Which party wanted to terminate AIM contract first?

Aljunied-Hougang Town Council explains its performance. (Yahoo! photo)

The war of words over a terminated computer systems deal with an opposition town council continues.

The latest dispute centres on whether it was the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) or the Workers' Party (WP) that sought to end the contract with Action Information Management first.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu in a Facebook post on Saturday took issue with Aljunied Hougang Town Council chairman Sylvia Lim's claim that PAP, which owns the company that managed the council's computer and financial systems, terminated the contract.

"First, this is untrue, because it was WP that served notice to terminate AIM [deal]," she said. "After thatAHTC asked for and received two extensions of time, until their ownsystem was ready."

Fu also pointed out that taking aim at AIM, which is owned by the PAP, misses a fundamental point -- the management of AHTC.

"No doubt a new team may
take three or four months to settle in, but surely 18 months is enoughto take over and be responsible for a Town Council? If not, how much longer should the conversion period be? 24, 30 months? Maybe 5 years?" she asked.

In a statement on the same day, however, Lim posted a copy of the termination notice "to allay any doubts about whether AIM had indeed terminated the software agreement with AHTC".

Earlier, the opposition leader blamed the termination of the contract for the poor performance grade it got in handling service and conservancy charges.

In her statement, Lim also noted that Teo Ho Pin, the coordinating chairman of PAP town councils, said a one-month termination clause was "reasonable" but that he himself indicated it would take "maybe 18 to 24 months, or even longer" to assess new software and develop a replacement system.

"In our view, therefore, the question of how the PAP-managed Town Councils acted in the public (and residents’) interest in relinquishing their ownership of the systems to AIM upon such conditions has still not been answered.  We leave it to the public to make their own judgment," she said.