she had withdrawn her adjournment motion which she had filed in parliament, citing the convening of the review announced by the prime minister as the reason.
Nonetheless, kudos to Ms Lim for not letting the matter rest – and for also raising it during the by-election, a period which she knows would give it maximum publicity.
And indeed it has.
Swiftly, though, the man on the other side of the fence – Dr Teo Ho Pin, coordinating chairman of the 14 PAP town councils at the centre of the controversy – issued a statement on the same night in response to Ms Lim’s rally attack.
But – again – Dr Teo has missed the entire point altogether. Again, he refuses to acknowledge the issues which many are and have been raising. Instead, he reiterated the same tiresome – and irrelevant – points he had previously made, namely (and in his words):
a) AIM was awarded the contract after an open tender by PAP Town Councils, to centralise software to maintain the current IT system and help develop a new system
b) The transaction brought benefits and savings to the Town Councils. AIM did not make any financial gains from the transaction.
c) It was the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) which terminated the contract, and not AIM. Ms Lim herself has admitted that the AHTC’s arrears are high, and that this has nothing to do with AIM or the changeover of the IT system, and that the AHTC could do better. This is the key issue – the performance of the Town Councils, and how well they are managed by the WP.
It feels like Dr Teo is stuck in a time-warp, oblivious or pretending to be oblivious to the issues raised, which centres on questions of transparency, a conflict of interests, the costs of developing the computer system in question, and the tender process itself.
In short, Dr Teo seems to still be sleeping.
As the silence continues, more questions will surface, and the public will take it upon themselves to dig for information – as indeed someone apparently did, in this article on Temasek Review Emeritus: Did TCs develop software for $5M before selling it to AIM for $140K?
The issue seems to be getting bigger with each passing day, and the longer the matter is left to fester, the more the PAP government will lose the people’s trust.
It is a simple matter of being open and laying out all the information, and answering the questions which the public have.
There really is no need for a “review” of the sale of the computer system, as the prime minister has ordered.
The danger here for the PAP government is that if it is not forthcoming with the information or answers to the questions, and if indeed dubious ongoings pertaining to the sale are further unearthed, this has the potential to do some real damage to the PAP.
And I will not rule out an early general election as a result.
The sooner the PAP wakes up and come clean, the better it is for it.
There is still time – before it veers off the path and plunges over the edge.
Maybe it is time the co-driver gave the driver a kick instead of a slap – by publishing or making known the other contracts (as Ms Lim disclosed in her rally speech) which carry similar termination clauses. It would be interesting to know what these other contracts are, and if AIM – the PAP company in the middle of the current fiasco – or any other PAP company is also involved in any of these contracts.