The elaborate statement by Dr. Teo Ho Pin, Coordinating Chairman of the PAP Town Councils, in response to Workers'' Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim's questioning of the sale of the computer software rights to Action Information Management (AIM), when she asked if it was in the public interest, cuts no ice with the public, especially the netizens. His statement has been published on the TR Emeritus website which elicited no less than 218 responses from netizens criticising or condemning Dr. Teo for his disingenuous statement designed to cover up the questionable sale of the PAP Town Councils' computer software system to a PAP-owned AIM with a paid up capital of $2 whose three directors are former PAP MPs.
Dr Teo attempted to justify the sale of the computer software by quoting for the first time that a consultancy firm Deloitte and Touche Enterprise Risk Services Pte Ltd had been engaged to review the system and had found the system, built in 2003, was becoming obsolete and impossible to maintain. Deloitte and Touche had suggested centralising the software ownership with a third party taking over the software rights. A commentator with computer software expertise has commented that unlike a real machine, a computer software cannot get outdated. It is just a series of instructions to an operating system to perform a task. There are no rotating gears or other moving parts in a software which can suffer from wear and tear. So Singaporeans can draw their conclusion whether the sale of the computer software to a third party which turned out to be none other than the PAP-owned AIM, a $2 shell company, was in the public interest.
In this controversy, the WP started as an underdog but it has justice on its side. The way Ms Sylvia Lim has stood up to the political onslaught of Dr. Teo Ho Pin and his cohort is a credit to the indomitable character of the WP chairman. Dr Teo, with due respect to him, emerges out of this controversy as not so adept in trying to force through his arguments, probably by sheer display of PAP's superiority. He has no answer to the public perception of the impropriety of the sale of the computer software system to AIM, a $2 capital shell company with a skeleton staff and no computer software expertise. Ms Sylvia Lim suspected that AIM was exercising the rights of termination of the lease if there was a "material change" in the composition of the Town Council when it terminated the software lease to Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.
It is as clear as daylight that Dr. Teo's elaborate statement lacks conviction and cogency. He has to try harder to convince Singaporeans of his ingenuousness in wanting to resolve this controversy equitably, especially to the WP. This controversy has been festering for some time now and it could not be beneficial to the PAP with an eye to the possible Punggol East by-election if it is allowed to drag on indefinitely. What seems to be drawing public attention is the reticence of the PAP leadership on this controversy.