PAP mis-AIMed, faces blowback, part 4

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Teo Ho Pin’s latest public statement regarding the sale of the town council computer system to Action Information Management Pte Ltd (AIM) is far from convincing. If anything, it lends even more weight to suspicions that it was improperly decided and executed.

His statement was posted on Facebook 2 January 2013 (link), and here.  It’s been picked apart (I think by Molly Meek) line by line here. I agree with the comments there and there’s no need for me to repeat them. See also the commentary by Harish Pillay.

The statement provides considerably more detail than have been disclosed so far. At least it produces the benefit of focussing the issue down to five key areas:

The decision to sell

Teo’s explanation about the decision to sell is wholly unconvincing. For seven years, the 14 People’s Action Party-run town councils had dealt directly with National Computer Systems Pte Ltd (NCS), including through the most complex phase — developing the software in the early years. All of a sudden, when the software had become mature through use, a decision was made to sell it simply because they needed to negotiate an extension beyond 2011 with NCS. There are many ways a group of users can liaise efficiently with a vendor through a point person or team; selling the software is not the most compelling.

I am not convinced that we have heard the real reason why Teo and the town councils chose this route.

Moreover, when Teo offered “Having each of the 14 individual TCs hold the Intellectual Property (IP) rights to the software was cumbersome and inefficient” as a reason, it is almost laughable. Here is software that is becoming obsolete, that the town councils were nearly sure they’d have to replace completely, and they’re concerned about who should hold the rights to the corpse? Offering such a lame excuse only adds to suspicion.

The tender notice

Having made the decision to sell, how was it executed? The tender notice looks rather shoddy. Several questions have been raised by The Online Citizen, such as over the paucity of information about what the contract would be about, the two-week period when it should be three, etc. (See The curious case of the tender notice with no details). It gives the impression that there was no interest in securing wider participation.

Teo’s statement does not address these questions. Was he not aware of them even though The Online Citizen posted the article about 48 hours before Teo released his statement?

Commercial or political value?

Teo has now disclosed who the other four parties were who, besides AIM, purchased tender documents. They were NCS, CSC Technologies Services Pte Ltd, Hutcabb Consulting Pte Ltd, and NEC Asia Pte Ltd. A simple websearch will reveal that all four are reputable IT companies with an impressive list of clients. AIM does not even have a website.

Yet none of the four chose to submit a bid. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that none saw any commercial value in the deal.


Town councils made a small profit from the sale, Teo said

Teo said, “AIM was willing to purchase our existing software IP for S$140,000, and lease it back at S$785 per month from November 2010 to October 2011.”

[Aside: Once again, he doesn't actually say that AIM paid $140,000 for it. Why does he not say it in plain language?]

S$785 per month multiplied by 12 months and multiplied by 14 town councils, means the total lease fees paid back to AIM was S$131,880. This appears to be the basis for his assertion that the town councils “expected to gain a modest amount (about S$8,000) from the disposal of IP in the existing software.”

But seven paragraphs down, Teo said AIM was now charging the town councils a management fee of S$33,150 for the 18-month period November 2011 to April 2013. Several questions follow:

1. Was this part of the June 2010 tender or was this negotiated separately after AIM had been awarded the tender? This is important because if it was part of the tender, the other four parties might have seen commercial value and put in bids. If it was negotiated separately without calling for a new public tender, how does it meet procurement standards?

2. Add the $8,000 gain and the $33,150 fee and one sees that the town councils are paying AIM more than AIM paid for the asset. Teo might argue that AIM is providing services beyond the asset, but the town councils could have continued dealing directly with NCS and also sourced for a new system (as they did in 2003) without having to pay this sum. Teo needs to explain the rationale.

3. Why did Teo not volunteer to mention this S$33,150 fee in his earlier statement of 24 December 2012? Why the half-truth then? Why only disclose it after I had asked what the fee to AIM was after October 2011?

That being the case, either AIM had special insight and could see commercial value where experienced companies could not — hard to believe, since AIM was a dormant company — or AIM could see value that was not commercial in nature. Given the fact that AIM is owned by the PAP, the inescapable conclusion is that it saw political value. The details in Teo’s statement only reinforce this feeling.

Does PAP ownership qualify or disqualify?

Despite not having any track record — the tender notice had stipulated that it should be an ‘Experienced and reputable company with relevant track record’ —  Teo said AIM was considered a reputable enough company simply because it was a PAP-owned company: “we were confident that AIM, backed by the PAP, would honour its commitments.”

This is to see continents as wet and oceans as dry. Teo is saying that PAP ownership super-qualifies a company (super because it even obviates the need to demonstrate track record) when to any thinking citizen, it should disqualify it.

Despite being the sole bidder, the town councils should never have considered AIM’s offer.

Red line

The most troubling thing is that Teo sees no conflict of interest when putting state assets into partisan hands. It does not matter how it is done, whether through a tender or negotiated sale. The result is plain unacceptable. Arguing that there is nothing illegal about it — as either he or Chandra Das of AIM (and ex-PAP member of parliament) did in an earlier statement — only proves how they resist the ethical question.

There is a red line that should not be crossed. Most citizens can see that.

If the PAP thinks that putting a town council computer system in the hands of a PAP-owned company is not crossing that red line, then tomorrow, we may well wake up to discover that a ministry’s computer system, e.g. the national identity card and passport system, has been sold to the PAP. Or that the Central Provident Fund has entrusted a few billion dollars to a PAP-owned company to manage.

