Friday, March 27, 2015

Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's Legacy: Good or Bad, Harsh Hard Truth


I am writing this because I am pretty annoyed and sick of PAP's spin doctors and people putting up bad propaganda write ups of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.

LKY, as most of us called him, is great in his own rights but there is no need to exaggerate and worse, put up slanted and misleading historical narrations to make him look like a God. He is no God, just a man.

Even as a man who doesn't worship him like me, cannot simply ignore his contributions and achievements in various aspects. But distorting historical truth doesn't do justice to our children and future generations. Let's put things into proper perspective with critical objectivity.

Harsh Hard Truth:

As I have stated so far, LKY has greater achievements than most his PAP people and spin doctors would want to talk about but either due to ignorance or some agenda, harp on the wrong credits to LKY of "Fishing Village to First World" narration.

For those who believe or keep singing ridiculous praises of LKY getting Singapore from "Fishing Village to First World", I hope you get the fundamental facts right first. A lot have been said the myth and falsehood of Singapore being the "Fishing Village" that all these people are harping when PAP took power. Whether it is a "Fishing Village" or the most advanced port which the British left us when PAP took over, it is not really possible for LKY to be contributing much directly to our Economic growth. Even the "Miracle" of such development may be exaggerated in some sense.

Let's look at the hard facts. When LKY took over as PM in 1959, he was just a young 35 year old lawyer. Yes, he was extremely bright lawyer who has gotten a double star (Double First Honours) for his Law study in Cambridge, but no, he wasn't trained in Economics at all. He knew nothing about Economics and it was recorded that Dr Goh Keng Swee has a hard time convincing him about getting rid of import tariffs so to position Singapore as a Free Port, so much so that Dr Goh has to give a few books to LKY to read.

No doubt LKY was a very intelligent fast learner and picked up Economics along his path of political governance, but let me put this perspective, it is really totally impossible for anyone who has just to start learning Economics from scratch to have that ability of making an Economic Miracle out of Singapore.

Thus, rightfully so, Dr Goh and his advisers, were the ones who brought Economic development to Singapore. Coupled with the fact that Western and Japanese Industrial Economies started to go for outsourcing and subcontrating and shifting some of their productions to cheaper places like Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore (4 Asian Tigers), thus, our economy boomed.

Singapore is the smallest economy among the 4 Asian Tigers and thus, inevitably, the economic benefits and impact of such Global development will spread much faster to everyone on the island. Thus, the so call "Economy Miracle" itself is an over-exaggeration without looking at the context of the start of Globalization of the Industrial world.

Well, Singapore and LKY were really fortunate to have the most able Economist Dr Goh Keng Swee during this period which provided the necessary economic vision, direction and development which allowed us to ride on this trend of Industrial Globalization.

LKY contributed in other ways to Singapore and even the whole Asia Pacific region, through his pragmatic and opportunistic cultivation of PEACE among the various countries. From getting peace from Suharto after Suharto successfully overthrown Sukarno, convincing Tunku Abdul Rahman to a truce on racial bickering and more importantly, engagement of China to stop propagating and supporting the communist elements in SEA, getting China and US, along with SEA partners to put the war in Cambodia to a peaceful end as well as successfully getting China and Taiwan to hold the first ever official talk in Singapore and thus, raising Singapore's status in the International Political Arena.

A small country like Singapore can only thrive when there is PEACE surrounding it, not just within it. And that is the greatest contribution of LKY, not only to Singapore but to all the countries in SEA and Asia Pacific which are enjoying decades of growth under the peace which LKY has contributed tremendously in achieving.

To attribute LKY's achievements narrowly to merely Singapore's Economic development is a GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT with Ignorance.

Although I do not like LKY's dictatorial governance of Singapore which has caused much unnecessary sacrifices by many of his critics, dissidents and political opponents which in the end, destroy the tenets of Democracy as well as creating a Cultural Desert out of fear for Singapore, but as an Economist and politician, I cannot ignore his tremendous contributions in all these MORE important areas.

In my opinion, nobody else in PAP's current slate of politicians and ministers, not even PM Lee himself, could fill the gap of such important role, the opportunistic pragmatist Peace maker of Asia Pacific. This role is becoming especially more important in view of the current complicated development of South China Sea conflicting claims and the tension between Japan and China. But who in Singapore can continue to provide that function and fill the role which LKY has left vacant?

This is something more important for Singaporeans to ponder about for the future safety of Singapore, in order for us to live and grow our economy.

Having said all these, despite of LKY's achievements in this area, as a Democratic Fighter, I will still refuse to mourn the death of a dictator who has done great harm to many of his victims as well as Singapore's Democratic Development.

However I will not stop others to mourn for him and my urge to those who agree with me, not to create too much of a tension with your friends and family members due to our refuse to mourn for him.

And for those ignorant PAP spin doctors, people and LKY fans who really lack the international perspective to give proper credits to LKY, please stop distorting historical facts and narrations of our Nation's history in your attempt to "exaggerate" the greatness of LKY in the WRONG way. This will do no good and a great sin for our future generations. LKY is NOT GOD and he might have done really bad things to other people, even bad decisions, political scheming in his life, so be it. No need to try to white wash all these for LKY and the truth is, LKY was not shy to admit all these in his life, though with excuses and defence which are not acceptable to people like me. LKY is just human and we should just remember him as such, a human who is fallible to the bad ills of what power can bring to one.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lee Kuan Yew - Rest In Peace


I promise I won't write NASTY letter of condolences to Prime Minister Lee, just as he did to Kenneth Jeyaretnam​ when his father JBJ passed away.

But let me share with my friends what I really think of LKY.

Whether we like it or not, Singapore was lucky to have an opportunistic pragmatist like LKY to wiggle us out of danger and animosity during the 1960s. He was a good schemer, pretender who was able to convince the British Colonist that he was the right one to run Singapore so that their interests in Far East would be protected. On the other hand, he was able to con the Leftists into fake collaboration of anti-colonial fights, gaining their trust and riding on their enormous political capital and organization to gain prominence among the largely Chinese based voters.

Whether we like it or not, that is one of the greatest political maneuver ever in Singapore political history. He could on one hand, scold the British "White Man" but at the same time, struck back door deals with them, making sure all blame went to them but yet, convince them he was the man they need!

His pragmatism has also allowed us to gain the necessary peace and breather from the animosity from Indonesia. He managed to convince Suharto that peace is what we need. On the other hand, he could well continue to convince Tunku Abdul Rahman to settle for peace and continue to supply us water, even though he has agitated him bad enough for him to ask Singapore to leave the Malaysia Federation!

His pragmatism has also made the normalization of foreign relationship with China possible, not only for Singapore but Malaysia and Indonesia as well. He could have put up his rally cry of anti- "Communist Terrorists" throughout 1960s, 1970s and even 1980s, but still he could shake hands with the leaders largest communist country in Asia who were behind the exportation of communism to SEA. He seized the opportunity to get China involved in forcing Vietnam, the only Communist Country in SEA, into peace in Cambodia and thus, removing the last threat of Communism to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

On the other hand, his cultivation of warm ties with the western powers, particularly US, has allowed us to make use of their presence at our port to provide the necessary peace and stability, not only for Singapore, but also for SEA and North Asia. Singapore's role in the Vietnam War as a logistic base for the Americans in the 1960s and 1970s has provided opportunities for us to ease the pressure of the pullout of the British troops.

On the international front, his opportunistic pragmatism has allowed us to make use of the American to balance the power and provide a security net against potential Chinese expansionary threat while on the other hand, despite of his suspicions of China, continue to reap economic benefits from China's economic growth and development.

We cannot ignore all these delicate but important achievements of LKY, which have brought important benefits to us over the generations. This is even though we dislike the man who has in some point in time, get overwhelmed by the power he held.

