Worker’s Party allegedly planned to hire FMSS while contracted to CPG

In 2011, the Worker’s Party is alleged to have planned to hire new management while still contracted to their current provider.

As reported by The Straits Times, during the trial of three Worker’s Party (WP) Members of Parliament (MPs), Senior Counsel Davinder Singh argued the WP planned to appoint new management, FM Solutions & Services (FMSS), days after winning the election while already contracted to CPG Facilities Management (CPG).

Referencing an email former WP chief Low Thia Khiang sent, Singh said the defendants had conspired to appoint a company, FMSS, that the then secretary of Hougang Town Council How Weng Fan would manage. This plan was reportedly in spite of CPG’s experience with town management as well as the terms of CPG’s contract.

“I suggest to you, Sir, that on the morning of the first working day after the election, you had sealed CPG’s fate.”

– Davinder Singh, Senior Counsel

Singh alleged FMSS’ formation was no contingency plan and was instead a coordinated attempt to replace CPG, who had yet to inform the defendants of their desire to withdraw from their contract.

The timeline of events in 2011, with the interpretations of both the prosecution and the defence, is as follows:

May 7: The Worker’s Party wins control of Aljunied GRC, a group representation constituency of five members in the northeastern corner of Singapore.

May 9: Worker’s Party members meet to discuss town council business.
Defence: Low Thia Khiang argues Worker’s Party Members of Parliament discussed contingencies for if, and only if, CPG Management could no longer run the town council.
Prosecution: Davinder Singh argues the Worker’s Party Members of Parliament prepared for the setup and eventual contraction of FM Solutions & Services to run the town council.

May 12: FM Solutions & Services applies to the Account and Corporate Regulatory Authority to register as a company.

May 13: How Weng Fan writes a letter to CPG Facilities Management about the management of the Aljunied Town Council.
Defence: Low Thia Khiang argues this letter referred to the Worker’s Party taking over for the People’s Action Party in the Aljunied GRC.
Prosecution: Davinder Singh argues this letter was in reference to plans to have FM Solutions & Services take over for CPG Facilities Management.

May 30: CPG Facilities Management informs the Worker’s Party of its desire to withdraw from its contract.

During Khiang’s cross-examination, Singh asked if any member of the team had referred to FMSS as a contingency plan, to which Khiang replied none had but maintained that as of May 9 neither had any plans to replace CPG been made.

With FMSS’ application on May 12, Singh contended plans for FMSS must have been made prior to May 12 and likely prior to the meeting on May 9, all the while CPG had not been contacted. Low reiterated no plans at the time had been made to replace CPG with FMSS, because if such plans had been made, CPG would have been contacted.

While the letter Fan wrote to CPG on May 13 makes no definitive claims, Singh argues it intentionally implies to CPG that the WP wanted to make a change in management, hopefully forcing CPG to pull out of the contract and allow for the council to avoid calling a tender (an open call for companies to bid on services for the town) and instead hire FMSS.

The defence denies this entirely, interpreting the ambiguity of the letter as a simple reference to the Worker’s Party replacing the People’s Action Party.

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