Eight observation points on opening statement by SC Chelva Retnam (Part 1 of 8)

I have 8 observation points about yesterday’s opening statement by Senior Counsel Chelva Retnam Rajah for the three MPs and two councillors. First one here.


I was sitting in the gallery with fellow party members listening to a very different tone of voice compared to PRPGTC’s senior counsel D Singh’s. Rajah’s was slow and deliberate, gentle and firm; a reasoning voice that I aspire to for parliament and politics.

First thing I wrote down was AIM. Rajah alerted the honourable judge to the MND review report and parliamentary debate on the controversial sale of PAP town council software to PAP-owned company Action Information Management (AIM). Why is this relevant?

One, the MND review did not find any conflict of interest even though the AIM transaction involved PAP-run TCs and a PAP-owned company. This means conflict of interest lies somewhere else, not in the status of the persons involved in the transaction. Just because the FMSS owners were “WP supporters” do not make them thus conflicted.

Two, the MND review found that no PAP town councillors had pecuniary or material interest in AIM and they acted “in good faith in the interests and the benefit of their residents”. That last part is the crux of the defense of Sylvia, Low and Pritam.

Three, the MND review acknowledged the AIM controversy arose because of the party political nature of town councils operating in a competitive context. And this political nature of town councils is the starting point of the defense of Sylvia, Low and Pritam.

But one thing to add here is that the political nature of town councils affect opposition parties that had won seats in a very UNEVEN manner. More on this in the next observation point.

Let me end with a note: it begins with AIM in more ways than one. Defense: the review of the AIM transaction shows that we need to understand the FMSS appointment in the party-political competitive context of town council work. Me: and AIM itself contributed to the UNEVEN party-political competitive context of setting up AHTC. This paragraph is found in the defense opening statement on p. 32:

The TCMS, which was the computerised management system used to run ATC, was terminated soon after WP took over ATC. The TCMS was provided by Action Information Management Pte Ltd (“AIM”) which was owned by the PAP. The evidence will show that the lack of a proper computerised system greatly hampered the management of the TC in its early days.


Daniel Goh


* The author is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the National University of Singapore and blogs at http://www.danielpsgoh.com/.



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10 Responses to “Eight observation points on opening statement by SC Chelva Retnam (Part 1 of 8)”

  • clown pap fixing WP:

    we, 4 voters, live in aljunied.

    we have never voted pap. never will.

    have been voting WP, ever since they appeared.

    will continue to vote WP, or any other OPPOSITION, as long as they appear.

    clown pap fixing WP no use. when such news on clown pap tv, we switch channel. when we buy things wrapped in clown pap newspapers and happen to have WP being fixed news, we throw away the wrapping.

    long story short. as soon as New Government forms after GE2019, we shall remind New Government to fix pap swee swee.

    sauce for goose, is sama sama sauce for gander.

    after all, Singapore belongs to Singaporeans. clown pap is just a political party that happens to form government at the moment. clown pap is not Singapore. never will be.

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  • LIONS:

    Thats why WP shud have form an ALLIANCE instead of going solo.

    But,this shud have been avoided,couldn’t it?

    Time for OPPO ALLIANCE or oppo faces self-destruction by *entrapmemt*?

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  • oxygen:

    READ NOT & LISTEN NOT THE PUBLISHING/BROADCAST OF PROSTITUTE MEDIA – it is fake news SEXED UP for circulation stirring and a preferred political agenda.

    In a world of competitive business and politics with events moving so fast and sometimes UNCONTAINABLE of decision choices availability and outcome totally unpredictable – the INTEGRITY of any process is and can only be measured BY THE PROCESS OF UNDERTAKING reaching for a particular outcome but never the biasedly-judged outcome,

    I read of this legal perspective looking at the outcome of the Merrill Lynch bail out in 2009 when on January 27, 2009, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo issued a subpoena to Thain in a probe into the bonuses he received just days before the Bank of America takeover. Charges of criminal fraud can be brought under the 1921 Marin Act against a person receiving an illicit executive payout.



