Singapore: MND orders Aljunied Town Council to restrict rights of opposition figures to make financial decisions

  • Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong has issued an order requiring Aljunied Hougang Town Council to restrict the powers of Workers’ Party MPs Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang in making certain financial decisions at the town council.
  • The Ministry of National Development (MND) said in a statement on 3 Jan 20 that this was to guard against a repeat of the financial irregularities at the town council which were caused by the duo. The case centred on their role in awarding contracts to FM Solutions and Services (FMSS) and FM Solutions and Integrated Services (FMSI) without calling for tenders.
  • The two (Lim and Low) will now not have authority to unilaterally incur or approve expenditure on behalf of AHTC, unilaterally accept or waive any quotation or tender for any stores, services or works on behalf of AHTC or serve as cheque signatories for AHTC
  • this does not affect the other functions and duties of Ms Lim and Mr Low at AHTC and they can continue to discharge their duties as elected members of the town council, like taking part in discussions and casting votes as part of committees.
  • For non-compliance, the chairman or secretary of the town council can also be subject to a fine of SGD5,000, plus a jail term of up to 12 months.
  • In its statement on 3 Jan 20, MND said it had carefully considered a letter, dated 13 Dec 19, from AHTC explaining why Low and Lim did not recuse themselves from all financial matters in AHTC. MND said that the reasons provided by AHTC for not requiring Ms Lim and Mr Low to recuse themselves […] do not detract from the grave and serious Court findings on Ms Lim’s and Mr Low’s conduct.

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