“The public has the right to know.” Really, Mr Khaw?

Singapore Democrats

Minister for National Development (MND)Khaw Boon Wan’s latest blog avoids the central question surroundingthe Brompton-bike saga.$CUT$

The SDP had raised the issue of the Ministersaying that the bicycles were “value for money” even before theinternal audit that he had commissioned completed its investigation.

Responding, Mr Khaw wrote in his blogtoday that he had wanted to share the interim findings because “the public have a right toknow”. The Minister must save us the PAP-is-transparent routine.

The public has a right to know theamount of our money that the GIC and Temasek Holdings is holding. Thepublic has a right to know the exact cost of HDBflats. The public has a right to know exactly how much ministers arepaid. The public has the right know the number of foreigners theGovernment intends to bring in to Singapore. The public has the rightto know the cause of death and factors that led to the deathwhenever a National Serviceman dies.

We are sure that Mr Khaw and his cabinet colleagues will be releasing all this information any time now.

One important point to note is that Mr Khaw had stated confidently on 4 July hat the bicycleswere “value for money” and that NParks had purchased the “right equipment” only to strike a more contrite tone on 1 August saying that hethought that NParks “could have gotten a better deal.”

The Minister also defends his revealingthe interim findings of the audit even as investigations wereon-going by rationalising that “so long as what I disclosed did notaffect the on-going audit”, he hadn’t done anything wrong.

This is a classic example oftautological nonsense: Using an assertion (that his prematurestatement did not did not affect the on-going audit) to back upanother assertion (that the results of the audit was not affected byhis premature statement), neither of which can be proved ordisproved. It explains nothing.

Would Mr Khaw make it simple and explain to the public howhe came to the conclusion that his statement did not affect theon-going audit rather than merely assert it? The public has a rightto know.

The SDP made this our central questionin our previous statement which we will ask once more since he did not answer it in his blog entry today: Will the Minister convenean external and independent audit of the entire affair to determineif the bicycles are really value for money as he claims?The extravagant purchase is what got the public angry in the first place.

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