Workers’ Party (WP) politician Gerald Giam has revealed that he is touched by Singaporeans’ concern for his party and party leaders in the wake of the High Court judgment in the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) lawsuit.
Between July 2011 to July 2015, AHTC had paid at least S$33.7 million to their town council managing agent FM Solutions & Services (FMSS). Claiming that these were “improper” payments, an independent panel appointed by the town council initiated civil proceedings against Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim and Pritam Singh.
In his judgment released two weeks ago, High Court Judge Kannan Ramesh said that Mr Low and Ms Lim had breached their fiduciary duties to AHTC and that Mr Singh had breached his duties of skill and care to the town council.
Unless the WP MPs are unable to pay the damages, it is unlikely that the judgment will affect their parliamentary positions since the lawsuit arises from civil proceedings. If they are unable to pay up, they will be made bankrupt and lose their seats in parliament.
Despite the judgment, Singaporeans have expressed their support for the three opposition MPs. Spurring the WP leaders on, many have pledged to vote for their party in the impending General Election and have urged the MPs to start crowdfunding. Singaporeans are promising to chip in to ensure the politicians do not become bankrupt and lose their parliamentary seats.
In a Facebook post published days after the AHTC judgment was released, WP politician Gerald Giam said that he has been moved by how supportive Singaporeans have been. A longtime WP member, Mr Giam has served as a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) of the 12th Parliament of Singapore.
Recounting instances where Singaporeans have expressed concern for the opposition party, Mr Giam wrote on 14 Oct:
“During food distribution in Fengshan over the weekend, an elderly resident asked me about the court judgment, which she watched on TV but couldn’t quite understand. With deep concern on her face, she asked if the amount our MPs had to pay was ‘banyak’ (a lot).
“An elderly friend called me early in that morning saying he was so upset he couldn’t sleep the night before. Another texted me to convey a message to our MPs that “you had our backs, now we have yours”.
“It’s so touching how so many Singaporeans have stepped forward in solidarity during these trying times. Our work will continue, come what may!”
Following the release of the High Court judgment, Mr Pritam said on his personal Facebook page that their “Town Council work continues in earnest” and promised to continue updating the people online.
Netizens responding to both Mr Giam and Mr Pritam’s social media posts reiterated their support for the party and promised to do their part in the upcoming polls.-/TISG
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