Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The FATAL Mistake of PAP

The FATAL Mistake of PAP

Well, the Fatal Mistake fell upon Singaporeans while PAP made use of such manipulation of CPF-HDB financing to boast its own political capital built upon the great cost on Singaporeans' retirement financial adequacy as well as future generations of Singaporeans' housing needs.

Many people do not understand why I call Asset Enhancement Scheme as an outright scam. Let me explain in simple terms.

If someone forced you to put 50% or 40% of your salary into his safe keeping, promising you a miserable return of 2.5% per annum but tells you that you could use a big bulk of it to purchase only a precious stone from him and nothing else. He claims that it will increase in value forever, 10 times, 15 times, 20 times...

Else, you will have to wait until you are 55 years old before you can take back your money... then, it increases to 65 years old and then, he says, you cannot take out whole lump sum but only bit by bit....

What would you do? Of course you will use whatever amount of money you can get from these money you kept with him to buy this supposed precious stone!

Then, he inflated the price of this precious stone artificially because he is the monopoly supplier of these stones, under the slogan of "enhancing the value of the stones"... in fact, made you pay money to "upgrade" the stone with beautiful boxes.

However, right from the start, this guy knows that these stones could only last 99 years and by then, it will be zero value and under the contract, he could take the stones back from these buyers.

What about the promise of "Asset Enhancement"? What about the Empty rhetoric that these stones will rise in value FOREVER?

Anyone with a good mind would conclude that this is a scam. The contract drafted by that guy has specifically said that the stones will expire and have to be returned to him but yet, he is telling everyone that it is an asset to them and it will rise in value forever!

Now, this is just the beginning of the problem. If it is just a bit of money lost to a scam, that's not a big issue. But in the case of CPF-HDB, a few generations of Singaporeans' retirement financing is at stake!

It is a deliberate scam whereby money, your money, is deliberately channeled into a dead end with only one outlet available. i.e. buying HDB flat (later on private property but that is another issue). It is just like an irrigation of water. PAP had made use of your money, to make its HDB 80% ownership successful and claim credits for it. But it is in fact, a manipulation of your money which results in over-consumption of HDB public housing.

The fundamental Fatal Mistake made here is that in its zeal to get Singaporeans buying its HDB flats which continues to be inflated in prices as compared to 1970s and 1980s, PAP government has encroached into the core CPF funds meant for Singaporeans' retirement.

A prudent financial plan for retirement would require a person to save at least 20% of his or her income for retirement at anyone time. With prudent investment return about 5%-8% above inflation rate, it would provide a decent retirement for everyone.

A balanced financial plan would mean that a person should only spend 20% of his or her income on housing. This would mean that 40% of his or her income would be set aside for retirement as well as housing. 60% would be available for daily consumption.

However, PAP has screwed it up with its manipulation of the CPF which supposedly acts as function of retirement saving but they have mixed it up with housing financing, apart from other usage.

Only 11% of a person's salary are kept as fixed savings for retirement... inclusive of Medisave for healthcare. To make it worse, the returns for this 11% of savings is just 4%. Hardly meet the requirement of 5%-8% above inflation rate.

Thus, it is not surprisingly at all that most Singaporeans will not be able to afford a comfortable retirement just depending on the CPF savings.

The "solution" that PAP gave initially, is that HDB "is an asset" which Singaporeans could "monetize" for retirement. This was what MBT said during GE 2011 when I questioned PAP rigorously on the principles of having high HDB prices which created insufficient CPF savings for retirement.

I was hoping he would take up my challenge of an open debate on HDB-CPF back then because I would have hantum him with the basic fact that HDB is a 99 leasehold PUBLIC HOUSING which Singaporeans do not have a say on whether they could enbloc their flats. This is basically because, in legality, Singaporeans as HDB dwellers, do not own the land which their flats sit on! They have no legal rights over the land and cannot make any decisions on what to do with it, unlike private property owners.

And if HDB flat is an entity with an expiry date while PAP government apparently is not interested to do SERS for all HDB flats, then how could it be an "Asset" at all in the first place?

HDB flat is a Consumption good, not an Investment good. Period. It is totally misleading, dishonest and irresponsible for PAP to tell Singaporeans that their HDB is some sort of super investment which will rise in value forever!

And if HDB is a consumption good, it is totally unreliable to depend on it for retirement financing at all! Well, first of all, the value of HDB is destined to drop when its lease is running out!

I am explaining the CORE problems of the HDB-CPF axis before providing any viable solutions. It is basically a bad policy of funds manipulation which has gone wrong, resulting in bad financial planning for 80% of Singaporeans.

I am angry at PAP for its reckless and imprudent policy manipulations with total disregard of Singaporeans' welfare and prudent financial planning.

It is a foregone conclusion that most Singaporeans who have paid inflated prices for their HDB flats will suffer when they eventually find that there are insufficient funds in CPF for their retirement. You will see more elderly people pushing carts, washing dishes and cleaning tables in the years to come.

What made me extremely upset is despite of the obvious enslavement scheme of a 30 year mortgage for buying a HDB flat, MBT and PAP back then still blew their trumpets that HDB is still "AFFORDABLE"! Over-spending on mortgage of HDB, resulting in insufficient retirement saving in CPF and sometimes, with additional cash payment to finance a 30 year mortgage but yet, PAP is still blowing the trumpet of "Affordability"?! That's the most irresponsible remarks and political statement made by MBT and PAP.

