Sitoh Yih Pin: Show me the Money Quote!

On one hand, Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin was allegedly quoted to say, "Since you have raised this issue to me personally, I will keep all the staff at the town council. I will honour my words." (It was addressed to Mrs Lina Chiam, by the way and said to be declared in front of SPP and PAP counting agents in the early hours after Polling Day).

On the other hand, he later stated, "At that time, I didn't know the inside workings of the town council and how many staff there were, so my exact words to her, "Since you asked, I'll try my best to see what I can do."

So is this a matter of misquote which often happens? (Whatever happens to a tape recorder or YouTube clip, people?)

Talking about YouTube, it's a pity Mrs. Lina Chiam didn't mention about Sitoh's alleged statement on the Potong Pasir town council staff to be retained in her speech after losing the SMC.



But watching at the next video, I must admit I've got to agree that Sitoh really did his best.

Quoted in the video is Sitoh's statement: "Some residents are concerned with the service and conservancy charges. At this point in time I am not thinking of raising the charges. There are 16 staff of Potong Pasir town council, these are staff who have worked for Mr Chiam. Over the last few days I have had extensive discussion with EM Services. EM Services has graciously accepted my request to re-hire all the 16 staff of the Potong Pasir Town Council, (where) the staff in all probability will be re-hired in other town councils."



Well, regardless of who's right or wrong, this negative publicity against Sitoh will for sure haunt him again in the next GE.

And no, I'm not merely referring to the negative titles of the articles like "PAP’s Sitoh Yih Pin reneges on promise made" by Temasek Review Emeritus and "Sitoh Yihpin not keeping his promise, says SPP" by the Online Citizen.

PS. You may also want to read SPP, "Appeal to Mr Sitoh Yih Pin to honor his word and retain the employment of all the staff in Potong Pasir Town Council".

A WAR of words has erupted between new Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin of the People's Action Party (PAP) and the Singapore People's Party (SPP) led by the former Potong Pasir MP, Mr Chiam See Tong.

The tussle is over jobs for 16 members of the Potong Pasir Town Council staff, who were served one month's notice last Friday when the town council was handed over by the outgoing team to the PAP's Mr Sitoh.

The new MP has hired a managing agent, EM Services, to run the town council, and has promised that it will rehire and deploy the 16 to eight other town councils it manages.

The SPP alleges that Mr Sitoh promised Mrs Lina Chiam, wife of Mr Chiam and the party's candidate for Potong Pasir at the recent polls, that he would retain all the town council staff.

According to the SPP, Mr Sitoh told Mrs Chiam shortly after the election results were announced in the early hours of May 8: 'Since you have raised this issue to me personally, I will keep all the staff at the town council. I will honour my words.'

Contacted by The Straits Times on Wednesday, Mr Sitoh said that was not what he had said.

From Straits Times, "Sitoh and SPP in war of words".

A dispute has broken out between the Singapore People's Party (SPP) and the People's Action Party Member of Parliament Sitoh Yih Pin over what was allegedly promised for the leadership transition at Potong Pasir Town Council.

At the heart of the wrangle are the 16 town council employees, who were last week offered re-employment and deployment to other town councils by EM Services, the managing agent newly contracted by Mr Sitoh to manage the town council.

Out of the 16 employees, three were retained in Potong Pasir Town Council. According to employees whom MediaCorp spoke to, the remaining 13 were issued termination letters.

Mr Sitoh explained that the termination letters were issued "in accordance to" the employees' contracts and the terminated staff were asked to re-apply with EM Services. So far, only six had submitted their re-application forms, said Mr Sitoh.

One employee in his fifties said he knew of at least three colleagues who have decided not to reapply, as they were "unhappy" with the arrangement.

The arrangement is not what Mr Sitoh had promised Mrs Lina Chiam, his SPP opponent at the recent General Election, claims the Opposition party, whose second assistant secretary-general Benjamin Pwee has drafted a "request letter" to the Potong Pasir MP.

MediaCorp understands that Mr Pwee will deliver the letter to the town council on Thursday.

According to a copy of the letter obtained by MediaCorp, SPP claims that Mr Sitoh had pledged, in front of SPP and PAP counting agents in the early hours after Polling Day, to "keep all the staff at the town council" after Mrs Chiam had expressed concern about their jobs at the town council.

When contacted on Wednesday, Mr Sitoh refuted SPP's claims.

"At that time, I didn't know the inside workings of the town council and how many staff there were, so my exact words to her, "Since you asked, I'll try my best to see what I can do"," he said.

"And I think I've kept to my word: I negotiated with EM Services and I must give credit to EM Services. They said, "Don't worry, we'll take the staff"."

As for his decision not to keep most of the town council employees at Potong Pasir, Mr Sitoh said he could not keep everybody, as he has to abide by EM Services' regulations.

"It has its own way of doing things that is developed over the years, which is why I adopt this system. My paramount interest is the Potong Pasir residents, so EM Services has to bring in its own people. I can't compromise on standards of services I deliver to residents."

He added that EM Services will probably have to train some of the Potong Pasir town council employees under its own training programme.

Town council employees whom MediaCorp spoke to expressed concern about the situation, especially after they were told that when re-employed, they would be put on a six-month probation under EM Service's terms and conditions. When asked about the probation period, Mr Sitoh said this was standard human resource policy for all EM Services staff. He added: "If they're good performers, what's the worry?"

From Channel NewsAsia, "'I've kept to my word', says Potong Pasir MP".

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