Saturday, December 24, 2011

PAP MP Seng Han Thong should do better

PAP Member of Parliament Seng Han Thong has given a twist to the whole MRT fiasco when he gave his opinion to BlogTV. His comment has literally divert the attention from the competency of SMRT management to the racial remarks embedded he made in the show.

You can watch the whole BlogTV show here.

The Online Citizen has put up an article which attracts more than 10,000 likes within 24 hours. TOC has made a couple of updates since then. Cherian George has made the comment that TOC was wrong in its reporting headlines because MP Seng was "just quoting from SMRT sources". At this point of time, the Law Minister Shanmugam has come out to defend MP Seng while the other PAP minority MPs like Halimah and Inderjit have expressed regret that MP Seng has made such comment.

Seng Han Thong (SHT) has initially denied any wrong doing while stressing that he has been quoted "out of context". Subsequently, he came up with an official apology but still insisted that his words have been misconstrued. He finally came up with another press statement to say that he was actually trying to "defend" the SMRT staff but it was TOC which put up the wrong headline. You can read his full statement here.

The magnitude of this issue has inevitably attract the attention of the higher echelon of PAP leadership due to the more than 10,000 likes on TOC article within 24 hours. Debates are going on whether SHT has made a verbal blunder or that TOC has put up "falsehood" on its website.

I am going to dissect on this issue on two fronts. First on whether SHT agreed with SMRT VP assessment that the staff could not handle the situation well because of their deficiency in English language. Secondly, on whether SHT is trying to "defend" the workers.

Some people, including the Minister of Law Shanmugam has claimed that what TOC has put up is falsehood or inappropriate Headline. Let's read the initial article put up by TOC. It says only the following:

"In a BlogTV programme MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Seng Han Thong admitted that part of the problem with the SMRT breakdowns last week is due to SMRT staffs not being trained in emergency preparedness. He said that because some staffs are “Malay(s), they are Indians, they cannot converse in English good, well enough”. See from 6.12 minutes"

Watch the video again.

1) SHT did not DISAGREE with the quote or rather the misquote he thought he has heard from radio, on what the SMRT VP has said. In fact, he has to agree with whatever quotes he believed he heard in order to make the following comment that the staff should use broken English. He did not disagree the context that the staff cannot or uncomfortable to speak proper English.

So, is it "falsehood" that TOC has made in its article and headline that SHT admits that the SMRT staff cannot converse well in English? Apparently not.

2) If you are still not convinced, roll back and watch the front part. He said the problem should be split into two. SHT has made quite a silly remark about SMRT staff could handle emergency like terrorist attack but could not handle train breakdown. Then he "misquoted" SMRT VP to say that this problem occurs because some SMRT staff because they are Malays or Indians, cannot converse well in English. SHT did not disagree with SMRT VP's assessment but offer a solution, that is to tell the SMRT staff to use broken English instead.

SHT has responded at first instance that he has been quoted out of context and misrepresented by TOC. Apparently he didn't realize or understand that his remark or rather, misquote of SMRT VP, is potentially racial in nature. He blamed it on others like TOC who has misinterpreted him.

Whether SHT is a racist or not, I have no comment on it because I don't really know him personally. I only know him as a public figure, an elected Member of Parliament. Naturally, we would be more demanding on an elected MP, be it PAP or opposition. He is not the Tom, Dick or Harry we meet on the street but a politician who has been elected to represent the constituents.

As a politician, we would expect him to be ultra sensitive to racial connotation inherently. Even if he has quoted SMRT spokesman, it doesn't mean that there is nothing wrong with what he has said. For a politician like him, if he truly believes that SMRT spokesman has said what he has quoted, the first thing in mind is to rebut such racial tag. But SHT didn't do that. He repeated it as a matter of fact, agreed with it and added his own comment that the staff should use broken English instead. If he doesn't agree with what SMRT spokesman has said, why would he suggest using broken English?

SHT may not be racist but at the very least, he has failed quite badly as a politician, a PAP MP to be exact. He lacks racial sensitivity.

SHT tries to defend himself by saying that he was just trying to defend the workers. Did he really do that during that BlogTV program?

He agrees with SMRT assessment that crisis management was compromised due to the workers' lack of linguistic abilities, instead of reprimanding the SMRT of neglect in training the staff in both technical and linguistic aspects.

He wasn't "defending" the staff at all. He was merely telling the staff that they could just use broken English. He seemingly agreed with the blame on the staff's linguistic inadequacy contributed to the bad crisis management during the train breakdown.

I will put up examples on how he could have REALLY DEFENDED the staff:

1) If he has honestly heard wrongly that the SMRT VP was talking about only Indian and Malay workers having problems in speaking English, he should actually say it has nothing to do with their race! That's defending them.

2) He should have said, it is SMRT's responsibility to give adequate training to its workers, including English, so that they could perform their duties more effectively and could handle such emergencies well.

3) He should have said, if their workers cannot handle such situations, it is NOT the workers' fault but the SMRT management which failed to provide all necessary training to them. The SMRT management shouldn't use the lack of linguistic ability of its staff as an excuse of not providing such training.

4) He should have said, you cannot expect the staff to handle the situation if the management, for whatever reasons, didn't provide the necessary training.

It seems to me that SHT was trying to defend the SMRT management rather than the workers. He avoided answering the question posted by the host on whether SMRT management more concerned about profits rather than public service. He even went that far to suggest that SMRT could handle terrorist attacks even though they couldn't handle breakdowns like what we have experienced.

SHT has committed a series of blunders right from the start.

1) Misquoting SMRT spokesman.

2) Didn't even realize at first instance that the misquotes which he has put up is potentially racist.

3) Failed to rebut the racist connotation embedded in his misquotation but instead agreed with it unwittingly to make the other point.

4) Trying to cry foul without realizing that he has misquoted SMRT and what he has done is racially insensitive.

5) Shifting blame unto TOC while "apologizing" which makes him looks bad.

6) Trying to say that he is "defending" workers when the video has shown otherwise.

I have only this to say to PAP MP Seng Han Thong: You failed quite badly as a politician and you should do better than this. Just accept the fact that you have made a series of blunders, just apologize and stop blaming others from "mis-representing" you. You are basically insulting the intelligence of the ten of thousands people who have watched what you say whom come to the conclusion that you have made such inappropriate racially sensitive remarks.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, December 12, 2011


This is my first Chinese article written for The Online Citizen. I have agreed to take up the task of developing its Chinese section.







(一) 政治整合
(二) 经济发展策略














Thursday, November 24, 2011

Journey Forward

I have formally informed the President and Secretary General of National Solidarity Party in September 2011 that I will let my party membership lapse by the end of the year.

I have joined NSP in 2007 and led the party as Secretary General from February 2010 till June 2011. It is my honor to work closely with the people in NSP to achieve the BEST electoral results ever since the inception of the party more than two decades ago. Regrettably, we did not win any seats but I believe we have built a stronger foundation for the party to set its footing right for next General Elections.

The baton was passed to Hazel Poa and I believe the party will progress steadily under her leadership. The party is under good hands with the hearts at the right place and the sincerity to serve Singaporeans.

Personally, I guess it is time for me to move on to another journey of uncharted waters. Many of my friends and close associates thought that I am quitting politics for good but no, this is not so. The fact that once you have politics in your blood, you will have to live with it for the rest of the life. There are other things which are equally important to contribute towards the political democratic development of Singapore other than joining a party. Some of these things need us to be non-partisan in order to be effective.

To my supporters and friends, rest assured that I will continue to work for Democracy in Singapore in other ways for the moment. Some plans have been drawn out but will only be announced later on when things are firm.

For the mean time, as demonstrated in this blog, I have always been keen in making policy comparisons between Singapore and other places, particularly Honk Kong. I will continue my study and observations between policies applied in different places around the world and look out for the better alternatives for Singapore.

Last but not least, I would like to wish NSP all the best in its future political engagement and hope it will gain electoral success for the next GE.

Goh Meng Seng

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Software of Open Society - Learning from HK

I have been observing Hong Kong for quite a number of years due to my frequent visits there.

There are a lot of things which I do not feel good about Hong Kong but there are many things which I feel that we should learn from this vibrant city.

Hong Kong has various districts, just like Singapore with different GRCs and SMCs. Within these districts, there are also similar "community centres" but these are not controlled by any partisan organizations financed by taxpayers' money with "symbiotic relationship" with the ruling party. They don't organize "political activities" like getting people to attend political party's rallies.

These district community centres are pretty well equipped. Some have very decent concert halls or performance halls for cultural activities. This is unlike our Singapore's community centres which are filled with "multi-purpose halls" with very bad audio system and acoustic structures. These concert halls or performance halls are definitely no "white elephants". Many LOCAL cultural groups rented these halls at very low price and put up various performances, from Chinese Wayang Opera, Chinese Dance, Western Ballet Dance, Chinese Orchestra to plays and even special film shows etc.