As I have mentioned, his greatest failing is to destroy the tenets of Democracy in Singapore. He should have stopped his addiction to unnecessary harsh treatment towards dissidents and political opponents after he gained power in the 1960s. But he didn't stop but continue with his devious ways. The imprisonment of activists in 1987 under Operation Spectrum was the last embarrassment which made him realized that he could no longer use ISA in such a irresponsible way against dissidents. Nobody believe the "Marxist Conspiracy" which he tried so hard to put up because USSR was in the midst of disintegration and China, thanks to him, had stopped the support of exporting communism to the rest of Asia! This is why Operation Spectrum became the LAST ISD operation against political dissidents and opponents of LKY.

However, instead of reflecting on his insatiable desire to monopolize power, he continued persecution of his political opponents and dissidents by legal means: defamation suits and bankruptcy of his opponents. He didn't realize that such petty politicking internally is really unfitting for a Great International Politician like himself!

In his relentless pursue of such monopoly and concentration of powers, he has unwittingly destroyed the tenets of Singapore Democracy. This is the biggest failing of his political legacy. And I reiterate, we have to try to rebuild what he has destroyed, Democracy, in Post LKY Era.

For whatever good or bad deeds LKY has done for us, let us accept the man of what he was. He was a Dictator, unlike most other Dictators in past and present, has done both great good and bad for his people.

As a person who believe strongly in Democracy, I will still not mourn the Death of a Dictator. But I will remember both the good and bad deeds he has done, putting these as lessons for future.

Last but not least, I will still wish him, Rest In Peace. There is nothing more for him to do anymore. Please don't jump out of the grave even if there is any problem in Singapore. Just Rest In Peace.

Goh Meng Seng

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rebuilding what LKY has Destroyed - Democracy



The PAP IBs and LKY fans regard me as "LKY hater" but I am definitely not because I am not the victim of his ruthlessness, unlike many others who have been unjustly imprisoned and tortured by him.

I consider his greatest FAILING in his political career to be his TOTAL DESTRUCTION of the tenets of Democracy: The Separation of Powers. This bad deed, has longer implications on Singapore's development than any other bad deeds he has done during his lifetime. For his deed of treating his opponents with unnecessary harsh and inhuman means, it could be easily be forgiven by these victims if he has repented and apologized. But not so for this deed of destruction of Democratic development.

The political system which he has carefully designed, could only survive with his dream of having "Philosopher King" with massive concentration of great powers without being corrupted. That is definitely IMPOSSIBLE. It may have worked during his time but it has opened up Singapore to instant failure should a corrupt leader get into power as there is a lack of checks and balances and accountability.

We will need to re-look at the current political system to remove all the bad practices and policies which destroy the basic principle of Democracy, Separation of Power. For a start, I would like to see the following happening:

1) CPIB should be made independent of PMO, oversee by a commission led by a retired judge.

2) The appointment of judges, especially Chief Justice, should be made independent of the executive. We should not repeat the stunt of appointing someone who was only "lawyer in name" without rich experience in legal practice or justice department to become Chief Justice or even High Court judge.

3) The Executive should be banned from meddling with editorial rights of newspapers and TV stations.

4) Elections Department should be made independent of PMO as well, led by a commission. Any changes to boundaries should be transparent and open for scrutiny. The ED or the commission in charge should justify any drastic changes.

5) The ISA should be reviewed and the law should ban the use of National resources for espionage on political parties without strong justification of National security threat. ISD should only work on cases or situation which warrant their attention in terms of National Security Threats. They should not work for political missions dictated by the ruling party.

6) Conflict of interests should be minimized and declaration of such interests is important in the process of policy making as well as appointment of key personnel. The anti-corruption law should look into this.

7) Declaration of assets for political appointment holders such as Prime Ministers, Ministers, Ministers of state etc should be made transparent.

8) The Government should "get out of business" in Singapore. This is to prevent the massive conflict of interests and impact on Rule of Law in Singapore. The Government cannot subject itself as the regulator as well as the one being regulated. This has been deliberated by Eric Tan in his latest article.

9) Addition by Ken Zeng, the Prime Minister should only have two consecutive terms. Entrenchment of power will lead to the possibility of corruption of power as well.

10) Ministerial pay should be lowered further to reflect the nature of Public Service. We do not want our Ministers to stay in power for too long as well. This is to prevent them from taking this as "just another job", too comfortable to move on. The Minister pay should be pegged to the lowest 20% percentile of income, calculated with the inclusion of those WITHOUT income. It may also include a certain percentage weighted peg on the median income level.

11) Addition by Ken Zeng: Reinstatement of Jury system for certain cases as practiced prior to 1969.

These are the few things in my mind now.Please feel free to suggest any other things you think which is important as in Separation of Power alone; not just any policy issue.

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, February 21, 2015

What is Democracy?

What is Democracy? Many people are mistaken about Democracy and sometimes, politicians (especially PAP) have deliberately misinterpreted Democracy to justify their dictatorial system as "Democratic". Sad to say, even politicians in Singapore's opposition parties, have little idea what constitutes "Democracy" and "Rule of Law".

The following photo shows Obama giving a speech and those people have given him a standing ovation. However, there are two groups of people sitting right in front, have not clapped nor stood up in ovation. 


One of the groups consists of the judges from the Supreme Court. They represent the Judiciary Power of the country which is separated and independent of the executive power. They will not show any support or opposition to the President and they will always remain Neutral, especially in public places like this one.

The other group consists of the Army generals, Chief of Army etc from the military. The military will maintain NEUTRALITY in political setting like this unless the speech has touched on military issue or perspectives.

This is how the Americans take Separation and Independence of Powers so seriously, in which becomes the tenets of the Democratic foundation of the country.

Democracy is not just about having elections every five years or a system with institutions like Parliament, President and Civil Service. It is MORE than that. Rule of Law can only exist if and only if the Judiciary is fully INDEPENDENT from the interference and meddling of the Executive in the selection and appointment of judges and officers. Thus, I cannot understand why even some opposition politicians have supported the notion that Rule of Law exists in Singapore when it is obvious that Executive power has been interfering tremendously in the Judiciary appointments. The examples of late JBJ and Michael Khoo are glaring examples of Executive interference in the Judiciary staring at our faces!

Singapore is NOT a Democracy by any standards, even though there are regular elections every 4 or 5 years. The Elections Department is NOT independent and the ruling party has without fail, consistently interfered with the redrawing of boundaries each and every GE. Such Gerrymandering is definitely not Democratic at all.

The Press and CPIB were totally under controlled by the ruling party, with direct appointment of PAP members right into the management boards of all the main stream media. CPIB was put directly under PMO. These two arms should be INDEPENDENT and separated from the ruling party influence as this is part of the Supervisory organs of the political system.

So it seems that ALL the FIVE Powers of the system are being manipulated and interfered by the ruling party. How can this be called as a "Democracy" at all?

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Democratic Dream

The Democratic Dream

A lot have been said about the AHPETC saga for the past weeks and both PAP people and WP people have been trading massive punches and blows at each other.

Although there is a large group of middle ground voters who form the Silent Majority (they really aren't the majority but just king makers), but very few have put up criticisms of BOTH PAP and WP.

Regrettably too much public resources have been wasted in parliament to debate on such primarily municipal issue. It is really an unique feature of Singapore political landscape.

While I believe there is really something very wrong with WP AHPETC management, so much so that I have predicted more than a year ago FMSS will become the key problem which may cause WP political trauma, but I guess PAP has always been very bad ruling party with bad governance practices embedded in its management of Singapore. WP people have pointed out such glaring bad examples and rightfully so, it is just the pot calling the kettle black.

