Thursday, June 07, 2018

TOTD: Mis-selling of Dangerous High Risk Financial Bonds to Retail Investors

Thought of the Day - Mis-selling of Dangerous High Risk Financial Bonds to Retail Investors

Just a couple of weeks ago, news broke out on Hyflux defaulting on its interest payment to the perpetual bonds it had sold to investors, which include retail investors.

Most Singaporeans do not understand what is a perpetual bond. For normal bonds, be it government or private company's bonds, they will have an expiry date. It basically means that when you buy these bonds, it promises to pay you an interest every year and at the end of 10 or 20 years, or any number of years dictated on the bond as a contract, it promises to pay you back the amount stated on the bond.

For example, there could be a $100K coupon bond which promises to pay you 5% of $100K each year for 20 years and at the end of the 20 years, it will repay you the 100K stated on bond. You may not pay $100K for the bond because it depends on the interest rates of the market. You may pay higher than $100K if the current interest rate is lower than 5%. Or you may pay lower than $100K for this bond if the current interest rate is higher than 5%. i.e. the price of this bond is inversely related to current interest rate.

Technically speaking, you can trade on these bonds. You can buy or sell these bonds before the maturity of the bonds.

What is perpetual bond then? It basically means that the company will be selling you these bonds and it promises to pay you the coupon rate, eg 5% every year but it will go on forever and it will not repay the principal amount of these bonds. i.e. it will be borrowing these money from you or other investors perpetually... FOREVER.

You can only "cash out" from these bonds by selling to other people who are willing to buy it.

The pricing of such bonds are more complex as the longer the bond maturity is, the higher risk it involves. And now, when technically speaking the maturity is infinity, aka no maturity, then the risk is extremely high.

This is why Perpetual Bonds are NOT MEANT for retail investors but more for institutional or professional investors. MAS, as the regulator of the financial market, should not even allow such perpetual bonds to be sold to retail investors!

But we now know, MAS has actually closed both eyes on such issue. Now that Hyflux has defaulted on the interest payment on its perpetual bonds, these bonds have basically become JUNK bonds in the market with little value left. The retail investors would suffer huge losses in such situation.

Ironically, Termasek Holdings under Ho Ching, has planned to sell perpetual bonds to retail investors, putting up such slogan on "supplementing CPF" earnings!

First of all, it is totally inappropriate to sell perpetual bonds to retail investors.

Secondly, how could a Sovereign Wealth Fund issue such a bond?

Last but not least, 4.5% may look comparatively attractive to the 2.5% or 4% given by CPF, but the amount of risk in perpetual bonds are very much higher! Normally, such bonds are sold at a discount to institution investors but it seems that it is more lucrative to sell to inexperience retail investors at higher price or at its principal value because they do not understand the risks they are taking!

Considering the Prime Lending Rate is at 5% now, the interest for Perpetual Bond should be higher than this rate because, it is basically a loan for forever which will involve greater risk!

Termasek Holdings, as our Sovereign Wealth Fund, is actually taking advantage of Singaporeans, by borrowing from them below Prime Rate with indefinite maturity! Try asking any banks to lend to you $100K FOREVER at prime rate and see what you get from them!

Truly, I must warn all Singaporeans not to be taken advantage by our very own Sovereign Wealth Fund. I do not know why they need to raise funds through perpetual bonds when they are already handling so much funds up to the hundreds of billions but with the opaque manner in which they run their business, the risk is even higher than one could imagine.

Risk arises when there is uncertainty with lack of transparency and information. Please do not be fooled by such "good investment opportunity" sales talk. Else, you may end up like those Minibonds victims, die liao also don't know why and MAS will just brush you aside.

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Comprehensive Set of Policy Options for HDB-CPF Mess

The HDB-CPF time bomb will blow up in 10-15 years time with a sudden surge of HDB flats passing their 40 year-lease mark. My estimate is that about 50% or more of HDB flats would have less than 60 years to their expiry by 2035.

As I have mentioned, the HDB problem cannot be tackled without tackling the CPF policies. They are like twin babies right now and the problem is magnified with such linkage between these two entities.

The following are the gist of the time bomb:

1) Inadequacy of Retirement financing due to over-consumption of Housing effected by the devious link between HDB and CPF.

2) PAP has misled a few generations of Singaporeans into believing that they could use their HDB flats for retirement by "monetizing it" and treating it as "pure asset" instead of consumption item. Nothing with an expiry date could be considered as a long term perpetual asset which one could depend on decades later in life.  Due to ageing population, there will be higher supply of old HDB flats than demand of these flats which are above 30, 40 or 50 years old. The financial regulations and illogical HDB rules restrictions have aggravated the situation.

3) Ageing population will result in potential oversupply of HDB flats in the long term if it is not kept in check. This is especially so when young couples are "forced" to buy BTO or HDB flats with longer lease while the HDB restrictions basically prevent them from buying old HDB flats with shorter lease left.

4) HDB rules also restrict Singaporeans from buying smaller and cheaper BTOs if their income level is high. These artificial rules will implicitly create over consumption of housing. 

5) The valuation system that HDB used has an inherent upward bias when it doesn't include the balance of lease as key consideration. This will create a market with pricing but without demand.

6) The massive problem of having huge number of HDB flats expiring their 99 year lease all within 5 to 10 years time will have to be dealt with careful planning decades in advance. PAP's refusal of initiating Enbloc for old flats will create an even bigger problem later.

The set of solutions are as follow:

A) De-link CPF from HDB or property purchase and Lowering of Employee's CPF contribution

CPF should be kept strictly as a fund catering for retirement. For a good financial planning, 20% of income should be saved for retirement. It means that while CPF could be de-linked from HDB purchases, Singaporeans could lower their Employee's CPF contribution from 20% to 3% while the Employer's CPF contribution shall remain at 17%.

Singaporeans should decide what to do with the excess cash as a result in the lower CPF contribution. They could use it for renting a flat, save it up, invest it in business or other financial products or use it to buy a property (HDB or otherwise) and pay the mortgage.

Such radical policy change will correct the past PAP's mistake in deliberately and artificially channeling Singaporeans' money into buying HDB flats, using more than what they should use of CPF money in paying the down payment and mortgage, resulting in over consumption of housing at the expense of retirement funding. Such problem will only surface decades later as more and more Singaporeans in my generations will realize.

Such social engineering to create an illusion of wealth and property ownership is extremely harmful to the Nation as a whole.

B) Dismantling of Restrictive HDB Rules of Social Engineering Manipulations. 

There are many HDB rules which are the results of social engineering attempts, should be removed. Rules that dictates high income level cannot buy smaller flats should be totally abolished. Housing consumption should depend on needs, not on income level. Whatever subsidies the government wanted to give should depend on income level and not HDB flat size. Thus, there is absolutely no reason why Singaporeans should be prevented from buying flats according to their needs.

Rules that dictate singles could only buy HDB flats after they are 35 year old should also be abolished. Such rules are based on "family-centric" reasoning but these rules are too restrictive and not helpful for singles to seek independence in living before they look for their lifetime partners. It also excludes people from other segments of the society to seek independence and privacy for their housing needs. As far as the government is concerned, each and every citizen will only enjoy grants or subsidies once, regardless of their age or whether they bought their flat before or after their marriage.

Rules that dictate young couples cannot buy HDB flats with short lease left should be abolished as well. If HDB flats are treated as a consumption goods, there is absolutely no reason for such rules to exist. Shorter lease, old HDB flats may cost much lesser and with the grants given by the government, young people could well afford to buy their first CHEAP old HDB flat to start their marriage life earlier. This will also encourage them to have children earlier with lower expenditures on housing.

Liberalization of the HDB rules will enhance market efficiency and liquidity, especially for the resale market of old HDB flats which have less than 60 years lease.

