Accountability & Transparency for Town Councils: ST (15 Jun 2006) - 'WASTEFUL' PRACTICES BY TOWN COUNCILS: Have panel examine use of public funds
To: Feedback Unit
cc: Ms Amy Khor - Chairman, Feedback Unit
cc: Opposition MPs and NCMP
cc: Today - fyi
cc: Straits Times - fyi
15 June 2006
I read with interest the letter in The Straits Times, "'WASTEFUL' PRACTICES BY TOWN COUNCILS: Have panel examine use of public funds" (15 June 2006) - attached below.
I have been reading letters to the newspapers about such wasteful practices of many town councils and I find this very disturbing.
You can understand the concern and uneasiness of many citizens when such practices become prevalent in town councils as they deal with residents' money, in this case, their monthly Service & Conservancy ( S & C) fees which amount to hundreds of millions collectively. Their concerns are excerbated when the finances of the town councils are not publicly and openly reviewed, discussed/debated and accounted for annually in the presence of the residents in the respective town councils, as is the requirement of "private town councils" which collect conservancy or "maintenance" fees from residents, the MCSTs running private condos. These MCSTs are subject to annual AGMs where their accounts are openly reviewed and discussed/debated as to how they are spent .
I believe the government needs no reminding how the NKF became such an issue when the public's money entrusted to it are "abused", precisely because of lack of proper "accountability and transparency".
Given the prevalence of such imprudent practices in many town councils (as reported in the newspapers and through letters to the forum pages), and for the sake of transparency and accountability, I suggest that the government mandate that town councils convene annual "meetings" equivalent to MCSTs' AGMs where their finances are openly accounted for. This is important as town councils deal with residents' money and as stakeholders, residents have the right to know how their money is spent.
I sincerely hope that the government does not wait till another "NKF-type" case to unfold before taking serious action.