However, two wrong doesn't make one right. We should not be stuck with a political system which political parties are just competing on who is worse than the other. This is not the kind of Democracy I want to build for Singapore.

Both PAP and WP deserve a big tight slap on their heads. It is also important to take the opportunity to advocate and educate our fellow Singaporeans what we really need to do to make Singapore better politically.

I have always dream my dream of Democracy. A Democracy which has true independence and separation of powers. This constant accusation of both PAP and WP of conflict of interests has its roots of the lack of the Democratic Core Values and Principles of Independence and Separation of Powers.

On the macro perspective, this refers to the Five Powers.

1. Executive Power
2. Judiciary Power
3. Supervisory /Impeachment /Control Power
4. Legislative Power
5. Examination / Selection /Election Power

This is the ideal of Dr Sun's Separation of Five Powers in a political system.

EXECUTIVE POWER

This refers to the power granted to the ruling party to execute their policies with the help of the civil service.

Judiciary Power

The Judiciary system which includes the courts, judges, lawyers etc.

SUPERVISORY POWER

Includes Free Press, corruption investigation Burea, Auditor General Office or any organization that scrutinize the Executive to keep all processes legitimate.

Legislative Power

Basically refers to law makers in parliament

Examination /Selection /Election Power

This refers to the organizations which make sure the selection or election process of various personnel like civil servants (PSC), appointment of key personnel to various key institutions and the Election Department which oversees the election of parliamentarians etc are fair and just.

Only when these five powers are working independently without political interference from politicians or anyone else, then we can achieve a fairly good Democratic system that will uphold the Rule of Law in all aspects, with less cronyism and massive conflict of interests that will go unchecked.

If you put the idea of Separation and Independence of Powers in the case of the AHPETC, you will realize that the major problem is the lack of such Democratic system installed that devoid the organization ofproper checks and balances.

The Executive Power lies with the Management Agent along with the Chairman and Vice Chairman.

The Judiciary power lies with the Board of AHPETC which includes all the MPs, Town Councilors and key AHPETC personnel like GM and Secretary.

Legislative Power is based on Town Council Act and laws passed by parliament.

SUPERVISORY power lies with auditors as well as MND. But for the daily running of Operations, the TC should have proper committees to supervise the work processes.

The Selection Power lies with the tender and appointment process.

Unfortunately for AHPETC, there are too many intertwined relationship in the different powers, particular in the Selection, EXECUTIVE and SUPERVISORY powers. There is no deliberate efforts made in avoidance of conflict of interests.

This is the crux of the matter. Many people see this AHPETC saga as a matter of carelessness or lapses but I view it as the lack of Democratic Core values. For anybody with strong belief in Democracy and its Core values, he would not have allowed such a system that lacks independence and Separation of powers to run the TC.

For a matter of fact, PAP is guilty of such Gross disregard of Democratic Principles and that is why we are fighting against it. But for WP to emulate PAP totally in this aspect is really unthinkable to me.

What pains me most is that fact that many WP people and opposition supporters are ignoring this more important problem of the lack of Democratic values in both parties altogether.

It seems that we are very far from our Democratic Dream if our own people do not care much of what our Core Values are but only focusing intensively on the politicking and attacks on PAP.

Goh Meng Seng

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Columbarium Saga - Victims' Open Letter to Minister Khaw and PM Lee

The victims of HDB's injustice have sent the following letter to Minister Khaw and PM Lee.

This is an open letter we have just sent to Minister Khaw Boon Wan for National Development and Prime Minister Lee:

To:
Mr. Khaw Boon Wan
Minister for National Development

Dear Minister,

Re: Fernvale Link Columbarium of Chinese Temple.

1. We refer to the issue of HDB awarding the land meant for Chinese Temple to a private commercial company, Eternal Pure Land Pte Ltd (EPL), owned by the Australian Public Listed company, Life Corporation Limited (LC).

2. We are a group of present and future residents of Fernvale HDB estate who will be affected by the abovementioned development. Although we have different concerns of the said project, but we have come to the following consensus and conclusions.

3. First and foremost, all of us in the group, with different religions, agree that it is totally inappropriate for a commercial company to bid for a land meant for religious use and to make money in the name of religion.

4. It is implied in the Charity Act that any organization with advancement of religion should be subjected to the Act and supervised by the Commissioner of Charities. It means that anyone who runs a Chinese Temple at Fernvale must be a non-profit organization registered with the Commissioner of Charities.

5. Apparently from the dialogue we had on last Sunday (4 Jan 2015), the representative from LC has admitted that they are not a non-profit organization or a registered religious organization.

6. This will set a very bad example and precedent for all the religious organizations in Singapore, including but not limited to Buddhist, Christians, Catholics, Hindu etc. Registered religious organizations are non-profit organizations and it is unfair for them to compete with commercial entities which have more financial power to tender for the very limited land slated for religious purposes. For the example of Chinese Temple, we notice that only 20 plots of land were slated for tender by HDB over more than two decades.

7. Moreover, the company, Eternal Pureland Pte Ltd, which won the tender, is registered as company which deals with Funeral and related activites (including embalming, Cremating and Cemetery services upkeep of cemeteries, sales of bereavement products and services). This company was incorporated only 16 days after the tender was called and it has absolutely no experience whatsoever in running a Chinese Temple.

8. We have also learned from the advertisement put up by EPL that they are marketing their niche at the price of $6,500, which is a discounted price from its original $15,000. We do not think such columbarium which put up such Premium Prices could serve ordinary HDB heartlanders like us at all.

9. Many of us have a religion and this is a grave concern to us to see the official stance of HDB in allowing religion to be “Corporatized”. We reiterate that we are against commercial companies making money in the name of religion.

10. We hope that HDB should declare the tender null and void as such practice affects all religious organizations in Singapore.

11. We hope that in the event of putting the land up for tender again, HDB could consider the combination of Chinese Temple with Childcare/Student Care. The Childcare/Student Care centre should be required to open to all races. This will serve the community well as many of the residents are young couples with kids.

12. This will be the most satisfactory and perfect solution to prevent any unwanted disruption to the many BTO buyers who were misled by HDB as well as present residents who weren’t even made known of this development at all when they bought their flats.

13. It will be totally regrettable if HDB insisted in carrying on the building of the columbarium and the Chinese Temple.

14. The reason why so many of us were caught off guard is because we have placed so much trust in a government statutory board. We have expected HDB to be transparent, open and more forthcoming with important information. We didn’t expect a reputable and biggest developer of properties like HDB would hide critical material information under ultra fine prints and vague uncertain phrases (eg. “may include”) coupled with disclaimers.

15. We believe that if there were information which could help HDB to fetch a better price for the BTOs (eg. Mall, LRT stations, amenities etc), HDB would surely have put them up prominently and affirmatively. We expect HDB to do likewise for information (eg. Columbarium) that may make the flats less attractive to most buyers and thus, fetch lower prices for HDB.

16. These are not “isolated cases” but happened in a massive scale. Thus, we feel that HDB should not treat our demand for refund without other penalties as a case by case basis. HDB should be more transparent and fair in dealing with all those who wanted a full refund.

17. We expect that HDB treats those of us who wanted a full refund fairly with the following conditions:

a) full refund of whatever deposits paid
b) no technical penalty (eg. 1 year wait) should be applied
c) priority to select alternative flats in other development.

18. We feel that this is the worst option for all of us, even if full refund is given to some. We still hope that the option of having a Chinese Temple with Childcare/Student Care could be granted as it serves almost everyone’s interests.

19. It would be utterly regrettable if HDB did not void the tender to LC and let it proceed as planned. Even worse if HDB refused to treat all of those who seek a full refund fairly.

20. We hope that you, as the Minister of the ministry, could do the right thing, not only for us but for the whole of Singapore, to set the record right by disallowing commercial entities to bid for land slated for religious purposes. Thus, void the current tender to LC.

