Friends with Benefits: WP favors its own.
The WP town councillors say that they had to use FMSS, they had no choice because no one wanted to work with them. This is patently false (hyperlink to “Crying wolf) because there are many companies that work with both PAP and WP TCs.
Instead, the truth is that WP actively chose to favour its own supporters
1. The WP benefits its friends at the expense of residents
FMSS was clearly set up with the intention of taking over the management of the newly-formed AHTC. The personnel behind FMSS likewise knew that they would be doing so. Otherwise, why would anybody bother forming FMSS?
FMSS was only incorporated 4 days after the 2011 General Elections, and is largely-owned by AHPETC Secretary Mr Danny Loh (Secretary) and his wife Ms How Weng Fan, General Manager of the town council. These material facts were not recorded in town council meeting minutes.
Shortly after its set-up, FMSS was awarded AHTC’s 1st MA and EMSU Contracts for FY2011-12 by waiver of tender. In other words, AHTC did not call any tenders, and neither did it make any effort to inquire if other companies would be keen to provide the services.
AHTC had already decided beforehand that it wanted to award these contracts to FMSS. This is made clearer by the Audit’s finding that, for the 1st EMSU contract, the TC had in fact paid FMSS fees of some 36.7% higherthan those charged by two incumbent contractors. For the 2nd MA and EMSU Contracts for FY2012-15, FMSS, as sole bidder, was awarded both tenders. Specifically, FMSS’ MA rate for FY2012-13 was some 20% higherthan the former ATC’s MA rate and some 50% higher than Tampines TC’s (comparable in size to AHPETC) MA rate for the same FY.
The increased MA rates led to higher S&CC for residents.
Clearly, the WP had decided from the start that it would award the contracts to FMSS. That is why they got their supporters and AHPETC officers to set up the company in the first place.
By favouring FMSS, the WP has also allowed FMSS to set higher rates than other MAs.
2. The entire arrangement appears only to benefit FMSS, with no real benefit to the TC or residents.
The AHPETC had allowed its officers to set up FMSS to provide services to the TC, instead of hiring them directly, as was the case in Hougang. Such an arrangement meant that, on top of paying these officers’ salaries (which formed part of the MA fees), the TC had to fork out an additional 3.5% project management fee to FMSS.
It is also curious that FMSS, being a company with no track record and only one client, was given the contracts, since it offered no economies of scale and/or cost savings to AHPETC.
3. WP politicized Town Councils
By using an MA set up by WP associates, AHPETC has effectively politicised town council management. This makes Mr Low’s complaint that town council management is politicised hypocritical - he himself had politicised AHPETC management in the first place.
Nobody is ‘out to get them’, nor are companies intentionally avoiding them.
The WP is crying wolf to say that no one wants its business. We would play into its hands should we continue this political baiting, pitting the WP against the PAP. This is primarily a municipal and not a political issue.
The TC has clearly not served the interests of its residents. The residents are the real victims of this saga. There are more than 150,000 residents in the town– and $3 million in S&CC fees coming in each month. The issue at hand must surely be to correct the mistakes and put in measures to safeguard the funds and interests of the town.