* * * * *

On a slightly happier note, Teo’s statement is notable for one thing it does not dwell on: Aljunied-Hougang Town Council’s (AHTC) switchover to a new system. Earlier, Teo and Chandra Das tried to use it as a smokescreen to avoid scrutiny of their own actions in passing the computer system to AIM.

The mainstream media played their dutiful part, reporting the matter as a “dispute” between PAP and the Workers’ Party which runs AHTC. But social media kept the focus on the sale of the software. Now, Teo’s abandonment of his earlier defensive position and his attempts to answer some of the specific questions raised online show the reach and power of new media.

So, one more time:  Teo and PAP — why don’t you guys see a red line when others quite clearly do?

74 Responses to “PAP mis-AIMed, faces blowback, part 4”


  1. 1 LC 3 January 2013 at 18:59

    Dr Teo’s reply gives a really poor impression of himself and by extension the PAP. Since the current PAP MPs did not have to fight for anything politically, they really are pretty bad at such political exchanges.

    Actually I think most people will be satisfied if Dr Teo came out and gave a full and detailed explanation for the sale and the amounts paid to AIM and NCS. However, he did not, instead using the old trick of revealing some parts and keeping some parts in reserve, probably so as to fend off WP attacks, which have not materialised. This just gives people the impression that he does have something to hide and only increases the sense of injustice of Aljunied voters. Also PM has been content to let Dr Teo do the running, but again gives a poor impression that he is not in charge since Dr Teo is doing such a terrible job.

    In contrast the WP with their restrained but firm stance and hard work to implement their own system gains more respect in the eyes of the people.

    In the end we are given a priceless glimpse of how the PAP works; who knows how many more such schemes are in place. The clean, whiter than white image of the PAP is stained now.

    • 2 Equity 3 January 2013 at 22:05

      The Sage of Omaha once said, “there is never just one cockroah in the kitchen”.

      I am willing to bet my last dollar that there are/were a lot more hanky panky by the PAP that go unreported

  2. 3 Alan 3 January 2013 at 19:03

    It is a fact that some pre-qualification takes place before any bidder are allowed to bid. If this is not done, then any Tom, Dick & Harry can participate.

    So in essense Dr. Teo is trying to have us believe him that AIM is equivalent to the other establised IT specialists companies like NCS, NEC, etc., but has nothing to prove this is so.

    So is he bluffing us or treating us like idiots ?

  3. 6 Soon Chun Siong 3 January 2013 at 19:06

    This is what I call a national conversation!
    The only service that AIM actually “delivered” was to negotiate for extension of contract with NCS at no increase in rates, but was this service even needed in the first place? We have not been provided with any evidence that NCS was going to increase rates in the first place. Perhaps if the Coordinating Chairman had asked them politely, they would have gladly given the same extensions at the same rates. Moreover, does “undertake the risks” mean that AIM would bear the additional costs if NCS did increase their rates? This seems highly unlikely, as the contract extension was between the TCs and NCS, not between AIM and NCS.
    The only other service “provided” by AIM was to speak to other vendors about developing a new system. The development of a new system was expected to take up to 24 months, but it’s been more than 24 months since AIM was awarded the tender, and no presentation by any vendor has actually been made yet. Had the TCs called for an open tender in 2010 to actually develop a new system, rather than this roundabout bs to get a negotiator, the new system might have already been delivered.

  4. 7 SS 3 January 2013 at 19:27

    PAP already sold smrt, singtel, DBS, power stations etc. to temasek very cheaply, only for temasek to sell these formerly state assets at high profits within a short period of time. Thank you for highlighting this sordid state of affair. Please raise the same issue with future transfer of state assets to temasek or GIC.

    • 8 Patrick Lee 4 January 2013 at 00:53

      I think these are 2 separate issues. Temasek and GIC belongs to the state and not to the PAP. That is why profits from Temasek and GIC goes back into the state budget.

      • 9 Ace 4 January 2013 at 10:22

        The only difference is that if these were kept as national assets, you would not need to pay for another layer of management fee/bonuses to Temasek or GIC. What value is added by Temasek or GIC when the value of national assets are increased due to public listing?
        Another case of privatizing profits and socializing losses?

  5. 10 Francis 3 January 2013 at 19:36

    The most important lesson learned from this episode is that a accounting software is a prerequisite for running got MP

    [Yawning Bread: I think you mean "running for MP"]

  6. 11 henry 3 January 2013 at 19:51

    In politics,the parent will give up the child and disown it to save itself.

    That is why there is no participation from anyone within the household. It allows escape, disown and pass the liability to the one child that is left adrift. He must feel very lonely and very insecure, despite his years of membership.

    The WP need do nothing more here. The entire episode is now on auto mode with fuel and energy being provided by more statements.

    Its “gabra” time… gibberish and slow, slow drowning.. pitiful yet deserving.

    Thanks Alex.

  7. 12 Steve 3 January 2013 at 20:02

    This incident leads me to wonder how many more tenders are carried out in such manner to benefit the PAP cronies. I am beginning to doubt the system. Could someone investigate the recently awarded maid training courses, after school care services, etc, where taxpayers money is given to the companies in the form of grants?

    I wish I had voted for the opposition. It is time to we demand accountability.

  8. 14 recruit ong 3 January 2013 at 20:19

    LHL should come out and explain and come clean to the public. And if necessary sack Teo Ho Pin from the party for any wrongdoing. Oops, that would mean another by-election LHL dare not call hahahaha!

    • 15 Cynical skeptics 4 January 2013 at 07:56

      A lot more will be at stake if LHL does anything more than keeping quiet for this saga. Who knows, there may be a lot more skeletons involving even more high level people (PM included). They are all on the same boat, do you really think he will poke holes at the boat?