21. As the old saying goes, Trust is hard to earn but easy to lose. In you, we trust to right the wrongs. Thank you.

Yours truly,

Present & Future Fernvale Residents

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Sengkang West Columbarium Saga - Disrespectful to Buddhism



When I first read about the Chinese Temple-Columbarium saga at Sengkang West, the first instinctive responses I had were:

1) The buyers of  BTO and residents in Sengkang West are being hoodwinked by HDB's scheming omission of critical material information on this columbarium and using "Chinese Temple" as a decoy.

2) It is totally inappropriate to allow a commercial entity to run a religious entity. I shall elaborate in this article.

3) The columbarium service is supposedly an ANCILLARY service to the Chinese Temple but in the end, it has become the main focus of the commercial entity, an Australian Public Listed company Life Corporation.

When a land is gazetted for religious use, naturally it means that it is not for commercial use. Especially in this case, when it says the land is for Chinese Temple, then in Singapore's context, a Chinese Temple is mean to be run by a registered organization or society under Registrar of Society (ROS). A religious organization like a Chinese Temple or any Churches that receive tithes are governed by the Charity Act. According to the ruling of High Court, any organization that advance religion will have to be classified as Charity.  The governing body is Commissioner of Charities.

However, according to the tender information posted on HDB website, Life Corp has won the tender via a private limited company.

If you read carefully, all other bidders of land meant for Chinese Temple are religious organizations or groups registered in Singapore ROS. Eternal Pure Land Pte Ltd. wholly owned by Life Corporation, is the only commercial entity which won the tender. Although it tries very hard to have a name that sound "Buddhist" but in essence, it is a private limited company.

The only other exception is the land slated for Chinese Temple/Funeral Parlour at Bedok North Ave 4. Even for that, it is a bid offered by a combination of a commercial entity and a temple association. (This may become another big hoohaa for Bedok residents if it is situated right in the centre of the HDB estate but I doubt so. It should be situated near the industrial park.) To provide funeral parlour service definitely need the involvement of commercial entity.

Look at the other two bidders for the same plot of land at Sengkang West here.

They are both religious organizations registered in Singapore!  

It is highly inappropriate and most probably against the law/regulation for HDB to allow a commercial entity to bid and win the tender for land meant for religious purpose. In fact, it is utterly disrespectful for HDB to allow a commercial entity to "make money" by using the name of Buddhism here.

Throughout the decade, we have seen how Singaporeans are irked by the various scandals arising from inappropriate or mismanage of funds by the respective religious leader of both Buddhist and Christian organizations (i.e. monk Mingyi of Renci and pastors of City Harvet). Funds gather by religious entities are expected to be treated as donations for charity and use in enhancing religious and spiritual cause, other than daily operation expenses. That is why religious groups, be it temples or churches, will need to be governed by Charity Act and the Commissioner of Charities.

Especially for serious Buddhists who observe the precepts, we expect monks to be Role Model of human beings and not businessman. We call those who make use of Buddhism to make money or serve their own material desires, "Business Monks". Yes, we do not have much respect for these "Business Monks", other than the fact that they are just human beings in robes. We detest these "Business Monks" who give our belief, the teaching of Buddha, such a bad name.

For most Buddhist Temples that provide columbarium service, they provide such service to their devotees as a public service in return for a fee just for maintaining the operation cost of their temples. These are NON-Profit organizations, unlike what Life Corporation and its subsidiaries, Eternal Pure Land and SFS are thinking of. Columbarium is really just an ANCILLARY service while TEMPLE function is the main key focus.

Look at the various statements Life Corporation has filed to the Australian Stock Exchange. ALL its statements posted there were about how it will enhance its earnings by having this opportunity to enhance its PREMIUM funeral services provided by its Singapore Funeral Services Care (SFS). Example of such statement is as follows:


It is obvious and expected that Life Corporation as a public listed commercial entity will be more excited and focus in how much money the columbarium can bring it. And to understand it a bit further, SFS is a company that provides PREMIUM Funeral Services with Mercedes as their hearse!  It basically means that their services are meant for filthy rich people and I do not think they are going to provide its intended "state of the art columbarium" service to layman. It is basically a very lucrative BUSINESS to them, not the normal PUBLIC SERVICE kind of columbarium offered by traditional registered Buddhist temples.

I believe the Singapore Buddhist Federation must be extremely upset and unhappy. HDB has just allowed someone to make use of the name of Buddhism for commercial profiteering. This will ultimately make Buddhism look extremely bad! Buddhism is about the teaching of Buddha, not meant to be used as a commercial front to make money!. This is utterly disrespectful, if not blasphemy in essence. Rightfully so. No one, not staunch believer of any religion, would want their religion to be made used for making money. Religion, is after all, spiritual in nature.

I believe the tender for this land should be void and null. This land is only slated for Chinese Temple. It is not meant for commercial use. It is already a breach of the land use and LFC is profit oriented entity which cannot be classified under "Charity". If it was to be classified as "Charity", all its earnings from this Chinese Temple will have to be regarded as revenue for non-profit organization and should not be recorded as earnings for Life Corporation.

HDB and URA should do the right thing to right the wrong. It is totally disrespectful for HDB to allow a private commercial entity to make use the name of Buddhism to make money. Technically speaking, Eternal Pure Land should be disqualified for its tender because it doesn't qualify to be the rightful entity to run a religious place of worship, Chinese Temple.

It is really unfortunate that for a government statutory board like HDB, it lacks the sensitivity and strict regulation on who can and who cannot bid for land of different usage. Land slated for religious purpose alone will obviously require a more stringent qualification and criteria to make sure that whoever bid for that land, has the necessary qualification and ability to run the intended religious function meant for the land.

Coupled with the serious fault of omission of critical material information in its sales brochures, HDB has actually made two terrible mistakes in a row. Although HDB has put up a disclaimer on the brochures but HDB should not shy away from its responsibility of omission. The brochures did not specifically state "columbarium" but only "ANCILLARY" services which was not clearly defined in the brochure itself (only on URA website).

I would consider the first fault of disrespectful of Buddhism more SERIOUS than the omission of critical information to the BTO buyers. But nevertheless, HDB should be accountable for both of their mistakes. Null and void the tender to LFC, at the same time, make concessions to the BTO buyers in whatever ways possible.

Goh Meng Seng


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Funeral Parlour Service in Sengkang West? HDB Please Come Clean!



First of all, HDB lacks basic ethics in trying to hide the fact that a columbarium will be built in the new HDB Town at Sengkang West. As pointed out by REDWIRE Times, HDB has only put that information of possible columbarium in ULTRA FINE PRINT in the sales brochure to buyers. This is the usual UNETHICAL and DISHONEST tactic used by many unscrupulous businesses but it is a big surprise that a government statutory board would do such a thing. 

Some Singaporeans may think that this is a small matter but it is not. For most Singaporeans who decide to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a HDB flat, this would probably be the most expensive thing they will ever buy in their whole life! It is only FAIR and JUST for HDB to make a PROPER FULL disclosure of what they are buying into.

PAP government should learn a thing or two from Hong Kong government. Hong Kong government has not only come up with legislation to safeguard general consumers' rights and interest via its Misleading Omission Ordinance but it has put up a law and a statutory board, Sales of First-hand Residential Properties Authority specially for supervising and scrutinizing developers' sales procedures as well as marketing materials.

A whole set of comprehensive law was enacted in April 2013 as in "The Residential Properties (First-hand) Ordinance". Such law has basically made the sales process of any first hand properties transparent and open. It helps to level up the playing field and protects consumers' rights and interests.

