atans1

Archive for the ‘Infrastructure’ Category

Hyflux: Good Friday cruxification

In Corporate governance, Financial competency, Infrastructure on 20/04/2019 at 4:15 am

Christ and the two thieves were not the ones crucified yesterday.

Yesterday (yes on a public holiday), Hyflux said that MayBank had decided to appoint receivers and managers over the assets of Tuaspring, except for the desalination plant and shared infrastructure, and not to extend an agreement whereby it would not enforce its rights over Tuaspring to allow Hyflux to time to conclude a binding agreement with a successful bidder or investor for the plant. The agreement had been extended several times and expired on 16 April.

The integrated asset’s desalination plant is set to be taken over by PUB at zero dollars in May, after PUB issued a notice to Hyflux on 17 April to terminate the parties’ water purchase agreement.

But Hyflux is not dead. It’s juz hanging onto life on a cross

Hyflux said the termination of the collaboration agreement “is expected to have a material impact on the financial performance of the group”.

In the interim, the power plant at the Tuaspring integrated facility is expected to continue operations as usual, it added.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/sm-investments-moves-to-terminate-hyflux-rescue-deal-in-11460852

Btw, can’t stop laughing:

Hyflux said the termination of the collaboration agreement “is expected to have a material impact on the financial performance of the group”

The “financial performance of the group” is one fat zero before this event.

Further reading:

Hyflux: Sue those with money

Hyflux: “going concern” BS/ KPMG again and again

Hyflux on investor losses: “Not our fault, banksters at work”

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Will Oliver Lum and other Hyflux investors still vote for the PAP?

In Financial competency, Infrastructure, Political governance, Public Administration on 18/02/2019 at 7:21 am

Amid all the KPKBing by SIAS, Hyflux investors aided and abetted by the anti-PAP cybernuts, why doesn’t anyone from this mob of born losers point out the “honest mistake” made by an agency of the PAP govt that led Hyflux to build Tuaspring? The Electricity Market Authority (EMA) got a key economic projection wrong, badly wrong, by 50 percentage points: see bits I bolded below.

[I]t is important to highlight that when the Tuaspring project was first awarded in 2011, the outlook for the Singapore power market was very favorable. The Tuaspring power plant was projected to turn in profits from day one. At that time, new power generation plants were planned to support the country’s projected electricity demand with a reserve margin of 30%. Today, however, due to oversupply of gas in the market, the projection by Electricity Market Authority (EMA) in their Singapore Electricity Market Outlook 2017 showed an increase in reserve margin to 80% in 2018. By way of illustration,the average wholesale electricity price has dropped from about SGD220 per MWh in 2011 when the Tuaspring project was awarded to an average of SGD81 per MWh in 2017, resulting in significant losses from electricity generation.

https://www.hyflux.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Hyflux-responses-to-SIAS-letter.pdf

Blame the all seeing, all wise PAP govt that a minister was praising in SunTimes.

Vote wisely. As though it’ll make a difference. With Tan Kin Lian, Mad Dog, Lim Tean and Meng Seng opposing them, the PAP don’t need friends. Sad.

Related posts:

A really curious incident

Did Hyflux’s auditors mislead?

Hyflux fiasco shows why “book value” is BS

Public-private initiatives: the Hard Truth

In Infrastructure, Public Administration, S'pore Inc on 16/02/2019 at 7:17 am

I tot of the National Stadium, Hyflux and MRT (though not technically a public-private initiative) fiascos when I read

The important question is not whether we choose publicly managed infrastructure or public-private partnerships. Neither prevents overbuilt infrastructure projects that do more to profit private interests than to serve public needs. Though we’re used to hearing about burdensome “subsidies” for the most cost-effective modes of transportation, the surface transportation infrastructure we can no longer afford to maintain was built for the least cost-effective mode, which predictably proliferated in response. Only when users of the most expensive infrastructure pay the full costs of the infrastructure they use, and when public policies encourage (instead of deter) the more sustainable mobility modes, can we hope for a more sustainable future.

https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2019/02/08/1549605601000/An-honest-history-of-how-America-pays-for-roads/

The public-private initiative that is the bus system seems to be working.

