Friday, 11 January 2008

Why pay?

HDB gave woman $18,000 in error ...

Yes, that was my first reaction when I read the above from Today online.

Why pay for somebody else's mistake?

Mdm Lee Ah Muey was made to pay for a mistake that wasn't her mistake. 4 years ago, she was given 3 choices; give up her shop, re-locate to a new location or re-locate to a temporary market.

Her daughter persuaded her to give up the shop, get the compensation and probably retire early since her 5 children can support her. If I were Mdm Lee's daughter I would probably had given her the same piece of advice.

And now, 4 years later, HDB is saying that they made a mistake in the pay-out to Mdm Lee. Hence they are now DEMANDING her to pay back this sum of money. Yes, DEMANDED was the word used in the letter to Mdm Lee.

This is ridiculous!

Both NEA and HDB claimed that they tried contacting Mdm Lee in 2004 about this mistake but could not get her. Is our national system that back-ward? A big government body like HDB is not able to track a person down? And in 2004 was the year that the compensation was paid out. In less than a year, HDB could not contact the person?

And like what Mdm Lee's daughter had said, a mistake had been made, but why it took so long? Why are there no alternatives given to Mdm Lee?

Well, if I were Mdm Lee's daughter, I would probably go....why should I be made to pay for a mistake that its not my mistake in the first place? Or maybe I should be thinking, luckily HDB did not charge me interest.

The spokesperson from HDB indicated that Mdm Lee did not express any difficulties in repaying this amount of money when contacted in Sep last year. Does that means that she is in the wrong? So she has to pay within 21 days because she did not indicate? She might not even know what the letter was all about!

Yes, the contract that Mdm Lee signed cited that no compensation will be made should she decided to give up her stall. However as stated, this agreement was made and signed in 1993. The mistake took place in 2004...that is 11 years apart! Is there a possibility that there was a new contract of compensation after that?

I'm definitely not as well-versed in law practice as Lawyer Kirpal Singh who commented that...if the woman can show she is no longer in possession of the monies or is no longer in a position to return the monies — for example, if she is bankrupt — then the claim would be defeated.

May I ask, besides declaring bankrupt which is the last thing one wants to do, what other ways can one show that he/ she is no longer in possession of the monies?

Its really amazing that our bureacracy can admit making a mistake and yet demand an old woman, age75, to pay for their mistake.

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