From the sharp Parliamentary debates, we can now see that
1. Both WP and PAP were in a classic prisoner’s dilemma.
WP awarded town council contracts to companies owned by its supporters; PAP awarded contracts to its own companies. If WP hadn’t raised the AIM issue, PAP would not have raised FMSS as a counterpoint.
Unfortunately, WP did raise it and PAP had to hit back. Now the world can see that both parties have had dealings with their own supporters, and neither can claim to be 清白.
2. PAP punches hard
Instead of defending itself, PAP went on a counterattack, criticising WP town council charges and also pointing out that WP has awarded town council contracts without public tender, to companies owned by its supporters. Brilliant soundbites, even if they are out of context.
3. Town Councils are inherently political
If it wasn’t obvious before, when PAP threatened voters with delays in HDB upgrading for voting ‘opposition’, when its MP’s take every opportunity to criticise the performance of opposition town councils at every MND Annual Report, it must be perfectly clear now.
PAP put in a poison pill clause in its AIM contract. It had no qualms about setting up its own company to run town council operations. And the way the two parties locked horns over this shows very clearly the risks of over-politicking.
4. WP suffers another blow
This is the third time WP appears to have come off worse in a Parliamentary debate. It lost the Ministerial Salary debate; it lost the Woffles Wu debate; and now this.
This is not good.