Minister Khaw Boon Wan in parliament hit back at WP, and he did it by bringing up FM Solutions and Services (FMSS). His point was to drive home the idea that town councils are inherently political and WP is no different because FMSS is no more transparent than AIM, and no more apolitical than AIM.
FMSS is WP's Political Embarrassment
FMSS was incorporated in May 2011 by Hougang Town Council staff How Weng Fan and her husband, Danny Loh. How Weng Fan and Danny Loh's history with the WP went back for some time. Both were WP supporters who vouched on nomination day for the WP Ang Mo Kio GRC "suicide team" candidates of Abdul Salim Bin Harun, Gopal Krishnan, Glenda Han, Lee Wai Leng, Melvin Tan and Yaw Shin Leong. Danny Loh and his wife might even be WP members, but it does not matter whether they are or not as they are not apolitical anyway.
Unlike AIM it was not a $2 company, but had a paid up capital of $500,000. The problem with FMSS was that it got the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council contract without tender, and thus might not be the best in the market for the residents of Aljunied-Hougang. AIM was an inconvenient embarrassment when it was found out by WP. But now FMSS is WP's irritating embarrassment when it was dug out by PAP.
An Apolitical Town Council is Possible
Objectively, with AIM and FMSS, two wrongs don't make a right. Town councils are political as AIM and FMSS showed but can they be apolitical, or to what degree they can be apolitical?
The conventional thinking is that town councils are political instruments that cut both ways. If they are good, they win votes. If they are bad and it is so easy to displease voters, they lose votes. That double-edged sword is an inevitable part of politics, unless HDB takes over and resumes its pre-1989 role. Why not, if not HDB then something else existing or new, to make town councils apolitical as best as they can because that is what people want? That idea is not alien as in a democracy, the civil service still runs even if one party comes into power and the other vacates. Why not a town council?