Wait for my subsequent postings here... I shall touch on what are needed to correct this horrible HDB-CPF axis of evil.

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

TOTD- No Quick Simple Fix for Asset Enhancement Scam

Thought of the Day - No Quick Simple Fix for Asset Enhancement Scam

There are quite a number of people trying to offer quick fixes to the HDB Time Bomb without understanding ALL the problems and BAD impact created by the Asset Enhancement Scam which ultimately linked HDB to CPF, retirement financing.

It is a complex problem which involves multiple dimensions with complex tensions and competing needs. PAP's mistake in its Asset Enhancement Scam has pushed every Singaporeans in HDB towards a narrow dead end which entangles everything in a massive mess.

The fundamental problem of Asset Enhancement Scam is that PAP had changed Singaporeans' mindset and perception towards public housing, HDB. Instead of viewing HDB as a pure consumption commodity which serves as a mere safe roof over our heads, PAP had evoked the Greed factor by treating such basic needs of housing into some Grand Scam of treating it as an "Investment Asset" and releasing huge liquidity of FORCED retirement savings from CPF into HDB.

This created a "self-fulfilling prophecy" that your HDB will increase in price and value which was merely a short term phenomenon rather than a REAL high quality long term investment return. The excess liquidity forcefully released via CPF has created inflationary impact on HDB prices that created that delusion.

Furthermore, it has also transformed our CPF retirement financing model from "Self-sufficiency" towards "Cross-Generation Funding" via the inflation of HDB prices which CPF funds were poured into. i.e. our children, grand children and future generations will be the ones who will suffer and indirectly become the ones who financed the retirement finances of the older generations/our generation due to higher HDB prices!

However, such inflationary path of HDB cannot be sustainable due to the very nature that IT IS STILL PUBLIC Housing in essence and HDB dwellers DO NOT OWN the land at all. The eventual ZERO valuation of HDB flats while they approach their end of lease is INEVITABLE.

This will create a great silver tsunami that would overwhelm Singaporeans.

They must face the reality that PAP has scammed and fooled them into believing something that will never work nor come true.

I will provide a multi-prone approach solution to this mess in time to come. But this will come with a cost to most Singaporeans and please remember, such second best solution will have huge cost and PAP should be made responsible to it politically.

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

People's Power Party Labour Day Message

People's Power Party Labour Day Message

First and foremost, our deepest condolences to the family of Pte Dave Lee Han Xuan who had died of heat injury. PPP takes a serious view on such death of our NS men as they are all underpaid service men without proper insurance coverage by their direct employer, SAF.

We have heard of constant boast of the SAF on how advance their medical service is, especially in dealing with common problem of heat stroke among our soldiers, but yet, we are still losing a good soldier like Pte Dave Lee. Such Death is really one too many and it shouldn't happen in the first place if proper protocols are observed. We urge the authorities to hold an independent inquiry into this incident with external audit on the processes and protocols.

Work place safety seems to be neglected in many other places as well, including GLCs. The recent case of technician bringing PSA to court for exposing him to cancer causing substance asbestos resulting him to develop lung cancer is one fine example. We would not speculate how the court will make their judgement on this case but the fact that PSA had brought its defence based on technicality (of 15 years legal claim time frame) instead of admitting its management neglect and make good of its mistake, is a glaring display of irresponsible corporate culture and management. We condemn such irresponsible management culture which disregard work safety practice that put our workers at great health risk. It is totally unacceptable for a Government Linked Company to attempt brushing its corporate responsibility towards its workers' health safety aside via mere legal technicality.

For all workers in Singapore, we only want to earn our money in a safe environment and return to our home safely to enjoy the fruits of our labour. On top of that, we want to protect the value of the money we had earned but it seems that PAP government has been creaming off our hard earn money through increasing prices of electricity, water tariff, gas, etc. Inflation is the number one enemy to workers and inflating prices on basic necessities is the most damaging to our workers.

To add salt to injury, PAP government has announced that they will be increasing GST from 7% to 9% in the near future! We do not see the need for PAP government to increase GST when it continues to enjoy hefty surplus throughout the years. We do not even see the need for PAP to have GST at all when they are creaming off the returns of our CPF money which was invested in the two Sovereign Wealth Funds; they reportedly earn huge returns more than 4% but we are only given 2.5% to 4% for our CPF savings!

PPP would also urge financial prudence to many Singaporeans who are pouring huge money into their HDB purchases. Whenever there are reports of record high transactions of HDB flats in the resale market, we are very worried. Contrary to what PAP has been propagating throughout the decades, HDB is largely a consumption item rather than an "investment nest" which will help you to fund your retirement. The mis-selling of Asset Enhancement Scheme is politically motivated but financially misleading to all Singaporeans. Any increase in HDB price should NOT be celebrated but be feared as INFLATION on our consumption. The truth is, you will be paying more "property tax" on your HDB if the prices in the resale market continued to increase! But ultimately, our HDB flats will be ZERO in value when its lease expired and there will be little chance of SERS.

We would urge Singaporeans not to be misled by PAP's propaganda into treating your only home as some "great investment" for retirement. Paying huge amount of money, up to million dollars will only increase the cost of your consumption of housing and will not make you rich at all.

While PAP had always boasted about how well our GDP has grown, we would urge all Singaporeans to do a reality check of your salary increase in comparison with GDP growth rates. If there is a shortfall, it would mean that all these talks of good economic growth are quite meaningless.

Last but not least, we wish all Singaporeans a Happy Labour Day.

People's Power Party Singapore