PM Lee mosquito

Singaporeans should start demanding for lower S&CC rates

I refer to the ongoing *discussions* about Town Council Managing Agent Contract.


No clear picture in sight

As a layman who did not pay full attention to the facts presented and discussed, it is hard to draw a conclusion.  Hopefully, in the next few weeks, when further questions are asked and clarified, there would be a clear conclusion to the matter. In particular, whether if there are lapses in the management of town councils that should be rectified for the benefits of the residents, which brings me to the key point of this article.

Town council should deliver quality service with lower S&CC

What is the ultimate AIM of Town Councils? While I do not have the much sought after town council experience, my humble view is that town council should strive to provide quality services to residents while minimizing costs. This is what we normally refer as value for money.

S&CC charges are largely similar across different towns

Out of curiosity, I did a lookup on what the various town councils are charging residents for S&CC. For ease of comparison, I am only looking at the reduced S&CC rates published for 4-room flat by each town council. I could not find any rates for Sembawang-Nee Soon, Marine Parade, and Moulmein-Kallang. Please refer to the table below.

Town Council S&CC
West Coast 52.50
Holland Bt Panjang 52.00
Bishan Toa Payoh 55.00
Jurong 51.60
East Coast 52.00
Ang Mo Kio 61.00
Pasir Ris Punggol 50.50
Aljunied Punggol East Hougang 51.50
Sembawang Nee Soon NA
Marine Parade NA
Moulmein Kallang NA
Tanjong Pagar NA
Tampines 55.50

From the table, we can make two observations:

1. The rates hover around $50.50 – $52.50, regardless of the size of the towns.

2. Barring any deviations for the unknown rates, Ang Mo Kio appears to have the highest rate at $61 per month, followed by Bishan-Toa Payoh $55, and Tampines $55.50.

The above observations are troubling for me.

Are town councils motivated to minimize costs?

I find it hard to accept that regardless of population size for each town, the rates somewhat standardized around $50 per month for a 4-room flat. If we study marketing pricing, what normally happens is that a bigger market usually pays a lower rate, compared to a smaller market. The assumption is that bigger towns have stronger negotiation power, and therefore can deliver better services at lower price, or same price but better services.

From the table, it seems that the residents ended up as price-takers. Regardless of where you stay, the S&CC is very similar. Perhaps readers in Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Toa Payoh and Tampines can share if they enjoy exceedingly good services.

People should demand for lower S&CC rates

So while the discussion is ongoing about how much a town council managing agent is paid, and the contracting process, I think people in general should start asking why are the S&CC rates similar across different towns? Those in Ang Mo Kio may want to ask why are they paying the most? Why is there almost a 20% premium compared to the rest?

From the procurement point of view, is it not better that town councils band together and negotiate with the service providers? In so doing, the town councils will be able to dictate the terms of services, and achieve better services and lower S&CC for the residents.

I hope residents will start judging MPs’ performance with S&CC rates as one of the KPIs. Residents should be the price-setters, not price-takers. Afterall, town councils typically impose penalties on late or non-payment. It is time residents exercise their penalties at the polling booth when S&CC rates go up or services are poor.


Chin Wei