Hong Kong is preparing to build a huge Cultural Centre at West Kowloon and it is not merely for "International Performances" like our Singapore Durian Esplanade. They will have some main Hong Kong cultural groups like Hong Kong Dance Troupe and such to be permanently stationed there. They are confident that this huge Cultural Centre will be filled with local performances because they have cultivated a substantial mass of cultural performing groups and participants.

Although there are quite a number of small district cultural centres in Hong Kong, but it seems that all halls are fully booked all year round. Even the libraries are available for rent for people to put up artistic exhibitions like calligraphy and such.

Many people have mistakenly labelled Hong Kong as "cultural desert" but I think if you look at the cultural events put up by local groups, you will think otherwise. Such booming vibrancy in the cultural setting could only happen not only with the hardware infrastructural support by the government but also depends on maintaining a truly open society with the core value of respecting the freedom of expression by the people.

Such respect of human dignity was extended to other segments of the society. The radio station of Hong Kong has various programs catered for different segment of the society. There is a weekly radio program specially catered for Prison inmates for them and their family members to write in or dedicate songs to each other. They also have a special program on Sunday morning for foreign maids for them to call in or dedicate Indonesian or Filipino songs since that is their weekly off day. Of course, they will have an Indonesian and Filipino as their co-hosts!

Cultivation of the software of an Open Society doesn't depend only on the big infrastructure investment by the Government. It also depends on the willingness of the people and government to uphold the critical core values on the freedom of expression. It depends on catering to the needs to small cultural groups, not only on the finances but also the availability of opportunities for them to put up their performances.

I have watched Drama Box performing at grassroot level in open air stages at various places in Singapore. I find it quite refreshing and but it seems that it has faced excessive censorship from MITA from time to time. Even that, they have continued their excellent work with limited resources and constrains imposed by govenrment censorship.

In Hong Kong, there are many such small local performance groups who are actively involved in putting up local performances at grassroot level. I hardly hear any censorship issues imposed on them at all.

Many people have said that Hong Kongers are very "practical people" but it seems that even under such capitalist system, there are many more people who have the passion to pursue their cultural dreams. So, what about Singapore? What has happened to Singapore which was once the Venice of SEA back in the 50s? It is really something for us to ponder about.

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reply from ICA

Apparently ICA has the view that as long as you are a "minor", you can hold dual citizenships up to 21 years old.

I have written the following reply to ICA:

Dear Mr. Wee,

Thank you for your reply.

However, I need further clarification on the following clause under our Constitution:

(2) A person born outside Singapore shall not be a citizen of Singapore by descent by virtue of clause (1) unless —

(a) his birth is registered in the prescribed manner at the Registry of Citizens or at a diplomatic or consular mission of Singapore within one year, or such longer period as the Government permits, after its occurrence; and

(b) he would not acquire the citizenship of the country in which he was born by reason of his birth in that country where —

(i) in the case of a person born before the date of commencement of section 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Act 2004, his father is a citizen of Singapore by registration at the time of his birth; or

(ii) in the case of a person born on or after the date of commencement of section 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Act 2004, either his father or mother is a citizen of Singapore by registration at the time of his birth.

By 2(B), the children SHOULD NOT become citizen of Singapore by descent IF they acquire the citizenship of the country of their birth.

It would basically mean that those who are born outside Singapore who have acquired citizenship at the place of birth by Right of Abode are actually BANNED from acquiring Singapore citizenship. That is why I am puzzled ICA deems it is alright for any minor to have dual citizenship up to 21 years old when the Singapore Constitution has specifically denied the right of such application in the above clause.

Goh Meng Seng

ICA Feedback/526564

Dear Mr Goh,

Please refer to your enquiry on 5 Sep 2011.

2 Under the Constitution of Singapore, Singapore citizens are not allowed to possess dual nationalities. The exception to this is when a person is a minor. Such a person is allowed to hold dual citizenship (typically citizenships by descent and by birth) until the age of 21 when he/she is then required to make a decision on which citizenship he/she wishes to retain. If he or she fails to make a decision on the choice of citizenship, the Government will initiate action to deprive him/her of the Singapore citizenship.

3 Thank you.

Yours Sincerely,

Wee Yew Boon
Senior Customer Relations Executive

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

香港復建居屋 – 從住屋和土地策略性資源說起














Monday, September 05, 2011

Queries to Singapore Immigration & Checkpoint Authority (ICA)

In view of Dr Yaacoob's own revelation that his children will hold dual citizenship up till 18 years old by virtue of the fact that his wife is an American citizen, I have sent in the following queries to ICA:

I have a few questions to ask:

1) Does Singapore allow any citizens to hold multiple citizenship?
2) Is it a chargeable crime for anyone to hold dual or multiple citizenship?
2) Is there any age limit for anyone to hold multiple citizenship?
3) If a child is granted two citizenship (including Singapore citizenship) by virtue of his parents' citizenship status, could he rightfully retain both citizenship at the same time?
4) What is the penalty for holding dual citizenship?
5) Does the Immigration department has the right to revoke the Singapore citizenship of those who are found or caught to have dual or multiple citizenship?

Thank you.

Best Regards,

Goh Meng Seng

After note:

Someone says I should read the Constitution carefully and so I did just that.

Please read the Constitution properly:

(2) A person born outside Singapore shall not be a citizen of Singapore by descent by virtue of clause (1) unless —

(a) his birth is registered in the prescribed manner at the Registry of Citizens or at a diplomatic or consular mission of Singapore within one year, or such longer period as the Government permits, after its occurrence; and

(b) he would not acquire the citizenship of the country in which he was born by reason of his birth in that country where —

(i) in the case of a person born before the date of commencement of section 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Act 2004, his father is a citizen of Singapore by registration at the time of his birth; or

(ii) in the case of a person born on or after the date of commencement of section 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Act 2004, either his father or mother is a citizen of Singapore by registration at the time of his birth.

By 2(B), the children SHOULD NOT become citizen of Singapore by descent IF they acquire the citizenship of the country of their birth.

This is assuming that they were born in America.

If they are born in Singapore, it makes me wonder why their parents apply American citizenship for their children.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tan Kin Lian Speech at Rally

Ivy Singh's Speech at TKL Rally

Tan Kin Lian's Daughter speaking at Rally

Rally Speech in Support of Tan Kin Lian (English)

This is the actual English Speech I gave at the rally.

Rally Speech in Support of Tan Kin Lian (Chinese)















你们搭地铁,搭巴士,陈钦亮先生也有搭地铁,巴士。但是让你们做地铁“沙丁”人不是因为陈钦亮去搭而造成的。而是和炒地产同一伙的。过去一段时间乌节路和一些地方经常淹水。这也和陈钦亮先生没有关系。是排水系统出了问题。最近的COE飙升也不是陈钦亮先生去炒的。他更没有教你们忘恩负义,把年老的父母送去新山的安老院。恐怖分子的头目Mas Selamat逃脱不是陈钦亮放他走的。




Saturday, July 09, 2011

Tan Kin Lian for Presidency

The Certificates of Eligibility have been issued to the Four Tans and now it seems that there is a high possibility of a Four Corner fight.

The approval of Mr. Tan Jee Say has put up quite a bit of interesting points. With due respect to Jee Say, his ability to get the Certificate of Eligibility has opened up a whole new dimension to the Elected Presidency, not only for this one but for future President Elections, i.e. if there are still any in future. According to some information, the paid up capital of Jee Say's company was $1million, far shortfall of the expected $100million. This would mean that many bosses of fund management companies would be able to qualify for Presidency in future.

The Four Corner fight scenario we are having right now may be the worst case scenario but not totally unexpected. As an Opposition Member, many of my friends would expect me to support fellow opposition member who has quit from his party to run for Presidency. However, I still prefer Mr. Tan Kin Lian as our President but this is nothing personal towards Mr. Tan Jee Say. It is just a matter of perspective.

All four candidates have been qualified by the "three wise men" to be men of good character and integrity. However, there are still major differences between them.

The Elected Presidency system was set up by PAP back in the late 1980s when there was perceived massive anti-PAP sentiment. PAP has lost two seats by 1984 and they were planning for the eventuality of what will happen if PAP suffers a "freak election result" and lost power. As explained earlier, they have thought of having a Elected President, supposedly "Pro-PAP", as the last line of defence and platform to handicap the non-PAP government. PAP has been talking about Presidency is not the second power centre... yes, it is not supposed to be when PAP is in power. But if PAP loses power, it will become PAP's second power centre and base for retaking power!

I do not want to see that happening. Political Neutrality is the fundamental pre-requisite for a Truly Independent President. It is not coincident that the most remembered and loved Presidents of the past are all politically neutral in many ways, be it President Sheares or President Wee. President Ong was an unexpected one who acted very independently inspite of his close ties with PAP.

If I do not want to see PAP making use of the Elected Presidency as the platform to enhance their political agenda of retaking power, I would not want to see opposition linked Presidency to do likewise. At this moment, only Tan Kin Lian could be considered as the most Independent candidate in terms of Political Neutrality.