Related post: Bus driver says complain to LTA about bus sign problem

 

Broker speculating on another big TLC merger

In Infrastructure, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 07/02/2019 at 7:14 am

Following Temasek’s recent $6 billion divestment of Ascendas/Singbridge to CapitaLand, CGS-CIMB sees benefits in streamlining the yards and conglomerate structures of Sembcorp (SCI), SembMaritime (SMM) and Keppel (KEP).

“If the rig building industry does not recover in the next three years, we think the consolidation of both SMM and KEP O&M could strengthen Singapore in the large-scale FLNG (KEP) and FPSO (SMM) newbuild segment as well as create an O&M design and engineering powerhouse, competing head-on with the Koreans.”

‘A possible structure is one mega yard (SMM + KEP O&M), one renewables/utility group Sembcorp Industries (SCI) and one urbanisation/infrastructure group (KEP).”

It thinks Sembcorp could be the long-term winner as a pure renewable energy/utility group focusing on overseas M&A to grow its capacity, commanding higher valuations. Brokers forever flogging this dog.

Meanwhile, it thinks, Keppel could continue to pursue its urbanisation solutions of property and infrastructure development, backed by asset management capital.

The total book value of SembMaritime and Keppel O&M amount to S$5.3 billion. The hypothetical shareholding structure of the enlarged yard could be in the form of a JV, with Temasek having a majority control stake, the broker says.

CGS-CIMB has Keppel, Sembcorp and SembMarine at “add” with target prices of S$8.41, S$3.49 and S$2.46 respectively.

I’m happy with the present Keppel set-up as there’s no guarantee that it’s O&M managers will run the joint show. SembMarine’s O&M managers are second rate by Keppel’s standards.

 

Changi Airport: an int’l first

In Airlines, Infrastructure, Tourism on 27/01/2019 at 4:50 am

Changi Airport will be the world’s largest and most complex airport to adopt a next-generation control tower set-up:

Gone is the traditional wall of glass affording a 360-degree view of runways, taxiways and gleaming jets. In its place is a panoramic digital screen that the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore says provides a similar perspective. And the staff can see far more than they would with their own eyes. Advanced camera and video-stitching technologies allow tracking, panning, tilting and zooming in on a particular plane or area.

Nikkei Asian Review

More

For months, air traffic controllers and engineers have been holed up in a windowless room at Singapore’s Changi Airport. This is a prototype of the control “tower” of the future.

[…]

The team continues to test the system, which processes a range of digital data to promote efficient air traffic management. If all goes well, Changi will be the world’s largest and most complex airport to adopt this next-generation control tower set-up. The aviation authority is also turning to artificial intelligence to help the airport run smoothly.

Either go Grab or Gojek

In Infrastructure on 05/01/2019 at 10:39 am

Southeast Asia’s apps-for-everything will dominate in 2019. Cash is being lavished on Grab and Go-Jek, as they dabble in everything from ride-hailing to groceries. It’s a Chinese approach to luring and keeping consumers who are moving online fast.

The region from Myanmar to Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-growing internet markets, with cheap smartphones, low connection costs and improving data speeds. On average, according to a 2018 study by Google and Singapore’s Temasek, Thai users spent almost five hours online daily – more than three times their Japanese counterparts.

[…]

Part of the reason is the transformation of Grab and Go-Jek into apps-for-everything, along the model of China’s Meituan Dianping, is to keep consumers coming back for payments, rides, massages and takeouts, among other things.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-grab-gojek-breakingviews/breakingviews-superapps-will-starve-the-rest-in-southeast-asia-idUSKCN1OW02F

LTA should grab Grab’s balls or Gojek

In Infrastructure on 26/12/2018 at 4:11 am

Seriously the A-Rabs have come up with something interesting that we should copy asap.

On Christmas eve, it was announced that Dubai is to launch a company with Careem, the regional rival to Uber, to manage the ride-hailing system for all taxis operating in Dubai, the Gulf’s S’pore.

The Dubai authorities said this would be the world’s first partnership between a government regulator and a private ride-hailing app. Dubai, like other regulatory authorities, has clashed with fast-growing ride-hailing companies challenging the dominance of traditional taxi services.

