Sylvia Lim To MND – What Do You Mean By Profiteering? (Ouch!)

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At a time when people are complaining about sky-rocketing HDB prices. At a time when people are complaining about shoddy DBSS flats. At a time when people are complaining about over-crowded public parks, the Ministry of National Development is still busy with the account of AHPETC.

The latest salvo is when MND accused FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) of grossly profiteering at the expense of its sole client – the town council run by the Workers’ Party (WP).

Bottomline is, if profiteering is bad, there are alot of bad people in Singapore.

But WP chairman Sylvia Lim rubbished the claims in a letter to the MND, saying the ministry’s “series of careless accusations” were aimed at politically discrediting the party.

In a statement on Saturday, MND noted that for the financial year (FY) 2013/2014, the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) suffered an operating deficit of $2 million. But that same year, FMSS made a net after-tax profit of $2 million after paying its directors and shareholders fees and salaries amounting to $1.14 million.

And although FMSS’ revenue rose 30 per cent between the two financial years, from $6.7 million to $8.8 million, its profit after tax rose 300 per cent from $510,904 to $2.04 million.

“Had the town council not overpaid FMSS, it might well have had been able to break even,” the MND said. It noted that the total payments by AHPETC to FMSS owners and directors had amounted to 22 per cent of FMSS’ revenues in FY2012/2013, and grew further to 36 per cent in FY2013/2014.

“Such levels of profit margin are abnormal,” said the MND. “As AHPETC was FMSS’ only client, these findings support MND’s earlier concern that the town council had overpaid FMSS excessively.”

In her letter to MND, which Ms Lim made public on the WP website, she said that AHPETC did not overpay FMSS, and asked what the MND meant by “abnormal” profit margin. She noted that the managing agents of other town councils had not made known their profit levels.

“We are appalled at the series of careless accusations made by your ministry against AHPETC. It is shocking that despite our clarifications on your allegations relating to lost monies and overpayment, your Ministry continues to make spurious statements to distract the public and aimed at politically discrediting AHPETC,” said Ms Lim who is the immediate past chairman of AHPETC.

AHPETC had also been paying FMSS – appointed its managing agent after a public tender – in line with contractual rates, and “payment in accordance with contracts cannot be overpayment”, she added.

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