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

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Reasons Against Million Dollar Pay for Ministers & Top Civil Servants

PAP has argued that we need to pay "MARKET RATE" in order to "attract" the TOP TALENTS to serve in the civil service and public service as Ministers. They have even argued that without such a high pay (as high as multi-milllion dollar annual salary package), we may end up with corrupt politicians like those in other places around the world. This is the MOST SELF SERVING as well as SELF DEGRADING argument I have ever heard in the political field all over the world.

But I hate to say that even though PAP's reasoning is so full of fundamental flaws in logic, nobody in opposition camp has openly disagreed with such reasoning promoted by PAP. In fact, if we look at the parliamentary debate held on reduction of Ministerial salary, the only argument put forward by both ruling and opposition parties is about how much "discount" they should cut from the existing salary package, instead of debating rigorously on the assumptions and presumptions made in justifying the horrendous high salary package the politicians are giving themselves. Even the formula of calculations provided by Workers Party is basically based on the fundamental assumptions that we need to pay comparable "Market Rates" to our Ministers! That was why they ended up with the embarrassing conclusion that their "alternative" formula is in essence, NOT MUCH DIFFERENT from PAP's existing proposal at all!

I personally feel that we need to challenge the fundamental primary premises that PAP has put up to justify for High Salary package to:

1) Attract Talents to Politics
2) Prevent Corruptions

I would propose the following fundamental premises which will require reasonable BUT not high market rates for Ministers:

1) Avoidance of Crowding out of Talents from Private Sectors
2) Avoidance of Entrenchment of Powers which will breed corrupt practices
3) Natural selection of people with the RIGHT Public Service mindset and keeping out people with wrong intent from Public Service

Giving extraordinary high salary package to Ministers and Top civil servants alike, would create the scenario whereby these individuals may feel "too comfortable" in their positions with only Money as their main motivation. This will create a situation whereby Public Service, instead of grooming talents for the whole country, ended up depriving the private sectors their fair share of talent pool.

The practice of sending "high flyer" army generals and top civil servants to Govrenment Linked Companies have generated unsatisfactory results. Even the practice of recruiting political appointees from the civil service which includes the army, are undesirable. Such practices have cultivated the complacent "Iron Rice Bowl" mindset in these scholars. Furthermore, it will enhance and prolonging the existing GROUP Thinking situation in governance. This will prevent innovative ideas and "out of the box" breakthrough in governance.

It is only desirable to only provide barely sufficient remunerations to Ministers and Top civil servants so that there would not be any incentives for them to stay in such positions for too long. This will provide the necessary upward mobility of other younger talents waiting in line so that there will be dynamic renewal process at any one time.

Ideally, any Minister should not over stay his usefulness and should step down with a maximum of 2 or 3 terms. With a much reduced salary package, I believe they will be more willing to do so. This will not only provide the necessary conducive opportunity for political self renewal but also ensure that political leadership will always be in tune and up to date with the needs and aspirations of each generations of the population. Million dollar salary package will inevitably retain deadwood Ministers which will loose touch with the ground when they are too entrenched in their ivory tower of powers.

Everybody knows Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. But I think we should add that prolonged entrenchment of Power will inevitably corrupt absolutely. Ironically, High Salary package will create the conducive conditions for people to entrench themselves in the positions of power and thus, inevitably corrupted.

PAP's argument that if their Ministers are not paid the highest in the world with horrendous amount of bonuses, they will be corrupted, is absolutely self degrading. Do they mean that if we reduce their salary drastically to $500K tomorrow, their ministers will immediately become corrupt overnight? That is absolutely rubbish. Some of them may consider to retire early, which may not be a bad thing at all because this will make ways for self renewal!

Furthermore, High Salary package may inevitably attract the WRONG kinds of talents who are more concerned about their monetary gains rather than the well being of the citizens. This is the fundamental reason why we are seeing more and more "intelligent but heartless" people in PAP's rank of ministers! Most of the KPIs are set so that they could extra the maximum amount of "surpluses" or money from the citizens, in order to determine how much bonuses they should get in return!

Setting a decent but not exorbitantly high salary package may just filter out the UNDESIRABLE materialistic and "Money Face" elements from such prestige standing of Public Service.

PAP has argued that their slate of ministers are "TALENTS" before they join and become Ministers but I would say that the Public Service as Ministers is the ultimate process that will ADD VALUE to them. When they retire from politics and join the public sectors, their exposures and experiences gained as Ministers will be highly valuable. There is one prime example that the exposures of a Ministerial post has added tremendous value in which a PRIVATE company has made great offer for his service after he retired from politics: George Yeo who has lost Aljunied GRC in 2011 GE.

Most of other former PAP ministers were only deployed to other GLCs after they retired from politics and this hardly explain nor justify why they were given million dollar ministerial salaries in the first place. Only those mediocre ones, even with such added value, will end up with mediocre jobs. 

Conclusion

There is absolutely no necessity to give exorbitantly high salary package to Top Civil servants and Ministers at all. Really smart and talented people with a heart for Public Service would view the great value in serving in these Top posts which will enhance and further their career in private sectors after they retire from these positions of powers. The enormous value of the potential network, influence and experience gained from these positions itself would be attractive enough for real talents to join Public Service in politics.

There is no necessity to provide a multi-million dollar salary package that will keep "talents" entrenched in their posts for too long as this will breed corruption of power. In order to prevent greedy people who are not contended with the much lower pay from corruptions, independent powers separated from executive manipulations from politicians should be installed. i.e. CPIB should be made INDEPENDENT from PMO with appointment of a Commissioner from the pool of retired-judges. Such separation of powers entrusted to CPIB would ensure that proper checks and balances would be installed to clamp down on potential corruptions from politicians.

The only effective safe guard from political corruptions is a system of TRUE INDEPENDENT of CPIB achieved through separation of powers, instead of feeding potential greed with more money.

Thus I would argue that we would only need to provide an adequate salary package for politicians and top civil servants to live a dignified life as leaders of the country but not a life of a million or billionaire. And contrary to PAP's assertion that only million dollar salary could attract the necessary and "Right" talents to serve, I think only a greatly reduced salary package from the current one could weed out those undesirable candidates and provide us the RIGHT persons to serve as the political leaders of the Nation.

