SINGAPORE: Minister for Law and Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam on Friday (Jan 6) said the best way to deal with investigations such as the one involving Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) general manager Victor Wong is to "let the law take its course".
Speaking on the sidelines of a news conference following the conclusion of a review on handling young suspects, Mr Shanmugam said the AMKTC case shows "the essence of how this Government operates".
"Regardless of who, regardless of the fact that this is the general manager of Ang Mo Kio Town Council, if there is an allegation, it will be investigated and no one will be spared. No town council, no one, nothing will be swept under the carpet. That is why Singapore is successful - because we take probity in public office very, very seriously," he said.
Mr Shanmugam contrasted the approach being taken in this case with the then-Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council, which has been under scrutiny for its relationship between its former managing agent FM Solutions and Services (FMSS) and Essential Maintenance Service Unit (EMSU) contractor FM Solutions and Integrated Services (FMSI).
The Workers' Party-held town council was renamed AHTC after losing its single-ward Punggol East seat to the ruling People's Action Party in the 2015 General Election.
"In Aljunied Town Council, court application after court application, auditor-general to investigate because they wouldn't give the information to their own auditors. Their own auditors prepared a report saying we are being denied the information. You call that good behaviour with public funds? Investigations are ongoing because you have a further set of accountants looking at more information. Eventually, all of this will have to come to a full circle once the auditors have finished their work. There is more to come," Mr Shanmugam said.
"But this is not the way to do things. The way to do it is to disclose all the information; be upfront; hand it over and then let the law take its course. Not hide every step of the way," he added.
In response to a question asking if PAP town councils should be clean to begin with, the Law and Home Affairs Minister said: "You find me a set of people in the world, a society, where nobody commits offences and everybody is clean.
"The real point is whether the system as a whole is clean, primarily, whether the man at the top is clean, whether the system moves quickly and immediately and forcefully regardless of who it is. You look for clean people but sometimes people fall prey to temptation."
"In Ang Mo Kio Town Council, complaint made, CPIB is in," he said.