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

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!