Goh Meng Seng



Saturday, November 15, 2014

Who is GMS?


My View, My Story

There are a couple of attempts by my detractors who have tried to flame, troll or even defame me by writing on this topic "Who is GMS?" and I have basically ignored them. I am not some prominent guy like LKY who needs some other people to write a biography of him; neither am I someone who will be bothered by some strange fellows who are so "obsessed with me" with such intense hatred against me as if I have killed their whole family.

I am not someone who will feel at ease when there are people praising me for anything and would probably blush and feel "paiseh", not because I do not agree with them but rather I am not used to flattery at all. In fact, I would rather be the one who will stand up and "boast" about my own achievements (well, just telling it as a matter of fact) rather than listen to flattery from others because I know I would not claim credits that do not belong to me, neither would I be shy about what I believe in and what I have done to live or die with my belief.

Young Dreams

I am a simple man but unique in every ways. A simple man with little desires. When my peers were competing vigorously for BEST results in school, I am more interested in reading newspapers and current affairs. While my friends aspired to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, professions to achieve their "5Cs" dream of our time, I naively wanted to be President of Singapore, not because I love that pay of millions of dollars for doing virtually little things, but I mistakenly thought that by being the President of Singapore, I could change a lot of things, a lot of policies which I believe would make Singaporeans' lives far better than what PAP is doing. Of course, when I get older, I realize that I have to be the Prime Minister instead of the President just to achieve what I aspired to do.

First Taste of Elitism

The twist of fate came when I was in Hwa Chong Junior College. I nearly wanted to quit HCJC because I was beginning to feel uneasy and dislike the "elitist" nature of my environment. Believe me, I was just a little bit ignorant of getting myself into HCJC without knowing that it is some elitist JC in Singapore, because I thought only Raffles JC was the the elitist one. I wanted to leave HCJC after first 3 months to enroll in some polytechnic partly because I am socialist in nature and partly because I did not want to burden my parents too much financially if I follow the path towards University. But somehow, I stayed back, due to the "crisis" HCJC faced back then.

Economics - My Passion and Second Nature

My second twist of fate happened when I made the "unrealistic" or rather "irrational" choice of dropping the subject which my strength lies, Further Maths, to study a TOTALLY NEW subject Economics, just out of my curiosity. I could have breezed through effortlessly with Further Maths instead of slogging in Economics with numerous FAILS in my initial tests and even mid-term examination. I was even told by my Economics Tutor to drop the subject but for some reasons, amidst my numerous failing of my assessments, tests and even mid-term examinations, my curiosity in this subject of Economics has turned into immense interests.

No matter how bad I failed my tests, I "die die" won't give it up! I can be such an "irrational" man which will hold on to the subject, mission, vision or whatever, just because of my interests and passion in it; irregardless of how other people judge me, how many times I failed in the subject and how adverse the situation is for me. My perseverance has of course paid off eventually and Economics has become my second passion in life.

So basically for my entire HCJC life, I have spent almost 80% of my time reading and learning Economics, even on topics which were considered as "out of syllabus", although Maths and Physics were such an easier subjects to "score" if I have put in just a little more effort in them. I could pass and do well in these two subjects without spending much time and effort but I didn't work for the A-Star results. Instead, I spent more time in some "lousy subject" Economics just because of some "silly passion". Well, I never say die when it comes to my passion.

From then on, I have never looked back. Economics become my passion and "second nature". I just follow my heart and pursue my passion and I have never regretted it. When people were considering what types of good paying jobs by studying Economics and getting a good Honours degree out from it, I was rather detached. That wasn't my aim and vision. Economics to me, is linked to my other GREATER passion which has evolved much earlier in my childhood :- the vision of changing Singapore into a better place for everybody. And this, was passed down and inculcated into me by my late father, a taxi driver. Even as a taxi driver, he would read the newspapers and current affairs everyday, giving me his daily critics of the political-economical situation at that time. He was political, though not a politician by nature. And I have succeeded him in this old fashion "socialist" thinking right from young.

The Struggle Begins

This is the type of characters I have developed through my founding years, that made me just a little bit special, or rather, CRAZY enough to go into opposition politics, amidst the ERA of TERROR, not just FEAR of PAP. Yes, PAP has basically TERRORIZED everyone right from the start where they gained power till late 1990s. They have terrorized Singaporeans from taking part in opposition politics by playing hardball to their opponents, right from 1960s' Barisan Socialist people like Lim Chin Siong to the record breaking of ISA detainee Chia Thye Poh, to 1970s Tan Wah Piow, 1980s Francis Seow, JBJ and dubious label of "Marxist Plot" to 1990s Dr Chee Soon Chuan, JBJ and Tang Liang Hong etc.

I must admit, when I first decided to join Workers Party in 2001, there was FEAR in me but my strong sense of Social Justice and helping the weak to fight the bully, has helped me to overcome my FEAR altogether.

Buddhism My Guiding Light

I am not a Saint neither am I perfect in every sense as a human being. But I am a religious man. I guess if I have not enter opposition politics, I may most probably become a monk by now. I understand how PAP TERRORIZE opposition and that is why I have tried in every ways, in everything I do, in every decision I made, to keep myself "spotlessly clean" as far as possible. Although I used to joke about how I live like a monk but it is actually a true description of my life and living. Buddhism has thought me one simple rule, if you want to get out of sufferings, trouble and wrong doings, keep out of unwanted desires, hatred or strong negative emotions and most importantly, attachment.


Yes, I try to void myself of strong and unnecessary attachments. It only takes me 15 minutes to decide to resign from Workers Party. Some may say I was too rash, some may say I lack perseverance or even some have said I am a traitor with no loyalty etc. But as you can see from my pass, I am not someone who would just "run away" so easily even if I have failed numerous times. But when it is time to let go, I will do it in a swift manner with little hesitation.

My philosophy of life, relax lah, we are just a little chess piece in the time of historical being. Most importantly, we should be true to ourselves, true to our spirit, beliefs and our visions in life. If you want to understand why I make certain decisions and do certain things, you will have to first understand my beliefs and vision in life. Else, you will find so many people contradicting themselves in their attempts to discredit me, throwing up all sorts of funny accusations, speculations and poisons.