    • 16 goodies 4 January 2013 at 13:50

      Hello, you do not sack Teo only, you sack other ministers too because those make-believe whiter-than-anythings are also MPs, which means that they have to approved such dubious deal in their respective town council, so all along they know what is going on but yet choose such unquestionable deal.

    • 17 AIMless 4 January 2013 at 14:30

      That guy is useless. His balls are just like x’mas decorations for hanging only. !st Pm to say sorry for a mess up job and still is……and yet demands million dollar pay for his useless team.

  9. 18 fedora 3 January 2013 at 20:23

    RE How many more such schemes or trip wires are in place: Teo says AIM has done work for the TCs before, but whether there are other ‘AIMs’, working on other projects, we don’t know. Someone needs to come clean?

    Would Sporeans really be satisfied even if Teo finally reveals amounts paid to AIM, NCS, and hey, how about Deloitte, for services rendered? Would the latter’s fees make rubbish of the $8k ‘advantage’? Doesn’t just the time and hopping around by TC staff on this AIM deal amount to more than $8k?

    An awful amount of time and perhaps money seems to have been spent on coming up with a complicated solution to a problem that may not exist. And still, more than 2 years later, no new system in sight for the TCs.

    Two observations: Not a single mayor or MP or minister has said a word so far. Weren’t they aware of the deal? Didn’t any give their ok and put their signatures to the deal? Weren’t any of them in the coordinating TC body that Teo chairs? Did National Devt, HDB, know nothing of the deal?

    If this was straight-out politicking, designed to subvert the opposition, make things difficult for it, then how should one view a deal that, on a bigger scale, could see chaos in the country? And what of the people involved in it?

  10. 19 Eric 3 January 2013 at 20:32

    Crystal clear insights! Brillant analysis, Alex!! Teo’s further comments only serve to dig a deeper hole for himself and PAP. Reading Teo’s comments made me cringe. What utter nonsense! Does he take us as fools?

  11. 20 Depreciation? 3 January 2013 at 20:36

    [quote]
    Dr Teo said the town councils wanted to sell the Intellectual Property rights in the existing software because it had a limited value and was depreciating quickly.
    [/unquote]
    This is puzzling. Since the software in question has been in use all the time by the 14 town councils, I would expect it to be maintained and upgraded from time to time so that it stays updated.

    Unlike a machinery whose value depreciates over time due to wear and tear, I’m not quote sure how depreciation applies to a piece of software.

    You don’t spend money developing a piece of software, only to see its value depreciates to zero.

    • 21 ff 3 January 2013 at 23:55

      Sometime when a computer fails and needs to be replaced, the software driver (for eg, network driver or printer driver) may not be available/run in the WinXP. In this case, a new OS, eg, Vista or Win 7, may be needed. But the application may not be able to run in the new OS. That is probably why they said the application may be obsolete.

  12. 22 From Diary of a Singaporean Mind 3 January 2013 at 20:45

    Someone with insight knowledge of the financial system wrote this:

    I was an ex-oracle ERP consultant until a few years ago and I think I must share my 2 cents’ worth of thoughts to put the whole thing in perspective.

    1) Just a short intro, Oracle Financials consists of a main module (general ledger GL) and a few subledger modules such as receivables AR, payables AP, assets FA, cash management CM, projects PA. Oracle is the vendor and NCS was the licensed implementation partner for the town councils. Oracle Financials is a enterprise resource planning software (ERP) system and as such it is very huge and complex system, and usually used by large MNCs or GLCs as the licensing fee is not cheap, esp for multiple sites. The system would never have been written from scratch by NCS, rather it is a packaged software written by Oracle, and NCS merely provided consulting and implementation services, which might have included a certain degree of customisation of screens and/or reports.

    2) Having said that, I am surprised that the TCs asked NCS to implement Oracle 11 in the year 2003. Oracle 11 was a client-server system and I was already implementing Oracle 11i (web-based system which supercedes Oracle 11) in the year 2001. Needless to say, this client-server system which was in place from 2003 to 2010 is a very obsolete system by today’s standards and knowing how Oracle is like, Oracle would have discontinued support for this dinosaur years ago.

    3) Why didnt the TCs ask for a more up-to-date version of the system in the year 2003 when it was first implemented? What intellectual property rights is AIM talking about, given that this is a packaged software written and marketed by Oracle, unless they are referring to customizations done by NCS, but not supported by Oracle.

    4) The cost of this Oracle ERP system would be in the range of hundreds of thousands, if not, million dollars. Oracle licenses its software by number of users or sites. So did AIM get a cheap deal by paying 140k after 7 years? Not necessarily, bcos it is already an obsolete system in urgent need of upgrade or re-implementation. In fact, it is a system which should be written off, zero value! But of cos, the data within, is very valuable. But does AIM have the expertise to run this dinosaur system? Definitely not! It would require a team of support consultants who are still well-versed in Oracle Fin 11 to maintain it, and the town councils would probably be the only “company” in whole of SG who is still running Oracle Fin 11.

    So what exactly is the 140k for? You know, I know, everybody knows, except PAP.

    • 23 spindoctor 3 January 2013 at 22:52

      Thanks for further revealing the extent to which they are willing to spin their f-grade stories to hoodwink us!

  13. 24 Excellent 3 January 2013 at 21:41

    Excellent analysis ! Keep it up as the forces of deception want to cover this up.