C) Re-configuration of Financial Rules and Valuation Methodology

At the moment, there is really an abnormality in the financial rules. For car purchase financing, although the COE restrict the car life span to 10 years, banks and financial institutes are still allowed to finance buyers for up to 7 years of mortgage. However, for some strange reasons, HDB flats with 60 years lease left will face a drastic drop in financial options and the purchase of flats with 20 years left, could not be financed at all!

If we just treat HDB flats simply as a consumption goods, there is no reason why there is a discrepancy in financial treatments by the banks and finance companies.

For owners of HDB flats with less than 60 years lease, they could not "monetize" or sell their flats mainly because of mismatch valuations of their HDB flats as well as liquidity problem due to such financial rules.

Re-configuration of the financing rules of old HDB flats based on the fact that it is just a consumption good like car, washing machine or any hire purchase items would allow adequate liquidity to flow into the resale market of these old flats. Of course, this must be accompanied by a revamped property valuation system which will give a more realistic valuation of old HDB flats based on the leasehold factor. It is just an old car. The older a car is, the lesser its valuation is.

Sellers of HDB flats should not be asked to repay back all the "lost CPF interests" due to their use of CPF funds to finance their HDB flats when they were young. Else, those elderly people who decided to sell their HDB flats to supplement their retirement financing will find it totally meaningless in their attempt to "monetize" their old HDB flats.

D) Kick Start a Redevelopment Plan for old HDB estates 

In anticipation of the impact of an ageing population with ageing HDB flats and estates, the government should start planning for the Redevelopment of these old HDB estates in stages. Instead of limiting SERS to 4% of total HDB stock of flats, there is an urgent need to kick start a Total Redevelopment Plan for ageing HDB estates.

This will of course involve enbloc of HDB flats in phases.

Although it is going to be an expensive ever-lasting process but it is a necessity to pre-empt a total chaos and collapse of the whole HDB resale market.

As the ageing population would mean that some land acquired via enbloc can be released for private development use while the resulting higher pricing of the redeveloped flats would make older flats with less than 60 or 50 years lease more attractive. This will create a new equilibrium which will effect a more efficient use of land and housing stock.

Redevelopment of old HDB estates will have to be carried out in phases, most probably stretching over 20 to 30 years time frame for one estate. Such staggered redevelopment plan will prevent a sudden chaotic situation whereby the whole old HDB estates with lots of HDB flats expiring within a short span of time resulting in a sudden shock shortage of housing stock to provide for those who are going to give back their HDB flats to the government.

It is totally irresponsible for PAP government to say that they will only redevelop 4% of HDB flats via SERS while just waiting to take back all other HDB flats from Singaporeans when their lease expired. Such method may save the government lots of money but it will create a great turbulence to the whole resale market for HDB.


The above outline of the combined policies needed to address the HDB-CPF Axis of Evil Problems will not prevent some Singaporeans from losing great amount of money from their misguided belief in PAP's Asset Enhancement Scam, especially so when they use lots of money to buy from the HDB resale market.

However, at the very least, we could achieve the objective to create a viable resale market demand for their old HDB flats which have less than 60 years lease left. This is done through liberalizing rules on HDB flats purchase, expanding the potential pool of buyers of these old HDB flats to singles and young couples with viable financing plan achieved by re-configuring of financial rules and valuation system based on rational reasoning.

While some Singaporeans will have to suffer a huge and painful cost  of greatly depreciated old HDB flats, the government should also bear the big bulk of the cost in creating this whole mess via a rational staggered enbloc redevelopment of those old HDB estates.

This is a very painful lesson for all Singaporeans that property transactions and speculations on your only residential home are simply a Zero Sum Game eventually.  Anyone's gain will be somebody's loss.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, June 04, 2018

Solutions to HDB-CPF Mess MUST Address These Issues

Solutions to HDB-CPF Mess must address the following few issues:

1) Provide stability to the HDB resale market, preventing big crash or huge hike in prices.

2) Solve the inadequacy problem of CPF for retirement due to HDB purchase

3) Solve the insolvency problem of old HDB flats above 40 or 50 years old.

4) Guard against oversupply of HDB flats in the long run

5) Tackle the potential problems of massive expiry of 99 year lease in less than 60 years time.

6) The system of Valuation of HDB Flats has to have realistic reflection of leasehold terms of flats.

7) Cater to the needs of an ageing population with changing social-housing reconfiguration.

8) Choice and options for Singaporeans should be widen.

9) Re-calibrating social mindset and financial system to treat HDB as public housing, a consumption good instead of investment good.

This list may not be exhaustive but the Core of problems which need immediate solutions to address the short-mid-long term needs of the Nation.

Goh Meng Seng

TOTD: Lessons for Civil Servants from Malaysia GE14

Thought of the Day - Lessons for Civil Servants from Malaysia GE14

Many top and middle management civil servants in Malaysia as well as Singapore are pro the ruling parties in their respective countries and they think that by doing so, they could get promotion faster or at least keep their iron rice bowls fortified.

Some will go the extra mile to side the ruling parties or even risk breaking the law to demonstrate their boot licking skills.

They have forgotten that as civil servants, regardless of their political stance or preferences, they are required to maintain neutrality in their capacity as public servants. Tax payers paid their salaries, not ruling parties.

We have witnessed in Malaysia, a lot of upright civil servants were forced to leave or even persecuted for carrying out their duties diligently and they could finally cleared their names. On the other hand, those civil servants who are too biased in their ways are getting sacked or even face potential lawsuits against their bad deeds.

Singapore civil servants, especially those top civil servants should bear in mind that they should maintain neutrality at all times else the karmic results we are witnessing in Malaysia now may fall upon them one day if PAP lose its power.

Just today, I heard another case that a man was warned that he should not write any anti-PAP government postings on social media else they, the police, will prosecute him! That’s outright unconstitutional and against the right of freedom of expression! It really makes Singapore sound more like a total communist dictatorship!

This is not the first time I heard about such threats imposed by the police or ISD agents in disguise. They have forgotten that their duties are to the country, not to the ruling party.

Time has changed and it is regrettable that such old tactic of intimidation is still used by these people.

They will have to pray hard that PAP will stay in power forever.

Goh Meng Seng

TOTD: The High Speed Rail

Thought of the Day - The High Speed Rail

Some people ask me what do I think of Tun Mahathir cancelling the High Speed Rail project

Well first of all, we must understand that with such high price tag, it is bound to lose money for a long time to come if it was to be built, especially when it needs to compete with the current air flights between KL and Singapore.

Secondly, although most of the rail and stations were situated in Malaysia, Singapore will benefit most from its construction. This is basically why PAP Government is willing to foot half of the cost of constructing the HSR.

PAP will benefit from the shot up in land prices around Jurong area and it will make it easier for Singapore to attract Talents from Malaysia to come and work in Singapore.

However, it is obvious that PAP Government is facing grave cash flow problem despite of its boast of having huge reserves. Huge mega projects like HSR, Tuas Mega port, T5 @ Changi Airport, New Thomson MRT line etc... are creating an obvious pressure on the government finances, so much so that PAP is planning to raise taxes as well as borrowing to fund all these.

Why would all these multi billion dollars projects come all at once, at the expense of Singaporeans in terms of higher taxes?

Thus in my view, Tun Mahathir had made a timely wise decision to call off the HSR. Of course he did it for the consideration of his country's financial position but indirectly, he will also help Singapore to pause and think whether such mega project is really necessary for the time being.

Going for an expensive HSR which is destined to lose money will only serve the ego of PAP but will bleed us in the long run.

A medium speed rail may be more practical, cost effective and sustainable in the long run.

As for penalty, I would say that in consideration of Malaysia being our closest neighbor and it is struggling with the financial situation in the aftermath of GE14, its current financial and overall stability will also be our Core interests as well. Apart from being a gesture to rebuild our relationship with the new administration, it is also in our interest to see a stable and smooth transition of Powers in Malaysia. We will not be spared if Malaysia face a financial crisis.