The Democratic Dream 

I am a simple man who just happens to take it very seriously to live and die with my beliefs. Not just religious ones, but social-political beliefs as well.

My political beliefs in Democracy, Social Justice, Freedom of Press and Expression, Fair play, transparency, public accountability, Spirit of Public Service, Checks and Balances based on Separation of Powers, Multiracial and Multiculturalism etc, aren't just beliefs in the mind or talk, but in actual practice.

For example, most political parties in Singapore, including both PAP and WP, or even SDP, have put up motherhood statements about their belief in "Democracy". Opposition parties like WP and SDP have talked more about "checks and balances", transparency, Freedom of Press and Expression etc, but in actual practice, do they really run their parties according to what they believed in? If they don't even run their parties according to what they believed in, how could you expect them to run the country according to what they claim they believe in?

Democracy is not just about having elections. Even dictatorial regimes have elections...eg.Communist China and North Korea. The basic fundamental tenet of Democracy is checks and balances through separation of powers. That's the crux of it.

Live and Die with My Values

When I had the chance to run NSP as its Secretary General, I have introduced reforms to its constitution to make it reflects the true spirit of Democratic principles. While there is a need of a system to guard against infiltration by hostile opponents, the common "cadre membership system" used by PAP, WP, SDP and NSP has inevitably put too much power unto the Central Executive Committee where all cadres will have to be nominated and promoted by the CEC members only. This will result in political patronage and entrench of powers of those in CEC. Some parties even have absurd lopsided power structure which gave its SG or Chairman/President too much power to veto any nomination altogether without the need to give good reasons or go through any voting process.

I have introduced reforms in NSP Constitution to allow the cadres or Congress Members the power to nominate and vote to promote any ordinary member into Congress Member even  if the CEC or the key leaders are not in favour of it. This new element will provide a fairer alternative to the absolute control of cadre promotion by the CEC members.

This is just a small example of how I put my belief into practice and the things I do. There are other measures which have been put into the amendment of the Constitution of NSP to make it more democratic and install the element of Separation of Powers within it.

Political Builder - From WP to NSP

Some people attack me for being "party hopper" or "political opportunist". Their reasoning really make me laugh. I am instead, a political builder, who believe in the True Spirit of Democracy and would put in every effort to build up the necessary platforms to balance off the almost total monopolization of power by PAP.

Although in WP, I didn't manage to convince and effect certain changes to its structure like building up the Malay Bureau which I did in NSP, but I believe in contributing to the rebranding effort of WP. I have initiated a few "long lasting" activities like National Day "flag offering" walkabouts, even going along the MRT train lines to effect a change of attitude and perception that opposition party is all about "opposing" but not "patriotism". We have worked hard as a team back in the early 2000s whereby a lot more people are either too afraid to join opposition party or just too skeptical to think about it. It was a very successful rebranding exercise which inevitable benefited not only WP but the whole opposition movement as a whole.

After GE2006 and my decision to resign from WP, I initially decided to take a long break from opposition politics, thinking that what I have helped to build in WP, would be able to work well towards my belief of what a Democratic Singapore should be all about. But apparently, the idea of "two party system" in Singapore is not showing a promising sign as a guarantee towards a more open and Democratic system which I envisaged.

The President of NSP, Sebastian Teo approached me and Tilik to persuade us to join NSP. Tilik eventually declined but I have agreed with certain pre-requisite conditions, but it has nothing to do with any "high position" in NSP CEC. The promise of change, restructuring, rebranding of their newsletter to North Star, setting up of Malay Bureau, guarantee of freedom of speech and expression, revamp on grassroot outreach activities etc, were all part of these "conditions" I have set for Sebastian before I agreed to join. There is no condition on candidacy nor personal glory of "important post" in CEC. In fact, I have to decline a couple of times for me to take over the SG post prematurely. I was just happy to help out Law Sin Ling who was the SG when I joined, in drafting out press releases and statements.

Basically, I just want to build a political party which will be creditable with basic functions revamped and strong core values in Democratic principles. Yes, I was willing to "do it all over again" from what I have learned and done in WP, to apply it on NSP with more modifications and enhancements.

However, for any organization changes, there will bound to be internal resistance to changes. But I am happy to say that our team has managed not only to revamp the party organization, going through the rebranding exercise, but we have managed to change certain mindsets as well. It is a fulfilling experience to me even though I have met lots of resistance, cultural shocks and problems in integrations etc.

I believe, if NSP has continued on what it has set out to do, it would have succeeded to achieve higher standards and results in the coming GE. Unfortunately, it didn't continue to fly higher despite of having a good take off in GE2011.Anyway, this is another story.

NSP has a remarkable campaign which has made tremendous gains from its previous results, partly because of the foundations we have built as a team right after GE2006 and partly because of the infusion of the group led by the two scholars, Tony Tan and Hazel Poa. NSP was effectively one GE late than WP. If it has carried on with this momentum, it would have achieved what WP has achieved in GE2011 by the next GE.

Leaving NSP

Some people question me or even blame me for the state of (dismay) affairs in NSP. They questioned me "Why did you leave?". Well, my simple answer to that is, I am a political builder without much attachments. When the group led by the scholars think they can lead the party and perform better, I was most willing to oblige them the opportunity to do it; just like the time when I am most willing to oblige them the opportunity to contest under NSP banner even though I know there will be problems of integrations as well as "leadership challenge" thereafter.

Even though I think they were making a grave mistake there and then of wanting to take the SG position and thus the party, but who am I to say I will be right on this? Besides, I always believe that the best lesson people learn is through mistakes they make. On top of that, I believe that if I don't agree to let them take over the SG post and even if I managed to win the post of SG via CEC elections, they would most probably leave NSP and it will destroy BOTH NSP and the group as well, politically speaking. This would become a really unfortunate loss to the whole opposition movement and democratic development.

I could have chosen to step down as SG and remain in CEC or even just as a party member instead of leaving NSP altogether, but I chose to let my membership lapse. I believed then, that my mission in NSP is completed, even though I did not attain the better result of winning at least a seat in parliament. The important point is that I have built the viable political platform which I set out to do.

