Monday, June 19, 2017

TOTD: Who do I believe?

Who do I believe?

My political mentor had always taught me this simple methodology of Criminology... always look for Motive first before you do anything else.

There are many accusations and counter-accusations flying around. Now the Pro-PAP-LHL people are saying Lee Suet Fern is a "puppet master"... manipulating behind the scene of the will... etc. But I ask, what is her motive, if any?

Allowing her husband to get slightly higher share when LWL's share is reduced to be equal to the other two siblings? But this will in fact, benefits LHL as well! So why would LHL complains?

People are not looking at things in proper context. All three children of LKY are MULTI-Millionaire (if not billionaire), at least tens if not hundreds of millions net worth. Their families most probably could live for generations without doing anything! When you are that rich, the marginal utility of additional wealth is really marginal.

In fact, if it is really about money, LHY won't have agreed to pay 150% for the Oxley house (50% for charity) to buy it from his brother, just to have it and allow his sister to stay in this house and later, demolish it! Thus, I do not believe money is the issue here and Lee Suet Fern has no obvious motive to gain anything out of all these bickering.

So what's the beef here?

I do not think Lee Wei Ling mind how much she will get from LKY's estate. Having read her past writings published on newspapers and her FB, rightfully or wrongfully, she has great emotional attachment to things, to people, to her parents, especially her father. She is single and has no family. All she has now, in terms of money, is more than enough for her to live till the end of her life. But there is only one motive and desire in her, the desire of living in the old Oxley house due to her emotional attachment. And of course, she will guard her family's privacy with all force and thus, insisting that the house should not become a public place whereby other people could throng in and out of it.These are after all, her precious memories of her life.

Thus, when her relationship with LKY was frosty, for whatever reasons, she was more upset that she wasn't allow to live in the Oxley house after LKY's impending death, than having less share of his estate.

Lee Suet Fern just happened to become the mediator between the father and daughter. She managed to secure the most important part of the will, to allow LWL to stay in the house and to have it demolished after her passing.

From the emails released by LWL (the one LSF wrote to Shanmugam), I could see that Lee Suet Fern's only concern is to mend the ties between the father and the daughter.

Thus, it is totally unfair and uncalled for to make Lee Suet Fern to look like an "evil puppet master" or "evil manipulator" of any sort.

To accuse LSF or even LHY to insert that Demolition clause into the Last Will sneakily without letting LKY know, is totally absurd. For this Demolition Clause, they gain absolutely nothing! Why would they risk the wrath of LKY by doing such thing?

LWL is the one who benefits directly and emotionally to have this Demolition Clause to be reinstated. And this is why she fought so hard against LHL when LHL tried to preserve it. Even felt sour when this Demolition Clause, for whatever reasons, was taken out in the two preceding wills.

LHY didn't make noise openly against his brother until now, which I think is because he and his wife felt THREATENED. LHY didn't even make noise of his unhappiness when he was made to pay 150% for the Oxley house, because basically money isn't really a big problem to him. It is only when his and his family's lives are THREATENED, he would openly put up such devastating joint statement.

On the other hand, LHL has been shown to be inconsistent.. as LHY has put it, saying different things at different times. But one thing is very clearly consistent, his desire and motive to keep the Oxley house intact, against his father's wish even when LKY was alive!

For what motive? LWL and LHY had provided the reason: to make full use of LKY's political legacy to extend his own political agenda. Do I believe in their assertion? Yes, I do because there isn't any other plausible reason other than political reasons.

Thus, if you ask me who do I believe? I would say I believe LWL, LHY and LSF. I empathize LWL's position of wanting to stay in Oxley house for sentimental value. I believe LSF genuinely wanted to mend ties between LWL and LKY. I also believe that there is no monetary motive on LHY's part to want to fulfill his father's wish. In fact, he has lost quite a bit of money here but yet, he felt betrayed by his brother, PM Lee, after paying so much money but still the brother wanted to use his power to keep the house via administrative powers.

As to whether Oxley house should be preserved for "heritage" or "historical value", I shall comment another day.

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

TOTD: Respect LKY's Last Wish

Thought of the Day - Respect LKY's Last Wish

As an opposition politician, I am apparently not a fan of LKY for all my adult life, for reasons I have already expounded during his death in 2015.

However, if he truly wished not to have his old house to be made into a memorial monument for himself because he did not want to become the idol of hero worshiping in spite of all those high praises (regardless whether worthy or not) of his achievements for Singapore, then at least this formidable opponent whom I do not like, earns my respect for this last decision.

It is shocking to me that the current PAP government under his very own son's leadership, has seek all means and ways to go against his last wish. If what Lee Wei Ling had said in her latest combined statement with her other brother, Lee Hsien Yang, is true, then I would say this is a FEARFULLY DISHONORABLE act from our government.

PAP and its Prime Minister had been screaming "Rule of Law" high and low in recent months over all things but I would say, to use all legislative means to DISHONOR the last wish of their very own "Hero", Mr Lee Kuan Yew, is neither a good example of "Rule of Law" nor Rule of Morals. Do they not want LKY to Rest In Peace?

LKY has not only stated once in his life that he did not want any monument for himself and has stated clearly in his last memoir that he wanted the old house to be demolished after his death.

Why is that so difficult to grant the very person whom so many Singaporeans adore and respect, his very last wish?

As far as the house is concerned, this is a Private house belonging to LKY and now, his estate and immediate family after his death. Though PM Lee has stated that this is "private family dispute" over the house, but why should his government be meddling in this private matter of the house?

PM Lee is totally incoherent here. Once his government decided to exert power to determine the future of the Private House of the Lee family, it will no longer be a private matter but a public matter.

Why would he set up a Ministerial Committee to determine the fate of this Private house? To determine a dead man's will? There isn't a need to. LKY had repeated expressed in no uncertain terms that he did not want any monument to be set up for him after his death. Isn't that clear enough? Thus, I would say that although I am not prevail to all the insider's details, I have to agree with Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang that the government under PM Lee is abusing its power to force or influence the outcome of a purely Private matters of the Lee family.

This is especially so when the three siblings had just signed an agreement on how to deal with house but yet, PM Lee set up this Ministerial Committee to re-look into the matter again. Why would that be so? It is no wonder both Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang felt betrayed and anyone in their position will naturally think that their brother has abused his political power to get what he want. Most importantly, how could they ever trust him again with this political maneuver?

This saga has sent chill deep down into my spine. Imagine:

If PAP government could even dishonor their very own founder, LKY in such manner, who else would they respect? Definitely not small potatoes like us in the street.

If what Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling said is true, even they felt uncomfortable by their brother's use of national machinery to monitor them up to the level of making them feel overwhelmingly intimidated and wanting to migrate out of Singapore, what else could we expect for those of us who are powerless but brave enough to stand up as opposition members?

If the PAP government even dare to use their administrative and legislative powers to forcefully take over a private house in such manner, with so much disrespect to the one they claimed they adored, loved and worshiped, there is no other people's private property they would not dare to take forcefully if they fancy!

If even the member(s) of the most powerful and influential Lee family would say openly that the Singapore's Main Stream Media is controlled by the government and the 154th ranking given to them by international organization is somewhat justified, how else could we as a nation trust the MSM?

If even the members of the Lee family felt that there is basically no proper separation of powers and a total lack of checks and balances of the power that be, why should we still trying to make believe that this is a meaningful democracy at all?

The latest public statement made by both Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang is highly provocative and even up to the point of potentially defamatory if all these assertions are untrue. Apart from the accusation of abuse of power, there are other serious accusation. This is especially so on the part of indirectly accusing Ho Ching of instructing senior civil servants when she holds no political office and has no power to do so. There is also mention of PM Lee obtaining official document (Deed of Gift) from one of his ministry and passing it to his own lawyer. (The last time such thing happened was in the 1997 defamation case against Tang Liang Hong.)

All these are serious accusations made by two prominent public figures from the distinguished family in Singapore and they cannot be ignored or brushed away lightly.

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

TOTD: The Paradigm Shift Which PAP missed

Thought of the Day - The Paradigm Shift Which PAP missed

When I read about how Singapore propaganda machine tried to justify Singapore's diplomatic stance by saying that Singapore "has not changed", I nearly choked.

The Global Power structure has gone through a critical Paradigm shift and the Diplomatic dynamics has also gone through a Paradigm shift but yet, PAP government still singing self-praise about "We have not changed"?