Careem said

— it would have a 49% in the joint venture, which would manage e-hailing systems and online payments for almost 11,000 taxis; and

— the venture could be expanded to include other transportation services, such as buses, as Dubai seeks to extend its regional leadership in technology innovation of government services.

If Grab refuses to play ball with LTA, LTA should try Gojek.

Real reason why Terry of TOC kanna lim kopi?

In Infrastructure, Public Administration on 11/12/2018 at 10:58 am

To signal to him to stop publishing fake news on the public transport system? LOL.

Let me explain.

If you skim thru TOC’s headlines as regularly as I do, you are sure to get the impression that our public tpt system is on the verge of collapse and that most S’poreans think it sucks: bad and expensive.

Well I personally find the system pretty good (and cheap) but then I use it off-peak and I’m an oldie: Public tpt users will vote for PAP?

As I don’t use it during peak rush hours (the real test of any public tpt system) and I get a concession rate, I sit down and shut up and defer to Terry’s Online Channel on how bad the system really is, even if I think it’s pretty decent. Unlike cybernuts, I know that most of the time my personal opinions are not the reality.

So it was great interest that I read an article by an ang moh FT in an online publication that has no known, or unknown connection (I double checked with Morocco Mole, Secret Squirrel’s sidekick) with the constructive, national-building media, or the PAP IB.

Here’s the most relevant extract. Do read the whole piece and make up yr mind on its accuracy vis-a-vis Terry’s Online Channel.

Singaporean’s Generally Approve of Their Public Transportation System

Public opinion is another factor worth considering. After all, these are the customers and their satisfaction is another key piece of information for judging success of each system. Singapore also fares very well by this measure. For example, a study by McKinsey & Company found that 86% of the population approves of the current public transportation situation and 84% approve of recent changes to the system. Both of these figures are significantly higher than those of most other cities, representing another indication that Singapore’s public transportation is performing well relative to other major cities.

Satisfaction with Public Transportation System by City

Where Does Singapore’s Public Transportation Rank?

Based on efficiency, it appears that Singapore’s public transportation system performs relatively well compared to those of other cities. Additionally, when taking into account other key indicators such as affordability and customer satisfaction, it appears that Singapore’s is among the best in the world. Therefore, while there is always room for improvement, it seems reasonable to believe that Singapore’s public transportation system is performing relatively well.

[…]

William Hofmann

William is a Senior Research Analyst at ValueChampion Singapore, focusing on banking and SMEs. He previously was an Economic Consultant at Industrial Economics Inc.

 

Public tpt users will vote for PAP?

In Infrastructure, Public Administration on 20/11/2018 at 11:01 am

When the CEO of SMRT threw his disgraced predecessor onto the path of train by saying that he disagreed with the failure’s view that SMRT had a culture problem, this reminded me that S’pore

is the second most affordable city for public transport, according to a study comparing trends in public transport fares across 12 major cities.

The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) study – which was commissioned by the Public Transport Council (PTC) – compared trends in public transport fares across the cities in terms of concessionary fares, fare affordability and fare revenue per passenger kilometre.

The cities include London, Beijing, Sydney, Seoul, Paris, Hong Kong, Taipei, Toronto, New York, Tokyo and San Francisco.

Constructive, nation-building CNA*

Us oldies definitely will

Singapore’s senior citizen and student concessionary fares were also among the lowest across the 12 cities compared, according to the study.

Seniors in Singapore, London and Sydney pay concessionary fares at age 60 while other cities have lower fares for seniors only at age 65 or 70.

The study also found that Singapore collected the lowest fare revenue per passenger kilometre, when compared with Hong Kong, Sydney, Toronto, New York, San Francisco and London.

————————————

*More details

The study measured fare affordability as the proportion of disposable income spent on public transport by a household in the second quintile household income group.

This quintile was chosen because it is the group “most likely to depend on public transport regularly”, said the study.

“To allow comparability of public transport affordability across the cities, an index illustrating the costs incurred by a typical family with two working adults and two schoolgoing/school age children as a percentage of household disposable income was developed,” it said.

[…]

Based on this, Singapore came in second after San Francisco in terms of fare affordability with an index score of 4.8, compared with San Francisco’s score of 4.1.

