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It has transpired that a few companies are being investigated for refusing to supply spare parts to lift repair and maintenance contractors because of anti-competitor practices.
One of these companies is E M Services, a property-management company that manages nine PAP-run Town Councils. E M Services is also a lift supplier as well as maintenance contractor.
According to the Straits Times, a complaint was made two years ago to regulatory body Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) that E M Services had withheld selling spare parts to its competitors.
E M Services was found guilty of the malpractice but no action was taken against the company. Even then, it agreed to supply parts to third-party contractors only in May this year.
Ironically, E M Services is owned by HDB and Keppel Land. Its staff had comprised serving PAP MPs.
The latest revelation poses several grave issues which the PAP government cannot avoid:
When was E M Services found guilty of breaching anti-competition rules when the first complaint was made two years ago?
Did the CCS or other relevant bodies announce the complaint against E M Services and the resultant conviction?
Why was there no action taken against E M Services when it was found guilty of breaching rules two years ago?
Why was E M Services allowed to continue to withhold selling spare parts to third-party contractors until two months ago?
Did the withholding of lift parts by E M Services and other companies under investigation cause the breakdowns of lifts in HDB blocks – some of which resulted in severe injuries and even death among passengers?
Did the former Minister for National Development, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, and the present one, Mr Lawrence Wong, know of these problems? If they did, when did they know about it and what action did they take?
Why did Mr Lawrence Wong not raise this issue in his earlier statements this year despite his concern of the several incidents of lift mishaps in the past several months?
Who was/were the complainant/s in the matter against E M Services and other companies, and what was/were the specific nature of the complaint/s?
How many E M Services staff or Board of Directors are/were also PAP MPs, Town Council staff or Town Councillors?
Information regarding the entire episode has been coming in dribs and draps, and the more is known the more questions arise. In light of the latest development, the SDP calls on the Government to convene an independent Commission of Inquiry to get to the bottom of the problem. A life was lost and serious injuries incurred over the sordid fiasco. There must be accountability.