The Next Mission

My next mission should switch to "the Forth State" or "Forth Power"; the scrutiny of the powers and political players via the non-partisan position. The scrutiny (checks and balances) will have to be applied to BOTH opposition as well as PAP. This is how Democracy should work.

To borrow Mr. Low Thia Khiang's phrase, if the co-driver is to slap the driver when he falls asleep, then who is to slap both the co-driver and the driver if they fall asleep together? This is the role of the Forth State or what I termed as "Third Force". This is also the reason why I feel that the dual party system isn't going to work well, thus we need multi-party system.

This is an even MORE difficult path than the previous two paths, joining WP or NSP. I have been called all sorts of names, all sorts of poisonous arrows, dagger stabs and such, but I take all these in stride. While there is a fast "awakening" process going on, but extremist fanaticism is also on the rise. Blind support doesn't only apply to PAP but also to opposition parties like WP or SDP as well. However, since WP has elected MPs in parliament and have more responsibilities and public interests entrusted to them via their Town Councils, it is natural that WP will have more problems and criticisms thrown at them and thus, more fanatic and illogical defense put up by their ardent supporters.

When these WP people (I always call them as such because in Internet, you can't really tell who are the party members and who are just supporters) cannot really defend WP's failings, naturally they will use the most common diversion tactic which PAP has been using all along. They will call others names, defame them by spreading rumours and such. I am definitely one of their victims. But I am not deterred by such tactics.

All I want is Democracy

All I want is simple, a functioning Democracy which is progressive in nature, which will bring strength and prosperity to Singapore. Without constant checking and balancing the powers with scrutinies on the failings of the parties entrusted with public funds and interests, we will not reach that state of democratic evolution.

This is who I am. A simple normal guy who has set out to achieve my democratic dream, no matter how far it is. Never mind if the process is so much difficult and EXPENSIVE, just follow the heart and passion, I believe it can be achieved; even if it is not in my life time, more people will come forward to help to achieve it.

I will live my dreams with my beliefs intact, do whatever necessary and within my ability to achieve progress in democratic development for Singapore.

To end my article, I will put up the various responses I had made to some of the ridiculous accusations and poisoning my adversaries have made against me, mostly behind my back, after I sign off.

Goh Meng Seng


Political Opportunist or Builder?

My response to people who throw up a lot of strange accusations on me being sour grape lah, political opportunist lah, bitter lah, whatever lah... here is my response:

Why am I sour grape when I am happy with my life now? Strange leh!

I am a political builder. Facts speak for itself. Build the political strength for others to continue the path. If they can make it, good for them but they must make sure they do a good job.

While I am in WP, I work hard to build the strength of WP. Some succeeded eventually by continue building on these strength, good for them. But they must perform, else they are not doing justice to the many sacrifices made by many other people who have brought them there.

While I am in NSP, I work hard to build the strength NSP as the Third Force. Some people thought they can do better and want to try, I will let them have it. But apparently, in this case, they failed badly even before going for the next GE. So be it. They owe an apology to many other people's sacrifices contributed in building up NSP. Nothing to do with me.

Do "political opportunist" do such things? No. Do people who are envious and selfish would do that? No. Actions speak for itself.


Another FB friend asks me if I am "political opportunist" and I ask him why? He said:

"People are saying that there is an individual amongst our group who is a political oppurtunist, because he/she post controversial things and allow the IBs on their friend lists to post"

I asked him what exactly is "political opportunist"? What is TRUE BELIEVER of Core Values of Democracy?

I told him if I am to block people who have differing views from me, who are my political opponents, then am I putting the belief of "Freedom of Speech" to practice? Won't I be the same as PAP, playing DEAF and ignoring differing views? So which part of this is "political opportunistic"?

I just told him that people who harbour such view are actually very dangerous. If they can practice CENSORSHIP at this level, if they ever take power and become government, they will be like PAP or even worse than them, in controlling Freedom of Speech!

Democracy and Freedom of Speech are not something that politicians could just "TALK" about it. We should observe very carefully the way politicians and their supporters behave and what they do in daily business. Democracy is more than lip service, a WAY of LIFE which we live by the Core Values we believe in.

No Hatred But Only Scrutiny

Here is another strange amusing thing people say about me and my reply; Some people keep saying I am "bitter" of not getting elected into parliament, "bitter" at WP etc etc.. Here is my reply:

Richard Wang, those people who really know me will tell you I am really living so happily after taking such a good break from partisan politics! What makes you think I am bitter at all? Imagination?

Getting elected will come with responsibility and lots of nonsense from lots of people. If you do not have that passion, you won't be able to sustain as it will be a torture to your life. If you only think about that high MP allowance, you will end up entrapped in unhappiness! Why should I envy or feel bitter over people in that situation ?

If I get elected, it would mean another phase of huge responsibilities and sacrifices of family life, privacy and business opportunities. Well, not that I do not want to get elected but my life will be very different. Good or bad? Nobody knows. 是福是祸无人知, just like YSL, do I feel envy of him? Feel bitter that I couldn't get elected like him? Absolutely no!

But at least, at this moment, I am living a happy life! The late Honorary Member of WP, Goh Seng Soon always scold me 乐不思蜀.. enjoying myself so much that I have forgotten all about home country Singapore politics!

Thus I am always amused by people who keep saying I am bitter about not getting into parliament, bitter at WP, envy at them...etc etc.. haha! It is really amusing rubbish to me lah!

The Most Absurd Accusation : PAP Spy?

Someone questioned me whether I am "PAP spy" while the PAP people accused me of being "one sided". This is hilarious.

For the WP people who don't like my scrutiny on WP on the AHPeTC 29% arrear saga, the following is my response... but before that, let me tell you a BIG OPEN SECRET, I am only the "SPY" of Singaporeans and Public Interests, nothing more, nothing less...

Speculating on WP AHPeTC saga? There will be no smoke without fire.

Yes I have been waiting for the AGO report but this time round, the 29% arrears is a serious problem and I have repeatedly hope that WP will shed some light on it but just too bad, even LTK tried to distance himself from it while the Vice Chairman of AHPeTC is as blur as sotong ever.

To my dismay, both gave irrelevant excuse for the repeated defiance of AHPeTC in submitting the report on arrears!

LTK can taici away with the excuse that he is no longer holding any top position in AHPeTC but PEH is the Vice Chairman for goodness sake!

