Yesterday (August 29), the Ministry of Development published an open letter damning the Worker’s Party for the profits of its Town Council’s managing agent, FM Solutions and Services (FMSS), calling it “grossly profiteering” and “over-charging”.

The accusation may not be wrong if one solely look at the balance sheet of FMSS but the reality is that FMSS is a private entity and not answerable to public monies. Let’s take for example, Temasek Holdings. It’s group administrative expenses is S$9.6 billion in 2015 – near the equivalent of Singapore’s armed force budget in a year, and the question again is if Temasek Holdings is responsible for public monies when it appears that Temasek Holdings is “grossly profiteering” from the low interest rate it borrowed from the Singapore Government? Is the Singapore Government going to recover from Temasek Holdings this overpayment?

Logo of Ministry of National Development
Logo of Ministry of National Development

If you are a business owner, will you be responsible for your contractor’s profits even when you are made a loss? Another example will be SMRT and SBS, why are they allowed to over-charge and grossly profiteer from Singaporean’s public fares? Is the Ministry of Transport going to recover the overpayment? After all, didn’t Singaporeans paid S$1.1 billion for 550 SMRT and SBS buses, and even using the Singapore army, a state resource, to help manage its crowd during train breakdowns.

Being a reasonable voice, I do not expect Temasek Holdings, SMRT and SBS to recover the profits they made from the public because these are all contract-based. We expect the Singapore Government to honour its contracts and we should not expect Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol-East Town Council (AHPETC) to do so otherwise. Even so, the AHPETC has actually made a surplus which is conveniently left out in the political attacks by members of the ruling party.

The Ministry of National Development (MND) is being mischievous asking unreasonable questions during an election period, especially when the matter was brought to the court thrice and the MND has lost two cases.

It is a sad state of affair a government ministry has become a tool to gain political mileage for the ruling party. The Corruption Practices Investigation Bureau should investigate the MND’s behaviour in recent months because their actions have cost substantial public resources and appear politically-motivated.

You may read WP’s response to MND here.