The Ordinance sets out detailed requirements in relation to sales brochures, price lists, show flats, disclosure of transaction information, advertisements, sales arrangements, and the mandatory provisions for the Preliminary Agreement for Sale and Purchase and Agreement for Sale and Purchase for the sales of first-hand residential properties. 

It also provides for prohibitions against misrepresentation and the dissemination of false or misleading information.

Offences are created for the contravention of the provisions in the Ordinance.
This is what a First World Government should do to protect its own citizens from unscrupulous businesses, especially so when a large amount of money is transacted. Can PAP do it? Yes but no. It chose not to do it but instead, learned all the dirty, scheming and despicable tricks from all those unscrupulous businesses.

While you may think that is all HDB tried to hide: a columbarium in a Chinese Temple but no. That is not all. This "Chinese Temple" isn't going to be just a simple Chinese Temple with a columbarium.

HDB issued a tender for that parcel of land meant for the said "Chinese Temple" in July. However, it was awarded to the highest bidder of $5,200,988, a supposedly "Australian company" Life Corporation. The first thing you must wonder why a land meant for a RELIGIOUS purpose is awarded to a NON-religious FOREIGN entity! I believe there are quite a number of religious groups and organizations in Singapore which are actively looking for a parcel of land to build their temples! (Personally, I have known quite a number of such Chinese religious groups.)

If this parcel of land is meant for "Chinese Temple", isn't logical for HDB to set the criteria straight that only REGISTERED Singapore religious groups are eligible? Why allow a FOREIGN company to bid for it? Can a company without any RELIGIOUS background really make good use of the land which is supposedly intended for Chinese Temple?

Sensing something very wrong with HDB's sneaky actions, I did a special check on this Australian company. This company used to deal with Stem Cell research but it sold its business to a Singapore public listed company and changed its name. It actually wholly owned a Singapore company dealing with funeral services! According Life Corporation's website, its Chairman is a Chinese who have graduated from Beijing in the 1980s. He is also the Chairman of a public listed company in Hong Kong, Golden Meditech Holdings. Apparently Golden Meditech Holdings has bought over this Australian company.

Life Corporation's only core business is funeral services via its ownership of Singapore Funeral Services Care Pte Ltd.

Now it all makes sense. "Chinese Temple" is just a decoy, to fool buyers of those BTO flats surrounding it. It was never meant to be just "Chinese Temple" or a columbarium. It was meant to be a land for funeral parlour/casket services and columbarium! Who would want to buy a flat next to a business entity that runs funeral services? That is why HDB has to try so hard, using all despicable and unethical means to hide such information!

Of course, Life Corporation was just restructured and turned into Funeral Services in Singapore last year. Although it has a full subsidiary in Singapore running funeral services, it did not use Singapore Funeral Services Care Ptd Ltd to bid for that parcel of land meant for "Chinese Temple". Why didn't it use it? That would be just too obvious, isn't it?

Please take note that although its SFS has experiences in funeral services, but it has zero experience in running a columbarium, least a religious entity like a Chinese Temple! But HDB still allows it to bid and eventually, awarded the land to it!

Obviously, Life Corporation won't just build and run only a Chinese Temple and a columbarium on that piece of land. It bid for that land for its core business, SFS which is Funeral Services! And it is not surprising that it claims it is not only to build a columbarium but also facilities to run its funeral services via SFS! This is all stated in ST reports here.

"Life Corp, the parent company of Singapore Funeral Services, said the space will be used to run funeral services, columbarium space and associated services."
Now having a columbarium next to a HDB estate is one thing, but to have a business entity running "funeral services and associated services" will be totally another thing! Residents will have to face endless funeral wakes and processions being carried out at the premises whole year round.

It is very clear now that "Chinese Temple" was just a decoy and an excuse. The real intent is for HDB to bring casket/funeral parlour services right into HDB heartland! Isn't that totally despicable and unethical for HDB to do such thing?

Let me ask HDB a few questions before they really start building a whole facility for casket services:

1) Why isn't land slated for religious purposes be restricted to religious organizations registered in Singapore?

2) If Life Corporation has no experience in running a religious organization, why was the tender awarded to it?

3) Is HDB allowing Life Corporation to carry out funeral services other than columbarium storage of ashes?

4) Will there be any cremation facility allowed to be built on that parcel of land?

5) If there isn't any cremation facility allowed and funeral services are allowed there, would it mean that there will be endless funeral wakes, rites and processions carried out at that premises?

6) Is this "Chinese Temple" allowed to carry out funeral services for other religions?

I believe for those who have been fooled into buying those expensive BTO flats there, they would have lot more questions to ask HDB.

I am totally appalled and disgusted by HDB's unscrupulous act. It is really unbecoming of PAP government to use such dishonest tactic to fool Singaporeans. As the government, PAP should be thinking of ways to enhance Singaporeans' life, safeguard and protect Singaporeans' interests. But instead, it has just gone too far in its greedy ways so much so that it becomes the main culprit in damaging Singaporeans' interests. It becomes the very entity that use dirty tricks and scheming tactic to misrepresent and mis-sell HDB flats to Singaporeans.

Singaporeans should stop trusting PAP as an upright government that would defend your rights and interests.It would already be a blessing if the PAP government don't come after your interests and rights, least expecting them to defend it for you.

It has changed from bad to worse. There is only greed in PAP government now. It has lost its moral compass totally. How could PAP self proclaim itself as "World Class" when its actions are so low class? Singaporeans, we have only ourselves to depend on to defend ourselves against such unscrupulous government.


Goh Meng Seng

Afternote:

Apparently PAP MP Lam of Sengkang West has gone into panicky mode after ST reported on this columbarium saga. Rightfully so.

He has went on to ask HDB, URA and even Life Corporation questions but I guess, not specific enough. As far as I know, tender and bids for land meant for religious purposes are quite stringent and there were religious groups REFUSED the award of land by HDB for many other reasons. Read his report on Facebook here.

The fundamental question to ask HDB is why the tender didn't restrict to Religious Groups or Organizations registered in Singapore only?

There is a whole list of questions should be asked, including those listed in this blog article.

On top of that, there are CONTRADICTING statements made by Life Corporation on the columbarium plan. It was reported by ST that it will have funeral services in this building but now, it says there will not be any funeral services:

" I have also been reassured by the developer that there will NOT be crematorium or funeral parlour services at the new temple."

But on top of this, MP Lam has revealed the following:

"According to the presentation, the services include:
1) promotion of cultural and Buddhism activities and value system
2) communal activities like spaces for other religious group for small group activities, nominated non-profit group beneficiaries, private spaces for self and group cultural and religious development
3) automated columbarium"

What does number 2, " communal activities like spaces for other religious group for small group activities, nominated non-profit group beneficiaries, private spaces for self and group cultural and religious development" means? Funeral service?

This is the first time we are seeing Profit-Oriented Public Listed company allowed to run their business on land slated for RELIGIOUS purpose. I am really skeptical about such move.

Of course, HDB claims that they have stated "columbarium" in their brochures but buyers of the BTO has claimed otherwise. In fact, Redwire Times has revealed that it was put in ULTRA Fine Print! HDB has to answer to that.

There will be a dialogue session to be conducted this coming Sunday 4 Jan by PAP MP Lam. If you are one of the stakeholders, be it BTO buyer or residents there, please attend the session and shoot your way off.

"The development plan of the Chinese Temple is still being finalised and we will be organising a dialogue session with LifeCorp, URA and HDB on 4th January 2015, 10am (Sunday) at Anchorvale CC multipurpose hall for them to share their plans with residents. Residents are most welcome to attend to share your feedback and concerns."

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Singaporeans, I believe.



Sometimes, it is really depressing to be Singaporeans if you are not one of the Elites within PAP or its cronies and organizations.

Singaporeans have been told by PAP that we need "Foreign Talents", as if only Foreigners are Talents while there is none among us, other than the million dollar Ministers and their PAP MPs plus cronies.