Didn't they realize this may be their Greatest Problem in Diplomacy?

Diplomacy is about getting the Best deal out of the Global situation for the welfare and benefits for our country. Najib knows this, so does Duterte but not our PM Lee and his bunch of inept colleagues.

Our Core Interests in the South China Sea saga is NOT about judging who is right or wrong, nor who should have what claims. All countries around the world will have their own territorial claims and nobody could really change their stance or mind, lest a Little Red Dot like Singapore! And this is not ordinary country we are dealing with but an economic as well as military giant in the making!

Our main Core Interest is only to keep SCS a safe passage way for our trading port to function effectively and it is about maintaining PEACE instead of escalating conflicts which may result in potential war. Besides, we are NOT even one of the claimants in this SCS saga!

PAP government has got it ALL Wrong. We may not like what China is doing but our aim is to maintain status quo of Peace at SCS, not about banging our heads against the evolving giant in this region.

And we have over 100 billions invested in China but yet, this silly bunch of White Ministers actually think they could get away with agitating China without getting hurt?

Someone keep pestering me to say what's my plan or how would I handle such situation. I would say that my only interest is to keep Singapore prosperous out of any situation. We should not take side but maintain our position that it is for EVERYONE's interest to keep Peace at SCS. No matter what happens, how the situation develops, we should always maintain PEACE within the region, especially at SCS.

To ask people to subject to some "international settlement" when one side didn't agree to bring it to International Court in the first place, is UTTERLY NAIVE and silly. International Law and judgement passed is one thing but could it be ENFORCED? The Americans have been ruled against in international court before but they just ignored them and what could the other countries do about it? An International judgement which is not enforceable is as good as toilet paper!

That's the reality of International politics and diplomacy.

Goh Meng Seng

Sunday, May 28, 2017

TOTD - SAF Waste Basket of Talents

Thought of the Day - SAF Waste Basket of Talents

Have you noticed Singapore has produced quite a number of Generals every few years which will take up various positions in GLCs, Statutory Boards and such in the past?

For a small army which has NEVER fought a major war before to chunk out so many Paper Generals is rather amazing! If we were to count the "General - Army personnel" ratio, I bet we will be one of the HIGHEST in the world!

No wonder our Defence Budget is so high because we have to pay so many Generals as well as all other Colonels supporting them.

PAP government has followed its past traditions of giving out SAF scholarships and President Scholarships to the Top A Level students every year.

Yes, our Elitist PAP also select people based on A Level grades and you will be assured of good life ahead if your A Level results are one of the Best. PAP's flawed and extremely Elitist Meritocracy is determined solely by A Level grades which a 18 or 19 year old kids could get!

A friend of mine lamented in private chat over this.

In Economic theory, this is "crowding effect" of talents with bias tendency. And this is detrimental to the growth of our economy and private enterprises.

These Scholar-Paper-Generals (SPG) wasted more of their time in army for 20 over years before they were asked to leave and chuck into some GLCs or statutory boards. They have totally ZERO real life corporate experience but just helicopter into high position to lead any organizations assigned to them. Those who have been working in these organizations, amassing great amount of experience in the field, were passed from such promotions. I wonder how these people would feel, having a totally "Clueless Idiot" in the field to lead and tell them what to do! eg. The latest SPG former navy chief jumping into MOE to become Perm Sect.. Hey, he is totally clueless about Education!

The worst part is to have these SPGs to parachute into such important positions such as "Permanent Secretary" which has become rather "impermanent" nowadays! Every 2-3 years, Perm Sect will change. How could they have garnered enough experience and contribute to the Ministries adequately? In the past, we used to say, even if you put an idiot as a Minister or Minister of State, the Perm Sect will be able to run the show. But in the end, our Perm Sects are now totally lack of experience and "Half Barrel Filed"! it will be left to the mid-high level Directors of the Ministries to run the show! It will be extremely unstable and chaotic for these Ministries and definitely the sustainability of the whole system will be in question.

I do not expect a Perm Sect to stay in that position for more than 2 decades but definitely not this type of "touch and go" situation!

Short tenure for Perm Sect will create a serious problem. These people will only aim for SHORT TERM VISIBLE results but ignore LONG TERM beneficial planning! Just like the NOL saga! Selling assets off will of course create "huge value" for the government in the short term but what is the long term strategic implications?

Worse of all, the new Ministers may not even be well verse in their own Ministries as many of them have been "Merry Go Round" rotating among the Ministries... how could they possibly be contributing to the LONG TERM planning for the Ministries and Singapore as a whole with such short term tenure? It is seriously a situation of "the clueless leading the blind".

SAF has become a Waste Basket for "Talents". The current practice of SPG Elitism should be reviewed because it has proven to be detrimental to the development and growth of a Nation's economy by crowding out talents from private sectors as well as making them invalid to the corporate world after decades of "Yes Man" molding. We are starting to see the great harm that such system is doing to us now.

Goh Meng Seng

Friday, May 05, 2017

TOTD: May Day Lunch Box Economics

Thought of the Day - Lunch Box Economics

The Prime Minister's Stealing Advice

It is shocking to hear our Prime Minister trying to lecture our workers on how we should “steal other people's lunch boxes” in this year May Day celebration.

There are a few issues here:

1) To many Singaporeans who have lost their jobs to some cheap foreign substitutes, all thanks to PAP’s FT policy which encourages and allows millions of foreign labour to come to Singapore and work under the guise of job creation for Singaporeans, this is a totally ironic statement that needs cynical mocking! PAP government is the one who helps Foreigners to “Steal” our lunch boxes right at our doorstep and yet the PM has the cheek to tell us go and steal othet people's lunch boxes? That's basically shameless!

2) PAP government has basically stolen part of our workers’ lunch boxes recently, practically reducing the size of our lunch boxes by increasing Water Fee by 30%, Electricity tarriff, cooking gas and we expect more to come。。。 maybe GST or public transport fares. Can PAP stop stealing our luncheon meat from our lunch boxes?

3) In all international free trade agreement negotiation, all countries will try very hard to protect their own citizens’ lunch boxes but only PAP would sell our workers out by agreeing UNLIMITED foreign labour to come to this tiny red dot to steal Singaporeans’ lunch boxes! Oh while talking about this, I wonder how PAP and PM are going to negotiate more favorable FTA terms when other countries will now be extremely wary about PAP‘s intention of stealing their citizens’ jobs!?

4) Most probably our PM has run out of ideas in ensuring our own citizens can have meaningful well paying jobs insteas of facing rising unemployment rate. Lim Swee Say could actually say that jobs are not lacking but it is Singaporeans who do not have the skils! Hey, Singapore is a First World Country with best universities, tertiary institutions and education system in this part of the world! Many people from surrounding third world developing countries yearn to study in our schools! How could our education system unable to provide the necessary knowledge and skills for Singaporeans to get decent paying jobs while foreigners from third world countries could have those skills instead? He is basically insulting our intelligence!

5) The economic theory of Free Trade and Globalization isn't based n stealing other people's lunch boxes. If that is the case, no country would want to open up trade. The fundamental Free Trade is not based on competitive advantage but rather comparative advantage. It strives to provide win win situation instead of cannibalism if lunch boxes from others. Maybe our PM and the whole cabinet of million dollar ministers should go back to school learn basic economics fundamental





The Incoherent Excuses


First, it was Minister Lim Swee Say who said there is no lack of jobs in Singapore but it is Singaporeans "lack of skills" to take up these jobs.

Then we have Minister Ong Ye Kang who said Singapore capped the number of Singaporeans studying in local universities at 30%!

Now, it seems that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing! If PAP is to cap the number of Singaporeans from obtaining the highest learning of knowledge and skills at 30%, no wonder we are lack of "skills" while we have to import so many Degree Holders (some with dubious certificates) from Third World Countries!

Job Reality on the Ground

We seemingly have a bunch of ministers who have totally lost touch of the ground. On one hand the Ministers think by capping the number of Singaporeans going to local Universities could prevent more Singaporeans from being unemployed graduates, thinking that by having more poly and ITE graduates with skills training, will make them more employable while the other Minister thinks that there are jobs but Singaporeans lack the skills...

If 70% of Singaporeans are already sent to poly and ITE, why are Singaporeans still lacking of skills?

The truth is, everyone who have education in Singapore should have acquired a certain skill sets and definitely so for university graduates.

