Archive for January, 2013

Reblog: Views on the AIM saga

January 4, 2013 2 comments

There are many posts in the blogosphere discussing on the almost embarrassing act of a Prime Minister shooting out lawyer letters to Alex Au, the blogger of the popular So I am not going to write more, since the questions are very much well known. I do, have a couple of posts from other social-political website that shares my sentiments and questions regarding the saga. So in my bid to promote similar views, I have them reblogged on my blog:



Stop being so childish, prime minister

It is barely the first week of the new year and we already have a threat of legal action from the People’s Action Party (PAP) / Government. PM Lee Hsien Loong had sent a lawyer’s letter to well known and very much respected blogger, activist and writer, Alex Au, demanding Alex removed his blog posts about Action Information Management, the PAP-owned company embroiled in the controversy over a certain computer system.

It is unclear whether PM Lee had sent the letter in his personal capacity, or as the prime minister or secretary general of the PAP. Whatever it is, the demand was clear – remove the allegedly offending post, and publish an apology, or else.

It is the same old tiring, tiresome, and tired tactic of issuing threats instead of engaging the issue or the alleged allegations. Threatening to take legal action over blog postings is, to be honest, infantile. It is childish because it does not befit the office of the prime minister to take offence so easily, when he has in his power all the resources to engage the issue, clarify any perceived falsehoods, or lay out the facts of the issue at hand. In short, he could very well take some time, have a bit of patience, and debate or discuss the issues and in the process enlighten everyone – and maybe gain a bit more respect too from his detractors.

But no. A lawyer’s letter was obviously deemed the better option.

Nonetheless, lets not let this threat of legal action distract us from the very important matter of the AIM/PAP controversy – for there are still many questions, serious questions, left unanswered, even after some 3 weeks since the matter came into the public spotlight.

Dr Teo Ho Pin, the coordinating chairman of the 14 PAP town councils, have yet to explain, for example, why he and the chairmen of the town councils, did not see the conflict of interest of awarding and selling the rights of the computer system to a PAP-owned company. If they did, why did they still choose to go ahead in awarding the contract to AIM?

He has also not disclosed how much was used to develop the software in the first place. Or indeed, how much AIM paid for the software. Why was AIM’s bid for the contract submitted, apparently, one week after the closing date of the tender – and accepted?

Alex raised some very pertinent matters too – such as the danger that there is nothing to stop the PAP from selling out other services to PAP-owned companies. By the way, the PAP has declined to reveal how many companies it owns. This too is a problem because any opposition party which wins a constituency may find itself having to deal with PAP-owned companies, as the Workers’ Party did with AIM in Aljunied.

It is thus important, in the name of full accountability, that the PAP disclose the number of companies it has, and the nature of their business.

In the case of AIM, the PAP declined to disclose its past business dealings, or other details about the company.

So, in spite of the threat of legal action by the prime minister, these questions are being asked even more loudly now – and it would do the PAP a whole lot of good if it addressed each one openly.

And the best way to do so is in a “live” press conference in the presence of the mainstream media and the alternative media. Take the matter head-on, clear all doubts, lay out all facts.

That is, if the PAP has nothing to hide, which I am sure is the case.

And it really – I mean, really – is time to lay down the hatchet.

Engage Singaporeans. Engage the issue. Engage the questions – and not engage lawyers to issue threats.

Stop being so childish, prime minister.



Mr Khaw Boon Wan
People’s Action Party

Dear Mr Khaw

I refer to the newspaper report ‘PAP explains software sale to AIM’ (link: The report states that ‘The PAP declined to comment on the number of companies it owns’.

The PAP being a political party is subjected to the political donations act; an act which the PAP dominated Parliament passed as being integral in safeguarding the integrity of the domestic political process, and to ensure that political organisations are not funded by foreign elements or sources.

Since the Party is subjected to the said Act, it is important for the Party to give details of the companies the Party own, for only that will give the general public the confidence that the ruling party is not above the integrity expected of other organisations involved in the local political process, and that it is not funded by foreign elements or sources.

I write to you as Party Chairman to shed more light on this issue.

Thank you.”

AIM (PAP-owned company) too, like its owner, has declined to give details of its track record and business dealings. This silence, is extremely disturbing, and I hope I get a response from PAP’s chairman soon.

In the midst of the unraveling of this issue, some have accused Workers’ Party of keeping relative silence because they too like the PAP, have engaged their own company to manage the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council. That accusation is not true.

While the PAP has acknowledged that AIM is owned by PAP, FM Solution & Services Pte Ltd (FMSS) is not owned by WP, and also no WP member has any interest in FMSS (see THIS). Yes, the General Manager of FMSS may have formerly been the secretary of Hougang Town Council, but where the town councils are so politicised, I can understand why.

With the PAP deciding to not disclose which are the companies they own, you don’t know which are the ones the PAP owns and which they don’t. If WP is not careful about who they award the town council management contract to, and if it gets awarded to a PAP-owned company, that company may potentially sabotage WP’s town council operations in order to reduce WP’s electability in the same constituency in the next General Election.

The PAP being the ruling party, and being the governing party for over 50 years, must first set fairness as a benchmark. Where that is not established, whether WP’s action to award contract to FMSS was beyond reproach or not, becomes very subjective. And no, it’s not a competition about who’s more wrong, or where the greater conflict of interest lies. The fact is, WP does not own any companies – not one of the other political parties do.  But PAP does, and no one knows how many such companies they own.

WP, and all the other opposition parties try to serve the citizens of Singapore, in an uneven field created by the PAP;  but they compete with more integrity than the PAP.


All in all, the questions raised are logical. As a citizen, it is my right to question the questionable. How the heck can one sounds ‘in-defamtory’ when the PAP is not giving clear details on their explanation (and it took them more than 3 days to come up with an answer??? That itself is questionable!)?  PAP has a chance to showcase their integrity and transparency by coming forward to explain with concrete evidence that Alex’s posts are defamatory. Yet, they stupidly choose to undertake the perceived negatively action of throwing libel suits. What they achieved in the end is probably a slight relief of having suggestive posts being taken down but end up being a loud hailer for deeper questioning of the AIM saga.

Dear Prime Minister, seriously, grow up. Give me the answers that we citizens demand and deserve. As a political party, in the name of transparency, which the PAP has always loudly acclaimed, disclose all the companies the PAP owns or have vested interest in. How else do you expect citizens to believe there’s no dealings being undertaken that could run against the interest of Singaporeans? Given the recent episodes of corruption and immoral coverings of senior civil servants, including a MP/ Speaker of the House, where is the guarantee that such bad apples or dealings don’t exist within the PAP party? After all, didn’t the ruling party absorb most of their ‘talents’ from the exact same pool?