Vivian Balakrishnan failed to prove WP untruthful

I refer to the transcript of the 9 Jull 2013 parliament exchanges on the Aljunied Town Council Blk 538 hawker centre cleaning issue [1].

Mr Balakrishnan accused Aljunied Town Council property manager Mr Tai Vie Shun of denying its responsibility to clean the hawker centre high areas and for trying to ask hawkers to pay extra money for cleaning them. To prove his accusation, Mr Bala quoted three occasions where Mr Tai supposedly gave the stock answer “spring cleaning is a practice set by the NEA, not the Town Council”. Mr Bala couldn’t seem to comprehend the simple, straight forward answer given by Ms Sylvia Lim that Mr Tai was on those three occasions referring to quarterly spring cleaning which, unlike the annual spring cleaning, doesn’t include high area cleaning. This is supported by the Aljunied Town Council’s email correspondence with NEA which at no instance pointed specifically to this being an annual spring cleaning [2].

Mr Bala then cited Aljunied Town Council contractor ATL Maintenance Pte Ltd’s quotation of $7,200 delivered by hand on 19 Feb 2013 as evidence tantamount to double charging the hawkers. Again, Mr Bala failed to consider that the ATL quote was for high rise cleaning consistent with the impression that this was an additional request for high rise cleaning on a quarterly spring cleaning occasion. Mr Bala claimed that if Aljunied Town Council had been merely confused, the quotation would have read “erection of scaffolding for access to the ceiling” rather than the entire scope of work. But high rise cleaning doesn’t just involve scaffolding erection. It must also involve the entire scope of cleaning the high rise areas using the scaffolding.

Finally, Mr Bala pointed out that the hawker centre was closed for 5 days, a supposedly clear indication that it was for an annual spring cleaning, not a quarterly spring cleaning. Again, Mr Bala failed to consider Aljunied Town Council’s consistent position that Mr Tai believed that this was a quarterly spring cleaning during which high rise areas will also be cleaned which of course would necessitate 5 days. The fact that it was 5 days doesn’t prove that Mr Tai therefore believed it was an annual spring cleaning rather than a quarterly spring cleaning during which the hawkers also requested for high rise cleaning. This is supported by Aljunied Town Council’s annual spring cleaning schedule for Blk 538 which was slated for the last week of Oct 2013, not Mar 2013 [3].

All of Mr Bala’s so-called evidences can be viewed from one of two perspectives – either annual spring cleaning or quarterly spring cleaning with special request for high rise cleaning. He has not provided incontrovertible proof that Mr Tai or the Aljunied Town Council must have thought it to be the former rather than the latter case. The fact that a quotation was requested for the cleaning of high rise areas would have reinforced the idea that this was a special request for high rise cleaning on a quarterly spring cleaning occasion, a request which Mr Bala has denied. However, if there had been no request for the quotation, why would the quotation read “Thank you for inviting us to quote” [4]?

Given the consistent testimonies of Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Pritam Singh that do not contradict any fact presented by Mr Bala, Mr Bala has no strong basis to accuse them of making untrue statements to conceal any supposed extra charging of hawkers or to say that their public denials were false and untruthful. If Mr Bala has full confidence in the evidences that he has gathered to incriminate Mr Tai and the Aljunied Town Council of illegally double charging the hawkers of Blk 538, he should immediately call the CPIB in for investigation or get the state prosecutor to prosecute Ms Lim and Mr Singh immediately. The fact that Mr Bala hasn’t done so yet suggests that his so-called evidences are far from being water tight.

[1] http://app.mewr.gov.sg/web/contents/contents.aspx?contid=1850
Transcript of Supplementary Q&A for PQ1238 on the Role Of Town Councils in the Maintenance and Cleaning of Hawker Centres under their charge, 9 July 2013

[2] Email correspondences between Aljunied Town Council and NEA

Email-Correspondence-between-NEA-and-AHPETC

[3] Aljunied Town Council annual spring cleaning schedule

Annual spring cleaning schedule

[4] Quotation for high rise cleaning of Blk 538
ATL quotation for high rise cleaning Blk 538

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7 Responses to “Vivian Balakrishnan failed to prove WP untruthful”

  1. ;Annonymous Says:

    You omitted to mention that PAP grassroot leader to whom the quotation was adressed. Why has’nt Balakrishnan get him to tell his side of the story? If the quotation was indeed unsolicited it seems strange that Bala would not have trotted him out to support his charges. There is more to it than meets the eye. As Alice would have said – curiouser and curiouser.

  2. Ron2010 Says:

    Clearly VB & PM too looks very much into getting more dense on a simple issue so incredulously? Like deads duck that WKS is after PM’s 3 secs and WP’s LTK was “guilty as charge” per parliament video at:

    What plagiarism is deceit worse than half-truths for real-world “truths” when plagairism accusation has now been shattered by facts od deciet by Civil Servants at the highest level that tears were shed for to serve Singaporans, including those who voted to put them in power.

  3. Alan Says:

    Why did the hawker association invite the TC maintenance contractor to quote when the cleaning is supposed to be carried out through the Town Council ?

    Unless they have something fishy to fix the TC maintenance contractor up ?

  4. George Lam Says:

    “We are witnessing a major malfunction in progress”

    – or words to that effect to staff manning Houston Space Control Centre
    on that day when a space shuttle with a multi-national astronaut crew on
    board disintegrate in the sky within seconds or minutes after launch.

    I think we are witnessing just that of the govt leaders hell bent on the destruction of opposition MPs in the ongoing “hawker centre cleaning” saga.
    For it is becoming clearer and clearer by the day, with more revelation of evidence detrimental to the govt are being dug up and exposed to public
    view.

  5. Dumb Investor Says:

    It has been proven beyond doubt that the two persons representing the hawker associations were party members, who were also councilors from another GRC who lost their position in Kaki Bukit because of the lost of Aljunied. One I believe was not even a hawker. To put it simple, their own interest and that of their political master was at stake here. Furthermore, internal notes of meeting is nothing but manufactured crap and does not prove anything. The question is was the notes sent to all the attendees immediatly after the meeting for clarification. Come on we are not idiots who can be fixed

  6. ninjac Says:

    “Next spring cleaning” could not be “next quarterly cleaning”. If WP was unsure, they should have asked and clarified with the NEA. How difficult is that to do? So since this is a misunderstanding of terminology, then it is also not a big deal. Why are ppl making this such a big deal?

    Thus, I think he did prove one thing even if he was unable to prove WP was dishonest: the inefficiency and stupidity of WP.

    WP has moved on. Don’t you think supporters should also move on?

    • trulysingapore Says:

      Next spring cleaning can be next quarterly spring cleaning. When no additional adjectives are being used, it is more natural to refer to spring cleaning as the ordinary, quarterly spring cleaning. It is less natural to refer to spring cleaning as the special, once-a-year annual cleaning. Annual cleaning already has its own term which is annual cleaning. So naturally, spring cleaning has to refer to the other thing which is the quarterly spring cleaning.

      It is not that WP was unsure, but WP wasn’t even in the picture to begin with as the discussions involved only the WP contractor, not WP. Furthermore, it wasn’t that the contractor was unsure but that he had believed throughout the discussions that spring cleaning referred to quarterly spring cleaning.

      Yes it is not a big deal but the PAP has decided to make it a big deal.

      WP has moved on, but the PAP hasn’t. That is why concerned individuals, not necessarily just WP supporters has to step in and put the PAP in its right place and to show them that no amount of distortion and embelishment about the case can be tolerated.

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