SINGAPORE: The Workers' Party (WP) MPs at the centre of a lawsuit over allegedly improper payments made by the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) on Wednesday (Jul 26) said that they saw the court case as an opportunity to explain to the court and the public why they made the decisions they did.
The suit was filed last Friday by an independent panel appointed by AHTC, over alleged improper payments amounting to millions of dollars.
It alleges that Aljunied GRC MPs Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim and Pritam Singh had acted in breach of their fiduciary duties.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a meet-the-people session at Bedok Reservoir Road, the three MPs reiterated that they had acted in good faith and were confident of their defence. "My conscience is clear," said Mr Low.
The three MPs declined to go into further detail on the facts of the case, saying their lawyers had advised against it.
"At the moment, we are focused on presenting our defence in court," Ms Lim said.
"Of course, lawsuits are never pleasant but we welcome this opportunity to go into detail to explain to the court and the public why we made certain decisions at that point in time.
"And we hope that, because town council management is a bit of a technical matter, we hope that with this court case there will be greater understanding, especially from the public's point of view, to better understand why and what those considerations were when we made those decisions, and why we still stand firm today that what we did was in the best interest of the council, based on the information we had at the time."
Echoing Ms Lim's remarks, Mr Singh said: "I see the court case as an opportunity for us to put our side of the story out there."
Mr Singh, who is AHTC chairman, added: "It is my firm conviction that we acted in good faith. We are not in politics for the purposes of enriching ourselves and things of that nature."
"We are prepared to be judged by the people," said Mr Low.
The WP chief added: "I don't think Singaporeans have lost faith in us.
"We acted in good faith and in the best interests of the residents. The residents can see for themselves. And I’ve been in politics for 20 years - more than 20 years. I think people know me. So be it."
Asked if the lawsuit would erode the party's confidence in its leaders, given that Mr Low had seen off a leadership challenge by fellow Aljunied MP Chen Show Mao last year, the WP chief dismissed concerns.
"(A) leadership challenge is a good thing ... I am very happy that people are prepared to come forward to serve, and to take that responsibility. The worst thing that could happen is that nobody wants a leadership position," he said.
"Some of you might be worried (about) what happens if we lose our seat. I can tell you, (if we) lose our seat, there will be more people, and the younger generation in the Workers' Party will be prepared to come forward to serve Singaporeans, so I am not worried."