The truth is, most of the time Singaporeans without a university degree will be scorned and salaries suppressed because employers will say "at this salary of xxx I can employ a FT with degree or even a master degree blah blah blah"....All thanks to PAP's extremely lax FT policy!

The Major Irony

Ironic... while PAP keeps talking about continuous Life long learning and upgrading, but in the end they want to restrict the number of people going to local Universities at 30%!

And PAP always lament Singapore does not have even "Talents" thus needs Foreign Talents from Third World countries but now we know it is PAP itself which deliberately restricts Singaporeans from grooming into Talents by depriving them a place in Universities via setting this limited quota!

Do you see the True Color of PAP yet?

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, April 24, 2017

TOTD: Technology KISS - Bus Fare System

Thought of the Day - Technology KISS

Recently there is an article and comments which try to mock or belittle Mr Tan Kin Lian in bringing up an idea of improving the cash payment system for bus company.

It is quite typical of Singaporeans, really. They don't really understand the problem and how system could be improved before they tried to belittle others.

Mr Tan had put up a suggestion that all cash payment for bus ride should be fixed at a price (let's say $2 or $3) and that will keep it simple.

I understand where Mr Tan is coming from but not many of his detractors. First thing you got to ask yourself, have you tried to take a bus by paying cash before? If so, do you always get your bus fare right all the time without the need to ask the driver? Most of you will not know how much and some of you would think the fare is the same as the EZ-Link card fare!

This is the problem Mr Tan tries to address. Application of Technology may not be always good. The principle I used to assess whether an application of Technology is excellent, good or bad or flawed is to look at KISS. What is KISS?

KISS is Keep It Simple and Stupid. Technology is supposed to make life better by making the process Simple and Idiot Proof. It would and should probably increase productivity, effectiveness and efficiency. If it doesn't, then the system is flawed. (I have used this to assess the Self-Check-in System implemented in Changi Airport as well. I will touch on this again in my future post)

For example, the EZ-Link card is a good system, though not the Excellent system. Why? Because it does not address the issue of people forgetting to tap while exiting the bus. It does not expand to other usage like replacing the cash card system and for retail purpose. This is only passable with a Grade C as compared to Hong Kong's Octopus Card, in my view.

As for the Cash payment system for the buses here, it is utterly complex and it is neither efficient nor productive. If a commuter does not know his fare, he will ask the driver. This will take a couple of minutes normally. And for this system, the bus company has to employ additional supervisors to do spot checks on buses just because of the relatively fewer commuters who use cash payment!

Hong Kong system is something worth looking at. Although Hong Kong's system does not differentiate fare based on whether you use Octopus Card or cash, or that it will give discount when you change bus or train (this is part of the strength of Singapore's system), but it is simple, neat and clean. The bus fare is based on a stepping down system. When you take the bus from the terminal, it will charge you a flat fare of let's say $7.80. At the next section (maybe a few bus stops away), the fare may drop to $6, etc.

The beauty of this system is that it is KISS. When you board the bus, if you use Octopus Card, you only tap once when you board and bus fare deducted. You don't need to worry on whether you would forget to tap when you alight the bus. If you use cash for payment, there will be LED display panel to show how much you should pay. The bus driver will just make sure you pay the right fare. No tickets needed or given! End of transaction.

Is there any technology applied here? Yes. The Octopus Card system as well as the auto-fare calculation display panel. And you don't need bus company to send people going around to check whether you have paid the fare or not!

Singapore could adopt the part of cash payment system. If you are paying cash, then be prepared to pay more or just equal if you are taking full ride to the terminal end. The fare will be calculated based on maximum distance trip. For example, if you take a bus from the start terminal, you will pay the full fare from Start to End Terminal in cash, regardless of where you will be alighting along the way. The LED display panel will show that fare. Even if you take the bus at mid-point, the fare calculated will be from mid-point to End Terminal, regardless of where you want to alight.

For this system, there will not be a need of issuing tickets nor sending bus conductors to do spot checks (save cost to the bus companies). The commuters will have fare clearly stated to them when they board the bus, don't need to waste time of asking the bus drivers and having the drivers to start figuring out the actual fare.

You do not need to be Techie to use such system like searching through internet or phone apps, just like EZ-Link card. It is basically Simple and Stupid Idiot Proof system.

It improves productivity, effectiveness and efficiency. Quite easy to implement as well.

The main problem with Singaporeans is that they do not observe and learn much things about other systems in other places when they travel. Most Singaporeans would think our system is the best around the world without knowing how fast the other cities had progressed.

The worse part is that they started to attack others who would just comment on the inadequacy of our own system without much thinking on whether there are better ways of improving it

On the sideline:

I have known Kin Lian Tan for quite some time now and I know he is always trying to comment on how things in Singapore can be improved. In fact, his consistency in doing so just demonstrates he genuinely care for Singapore.

Try asking Tony Tan to take the public transport, or even board the bus and see whether he knows how to use that EZ-Link card! Or simply ask the standard questions to all President-wannbe, how much is the bus fare in cash for our system! See how many of them could really answer without googling for it!

Thus, I find it extremely disappointing in some Singaporeans who are so myopic and vindictive, blinded by their own prejudice, emotions and misplaced "loyalty" to see the BIGGER context of things. Other than Tan Kin Lian and maybe Tan Jee Say Tan, had any other President candidates contributed their ideas, time and effort in trying to improve Singapore?

Goh Meng Seng

After Note:

Just for illustration. The current cash payment system is horrendous. For short trips, you will pay almost DOUBLE of the card payment. For my system, it may be more or lesser depends on where you board and alight the bus.

But for long distance travel, you will definitely pay lesser than the current system by paying cash.



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

HDB 99 Year Lease Time Bomb



At least TWO PAP Ministers (Khaw Boon Wan & Lawrence Wong) have confirmed my point about the HDB 99 Year Lease being ZERO in value when the lease expired. This is an important critical fact that most Singaporeans have ignored for decades and despite of such reality, Singaporeans are still pumping huge amount of money willingly into HDB resale market which in turn, pushes up the new BTO HDB flats!

This is one of the important reason why I would insist a TOTAL de-link of new BTO prices from resale market prices because it doesn't make sense at all.

There are two broad ways of analysing the impacts and implications of this HDB 99 Years Leasehold issue. i.e. Macro Level vs Micro Level.

Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong has recently flip-flopped over this HDB 99 year lease issue. First he admitted that when the lease is up, the HDB flat will have ZERO value and the "Leasers" (which Singaporeans always thought themselves to be "owners") will have to return the HDB flat to HDB and HDB has to return the land to SLA. But a couple of days later, in a dismay effort to cushion off the shocking effect on Singaporeans, Lawrence Wong came up with the notion that "HDB is a good store of value"!

How could HDB flats which will depreciate and end up with ZERO value eventually to be a "good store of value"? That's totally nonsensical and illogical.

There are many people and well known bloggers who have written on this topic and got many points right but miss a few critical points altogether.

Micro Perspective

The former MND Minister Mah Bow Tan and up to now, Lawrence Wong, keeps talking about "Monetize HDB flat for Retirement", which is a totally flawed concept. I would have debated against Mah Bow Tan on this point LIVE on TV if he had dared to accept my challenge back in GE 2011 and I would have shot straight into his face with this 99 Year Leasehold issue of HDB and ask him how could it be possible to "Monetize HDB for Retirement" when most Singaporeans would face great difficulty in selling off their HDB flats when it passed the 50 year lease mark?

Yes, the Time Bomb doesn't start to blow up with it reaches 99 Year but rather, when your flat reaches 50 year old. How many people are able to fork out over $3000 or even $2000 monthly to pay their mortgage for your 50 year old resale HDB flat? Or even if they could afford to, why would they want to buy your flat knowing that it is going to depreciate further and become ZERO in value in the next few decades?

I believe the projections by the chart above (by Soh Yun Yee) is just too overly optimistic. HDB flats which pass that 50 year mark, would have suffered a steep fall in value thereafter!

And look at it this way, for HDB flats, you cannot own TWO HDB flats at the time! Thus it means that if your parents passed away and left you their HDB flat while you still own a HDB flat, you will have no choice but to sell one away! i.e. either you sell off your own HDB flat or your parent's HDB flat! Many Singaporeans will face this problem and with the upcoming silver bombing due to aging population, the resale market will be flooded with lots of old HDB flats with lease less than 60 years or 50 years while demand will be extremely small!

