WP’s Faisal Manap rejects Heng Swee Keat’s parliamentary motion, says he trusts Low Thia Khiang & Sylvia Lim
He said that they should not do anything until after the court appeal is done.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat filed a Parliamentary motion on Tuesday (Nov. 5), calling on Workers’ Party’s Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim to recuse themselves from all financial matters related to Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).
This was after the High Court found Low, Lim, and WP chief Pritam Singh liable for damages to AHTC involving some S$33.7 million in payments.
Heng calls on AHTC Chairman to apologise to residents
Heng said that the WP and AHTC have been “totally silent on this matter”.
Lim indicated in parliament after Heng’s speech that they will appeal against the judgement.
“What does the current Chairman of AHTC Mr Faisal Manap intend to do?” he said in Parliament, before asking if Faisal will apologise to the residents of Aljunied and Hougang, or require Low and Lim to recuse themselves from the town council’s financial matters.
“Until the appeal is over, will Mr Faisal Manap remove Ms Sylvia Lim as a Vice-Chairman? Or will he allow her to continue to be in a position where she can co-sign cheques on behalf of AHTC?” Heng prodded.
AHTC Chairman: I trust Low and Lim
In response, Faisal said, in Malay, that he does not support the motion.
“I do not support this motion to ask the town councillors to recuse Mr Low Thia Khiang and Miss Sylvia Lim from the town council affairs. I have known them both since 2006, and have been team mates with them in the administration of the Hougang Town Council since 2011. I have full confidence and trust in the integrity of Mr Low Thia Khiang and Miss Sylvia Lim. I believe and trust that the decisions they have taken since Miss Sylvia Lim became the chairman and Mr Low Thia Khiang became vice-chairman. They have done so in good faith, to do the best for the people of Aljunied and Hougang town.”
Faisal also pointed out that as the case involving Low and Lim is now currently within the period of appeal, this motion is “not appropriate” and that it is not proper to discuss this motion now.
The appeal period will only end on Nov. 11, which is next Monday.
“As chairman of AHTC, I have also not received any advice from the independent panel which has been appointed by the AHTC on anything relating to the court judgement….I will be discussing the motion at the next town council meeting,” he said.
Later in response to Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong’s question about the seriousness of the court findings, Faisal said that he stands firm on his decision.
“I respect the judgment but it is subject to appeal. It may be overturned. I stand firm on my call not to do anything until the appeal is done.”
Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, Desmond Lee, rebutted Faisal regarding his decision not to do anything.
Lee said that he found the former’s remarks “concerning”:
“I find it concerning that the chairman of the Town Council says no need to do anything because I know them and I trust them, even if there’s a High Court judgment. Secondly, he said the independent panel has not told him what to do. Thirdly, he said there’s still an appeal. I think it’s very clear what the Workers’ Party’s position is.”
Who is Faisal Manap?
Faisal took over as AHTC chairman from Pritam Singh in September 2018.
His role, as chairman, is to oversee the running of the Town Council, which mainly focuses on town and estate management.
Unlike his predecessor, Faisal did not need to understudy as vice-chair of AHTC before taking on the mantle of chairman.
Top image via Faisal Manap.