On the 10th day of the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC), Senior Counsel Davinder Singh accused Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim of lying concerning how the (AHTC) in-house computer system was expanded.
It was the first time for Ms. Lim to take the witness stand. She followed fellow WP MP, Low Thia Khiang.
According to Mr. Singh, Ms. Lim had intentionally perpetuated a “false impression” that the town council’s in-house computer system needed to be upscaled due to the fact that the company that used to handle AHTC’s IT system would end its services with them.
Mr. Singh, who represents the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC), claimed that Ms. Lim lied because the computer system was already beginning to be expanded even before AIM said they would withdraw services.
He said to Ms. Lim, “You lied. You lied to your town council members, you lied to Parliament, you lied to this court.”
The Workers Party Members of Parliament, who are among the defendants in the case, had indicated at the beginning of the trial that not having a computerized system hindered management of the town council when they took over. The amount paid for the computer’s system upgrade has been included in the lawsuit, since defendants in the case are being accused to having made wrongful payments to the FM Solutions and Services (FMSS), who became the managing agent of AHTC, as well as other service providers.
In her affidavit, Ms. Lim had said that she and How Weng Fan, who begun FMSS along with her husband, the late Danny Loh, had been told by then AHTC secretary Jeffrey Chua that AIM was ceasing its services, in order for them to make “necessary preparations.”
She said, “In the circumstances, AHTC started urgent preparations for the withdrawal of the (Town Council Management System, which was used to Aljunied Town Council) by upscaling the Hougang SMC (single member constituency) computer software.”
According to Mr. Singh, this constituted a false impression.
He further said that Mr. Chua had asked AIM to stay on in August 2011, to which the company agreed, in order to make sure that the computer systems of AHTC were running well.
In fact, the company extended until September 9, which had been requested by CPG, who had even AHTC’s managing agent previous to FMSS.
In the light of this, Mr. Singh said to Ms. Lim, “They agreed to give you more time, even though they were not obliged to. Despite all of this, you misled everyone. You gave everyone the false impression that AIM terminated, and so you had to upscale.”
Ms. Lim had not read the contact between what was then Aljunied Town Council and AIM after GE2011, because, she reasoned, the term of town councilors does not begin until the town council is gazetted.
However, according to Mr. Singh, the term of office actually starts after the elections.
Tensions grew as Mr. Singh interrogated Ms. Lim about Section 13 of the Town Councils Act, and continued the line of questioning about the “false impression” Ms. Lim had made concerning the timeline concerning the town council’s computer system, as well as the beginning of the tenure for WP MPs, when they took over AHTC.
Furthermore, Mr. Singh noted that Ms. Lim was not answering his questions. He said to her, “The more you avoid the question, the more you give us the chance to submit that you are an evasive witness.”
Her cross examination is scheduled to continue on Friday, October 19.