Four PAP MPs – Zaqy Mohamad, Baey Yam Keng, Lim Biow Chuan and Ang Wei Neng – denounced that the PAP town council’s practice of having contractor’s employees appointed council management positions is not corruption. Instead, they called it “double-hatting”. In a joint media statement, they wrote:
“To guard against problems that could arise from double-hatting, staff are constantly reminded to declare any potential conflicts.”
Ang Mo Kio GRC Town Council is currently under investigation from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), as a complaint has been made against their council’s general manager, Victor Wong. It was then revealed in state media reports that Victor Wong is also an employee of the council’s contractor managing agent, CPG Facilities Management. This conflict of interests is in essence corruption as Victor Wong’s employer directly benefit from the lucrative council contracts offered by the PAP town council, where Victor Wong is a management figure capable of influencing the awarding of contracts.
All 14 PAP Town Councils practice such corruption practice, except the Opposition’s Aljunied-Hougang Town Council and the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council.
Government-owned education institutes are now speaking up for the Prime Minister whose town council is embroiled in the corruption charge. Singapore Management University associate professor of law Eugene Tan told the state media yesterday claiming there is no conflict of interests:
“Mr Wong was a staff member of CPG and did not have an ownership stake in the firm. If he were an owner, he would have stood to gain directly through decisions made regarding tenders, for instance.”
In retrospect, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took a strategic 10-day leave and is not named for corruption investigation. The Prime Minister himself “double-hat” as the chairman of GIC, the country’s sovereign wealth fund company handling CPF investments.