In her statement to the apex court on August 3, Workers’ Party Chairman Sylvia Lim highlighted that the Opposition party has been getting “exemplary treatment” and unfairly singled out by the Ministry of National Development (MND). Just last month alone, the Auditor-General Office (AGO) found multiple lapses and, in some cases, possible criminal corruption in many statutory boards under several ministries.
One such statutory board under the MND highlighted in the AGO’s report is National Park Board (NParks) over the budget of the S$1 billion project, Garden By the Bay. However the MND did not pursue the matter against NParks in the same scale as it did to the Opposition Town Council, AHPETC.
Sylvia Lim pointed out that the MND should also be taking actions against government agencies, especially the People’s Association, which also have multiple lapses. Given how zealous MND is at in taking AHPETC to task, she said she expect the MND to take legal actions against them too. However, this is not so.
AHPETC’s lawyer Peter Low added that the MND is responsible for making AHPETC late in making transfer to its sinking fund because the ministry refused to release the money. The Singapore Judge, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, however said that it is “unhelpful” to bring up this argument as previous judgments have ruled that the Workers’ Party is to be blamed not transferring. Currently the MND owes AHPETC S$14 million in government grants and, at the same time, the AHPETC is late to transfer S$12.46 million into its sinking fund. All other PAP Town Councils have made their quarterly transfers as they have received their respective government grant in time.
The MND has lost two lawsuits against the AHPETC, and this case is currently in the apex court after MND lost its appeal in the High Court.