Charles Chong: Handover of Punggol East Accounts From WP ‘On Track’

The handover of Punggol East Single-Member Constituency’s accounts from the Workers’ Party (WP)-run Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) to Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council has been progressing, and both parties are eager to “move on”, said Punggol East Member of Parliament Charles Chong on Wednesday (Oct 7).

The handover is on track to be completed before Dec 1, which is the Ministry of National Development’s (MND) deadline, he said.

By then, Punggol East will be managed by the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council.

“I think both sides are aiming for a good settlement so that we can move on. I don’t think it is in their interest — neither is it in ours — to drag this on. And it’s definitely not in the interest of the residents,” said Mr Chong, adding that he will request for the MND to restore its grants after getting a “clean set of accounts”.

The MND has withheld two years of Government grants, totaling about S$14 million, from the former Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council, saying it has no guarantee the money would be used properly.

During the General Election campaigning, the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the WP had disputed the estate’s financial position following the 2013 by-election, with the PAP claiming there was a surplus when Punggol East was handed over to WP, while WP claimed there was a deficit.

To facilitate the handover, the AHTC has engaged an external auditor to audit Punggol East’s accounts from Apr 1. “Too many figures were thrown back and forth during the election,” said Mr Chong, who hopes the experts can reach an amiable conclusion promptly.

“Everybody gave different snapshots of the same account. Everybody can more or less justify what they say, depending on the point in time when the thing happened. I suppose during election everybody sort of tries to use it to their advantage, (the) result of which causes more confusion than clarity.

“Now that election is over … let the experts work it out, and see how it goes,” he said. “What happened in the past, I’m really not interested. I am just interested in what is due back to us.”

Parties will meet later this week for an update. In the General Election last month, Mr Chong defeated the WP’s candidate and incumbent Lee Li Lian to win Punggol East back for the People’s Action Party.



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