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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

News Reports

He hath spoken

I feel sorry for the Prime Minister.

It’s been one thing after another in recent months. Strike-gate, Palmergate and now town councils. We shouldn’t forget the EC issue as well – you know those big penthouses meant for the sandwiched class? All taking place in an economy that’s slowing down, a labour crunch, poor productivity scores…and escalating COE prices.

Nevertheless, he hath spoken on town councils – and none too soon. I’ve often wondered why as head of the People’s Action Party, he hasn’t reined in his MPs. Instead, they are offering all sorts of explanations on the town council-AIM transaction and how the issue should be looked at. I guess even the PAP isn’t immune to the Facebook phenomenon, with trigger happy MPs and Ministers deciding to let fly in the name of engagement. Where’s the party whip? WHO is the party whip anyway?
But that’s looking at it from the PAP point of view. From the point of view of a reader and a Singaporean, it’s been interesting politics. You get to know a person better when their views are not controlled…

So now the PM has ordered a review of the town council-AIM transaction. By MND, the governing ministry. I guess there will be some unhappiness with that. You can just expect calls for an independent review. After all, if there was anything untoward in the transaction, shouldn’t MND have spotted it in the first place? It’s like telling MND to go through self-criticism.

What’s more interesting is how he wants a review of the “fundamental nature’’ of town councils. I wish the PM expanded on this point. Is he talking about the separation of political and public service aspects of town councils? Does he think the whole Town Council Act should be gone over with a fine-tooth comb? And if we’re looking at the “fundamental nature’’ of town councils, shouldn’t more people be involved in this exercise? Instead, he’s given a deadline of a month or two… How come? So the issue will be settled before he calls for the Punggol East by-election?

Alert: I am going to start meandering from here…

a. On politics and business
The PM has focused attention on town councils. Now what about shining a spotlight on the PAP’s own policies and practices? A small light? Like what sort of companies it has, for what purpose etc. You know, basic stuff…I keep wondering if the PM himself had been kept in the loop about AIM and its aims. Surely MND Minister Khaw Boon Wan knows more?

b. On ECs
Mr Khaw’s focus seems to be on ECs, like getting his ministry to review this gambit developers have of selling off free open spaces for profit. You know, it’s time he called for a review of the “fundamental nature’’ of ECs as well. Clearly developers aren’t listening to his exhortations to keep to the core of the EC policy: subsidised housing for the sandwiched class. He had better do it fast too because a whole lot of land has been allocated to the building of ECs in the coming couple of years.
You know, I’d really like to hear from these developers of EC skysuites. Get them to account for why they fly in the face of policy. Instead, the media is hyping up the sales, bringing more and more people to these EC showrooms. Heck, I want a sky suite too!!!!

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c. On the possible PAP candidate
Wow! Did you see those credentials of Dr Koh Poh Koon? Looks like the PAP has ditched Ong Ye Kung or he’s ditched the PAP for a good private sector life in Keppel…

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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