  14. 25 Moral Hazard 3 January 2013 at 22:03

    The group of 14 PAP town councils essentially covers the whole of Singapore except Hougang and Potong Pasir. The PAP government controls the boundaries of town councils under PAP in between elections. And no matter how they shift, the contract covers the same total area. The only thing that can effect a material change is when the opposition takes over a PAP ward and merges it with its existing ward or vice versa. Other than that, I don’t see how a material change could occur.

    By the way, why should a political party be in the business of managing town councils or providing IT solutions or kindergartens. This is a moral hazard.

  15. 27 Ng Pian Ying 3 January 2013 at 22:11

    Teo HP should have come out clean on the whole inappropriate deals with the truth and not hide and seek. No use to come with 10 drums full of dirt with 4 covers where with all the dirts are flying all over Singapore and later will fly all over the world.

  16. 28 musings... 3 January 2013 at 22:17

    if a fallen GRC exposes so much irregularities and questionable activities…what do you think we’ll find if pap loses majority power?

    but then, are we ready for what we’ll find?

  17. 29 Jeremy T 3 January 2013 at 22:27

    The most telling thing in this whole saga has been the comment from AIM itself.

    AIM Chairman S Chandra Das, quoted in Today: “The sum involved in the transactions are modest. But as a PAP company we wanted to be helpful to the PAP town councils. So we were ready to take on the task and submitted a proposal to help the PAP town councils achieve their goals. The objective of the company with the town councils is not to make profit.”

    How does AIM even count as a “company”, let alone an “experienced and reputable” one? Not seeking to make profits is an unusual business model, to say the least.

    http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC130103-0000057/PAP-explains-software-sale-to-AIM

  18. 30 cher 3 January 2013 at 22:47

    I was suddenly reminded of the tender that Hippotours lost in July 2012…

    • 31 AGC 4 January 2013 at 15:08

      A company, whose chairman is Mah Bow Tan, won the Hippotours tender. So is that company a PAP company as well ???

  19. 32 Anon U6io 3 January 2013 at 22:51

    Alex totally side stepped the glaringly misleading statements by Sylvia Lim that gave the public the idea that AIM terminated the IT service to AHTC unilaterally. How can Alex Au possibly be an unbiased political commentator given what he wrote?

    • 33 Victor Chen 4 January 2013 at 00:26

      I believe the WP has been clear in indicating that they chose not to request for further extensions and not giving the misleading impression that AIM terminated the service.

      If tomorrow your boss were to switch you from a permanent contract to a temporary one renewable every 6 months, wouldn’t you start looking for a new job? Or would you assume that the contract will be continually renewed?

      If a country’s agreement with another to be supplied with water from the latter is due to be renegotiated with low likelihood of favourable terms, wouldn’t you start looking elsewhere or start developing your own supply?

  20. 34 Chanel 3 January 2013 at 22:51

    Alex,

    I would like to point out numerous holes in Dr Teo Ho Pin’s latest statement:

    1) Teo said that he is the co-ordinating chairman of all PAP-run Town Councils (“TCs”). This is why he is overseeing the redevelopment of the IT system, including the sale (and lease back) of the existing software to (from) AIM. But he contradicted himself when he said (later in his statement) that it would be “cumbersome and inefficient” for a vendor to deal with 14 TCs when reviewing or renewing the system. Wouldn’t the vendor just have to deal with Teo because he is the co-ordinating chairman representing the 14 TCs??

    2) Teo claims that D&T raised the option of having a 3rd party own the IT system, but was this the option most recommended by D&T? If so, did D&T recommend that the 3rd party owning the software should have a proven track record in IT system development and/or maintenance? In the interest of transparency, Teo should publicly disclose the full report produced by D&T.

    3) The public tender, which was advertised in the Straits Times, stated that the tender would close on 14th July 2010, but according to Teo, AIM submitted its bid on 20th July. Why was AIM given 6 extra days to submit its bid? Did the TCs give other potential bidders extra time to submit their respective bids?

    4) Teo said any potential buyer must guarantee that NCS would continue to maintain the system without any rate increase. And Teo is confident that AIM can achieve this simply because the company is “backed by the PAP”. This is very weird because all the cabinet ministers are key members of the various the TCs. These ministers are the supreme PAP cadres, whereas AIM’s directors are merely former PAP MPs. If Teo is confident that AIM can get NCS to continue to maintain the system without any rate increase, why doesn’t he think the weight of all cabinet ministers can achieve the same (if not more)??? Surely, Teo knows that NCS is a subsidiary of Singtel, which is controlled by Temasek, whose CEO is the wife of PM Lee???

    5) Teo claims that the draconian termination clause was inserted in the IP rights contract between AIM and the TCs in order to protect the former against material increase in TC area and the number of residents due to changes in town-boundaries. This is weird because the boundary of all GRCs are changed just before every general election. Thus, the town-boundary of all 14 TCs have changed after GE 2011. Did AIM use the same justification to terminate its contract with any other TC, apart from Aljunied?

    6) Point 25 of Teo’s statement indicates that the TCs have to pay a separate monthly fee to NCS for maintenance of the system (i.e. lease payments to AIM do not include maintenance charges payable to NCS). So how much have the TCs been paying NCS for the maintenance?

    7) Why didn’t Teo call a public tender for the development of the new software to replace the current one? Paying AIM $33,150 just for recommending a couple of potential vendors to the TCs sounds costly and stupid.