Thus, what is the impact? A major collapse of resale market for HDB flats which have less than 50 years lease!

This is the FUNDAMENTAL difference between a Private Property vs HDB flats with the same 99 year lease. For Private Property, you could still keep that property which you inherit from your parents and rent it out, really "monetize" it, but for HDB? You can't.

For Private Property, there is a good chance for you to seek private en-block and monetize it fully, renewing the lease again when you do so. But for HDB? You will have to wait for HDB to initiate that SERS which is basically non-existence now because it is not PROFITABLE for HDB to do so! This is the reason why only 4% of HDB flats had gotten SERS and Minister Lawrence Wong has "hinted" or rather "WARNED" that Singaporeans should not expect their HDB flats to enjoy SERS!

Macro Perspective

Uncle Leong has rightly pointed the following:


There are 1 million HDB flats, of which 70,000 or 7 per cent are over 40 years old. About 280,000 units are 30 to 40 years old. That’s one in three flats 30 years or older.

But what is exactly the implication? It means that by 2020, the problems of 99 Years Lease will start to surface. Yes just 3 more years. Most HDB flats were built in late 1960s, 1970s to 1980s. From 1970s to 1980s, we have housing estates like Tiong Bahru, Tanglin Halt, Queenstown, Bukit Merah, Bukit Ho Swee, Toa Payoh, Hougang (old Hougang), Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Jurong etc built within this period. It would also mean that many flats from these towns will face the problems when they cross 50 years lease, starting from 2020 (1970 to 2020, it is 50 years)!


It also means that if PAP government just stop doing SERS or do it at extremely slow rate, when the lease expired for all these HDB flats in these towns, where are these Singaporeans going to find another HDB flat to live in? Where to find even HALF the size of these towns (assuming flats will be built double the height of the old ones) add together to house them?

By 2060, we will start seeing these problems exploding.

On the other hand, do you really think your HDB flats could last 99 years? I am doubtful that most HDB flats could even last 70 years while some could not even last 50 years due to poor quality of the material used during the late 1970s to 1980s construction boom. HDB upgrading could only solve parts of these massive problems. Some old HDB flats even have obvious cracks and problems of concretes falling off that walls before they reach 50 years old!

Conclusion

99 Years Lease HDB flats are good policy deal IF AND ONLY IF the flats are kept at extremely low cost and there are continuous efforts to en-block and rebuild them starting from 30 years old onwards. At least 50% of the flats built from 1960s to 1980s should be SERS or en-block and rebuilt before the 99 years lease expired. This will ensure we have enough land for cross generations usage and cater for gradual population growth.


It is not meant to be "Asset Enhancement" nor "Monetize for Retirement" but PURELY cater to the housing needs of Singaporeans of ALL GENERATIONS. 

Unfortunately PAP has strayed too far away from its initial ideology just to insert all means to milk Singaporeans while kicking the cans of problems down the generations instead of maintaining a good balance in providing for the critical basic needs of Singaporeans.

I would not mind to replace my 99 years lease HDB flats with another one when it is near expiry if I have bought my first HDB flat CHEAP at cost plus and continue to buy my second replacement flat CHEAP at cost plus as well!

But the crazy Asset Enhancement Scheme introduced by PAP government during Goh Chok Tong's era has really screwed us up badly with the poison of greed to entice Singaporeans to use more of their CPF funds to pump up the HDB flats while sold the FALSE dream of forever "Enhanced" value of their HDB flats so that they could "Monetize their HDB Flats for Retirement"! It has mixed up and over-drawn, over-stressed our CPF which should be strictly for our retirement needs!

Singaporeans are blinded by the poison of greed of short term gain in buying and selling their HDB flats in one or two generations, but they have unknowingly, sold out their own retirement plan and their future generations' welfare by falling for such poisonous enticement.

Goh Meng Seng

Friday, April 07, 2017

TOTD: Are We Too Lenient to People Who Misappropriate Public Funds?

While Kong Hee has expressed "disappointment" over his conviction, many more Singaporeans were disappointed or even angry that he and his gang get their sentences halved!

Apparently the sentences meted out by the judges in reduction of their sentences by half, are totally out of expectation and out of sync with public sentiments.

While we expect the court to be independent from "populist" sentiments as well as any other interference but to have a judgement which is totally in reverse of public expectation would create a lot of unnecessary speculations and distrust of our judiciary.

It is of utmost important for the court to publicize and lay out the basis of their judgement and try to convince the public as well as the legal profession that their judgement is right with legal basis in granting a slash of half the initial jail terms meted out by the High Court. It is an important case which may have dire consequences for future similar cases as a precedence.

In contrast to the previous cases of Mingyi monk who was sentenced to jail of 10 months which was reduced to 6 months later for a the $50K illegal loan a close aide along with forgery of documents as well as TT Durai NKF case which he was sentenced to 3 months jail term for forging invoices, this case involves millions and far more complex financial arrangement. in channeling funds to benefit the spouse's singing career, an immediate family member, of Kong Hee. These three cases would become important case study for the law school and the legal argument should be properly set out.

Although in the CHC case, the sentences are seemingly relatively more severe than the previous two cases, but it begs the question of whether our court or legal system is just too lenient to people who misappropriate public funds.

Misappropriation of public funds as compared to private funds should be of more serious consequences as it involves public trust in public institutions. However, these three cases have somehow gave the public the impression or mis-perception that misappropriation of public funds is of lesser consequences to those found guilty of CBT in private companies.

As the saying goes, Justice needs to be done and seen to be done as well. The disparity between public expectation and the sentences meted out by our court may not be a good sign for Singapore and it needs to be resolved asap.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, March 20, 2017

TOTD: Common Sense Lacking in Singapore Banks' Administration

Thought of the Day - Common Sense Lacking in Singapore Banks' Administration

I never have any problem in using the internet and ATM services provided by the banks in Hong Kong.

When I deposit money or do transfer money to another account, they will strike a good balance between "privacy" and providing "relevant" information.

For example, if I keyed in the account number to deposit or do transfer of money, when there is a confirmation page, it will show me the account number as well as partial name of the account holders., eg. Gxx Mxxg Sexx instead of a total blackout or lack of account information. This is to ensure that I am transferring to the correct account!

The printout slip should also review partial account number as well as partial account name to whom the money had been transferred or deposited into, instead of a total lack of account information!

As for the e-Statement, it is pretty silly to send me a "consolidated statement" with only opening and ending balances for my accounts!

Internet access only provide 6 months of details and what if I want to keep a set of my accounts?

Seriously, if this is the type of standards we have in Singapore banks, no wonder we are losing out to Hong Kong as a financial hub! And if our elite bankers are to remain so stupidly complacent and total lack of common sense in providing such customer service, then it is just a matter of time we are going to lose out to our neighbours as financial hub as well!

Goh Meng Seng

Sunday, March 12, 2017

TOTD: "Racial Chauvinists", Religion, Humanity & Balance

Thought of the Day - "Racial Chauvinists", Religion, Humanity & Balance

This is going to be a "political incorrect" and sensitive topic but it sets me thinking for quite a long while.

What will happen when a "perceived" Chinese Chauvinist meets a "labeled" Malay Chauvinist?

A good friend of mine, a Malay, told me that his friend "warned" him about me being "Chinese Chauvinist" and wanted him to "stay away" from me. My friend replied "I am also a Malay Chauvinist, so what?"

Simple Labels are thrown around in politics as a means of divide and rule. I get this "Chinese Chauvinist" label ever since my first electoral contest in Aljunied GRC under WP because I played the role as "Chinese Anchor" by making more speeches in Mandarin during elections rallies. My SAP school background has also been played up to justify this label of "Chinese Chauvinist". But as far as I am concerned, technically speaking, I am not truly a Chinese educated person. I always tell others I am "half Chinese-educated" because SAP schools aren't really "Chinese Education" at all.

Yesterday at the Water Protest, I met a veteran Malay political activist/politician who has been labeled as "Malay Chauvinist" by PAP during one of the hotly contested elections. Guess what happens? Did the "fight" between the two "Chauvinist" figures occur? Nope.

He said to me that he has been following my various postings and find that I have been very fair in writing towards the Malays/Muslims issues.

Deep down in my heart, I regard everyone as a Human Beings first (unless you want to be a dog of some kind...) before you are racially or religiously classified. We have the same color of blood running in our veins. As human beings, we should have the same understanding of Humanity.