All other three candidates have just quit their party membership just before their announcement of contesting for Presidential Elections. (Tan Kin Lian has quit years ago.) All the other candidates have contested in General Elections before and two of them have political appointments as MP or Minister.

With due respect to Tan Jee Say, if he becomes the President, all his moves would be viewed with contempt by core PAP supporters. If he criticise the PAP government, rightfully or wrongfully, there will always be lingering doubts on whether his criticism is embedded with political agenda or not. This will be the setting for endless political bickering. The same criticism that comes from Tan Kin Lian would not suffer such perceptions.

Some of the candidates have talked about the Presidency as the figure head of unifying Singaporeans. But I really doubt they truly understand what that means.

If either Tony Tan or Tan Jee Say wins and become President, would the core anti-PAP voters and core PAP supporters be happy with the corresponding results? Would they really willing to unite under either of them? But if Tan Kin Lian is the President, even though these opposition supporters or pap supporters may not have voted him, they would find him an acceptable person to become the President.

This is why, in the interest of the Nation, I would rather support Tan Kin Lian instead of Tan Jee Say. Both may perform the same role of checks and balances but Tan Jee Say has the political baggage which may turn the Elected Presidency into the platform which PAP would want to use for politicking in future if they lost power. On top of that, Tan Kin Lian would be in the better position of performing the role of unifying Singaporeans due his political neutrality.

Goh Meng Seng

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Political Sabbatical

I am stepping down from Secretary General of National Solidarity Party from today onwards.

It has been an exciting 1 year and 4 months of leading NSP as SG in its preparation and contesting in the last General Elections. There are "crisis" like NEA summon which I have to manage. But I am glad that we have managed it very well by NOT paying up the fines, else the impact would be unimaginable... can you imagine ALL opposition parties being banned from selling our publications and newspapers during our weekly regular outreach? It was a TOUGH but RIGHT decision and judgement made. A very important lesson and experience for all of us.

I have mixed feelings about the GE results NSP has achieved during my tenure as SG. It is the BEST electoral result that NSP has achieved since its inception but it is still not up to my expectation of winning seats in parliament. This is one of the small regret I have so far.

I will NOT be contesting for a seat in the NSP Central Executive Committee as well. I will go into Partisan Political Sabbatical for at least 2 years. I feel that as the outgoing Secretary General, I should refrain from staying in the CEC so that I would not be seen as undermining the authority of the New SG under any circumstances. But for the time being, I will still stay as a Congress member of NSP.

I will leave behind a stronger and better platform for my successor as well as Singaporeans who wish to contribute to the opposition movement to work on.

10 years in politics is a very tiring process. There is one saying, 1 year in politics is just like 10 years in life. It is very true indeed. But looking back at my initial motivations to get into partisan politics, I guess the two key missions I have set out to achieve, have been accomplished; though they might not be directly achieved by me.

The first mission is to break the hegemony of PAP power by breaching the first GRC. I believe that once the first GRC falls into opposition hands, there will be rapid changes which will create a more balanced system. This has been accomplished by Workers Party in GE2011.

The second mission is to bring justice to my generation of people who are so adversely affected by the so called "Asset Enhancement Scheme" created by the Goh Chok Tong administration. I feel that NSP has provided a good platform for me to elaborate on the ills of such irresponsible scheme which promotes GREED in the guise of "asset enhancement" but in actual fact, will cause great wealth disparity across generations. GE2011 is a very special event which allowed me to elaborate on the ills of the insane Asset Enhancement Scheme which was coupled of false sense of affordability of HDB flats propagated by the PAP.

Thus I should safely say that if I have to quit politics altogether now, I will gladly do so PROUDLY. I could finally tell my children and grandchildren wonder stories about my political involvement in Singapore in future!

However, the biggest regret I have during my tenure of SG is the death of my eldest brother in the tour of duty of helping me out during GE2011. His death has provided much grief as well as inspiration for me during this period.

What will I be doing during this Political Sabbatical period?

In the coming couple of months, I will try to help Mr. Tan Kin Lian out in his Presidential Campaign as much as possible. This will be just another small effort on my part to try and institutionalize REAL checks and balances in our political system.

I could be looking into getting myself involved in various international NGOs where I could further practice and enhance the Core Values of Democracy, Social Justice and Human Rights. I am currently looking into the World Problems of Refugees.

I could also be looking into more business opportunities else where so to earn more money to provide enough financial support for my late brother's family.

I could even be setting up a think tank with some other people who are interested in providing non-partisan policy views.

Whichever the case, I think it is about time to take stock of my future directions now. This timely Political Sabbatical will provide me the necessary breather to do just that.

Someone may ask me whether I will be back to stand for the next GE. Honestly, I have no answer to that now. It will depend on situations there and then.

But for my readers of this blog, I will still write periodically about my various thoughts whenever I have the inspiration to do so. Especially so for the coming couple of months, I will be writing more on the Presidential Elections.

I wish to thank all my supporters for all these years. Some of you have been truly great to me.

Last but not least, I also wish to thank my colleagues in NSP who have given me the support and opportunity to serve and lead the party for the past year.

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Elected Presidency - Why Tan Kin Lian?

In my previous post, I have stated PAP's intentions when they first set up the Elected Presidency system. I have also stated that back in 2008, I decided to turn the table around and try to beat PAP at their own game and rules. That is why I approached Mr. Tan Kin Lian.

But why Tan Kin Lian?

I have known Kin Lian through his writing to the ST Forum as well as his blog. Though I do not agree 100% with what he has said (eg. his stand on Casino) but through his writing, he is always positive about things, even when he disagreed with certain policies or views. He would always try to suggest alternative solutions etc. He also appears to be quite FAIR in his comments and approaches.

Most importantly, I get to know Kin Lian much better through a mutual friend. An unassuming person who judge people on their performance and abilities, not merely on their education certificates and family background. These were just some of the information I gathered before I met him.

I finally met him over a drink to talk about the need to have a truly independent minded Elected President so that the separation of powers coupled with checks and balances within our political system could be enhanced. He agreed in principle of such needs but he said he wasn't ready to consider candidacy for Elected President. However, he put up his views on how PAP has changed over time and the very core values (eg. Public Service) which are so valuable have been eroded.

Even thugh he wasn't ready to stand as candidate, but he mentioned that if he ever stand and become President one day, he will donate off a big portion of the salary of the President to charity. This is because he feels that the salary of the President is just too excessive as this is basically Public Service. Although I may not have "achieved" my initial aim but I am glad to have met Kin Lian and have a friend like him.

As an opposition member, it is naturally for me to hold certain views which will have a tendency of bias against PAP. Most of the time, Kin Lian is able to balance it up with his Fair deliberations. I have learned the value of Fairness through Kin Lian in my various subsequent meetings with him.

When the Minibond saga exploded, many people wrote to Kin Lian to complain about how the structured financial products have been sold to them. Subsequently, Kin Lian decided to hold protest rallies at Hong Lim Park to help Minibond victims to gain access to Fidrac. He has also held meetings and discussions with lawyers to explore various legal options.

Kin Lian subsequently found out that there were quite a large number of victims who could only understand Chinese. After failing to secure help from his PAP friends, he finally approached me. That is how I get myself involved in the whole Minibond saga.

After much research into the various financial structured products, we are convinced that there is no way layman on the streets could understand these products well before committing their investment. We also believe that the banks and financial institutions should not put up these products for retail banking and MAS should not have approved such move. Massive mis-selling of such products is possible because we believe that even those promoters at the front counters did not really understand Minibonds fully. All signs of mis-representation and mis-selling were all there but most Minibond victims did not get a Fair treatment and Justice.

Kin Lian has tried his very best to uphold his values of Fairness by getting involved in the Minibond Saga. It proved to be a long drawn battle which died off because Fair Justice cannot be obtained within our system without committing hefty cost. Unlike Hong Kong whereby the pressure put up by the opposition parties in their Legislative Council has paid off and most investors were able to recover more than 70% or even 90% of their losses. In Singapore, those who are successful in recovering substantial part of their investment are very limited.

By then, I was told Kin Lian has resigned from PAP. Kin Lian, in return for my help in the Minibond Saga, promised to speak on my Rally Stage if I stood for elections. He kept his promise in GE2011.

I have written this lengthy essay on how I meet Mr Tan Kin Lian and what happens in between just to show readers why Tan Kin Lian is a person who can be trusted to perform the critical role of Elected President. He has not only spoken dearly about the core values which he believes in but when the need arises, he will stand up to the challenge to uphold his values of Fairness and Public Service. His courage to stand up for justice to the Minibond victims and even risk clashing with his ex-PAP colleague, Mr. Goh Chok Tong who was then the Chairman of MAS (Kin Lian has served as his branch secretary before) is commendable.

We need a President with the MORAL Courage to stand up for Justice, Fairness and the welfare of the people. This Moral Courage must be huge enough to overcome fear and even barriers of personal relationships. By standing to lead and help the Minibond victims in time of needs and desperation, Kin Lian has demonstrated the kind of public spirit needed in a caring President.