    John Thain was NEVER PROSECUTED for any criminal offence, not even pursued for civil proceedings. In the unraveling of financial market turmoil,John Thain miscalculated and underestimated the risks and losses which resulted in him asking for more and more money of tax-payer funded rescue of Merrill Lynch – the reward of that originally (before his sacking) included a President’s of the enlarged Bank of America (takeover predator) investment banking division. He spent over $1 million renovating his “new office” and paid out executive bonuses to staff still remaining as agreed in contract. So it is NOT crime offence on John Thain and he can’t be faulted for offence when others in the CEO suites throughout the corporate world are also caught UNDERESTIMATING RISKS AND LOSSES CONTINGENCIES.

    The moral of John Thain life history and law is this – if the process is CLEAN AND THE DECISION-MAKERS HAVE NOT SILENTLY BENEFITED PERSONALLY AGAINST THE FINANCIAL INTERESTS OF LEGITIMATE STAKEHOLDER AND THE OUTCOME IS LESSER THAN OPTIMAL (however judged in hindsight of what is optimal and who is GOD to make that judgement – no wrong is ever committed by anyone.

    And that is also the reality in the practical commercial world – a smart tycoon of a listed entity might have only two stupid sons – and fiacked up the business built over his life-time, can the aggrieved shareholders fault the founding father for giving birth and bringing up two stupid sons to take over the listed business?? The stupid sons might actually think their own father is the stupid one, missed too many opportunities (risks) which wonderfully INCINERATED a few years later.

    There is no law against stupidity, right?

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    PAP and the Bastard’s philosophy…

    What is good for the Goose is NOT good for the Gander


    in The Bastard’s VIEW what is Good for PAP is NOT Good for the Opposition

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  • WP way to go.:

    Way to go WP. The plot as thick as Gu Long WuXia Story. All in, all or nothing. Who dare say, WP done nothing. Even the D.Singh noticed it and said WP trying to take the platform for story telling, hahahhahahahaha.

    This is the kind of Party we need seriously, daring All-In.

    I would say a test of the integrity of the token of conscience left of justice in Singaland. Are there? We shall see….

    Sitty times is a clear sign of abused of power, one sided half baked news, brain washing…. even the blind can smell it…. busuk!

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  • oxygen:

    VOTERS SHOULD KEEP THEIR MINDS FOCUSED ON the HDB/CPF scams and the dire consequences for national survival as the asset enhancement politics scam imploded in the face of PAPpys.

    NOT A SINGLE 4Gs came out to bark one word on the HDB ownership/lease/tenancy controversy. It is too hot a political potato, whoever picks that up owns it of public explanation and solution (there is none!)

    Deceptions have caught up with PAPpys’s trickery and no amount of PAPpy News Publishing can distract attention from that.

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  • More beans will be spilled..:

    Come and listen to the dirty tactics used against AHTC(WP) at the High Court.

    Court is open unlike Parliament!

    Cannot censore and cannot hide!

    You be the Judge if it is time to vote otherwise at the next GE!

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  • N.Jungne:

    Miscalculation, blinded by EGO. Your own Karma will take care of that.

    GD Star Rating
  • Dato:

    Based on the size of Singapore’s physical land mass and population – do we need so many Ministers and MPs?

    With the number of MP in the House, doesn’t it show that Singaporeans are inefficient and lazy – 1 job covered by 2 or 3 personnel.

    Dear Singapore Government – Grab n Uber kena fined for anti-competition actions.

    Shouldn’t SPH be fined much higher than the 2 Operators? The own all the Newspaper, all the Radio airwaves and all the TV channels.

    AIM saga is a issue of contention – already kena swept under a giant carpet.

    I respect the residence of Hougang. To the rest of Singaporeans – we have a stable economy, an existing Judicial system, sound banking system, sound education system. All these won’t just vanish or get destroyed by a change of government.

    Go ahead. Give the opposition a chance to try out. They won’t costs millions in salaries. They may in fact serve with a heart, not with sense of entitlement.

    One man. One Vote. Vote for change.

    GD Star Rating
  • pakuqaz:

    AIM software is belong to
    the towncouncil. how the hell
    they can simply cancell.
    if i am not wrong the resident
    money to buy.

    GD Star Rating
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