Thus, in the spirit of maintaining the legality of contract and rule of law, I would suggest Singapore to impose only a token of fees for the breaking of contractual obligations by the new Malaysian administration.

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The FATAL Mistake of PAP

The FATAL Mistake of PAP

Well, the Fatal Mistake fell upon Singaporeans while PAP made use of such manipulation of CPF-HDB financing to boast its own political capital built upon the great cost on Singaporeans' retirement financial adequacy as well as future generations of Singaporeans' housing needs.

Many people do not understand why I call Asset Enhancement Scheme as an outright scam. Let me explain in simple terms.

If someone forced you to put 50% or 40% of your salary into his safe keeping, promising you a miserable return of 2.5% per annum but tells you that you could use a big bulk of it to purchase only a precious stone from him and nothing else. He claims that it will increase in value forever, 10 times, 15 times, 20 times...

Else, you will have to wait until you are 55 years old before you can take back your money... then, it increases to 65 years old and then, he says, you cannot take out whole lump sum but only bit by bit....

What would you do? Of course you will use whatever amount of money you can get from these money you kept with him to buy this supposed precious stone!

Then, he inflated the price of this precious stone artificially because he is the monopoly supplier of these stones, under the slogan of "enhancing the value of the stones"... in fact, made you pay money to "upgrade" the stone with beautiful boxes.

However, right from the start, this guy knows that these stones could only last 99 years and by then, it will be zero value and under the contract, he could take the stones back from these buyers.

What about the promise of "Asset Enhancement"? What about the Empty rhetoric that these stones will rise in value FOREVER?

Anyone with a good mind would conclude that this is a scam. The contract drafted by that guy has specifically said that the stones will expire and have to be returned to him but yet, he is telling everyone that it is an asset to them and it will rise in value forever!

Now, this is just the beginning of the problem. If it is just a bit of money lost to a scam, that's not a big issue. But in the case of CPF-HDB, a few generations of Singaporeans' retirement financing is at stake!

It is a deliberate scam whereby money, your money, is deliberately channeled into a dead end with only one outlet available. i.e. buying HDB flat (later on private property but that is another issue). It is just like an irrigation of water. PAP had made use of your money, to make its HDB 80% ownership successful and claim credits for it. But it is in fact, a manipulation of your money which results in over-consumption of HDB public housing.

The fundamental Fatal Mistake made here is that in its zeal to get Singaporeans buying its HDB flats which continues to be inflated in prices as compared to 1970s and 1980s, PAP government has encroached into the core CPF funds meant for Singaporeans' retirement.

A prudent financial plan for retirement would require a person to save at least 20% of his or her income for retirement at anyone time. With prudent investment return about 5%-8% above inflation rate, it would provide a decent retirement for everyone.

A balanced financial plan would mean that a person should only spend 20% of his or her income on housing. This would mean that 40% of his or her income would be set aside for retirement as well as housing. 60% would be available for daily consumption.

However, PAP has screwed it up with its manipulation of the CPF which supposedly acts as function of retirement saving but they have mixed it up with housing financing, apart from other usage.

Only 11% of a person's salary are kept as fixed savings for retirement... inclusive of Medisave for healthcare. To make it worse, the returns for this 11% of savings is just 4%. Hardly meet the requirement of 5%-8% above inflation rate.

Thus, it is not surprisingly at all that most Singaporeans will not be able to afford a comfortable retirement just depending on the CPF savings.

The "solution" that PAP gave initially, is that HDB "is an asset" which Singaporeans could "monetize" for retirement. This was what MBT said during GE 2011 when I questioned PAP rigorously on the principles of having high HDB prices which created insufficient CPF savings for retirement.

I was hoping he would take up my challenge of an open debate on HDB-CPF back then because I would have hantum him with the basic fact that HDB is a 99 leasehold PUBLIC HOUSING which Singaporeans do not have a say on whether they could enbloc their flats. This is basically because, in legality, Singaporeans as HDB dwellers, do not own the land which their flats sit on! They have no legal rights over the land and cannot make any decisions on what to do with it, unlike private property owners.

And if HDB flat is an entity with an expiry date while PAP government apparently is not interested to do SERS for all HDB flats, then how could it be an "Asset" at all in the first place?

HDB flat is a Consumption good, not an Investment good. Period. It is totally misleading, dishonest and irresponsible for PAP to tell Singaporeans that their HDB is some sort of super investment which will rise in value forever!

And if HDB is a consumption good, it is totally unreliable to depend on it for retirement financing at all! Well, first of all, the value of HDB is destined to drop when its lease is running out!

I am explaining the CORE problems of the HDB-CPF axis before providing any viable solutions. It is basically a bad policy of funds manipulation which has gone wrong, resulting in bad financial planning for 80% of Singaporeans.

I am angry at PAP for its reckless and imprudent policy manipulations with total disregard of Singaporeans' welfare and prudent financial planning.

It is a foregone conclusion that most Singaporeans who have paid inflated prices for their HDB flats will suffer when they eventually find that there are insufficient funds in CPF for their retirement. You will see more elderly people pushing carts, washing dishes and cleaning tables in the years to come.

What made me extremely upset is despite of the obvious enslavement scheme of a 30 year mortgage for buying a HDB flat, MBT and PAP back then still blew their trumpets that HDB is still "AFFORDABLE"! Over-spending on mortgage of HDB, resulting in insufficient retirement saving in CPF and sometimes, with additional cash payment to finance a 30 year mortgage but yet, PAP is still blowing the trumpet of "Affordability"?! That's the most irresponsible remarks and political statement made by MBT and PAP.

Wait for my subsequent postings here... I shall touch on what are needed to correct this horrible HDB-CPF axis of evil.

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

TOTD- No Quick Simple Fix for Asset Enhancement Scam

Thought of the Day - No Quick Simple Fix for Asset Enhancement Scam

There are quite a number of people trying to offer quick fixes to the HDB Time Bomb without understanding ALL the problems and BAD impact created by the Asset Enhancement Scam which ultimately linked HDB to CPF, retirement financing.

It is a complex problem which involves multiple dimensions with complex tensions and competing needs. PAP's mistake in its Asset Enhancement Scam has pushed every Singaporeans in HDB towards a narrow dead end which entangles everything in a massive mess.

The fundamental problem of Asset Enhancement Scam is that PAP had changed Singaporeans' mindset and perception towards public housing, HDB. Instead of viewing HDB as a pure consumption commodity which serves as a mere safe roof over our heads, PAP had evoked the Greed factor by treating such basic needs of housing into some Grand Scam of treating it as an "Investment Asset" and releasing huge liquidity of FORCED retirement savings from CPF into HDB.

This created a "self-fulfilling prophecy" that your HDB will increase in price and value which was merely a short term phenomenon rather than a REAL high quality long term investment return. The excess liquidity forcefully released via CPF has created inflationary impact on HDB prices that created that delusion.

Furthermore, it has also transformed our CPF retirement financing model from "Self-sufficiency" towards "Cross-Generation Funding" via the inflation of HDB prices which CPF funds were poured into. i.e. our children, grand children and future generations will be the ones who will suffer and indirectly become the ones who financed the retirement finances of the older generations/our generation due to higher HDB prices!

However, such inflationary path of HDB cannot be sustainable due to the very nature that IT IS STILL PUBLIC Housing in essence and HDB dwellers DO NOT OWN the land at all. The eventual ZERO valuation of HDB flats while they approach their end of lease is INEVITABLE.

This will create a great silver tsunami that would overwhelm Singaporeans.

They must face the reality that PAP has scammed and fooled them into believing something that will never work nor come true.

I will provide a multi-prone approach solution to this mess in time to come. But this will come with a cost to most Singaporeans and please remember, such second best solution will have huge cost and PAP should be made responsible to it politically.