To put it simply, NONE of the MPs in parliament have stepped forward to help the Minibond victims. Even though some of the town councils which were run by PAP MPs were hit by Minibond and lost millions, they just kept quiet and mention the losses in such a "matter of fact" way that gave people the impression that it is just a SMALL MATTER to lose just that millions.

Some people have viewed all his doings in contempt. They would say he did all these because he was planning to run for President all along. As one of the persons who have tried to persuade Kin Lian to run for Presidency, I must categorically refute such unfounded accusations and insinuations. He just tried his best to help out when he saw the unfairness Minibond victims faced.

He wasn't even thinking of running for General Election as opposition candidate, least Presidency. The only reason why he spoke at my Tampines Rally to campaign for me is basically to fulfill his promise made earlier on. I initiated it by calling him up to request his presence and support.

Kin Lian may be strongly opinionated at times but he is prepared to change his views if he is being convinced otherwise. The prime example is the views he held against Dr Chee Soon Juan. Initially, he has bad impression of Dr Chee just like most Singaporeans. But after having close contacts and observing Dr Chee for sometime, he realizes that Dr Chee isn't that "evil person" that the PAP and Press made out of him. He has since openly made an apology to Dr. Chee for his past views.

Having said all these, Kin Lian is definitely not a Saint. He will have some shortcomings just like anybody else. But most importantly, in my opinion, after all the contacts I have made with him, I feel that he has the necessary qualities to be a good and effective President in performing the role of safeguarding our reserves. Someone who is fair minded but yet has the moral courage to stand up against all odds to ask the necessary and difficult questions. Up to the point of risking his own personal friendship with his ex-PAP colleagues, in safeguarding the interests of the People and the Nation.

Thus, my personal support of Mr. Tan Kin Lian in this Presidential Election.

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Elected Presidency - What Kind of President?

By now, most people who follow the news of the pending Presidential election closely would know my support for Mr. Tan Kin Lian to contest for Presidency.

My endorsement of Mr. Tan Kin Lian as President comes a long way but before I explain why I support Kin Lian, let me address some of the views which have been made by various people, including past and present Ministers on the role of the Elected Presidency.

The gist of the messages from the PAP ministers is that the Elected President has limited power and His Excellency could only act as the custodian of the reserves with some limited veto power. He cannot comment or influence the investment directions of any reserves, may not even question the accountability of various people and organizations who may make huge losses of the reserves they are in charge of. His role is only restricted to preventing the government of the day to spend the reserves when he deems fit.

One could easily see the biggest irony here. The President does not have the power to direct investment decisions nor extract accountability from those who are appointed to invest the reserves, when they make huge losses to the reserves. However, he has the power to prevent ELECTED GOVERNMENT of the day from spending the reserves!

As for the appointment of key appointment holders, the President must appoint key appointment holders ACCORDING to the advice of the Cabinet and the Presidential Council whose members are basically, appointed by the Cabinet. Interestingly, the PAP leaders have said several times that if there is a "rogue government" voted in, presumably not PAP, the President could help to prevent it from making various key appointment so to preserve the integrity of the system. This is in fact a contradictory motive and power distribution.

Basically it means, if PAP is in power, the President will have to listen to it and his power will be curbed. But the PAP has also planned for the day when it loses power, then it could make use of the President to curb the power of the "rogue government" or even cripples it totally. Why? This is because the President will be there to protect the PAP appointed individuals on the key positions from being removed by this "rogue government". Yes, this includes the Chairman of GIC.

This is the kind of system PAP has designed for Singapore; or rather, for its own self interests. PAP leaders have once said, if opposition is to form the government consecutively for two terms, Singapore will be finished. Actually what they meant was that for the first term, PAP could still try to cripple the rouge government but by the second term, this rogue government would have people who will be qualified to be President and the system would actually deprive PAP from making a come back to be the ruling party again. It is PAP which is going to be finished, to be exact.

This is really a kind of irony, really. It is just like the GRC system. It will be very advantageous to PAP as long as no opposition party is good enough to win any GRC. But once a GRC is lost, it will become the biggest nightmare to PAP's hegemony of power or it might become the beginning of the end of PAP's ruling status.

Similarly, the Elected Presidency will only be good as long as no "non-establishment" individual could win it. They may not be the cute little puppet that PAP wants him to be. PAP thought that as long it is in power, this will not happen. But the late President Ong Teng Cheong has proven to be too inconvenient for it to handle.

The incoherence of the Elected President system arises because of the conflicting aims of PAP's intention under different scenarios and situations. i.e. they just want to have the cake and eat it. By right, if the Elected President has so limited power, PAP should not be too concerned about losing the post to someone whom it may not endorse. However, PAP cannot disarm the power of the Elected President totally because it may end up compromising the original idea of using it as a means to cripple the rogue government. It is really a Catch 22 situation. Thus the best outcome is to continue to make sure that only the people PAP endorse will become the President.

Logically, as an opposition member, I should be opposing this Elected Presidency system. Any rules or system designed with the intention of protecting PAP's interests will have to be opposed.

However, I have second thought back in 2008. I would want to beat PAP at their own games with their own rules. I would rather to take this opportunity to turn this around so that some real checks and balances could start right now, via the Elected President.

PAP wanted a President who is preferably performing mostly ceremonial roles and not exercising any real influence or power of checks and balances on them. i.e. A President who will just sit there and not say anything which could embarrass the PAP. The President may have no real executive powers, but it doesn't mean that he could not make timely comments on issues which will affect the people in various ways. An Elected President should not be robbed of his voice, his freedom of speech with respect to the welfare of the people.

Thus, what kinds of people should we be looking for to be our President? I always tell people around me, we should not be looking for a SAINT to be our President. There is hardly any SAINT around here in Singapore, least one who could qualify as a Presidential candidate with such materialistic criteria and measures. Maybe we may have a monk or pastor or any other religious leaders who are saint-like but most probably they won't be CEO of some companies with $100 million paid up capital, least a politician.

We should be looking for a person who have an independent mind, FAIR, HONEST and most importantly has the moral courage to speak up for the people. The moral courage to stand up and question the government of the day if there are problems with the reserves or otherwise.

There are a lot of nice people around but nice people may not be the right people to perform the role of the Elected President.

Goh Meng Seng

P.S. I will write about why I find Mr. Tan Kin Lian the right person to be our President in my next post.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Rule of Law - Justice and Equality

All of us remember how "efficient" the police was when they reacted to the police report filed against James Gomez by the Elections Department over that "criminal intimidation" charges. This happened in 2006, right after the General Elections.

Even Opposition MP Mr. Low Thia Khiang was interviewed within days after James Gomez was prevented from leaving the country and brought back to Cantonment Police Headquarters for investigations.

Fast forward to 2011. New electoral rules were added by the ruling party, People's Action Party (PAP). Particularly, the cooling off period ruling was implemented, initially perceived by many to give PAP the advantage. However, what we have witnessed is a series of possible breach of these rules by PAP itself.

We have seen how grassroot leaders sending out SMS messages to its network of members to mobilize them to go out all force on cooling off day to talk to people on the ground, trying to canvass votes for PAP.

We have seen how PAP's own candidate breaching the rule and indirectly admitting to the act when she tries to put the blame on someone else.

We have residents from various constituencies complaining about PAP's foot soldiers and contractors distributing pamphlets, booklets, flyers and even PAP's party publication Petir during cooling off day. Some of these acts happened in the wee hours of cooling off day! PAP's response to reporters' enquiries were that Petir was printed before cooling off day! Here again, they have indirectly admitted that such acts were committed during cooling off day but the excuse given was that the publication distributed was printed before hand. It seems that even PAP members don't really know nor understand about the cooling off day's rule. But wait, isn't these rules written and implemented by PAP itself?

Some Singaporeans have reported police about the breaching of these rules by PAP. Notably, the police report filed on the breach of the rules by Tin Pei Ling's FB administrator (well, we don't even know if she has nominated an administrator or not) was done on 12 May 2011. The case was allocated to an Investigation Officer from the Commercial Crime Division (well,they don't have Political Crime Division). It has been almost two weeks but nothing has been heard of. Well, at the very least, there isn't any report on MP Tin being interviewed by any police officer.

I was a bit puzzled on the deterioration of the police's efficiency after these 5 years. Back in 2006, a speedy investigation was carried out right after GE. But now, after two weeks, there is still no news about any investigation being launched.

I could empathize with the police department which was tasked to investigate this case as well as other cases involving PAP's breach of electoral laws. But I believe, as civil servants, these policeman would carry out their duties without fear or favor.

It is obvious to many people, especially those who are active on Social Network on the internet, that a law has been breached. There are also public records of what Ms Tin has said which could well be submitted as evidence on such breach of law. The comments on her FB was deleted after 20 minutes but that doesn't change the fact that the law has been breached. In fact, strictly speaking, it could be viewed as a deliberate effort to destroy critical evidence. Luckily (or unluckily?), a screen shot of this evidence was recorded in public domain as well. I believe that the with all these evidences available on public domain, it should not be a very difficult case to investigate at all.