Singaporeans are told that they are basically useless and they need millions of Foreign Talents to "create jobs" for them. But in the end, many Singaporeans have found out that the so call "jobs" created for them are "taxi-drivers" and "security guards". We start to see taxi drivers with Master degree and even PHD. We start to see colonies of migrants were brought in by their own people to replace Singaporeans at work place, be it Filipino, Indians, PRCs or otherwise. We are made or forced to believe these people, from third world country, many of them with dubious and fake degrees or qualifications, are some TALENTS who are BETTER than Singaporeans.

Some people and yes, some Singaporeans as well, will start to scold me "Xenophobic" by now but I am determined to say it as it is. I am not against Foreigners or Foreign workers and in fact, I have been employing the services of foreigners in other countries and places as well, along with the Singaporeans who work with me. Whatever others or PAP may say about Singaporeans, but I believe among the regional "Third World" countries, Singaporeans are relatively more trustworthy, reliable and hardworking. The PRCs may say Singaporeans are dumb or stupid, but I see that as a compliment as compared to the many unscrupulous things PRCs will do just to make more money or even cheat.

Singaporeans are among the best co-workers I have met over time. They are efficient and quick in learning. Unlike the many "Third World countries" people whom I have worked for, they have the right attitude towards work. In fact, Singapore has provided a platform to "educate" or "cultivate" many foreigners form third world countries the correct working attitude. For example, comparing a Vietnamese in Vietnam and a Vietnamese working in Singapore, you can experience a vast difference between their attitude towards efficiency, morals and work ethics.

Singaporeans may lack certain Global exposures but I do not think that is a critical handicap at all. If given the right opportunities, I believe most Singaporeans will be a quick learner and adapt very well to new situation and environment. In fact, Singaporeans are fairly well regarded as a people for their honesty, hardworking and efficiency in many parts of the world. The REAL problem with Singaporeans is its choice of PAP as its ruling party.

No where in the world could I find a government as sadistic as PAP government which has constantly thumbing down on Singaporeans as "inferior" to their "Foreign Talents". Even Malaysian Government will come up with "Malaysia Boleh" or "Satu Malaysia" (Malaysia Number One). Even China, with a massive population of uncultured citizenry which irk so many people around the world with their barbaric and uncivilized behavior, would come up with a strong rhetoric of "China Dream", drumming up Nationalism as its core message. Even the Filipinos are whipping up their Nationalism in foreign land like Singapore!

It is no wonder, foreigners in Singapore, especially those from the "Third World Countries", are starting to snarl and mock at Singaporeans, calling them names and pride themselves in superiority over Singaporeans, citing the "FACT" that even our PAP government wanted them so much because they are "TALENTS" which Singaporeans are not!

Well, we may be angry against these rude and ungrateful people from the "Third World Countries" but they are not wrong at all. The fault lies with PAP which has repeated talked down on Singaporeans. eg. Singaporeans commit more crimes than Foreigners.

But my fellow Singaporeans, most of these so call "Foreign Talents" from the "Third World Countries" are just cheap substitutes brought in to displace you. Logically speaking, how could somebody who graduated from "Third World Countries" be more "superior" than Singaporeans who have gone through the First World education in Singapore? We should not feel any bit INFERIOR as compared to these people. We are the HOSTS of this country which provides the platform to give them jobs and money to feed their families in their Third World Countries.

Many people from first world countries have mistaken that Singaporeans are Xenophobic but we are not. Most Singaporeans are people with big heart, tolerant and well behaved. If you have met anyone from USA or European countries who talk down to you about being Xenophobic, tell them off by suggesting filling up their own countries with 40% foreigners and see whether they will be MORE or less angry and intolerant as Singaporeans.

All countries will have foreign population or migrant workers. But at most, most of the First World Countries have less than 25% of their population as foreigners. They do not understand what Singaporeans are unhappy about. Just tell them that we have 40% and PAP intends to increase to 50% or even 60% of our population to be foreigners. That is exactly what they are trying to do, else how do you think they can increase our population to 6.9million within such a short time?

The truth is, even the REAL Talents from First World Countries like US or Britain, are shocked at what PAP is doing. A friend of mine told me about a conversation which he had with a British who has worked in Singapore but leaving.

The British told him, PAP is stupid. Yes, you hear it right, a British FT telling PAP off. He said Singaporeans are actually very good people, highly intelligent, hardworking and highly competent. But PAP prefers to get people like him, to be paid 3 or 4 times more than Singaporeans to do exactly the same thing and hold the same amount of responsibility which Singaporeans could do with great proficiency! Yes, this is a FRANK comment from the British 'FT'.

PAP is stupid because it doesn't believe in its own people, Singaporeans. It doesn't believe Singaporeans can be as good as, if not better than most of the foreigners; even if they are from some First World Countries, least, Third World.

Such policy mindset will deprive Singaporeans from earning their rightful salaries but also neglect the grooming of Singaporeans by depriving them the opportunities to get exposures from the many important positions which were taken up by foreigners.

PAP is not only spending millions in scholarship to groom foreigners from Third World Countries in our colleges and universities but they are also grooming them in their working lives by allowing them to displace local Singaporeans. The irony is that, while foreigners get free education in Singapore and displace Singaporeans in important positions, many local Singaporeans who have paid a hefty price (university fees have been increasing over time) for their tertiary education, were unable to find any job!

No matter how hard Singaporeans try to upgrade their skills, qualifications etc, they eventually find themselves being displaced by foreigners at ALL LEVELS of jobs.

Singaporeans in Singapore may be talked down by PAP in all aspects, but when it comes to international job markets, Singaporeans are well sort after. Why? It is because Singaporeans are trustworthy, law abiding, intelligent and efficient.

Many people, especially those from the very Third World Countries which PAP has tried to court their "talents", regard Singaporeans as good people, trustworthy people to do business with, in comparison with their own people.

Over these few years, I have met Singaporeans working and doing business overseas. They have given me one simple impression: back in Singapore, PAP and its system, regard them as dirt, unworthy people. They have to leave Singapore to prove their worth in other countries and places like Hong Kong. They made it in their life, because they believe in themselves, not PAP's nonsense about "Foreign Talents".

(Some of you may feel that I am exaggerating and may use the Sim Lim Square lemon retailers as example of how "bad" Singaporean businessmen were. There will always be bad apples among the millions but while we make so much noise over these few bad apples, splashing over local headlines and such, but can you imagine there are many millions more of such cheats in the Third World Countries like China? It has become a NORM there and that is why you will never see headlines over such "trivial" things in these countries!)

PAP is the root of the problems Singaporeans are facing a people, as a Nation. A Nation of People who have low esteem will not do us good and PAP is the one who is constantly causing our people to become so.


Singaporeans should rebuild their own self-esteem and there is nothing Xenophobic about that. PAP Ministers and their cronies are not the only "Talents" in Singapore. The truth is, every Singaporeans can be a talent in his or her own field, in their own right. Every Singaporeans should be worth as much as their skill set and not only PAP Ministers have the rightful claim to the over-exaggerated million dollar salary. We should not allow PAP to continue thumbing us down as a people and depressing our wages and quality of life.

Singaporeans, I believe, could really be a World Class people, World Class workforce, if given the proper opportunities, grooming and recognition. Our Singapore Brand as a people, is Trustworthiness, quick learners, law abiding, no nonsense, intelligent, well educated and efficient people. Singaporeans should start to believe in themselves and reclaim what is rightfully theirs. STOP believing in PAP's nonsense about only Foreigners and their cronies, are Talents and nobody else.

While I encourage Singaporeans to walk out of Singapore into the World, but you can't be a good fighter without confidence and self esteem. I believe that Singaporeans do not need PAP's degrading rhetoric on their FT policy but what they need is to get more World exposures.