Something is definitely brewing and we are kept in suspense while the Chairman of AHPeTC has conveniently kept quiet throughout this whole period. And you can't blame people of speculation when you have this deafening silence, Taici and political distancing by the very top leader of WP away from this saga, which have altogether created the speculations in the very first place.

There is no sign of ACCOUNTABILITY demonstrated here by WP. I wonder on what moral grounds can WP MPs go into parliament to talk about accountability to PAP, least asking any from them. They will be shot dead immediately in such debate.

Sometimes, having problems in governance is inevitable and that is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem will only occur when you mismanage the problem itself by not showing any moral courage of accountability.

The Hard Truth Hurts


Another friend/fan sent me the following message which he/she (yeah, cannot reveal whether male or female! haha) has posted on TRE's comment under my article... haha.. I have to agree totally:

By Silly Blue:

OH DEAR! All those SILLY BLUE TOY HAMMER working up for nothing!
GMS is right, he has said in his FB, only those who are GUILTY CONSCIENCE will be agitated and jumped at every comment and article he has written, always SUSPECTING that he is attacking them!

I have read this article upside down, inside out but I CAN'T FIND ANY REFERENCE to the Silly Blue's Workers Party but somehow, all these Silly Blue Toy Hammers keep jumping up and down, shouting out loud and cry foul of GMS... "attacking WP"? Oh DEAR! What IQ and EQ do they have?

This is really typical "此地无银三百两"! What GMS has written here can be referred ANY opposition party! I remember SDP has banned their own members from commenting in social media in their own identity as well!

I really cannot stop laughing while reading all these silly remarks from the Silly Blue Toy Hammer! HAHAHAHA!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Opposition Support Declaration

Opposition Support Declaration

I will only support Opposition Parties which TRULY BELIEVE in the Universal CORE VALUES of Democracy, Social Justice, Fairness, REAL Separation of POWERS (FIVE POWERS in Total) to effect REAL Checks and Balances, Rule Of Law and Basic Democratic Rights like Freedom of Speech and Expression. I will only support Opposition Parties with a clear and irrevocable belief in the ideology and the principles encompassing the human spirit of freedom and democracy.

I do not wish to see the case whereby in the haste of voting out PAP, we end up voting in a party that do not believe in all these and in fact, would be even MORE PAP than PAP in curbing civil rights and Democracy.

We must be discerning in our support of Opposition Parties which will hold our common belief of continuous Progressive Democratic Development for Singapore. There should not be ANOTHER PATH other than this else we will be pushing our country from one Tyranny of Dictatorship to another damning Dictatorship.

I will draw my line very clearly from those political parties or charlatans who tried to cheat us of TRUE Democracy. PAP has done that to my father's generation and that is why I am out against them. I shall not fall for another party which will try to do another PAP on us again.

Observe the speech and actions of various Opposition Parties, to scrutinize and determine whether they truly believe in the cause of Democratic Development for Singapore. Determine from the way they run their political parties and daily political activities on whether they truly believe in true democracy, true human spirit of freedom and justice, most important of all, believe in REAL workings of separation of powers and avoidance of CONFLICT OF INTERESTS, especially when monetary interests are involved. And in Singapore's context, practice TRUE FAIRNESS and whether truly taking care of the interests of ALL RACES.

We want TRUE DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT for Singapore and no other paths that deviate from it.


On another note:

There is an UNHEALTHY mindset among some political party members.

There are some party members who are so afraid to admit or make known to others of their party membership. They are most afraid of identifying themselves as a member of the political party they belongs to when they write or speak in public.

I used to think that only guilty conscience PAP members would avoid to let others know that they are PAP members but I do know of friends who are PROUD to be PAP members and make known to others that they are one.


Well we may differ in political views and affiliation but I do respect them for able to stand up proudly to what they believe in and their party affiliation.

However, it is an irony that there are some opposition party members who are so afraid to identify themselves with the party they are affiliated to. Are they afraid of PAP or ISD agents to hunt them down? No. They are more afraid of their own party going after them!

I always thought that only people with some dubious intention or agenda needs to hide themselves up but I was wrong. The amusement of such irony will always entertain me every now and then.

If we truly believe in Freedom of Speech and Expression, how could opposition party members be controlled in such a manner? It is totally irrational and unhealthy. One should feel free to speak his mind and he should know what to and what not to speak. We should empower our people to speak up, especially political party members!

The sad thing from this unhealthy situation is that, if the opposition party and its members have already exercise SELF CENSORSHIP even on their own party membership, can we really depend them on making Singapore more open to have more Press Freedom?

My Conclusion:



For the coming GE, opposition supporters should ask the various opposition parties on their positions on vital importance:

1) What do they think about current political system and do they think we need to improve the Checks and Balances of the whole system?

2) Do they believe in Separation of Powers as the main pillar of Democratic system? If so, what do they suggest to enhance the Separation of Powers in our current political system?

3) Do they believe in Freedom of Speech? If so, what do they suggest to change from status quo?

4) Do they believe in Social Justice? If so, what do they suggest to enhance it?

5) Do they believe in Rule of Law? Are they satisfied with the current system? If not, what do they suggest to enhance it?

If any opposition party refuse or try to shy away from answering all these basic questions, you should beware of their TRUE COLORS.

 Goh Meng Seng

Two Warnings to Opposition Camp


Warning to Opposition Camp I


It has come to my attention that there is a group of "opposition supporters" (well, in fact, just a particular party supporters) which is ultra left and does not really believe in the Universal Values of Democracy, Rule of Law, Justice and separation of powers.

This group is actually "Ultra-Left" which has a slanted view of Great China which I suspect is basically Chinese Chauvinistic in nature. For Opposition supporters in Singapore to support tyranny rule of CCP in China, hitting out any Democratic Movement against the tyrannic rule of CCP in all possible opportunities, have exposed their ideological idea of Dictatorship.

From my observations so far, this group of "Opposition supporters" does not really believe in Democracy. If they ever have the chance to influence or even control any opposition party to come into power, most probably they will be MORE PAP THAN PAP in all aspects.