    8) Point 25 of Teo’s statement suggests that AIM is a GST-registered company. I did a search of AIM at https://mytax.iras.gov.sg/ESVWeb/default.aspx?target=GSTListingSearch. Guess what? AIM was registered as a GST business only on 1st July 2011 (GST registration no. 199103607Z). This means that the annual turnover (i.e. revenue) at AIM was less than $1 million prior to 1st July 2011. This gives weight to Sylvia Lim’s assertion that AIM was a dormant company prior to buying the software. What other politically motivated businesses did AIM conduct to achieve annual revenue of over $1 million?

    Time for Teo and PAP to come clean.

    • 35 yawningbread 3 January 2013 at 23:13

      Great that you noticed that AIM submitted its bid on 20 July 2010, 6 days AFTER the tender officially closed (Point 15 of Teo Ho Pin’s statement). It escaped my attention. This only makes the tender process more suspicious than ever.

      Re your point 8, GST registration is required if a company has turnover >$1 million, but a company with less turnover than that can also voluntarily register. Thus, it does not mean that AIM has >$1 million in turnover even today.

      • 36 Chanel 3 January 2013 at 23:33

        You are right in saying that a company can voluntarily register for GST. This strengthens the widely held suspicion that AIM has no real operations to speak of, not to mention a proven track record in IT.

        It is glaring that one of the 5 bidders that Straits Times said that it did submit a bid due to insufficent information on the requirements of what the TCs wanted

    • 37 The Pariah 4 January 2013 at 10:37

      Kudos to you, Chanel, for such incisive analysis that improves the quality of public discourse. Ahhh ….. such light from netizens (whereas Pay And Profit (PAP) is trying to create heat instead).

  21. 38 Freddy 3 January 2013 at 23:14

    If PAP and its supporters see no conflict of interests by putting its own PAP cadres as leaders in the trade union and People’s Association organizations, it will also see no conflict of interest in PAP-run town councils awarding tenders to PAP-owned companies.

  22. 39 Rajiv Chaudhry 3 January 2013 at 23:19

    Whichever way one looks at it, the sale of a software system developed with public money to a company beneficially owned by a political party is fundamentally wrong.

    This is especially so when seen in the light of the withdrawal of services to AHTC. Dr Teo’s remarks under point 22 of his note do not hold water (“the contractor could end up providing services to a TC which comprises a much larger area and more residents, but at the same price”) since in GE2011 Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC (the constituents of AHTC) actually had slightly fewer voters than in GE2006. Also, his remark that “AIM could terminate by giving one month’s notice in the event of material changes to the membership of a TC” is inexplicable, since a change of membership of a TC has no bearing on the provision of software services. The conclusion is inescapable that the sale was designed as a time-bomb to make life difficult for a non-PAP run TC.

    The withdrawal of software services by AIM in AHTC is not only unfair to the 55% of voters who voted for the WP but also to the 45% who voted for the PAP, all of whom contributed to the development or amortization of the software. The only way this can be resolved is by the WP demanding a full enquiry followed by open debate in parliament. If there was ever a need for the WP to slap the driver, it is now.

  23. 40 Jony Ling 3 January 2013 at 23:21

    I don’t mean to generalise, but looking at this incident and the general attitude of the PAP towards separation of powers, when LKY passes away and more and more Singaporeans turn to the opposition, they might just take the whole damn thing down with them. The question then is whether the country can survive that. What can ordinary citizens do?

    • 41 doulosyap 4 January 2013 at 01:16

      Spot on – that’s the biggest fear I have. Now they play tough, like big shots – high-handed, entitled, but without the results or mercilessness to pull it off like Old Man had. When he finally leaves us, all the PAP will have left is legacy, plus whatever tangled mess they have made out of Singapore’s government. They may think they are smart by messing up government and party, but it will bite them in the end.

      • 42 The Pariah 4 January 2013 at 10:34

        When it bites them, it will only be an ant’s bite as they have been chalking up multi-million $$$ pay for past decade(s). Whereas by the time their legacy of unjust laws and botched policies start to unravel, it may well kill two generations of most Singaporeans who do not have the same deep pockets.

        The longer we wait, the sharper will be our pain. If 60% don’t wake up b4 next GE2015-16 (assuming the 40% don’t waver), the pain will cut to the bone.

    • 43 Rabbit 4 January 2013 at 02:45

      Jony Ling

      Singaporeans don’t have to worry whether PAP will bring the whole Singapore down because they can’t boil the water where they are in it with us too, except for a few who think they own SIA and try to fly out to countries which has no repatriation agreement with Singapore. The rest of Pappy MPs & family will be trapped by their own doings and take the rap from their escaped masters. As such, there is no worry for voters to topple a rogue govt when these few so-called “elites” are just an over hyped status painted by Shit Times. What do you think a 100 PRCs strike has caused these “Humpty Dumpty “elites” to fumble and crack for all to see.

      Singapore has many talents far greater than PAP could imagine if not for the skewed kangaroo laws, and we will be united when the day comes. As such, MPs with the slightest conscience in them should be opened and critical of their own party wrong doings. In fact, we already see some signs of split in opinion within the ruling camp and the sooner the better to overhaul and get rid of all corrupted, incompetent & expensive officers lay hidden in every segments shielded by the ruling party. Thereafter, we will probably see a lot more cost savings and put the money where they are truly needed for this society.

      This episode clearly prove WP is independent, efficient and doing pretty good jobs while the ruling party can’t even handle their own TCs software properly, resulted in residents having to pay higher fees for outdated technology and than get sued for not paying promptly. I suggest this confused Teo Ho Pin should try and beg Low Thia Kiang for some wise advice on how to manage a TC without so much hoo-ha, and dilemma like AIM saga

  24. 44 Ong Ah Heng 3 January 2013 at 23:23

    The real money would be made in the supply of the new system.