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

People's Power Party Labour Day Message

People's Power Party Labour Day Message

First and foremost, our deepest condolences to the family of Pte Dave Lee Han Xuan who had died of heat injury. PPP takes a serious view on such death of our NS men as they are all underpaid service men without proper insurance coverage by their direct employer, SAF.

We have heard of constant boast of the SAF on how advance their medical service is, especially in dealing with common problem of heat stroke among our soldiers, but yet, we are still losing a good soldier like Pte Dave Lee. Such Death is really one too many and it shouldn't happen in the first place if proper protocols are observed. We urge the authorities to hold an independent inquiry into this incident with external audit on the processes and protocols.

Work place safety seems to be neglected in many other places as well, including GLCs. The recent case of technician bringing PSA to court for exposing him to cancer causing substance asbestos resulting him to develop lung cancer is one fine example. We would not speculate how the court will make their judgement on this case but the fact that PSA had brought its defence based on technicality (of 15 years legal claim time frame) instead of admitting its management neglect and make good of its mistake, is a glaring display of irresponsible corporate culture and management. We condemn such irresponsible management culture which disregard work safety practice that put our workers at great health risk. It is totally unacceptable for a Government Linked Company to attempt brushing its corporate responsibility towards its workers' health safety aside via mere legal technicality.

For all workers in Singapore, we only want to earn our money in a safe environment and return to our home safely to enjoy the fruits of our labour. On top of that, we want to protect the value of the money we had earned but it seems that PAP government has been creaming off our hard earn money through increasing prices of electricity, water tariff, gas, etc. Inflation is the number one enemy to workers and inflating prices on basic necessities is the most damaging to our workers.

To add salt to injury, PAP government has announced that they will be increasing GST from 7% to 9% in the near future! We do not see the need for PAP government to increase GST when it continues to enjoy hefty surplus throughout the years. We do not even see the need for PAP to have GST at all when they are creaming off the returns of our CPF money which was invested in the two Sovereign Wealth Funds; they reportedly earn huge returns more than 4% but we are only given 2.5% to 4% for our CPF savings!

PPP would also urge financial prudence to many Singaporeans who are pouring huge money into their HDB purchases. Whenever there are reports of record high transactions of HDB flats in the resale market, we are very worried. Contrary to what PAP has been propagating throughout the decades, HDB is largely a consumption item rather than an "investment nest" which will help you to fund your retirement. The mis-selling of Asset Enhancement Scheme is politically motivated but financially misleading to all Singaporeans. Any increase in HDB price should NOT be celebrated but be feared as INFLATION on our consumption. The truth is, you will be paying more "property tax" on your HDB if the prices in the resale market continued to increase! But ultimately, our HDB flats will be ZERO in value when its lease expired and there will be little chance of SERS.

We would urge Singaporeans not to be misled by PAP's propaganda into treating your only home as some "great investment" for retirement. Paying huge amount of money, up to million dollars will only increase the cost of your consumption of housing and will not make you rich at all.

While PAP had always boasted about how well our GDP has grown, we would urge all Singaporeans to do a reality check of your salary increase in comparison with GDP growth rates. If there is a shortfall, it would mean that all these talks of good economic growth are quite meaningless.

Last but not least, we wish all Singaporeans a Happy Labour Day.

People's Power Party Singapore

Friday, April 13, 2018

TOTD: HDB-CPF axis Time Bomb, the glaring failure of PAP and WP LTK

Thought of the Day - HDB-CPF axis Time Bomb, the glaring failure of PAP and WP LTK

I have said, the Asset Enhancement Scheme is actually the biggest self serving scam of PAP to hoodwink Singaporeans into believing only PAP government could guarantee their HDB flats could increase in value forever, defying the basic logic and economic/financial principles. LKY even boasted about PAP ability to make your HDB rise in value of 10,15 or even 20 times.

The most problematic with HDB is that it is linked to your retirement fund CPF. IF HDB is going to depreciate towards ZERO value, then whatever CPF money you put into it, will be totally wiped off. Your retirement plan will be hurt!

One of my initial resolve in joining opposition politics is to fight PAP against its Asset Enhancement Scam, which is extremely difficult because like any scam, it feeds on people’s greed. Most people are short sighted and didn’t see the full picture while only focus on their short term gain. They didn’t realize that HDB Price inflation may let them gain in short term, but whatever gain they get, is at the expense of their children’s future, as well as many future generations to come.

This greed which Asset Enhancement scam built upon, burnt like fire in the 1990s and even into 2000s. It was a perfect scam that helped PAP to hold on to absolute monopoly of power for three decades.

When I joined WP, on a few occasions. I had raised this issue to LTK and said that this is the most important issue we need to raise. He brushed it off saying that what’s wrong with Asset Enhancement Scheme? It is good what!

Needless to say, I was completely disappointed that the leader of the opposition party which has one of the two seats in parliament, couldn’t see through such a scam.

I tried to explain why this AES is wrong but it just couldn’t get through him. Apparently, the lack of a good Economic training is the key weakness of LTK.

After I left WP with disappointment, NSP approached me to join them. This time round, I didn’t bother to try to explain why AES is bad. I just threw the issue out during the GE and challenged MBT on his Monetizing HDB for retirement concept.

I found out later, apparently this so call brilliant idea was created by a respected professor teaching sociology in NUS. Deep down, I guess it is totally bad idea to have a sociologist to meddle with Economic policies after all.

And I believe LTK didn’t believe AES is bad basically because it was backed by such academia.

Goh Meng Seng

TOTD: HDB Circular Contradictions

Thought of the Day - Circular Contradictions

We have heard about Circular Argument but this is the first time I have heard about people going in Circular Contradictions!

This actually comes from the Chief of HDB. It is good that she has talked about people should pay according to the lease remaining in a resale HDB flat but she still insists that HDB could be monetized as an asset for retirement!

One of the key method of monetizing HDB for retirement is to downgrade to smaller flats. But wait! If people follow her advice on paying much lesser to flats that are old, the. How would the retirees selling their old flats for good money in order to downgrade to a smaller flat, the new studio apartment but yet have excess money to get out from the deal to finance their retirement?

Besides, most people would have PLEDGED their flat to HDB and I guess there would be very little money left for them to cash out from the downgrading, if there is any at all!

And studio apartment isn’t that cheap at all! For 30 years lease, HDB made you pay $60k to $80k depending on locations but if you calculate prorated according to lease, it means this one room studio apartment actually cost $180k to $240k for 90 years! Please remember, it is just a studio apartment!

So if you can sell your three room or four room flat at $250k, if you could actually sell it off in the first place when the lease left is merely 60 years or less, half of it goes to CPF due to the pledge, at least $60k goes to the new studio apartment, in the end, after netting transaction cost, you get $50k or $60k after all that trouble but how long could this last for retirement?

The other option is even more kind of a joke instead of real option. Selling back the lease to HDB. How much would HDB pay? Definitely much lesser and most probably ended up with a couple of hundred dollars per month.

To rent out their flats? The truth is, PAP doesn’t value your privacy at all. And when the grey tsunami waves set into motion, I don’t know whether there is high rental market to make money from when you start to have lots of supply of rental flats from both HDB and private apartments.

Of course, those staying in three room HDB may have to sleep in living room in order to get enough rent to live on ...

The whole problem started when PAP sold Singaporeans the FALSEHOID and FAKE dream that Asset Enhancement Scam could do wonders and make your HDB rise in price forever. That’s why people are throwing huge amount of their CPF into this scam. Now they are stuck.

With graying population, who will buy old HDB flats with dwindling lease? The situation will be worse when many baby boomers who have stupidly believe in PAP Asset Enhancement scam, try to sell off their old HDB flats to cash out for retirement because they have very little left in their CPF after paying a great deal for their current HDB flats.