From my observations, they are basically holding the same Dictatorship ideology or tendency which PAP embraces... the Monopoly of Power is their strategic positioning. They will encourage multi-corner fights to prevent any other opposition parties other than the one they support, so to prevent other opposition parties to be successful in GE and make sure that the party they support will be the only viable party to become ruling party.

I hope all of those people who believe in Democracy as our core value and our basis in our struggle against PAP, to be extremely careful of this group of people. Else, we may just end up with a group of people who are More PAP than PAP to be ruling party in future.

Warning to Opposition Camp II

I have to concede, the big word "Opposition" is built around mostly on the concept of "Anti-PAP". We must also admit that among the "Opposition Camp", Opposition people, be it opposition party members or supporters, aren't really "perfect" in every sense.

Politically speaking, I find certain tendencies among Opposition people quite troubling. There a few points I wish to raise here:

1) Lack of Understanding or even doesn't believe in simple Universal Core Values of Democracy, Rule of Law, Social Justice, Basic Human Rights, Fairness, System of checks and balances, Accountability and Transparency etc. We have to apply these values in assessing BOTH the ruling party as well as our own opposition parties.

2) Extremist tendency in Racial aspects (Racial Chauvinism), Religious aspects (insensitive Religious based attacks or comments) and Party Affiliation aspects.

3) Some party supporters are very defensive of their own party's shortcomings while attacking almost every other opposition parties in all other ways. Ironically, they have the same monopolistic tendency just like PAP. This is unhealthy for Singapore democratic development.

4) The more worrying tendency is the rise of Religious and Racial assertions in the daily social-political discourses. We must understand that no party will be able to rule effectively or even win elections, if it does not show the ability and capability to take care of the interests of ALL races and religious groups in Singapore. PAP will discourage positive religious and racial discourses in the name of "possible sedition" but the truth is, one of the main reason why PAP is still able to stay in power is because it has used all mechanism and machinery available as the ruling party, to show that it is the "ONLY" political party which can take care and balance the interests of all racial and religious groups. Opposition people are not going to progress if they are still stuck with divisive extremist tendency in Racial and Religious aspects.

5) While we may position opposition as "Pro-Singapore", "Pro-Singaporeans", but there is really a fine line between Nationalistic vs Xenophobia. Based on the Universal Core Value of Democracy and Social Justice, we should also help those foreign workers who have been ill-treated or exploited by their employers or even the whole system to seek justice and redress. Instead, we are seeing people attacking foreigners all across the board regardless of the context and situation. A balance must be struck between Anti-Liberal Immigration Labour policy vs Anti-Foreigners. We are against the policy, not Foreigners who behave themselves in Singapore. Of course, for those Foreigners who misbehave themselves here but consistently just get a slight slap on their wrists, we detest that. That concerns the unfair judiciary system run by PAP government which antagonized and planted the seed of public hatred against such unfair treatment. Such issue has wider implication as in rising social tension between local Singaporeans vs foreigners. But as opposition supporters, we should not fall for the extremism while we raise the red flag against such systemic bias.

It is not going to be easy to strike a balance in this era due to the change in the political landscape both in Singapore and the world. Without a strong belief in Universal Core Values of Democracy, Social Justice, Rule of Law etc etc, many of us will fall into the traps of extremism which may be detrimental to the whole Opposition movement.

But we must try very hard, to constantly remind ourselves and people around us who are with us in this difficult journey of effecting Political Change.

Goh Meng Seng

Thursday, October 16, 2014

WP's Non Violent Civil Disobedience



I remember years ago right after GE2006, during one important WP CEC meeting, there was a debate on whether WP should "draw a clear line" from "Non-Violent Civil Disobedience". I was against such move and argued passionately that WP should NEVER draw that line.

The reason I gave was that WP might not utilize NVCD there and then, but it cannot discount the possibility that there may come a time that the rules and laws set and changed by PAP may become so ridiculous that the only possible way is to fight it via Non-Violent Civil Disobedience. The example I gave back then was the constant interference and disturbance of NEA officers on opposition parties' regular political outreach in selling our political newsletters. SDP was charged and fined for selling their publications and books in public places and there is absolutely no guarantee that PAP will not do the same to WP or any other party.

In fact, it has been proven that NEA tried to use exactly the same law "illegal hawking" on NSP during my tenure as Secretary General. NSP back then, stood steadfast and challenged NEA for the summon and was prepared to go to court to fight it out. We continued our regular selling of North Star while Reform Party did that as well.  Both RP and SDP supported our position that regular political grassroot outreach activities like selling party newsletter IS NOT ILLEGAL HAWKING.

However, regrettably, WP kept quiet and stopped all its Hammer sales activity for almost two months. WP members were quietly BLAMING me on my back of "dragging" them down into the mud. I was utterly disappointed. Instead of fighting against the unjust and unfair PAP law enforcement, they chose to stab fellow opposition parties instead.

Nevertheless, that saga has proven to be very important in setting the new norm for ALL Opposition parties, including WP. WP was basically the FREE Rider of this good outcome. Well, it is ok for me as the important point is about opening up more space for all serious opposition politicians.

Fast forward to 2014, WP was charged for "illegal trade fair" without a permit from NEA. WP has apparently, through the Town Council it controls, initiated Non-Violent Civil Disobedience against UNFAIR and UNJUST law as well as regulations. It is Deja Vu. They have chosen to go ahead with the trade fair without the permit, knowing that they will definitely get charged for such offence. Maybe they are bold in doing so because it is under the cover of the Town Council and nobody will be or can be disqualified for candidacy in coming General Elections for such fine to the Town Council.

I will support WP in this fight against the unjust law, not because I am a fan of WP or anything like that. It is because PAP is "playing cheat bully". It has manipulated the law and regulations to suit its political agenda and this is detrimental to Singapore's democratic development. Rule of Law must be upheld to effect a level playing field for ALL political parties.

The only thing regrettable here is that residents of Aljunied GRC may have to pay for such expensive court case if the team of seven lawyers engaged by WP is not doing this Pro-Bono. It is a bit lopsided to engage a team of seven lawyers to fight a case which only involve a maximum fine of $1000. Even if WP won this case, residents of Aljunied GRC would most probably still the biggest losers if they have to foot the bill of this team of seven lawyers.

I do not think WP can win this case in the court of law but it could well win in the court of public opinion. But apparently, the COST of this victory, is going to be very high for the residents of Aljunied GRC.

