Colors: Blue Color

The latest Town Council Management Report for April 2018 to March this year was just published by the Ministry of National Development. They were judged in five different categories - Estate Cleanliness, Estate Maintenance, Lift Performance, S&CC Arrears Management & Corporate Governance. There were three bands to each category - Green, Amber & Red with green being the best of course.

Corporate Governance measures the town council's compliance with the law in areas such as announcing and awarding tenders.

AHTC got a green banding for Corporate Governance. However, in MND's statement, they attributed the green banding to KPMG which the town council hired in 2016 following a Court of Appeal ruling.

In their statement they said:

"Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) has achieved a “Green” banding for the Corporate Governance indicator. This was due in large part to the efforts of KPMG (the accountants appointed by AHTC pursuant to a Court order in 2015), which assisted AHTC in its remediation of past control failures and audit points over a period of 24 months. HDB had provided funding for this work done by KPMG."

So you guys might think oh okay. "Maybe not so bad la. They want to steal credit let them steal lor. We all know WP and AHTC is clean can liao." 

Well you guys are wrong. Because that's not all there is to the statement.

In paragraph 8 of MND's statement, they started to claim that Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim's conduct is bad and even requested for reasons as to why Low and Lim are not recused on AHTC’s financial matters, and on whether AHTC intends to implement other interim measures or safeguards. They then claim that they will further consider if further actions are needed to be taken in order to "ensure the proper safeguarding of public monies entrusted to Town Councils."

Come on. Does that not just sound like they are trying hard to fix Lim and Low? They aren't even trying to hide! A green banding already proves that they are clean and yet they continue to insinuate otherwise.

Not to mention, don't you think that the results from MND's Town Council Management Report is dubious at best? Green for Estate Cleanliness for all PAP wards? Do you take us for idiots? 

Seems to us like PAP is desperately trying to fix oppositions this time round. But the more they do this, the more we know. And the better our voting choices will be.

You can read the full statement from MND here:

Observations

5. The broad observations for the indicators are as follows: 

a) Estate Cleanliness. 15 TCs were banded “Green” and 1 TC was banded “Amber”. TCs which had less than 4 counts of cleanliness observations per block on average were banded “Green”, while TCs which had 4 to less than 8 counts of cleanliness observations per block on average were banded “Amber”. 

b) Estate Maintenance. 13 TCs were banded “Green” and 3 TCs were banded “Amber”. TCs which had less than 4 counts of maintenance observations per block on average were banded “Green”, while TCs which had 4 to less than 8 counts of maintenance observations per block on average were banded “Amber”.

c) Lift Performance.  All TCs were banded “Green” as there were less than 2 breakdowns every month for every 10 lifts managed by the TCs, and the lifts’ ARD failure rate was zero.  

d) S&CC Arrears Management.  All TCs were banded “Green” as there were less than 4 in 100 households that owed arrears for 3 months or more, and less than 40% of the monthly collectible S&CC for the town was overdue.

e) Corporate Governance. 14 TCs were banded “Green”, and 2 TCs were banded “Amber” due to one count each of non-compliance with the TCs Act and the TCFR respectively: 

i) Holland-Bukit Panjang – Collection of charges for the use of outdoor display areas (ODAs) by third-party retailers. This goes beyond the provisions of the Town Councils (Use of Common Property) Rules which require the ODAs to be confined to incidental use by existing businesses.

ii) Jurong-Clementi – The TCFR allows quotations of up to $3,000 to be obtained verbally and approved, and thereafter circulated to the Town Council for information. While the TC had obtained approval from the appropriate authority for these quotations, it had not circulated them as required by the TCFR.   

6. Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) has achieved a “Green” banding for the Corporate Governance indicator. This was due in large part to the efforts of KPMG (the accountants appointed by AHTC pursuant to a Court order in 2015), which assisted AHTC in its remediation of past control failures and audit points over a period of 24 months. HDB had provided funding for this work done by KPMG.  

7. Separately, MND notes the recent High Court judgment in October 2019 which found that Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Low Thia Khiang, both elected town councillors of AHTC, had acted dishonestly and in breach of their fiduciary duties, and that their conduct had lacked integrity and candour. Despite these serious and grave findings, AHTC has resolved during its recent quarterly meeting that Ms Lim and Mr Low do not need to recuse themselves from AHTC’s financial matters. 

8. For good governance, AHTC should take interim measures to safeguard its procurement and payment processes immediately. Until and unless the Court findings in respect of Ms Lim’s and Mr Low’s conduct are reversed by the appellate Court, they remain good and should be taken seriously by AHTC. In particular, MND remains concerned as to whether the measures implemented under KPMG’s guidance are adequate to guard against a recurrence of the past control failures if Ms Lim and Mr Low continue to be involved with AHTC’s financial affairs, especially since the adequacy of the measures is entirely dependent on their implementation by the individuals involved with AHTC’s financial affairs. In this regard, MND has written to AHTC on 4 December 2019 to request for information on AHTC’s reasons for not requiring Ms Lim’s and Mr Low’s recusal on AHTC’s financial matters, and on whether AHTC intends to implement other interim measures or safeguards. Upon receiving AHTC’s response, MND will further consider whether regulatory action needs to be taken in order to ensure the proper safeguarding of public monies entrusted to Town Councils. 