There will be oversupply of resale HDB flats with very small demand... who would buy after hearing the confirmation from PAP that these flats will have zero value after lease expired and now, these flats have less than 60 years and they would not be able to sell them off for retirement?

The price for these flats will face a spiral downward price pressure and in fact, most of them will have problem selling.

It is an amazing Circular Contradictions which the HDB Chief tries very hard to sell. She is just like that sociologist, who only look on the overly simplistic micro level instead of looking at the macro level of possible market conditions.

Don’t ever allow sociologists to meddle in Economics policies again. We will end up with never ending Circular Sufferings.

Goh Meng Seng

Thursday, April 05, 2018

TOTD: Greatest Falsehood and Fake News from PAP ...

Thought of the Day - Greatest Falsehood and Fake News from PAP ...

FORGET about Operation Coldstore or Operation Spectrum. Singaporeans are just pragmatically selfish and self serving. They won’t be bothered about what injustice had happened to a few tens, hundreds or even thousands of people as long as these don’t affect them directly. We are cultivated to be reaped off of any sense of Social Justice but only taught to focus on our own short term selfish well being.

That’s the harsh reality of being a Singaporean.

The biggest, greatest Falsehood and Fake News that were cooked up by PAP Government is Asset Enhancement Scheme and HDB for retirement financing.

What they have done were just a tiny bit of Enbloc with some upgrading which were politically motivated as pork barrel politicking and in the end, Singaporeans were made to believe that their HDB will be “Enhanced” and thus increase in prices forever! It serves only their agenda of prolonging their monopoly of power without telling the HARD TRUTH that such disastrous scheme will only make them “feel rich” at the expense of their future generations who will be paying for higher HDB prices!

They have messed up the HDB system so badly that there is no way of reversing the bad scam without causing Huge pain to a few generations of Singaporeans.

In the end, Singaporeans were told that not all of their HDB will enjoy enbloc... in fact MAJORITY 96% of HDB won’t enjoy enbloc and their HDB flats will turn to zero value when their lease is up! Did they tell Singaporeans about this critical information back in 1990s when they keep harping on Asset Enhancement Scheme? Half Truth told is no Truth but selective Falsehood!

Singaporeans are fooled in believing in the scam of Asset Enhancement Scheme which is nothing more than making you pay MORE for your HDB flats WILLINGLY, justifying higher and higher prices for New HDB flats through the hedging of prices via the BS OF “market subsidy”, which is not a subsidy at all but effectively just a discount.

At the same time, such fooling scam gave PAP the votes from those who were fooled by them!

Politically speaking, it was the most wonderful "perfect" scam in which you made the voters suffer by paying higher price for the HDB flats the PAP government’s selling but yet, they feel so happy paying higher price and gave PAP votes to maintain their monopoly of power!

But just like any scam, it cannot last forever because it is not sustainable at all. People were made to use up all their retirement fund CPF to buy HDB which doesn’t guarantee forever higher return, not even good as an investment. The time must come when people realize that they have neither the necessary CPF for financing their retirement despite of having the highest rate of contribution in the world, nor the dream or possibility of getting good price for their old HDB flat to finance their retirement.

The situation will get worse and peak when my generation starts to reach 60 years old, which is only 12 years away. At present, the situation is just starting to show the stupidity of the whole scam. For the next two decades, we will see slow collapse of the CPF-HDB scam and by the third decade, most probably the whole system will collapse which most HDB will cross their 40 and 50th year and there is a rapid decline in their prices.

A few generations of Singaporeans will suddenly wake up to the fact that they have been fooled and their hard earned CPF is totally wiped off by the Asset Enhancement scam which was promoted by PAP 30-40 years ago!

2011 was the critical year which we might have the slightest hope of saving the situation but that window of opportunity has lapsed. PAP will NEVER admit their deliberate mistake made in their own interests of self preservation instead of a long term vision for the good and well being of Singaporeans. Many Singaporeans will live to regret for their foolishness in believing in such a big scam and Falsehood propagated by PAP simply because they are blinded by their own greed.

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

TOTD: The Great Asian Political Idealist 12 Nov 2017

Thought of the Day - The Great Asian Political Idealist

Today is the Birthday of a Great Politician of Asia in 20th Century, Dr Sun Yat Sen.

In remembrance of this Great man, I shall dedicate my Thought of the Day to talk about his greatness.

Many people would have mistaken the source of greatness in Dr Sun. Rightfully, he is credited for bringing the fall of Imperial rule in China, although in actual fact, the success of 1911 mutiny and revolution wasn’t part of his deliberate efforts at all.

It was his inspiration, undaunted effort in advocating the topple of the Imperial Qing Dynasty that gained him great respect among his contemporary revolutionists.

However, his greatness in politics didn’t stop at that. He wasn’t exactly the top politicians in politicking and in fact, he had failed in his politicking efforts when he conceded his position to Yuan Shi Kai who tried to reinstate Imperial rule to modern China again.

His main contribution to the world, especially to the Asian political arena, lies in his political ideology of Separation of Five Powers and the Three Principles.

The concept of Separation of Five Powers is especially profound and herein lies the main difference he had against the Western Democratic ideology.

Although he was against the Imperial rule in China but he recognized the strength of the political administration which was installed and implemented by the Imperialists. This is a five thousand years legacy of Chinese wisdom in political management. He recognized that throughout history, China had always been the country which possessed the most sophisticated and advanced political management system as compared to their contemporaries. Many foreign states wanted to emulate its complex political administration and in fact, its neighbors were greatly influenced by its system. These include Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

The scholar system which Chinese dynasties had implemented throughout history ensured basic competency of the control and management of the country regardless of who was the Emperor. Even when the Emperor was just a 10 yea old kid, the scholar system would ensure basic competence in the running of the Empire.

The Chinese dynasties also valued the importance of Checks and Balances. There would always be periodic Audit checks carried on various local governance by Special Envoys empowered by the Emperors themselves.

In the inner court, they Emperor would appoint special officials empowered with the Power of Impeachment. They were allowed to speak up their mind and criticize court officials and even against Emperors without any dire consequences.

The most important institution of the scholar system was the Board of Examination. The Chief examiner would make sure the selection process for the brightest scholars from the country was done properly.

These selected students would then be fielded into the respective departments of the Empire administration.

The Western countries didn’t have such complex system of political administration until much later in the 18th or early 19th century. The idea Checks Andy Balances was actually first implemented in the Chinese dynasties as far back as 4000 years ago!

Thus even Dr Sun was heavily influenced by the western ideology of democracy, he realized that China itself had a much superior system of political administration.

However, the most common problem faced by past dynasties was the corruption of powers via full concentration of powers by One or few court officials, other than the Emperor himself.

Thus, he had raised the importance of the Separation of Five Powers, instead of the Three powers advocated by the Western world. Other than the Three powers of Executive, Judiciary and Legislation, he added two more powers that were inherently the most critical for superior political administration..... Power of Impeachment and Examination.

The Power of Impeachment is equivalent to the modern days Corrupt Practice Investigation Bureau and Audit General. The Power of Examination was catered towards the important Board of Examination which was the gate keeper of selection and appointment of scholars to civil service positions. Basically it refers to the power of selecting, appointing and promoting those who work for the government. These two are the critical powers for clean, effective, efficient and competent government.

The contribution of Dr Sun in raising the significance of these two powers should not be underestimated. Many of the problems we are still facing right now, even in 21st century, is how incompetency creeps into the political management of countries when the Power of Impeachment is lacking coupled with cronyism infestation when the Power of Selection and Appointment is totally corrupted.

This is the reason why my comrades and I decided to form People’s Power Party using Dr Sun’s profound ideology of Separation of Five Powers as the pillars of our Core Value.

PPP will strive to pass on the legacy of Dr Sun’s greatest political ideology which will always be relevant to good governance in all centuries ahead.