  25. 45 ff 3 January 2013 at 23:43

    In Para 8 of THP’s statement, D&T was referring to the computer system.
    Notice that from Para 9 onwards, THP was talking only about the software. And all the MSM conveniently pointed to D&T endorsing the outsourcing of the software to a third party. This is not correct. D&T was referring to the whole computer system; not just the software only.

    • 46 bee 4 January 2013 at 05:43

      it’s a shame that wp is not asking the right questions and singapore needs someone like alex to take on the government. should you form an opposition party and has no plans to take over the government, then i say better go play football or fly a kite. singapore doesnt need a co-driver, we need an opposition to ask the right questions, take a stand on issues like the ‘illegal’ strike, isa, death penalty, gay rights amongst other things, and provide alternative policies like what the sdp is now doing. the shame goes to our mainstream media and and the so-called ‘political desk’. seriously, if you arent going to question the system and seek out the truth, maybe it’s better to write fictional screenplay for our so called ‘film industry’ or join some lifestyle magazines, no? cos seriously, what real value do you bring the table, not just for our society but also for you?
      this issue exposes pap’s cowardice even when all the facts are clearly against them. if we have a government that doesnt admit its mistakes, i think we are in deep trouble. sad to say, singaporeans are daft. when we mention politics, they will think of pap or the worker’s party. yes, we deserve every bit of this shit.

    • 47 ho peng 4 January 2013 at 09:24

      Is Mr Teo Ho Pin paid salary as a co-ordinating chairman of the 14 PAP town councils, and his supporting team members?

      • 48 yawningbread 4 January 2013 at 09:52

        I don’t know if he is paid for his Coordinating Chairman role, but from Page 29 of the Financial Report (year ended 31 March 2012) of Holland-Bukit Timah Town Council, of which he is chair and one of 5 town councillors (all PAP MPs), we can see that in that year, town councillors were paid allowances totalling $173,700. It works out to an average of $34,740 per MP. This would be in addition to his MP’s allowance.

        In FY ending 31 March 2011, the town councillors’ total allowances were higher, at $230,942, but at the time (prior to GE 2011 in May 2011), the town council consisted of six MPs, one more than the current five.

  26. 49 David Bonnie 4 January 2013 at 01:37

    One idea to continue using software in obsolete operating system, is to virtualize the software. Just sharing.

    • 50 Devil 4 January 2013 at 11:17

      This point about software becoming obsolete is near moot for the past decade. Properly written, most software will work from WinXP through to Win8. MS has been keeping the interfaces very stable.

  27. 51 Rabbit 4 January 2013 at 03:31

    It sure is a traumatic experience for him, over the past few days, to draft a quick exit out of this mess, but ended up pulling trigger into his own head.

    1. At one glance from Teo Ho Pin’s statement, all layman person will immediately draw conclusion that AIM has the rights to terminate the contract if any opposition parties were to take over the management of town council. Opposition parties should take heed of the warning from AIM, and start preparing themselves ahead of this certainty, if they wanted so badly to win an election.

    2. There were 5 bidders, over a highly questionable tender notice, and 1 happened to be PAP owned. Who would want to fight a vague deal within a short period of time? If PA (a stat board) & PAP can sleep together for a few mangoes, there is nothing PAPPY can’t do by pawning public’s resources for PAPPY political purposes, especially in this decades old and cozy one-party state.

    3. The hassle of tender, sales and lease back yielded with a mere savings of $8000, as if Teo Ho Pin cares such savings is material to TC, when TCs have loss millions (or billion) of dollars in toxic investments without any proper explanations todate. Having said that, any visible calculation from this so-called “huge” savings (or hidden loss) which is not even sufficient to cover his obscene salary?

    4. Teo defended the need for AIM’s contract withdrawal, partly due to enlarged area not anticipated and rendered AIM unprofitable. Directors who came from the same PAP camp, didn’t AIM know that electoral gerrymandering was PAP’s main specialty and thus they shouldn’t have penalized WP over the change of land area. It is silly to believe AIM’s argument will stand, if Aljunied were still in the hands of PAP and not WP.

    5. How the scope of TC’s duties does suddenly became of great concern to AIM who is merely a holder of intellectual property rights? If I bought or leased accounting software from vendor, should the vendor interfere whenever I change my company staffs which has no impact on the usage of software.

    6. Teo argued that AIM’s contract met common practice (or was it common only within PAP closet), from which residents should be subjected to such biased claims and held in ransom when the clause deem fit to penalize residents for voting opposition parties. Isn’t such contract fundamentally flawed and illegal since it doesn’t protect the buyer or lessee’s interest when there is change of management? Do we not feel safe to own our useful asset instead of selling them away to “third party”, and continue to pay for the use just to save $8000 or probably a loss deal already? Incidentally, was the disposal of our national asset being transacted in the same risky way as in AIM’s saga?

    7. In the name of public service and interest, were there any back up plan for residents, or deterrent clause to prevent rogue contractor (or govt) from prematurely terminating a contract vital to national security? It was like cutting off the tap water and asked residents to look for alternative pond for survival. Are we putting too many eggs into just one basket (PAP) to count for our security?

    8. Again, the question on the absence of public service and interest has been conveniently avoided by Teo Ho Pin’s lengthy smoke statement – placing AIM’s interest above the people’s worry. .

