The High Court hearing on the appointment of Independent Accountants (IAs) to oversee government grants given to AHPETC has begun today, with Ms Sylvia Lim stating outside court that the case is “wholly unnecessary”. But from my view, I think the case is totally necessary for everyone’s sake.
The Workers’ Party’s big chance
This could have been the Workers’ Party’s big chance to show they are willing to practise what they preach and get a one-up on the PAP. Afterall, what’s the point of talking about transparency when you only appear to transparent to one group but not to all others? Yes, its understandable that the AHPETC should first be accountable to their residents but it should never stop there. At some point, they need to be accountable to all Singaporeans. All of us deserve to know what is happening as we could be faced with a similar choice in a future election.
Or a chance not taken?
Instead, from what’s being reported, AHPETC has decided to appoint their own external auditor (One wonders what happened to their previous auditor Foo Kon Tan LLP?) and is contesting the appointment of IAs to “safeguard public funds”. The appointment of the IAs should be good for residents as grants, including the previously withheld, will now be dispursed. While it is understood that there have been some “mistakes” in accountancy, refusing to allow an IA to safeguard public funds gives the impression that there may be more than meets the eye.
The AGO has already cited a number of “mistakes” and AHPETC should stand up for its errors. Allowing IAs in could be a step towards showing to the PAP that they may have make mistakes but are willing to learn and correct them. For those that are still/were on the fence about the Workers’ Party (mind you, 45% of Aljunied did not vote for them), this was that big opportunity to win over people by saying “Come and check us!” to the PAP. Unfortunately, I guess we are going to be left disappointed.
What’s there to hide?
So, the question is what does AHPETC not want us to know? Why is there a need to mount such a “vigorous defence” if there’s nothing to hide and no wrong done? Is it really a matter of protecting the “interest of our residents”?
Anyway, now we are left with weak arguments from AHPETC, no real answers, a legal battle and a lack of money to last past June. But above all these, it has been a wasted opportunity to show that they are transparent, like they claim.