After 12 days of silence, state media finally report on the AHTC-AIM saga. The PAP Town Councils confidently state that “their contract was in accordance with the Town Councils’ Financial Regulations.”
Nevermind the fact that 14 PAP MPs paid an unknown sum to NCS to develop their computer and financial systems, then sold it uncontensted to $2 company AIM, owned and chaired exclusively by ex-PAP MPs who, based on the figures reported in state media, stand to make $500,000 over the course of 5 years (until the next GE).
The fact that it is in accordance with regulations only makes it all the more galling. Note the little giveaway quote that “the company’s current directors, three former People’s Action Party (PAP) MPs, namely himself, Chew Heng Ching, and Lau Ping Sum do not receive directors’ fees or any other benefits.” They don’t need to. As owners of the well-connected company, two out of the three stand to walk away with every last dollar of that potential $500,000 profit.
No laws were broken except the ones written in our hearts, and in Singapore, hearts count for little with the government.
If the Brompton bike saga has taught us anything, it’s that government guidelines and regulations have loopholes that allow agents to do ‘favours’ for friends and family – and I’ve seen it first-hand. The last thing citizens want to hear is the old refrain that “it was all played by the rules” because that sort of smugness from our MPs and civil servants is a cruel blow against a citizenry that knows that the rules don’t work, and that those who wield the power to abuse the system while keeping the letter of the law will walk away scot-free at our expense.