Goh Meng Seng

Statement On The Disruptions to the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) System 16 Nov 2017

Statement On The Disruptions to the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) System

Our national transportation had been beleaguered with issues since 2011, which in the early days had mostly been only delays and unexpectedly longer travel duration. However, issues encountered recently by the SMRT were more varied, unusual and were of much greater concern.

Such concerns were overwhelming to the extent that the 30th anniversary of the inception of the MRT system in Singapore was not even mentioned as such.

It is appreciated that the Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan had recently cited overpopulation as being the root cause of these issues. The acceptance though is long overdue and patently insufficient. Mere acknowledgement of the possible effects of the overpopulation which could have led to the transportation system woes, should not simply end with just that.

A much more detailed and thorough study would be in order given the duration the problems pertaining the MRT system had been lingering. The study would enable the identification of the actual state of the system, especially the North-South and the East-West lines which were first opened and had been operating for 30 years.

The various avenues which could possibly have had caused the deterioration of the system should be subjected to detailed study by competent authorities with the appropriate expertise. Such expertise, if needed should be procured from other train operators with experience in handling systems of similar complexity. Failure to carry out the study could cause speculations to continue as a consequence of the specific causes on the disruptions not been clearly identified.

Not carrying out the necessary steps could also result in the gradual worsening of the system, as we had seen in the recent episodes of train service disruptions. These could cause a further waste of time and resources, and worse, linger on as a possible hazard.

As such, our Party is seeking the matter be studied by a commission tasked to inquire further into the causes of the train disruptions, in view of all the possible difficulties and the hazards faced by people.

Sivakumaran Chellappa
Vice Chairman & Head of Policy Research
People’s Power Party (PPP), Singapore

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

TOTD: SMRT: The Instant Failure of Privatization

Thought of the Day - SMRT: The Instant Failure of Privatization

In Economics study, there is always a debate over the pros and cons of "Privatization" of companies providing public goods like public transport.

Companies providing public goods are natural monopolies because they need economies of scale. But the downside is, it tends to be inefficient if it is under government administration. However, this may not be always true.

Natural monopolies are preferred to be under government control because this will prevent them from "exercising their monopolistic power" to "overcharged" and gain abnormal profits through maximization of profits pricing strategy.

Even when natural monopolies are turned into private companies, they will be heavily regulated due to the enormous monopoly power over pricing. This is in the interests of the public.

However, there are other issues when you try to achieve "efficiency" via privatization a monopoly like SMRT. When it becomes a private company, it will shift its priorities from providing reliable public service to making good returns to its private shareholders to sustain its stock market value.

SMRT's privatization exercise in 2000 is a typical example of how such shift of priorities will harm public interests.

After its privatization and public listing on SGX in 2000, SMRT appointed Saw, a lady from DFS and with only skill set in retail to become its CEO. The motive is simple. They wanted to MAXIMIZE profits from the vast potentials of the properties it owns under its MRT stations.

But Saw went beyond extending the retail space in MRT stations. As a person without any Engineering skillsets but with vested interests in getting hefty bonuses by increasing profitability and cutting costs, she started to cut the "Cost Centers" of SMRT operations. Obviously, the Maintenance Division is considered as a huge cost center that doesn't generate sales nor revenue but costly to SMRT!

Just like any ignorant money smelling face, she thought she could cut down expenses in Maintenance by replacing "expensive" but experienced engineers and technicians with "Foreign Talents" who have only some paper qualifications (oh, never mind if these paper certificates are fake or not) but extremely cheap at a fraction of the experienced staffs. All thanks to PAP government opening the Floodgate to "Foreign Talents" so that SMRT could capitalize on this fully!

She thought she could just ignore the need of upgrading or replacement of critical assets of the rail system so to boost the profits of SMRT further!

Well, in the short run, SMRT did "extremely well" in giving out good dividends to shareholders. Dividends jumped more than 5 folds after 2002 in some years.

However, it is just obvious and common sense that such management of a company which is heavily depended on good engineering to keep the CORE business running smoothly cannot be sustainable. Eventually, the rail system broke down. This is also partly due to the "overloading" problem due to the extensive influx of foreigners which inflated our population up to 5 million and beyond!

The MRT system was designed and built for a capacity of 3 million. It is supposed to have 8 cabins (like the Hong Kong MTR) in order to cope with a 5-8 million population.

While it is possible to mitigate the problem of overloading by building extensive by-routing rail network like the NW line, Circle lines and Downtown lines, but the stress on the main line NS and EW lines are still extremely heavy. Furthermore, the increase of the number of lines and stations would also mean the need to expand the maintenance division extensively!

How could SMRT keep the growth of expenditure on its maintenance division comparatively low while the number of lines and stations keep increasing in such a speed? You need time to train and get new engineers and technicians to familiarize with the job scope!

The proportion of money spent in maintenance as compared to Hong Kong MTR is extremely low. Do they really want us to believe that SMRT engineers are magicians or superman and women who could do wonders?

The entire system ended up in the current sorry state just because PAP screws it up with its Money-face-cronyism management strategy. They just anyhow send in someone who know nuts about running an effective and efficient rail system to become CEO just because she might be great in squeezing every penny out of SMRT!

And the most ridiculous thing is that they made the SAME mistake of sending in a replacement from the army who also knows nuts about running a rail system and hope that he could clean up the mess the previous idiot has done!!!???

What is worse than putting people who are totally clueless about the job scope to run an important rail company? And both just took in their own KAKIs from the same UNRELATED industry who similarly, CLUELESS and lack of the relevant skill set and in-depth technical knowledge of rail system to run the departments!

Instead of headhunting people with REAL Experience in running a rail system, we ended up with these mulit-million dollar parasites who are clueless of running a rail system!

This is how Privatization of such an important public goods provider cum monopoly ended up so wrong. I guess this will enter into World Wide Economic and Management Text Books!

On the side note, PAP has always treated GLCs as their "dumping ground" for their "scholars" who have expired their usefulness in SAF or civil service. Maybe it is time for us to rethink whether the extensive Scholar system we have right now, especially the SAF scholarship system, is still useful or relevant. We cannot just dump them anyhow into GLCs which they lack the skillsets and experience to work in!

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, November 04, 2017

TOTD: WP's Struggle & Impact on Opposition Dynamics

Thought of the Day - WP's Struggle & Impact on Opposition Dynamics

Many people maybe confused by the statements made by WP SG LTK. First, he changed his previous stance about WP not going to form the alternative government made just a few years ago to proclaim that "WP has the foundation to form the alternative government if voters support it".

Then he announced he will be stepping down as SG of WP next year.

Why would a party leader making such an optimistic proclamation not so long ago would want to announce his retirement as the leader of the party?

Many hardcore WP and opposition supporters jumped in joy when LTK said "WP has the foundation of forming the alternative government" without much thought.

For me personally, I was stunned when LTK uttered such words about "forming the alternative government".

In Singapore's opposition politics, we cannot win solely based on hardcore anti-PAP-opposition supporters. We will need to win the middle ground voters over as well. But sometimes, there are differences in perspective the hardcore opposition supporters vs the middle ground voters. The views on opposition party forming alternative government is one of the biggest differences.

Most of the hardcore opposition supporters would very much like to kick PAP out and have opposition party to form the alternative government. But most of the middle ground voters would frown or even frighten off by such idea. The GE2015 results is one of the most indicative preferences of the middle ground voters who had swung their votes against opposition parties across the board for fear of a "Freak Elections result". Although they would like to see more opposition voices in parliament but they do not want PAP to lose power as ruling party!

Thus, we always thread very carefully on this fine thin line and the LTK whom I know, WILL NEVER MAKE SUCH CLAIMS or mention anything about forming alternative government because he knows this will be unhelpful and will not win him any votes from the middle ground!

