Do you know that sometimes in trying to prevent something, you can actually make things worse? If anyone doubts that, I strongly suggest you read about the sage between M/s Action Information Management Pte Ltd (AIM) and the PAP town councils.
Last week, I blogged on the case and since then there had been twists and further twists on the matter. As the initial defense by the PAP-owned IT company has been widely discredited by the Singapore public, Coordinating Chairman of the 14 PAP Town Council (I didn’t even know there’s such a position), Teo Ho Pin, issued a 26 paragraph statement explaining the PAP's Town Councils rationale for the sale.
Like the initial defense by AIM, the Singapore public did not accept it as there were gaping holes in his statement. The question of conflict of interest was not touched on and while Mr. Teo said that the Town Council will save $8000 in the leaseback agreement, we have no idea how that figure came about as no one seem to know the cost of developing the original software.
In the latest additional to the saga, lawyers acting on behalf of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) served a letter to local blogger Alex Au demanding he take down the blog post that first raised the issue. Mr. Au, quite naturally, did so (why not when the matter is already out) but the damage was already done.
I think this act through the lawyers was truly foolish on the part of the PAP.
Now the ongoing saga involving AIM and the town councils has raised questions of propriety, transparency and accountability. The PAP had tried to explain away the entire episode (twice), but the Singapore public is not accepting their explanation. The last thing they should be doing is to go after Alex Au.
To the Singapore public, it looks like the PAP tried to explain away their actions to no avail so now they are going after the guy who first broke the story. To me, that’s like saying the PAP has no more cards to play, no more arguments to make, so the only thing left for them to do is to shut people up.
Simple put; going after Alex Au now is an admission of defeat!
Also, this latest action by the PAP comes at a totally inappropriate time. I mean if you want to shut people up, do it before trying to explain away your actions! Not after you had failed to do so! What’s worse is that this action by the PAP now makes people think there’s really something wrong with the whole AIM deal.
There isn’t! Everything is totally legal. It's dirty but it's legal and this is all the PAP need to emphasize. To be blunt, it's dirty politics but it's legal, dirty politics. Yes, Singaporeans are unhappy about the deal and most expect our leaders to be more ethical than this, but let's be serious here. If Singaporeans can accept the PAP gerrymandering left, right and centre every election, they can accept this.
This is dirty politics and the PAP need to stop trying to justify dirty politics. It's not going to work and they need to stop trying ASAP because the more they try, the worse it will get for them.