I just told him that sometimes, for some "sensitive Malay/Mulsim" issues or perspectives, it is better for Chinese or non-Malay/Muslim to speak up for them, else PAP people would use the opportunity to put labels on those Malays/Muslims who dare to utter those words. We are humans and Singaporeans, we look after and speak up for each other. Don't ever allow PAP to use "divide and rule" on us anymore.

PAP has always emphasized on the FEAR of racial disharmony and what not. It has always proclaimed that we need "racial balance" and it has always been playing the racial card whenever it suits their agenda. The Elected Presidency and GRC system the most prominent examples. Of course, at the same time, it will disallow others from "playing racial politics".

The curious thing is this. While PAP played the racial card well and regularly, it has always shy away from the topic of "religious balance" in politics. Religious political perspective is more sensitive than racial politics to PAP. The last opposition politician who touched on this "most sensitive" topic of "religious balance" in PAP government, got hammered and chased out of Singapore. This is none other than Mr Tang Liang Hong. He had two labels thrown at him, not one. "Anti-Christian Chinese Chauvinist". That was the exact label.

Despite the fact that Mr Tang can speak Fluent Malay and learned Indian Dance, the "Chinese Chauvinist" label was put on him.Yet some Singaporeans actually buy PAP's story! Just because he is really "Chinese educated" and also speak fluent Mandarin. The "Anti-Christian" label was put on him just because he mentioned about the imbalance of religious mix within the Cabinet in one of the dialogue sessions.

He had just poked at the sensitivity of PAP government, which was and still is factually correct.

Religion is of course, a sensitive and emotional issue. Some people could lose their sensibility and even human logical mind when discussing religious topic. Especially in politics, it makes people irrational, ignoring all other issues but focusing solely on their own religious beliefs.

I have met several people of such mindset in my FB. When it comes to the issue of "Israel", it seems that some people just went bonkus. They were "known" to be "opposition supporters" but when I try to make sense of the happening in Israel as an issue of atrocities against humanity, they will somewhat justify that as "Palestine is the God's promised land to Jews". Well, for people like me who do not believe in Abrahamic faiths, this is really a non-issue. The real issue of the day is that sufferings to humanity are happening in Palestine due to Israel's unreasonable doings.

At the end of the day, they would end up with "I will not vote for you" just because I am "against Israel"!

I raise this point to illustrate how religious faiths could greatly affect one's rational thinking and we should NOT pretend that such things don't happen. I would say that beside racial balance, religious balance in politics is an important key issue for Singapore as well. This is especially so when the Abrahamic faiths followers are somewhat affected by the tensions created in the Middle East.

Every religions will have its extremist factions. They might be the minority but their twisted teaching may affect a lot more people unknowingly. Even Buddhism has its fair share of cults created over the decades and centuries.

In Singapore's context, we have to eradicate and prevent such extremism from evolving in ALL religions in Singapore. And the best way to effect such preventive measures is to have a good balance of representation of people with different religious beliefs in parliament as well as the Cabinet. The religious moderates should dominate the political sphere, in prevention of any extremism from any religious faith from hijacking the platform.

However, comparatively, Buddhists and Taoists are rather inactive in the political sphere. Somehow, among the Buddhist community, there is a subtle inherent discouragement of political engagement or involvement due to our religious belief. Most of the Buddhists would just take a detached attitude towards politics. Their religious faith is personal and do not see the need or importance of political involvement.

Even more so for the "elites" in the Buddhist community. They view politics as "dirty" and it would hinder their own practice of mindfulness, gaining merits so that they could be reincarnated or reborn into better realms or even attaining Nirvana.

This is why in Singapore, even though the Buddhist/Taoist community is the largest among the various religions, we are "under-represented" in the political sphere.

But I think otherwise. Buddhists could well be the balancing force in Singapore politics when the tension between the Abrahamic faiths could well spill over from Middle East.

The reason why I could put up a FAIR position on the issue of Islam, Malay and Israel is not because I am Chinese but rather, I am a Buddhist and not bounded by the Abrahamic-faith mindset. I see things as it is, in modern context and I am not bounded by whatever past historical religious happenings in the Middle East.

Having said that, I personally feel that Catholics are generally more moderate in nature. They have a better understanding that Islam, has similar roots to their faith. It is a curious point because the Crusades and Jihads have been fought bitterly between the Muslims and Catholics centuries ago. But they have evolved.

I had a Catholic friend who said that Catholic encourages fasting for one month prior to Easter or Good Friday. They will fast for a meal a day and the money saved from this meal, they will donate out to charity. Doesn't that sound familiar? The only difference is that Muslims and Catholics chose to fast on different months but both believe that fasting is essential in keeping mindfulness about the cleansing of their body and mind.

Sometimes many people ask me to give up opposition politics altogether. Well, I will give up eventually and hopefully soon. Like all good Buddhists, I would like to have my last years of my life spent in seclusion and private practice to attain enlightenment. It would be a great blessing if I could become a monk in this life. But for the time being, I will have to continue to play my role and duty to my country.

Hopefully when the time is up, I shall know by Divine intervention. :)


Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TOTD: The Police State - Singapore

I have met an activist not so long ago. He was basically subtly INTIMIDATED by the PAP establishment via physical mail to his residence. They also sent a physical mail to his parents as well.

From the information printed out in the mail and the mail itself, it seems that it came from the SAME SOURCE which THREATENED Roy. And apparently, this is done by someone with the establishment apparatus!

It basically means that most probably ISD is involved in this case.

My young friend is shaken and shocked. He had never believed all the stories I have told him about how ISD operates and only now, he is convinced that PAP has been using or rather, abusing its power as the government to utilize the state's apparatus for its own political agenda.

My young friend had decided to stop all internet writings, activities and close down his FB as well.

I told him pretty straight forward. These dogs are tailing him and decided to bark at him basically because they have psychologists who studied his mental profile. He is scared, afraid and timid, which he refused to admit.

Well, the crux of the matter is this, no matter how I and other more seasoned politicians and activists seem to put forward the proposition that PAP is basically a dictatorship and there is no such as "benevolent dictatorship" but only a FULL POLICE STATE in all essence, terrorizing and using all methodologies to intimidate opponents and dissidents, most people will not believe UNTIL the day that they suffered the same fate of being persecuted by this invisible Police State.

PAP pretends to build a "democracy" but in every essence, it is not a party which believes anything about democracy and its core values. Not only its ministers would openly denounce democracy as "inferior" but in effect, propagate that only one party rule under PAP will be good for Singapore. It also asserts draconian means of any dictatorship would put up.

My young friend is one of the "unfortunate" or "fortunate" one who will experience first hand how a Police State works. But he chose to be threatened, hide away and went on in life with that constant nagging of fear behind his mind. I do not blame him. Most Singaporeans are tamed and timid in every sense, politically speaking. There are really very few REALLY courageous who would stand up and do what that little white monkey does, to PAP.

But make no mistake about it. PAP is not some good and innocent ruling party. It is a party with a great tendency towards full dictatorship. If it is not stopped, then there will be disastrous impact on the democratic development for Singapore. That would be too late for anyone to defend democracy anymore.

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, February 25, 2017

TOTD: PAP's Poison to the Sick Economy


Thought of the Day - PAP's Poison to the Sick Economy

I didn't comment much about the current budget debate now but I look on with much nauseating disbelief with what PAP is doing right now.

It actually reminds me of what happened in 1981 and 1984, when the economic downturn and crisis was imminent but PAP government back then continued to increase cost to the people and businesses. It did cost PAP two seats in parliament but apparently that wasn't bad enough for PAP to learn its lesson.

Most importantly, the economy dipped much worse than expected due to PAP's totally senseless economic policies melted out through its yearly budgets.

70% of Singaporeans have to take responsibility for the current senseless doings of PAP government. They had given PAP such a strong mandate that PAP literally has the total blank cheque to sign on.

We are going to face a serious structural economic downturn in the coming months but what did PAP do? It just adds on the burden of Singaporeans and businesses by raising various costs. Water, as the most basic necessity for human beings, is slated to raise 30% within two years! But PAP's MPs and Ministers, with totally naive and sometimes, idiotic senseless humor, expects Singaporeans' pay to increase in such economic difficult situation while goods and services should not increase in prices!

The water pricing, along with electricity tariff, are the two basic fundamentals for both human beings and businesses. It would be totally naive to believe PAP's rhetoric that each household only pay $18 more on average for water when other goods and services, especially food and beverages, will increase in prices as well!