And it is EXCEPTIONALLY STUNNING for LTK to talk like that from a position of WEAKNESS instead of Strength. The circumstances surrounding the AHTC saga is extremely unfavorable to WP and WP has exposed its pure incompetency at the very least in this whole saga. Would anyone in his right mind, from the middle ground, believe that WP is suitable to form the alternative government at all?

It is obvious that LTK is just playing to the gallery of hardcore opposition supporters instead of trying to gain trust and confidence from the middle ground. This may mean that he has already given up hope of winning back the support of the middle ground voters since the razor thin victory over Aljunied GRC with a margin not more than 1% in GE2015.

This could work to put up a sympathy bid of being politically persecuted by PAP in the AHTC saga. But the most important intention lies in his words. He said "WP has the FOUNDATION to form the alternative government". What exactly does that mean?

It basically means that WP has the resources to contest AT LEAST HALF of the seats in Singapore. That's what it means. It is a show of WP's intention to contest at least half of the seats for the next GE!

But why would WP under such bad conditions wants to contest MORE seats instead of focusing on less seats and trying to defend AHTC and Hougang?

The political calculation is simple. They have come to the conclusion that they will not be able to win Aljunied GRC, maybe NOT EVEN Hougang for the next GE no matter how hard they try. This is because they have lost all the goodwill, trust and support of the middle ground voters. That is the reason why they are turning to the hardcore supporters to consolidate their support by making such "bold statements".

This is also why LTK announces his retirement from the SG post in such early stage. The next OPC elections of WP's CEC is 9 months later in July 2018, why would he make such early announcement?

The situation may be very harsh on the AHTC saga. They might even launch their third legal attack on WP over AHTC. LTK may be hit very badly and as a seasoned veteran politician who has accumulated huge amount of political capital and legacy, he would sure not want to end his legacy in a defeat at the polls. Thus, I guess that he will not contest in the next GE at all.

But since the chance of winning next GE is so slim with the anticipation of the total destruction of WP's middle ground support, why would the party considering contesting more than 50% of the seats?

The answer lies in the 12 NCMP seats. The only way to ensure that WP continues to dominate the opposition presence in parliament is to win all the 12 NCMP seats. The only way of doing that is to spread the leaders to fight different GRCs so that hopefully, they could win enough votes to gain one or two NCMP seats each for each GRC or SMC battles.

This would mean that the recent announcements made by LTK should be viewed with great pessimism. The party is over for opposition like WP to win seats in next GE. The only thing left to fight among opposition parties are the 12 NCMP seats.

WP's intended "expansion" of contest has nothing to do with the hope of forming alternative government but rather, a desperate struggle to win the 12 NCMP seats.

Thus, we will be seeing a lot of three corner fights mainly with WP in the next GE and they are embarking on an early campaign to solidified hardcore opposition supporters' support by giving false hope, singing the tune of "alternative government" when there is seriously no way they could achieve that under the current circumstances, under the curse of AHTC saga.

Goh Meng Seng

Friday, October 06, 2017

TOTD: Awakening from the HDB-Asset Enhancement Myth

Thought of the Day - Awakening from the HDB-Asset Enhancement Myth

Several friends asked me "What is Lawrence Wong trying to do?"

They are referring to why Lawrence Wong keeps reminding Singaporeans that your HDB flat will have ZERO value when the 99 Lease hold expires.

They are confused and full of anxiety.

I simply told them, this is nothing new, I have talked about it more than a decade ago!

Almost all of them now consider to sell off their HDB flats in anxiety. Then I ask, where are you going to live?

Some ask me is that the reason why I sold my own HDB flat back in 2010? I said, yes, partly so but most importantly, I need the cash for the General Elections. I have no regrets.

Then they ask me, why didn't my relatives or the flat my mother owns in Ang Mo Kio sold? Here again, I said, where can they live if they sell their HDB flats?

The key difference here is that, my parents bought their flat in Ang Mo Kio, way before this nonsensical "Asset Enhancement Scheme" came about in late 1980s throughout 1990s, Goh Chok Tong's time. They bought it cheap. There is no anxiety of having a "costly HDB flat" turned into worthless ashes in the end.

Unfortunately, many people were caught by that TOTALLY MISLEADING Koyok of "Asset Enhancement Scheme" which was the Theme of PAP back in 1990s till 2000s that kept them in total monopoly of power. A few generations of Singaporeans have been misled into believe in such nonsense. Even up till GE 2011, PAP's MBT still tried to sing song about Asset Enhancement Scheme for "Monetizing HDB Flat" for retirement financing.

Well, lucky for MBT and PAP, he didn't dare to take up my challenge of OPEN LIVE DEBATE over his HDB-Asset Enhancement Scheme Policy, else he will be knocked out and black out totally. But their lucky is Singaporeans' misfortune. Most Singaporeans are still submerged in such devious myth of HDB Asset Enhancement Scheme for another 6 years, until Lawrence Wong broke the truth.

Lawrence Wong is simply telling the Truth, nothing but the Truth. Your HDB flat will become Zero Value when the 99 year lease expires. Why is he talking about this NOW?

This is because PAP government is not going to carry out SERS Enblock for most of the HDB flats, which is the only way to save you from the eventuality of Zero Value, because it is not profitable for PAP government to do it. They are just mentally preparing the massive Singaporeans living in HDB flats that they should not expect much from their HDB flats at the end of the 99 lease. They should be prepared to live with their whole life's saving in CPF being wiped off when the lease is nearing expiration.

The PAP government, if they still exist by then, will not renew your HDB lease at all.

Singaporeans should wake up from this TWO DECADES Myth about HDB-Asset Enhancement Scheme. This is especially so for the younger generations, those who are thinking of paying extraordinary high prices for their BTO or HDB resale flats.

I was amused and worried for those people who are forking out near to a Million dollars for a resale flat in some Prime location. You have to know that even if your HDB flat is located at Prime district or location, IT WILL DEPRECIATE eventually and BECOME ZERO in value when the lease expires.

Your HDB flat will start to depreciate when it reaches 40 year old. No banks will make normal loan when it passes 50 years old. When it reaches 70 years old, basically no bank will provide loan to  any buyer at all, regardless of where the flat is situated.

This is something PAP has been hiding from you while they were singing and praising themselves about HDB-Asset Enhancement Scheme as a political tool of Pork-Barrel politicking!  I would say that over 80% of all old HDB flats will not be Enblock. You just cannot "enhance" your HDB value when the eventuality of ZERO Value is definite!

The faster and earlier Singaporeans realize this FACT and TRUTH, the better it is for them. Else, you will end up destroying your own retirement financing plan.

I have not come to the CPF-HDB financing part yet.... that's for another article another day.

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Open Letter to Halimah

Open Letter to Halimah

Dear Madam Halimah,

At this very moment when I pen this letter to you, I still have the opportunity to address you as Madam Halimah instead of Madam Kelong President Halimah and I hope NOT to have that unfortunate opportunity to address you as such.

There is absolutely No Glory nor Dignity for you to become our First Lady President under the current circumstances. Your eventual "acceptance" of such farce arrangement of "Reserved Presidency", apparently meant for you, by submitting your nomination papers tomorrow, will be seen as an dishonorable act which will undermine the Presidency even before you begin your tour of duty.

Most important of all, your nomination and eventual acceptance of this Presidency now will cause more hurt and damage to the very Malay community which you claim to represent and lead. The implicit humiliation and hurt suffered by the Malay community will never recover fully due to the disgraceful ways of political manipulation by the power that creates unfavorable inferences upon the Malay community throughout the process.

You have said that you want to be the unifying figure for ALL Singaporeans but ironically, if you accept the "reserved appointment" of Presidency under such circumstances, you will not gain any substantial respect from any Singaporeans from any race. Your role of unification of Singaporeans would ironically be a figure head that every Singaporean stand in unity to disrespect or even despised!

The damage to our foundation of Core Values based on Meritocracy is just too great to quantify. This is one of the biggest damage your acceptance of such reserved appointment would do to our nation.