Freedom is not Free and it depends on who is going to pay for it.

Afternote: I have been informed that the Town Council does not need to pay the legal fees. Either the lawyers are doing Pro-Bono or someone else paid their fees. The following is what Sylvia Lim said:

Ms Lim told reporters outside the Subordinate Courts. "I would also like to clarify that the lawyers we have hired are from the same firm that I am associated with. We will not be touching any town council's funds to mount this defence. We will be raising funds from elsewhere. Neither me nor any Workers' Party members will have any share in any fees that are paid to the law firm."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

PM Lee is a TOTAL Failure

A month or two prior to this National Day Rally (NDR) speech of PM Lee, there was much hype about it with rumours that "Major announcement" and Major changes will be made during his speech. But in the end, it is a total let down. Apparently, PM Lee has totally lost touch of the ground and didn't really know nor understand what is expected from him and his government by the people.

The THEME of this year's NDR is supposedly to be "Honouring Pioneer Generation" and retirement financing is inevitably the hottest topic in town after the numerous CPF protests held in Hong Lim Park earlier this year, along with PM Lee suing a blogger Roy Ngern over his CPF articles. A lot of CPF issues have been brought to light and public discourse has been ongoing but PM Lee has just done a cosmetic surgery on the whole lot of issues without addressing the REAL PROBLEMS of the inadequacy of CPF for retirement financing.

Is Singapore our HOME for our Retirement?

I have the opportunities to talk to two "Foreign Talents" with regards to their choice of place for retirement. They are regarded as the "upper middle class" people with very high earnings. One of them is Director M, who is a Regional Director of a MNC, Malaysian citizen. The other is Professor D, a lecturer and head of department from a university, Hong Konger.

Both of them are in their late forties or early fifties. Both of them were having a dilemma of whether they should get Singapore citizenship and retire in Singapore. They were discussing this with me a couple of years ago but this year, it seems that BOTH have concluded that they would rather retire in their respective country or city of birth. i.e. Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Both of them do not know each other but somehow, they have come to the same conclusion that it is best for them to retire in their respective home base. Director M has been a Singapore PR for decades but after learning about the horrendous HIGH COST of healthcare services in Singapore as compared to Malaysia, he has finally decided that it is totally not worth retiring in Singapore after all.

He has a relative who was on treatment for cancer in Malaysia and he only paid Malaysian Ringgit $50 for each jab of chemotherapy! Imagine how much it will cost in Singapore? Furthermore, cost of living in Malaysia is relatively much lower than Singapore! Thus, he has decided that, despite the fact that he is pretty wealthy, he still prefers to go back to Malaysia to retire and live like a King!

Similarly for Professor D. He felt that Hong Kong has excellent healthcare system which is TRULY affordable, unlike Singapore. He said that cost of living in Singapore is really on par if not higher than Hong Kong. There is no reason for him to migrate to Singapore to suffer HIGHER medical cost since it is expected that for an aging person like him, he would have needed more healthcare for the rest of his life.

It is truly enlightening to see that BOTH people from the "Third World" and "First World" places like Malaysia and Hong Kong are shunning Singapore for "retirement". But as Singaporeans, do we have a choice at all? We are born in Singapore and we have little choice but live, retire and die in Singapore. However, under PAP rule, we are going to suffer, after decades of contributing to Singapore's development, we will die poor, having to be forced to sell off our HDB flat for our retirement.

I guess the ultimate aim of PAP has been leaked before, they wanted us to retire in JB (Johor Bahru)!

Who is responsible for CPF's inadequacy?

No matter how much PAP is going to raise the Minimum Sum for CPF, the fact still remains, despite of a high CPF contribution rate over the decades, at least 70% of Singaporeans are not going to have enough money in CPF to meet their retirement needs. Why so?

There are three key reasons why CPF has failed for its primary purpose of retirement financing.

First of all, PAP has deliberately reduced the interest returns for CPF since 1990s to a marginal amount of 2.5% to 4%.

The Second reason is that PAP has increased HDB flat prices since 1980s and it went into full steam of escalating the prices in 1990s in the name of "Asset Enhancement Scheme". This is a plot to siphon off Singaporeans' money from CPF to Main Reserves through "Land Sales" or higher "Land Pricing" for HDB flats. Of course the "Market Subsidy Pricing" logic has helped PAP to escalate the HDB prices for this purpose.

Whatever is left in your CPF is "partitioned off" for Medisave. For this money, you will never see it unless you use it to cover the ever increasing medical cost or until the day you die. Else, it will stay in the Main Reserves and kept in GIC or Temasek Holdings for their investment. Make no mistake about it, no matter how PAP tries to side track or hide the fact, the truth is, part of the funds Temasek Holdings is investing comes from our CPF monies. The high healthcare cost, hospitalization cost accompanied by long waiting time for hospital beds will negate whatever money you have in your Medisave.

It is a kind of irony that PAP tries to make you feel good with "Asset Enhancement Scheme" in order to make you pay extraordinary high prices for a PUBLIC HOUSING flat which you do not really own in essence but in the end, turn around and corner you, forcing you when you are old to sell off your flat for your own retirement needs!

PAP is the MAIN Culprit in creating the situation of inadequate CPF for your retirement financing via their flawed policies in public housing, healthcare and investment returns from our sovereign funds. But in the end, instead of addressing these issues effectively, they turn around and say the best they can do is to help you to sell your HDB flat.

Well, imagine this, first they make you pay high price for your HDB flat and then they will force you to sell your flat cheap back to them for retirement. Or force you to downgrade to some overpriced studio apartment with a limited lease when you do not have enough money for retirement.

When you are old and don't have enough cash for retirement or to pay your medical fees and you think you can approach them for help, the first thing they will tell you and aim for, is to ask you to sell off your HDB flat! Never mind if you have some fond memories attached to your home but you have to sell off your HDB flat and no, they won't provide another cheap rental flat for you to live after you sell your HDB flat.

They will ask you to pay hefty and horrendous prices again, for a small studio apartment which will have only a 30 years lease. This will technically make the value of this studio apartment unattractive because no bank will make any mortgage loan to anyone to buy a property with only 20 or 30 years lease! There is absolutely no value for inheritance by your children even though you have paid a gross $70K or $80K for such studio apartment.