NSP has lodged a complaint to Elections Department on polling day with regards to two breaches of law by PAP. The Elections Department has brushed off the complaint by asking us to make police reports. At that point of time, I found it pretty absurd that the Elections Department didn't react to the breach of electoral laws which they were supposed to enforce. I would expect them to make the police report instead. I decided not to report police at that point of time because the issue might be painted into a case of petty politicking.

However, now that police reports have been made by the members of public, we should follow up with these cases to make sure that the Rule of Law applies. These cases will also become the first precedences of such breaches of the cooling-off day rule and it is important for us to see how such rules can be enforced.

If we want to build a Democratic Society based on Justice and Equality (National Pledge), we must make sure that the Rule of Law is applied across the board.

I have absolutely nothing against Ms Tin personally. Unfortunately, it is in the Nation's interests to make sure that the law (set by PAP itself) is being enforced fairly. Ms Tin just happened to be implicated in one of these cases.

I hope that the police could act on this case with the same efficiency that they have shown in 2006 against James Gomez. Whether the police will take action or the AG chambers will press charges, the authorities should at least give us a reasonable explanation on whatever actions they intend to take. Such actions will form the basis of precedent case for future enforcement of the Cooling Off Day rule.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nicole Seah's fund raising

Dear All,

Thank you for all the concerns raised here. I apologize for the great confusion and anxiety caused by this episode.

Under the Political Donation Act, it is LEGAL for candidates to solicit donations under their names. Thus what Nicole has done is legal. The main concern is why personal bank account has been used instead of Party bank account. First of all, Nicole is soliciting funds for her candidacy in Marine Parade. She is also trying to get funding for her whole Marine Parade Team. Thus, it would be technically tedious for us to differentiate between funding meant for Marine Parade Team if donations are made to the Party bank account. Besides, financial reporting for the Party will be very complex if every Teams or individual candidates utilize the Party bank account for their fund raising activities.

I believe that those who have donated to Nicole or any other opposition members would have full confidence and trust in them to utilize the funds solely for the GE only. Having said that, I also understand the demand for transparency from the public on the fund raised. Rest be assured that due diligence will be carried out by the whole Marine Parade Team since the fund raised is intended to defray the cost of its election campaign.

As I have mentioned before to the press, young people are using the New Media more often and it will become a trend for them to utilize New Media for their political work and engagement which will include soliciting political donations. It is unfortunate that this present issue was blown out of proportion due to the utilization of the New Media. On hindsight, it could have been managed better.

Nevertheless, I have full confidence in Nicole and her Marine Parade Team in managing public funding properly. The stakeholders who have contributed money to their funds have the right to know how the funds have been utilized. This is a matter of transparency. This can be done by sending them the details via emails.

However, I think it is totally inappropriate for the members of public to insinuate corrupt practices, intent or misconduct with regards to this issue. It would be unfair to Nicole and her team to suggest that because they have acted within the legal limits. Unless there is any proof of misappropriation of funds, I think such slander is totally unwarranted. I hope the members of public should refrain from making such insinuations.

I think that this issue would be a good public education process for both politicians as well as Singaporeans. Singaporeans may not be used to politicians soliciting funds under their names but this is perfectly legal for candidates to do so, just as any other democratic countries in the world (US, Europe countries etc). On the other hand, politicians have to be mindful about perceptions of the public as well as the transparency of the whole fund raising exercise.

To conclude, I hope that Singaporeans could bear with us while we move on to a more open society. It is perfectly healthy for Singaporeans to raise their concerns on transparency and accountability when such public donations are involved. But I hope that my explanations and clarifications here could address their concerns adequately.

Yours Sincerely ,

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The People's Action Party lost its first battle after 15 years of monopoly of power since independence in 1981 Anson by-election. Mr. JB Jeyaratnam has dented PAP's strong hold of power back then. In 1984 General Elections, PAP lost two seats in total: Mr. JBJ retained his Anson seat while Mr. Chiam See Tong won Potong Pasir beating Mah Bow Tan hands down with a respectable 60% of valid votes.

Ever since then, PAP was worried about losing more seats in the years to come. They squeezed every drops of brain juice they have, from suggesting some people may have two votes instead of one to tweaking the electoral system. Eventually, they came up with this BRILLIANT idea of GRC. Basically, the GRC system literally up the stakes for every electoral contest.

They have succeeded in preventing losing more seats in 1988 GE with a close shave of winning Eunos GRC with Workers Party's Team losing by merely 1%. Predictably, they are so dependent and addicted to the GRC system that they subsequently increased the size from 3 to 4 and eventually created the giant 6 man GRCs. It basically up the stake further just like a gambler who thinks he will sure win all.

Of course, PAP has very thick skin to ignore all logical criticism of its "kiasuism" (mentality of being afraid to lose). At one point of time, the Prime Minister even proudly joke openly about Singaporeans being "Kiasu" (afraid to lose), "Kiasi" (afraid to die) "Kiabo" (afraid of wife). However, ironically PAP has become like a gambling addict who keep increasing its stake in electoral contests.

It is indeed a paradox. While PAP is afraid to lose, it thought that it could prevent losing by increasing the stake for all. The most ironic argument I heard during this GE 2011 is that PAP has actually accuse Workers Party of making things difficult for Aljunied voters by "forcing them to make difficult choice". It could even be interpreted that WP is "holding voters at ransom" by fielding Mr. Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim together in Aljunied GRC.

It is PAP who is trying to hold Singaporeans at ransom by setting up the GRC system. Not only did it try to use HDB upgrading as the carrot ransom, it also uses subtle threats of depriving voters funding for various services. The ultimate ransom is the argument that the Nation will lose two ministers plus one Speaker of Parliament along with one potential ministerial candidate.

But wait, isn't this PAP's own doing? It tries to gamble big by putting TWO ministers in Aljunied GRC. In fact, it is gambling away its "ministerial talents" by putting ministers in each and every GRCs! It just thinks that Singaporeans will not "sacrifice" its ministers and thus those who contest along with these ministers will have a safe passage way to parliament.

PAP's high stake gambling habits has cost it dearly. If you think the cost of this gambling is merely two or three ministers, think again. The implications of this lost in Aljunied GRC is much wider and deeper.

First of all, which PAP minister would be willing to risk their million dollar pay to contest in Aljunied GRC next round in the bid to win it back? Even George Yeo and Lim Hwee Hwa have bowed out of the game! Would it mean that once a GRC is lost, PAP will never be able to win it back again?

Secondly, after this defeat, how could PAP convince "high flyers" to quit their jobs like BG or superscale civil service positions to join them and promise them a safe passage way to become ministers? There is no longer SAFE Passage to parliament. BG Tan should understand this very well!

Thirdly, even the recruitment of backbenchers for PAP will face problem! No more hiding behind heavy weights so to walk into parliament safely!

Last but not least, there are several GRCs in "danger zones" which opposition parties have achieved more than 40%. These include East Coast GRC, Bishan Toa Payoh GRC, Marine Parade GRC, Tampines GRC, Moulmein Kallang GRC and Nee Soon GRC. There are two GRCs which are near 40%: Holland Bukit Timah GRC and Choa Chu Kang GRC.

It basically means that PAP will be fire fighting in all these places next round and I do not think it has enough ministers to have two ministers fielded in each of these GRCs. If PAP is not careful enough, it may face the possibility of losing more ministers.

It will be double whammy for PAP. On one hand, it will not be able to attract and convince talents to join its rank while on the other hand, it will keep losing ministerial talents.

PAP will do the same thing they did in the mid-1980s: think of some genius way to prevent the tide of losing more. They may try to raise the stake again (well, maybe turn Singapore into only 5 GRCs, North South East West and Central GRCs) or implement the one man two votes system for people who reach certain age. Else the only option is to go for some kind proportional representation.

Implementing proportional representation system may see PAP's percentage of seats dropping in parliament but it will help to prevent any further loss of ministers.

It seems that the implementation of proportional representation system would benefit Singapore. It will make sure that our parliament will maintain diversity of views for better debates on policy issues and at the same time, secure enough ministerial candidates to serve the nation.

The PAP has lost big time for GE 2011 and I hope that it will wake up in time to carry out the necessary electoral reforms to embrace diversity and cater to Singaporeans' urge of having more opposition voices in parliament.

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reflections on GE 2011

Many people tend to believe that Internet, New Media or Social Media have played the critical role in GE2011 but I think otherwise. Among the highest scoring teams, most of them enjoyed significant spotlight by the main stream media.

Workers Party (WP) is the biggest winner in terms of media coverage. Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)also enjoys significant media coverage on their two main GRC teams. As for NSP, the best performing team, Marine Parade Team, enjoys the most media coverage as well.