I would urge you to reconsider on submitting your nomination papers on 13 Sep 2017 because such move would only bring damaging consequences to everyone, to the whole Nation because it would be seen as the ultimate sophistry of rigging a simple electoral progress that would bring shame and disgrace to our Nation. A President-to-be who would put the whole Nation to shame and anger, is definitely not a good start for your six-years term which would be void of any legitimacy in the eyes of Singaporeans and the whole world at large.

I would urge you NOT to submit your nomination papers tomorrow so to trigger the mechanism to open up the Presidential Elections to contest by ALL qualified individuals from all races. Then you should contest in a fair and open elections to exemplify the values of meritocracy we hold so dearly for the success of this Nation.

Respect, dignity and legitimacy are earned, not Reserved in appointment. You will do yourself no justice as well as harm and damage to your Malay community as well as the Nation at large if you do not really understand this simple value.

Goh Meng Seng


People’s Power Party (PPP) Statement on Singapore Presidential Elections 2017

Date: 12 Sep 2017

For Immediate Release:

People’s Power Party (PPP) Statement on Singapore Presidential Elections 2017

The Elections Department announced on 11th of September 2017 that Madam Halimah Yacob is set to be the 8th President of the Republic Singapore, having been the only potential candidate to have been issued both the Malay Community Certificate and the Certificate of Eligibility.

This means that the other two presidential hopefuls, Mr Mohamed Salleh Marican and Mr Farid Khan were not successful in their application to stand although both gentlemen had also been issued the Malay Community Certificate each. Both had failed to satisfy the ridiculously stringent criteria imposed upon private sector applicants.

The People’s Power Party (PPP), first of all, would like to express gratitude to both gentlemen who had bravely stepped forward to provide an opportunity for Singapore citizens to choose their next Elected President reserved for the Malay community. Mr Salleh and Mr Farid had subjected themselves to be scrutinised by the public with regard to their “Malayness” since they are of Indian and Pakistani by descent respectively. Madam Halimah, though technically an Indian by descent, have had her “Malayness” certified four times over in general elections previously.

PPP views this latest development of PE2107 as opportunity denied to both private sector candidates since the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) has discretionary powers. We also note the administrative manipulation of what could have been a participatory democracy.

First and foremost, the virtue of Reserved Presidential Elections had been eclipsed by the notion that the Malays are not capable of winning in an open contest. The Malays of Singapore are actually sick of such tokenism. To add salt to injury, the “Malayness” of Presidential hopefuls are being questioned by the general public and subjected to a special committee to certify that they are Malays.

Mr Salleh and Mr Farid should be lauded as successful self-made men who are truly non-partisan and independent. That cannot be said of Madam Halimah, who, despite of her claim to not be serving any political party after stepping down as Speaker of Parliament just about a month ago, would always be seen to be beholden to her supposedly erstwhile political masters. This indebtedness would forever be etched in the memory of Singapore for generations to come should she submit her nomination forms this Wednesday, 23rd of September 2017.

When victory is declared on a battle not fought, there is no glory nor dignity.

While we could grudgingly accept that this may be a Reserved Presidential Elections for the Malay but we definitely could not agree with the blatant political ploy to turn it into Reserved President for PAP’s Halimah!

While Dr Tony Tan was not the President of 64.8% of Singaporeans who voted against him in PE2011, at the very least he fought a battle and won by 0.35% margin against his closest contender, Dr Tan Cheng Bock.

PPP is disappointed without reservation that the office of the Elected Presidency is once again tweaked in forms and eventually, it denies robust electoral challenge that is the essence of our Democratic guarantee. In our view, Mr Salleh and Mr Farid who are prominent individuals of the Malay community with the exceptional capabilities to perform the role of the Elected President with full competency. The denial of their candidacy is really regrettable.

PPP shares the sentiments of Singapore Malays who feel insulted that they been taken for a ride. The community sees themselves, yet again, as a scapegoat for the political agenda of the Powers That Be. They are the ones paying the ultimate political price. They rightly feel used, betrayed, played out and stupefied now that they bear witness to political gains built upon Malay dignity.

Last but not least, PPP further reiterates that we should not allow electoral rules to be manipulated in such divisive way and the Constitution should not be changed so frequently by the ruling party just to suit their own political agenda. An Independent Commission appointed by the Elected President should look into every attempt of amendment made to the Constitution and the Elected President should also be vested with Veto power to such amendment with the advice of the Commission.

Most importantly, we hope that Singaporeans should realize that giving PAP 70% mandate with overwhelming power via the dominance of parliamentary seats will not work in the interests of our Nation. We should deny PAP Two Third Majority in the next General Elections so that they could not just bulldoze any amendment to our Constitution at their fancy. This will ensure a truly fair electoral process and this will enhance the independent role of the Elected Presidency above and beyond partisan politicking.

Syafarin Sarif
People’s Power Party (PPP), Singapore For CEC

Monday, September 11, 2017

TOTD: Sympathy to Madam Kelong President

Thought of the Day - Sympathy to Madam Kelong President

My deepest Sympathy to the Madam Kelong President to be. No matter how you try to prove yourself capable of being independent of PAP, you will always be FOOT noted in the History of Singapore as the Kelong President who is beholden to PAP for getting this disgraceful position of Presidency.

It may not be your fault but you are one who made the choice to play right into the hands of PAP and thus, rightfully so, you will have to be responsible for your decision to play the puppet of the power that be.

The circumstances under which you become the President bring no glory or pride to you, your family or your clan but only insults, shame and anger to the Malay community.

You have already been addressed as "Madam President" by your powerful colleagues even before the race and now, being made the Madam President as "planned" through administrative means. We cannot help to feel that this is all Kelong or an elaborated set up of a wayang.

Your colleagues have helped to set up barriers to all competition by making Reserved Presidential Election... yes, make no mistake about it, it is indeed RESERVED for you and nobody else. By doing so, your Malay community has suffered humiliation not only once but twice throughout the whole farce process. One, they have set on record that any Malay Presidential candidate, including you Madam Kelong President, will not be able to win in a fair and open Presidential Elections because you are a minority despite the fact that not so long ago, an Indian PAP candidate has just won a by elections against the Secretary General of the second largest opposition party in Singapore!

The Malay community is further insulted when their two very successful self-made millionaires were denied Presidential candidacy even though they have created their own business empires which are worth multiple hundreds of millions. Do they lack any business, economics or financial capabilities to perform the role of the Elected Presidency when they have basically built their own business empires through their own merits? Obviously not and I believe they are better qualified in business, economics and financial capabilities than you do, Madam Kelong President!

You are only qualified on the technicality of being the PAP appointed Speaker of Parliament which doesn't involve in managing any big business, lest a $500 million paid up capital entity!

These are the Business Elites of the Malay community but they were put down as not good enough to be the Elected President?! Only people like you who are beholden to PAP by working for PAP could be qualified as Kelong President?

How hurtful could that be to your Malay Community, which you proclaim to represent and belong to?

Madam Kelong President, you may think that you have brought glory to yourself and the Malay community but no, you have instead brought shame, hurt and anger to the Malay community.

I would have even more sympathy to you if you really think it is something great to become the Kelong President as you wish because you are living in a dream that lacks legacy and dignity. Even your predecessor Tony Tan has more dignity than you do despite the fact that he had won only by less than 35% but at the very least he fought the battle till the very end! But you? You will always been seen as appointed by the 16 persons and PAP and nobody else.

My heart felt thanks to the other two Malay candidates, Mr Salleh Marican and Mr Farid Khan for stepping forward to offer yourself to serve Singapore as President. Don't feel bad to be rejected by the political sophistry of PAP because it is not the people like us who have rejected you. Only 16 people plus the PAP have rejected you. All the best to both of you. Thank you.

Goh Meng Seng