Singaporeans, I also believe, should fight and strive to retain the high standards we have set for ourselves and future generations. While our system has provided a good platform to educate those foreign workers from Third World Countries on efficiency, reliability and such, we should not allow many of these foreigners to skewed, change or lower the standards we expect from our system.

Working attitude is one important factor in determining success of an organization or even a country. I know many Singaporeans are just suffering in silence from the incompetency of their foreign counterparts but you should not be so. You should be voicing out in firm assertion to demand the best from everyone, foreign or otherwise.

I believe part of the problems we face in Singapore's MRT system is the lax working attitude of foreign engineers (from Third World Countries) which causes constant breakdowns in the system. They do not have the Singapore mindset and culture of no-nonsense when it comes to such important work. I have heard enough of retired SMRT Singaporean engineers complaining about cheapo materials being used as well as the quality of foreign engineers and technicians employed. But my dear Singaporeans, they are so, because we allow them to be so. It is because we have allowed the Third World mentality to invade our work place and replace the good work ethics we used to have in our system. We have not voiced out in firm assertion to maintain the high standards we used to uphold. We should not allow them to erode our culture, our belief in high standards and our identity as Singapore Brand.

Singaporeans, I believe, cannot depend on PAP and its cronies to do the right thing at all. They are more concerned about how much profits they can make and how much salary and bonuses they can get, rather than the more important Singapore Culture we have cultivated over the decades of Nation Building. This Singapore Culture which defines us as a Singapore Brand, is facing its greatest challenge at the largest scale ever.

Singaporeans, I believe, united as one, we can overcome all these nonsense PAP has installed in this system. We have only ourselves to depend on for the sake of our future generations. We should not allow PAP's flawed Population Policy to dictate and deteriorate our Nation to Third World standards. We should hold our future firmly in our own hands. I believe.

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, December 20, 2014

PAP's "Affordable Demon"



It is really getting absurd everyday with PAP and its cronies to chant the Devilish Word "Affordable".

For every thing PAP wants to increase prices in order to feed its army of cronies of million dollar salary, they do not need to JUSTIFY the need to increase the prices but just chant, "It is affordable to Singaporeans!" Does it mean that as long as you can afford, it is perfectly alright for PAP to squeeze every bits from you by raising prices?


Whether it is HDB flats (MBT famous rant about affordability) or electricity tariffs or basic needs like public transport fares, the only thing they need to do is to shout it all out loud, "Don't be stingy! You can afford the price increase! It is AFFORDABLE to you!".

Whenever you have salary increase (true or false or just some imagination), they will shout it out loud," Hey you have 4% increase in salary! We just increase 2.8%!", never mind about how many percentage increase in their own CEO or top management remuneration and the profit increase they enjoy despite of POOR SERVICE Quality (historical high MRT breakdown) and now, drastic decrease in cost due to drop in oil prices. What they want to do is to MAKE SURE whatever you have earned, MUST be SQUEEZED out from you eventually!

Never mind if this claim of 4% increase in salary is SKEWED as this include the OBSCENE increase in salaries like those Top management in these public transport companies! The overall salary increase may be 4% but what about the salary increase of those who take public transport? Do they enjoy as much as 4% increase in their salaries?

Never mind about such things as they are not interested in justifying their GREED but only throw the "Affordable Demon" at everybody.

That is the sad state of affairs in Singapore. PTC is all filled up with PAP and its cronies, worse, the representatives from the transport companies. What checks and balances are there, except the Affordable Demon guarding the interests of these greedy fat pigs?

My dear fellow Singaporeans, if you do not want to be suck dry of every drops of your blood, you will have to do something about it when you go to the polls in next GE. Think before you vote. And be warned. The 10% GST is coming and they will release their Affordable Demon at you again.

Goh Meng Seng

Friday, December 19, 2014

PAP's Core Value --- Greed


Greed has no boundary. Oil prices dropped by 40% since June this year but look what Singaporeans get:

1) Pathetic "token" decrease of pump prices by the cartel and neither CASE nor PAP government say anything or do anything about it.

2) Well, as if that is not enough, electricity tariff controlled by government didn't decrease accordingly as well, giving crap reason that our power station run on gas, not oil. But the last time we heard when oil price increased and gas price was stagnant, they increase the electricity tariff anyway, giving crap reason that the gas price is pegged and hedged to oil prices! Win liao lor!

3) As if all these are not enough to squeeze every bits from Singaporeans, now they want to increase public transport fares! Last time they increase fares citing increasing fuel cost due to high oil prices but now, when oil prices plunge, they give other excuses to increase fare despite having very healthy and high profits...

Guess it is not difficult for anyone to conclude that Greed is PAP's core value from all these happenings.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, December 15, 2014

CPF Life Annuity is a Money Making Machine for PAP government!



I have prepared a spreadsheet for anyone to calculate the age that he needs to live in order to "exhaust" his Minimum Sum he puts into CPF Life Annuity. (You can Private Message me to ask me for this spreadsheet if you want to).

Based on the typical Minimum Sum of $155K paid at age 55 years old, interests @ 4% (this is the PAP's claim of "Risk Free Interests" from them) with a monthly payout of $1200 (or $14400 per year) starting at age 65 years old, the BREAK EVEN age is 90!

It means that only when you can live BEYOND 90 years old, then you can get MORE than what you have put in. However, please bear in mind that if you died at 85 years old or after, there will be no bequest. Even if you die at age 65, your family will get only slightly more than $155K which is FAR lesser than the amount if you earn 4% per annum. If you die at age 75 (which most people do), your family will get only about 13% of the amount which is rightfully yours at 4% compounding rate! (This is based on the example given for CPF Life Plus).


  Minimum
Sum
 (paid @
 55 yrs old)
Interest Monthly
Payout
(Starting
65 yrs old)
Annual
Payout
  155000 4.00% 1200 -14400
         
Age Starting Balace Amount after
Adding Interest
Total Yearly
 Deductions
Ending
 Balance
65 229437.86 238615.37 -14400 224215.37
66 224215.37 233183.98 -14400 218783.98
67 218783.98 227535.34 -14400 213135.34
68 213135.34 221660.75 -14400 207260.75
69 207260.75 215551.18 -14400 201151.18
70 201151.18 209197.23 -14400 194797.23
71 194797.23 202589.12 -14400 188189.12
72 188189.12 195716.68 -14400 181316.68
73 181316.68 188569.35 -14400 174169.35
74 174169.35 181136.12 -14400 166736.12
75 166736.12 173405.56 -14400 159005.56
76 159005.56 165365.78 -14400 150965.78
77 150965.78 157004.41 -14400 142604.41
78 142604.41 148308.59 -14400 133908.59
79 133908.59 139264.93 -14400 124864.93
80 124864.93 129859.53 -14400 115459.53
81 115459.53 120077.91 -14400 105677.91
82 105677.91 109905.03 -14400 95505.03
83 95505.03 99325.23 -14400 84925.23
84 84925.23 88322.24 -14400 73922.24
85 73922.24 76879.13 -14400 62479.13
86 62479.13 64978.3 -14400 50578.3
87 50578.3 52601.43 -14400 38201.43
88 38201.43 39729.49 -14400 25329.49
89 25329.49 26342.67 -14400 11942.67
90 11942.67 12420.38 -14400 -1979.62
91 -1979.62 -2058.8 -14400 -16458.8
92 -16458.8 -17117.15 -14400 -31517.15
93 -31517.15 -32777.84 -14400 -47177.84
94 -47177.84 -49064.95 -14400 -63464.95
95 -63464.95 -66003.55 -14400 -80403.55
96 -80403.55 -83619.69 -14400 -98019.69
97 -98019.69 -101940.48 -14400 -116340.48
98 -116340.48 -120994.1 -14400 -135394.1
99 -135394.1 -140809.86 -14400 -155209.86
100 -155209.86 -161418.25 -14400 -175818.25


Thus, my conclusion is that CPF Life Annuity is just a money making machine for PAP government! It will end like the Medishield whereby the payout is pathetic and it will accumulate huge amount of surpluses ever year. The payout and bequest is designed to make MOST Singaporeans to forgo most of their hard earned CPF money and given to the government.