Many people have talked about the strategic failure of NSP Tampines Team. To put on record, NSP Tampines Team is quite a decent team with passionate people on board. Nevertheless, there are many factors to make a team win. My failure to convince people like Tony Tan, Hazel Poa or even Nicole Seah to join the Tampines Team has cost us a lost opportunity of punching through.

There are many other factors which will determine the results:

The Ground
1) Class Types: In comparison, Tampines is definitely a hard ground in terms of housing types. 32% of flats are 5 room and above, presumably middle class. This is the highest percentage among all other GRCs. From GE 2006 and further confirmation in this GE 2011, surprisingly those who lives in landed properties are more supportive of opposition as a whole.

2) Pass electoral records: Tampines result in GE 2006 was only slightly more than 30%. Tampines is a fortress and doesn't have any changes to its boundaries. Though we do not have fair comparison of Marine Parade, but Marine Parade has the worse ground. Prior to nomination day, my estimate is for NSP to get about 35% to 40%. This is based on past electoral records of Braddel Heights (48%, Sin Kek Tong time), Eunos-Ubi (49%, Francis Seow's time) and the swollen ground from Chai Chee, part of Joo Chiat. On top of that, better ground like Mountbatten was cut out.

The People

3) Demographics & Race composition: Tampines has a pretty high percentage of Malay as well as young voters. The swing in Malay and young votes have actually helped us to get much better result, though falling short of a win.

4) Candidates play an important part in winning votes. Apparently Nicole Seah has managed to win quite a substantial number of votes in Marine Parade. Uncle Chiam also played an important role in getting votes for both Potong Pasir and Bishan Toa Payoh. Needless to say, WP's three stars, Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim and Chen Show Mao are the pillars of WP's branding which helped to raise the votes and profiles of all other teams and candidates. As mentioned, the failure to convince Tony and Hazel to join my Tampines Team has cost us dearly.

5) Opponent's profile is also an important factor to determine whether we could get better results or even a win. Minister Mah and Tin PL are just two prime examples.

The Issues

6) Marine Parade has issues in Joo Chiat area as well as local issues in other places. Tampines has less local issues but national issue like high HDB Housing prices was the main thrust.

Party Branding

7) Apparently Party Branding plays a very important role in WP's campaign while NSP has to depend on other factors which I have mentioned above.

Failure of Minister-Specific Strategy?

Contrary to news report, I think the Minister-Specific Strategy has worked, though not to its fuller extend. Both Tampines and Marine Parade teams have applied minister-specific strategy and they have yielded better results as compared to other NSP teams.

However issue-based minister-specific strategy is just necessary but insufficient strategy for parties without STRONG branding to win the elections.

Although overall NSP has done better than the National Vote swing of 6% (we have gotten about 8% against the setting of 31% in GE 2006) but anything falling short of a win is still regrettable.

Goh Meng Seng

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Response to Mah Bow Tan

I am very disappointed with Mr. Mah Bow Tan's "rebuttal" on the Housing Issues.

First of all, he has chosen to do so at the very last rally while refusing to take up the challenge of having a Live TV Debate. I could understand why because his so call rebuttals cannot hold water at all.

First of all, we are not saying that Singaporeans cannot use their CPF money to buy HDB flats. We are just saying with a 30 year mortgage, there will be little money left for retirement! It seems that Mr. Mah Bow Tan either chooses to side step this problem or deliberately mislead voters about our manifesto.

Secondly, he claims that our flats sold at Cost Plus will have to be sold at the same amount and all units will look the same. This is the most uncreative way of thinking and rebuttals. We could still build very different flats with different costings but yet, selling at Cost Plus. Yes, the sales price will be different but still, it is Cost Price system.

Thirdly, he still insists that such flats cannot increase in value. I do not understand how he come to that conclusion since the resale market will still be there.

I am totally disappointed with such rebuttals as I was expecting something much better. Anyway, it is up for Voters of Tampines to decide.

Goh Meng Seng

Goh Meng Seng Speech on 4 May 2011 Tampines

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Rally Speech on 2 May 2011 Moutbatten

The elections are getting HOT. Someone just torn off our posters put on our trucks and some of our supporters have been throwing stones at PAP posters in Tampines. I would like to urge our supporters to keep calm. We can afford to lose this elections but not our dignity.

BG Tan Chuan Jin (陈川仁), PAP candidate of Marine Parade has said many things lately. Before Nomination Day, he has challenged opposition party not just talk or wayang but go and contest in MP. Now, after NSP sent a team to contest in MP, he is saying that NSP is wayang!

I believe that a General like Tan Chuan Jin would not want to be just PAPER GENERAL and definitely he won’t want to HIDE behind a so-call HEAVY WEIGHT in MP GRC. IF he is really dying for a good fight, he should have offered himself to stand in a SMC! Regrettably he is now hiding in MP GRC. I really don’t know who is wayang!

As I have stated in our first MP rally, the STRATEGIC reason is to extract ACCOUNTABILITY from SM Goh Chok Tong for his past bad policies which are turning Singapore from a country to a COMPANY. Do you want accountability from Goh Chok Tong?

BG Tan also said that NSP doesn’t know the people in MP. I have to ask our dear general, as a ROOKIE candidate in MP, how much does he know about MP voters? Has he knocked every door? I guess most of the incumbent PAP MPs who are paid more than $14,000 a month didn’t even knock every door!

Alright, let’s not be distracted by our General Tan from the real issues at hand.

We are having a PAP system which is SUCKING every drop of blood we have in the name of AFFORDABILITY. Right from Healthcare, Transport to Housing. Especially for housing which is the most expensive item that Singaporeans have to buy.

Mah Bow Tan says that the length of your mortgage doesn’t really matter. If you can have the FALSE SENSE of affordability of having 30 years mortgage as it is “cheaper” to pay each month, please go ahead.

BUT, my Dear Minister, do you know that by having 30 years mortgage instead of 5, 10 or 20 years, we are going to be paying more COMPOUNDED interests?

Do you know that WE will not be able to RETIRE 30 years later if ALL our CPF money is used to pay for your EXPENSIVE HDB flat? 1 Our WHOLE GENERAL will be ENSLAVED by your 30 years mortgage!

If Mah Bow Tan continues his pricing mechanism pegging NEW HDB flats to resale market prices, we will definitely end up with 40, 50 or even 100 years mortgage! Why?

Anyone with just that bit of common sense will know that ASSET INFLATION is always MUCH HIGHER than NORMAL INFLATION. It is also a fact that as compared to 1990, our income has only increased by 2 times BUT HDB resale prices have increased by FOUR TIMES!

Moreover, according to some reports, prices for NEW HDB flats have increased almost 70% for the pass 6 years but median income has only grown by 37.7% and worse, the lower income group only grows only at 22.6% for the whole decade of 2000 to 2010!

Pegging prices of NEW HDB FLATS to resale market prices will definitely erode the ability of our younger and future generations to own their home!

NSP has come up with a more viable pricing mechanism for NEW HDB FLATS. We are advocating pegging the prices of New HDB FLATS to the COST of building the flat plus a hefty discount on the land prices. This will eradicate the UNFAIR impact of ASSET INFLATION RATE while taking into account of the Normal Inflation rate through the cost of building the flats.

Only by adopting NSP pricing mechanism for new HDB flats, the REAL affordability for any generations of Singaporeans will be secured.

Our forefathers have made sacrifices by giving up their lands to PAP government at DIRT CHEAP PRICES. Don’t you think that the PAP has the SOCIAL OBLIGATION to ensure Singaporeans, generations after generations, should have a CHEAP ROOF over their heads?

If you want to secure the future of your children, your grandchildren, your great grand children, You will have to make your stand clearly on 7 May.

If you don’t want to be ENSLAVED by PAP’s 30 or even 40 years mortgage in time to come, please vote NSP.

If you don’t want your future generations to SELL their flats for retirement, you will have to vote NSP.

And IF you do not want your future generations to continue to be THREATEN by PAP, which is fast becoming GOD which we need to repent to, VOTE more opposition members into parliament.

Our FUTURE lies in your hands my fellow Singaporeans. VOTE NSP, YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE, YOUR FUTURE.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Funeral Wake of the Unsung Hero

Dear Supporters,

The Funeral Wake of our Unsung Hero, David Goh Meng Hee, will be held at Tampines Street 71, Blk 721 from evening onwards. The family of the hero declines any press interviews or reporting. Please respect the privacy of the family. Your cooperation will be much appreciated.

NSP Tampines Team

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back to Fundamentals

Today is the eve of Nomination Day for GE 2011. I have mixed feelings within me.

Looking back, this is the 10th anniversary of my involvement in partisan politics. However, if I look deeper to my consciousness, the seed of political activism has been planted into me 20 to 30 years back.

Reading MM Lee's comment on going back to fundamentals and not "rock the foundations" of this Nation really make me feel more righteous about my involvement in opposition politics. I have told reporters that it was PAP which has "rocked" the very foundation which this Nation was founded upon.