    9. Teo Ho Pin, as public servant who draws on residents’ tax to survive himself, should come clean on whose interest he should serve. Unfortunately, we find none mention of public interest being a priority in PAP’s contract such as this and they could easily take about 9 years to procrastinate on sourcing updated systems. However, the mess started when they scramble for time extension or appropriate charge by pulling AIM into the picture and paid them a “handsome” management fee surpassing the $8000 cost saved? I am glad WP doesn’t need to rely on PAP miserably software full of “gaps” which sound incredibly lack of creditability to me if I read between the lines of D & T’s opinion.. Are all these problems the result of PAP’s complacency akin to SMRT breakdowns?

    10. If PAP wanted to isolate WP from using the same software because of material change in members, they should also exclude opposition wards from the yearly PAP TC’s appraisal reeked with heavy political agenda, and draw a clear line from there.

    So what does Teo Ho Pin’s 4 pages statement trying to paint? Perhaps, a single liner sums it all:

    “You die your own business!”

  28. 52 alvin 4 January 2013 at 05:53

    para 22 of THP’s statement:
    “the contractor has agreed to provide services on the basis of the existing TC- and town-boundaries, and priced this assumption into the tender. Should this change materially, the contractor could end up providing services to a TC which comprises a much larger area and more residents, but at the same price.”

    the AIM contract appears to have come into effect in Nov 2010 while the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee report was accepted in Feb 2011. Not sure how much of change there was in the AOR of the TCs, I recall a few SMCs were carved out but they have continued to share TC responsibilities with their pre-review ‘parent’ TCs (e.g. Punggol East/ Pasir Ris-Punggol TC). In any case, there was substantial redrawing of boundaries = ‘material change’?

    • 53 yawningbread 4 January 2013 at 10:04

      There may be another red herring here. Gleaning indirectly from Sylvia Lim’s earlier statement, the clause may read “material change in the composition of the town council”. Now, the town council comprises people who sit on it (like how we normally understand the word ‘council’), not territories or residents. To say that changes in boundaries or the number of residents is germane to the meaning of ‘material change’ may be an erroneous interpretation.

      Quite often in business, contracts have this ‘material change’ clause, but it usually refers to ownership of the business. Say a bank extends a loan to a company on the basis of the previous composition of the Board of Directors, which composition represents the shareholders. To protect itself, the bank may reserve the right to recall the loan if there’s a material change in the composition of the Board, e.g. if untrustworthy people become owners of the company and sit on the board. This sounds reasonable.

      It is absurd to say that the term ‘material change’ includes changes to the sales territories, customer numbers or sales dollars of the company. But Teo Ho Pin is using this analogy.

      However, we need to verify if the AIM contract actually says ‘material change to the composition of the town council’.

  29. 56 Tocqueville 4 January 2013 at 07:27

    Remember the PM said in 2006 in Boat Quay that if more opposition MPs are elected he will have to spend time to fix them.

    Well, he is true to his word. He is trying to fix WP and AHTC.

    Forget the convoluted explanation. It is a despicable, dirty political trick to fix the opposition worthy of UMNO. Google Tammany Hall and see if there is any difference between it and the PAP.

  30. 57 Baffled 4 January 2013 at 07:33

    YB,

    Having read Teo’s statement, I got kind of intrigued by his used of the phrase Software IP. I have to admit that I am no expert on Intellectual Rights pertaining to Software, but I have been involved in creating software systems. So hopefully, you are your readers are able to help me decipher what Teo meant by “the Software IP”?

    As I understand from his statement, the PAP TC financial system is build on Microsoft’s and Oracle’s product. So the question is what Intellectual contribution has the PAP TC injected into the software systems?

    If all TC did was to “configure”, it could hardly be construed as Intellectual input and thus any claim on Intellectual Property, or am I wrong?

    Did they add new functionality to a based platform or inventing some smart algorithm/business processes?

  31. 58 KT 4 January 2013 at 07:46

    “Teo’s statement is notable for one thing it does not dwell on: Aljunied-Hougang Town Council’s (AHTC) switchover to a new system.”

    I believe this was to avoid provoking a response from WP, which MSM would feel more obliged to report on. The damage to PAP is arguably more containable if public discourse on this issue was confined to cyberspace.

  32. 59 Descended 4 January 2013 at 08:22

    In business, a golden rule is check and balance. When an individual is too powerful and has no checks, trouble will brew.

  33. 60 Dennis 4 January 2013 at 08:34

    Who will pay for a piece of software that is not developed to survive even 1 version upgrade of the same OS family. We are not talking about changing from Windows to Unix, but Windows XP to Windows Vista/7 which has backward compatibility built-in.

  34. 61 Jake 4 January 2013 at 10:04

    MSM seems to be doing its best to direct attention away from this sordid affair. First they put out articles which are more like MR Teo’s press releases – in effect trying to put a conclusion to the discussion/debate. Today, Straits Times (the most ra ra pro-govt paper there is) gave the Tang Boon Tiew case the front page with a huge photo of a dejected Tang. Not only that, they saw fit to give the story almost a full page on pg A8. No further mention of the AIM issue in any of the dailies today.

    PAP will only respond if WP make their official response to it. Until then, the MSM will just wait for a PAP counter response and produce it again unquestioningly as a press release. Interestingly, for some contrast in the editorial behaviors of Straits Times and Today, the latter did not play up the Tang case – it was merely silent on AIM. Can’t say that this was better but possibly the lesser of two evils for a state control daily.

  35. 62 Marry Tan 4 January 2013 at 10:17

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaseback . Please read about sale and leaseback. It’s a financing transaction. The town councils are effectively borrowing $140,000 in return for paying monthly instalments totallying $165k (including the $33k management fees). So some of the questions directed should not be what IT service is AIM providing but why is PAP setting up a company providing financing? And why is the town council borrowing money? And since when is PAP a political organisation going around providing loans and financing?