Right from 2015 "PAP VICTORIOUS 70% mandate", PAP had increased almost everything possible. Mark my word, GST would be the next golden goose they will aim at.

Singapore has already one of the most expensive water pricing in the world while its raw water cost from JB is kept fixed at such a low level. Hong Kong which bought raw water from China, had paid a higher price as compared to Singapore but in the end, Singapore's portable treated water price is more than 5 times more expensive than Hong Kong! Hong Kong is definitely not a "low cost" city but why did Singapore's water price so much higher? There are many reasons but I shall not deal with it here. In fact, the real cost of raw water from JB which Singapore bought, had DECREASED due to depreciated Malaysian Ringgit! Basically, Singapore has allowed cost to escalate without much control.

The introduction of Carbon tax at this instance, will add oil to the fire we have. Not only electricity tariff will go up but all cost will shoot up in no time!

Most people have realized PAP's CFE report is nothing but just old wine in new bottle. These are not some magic pills to address our current and future economic development. But the current acts of PAP increasing so much costs to livelihood in Singapore, is definitely a poison to our ailing economy, which our dear PM refused to acknowledge its sick status.

It is a common knowledge that PAP will want to increase prices and milk Singaporeans for whatever they can milk at the mid term of their 5 year rule so that Singaporeans could slowly forget such pain by the time when elections come in another 2 or 3 years time. They will throw goodies and candies just before the next GE just to appease all voters. They thought the current "bitter pills" would be OK for Singaporeans to swallow but they are wrong. These are really POISON they are feeding Singaporeans, without any good sense of judgement of the current economic situation!

The current Finance Minister, who had just recovered from his "stroke", may not be thinking proper. It is unbelievable for him to come up with such poisons for Singapore at this stage. Finance Minister Heng Swee Kiat should resign if his proposed massive increment in prices, indirect taxes and cost burden to Singaporeans and business finally killed us in the upcoming economic storm.

On top of that, PM Lee should also take assumed responsibility for allowing such bad budget to be passed in parliament.

Goh Meng Seng

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Protest against Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Visit to Singapore



For Immediate Release


Protest against Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Visit to Singapore

The People’s Power Party expresses our dismay and disappointment on the account that the Republic of Singapore is hosting a state level visit with Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. On grounds dear to us, we elect to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people who have until now, been deprived of a rightful independent statehood, and the very fact that Israel’s current hostile policy has put the much awaited Two-States solution into a stalemate. It is without doubt that under the watch of its current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the State of Israel continues to brutalise its position as the unforgiving occupying power over Palestinian territories. Palestinian lands and private properties continues to be confiscated and forcefully vacated to make way for illegal settlements, violating international law and stands in contradiction against various UN charters and resolutions. The latest, being UN Resolution 2334, has been met with obvious defiance from PM Benjamin Netanyahu who once again demonstrated his will not to abide by the Security Council’s mandate. This is indeed a call for concern.

Under Benjamin Netanyahu's watch, Israel continues to choke West Bank and Gaza from getting open access to commerce and trade, freedom to travel, adequate humanitarian aids and necessities and within that wider overview, been a resultant force that has stagnated the economic growth and opportunities of the occupied Palestinian population. The state of this occupation, conducted by aggressive military force that reeks of brutality are indeed acts that are deplorable which has been condemned at international level. Without any withdrawal in sight in view of its occupation policy, any indication from Singapore to host such high level meeting serves to endorse Israel’s disparaging acts.

The Israeli government continues to affirm its illegal stance, calling Jerusalem, a city of shared sanctification by the three Abrahamic faith, as its eternal capital. This violates another UN resolution who has long viewed that such pronunciation are to be rejected outright .

The Palestinian struggle and resistance have taken various shapes and actions. While we do not endorse nor condone acts of deliberate terrorism that hawks on human lives to achieve political aims, the response put forth by Israeli's military has been grossly outweighing in scale. It reeks of vengeance and often undertaking punitive and collective punishments to families of suspected resistant fighters which destroy their homes and places of residence indiscriminately. In effect, Israel seeks to achieve its existence through means that spells acute and deliberate terrorising.

Without doubt, Benjamin Netanyahu, in his capacity as the country’s Prime Minister, has overseen the continuation of such operations. Benjamin Netanyahu’s defiance in response to the latest Resolution 2334’s passing was all too obvious that he is repulsively defiant. His intention to downgrade ties with countries which have been historically friendly with Israel, but had voted for the very resolution, shows the very obvious how far he would go to disregard peace as the ultimate solution to the Palestinian issue. The reactions subsequent to the passing of the resolution from him and his government so far ought to be condemned and reprimanded. Hence, it is ethically wrong for our government to demonstrate a higher level of friendship with a country that perversely downplays, lest disrespect, mandated UN resolutions.

We should not host Benjamin Netanyahu, given the continuing human rights violation and breach of International Law as well as his defiance of UN resolution under his Premiership. We run risk of destroying our warm relationship with our neighbours and contradicting our international standing as a small open country which has championed the Rule of Law, upholding the International Law and an active advocate of the legitimacy of United Nations resolutions. His visit could create an air of distrust and scepticism towards the Singapore’s consistency in our diplomatic commitment in promoting Rule of International Law.

Singapore also prides itself as the bastion of religious and cultural diversity, with its people enjoying a high level of communal integration. Our values in accepting differences among its religious communities have allowed us to prosper as a nation in peace, within ourselves and with our neighbours. Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s apparatus and apartheid rule at present, do not share the same value which we hold dearly. Granting him a state visit could well undermine the very values we have been accustomed to in achieving peaceful coexistence.

PM Lee Hsien Loong should seriously review its relationship with Israel. We hold the innate view that Singapore should continue its neutrality, befitting to humanistic principles, towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without the need to break existing bilateral ties with the State of Israel. On that note, we applaud our government’s effort and diplomatic engagement in finding ways to seek a peaceful resolution to the ongoing Palestinian occupation. We acknowledge our relationship with Israel spanned from the time our armed forces was in its foundation stage. However, we should not turn a blind eye to Israel’s unacceptable conduct and stance with regards to its Palestinian Occupation. These are namely:

1) Disregard of United Nations Resolutions which call upon Israel to carry out the agreed Two-States peaceful resolution to the Palestinian Occupation.

2) Facilitating and initiating ILLEGAL settlement on Palestine land.

3) Supporting and legalising Land-Grab policy in Palestine which grossly and blatantly in breach of International Law with respect to Occupation.

4) Effecting apartheid rule on Palestinian land.

5) Carrying out systemic human rights abuses, terrorising and condone the atrocities carried out by its armed forces in the Occupied land.

All these issues need to be put forth in concessionary stages before Singapore alleviates its bilateral relationship with Israel. The vehemently continuous terrorising nature of Israel towards its occupying residents in Palestine runs contrary to our strong resolve in wanting to eradicate terrorism. Hence it is crucial at this stage that we rescind any invitation that we may have extended to Israel's Prime Minister.

We should instead persuade Israel to honor its earlier agreement to peaceful establishment of the Two-States resolution. We should continue to persuade Israel to end military hostilities and withdraw immediately all the illegal settlements that continues to be constructed in occupied Palestinian territories. It is all too important that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government shows full intention and commitment in abiding with past resolutions to entrench trust in the international community by fostering and pursuing peaceful end of occupation hostilities. Until Benjamin Netanyahu shows his intention to conduct this wilfully, any engagement that we conduct at this level would only deliver an impression that we are in tacit approval of Israel’s condemning actions towards the illegally occupied Palestinian territories.

Goh Meng Seng
Secretary General
People’s Power Party Singapore
For CEC

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Shameless Blatant Glorification of Japanese Invasion and Occupation by PAP



Yaccoob said the name Syonan wasn't used to glorify Japanese Invasion and Occupation. Does he really understand what Syonan means in the full context in the first place?

There is a slight mis-translation in lingo context. Most English translation puts it as "Light of the South" but this is not the wholesome context. In Chinese and Japanese context, "Light" means "Pride"... for example, if a person had won the Olympic Medal and he comes from a school, then the school will say "我校之光", simple English translation means "the light of my school" but in essence, in this context, it basically means he is "the pride of my school"! Look at it in the wholesome context, he has brought SHINE to our school.

