Steve WU -- The Rule of Law and the Paradox of the AIM Transaction 4
Part 4 – Town Councils Are Apolitical Entities
Contrary to what Baey Yam Keng and Khaw Boon Wan claim, I have made clear that the Town Councils are apoliticalentities under the Town Councils Act (Cap. 329A) in Part 1. This is aligned with the same reason that Khaw Boon Wan, being the Minister for National Development, cannot claim that the MND is a political entity because he is a PAP member.
Yet we find that the MND Review Team has arrived at some bizarre conclusions (highlighted in bold).
Sections 5 and 6, MND Town Council Review Report
5. A key function of TCs is to manage and maintain common properties in public housing estates, a public service function previously carried out across all constituencies by the Housing & Development Board (HDB). TCs thus deliver a public service previously handled solely by HDB across the country. The persons selected to lead the management of TCs are selected on a political basis. They are MPs serving the constituents of the wards that have elected them, and an intent of the Town Councils Act was that how they manage and run their TCs will have a bearing on their electoral fortunes at the next election. Given the political character of the TC’s leadership and the political implications attached to the management of the TC, it is inevitable that the TC function is carried out in a competitive politicised context.
6. The Town Councils Act (TCs Act) and subsidiary legislation such as the Town Council Financial Rules (TCFR) reflect a recognition of this political nature of TCs. The intent is to give the elected MPs as much latitude as possible to run the TCs within broad and general rules laid down to ensure proper governance and safeguard public interest. For instance, TCs are required to keep proper accounts, which must be audited annually. These accounts need to be audited by an independent auditor who needs to state whether the receipts, expenditures, investments and the acquisition and disposal of assets have been in accordance with the TCs Act. The TCs Act also does not prohibit transactions with persons or entities associated with political parties. In the administration of the Act, latitude has always been given to MPs, across political parties, to exercise autonomy in their judgement on such matters as to how best to achieve their agenda and serve their residents’ interest.
The TCs Act is to constitute and to govern the conduct of the town council. Section 15 of the TCs Act shall already prohibit transactions with entities associated with political parties, contrary to the claim of the Review Team (Section 6, TCRR). The AIM transactions in 1994 and 2010 respectively could not have taken place without violating section 15 of the TCs Act.
Indeed, one cannot find the word political or any derivative thereof in the original enactment by Act 12 of 1988 or the TCFR. Furthermore, the TCRR fails to substantiate the claim that the TCs are political entities, even by quoting Goh Chok Tong’s second reading of the Town Councils Bill (after section 3, TCRR).
Goh Chok Tong, then First Deputy Prime Minister, Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (28 June 1988), vol. 51, col. 379
This Bill will contribute to the attainment of the two philosophical objectives.
First, it transfers some power from the HDB to the MPs and grassroots leaders. It gives them, and the residents, greater power and responsibility to manage their own affairs and to participate in their estate’s development.
Second, because MPs will have increased authority and responsibility, voters will be more likely to vote carefully and sincerely, and to choose honest and effective MPs.
Neither the excerpt nor Goh’s entire parliamentary speech in that instance supported the thesis the TC is political because the TC’s leadership is political. What relevant provisions in the TCs Act and the subsidiary legislation consistent with the TCs Act support this thesis? I cannot find any.
There was an amendment (Act 37 of 1996) which added a new section 33A and it was subsequently amended and re-numbered as section 34. The section added a new political dimension to the TCs Act for the first time but not in the manner one may expect.
Section 34(3), Town Councils Act (Cap 329A) – Transfer of surpluses after Parliamentary election.
(3) Where there is an election in any or every whole constituency within a Town without any prior alteration to the boundaries of such constituency, the Town Council for the Town shall, subject to subsection (7), transfer its surpluses in the following manner:
(a) if the Member or Members elected and the previous Member or Members for the constituency stood in elections for the same political party — 80% of its surpluses relating to such area of the Town comprised in that constituency shall be transferred to the prescribed sinking funds of the Town Council relating to that area; or
(b) if the Member or Members elected and the previous Member or Members for the constituency stood in elections for different political parties — all its surpluses relating to such area of the Town comprised in that constituency shall be transferred to the prescribed sinking funds of the Town Council relating to that area. Act 37 of 1996
The astute reader shall recognize that the sections 34(3)(a) and 34(3)(b) of the TCs Act areunconstitutional (Article 12) and therefore are void (Article 4).
Article 12(1), Constitution – Equal protection.
12.—(1) All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.
Pursuant to section 34 of the TCs Act, a TC resident shall unconstitutionally suffer a loss in service level just because the TC is denied certain funds on the basis of the elected MP. The same constitutional argument (Article 12) applies against the pork barrel politics as practiced by the PAP, e.g. preferential award of the grants-in-aid, lift upgrading, and general estate upgrading funds to the PAP TCs.
*Steve Wu is a physicist; he enjoys logical and critical analysis. Occasionally, he takes on issues which affect a little red dot on a tiny pale blue planet in an otherwise nondescript corner of an average galaxy in a vast universe.
 The Rule of Law and the Paradox of the AIM Transaction
 The Rule of Law and the Paradox of the AIM Transaction 2 – Conflict of Interest
 The Rule of Law and the Paradox of the AIM Transaction 3 – Misleading Parliament
 The Rule of Law and the Paradox of the AIM Transaction 4 – Town Councils Are Apolitical Entities-->>>>>>>>>> TO HELP ME, COMPLETE THESE STATEMENTS, THANKS: http://roberthorequestforstatements.blogspot.com/My wife, an accountant, then a manager in an MNC drawing a 5-figure salary before she retired, can confirm that I write the Truth in all these. <<<<<<<<<<RH: LKY LHL WKS ELECTION RIGGINGS EMAILED TO ALMOST ENTIRE GOVT:
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