The TWO main pillars of our nation's Core Values are:

1) Social Justice and Equality
2) Meritocracy

The most important reason why I decided to take the plunge into opposition politics is because I realize that PAP has eroded these fundamental principles. The final push comes in GE 1997 whereby Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong made used of HDB upgrading as the carrot in pork barrel politics, threatening voters (especially Cheng San voters like me) that if we do not vote for PAP, we will not have HDB upgrading.

In this one master stroke, PAP has destroyed the sense of Social Justine and Equality as well as the Spirit of Meritocracy. Whether a HDB flat needs upgrading or not should depend on the MERITS like the age of the building, conditions of the infrastructure etc and not about who the voters vote for or anything else. I fear for my children and Singapore's future generations to live under an environment that is devoid of such basic Social Moral principles. This is why I have chosen to fight against PAP to reinstate such basic Fundamentals which we have depended on for success.

While I was still an undergraduate back in early 1990s, I was furious about Goh Chok Tong's plan of "Asset Enhancement Scheme". The Goh's Administration sold the idea of having our assets increase in value but it has not mentioned about the prices of new HDB flats would go up as well. As an undergraduate waiting to graduate, get married and start up a home, I was furious but NO ONE represented us. I have written articles about the ills of this scheme which will result in inter-generation wealth gap but all fallen on death ears.

This is why I am prepared to encourage young people in their 20s to stand for Elections. I have experienced such desperation as a youngster who could only just sit down an watch politicians selling away the future of my generation, helplessly. I believe youngsters should play a role in this parliamentary system because many policies made by the ruling party will have long term great impact on our youngsters in 10, 20 or even 30 years to come.

It was PAP who have changed the fundamentals of HDB as public housing. PAP has discarded its social obligation as the ruling party in providing cheap or even subsidized housing for Singaporeans. They have forcefully acquired our forefathers' land at dirt cheap price and they should carry the social obligation to provide cheap public housing for our future generations. Instead, they are more interested in keep growing the National Reserves by selling land at high profits for building HDB flats!

Yes, MM Lee, it is about going back to fundamentals. PAP should do a deep self reflection on what went wrong with its fundamental principles of governance. PAP has lost its socialist roots along the way and now, it has lost the political moral high ground to talk about fundamentals.

Goh Meng Seng

Friday, April 22, 2011

Response to Minister Mah's twisted logic

I have made the following rebuttals to Minister Mah Bow Tan's assertions:

1) Asset Enhancement Scheme

As an undergraduate in early 1990s, I was pretty upset when the Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong announced his plan for "Asset Enhancement Scheme". It would mean that my generation as well as future generations will have to pay MORE for HDB flats in future. Indeed, I have to pay 10 times more than my parents for a similar 4 room HDB flat. There is a COST of this Asset Enhancement Scheme to next and future generations.

Every Singaporean can only own ONE HDB flat as their HOME. HDB flat is a HOME, NOT an investment tool.

Furthermore, can the value of HDB value keep going up forever when it has only a 99 year lease? Obviously not! When our HDB flat is 50 year old or more, banks will be very reluctant to provide loans for potential buyers. It would mean that the demand for our old flats will drop drastically and the value will definitely drop.

To ask Singaporeans to depend on their HDB flats for retirement financing because we have this Asset Enhancement Scheme is totally flawed.

2) Lower Land Cost is Raiding Reserves

The PAP government has "raided" our forefathers by using Land Acquisition Act to acquire their land while paying peanuts in compensation! While our forefathers made sacrifices for the sake of our Nation's development needs, it is the social obligation of the PAP government to take care of our people by providing cheap public housing. At the very least, they should provide such cheap public housing for their FIRST matrimonial home.

Even with lower land price, the government of the day will still GAIN from such land sales due to the fact that they have acquired such land at dirt cheap prices.

We have accumulated more than $300Billion reserves basically due to the hefty profits gained via land sales. We could afford to slow down the growth of our reserves by making more concessions to our young Singaporeans.

3) Will we crash the market?

Resale market and first hand new HDB flat market are totally different market segments.

Resale market is a free market with many buyers and sellers. The demand in this market segment consists of Permanent Residents, Upgraders as well as some First time buyers.

For the first hand new HDB flat market, HDB is the MONOPOLY of supply with many Singaporean buyers. But the demand of this first hand HDB market consists only FIRST time buyers.

Thus, only Singaporeans who are first time buyers of these NEW HDB flats will benefit from this Cost-Plus scheme which NSP is advocating. Even if those first hand buyers in the resale market start to consider buying New HDB flats directly from HDB, there is no risk of total collapse of the resale market at all! This is basically because PRs and upgraders would not benefit from this scheme at all. PRs cannot buy direct from HDB and upgraders cannot benefit from this scheme. There is no incentive for them to switch to buy new HDB flat.

If the PAP government is sincere and serious about solving the low fertility rate problem, it should fulfill its social obligation by giving our young Singaporeans a big Ang Pao in terms of cheap HDB flats. This will allow them to have a head start in owning their first home when they get married.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cheaper housing key to securing future

From Channel News Asia:

The National Solidarity Party (NSP) has said there would be no future for Singapore if the People's Action Party cannot secure cheaper housing for future generations.

It was responding to the ruling party's manifesto entitled, "Securing the Future Together", which was released on Sunday.

The NSP's Secretary General, Goh Meng Seng, along with his party's members and volunteers, covered the Chua Chu Kang, Jurong and Pioneer areas on Sunday.

Mr Goh said he disagreed with National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan's comments that lowering the cost of state land was equivalent to "raiding the reserves".

Mr Goh said: "At this moment, we know that we have about S$300 billion of reserves. And I think it is about time that we can do with a lower growth for the reserve. And I would rather (have) a lower reserve growth than HDB raiding the people. Raiding our young generation with high cost of housing."

The NSP will be going up against Mr Mah in Tampines Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

Mr Goh said that the Socialist Front's move of not standing in the Whampoa and Mountbatten single-member constituencies was a "considerate gesture", while the NSP's withdrawal from Moulmein-Kallang GRC was to have a more "harmonious opposition movement".

Mr Goh said: "But of course, there are still areas which we are facing three-cornered fights at. As far as NSP is concerned, we have made the greatest compromise that we could, and I think the ball is in other people's court now."

The NSP still faces possible three-cornered fights in Radin Mas and Pioneer, which the Reform Party is also contesting.

Mr Goh was walking the ground with his party's Chua Chu Kang and Jurong GRC teams, and its candidate for Pioneer, Steve Chia.

Potential NSP candidates like former Nee Soon Central MP, Cheo Chai Chen, as well as 35-year-old Dexter Wong and 29-year-old Abdul Salim Harun, were also present.

- CNA/ms

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In the Name of Opposition Harmony...

Yes, in the name of Opposition Harmony, NSP has decided to give up both Moulmein Kallang GRC to Workers Party and Yuhua SMC to Singapore Democratic Party.

It is indeed a very painful decision to make for NSP but for the larger good of opposition movement, we have decided to give up both places to the respective parties.

I personally feel that this is the only right thing to do even though I may be really upset by such development. With all the signs and observations made, I am convinced that this decision is the right decision in order for the opposition movement to advance forward. Right from the start, I have repeatedly stressed that Singapore voters do not want to see 3 corner fights, especially in a GRC. This is based on the observations made on the ground.

Another reason for NSP to come to this decision is reported on Yahoo News:

OOne of the reasons for backing out included WP's refusal to reveal its candidates who will be contesting in the area, leaving the NSP with uncertainties. This, Teo said, 'does not make it worth for the NSP to wait till the last minute'.

"For the benefit of the voters, for the benefit of the whole opposition, I think we have to make our decision early.

"As a responsible party, we should give our residents an informed kind of choice as early as we can," he said.

I am especially grateful to Socialist Front's Secretary General Chia Tilik to make the announcement that in the spirit of opposition unity and avoiding 3 corner fights, SF has decided not to send any candidates to contest in this GE.

He has earned my utmost respect for making this move for the bigger picture of the whole opposition movement.

NSP's full press release is as follows:

NSP's Decision On Moulmein-Kallang GRC and Yuhua SMC Singapore

15 April 2011

As had been reported by the media, both the National Solidarity Party (NSP) and the
Workers’ Party (WP) have expressed interest in contesting in the Moulmein-Kallang

There have been further discussions between NSP and WP since then. During the
discussions, WP has expressed a strong desire to contest in MK.

The decision that NSP has to make is a painful one. The Moulmein-Kallang GRC has a
large overlap with the Jalan Besar GRC in which NSP had contested in GE2001 and
GE2006, and bonds had been built with the residents in that area. However, in the
interest of opposition harmony, NSP has decided to withdraw from MK, and is declaring
this intention so that WP can proceed with its campaigns there unhindered.

We wish to apologise to the residents in Moulmein-Kallang GRC who have welcomed
our contest, but we are confident that WP will be able to put up a strong team to fight for their benefit and work for their well-being if elected.