Thus, Syonan is basically a term used by the Japan to mean This the the Glorious Pride of Japanese Empire! So how can Yaccoob comes to the conclusion that by using this name for the Memorial, he is not GLORIFYING the Japanese Invasion and Occupation?

Secondly, I get even more FUMED by the photo below:

It says "Syonan Gallery : War and its LEGACIES"

Now, WHOSE LEGACIES are we talking about here? Syonan, the Japanese Glorious Legacies? Atrocities like raping, torture, sufferings, massacred and killings... all these are "LEGACIES"? Isn't this glorifying the Japanese Glorious Victorious Invasion and Occupation?

Goh Meng Seng

TOTD: PAP Government's Idiocy in Naming WWII Memorial

Thought of the Day

I really find the PAP government exceptionally DISTASTEFUL even in choosing a name for a memorial exhibition gallery of World War II. Maybe they need to spend another half a million dollar on "Consultant Fee" to some crony company to review the disgraceful and disrespect name of Syonan Gallery.

It is inexcusable for PAP to make such low level brainless mistake in choosing such a name! Maybe the "Power that be" had not suffered that much under Japanese Occupation, which in fact, made a little fortune during that period of time, that made them totally insensitive to the pain and scars of those families who had suffered greatly under Japanese Occupation.

The Japanese Occupation forces in China called China as "Cheena" (支那)or Sick Man of Asia(东亚病夫) , can you imagine if the Chinese start to have memorial gallery named as "Cheena Gallery" or "Sick Man of Asia Gallery"? You will definitely have riot in China if this is to happen!

Unbelievably, I actually saw some opposition leader visiting this Memorial of Shame and Disgrace during its opening! I would have boycotted such disgraceful memorial gallery altogether!

Make no mistake about it. Those PRC or Korean tourists would definitely look down on Singaporeans and regard as some shameless idiots who could actually use such name for a memorial hall of Japanese Occupation!

Goh Meng Seng

P.S.

Some Singaporeans are ignorant of what "Syonan" or "昭南(岛)" means in the context of Japanese Invasion and Occupation. That is excusable because most Singaporeans no longer have strong Chinese learning or know Japanese language.

But for the Historians and PAP politicians who put up that Syonan Memorial, this is inexcusable.

Syonan literally means the Glory Light in the South. In the context of Japanese invasion and occupation, it glorified the Japanese victorious invasion and occupation, bringing the Japanese "Imperial Sun or Light" to the Southern part of Asia.

Thus, by putting the memorial hall as "Syonan Memorial", it literally means "Glory Light in the South Memorial"! Isn't PAP government putting remembrance of the Glory of Japanese Occupation? Isn't this a bloody insult to those who had suffered and killed by the Japanese Imperial army during World War II!

This is why I find it extremely distasteful and disgusting for PAP government to put such name to the Memorial Hall!

Friday, February 10, 2017

People’s Power Party (PPP) Response Committee on the Future Economy Report



For Immediate Release:

People’s Power Party (PPP) Response Committee on the Future Economy Report

We refer to the Committee on the Future Economy report. 

There is nothing exceptionally new from the report apart from recognizing International Trade and Relations as an important integral component of our Economic Success.

International Trade Treaties

People’s Power Party would like to reiterate our stance that whatever Trade Agreement or Treaties signed by the PAP must put Singaporean workers’ interests as the uncompromising first priority.
Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has been very focused on securing trade agreements for its economic sustainability in an increasingly globalised world. 

Nonetheless, trade deals had more often came along with some trade-offs. One nagging opportunity cost has been the unemployment of locals.

In recent years and decade, we have seen PAP government having negotiated and signed Free Trade Agreements without much public consultation, debate or engagement. These FTAs include CECA signed with India which had basically opened up the flood gate for Indian PMETs to get jobs and stay in Singapore without much control. This has inevitably displaced quite a number of Singapore workers. In return, CECA mainly benefited large corporations like Temasek Holdings and GLCs to invest in India without substantial job creation for Singaporeans. 

We have also seen PAP government negotiated the now-failed TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) in secrecy without any public consultation. Only big MNCs were involved in the negotiation without the involvement and participation of our Labour Union or any other political parties or civil society groups. 

The failure of the TPP may mean a loss of opportunity for Singapore’s businesses.
However, we are more concerned about the need for transparency of any negotiation or signing of such trade pact . 

The failure of TPP coupled with the shocking “Brexit” of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, presented starkly to Singaporeans sudden moves against agendas that they have been herded towards.

Coming out of these shocking episodes is the clamour for transparency. The peoples of those nations wanted their voices to be heard and they have done so. The citizens of the US and UK have signaled that they want to be involved in decision-making that involves their lives and affects their nations. They want to know the details and not just be told. 

It would only be wise for the Singapore government to be open for a constructive dialogue that discusses the costs and benefits of all trade pacts including the TPP. 

PPP would like to suggest a public forum in which Singaporeans would be able to discuss any future negotiation of Free Trade Agreement with the Singapore government directly. This is especially important when FTA in present context is no longer just about demolishing trade barriers but involve more other aspects such as free mobility of labour, legal aspects of commerce and trade etc.

International Relations

We have seen how PAP’s missteps in handling international relationship had caused much upheaval, tension and unnecessary pressure to Singapore businesses in China. 

PPP would like to remind PAP that it no longer enjoys the protection of political goodwill and respect that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had garnered and it should tread carefully in the world politics, especially when it comes to the politics of big countries with huge economic clout. 

Singapore has survived and prosper throughout the decades with the help of great diplomacy in building bridges, making friends and creating political stability in our immediate region of existence. We have survived the uncertainty due to Confrontation, Vietnam war, Korean war, Cambodia war and the uncertainties due to the cross strait ties between China and Taiwan. We have managed to turn past enemies and threats into friends. We should not create unnecessary tensions in our region which is critical to our survival and prosperity. 

Apart from Globalization and Free Trade, Diplomacy of Peace is one of the most important survival strategy for an open economy like Singapore. It is worrying to witness how the current PAP government handle International Relationship and Diplomacy which will eventually affect our economic well being as a whole. 

We can only hope that the current mindsets of those involved in PAP government’s dangerous diplomatic stunts could be replaced with more humility and wisdom. 

Soft Power of Cultural Essence and Organic Industrial Growth

While we are not against the PAP government spending money on upgrading the skills of Singapore workers, but we observe throughout the decade, such programs had minimum value add to Singaporeans when our workers are not protected adequately from the displacement due to the influx of foreign PMETs. 

We also observe that PAP government has finally given up spotting “successful industry” to bet on after experiencing mediocre results from past bet on Bio-Tech industry. PAP government had led us in chasing rainbows one after another in the past decades but in the end, many Singaporeans of past generations eventually found that their skills are fast becoming obsolete when PAP tried to focus on other industries. 

We have serious doubt of such economic strategy. We would like to stress that most productive and useful innovations are derived from organic industries instead of learning something totally new and trying to compete with other countries which are already experts in this field. 

Singapore should identify its own Organic Growth Industries: those industries which we have comparative and competitive advantages. Innovations should be developed from these Organic Growth Industries to increase productivity. Else, we would be chasing Rainbows again like a headless chicken in the fast changing world of technology.

While technology is important in today’s economy, we should not lose sight of the Soft Power of Cultural Essence. We observe that there is a lack of utilization of Cultural strength in our local businesses and industries. 

There is a lack of in-depth exploration of the huge economic potential of our rich cultural heritage. Although we have a few good local brands that go regional and international, but compared to other countries we are still lacking behind. It shows that we have not put in enough efforts to help local companies in making use of our Cultural strength to enhance our international brand status.

Our cultural heritage could also provide us an advantage in enhancing our role in economic connectivity with our regional neighbours. But the apparent lack of general knowledge of our neighbouring countries has become a hindrance in making us an effective hub for the region. 

Increasing Business Cost vs Productivity Growth and Wage

DPM Tharman had put up a grand strategy to increase yearly productivity growth by 3% back in 2011. It seems that it has become an empty promise again. 

There are a few reasons why our Productivity Growth has been extremely low in recent decades. The high cost of doing business in Singapore has forced businesses to look for cheaper labour from foreign sources. This high business cost is basically due to the high rental which was basically controlled by GLCs and government agencies. Apart from that, indirect taxes such as COE on commercial vehicles has also taken a toll on businesses, especially business start-ups. 