The implication of this finding is that PAP could have set up this system WITHOUT the need of CONFISCATING your money when you die. If a person has $155K in his CPF account, he can just put this money in CPF to further grow his retirement nest (at PAP's "risk free" 4% return) and then get  $1200 per month until 90 years old. If he died before reaching 90 years old, his family will get the balance of his money in CPF. If he lived beyond 90 years old (very few could reach that age), then I do not think it will bankrupt PAP government by showing these elders a little respect by providing them the necessary funding for the rest of their life.

If PAP is really stingy, then the alternative way is to get provide the retirees INDEFINITE payout from the interests earn throughout this period. i.e. give them $764 every month if they have the initial $155K in their CPF account until they die. When they die, the seed money of $229437 will be given back to their family. They can live up to 100 years old if they want and they won't burden the government at all.

Such arrangement is fully in Singaporeans' interests without risking their money which naturally, they would want to let their family member inherit them.

If insurance companies refused to give coverage to anyone who is 65 years old or above, why should we be forced to gamble with our hard earn money of $155K to put into CPF Life Annuity when we are 55 years old and risk losing it all by betting that we can live beyond 90 years old?

A good government will not be constantly thinking of ways in sucking off the citizens' hard earn money even when they die! They should be thinking of a more viable options for the sake of everyone's interests. A good government will not PUSH the responsibility of feeding the elders (over 90 years old) to other Singaporeans. Worse of all, this CPF Life Annuity scheme will become yet another tool for PAP to milk Singaporeans out as it will definitely have earned excess funds indefinitely as most people will only live till 75 years old and the government would have creamed off huge amount of money from these people.

If Singaporeans do not stop PAP government from such scheme, they will eventually find themselves being reaped off totally and their children and future generation will never be able to enjoy a kick start with more accumulated wealth.

All these funny schemes put up by PAP are the very reasons that I do not trust PAP at all. A government is here to serve the interests of Singaporeans, not trying with every means to EARN or cream off Singaporeans' money while shying away from its responsibilities.

Goh Meng Seng

Afternote: If you are really stuck with PAP and its CPF Life scheme, then I would advise my readers to choose CPF Life BASIC instead of CPF Life PLUS. According to the brochure posted by CPF (here), CPF Life PLUS is really a reap off and it doesn't give you a FAIR deal at all. (Read Pg 29-30). The CPF Life BASIC plan is a better deal although it still "earns" a few thousands of dollars when you die from the fund you left.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Responses to Media Enquiry on Mr Lee Hsien Loong's Criticisms of Opposition

My responses as follow:


Do you agree that the PAP should set the standard and the opposition held accountable to it?

Why should PAP be the player, the organizer who set the rules and standards as well as the referee or judge at the same time? Let the Voters be the judge and I believe they have their own standards set out for opposition parties as well as PAP. As the ruling party, whether it likes it or not, voters' expectation and standards will be set at very much higher level. Rightfully so because PAP has the power and resources to do what it is supposed to do as a ruling party.

2. Has the role of the opposition evolved post-2011? Is it perhaps too old to use the "check and balance" function as a platform to run a campaign on?

Whether the role of opposition has evolved in post-2011 depends very much on voters' expectation. But one interesting sign I have observed is the rising of civil activism which is non-partisan in nature. The non-partisan social-political activists have been leading the charge on social-political issues like the 6.9m Population White Paper issue as well the Return-Our-CPF protests. These activism may have unintentionally put pressure on political parties to step up to reclaim their rightful role as political opinion leader in articulating more coherent policy views rather than sitting on the sideline as passive political free-riders. If they fail to do so, they would be seen as ineffective even as an agent for effecting the "check and balance" function and it will be very unconvincing for them to sell this idea of "check and balance" function as their front running campaigning theme.

My view is that, "check and balance" is the inherent rightful role of any opposition party all around the world in any democracy. In Singapore's context, it is still a relevant campaigning theme as the result of the GRC system, the highly disproportionate number of opposition MPs in parliament vs the total percentage of votes opposition has garnered will always be a critical imbalance which Singaporeans need to address. This will inevitably falls on the urgent need to correct this insufficient and inadequacy of check and balance function in our system. However, the contrast cast by non-partisan social-political players have put serious doubts on opposition parties' effectiveness as a player to provide such function. If opposition parties don't buck up to show that they could lead the charge at the front of check and balance function, they might lose their legitimacy as the important component or element to effect the function of check and balance. Voters will be disillusioned by their passiveness in comparison.

3. As a check, how well do you think the major opposition in Parliament, the WP, has done?

No comment. I will leave it to voters to make the judgment. But as I have expressed in my answer to your previous question, all opposition parties including WP will have to buck up to play a more pro-active role as a check to the PAP government if they do not want to be considered irrelevant by voters.


4. What challenges do you see besetting a centrist party like the WP in the upcoming election?

IMHO, there are three challenges WP has to address in order to convince voters that it is still the BEST Choice of opposition parties to be voted into parliament:

a) WP has to address and provide immediate remedy to the erosion of its most important CORE COMPETENCY aka Political Capital in Town Council management.

b) WP has to demonstrate its ability to keep its promise to achieve its last GE aim of "First World Parliament". Up till now, the mediocre parliamentary performance of WP's MPs will inevitably make its past GE Manifesto of "First World Parliament" to come back and bite it. This is made worst by the contrast provided by those non-partisan social political activists.

c) Economics is always WP's weakest link in its policy deliberation but in Singapore's context, Economics precedes every other policy matters. WP will have to find ways to improve its economics learning and articulate its economic policy views more coherently and effectively.


5. Opposition parties like the SDP have responded by saying they do have alternative visions. Do you think the SDP's manifesto in particular is workable? Can all parties say they have alternative visions?

I do believe most political parties have their own alternative Visions, whether it is based on Democratic Values, Economics logic, Social Welfare perspective or otherwise. Apparently, PAP is more focused in its attack on opposition parties' Economic Visions.

On the surface, opposition parties may express their own Visions based on their core beliefs and values. However, it would not be fair for PAP to attack opposition parties' inability to deliberate on the finer details on such vision because they do not have the privilege of the ruling party in getting vital information as well as civil servants to help them in researching and formulating their full policy details.

I reserve my comments on SDP or any other opposition parties' manifesto as it will take a long debate to articulate the plausibility of their plans.


6. Mr Lee is framing the upcoming general election as a national one, not just a local one, and one that will be a "deadly serious fight." How do you think this message will wash with voters?

I would say that with due respect, Mr Lee is already a LATE COMER in realizing that past GE2011 as well as the two by-elections we had since 2011 were already fought on National issues instead of local ones. eg. HDB and transport issue in GE2011. I believe voters will not only vote according to what they feel about National issues but will also consider who are the candidates put forward by the various parties. I do not believe PAP will lose power totally, even though it may lose more seats.

Even if PAP is to lose over 50% of seats, it will still remain as the dominant party with the most seats because at this moment, all opposition parties won't be able to contest more than half of the seats alone, least all the seats. The Constitution will require the President to call upon the Dominant party to form the government, be it a coalition or a minority government.

Thus, I do not think voters in this era, with more knowledge of how politics work, would be intimidated by such exaggeration by Mr. Lee.


Goh Meng Seng