TCMR Review

9. From FY2020, the Lift Performance Indicator will be revised to a holistic assessment which considers the frequency and duration of lift faults. This will serve as a more direct measure of the experience of residents in using their lifts. The revised Indicator will be a composite measure of the frequency of fault occurrences of all faults measured by the Tele-Monitoring System (TMS) used by TCs, and the duration of lift downtime experienced by residents as a result of such TMS faults. TCs which have less than 2 lift faults per 10 lifts and less than 1 hour of downtime per lift each month, will be banded “Green”. The remaining indicators are being reviewed progressively, and details will be announced when ready.

Enquiries 

10. Members of the public can refer to the TCs’ FY2018 financial statements on the respective TCs’ websites.  The TCMR results can be found on www.mnd.gov.sg/towncouncils. 

After an in-depth study, the Cross Island Line (CRL) will be going 70m under our Central Catchment Nature Reserve. There were initially two options - to skirt around the reserve or to go under it. The Ministry of Transport have determined that going under the reserve will result in a shorter travel time and construction costs are expected to be about $2 billion cheaper. 

This has also made residents at Upper Thomson feel at ease. If the skirting option was chosen, the MRT line would have been running below their houses. The direct route under the Central Catchment Nature Reserve also caused worry to nature groups as this could set a precedent for future work in protected areas.

Do you think they chose the right option? Well, at least by choosing the direct route, they have successfully won the votes of those staying in Upper Thomson.

Soh Rui Yong, Singapore's two time SEA games champion marathoner has been embroiled in a dispute with Singapore Athletics, the association which governs and is responsible for all aspects of athletics within Singapore. Soh has already sent them a lawyers letter demanding for a public apology as well as damages for libel, including aggravated damages.

Soh was rejected by the SNOC this year from taking part in the SEA games. 

In the latest brouhaha, he posted an image of him at the Standard Chartered marathon which he also went up against Singapore Athletic's ten men "Team Singapore Elite". The caption was as follows when first posted: 

hydrationbottle.jpg

It has now been edited to say "Endure and overcome!"

In the photo, Soh can also be seen trying to look for his hydration bottle. Is Singapore Athletics so petty as to do such a thing? Or were they trying their best to show that their "Team Singapore Elite" is better? What if the runner gets a heat stroke halfway through his run? Or are they THAT incompetent that they can't even place a bottle at the respective stations?

Whatever it is, it seems as though the officials in Singapore are incredibly thin-skinned and petty. A state run by "elites" who can't tell they are wrong.

The government has accepted recommendations by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP).

Some of the recommendations include:

1. A minimum age of 16 for e-scooter users to ride on cycling paths. Those who are using the e-scooters under the age of 16 will have to be supervised by adults. 

2. Riders will also be required to pass a theory test. Electric bicycle riders are also required to pass the theory test before riding on cycling paths and roads.

3. Businesses have to obtain a third-party liability insurance to cover e-scooter users who ride in the course of their work. A mandatory insurance for e-scooter users will be coming into play in the future.

4. PMD/PMA users will be banned from using mobile phones while riding on cycling paths and roads.

There is currently no word on when these rules will come into play. 

It seems like more and more rules are coming into play for our PMD riders. Some still believe that they will remove the footpath ban in the near future. But as of now, the future seems bleak.

It was just announced by the Public Service Division (PSD) that civil servants that are below the superscale grade will receive a 0.1 month year end annual variable component (AVC) and an additional lump sum of between $250 to $1,500. 

This is compared to last year's 1 month AVC. PSD attributed this to "prevailing economic uncertainties" and will therefore "exercise restraint" for the year end bonus. However, this 0.1 + lump sum AVC bonus is in addition to the 1 month Non-Pensionable Annual Allowance (NPAA, 13th month bonus). 

So much for exercising restraint right? They are still getting at least one month! People in the private sector are worrying over whether they might get retrenched from their jobs with these "economic uncertainties". And what about the 60,000 people who are jobless which Josephine Teo so easily shrugged off? Do you think they have bonuses?

For civil servants who think they are being underpaid for your bonuses, just tahan for one round. For all we know, this might just be a show just before the elections. Show that you guys are "exercising restraint" and not swallowing up taxpayers money. But after the elections you might be getting six month bonuses if the whities get voted in again. 

Huat ah.

DPM Stroke Heng made a opening speech at a public dialogue session during the Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore)’s ConservAction Week held from Nov. 26 to 28, 2019.

During his speech, he claims that the government intends to expand our green spaces from 7800 hectares to almost 9000 hectares. This is all part of their vision of becoming a "Biophilic City in a Garden" where Singaporeans can connect to nature and share green spaces with wildlife.

Now this all sounds dandy and fine but one can only wonder where are we going to get the space for the green spaces. More reclaimed land? Doesn't sound very environmentally friendly now, does it? Singapore is a small dot on the world map. We do not have much space and already our government has been building more and more buildings to cater for new citizens.

So just how are they going to get more land space for these greenery?? Is our government trying to talk big again? All talk and no action. Just saying things to make citizens happy just before elections as usual.

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