Instead, PAP had addressed these issues by opening up the floodgate for cheap foreign labour which inevitably affect local wages and even displacement of local workers creating underemployment. Such move will inevitably reduce productivity growth as well as wages. 

The only way to ensure that Singapore continues to grow with high productivity growth is to prevent a Rent-Seeking Economy to develop. Rental and indirect taxes should be controlled so that more resources could be put into developing local human resources as well as business development.
Unfortunately, the CFE report did not touch on these important issues at all. 

Business Connectivity and Market Intelligence

There is generally a weak support of Market Intelligence and Research provided to local SMEs to help them in reaching out to the various matured as well as emerging markets in the region and the world. 

While the GLCs enjoy the support from the various government statutory boards in providing the necessary help in getting connected to the world and obtaining market intelligence of target markets, SMEs lack a comprehensive approach in obtaining such information and network.
If networking and connectivity are crucial for our local economic success, we would expect the PAP government to put more resources into building up resource centre and network of trade offices that focus on providing relevant information to local SMEs. 

Conclusion

We hope that this CFE report is not just another old wine in new bottle effort by the PAP government.

Sivakumaran s/o D Y Chellappa
Vice Chairman c/o Head of Policy Research
For CEC of People’s Power Party

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

TOTD: Hypocrisy of PAP's Minority Representation



PAP has tried very hard to justify its amendments to the Constitution with regards to the Elected Presidency. It has said that we should have "Minority" Representation for our Elected Presidency and thus, set up entry barriers to bar competition from other potential contenders.

However, the Elected Presidency is NOT about Minority Representation but a representation of National Interests in providing the necessary INDEPENDENT Institutional Checks and Balances to the Government of the Day in safeguarding our National Reserves!


Such lame excuses are typical of PAP and it is actually quite frightening. The Hypocrisy of PAP is further exposed when they demolish the very fundamental excuse of Minority Representation by denying that there is a need for by-elections if the Minority MP in a GRC has resigned or dismissed from his or her position!

There is no single doubt that whatever PAP has done or is trying to do is all SELF-Serving and we must be very worried now because we should ask ourselves, why would PAP go all length to prevent REAL Checks and Balances to be installed?

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, January 21, 2017

TOTD: The Parasites of Elitist Cronism

Thought of the Day - The Parasites of Elitist Cronism

GLCs or Government Linked companies used to be the PRIDE of Singaporeans where many Singaporeans would like to work for them. We always thought that being "government linked", they are big and supposed to protect Singapore's and Singaporeans' interests, including those Singaporeans who work for them. And indeed, in the past, these GLCs set the high standards of employment, in terms of pay as well as benefits, in Singapore's labour market.

But now, we suddenly find more and more of these GLCs are actually in suspect of breaching the labour law or good HR and employment practices. Some even bully their lowly educated employees to take advantage of them, by deducting their over time hours consistently without giving any good reasons and making them working excessive overtime hours, much more than the 73 hours over time per month allowed by labour law.

Worse still, these entities play with figures manipulated the pay structure in their employment contract as contrast to their advertised salary. They set extremely low basic pay so that whatever overtime pay you claim would be based on a low pay structure. Furthermore, they will set unreasonable conditions to milk the employees, basically inhumane to take away the "monthly allowance" if the employees take Medical leave or annual leave in the month which were legitimately protected as entitlement under the labour law!

Basically such employment terms are MODERN SLAVERY to the max and it is really unimaginable that all these bad practices are actually coming from our once glorious GLCs!

And now, we have another GLC trying to disguise massive retrenchment as some "sacking of under performers" in the bid to avoid paying retrenchment compensation!

What is wrong with all these GLCs? Well, to me, this is the inevitable result of a government that runs on Ultra-capitalism mindset. The top management will only care about their own fat pay cheque and to meet all KPI (Key Performance Indicators) so that they could get more salary increment to their million dollar pay as well as asking for bigger "performance bonus". But these KPI or "performance" don't really add value to the company nor the economy as a whole. These are all based on exploitative unethical enslaving employment practices rather than real value add to the company.

This is the reality of PAP's entrenched rule of over 50 years. They have lost sight of their moral compass in running the country after all these years and ended up with a bunch of elitist cronies who are turning into parasites of the whole system. Instead of adding real value to the companies, people and country as a whole, they are only interested in feeding on the blood and sweat of the people.

When they screw up a GLC and cannot turn it around, they would just do lelong sale of valuable assets to show unreal "profitability and value", cut cost by cutting jobs to continue justify their big fat pay and eventually sell off the whole company to foreign ownership just to wash off their hands of the inconvenient truth of their failure! Well, never mind if that is an National iconic company!

This is the sad state of affairs in Singaporeans, run by a group of unethical, heartless and soul-less, undeserving and overpaid elitist cronies groomed by PAP's rule!


Goh Meng Seng

Monday, January 16, 2017

TOTD: Back to Fundamental of CPF

Thought of the Day -
Back to Fundamental of CPF

I was talking to a friend over CPF issues recently and it seems that I have some of the more "radical" thought over CPF.

CPF was supposed to be meant for retirement financing but in the end, it becomes some sort of "piggy bank" for PAP as well as Singaporeans for many purposes.

First, PAP allowed you to use CPF to buy properties. Most Singaporeans are happy with such arrangement as they feel that they will be able to own a property in their lifetime. I also used up all my CPF available to buy property but that is because I do not trust PAP with my money. This is another issue for another day.

Then PAP says that you can use your parents' CPF or your own CPF to pay for higher education. On top of that, you can use your CPF to pay for your parents, children, brothers, sisters etc medical fees!

Singaporeans thought that these are all "good arrangement" but the truth is, it will create two/three problems:

1) Over consumption of housing, education and medical care
2) Depleted CPF for your retirement
3) Kicking the can down the road

On top of that, it will create other problem of another dimension:

1) Over reliance on CPF money for anything, everything
2) Weakening of Financial management skills and planning
3) Total lack of saving habits

Most financial planners will tell you that you will need to save a certain percentage of your salaries every month for future retirement. It is normally set at 20% to 25% of your income, depending on your income level.

But due to PAP's conflicting policy needs, it has totally messed up the CPF system and in the end, it resorts to setting some unrealistic arbitrary "minimum sum" which many lower income earners could not meet mainly due to the over consumption of housing. i.e. they were allowed to buy properties which they couldn't afford and shouldn't buy in the first place, if they were to stick to the 25% savings rule for retirement!

The only right way to due with this situation is set the saving rate for CPF at 25% (contribution of employee and employer add together) while banning people from using it for just any other thing, especially for housing and medical fees for other family members!

Employer's CPF contribution should stay at 17% while employees' contribution should be cut from 20% to 8%. This would mean that employees or Singaporeans will have additional 12% of their income in cash. If they need to buy property and use it to pay their mortgage, they can use this additional 12% cash to do so. However, they should not use any CPF money for mortgage payment.

For young people, they should start to learn how to do financial planning and I reiterate this point that basic financial planning concepts and knowledge should be taught in the common school curriculum! They should make it a habit to save for down payment for their first property purchase and plan for their mortgage payment as well. In general, for middle-lower income earners, they should not be using more than 35% or 40% of their income to pay for mortgage. This will prevent them from over-consuming housing and it will keep property prices in check.

If they intend to start their own little business, they could save up these extra 12% of their income for future business plan!

Our property prices have been artificially pushed up due to the excess liquidity which PAP allows Singaporeans to use CPF in doing so. This applies to prices of Medical care as well. It is precisely that Singaporeans do not "feel the direct pinch" from using their CPF money to pay for Medical care or housing, they tend to not mind spending excessively on these products and services. Of course, HDB and hospitals alike, are also happy to charge higher prices because "it is affordable" to Singaporeans due to the excess liquidity provided by CPF!

PAP has abused the system in skewing the "affordable" argument. It is not affordable when Singaporeans are paying more than 35% or 40% of their salary for a 30 year mortgage. That is totally rubbish argument of affordability because if you purchase your property at the age of 30, by 60 years old, you will have very little left in your CPF account for retirement!

The proper way of inducing better financial management by Singaporeans is to make them manage their finances according to the fixed CPF retirement saving rate (which could be adjusted according to income level) so that they would make better rational choice in their spending in housing, education as well as medical care.

This may sound "radical" to many unthinking Singaporeans and they may just jump up and down denouncing such plan but this is the only right thing to do in the face of ageing population.

Goh Meng Seng