  36. 63 See Pay Ho 4 January 2013 at 10:23

    How much is THP paid as Coordinating Chairman of the 14 TCs? And his support team?

  37. 64 Marry Tan 4 January 2013 at 10:25

    And the reason why the other 4 potential bidders walk away is likely because the found out its just a mere financing transaction the town councils are looking for. Selling the “software” of $140k is effectively borrowing $140k with cash inflows of $140k. And the monthly instalments cum management fee is no different from paying instalments for loans. AIM need not provide any IT services nor have any employee. It just needs to have cash to lend the $140k and earn the interest from the transaction. There is a back to back IT service arrangement with NCS to provide the necessary IT support.

    • 65 yawningbread 4 January 2013 at 10:44

      It is not even clear that AIM actually paid the $140,000 they offered. They could well have arranged for deferred payment, and each month that a town council is due to pay its monthly fee of $785, the same amount is set off against what AIM owes the town council.

      Why do I suspect this? Because Teo keeps saying that AIM “offered to pay $140,000″, without actually saying “AIM paid $140,000″.

      If they are using deferred payment and set-offs, an amount of about $5,800 would show up as a receivable in each town council’s accounts as at 31 March 2011. But this is very hard to verify because the “Other Receivables” is so large. In Holland-BukitTimah’s accounts (31 Mar 2011) for example, “Other Receivables (Others)” totalled $482,884. See page 27 of this.

      • 66 Marry Tan 4 January 2013 at 12:08

        I would imagine “offered to pay” would translate to actual payment of the $140k subsequently upon completion of the deal or else it would have been a massive breach of agreement. The use of the term “offered to pay” by Teo could be because in the chronology of events, he was trying to explain why AIM was chosen and at that point, AIM only “offered to pay”. But of course, that needs to be clarified.

      • 67 yawningbread 4 January 2013 at 13:20

        I am seeing on Facebook a quote wherein AIM said they paid $140,000 in cash. I can’t find the source of that quote; if true, then I stand corrected.

  38. 68 waiting for an epiphany............... 4 January 2013 at 10:32

    @Jony Ling
    “they might just take the whole damn thing down with them. The question then is whether the country can survive that. What can ordinary citizens do?”

    Not so subtle fear mongering, I presume?

    Citizens of Singapore are tough enough to carry on. What about you?

  39. 69 Malaysian PR 4 January 2013 at 10:39

    In Singapore, when a public listed company transacted any business with an interested party. It needs only to disclose such transactions in its annual report and get approval from the board of directors and shareholders. Such conflict of interest is all right provided disclosure was made and the interests of shareholders are not being compromised.

    I don’t see that the rationale of making a big issues over the conflict of interest over AIM when WP was also a culprit for it. According to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), one of the shareholders of FM Solutions is How Weng Fan, secretary of the former Hougang Town Council, which was also run by the WP.

    Other than politically motivated, I don’t see why everybody make a big fuss over the conflict of issues on AIM when the actually it is the pot who is calling the Kettle Black.

    • 70 yawningbread 4 January 2013 at 13:29

      At no point am I assuming that opposition parties don’t have skeletons in their own closets. But the way to deal with such scandals is NOT to say, oh everybody is a thief, so why bother making a fuss over theft, but to make a fuss about each instance of theft separately.

      As of now, the AIM issue is far bigger because it involves the party in power and 14 town councils.

      • 71 Malaysian PR 4 January 2013 at 13:41

        There is no big issues if conflict of interest is being disclosed and the interest of the residences are not being compromised. SGX listing guideline and Town Council regulation do not specify that you cannot do business with interested party. So what is the big fuss. If you are not happy, please lodge a complain to CPIB and CAD.

  40. 72 Felix 4 January 2013 at 10:42

    I quote: “If PAP and its supporters see no conflict of interests by putting its own PAP cadres as leaders in the trade union and People’s Association organizations, it will also see no conflict of interest in PAP-run town councils awarding tenders to PAP-owned companies.” – Freddy.

    Exactly. Precisely. Spot-on.

    Singaporeans are given one vote each in so every 5 years so that the PAP can do whatever they like or want in the intervening years. Please in that 5 years you are supposed to sit down, shut up and do as told.

    Thank You very much, is it not what the “mandate” is for?

    I cannot believe we are still as blind as ever.

  41. 73 Felix 4 January 2013 at 11:01

    Erm, it seems only netizens are making the most noise, bloggers, onlinecitizen, tremeritus. The opposition parties side is deafening save barely a shout from the reform party. Why is WP so silent?

    Why is it that the netizens are the ones that have to carry the mettle to demand transparency and accountability from the PAP machinery?

    Perhaps PAP is right after all, we need a couple of Mr Browns and Yawning Bread to bring down the system, when it rots……..

  42. 74 SIMPLE 4 January 2013 at 13:16

    Alex,
    “I don’t know if he is paid for his Coordinating Chairman role, but from Page 29 of the Financial Report (year ended 31 March 2012) of Holland-Bukit Timah Town Council, of which he is chair and one of 5 town councillors (all PAP MPs), we can see that in that year, town councillors were paid allowances totalling $173,700.”

    Fyi each Mayor of which Dr Teo is one is paid a mayorial compensation of about $600k on top of his MP allowances. So each mayor draws over $800k per year. Not sure if Dr Teo as co-ordinating Mayor gets even more. I think this can be verified in the Govt Annual Budget.


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For an update of the case against me, please see AGC versus me, the 2013 round.

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