Yes, they will continue to squeeze every bits from you even when you are old, retired and without a job and this is done with such a beautiful name of wanting to help you with your retirement!

They have made up a beautiful empty dream of "Asset Enhancement" to make believe that you will be rich by paying horrendous prices for your HDB flats which technically, you don't really own it. You can't even re-mortgage it if you need to when you are short of cash for anything, least, retirement. So what this talk about "Asset Enhancement" when eventually, you will be forced to sell off every assets you have? Worse still, they pray on your greed but eventually your children and grandchildren will eventually be the ones who will suffer under high HDB prices!

Inadequate Hospital Care with Squeeze You further

My mother has suffered during one of the hospitalization saga. Due to over-population and shortage of infrastructures, there will be but a total lack of C class beds which "promised" a "market subsidy" price to Singaporeans. Imagine when you are so uncomfortably in pain but you are asked to wait more than 36 hours or even 48 hours for a proper bed in the ward, UNLESS you upgrade yourself to those "less subsidize" B1 or A class wards!

Avoiding to Solve the REAL Problems

If you look at the WHOLE picture closely, it is not difficult for you to realize that the main problem lies with the Sovereign Funds, aka GIC and Temasek Holdings. They are just like a HUGE MONEY VACUUM CLEANERS, sucking lots of money into it but not giving the appropriate returns to our CPF.

When PAP raise the HDB prices, it basically justify it by the "market pricing" of the land which your flats are built on. But bear in mind that most of these land are acquired at dirt cheap prices from our forefathers. All Land Sales proceeds via SLA will go into the Main reserves and thus our sovereign funds, GIC and Temasek. At the same time, our CPF monies are transferred to these two entities via the special Singapore government bonds as well, which give a pitiful returns to our people.

The only difference is that funds that acquired from selling HDB flats to Singaporeans will bear no "burden" on these Sovereign Funds to provide returns while the CPF monies via SSGB will require them to produce return. Thus, right from 1990s, they have capped the returns to our CPF monies while increased new HDB prices. It basically means that they are reducing their obligations of providing adequate returns to our CPF as a whole. They have systematically tweak the system and fooling us into believing they are doing good to us via "Asset Enhancement Scheme" and quietly reducing returns on our CPF.

For some strange reasons, it seems that this is just not enough for them. They have also systematically dragged on the period for these Sovereign Funds to give us back our CPF monies. First, Medisave has been created and whatever money you have in this account, you won't be able to see them in broad daylight till the day you die but only be "transferred" as digits into the big black hole of high medical cost you will face in life.

I believe they will try to make it a law that whatever inheritance your children will get from your CPF, including your Medisave, will be transferred to your children CPF accounts in the near future! They have already tried to tweak the system by introducing such similar mechanism into the CPF nomination scheme as "option" but I believe they will make it "opt-out" instead for those who didn't make clear of their intentions. It just reminds me of the HOTA legislation whereby an initial "volunteer option" of organ donation has become the default choice unless you opt out.

It seems to me that they are doing everything they can to feed these monsters (GIC and Temasek) with money and trying their very best to delay any payment and thus, cash outflow from these monsters.

I do not know why they are trying everything to keep the cash in these two Sovereign Funds but apparently if this is what they are striving for, there is no reason for them to solve the three problems of Inadequate CPF for retirement financing.

1) Low CPF returns
2) High HDB price
3) High Medical Cost

What needs to be done is simply:

1) Raise the CPF returns or liberalize the system to allow Singaporeans to invest their own funds in appropriate trust funds or even directly into Temasek and GIC! To get this work effectively, basic financial management skills should be taught in our schools. If most Singaporeans are to be proficient in managing their own funds, I do not see why we should just settle for that miserable 2.5% from CPF. They could even withdraw their CPF at age 55 and manage their own funds for their own retirement if they can prove their proficiency in financial management!

2) Change the HDB pricing mechanism to Cost-plus pricing system for New Flats. This will reduce BTO prices with minimum impact on resale market.

3) Public Hospitals should remain as Public, instead of thinking making money via Medical Tourism. There should only be one class of beds with REAL subsidies to citizens. A fair Universal Healthcare Insurance should be put in place.

There are many other things that need to be looked into. eg. The CPF Life Annuity system is really a joke. I do not know whether it is just another scheme for PAP to make money or what but the payout is definitely "profit-bias". This has been explained by many other bloggers in Singapore.

Nevertheless, to solve the inadequacy problem of CPF, PAP will have to look hard at these three fundamentals first. 

Conclusion

This is where PM Lee has failed badly. He thought he could hoodwink us with such small cosmetic surgery by allowing us to request (approval is not guaranteed!!!) to withdraw part of our CPF money at 65 years old and putting up some measures for us to reverse-mortgage or sell off our flats to solve the problems created by them, in terms of inadequate CPF for retirement financing. What PM Lee should do is to address these fundamental problems that are creating a huge gap in the adequacy of our CPF which is meant for our retirement financing. It is totally a joke for a country which has a mandatory contribution rate of 36% of our gross salary but in the end, we ended up with insufficient funds to finance our retirement and most of us will be forced to sell our flats for retirement!

But I guess Singaporeans are not that stupid at all. The fundamental question we want to ask is that, will PAP take up the responsibility of providing for those who can't have enough money for their retirement? This is especially a REAL problem for many Singaporeans because apart from the above 3 main problems created by PAP, its ultra-liberal FT policy has basically depressed Singaporeans' wages over these two decades and worse of all, displaced quite a number of Singaporeans from their proper jobs. Many professionals or PMETs were forced out by cheaper Foreign labour and have no choice, to become Taxi Drivers! This will add to the difficulties for these Singaporeans to have enough savings in their CPF to cater to their retirement needs.

All in all, I have basically lost confidence in PAP's manipulation of the whole system and this is why, I do not trust them at all. Not with my CPF money. Their past and present tweaking of the CPF, HDB and Healthcare systems, on top of it, the ultra-liberal FT policy, have basically made me skeptical about their real intentions.

My gut feeling is that there is a bigger problem in this whole system which is totally opaque to us. The only way to find out is to kick PAP out of power first.

Goh Meng Seng