WP’s Sylvia Lim, Low Thia Khiang to face parliamentary motion calling on them to recuse themselves from AHTC’s financial matters
A motion will be introduced in Parliament on Nov 5, 2019, calling on Workers’ Party MPs Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang to recuse themselves from all financial matters at the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.
SINGAPORE – A motion will be introduced in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 5) calling on Workers’ Party MPs Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang to recuse themselves from all financial matters at the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).
This comes three weeks after a High Court judge said the two Aljunied GRC MPs had acted dishonestly when they awarded a managing agent contract to a company set up by their supporters without calling a tender.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat will move the motion.
According to an e-mail sent by the Clerk of Parliament to MPs and obtained by The Straits Times, the motion urges Parliament to “affirm the vital importance of MPs maintaining high standards of integrity and accountability”.
Quoting the court judgment, it says that the two MPs’ conduct lacked integrity and candour and notes they “were fully aware that their conduct was of questionable legality”.
It also points out that Ms Lim continues to be Vice-Chairman of AHTC, while Mr Low is an elected member of the town council, and calls on AHTC to “discharge their responsibilities to their residents by requiring Ms Lim and Mr Low to recuse themselves from all matters relating to, and oversight over, financial matters”.
When contacted, WP chief Pritam Singh said he will address the issue in Parliament.
In a judgment released on Oct 11, High Court Judge Kannan Ramesh found that Ms Lim and Mr Low had breached their fiduciary duties and were liable for damages suffered by the town council, which is said to have made millions of dollars in improper payments under their watch.
In awarding contracts to FM Solutions & Services and FM Solutions and Integrated Services (FMSI) without calling a tender, he said, they had put their own political interests above the interests of their residents.
He took them to task for misleading their fellow Aljunied GRC MPs about the scheme, describing their conduct as “dishonest”, “unacceptable” and “egregious”.
The High Court Judge also found the owners of FMSS and FMSI had breached their fiduciary duty, and three other town councillors, including Mr Singh, had breached their duty of skill and care.
The civil suit was initiated in 2017 under the direction of an independent panel set up by AHTC to recover improper payments.
Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council had also sued to recover its share of losses incurred when Punggol East constituency was managed by the WP-led town council from 2013 to 2015.
The latest move is reminiscent of a motion in 2015 by then Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan.
He had introduced a motion in Parliament then to discuss control and financial lapses discovered at the WP-run town council by the Auditor-General’s Office in a special audit.
For next week’s Parliament sitting, which starts on Monday (Nov 4), MPs have also filed questions on personal mobility devices as well as Singapore’s carbon emissions.
Three new Bills will be introduced: the Banking (Amendment) Bill, Statutes (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill and Healthcare Services Bill.