Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 01/05/2013 22:32 | By Channel NewsAsia

AHTC unable to verify accuracy of reasons for software sale

AHTC unable to verify accuracy of reasons for software sale

AHTC unable to verify accuracy of reasons for software sale

SINGAPORE: Chairman of Aljunied—Hougang Town Council (AHTC) Sylvia Lim has responded to the recent statement by Dr Teo Ho Pin — on the sale of the software formerly owned by the town councils managed by the People’s Action Party (PAP) to Action Information Management Pte Ltd (AIM) in 2011, prior to the General Election.

She said AHTC is not able to verify the accuracy of the reasons for the sale cited in the statement on January 2 by Dr Teo, who is the coordinating chairman of PAP town councils.

Ms Lim said the documents AHTC has on hand, including the tender documents, do not disclose many of the details mentioned.

She also said the reasons given underscore three fundamental facts.

First, the PAP—managed town councils sold off the computer and financial systems developed with public monies to a vehicle of the PAP, just prior to the General Election.

Second, according to the most recent statement of AIM Chairman, Mr S Chandra Das, AIM "as a PAP company" wanted to "be helpful to the PAP Town Councils".

Third, the PAP sees no issue with an arrangement allowing them to terminate the software agreements with any town council with one month’s notice, if there’s a material change in the town council’s membership.

Ms Lim also questioned the one—month termination clause in the AIM contract, which Dr Teo considered "reasonable".

She said he himself indicated that it would take "maybe 18 to 24 months, or even longer" to assess new software and develop a replacement system.

Ms Lim said the question of how the PAP—managed town councils acted in the public and residents’ interest in relinquishing their ownership of the systems to AIM has still not been answered.

"We leave it to the public to make their own judgement," she said.

In a statement, Ms Lim pledged to strive for higher standards in the town council’s service to residents.

She enclosed a copy of a termination notice sent by AIM, dated June 22, 2011.

However, a note from the town council to AIM — dated 12 days earlier, is also on the internet.

In it, the town council thanked AIM for the assistance rendered in preparing the migration of database to the new system.

It also requested for an extension to use AIM’s system till end—August 2011.

In his 26—paragraph statement on January 2, Dr Teo explained why and how the PAP—run town councils came to have a sale and lease back deal with the PAP—owned AIM.

He said it would be better for the 14 PAP—run town councils to consolidate their software rights in a single party, which would then manage them on behalf of all the town councils, as well as source vendors to improve the system and address the deficiencies.

He added there is no basis to suggest that the transaction for AIM to provide computer services to the PAP—run town councils was improper or disadvantageous to the town councils.

— CNA/fa/xq

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