In view of this new development, the team originally slated to contest in MK, namely
Jeisilan Sivalingam, Nor Lella Mardiiiah Binte Mohamed, Tony Tan Lay Thiam and Hazel
Poa Koon Koon will instead be led by Sebastian Teo, the President of NSP, to contest in Chua Chu Kang GRC (CCK).

We would also like to take this opportunity to announce the launch of our CCK Team’s

On this website, interested readers can get to know more about the candidates and
what they stand for.

NSP will also not be contesting in Yuhua SMC. We wish SDP all the best in their contest.


Sebastian Teo
President of NSP

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Challenge to Minister Mah

NSP has introduced its Tampines Team of candidates as well as Poineer SMC and Whampoa SMC yesterday afternoon.

I have taken the opportunity to issue a CHALLENGE to Minister Mah Bow Tan to have a debate on housing issues, whether it is in Town Hall or TV.

Housing prices will affect lots of other issues like fertility rate, cost of living, retirement financing etc. It is a serious issue with a long term impact of 20, 30 years or even more. Mah Bow Tan may not be a minister by then but who will be accountable for such impacts?

Thus, I feel that the seriousness of Housing Issue warrants a thorough debate and we will let the voters decide for their future, their future generations' future.

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Singapore Cannot Lose 新加坡输不起

There are a lot of comments on my previous post on Friendship and Politics. Terrence from New Nation has even written a pretty critical article on my blog post. I have made a comment on his article as well.

How opposition parties contest is an important National issue because at this stage, it involves the critical development of the Nation's political landscape for Post-LKY era.

There are a few points I would like to put forward which I believe represent the aspiration and expectation of Singapore voters at large:

1) Singaporeans want to have credible opposition MPs in parliament
2) Singaporeans want opposition to win at least 1 GRC so to put pressures on PAP
3) Singaporeans do not wish to see 3 corner fights especially for GRCs.
4) Singaporeans want to vote, wish to see as many seats contested as possible.

Many people have mistakenly perceived my previous blog post as "attacking" fellow opposition party WP. Those who have met me during my ground work would know very well, whenever I meet people staying in Aljunied or East Coast GRCs, I would naturally encourage them to vote WP. How would I be attacking a party which I promote?

As I have explained to Terrence of New Nation, when I wrote that blog post, I was writing as a normal person, not a politician. It was true feelings that I have expressed which includes my frustrations of how things went wrong.

As I have mentioned, I regard Mr. Low Thia Khiang very highly as my political mentor while I was still with WP. Even till now, I would still respect him as my political mentor. I believe he too has the soft spot for his ex-student like me when he said he has given up WP's "first choice" because he knows I am going to contest there. Thus, WP chose Moulmein Kallang as the target for its expansion plan.

However that is really the crux of the problem.

I think most people really think too much of my blog post. The Zaobao reporter actually thinks that I am hinting WP is trying to block NSP because NSP is becoming a "threat" to its position. That is just that bit too far off. The truth is, when the space within the eastern corridor is so packed, two opposition parties enjoying growth will definitely face each other in a situation of 3 corner fight if they don't want to move towards the "untested" territory in the WEST.

NSP has done its part. Although NSP has generally been contesting and working the ground in the eastern corridors like Tampines and Jalan Besar (which is now split into Moulmein Kallang and Whampao), in order to avoid clashes with WP, we have started our expansion plan in the wild wild west, Jurong GRC which was not contested in 2006. We have tried to avoid WP's traditional ground like Aljunied and East Coast.

The clash of 3 corner fight is inevitable because unfortunately WP has taken up a totally different strategic approach from NSP. WP chose to stay put and expand in the eastern corridors which inevitably step into "traditional turfs" like NSP's Jalan Besar. Mr. Low Thia Khiang has even indicated that WP's first choice was Tampines.

That is why I say I would understand why it is inevitable that both WP and NSP will end up with 3 corner fights, in the eastern corridor.

In both NSP's and WP's perspectives, the mid-eastern part of Singapore would have more "fertile political land" basically because most parts in this area has been contested in past GEs. Consistent GE contests would naturally improve political awareness and consciousness of voters.

When good people like Tony Tan and Hazel have shown interests to join NSP and contest in the coming General Elections, as the co-leader of NSP, it is my duty to make sure that they will get a reasonably good fertile ground to work on.

In order to protect Tony and Hazel's team from 3 corner fight in Moulmein Kallang, I have even offered their team to stand in Tampines but both of them have declined the offer immediately citing the reason that I have worked so hard on the minister-specific strategy on Minister Mah for so long and I should stay put there. They decided to contest Moulmein Kallang instead, which is the other ground which NSP has worked on consistently for the past decade.

I believe that both WP and NSP are responsible and credible opposition parties which would make due considerations in terms of national interests to avoid 3 corner fight in Moulmein Kallang GRC in the spirit of trying to enhance Singapore's political landscape by trying to send good and credible people into parliament. This could only happen if and only if we could provide them a reasonable good fertile ground to work on.

It would be sad if both WP and NSP have two teams of good people clashing in a 3 corner fight. This is especially so when there are other constituencies like Sembawang GRC which will go uncontested for the coming GE. NSP has done its part in deciding that the team which is supposed to contest in Nee Soon GRC would be withdrawn from there to be deployed somewhere else.

Any opposition parties, including NSP, could afford to lose elections, but Singapore cannot afford to lose, to lose the opportunity to send in good and credible people into parliament. I just hope that in the coming days, the negotiation will have fruitful outcome that will serve the Nation's interests as a whole.

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Friendship and Politics

This is the 10th Anniversary of my involvement in opposition politics but instead of feeling happy about this "unusual journey" that I have chosen, I just feel sentimentally strained.

Throughout these 10 years of active involvement, I have made quite a number of friends as well as unknown faceless foes. I have worked hard and contributed to both Workers Party's as well as National Solidarity Party's growth in two different periods.

I have special sentimental attachment to WP especially when I have contributed to the rise of WP in its re-branding exercise by helping to revamp the party and fighting the battle of Aljunied GRC in GE 2006. I would regard Mr. Low Thia Khiang as my first political mentor who have guided me through the formative years of my involvement. And I still respect him as the saying goes, once a teacher forever a teacher.

Along the way, I have made many other friends in WP who have up till now, still remain close friends.

My departure from WP was the darkest day of my political life. I have chosen to leave very quietly without much fanfare even though the pain within is just like a heavy stone pounding the heart repeatedly non-stop.

After a few months of self reflections and reassessment of the roads ahead, I finally decided to join NSP with strong persuasion from Sebastian Teo, President of NSP. Frankly speaking, at first, it was a cultural shock to me. I have to spend time adjusting to new party culture and such. I was asked to take up the Secretary General post when Law Sin Ling decided to step down but I declined because I know I still cannot fully integrate into the party just yet.

It was last year that I finally decided to take up the Secretary General post and from then on, it is a road of no return.

NSP has transformed very fast under the leadership of Sebastian Teo. Within a few years, we have revamped our newspaper North Star into one of the top selling opposition papers in town. Even some ex-WP comrades have told me privately that North Star is indeed better than other opposition papers. We have inaugurated the Malay Bureau and our membership has grown significantly.

Never would I expect that WP would have 3 corner fights with NSP in the coming GE. I am being torn apart as my loyalty for my party NSP has to be weighed against the friendship I have cultivated in WP. At one point of time I was even contemplating to be the one leading the team in Moulmein-Kallang GRC to fight out the impending 3 corner fight because it would not be fair for my other NSP comrades to bear the brunt of such aggression. I am totally disappointed but in a certain way, could understand why WP has to go into such aggression. For two parties which are growing rapidly, it is just a matter of time that such battles will be waged.

Although there will be more heart pain in the process of such 3 corner fights but the wish of having "friendly 3 corner fight" will really be wishful thinking. There can never be "friendly 3 corner fight" in politics when the stake is heavy where any one party could just lose their election deposits.

It is not a battle of politics for me but rather, a battle of sentimental emotions against upright reasoning. There is absolutely no reason for WP to step into Moulmeign Kallang and wasting resources in a battle that nobody can win when there are other places like Sembawang GRC which is just next to Nee Soon GRC which is not contested.

The main aim of all opposition parties should be winning a GRC, not going into 3 corner fight. This is especially so for WP which is viewed as the biggest party with the highest potential to wrestle Aljunied GRC from PAP in this coming GE. A 3 corner fight in a GRC with fellow opposition party like NSP is truly unnecessary distraction from the main mission.

But somehow, I think WP members have lost sight of the most important mission they have set for themselves for this GE. Many of the new members have not gone through the baptism of fire, least contributed to the re-branding exercise that we have gone through but yet they have such a "gungho" feeling that they are invincible and could possibly thumb down other parties.

It is with my saddest and painful heart that I have to fight for Singapore in a very unique way. Arrogance and head-swell syndrome are bad traits for Singapore politics. It will be a hard battle ahead but I believe that each and every voter will have a very clear mind of what fairness and good reasoning mean.

Goh Meng Seng