This means that on average, a typical family that uses public transport on a daily basis in Singapore spends about 4.8 per cent of its disposable income on public transport, said the study.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/public-transport-in-singapore-second-most-affordable-out-of-12-10857020

 

SMRT Neo juz cutting and pasting ang moh practice

In Infrastructure, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 14/08/2018 at 11:06 am

In Man that should be running SMRT,I wrote about the ang moh running the MRT system in the world’s greatest global city, New York. He has always worked in public transport and has always taken public transport to work be it in London, Toronto, Sydney or NY.

As mentioned in the piece, he’s no Oxbridge or Ivy League type. In an article, I read after doing the above piece, he tells of the times when as a junior manager in charge of a station in London’s MRT system, he was treated like dirt whenever he had to go HQ to meet the senior managers.

Btw, by GCT’s standard he is Goh Chok Tong’s standard, he is “very mediocre”: he earns only US$325,000 a year. He took the NY job because it was a challenge bhe couldn’t resist. The salary was close to his previous job.

Whatever, SMRT Neo is jux cutting and pasting: what our paper generals and scholars are well known for. And ministers too. Think all our restructuring plans: Economic restructuring: This time, it’s really different.

 

One reason Tun wants to cause trouble with us on HSR

In Infrastructure on 03/08/2018 at 4:32 am

Why liddat?

Malaysia has yet to propose a meeting date with Singapore to discuss the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR), said Singapore’s transport ministry on Wednesday night (Aug 1), a day after the deadline lapsed for Putrajaya to indicate its official position on the project.

Putrajaya has sent mixed signals on the HSR in recent months, with Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad and his Cabinet ministers vacillating between firm vows to cancel it and abrupt suggestions weeks later that hint at possible deferment of the project.

Because Tun is sending a dog whistle to the Malays that despite having a Chinese finance minister and tpt minister (traditionally a Chinese has always held this post), he’ll make life difficult for the ethnic Chinese?

‘In Southeast Asia, ethnically Chinese make up only 5% of the population but control between one and three quarters of the economy according to a range of indicators (such as business ownership, investment, capital or taxes paid). In Malaysia, only a quarter of the population are ethnic Chinese, but they own around 70% of business real estate and market capitalisation, control all the top private listed companies and make up eight out of the 10 richest people.’

http://theconversation.com/hard-work-not-confucian-mentality-underpins-chinese-success-overseas-70705

I’m BSing? Then explain why the econimic affairs minister, a Malay, and not the tpt minister (Chinese) is leading the talks on HSR?

M’sia undecided on HSR

In Infrastructure, Malaysia on 19/07/2018 at 4:35 am

So how can Tun say S’pore knows what M’sia wants? Senile. Sad.

Malaysia’s Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali. said that Malaysia has not excluded the possibility of the project continuing, but will not make any suggestions unless there is a consensus from both countries.

https://www.theedgesingapore.com/malaysia-lead-delegation-singapore-discuss-fate-hsr-project

More from Edge.

Malaysia will soon have a discussion with Singapore regarding the high-speed rail (HSR) project, according to Malaysia’s Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali.

Azmin will be leading a delegation to Singapore for the discussion with Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and to safeguard the diplomatic relationship between both countries by the end of the month.

“We are looking at all the available options. The bilateral agreement on the HSR provides for either party to cancel the project. This however, is subjected to the terms and conditions of the agreement,” says Azmin.

He also stressed that any agreements signed must be fair and just to both parties.

Read Najib’s very valid comments on the costings. Minister’s reply shows that M’saian govt talking cock.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak asked in Parliament, “The international open tender only ends on Dec 28, 2018 and both governments would decide on the bids. The total cost of the project is not yet known, but it would competitive. Some countries would give loans at 0% or 0.1%.”

“So how can the government say it would cost RM110 billion, when the tender is not closed?” Najib asked.

Azmin replied saying that these calculations are “just costing” at the meantime and were made by the Finance Ministry, who also found that there were hidden costs in the project, which were not revealed earlier.

Nonetheless, the minister also said that Malaysia has not excluded the possibility of the project continuing, but will not make any suggestions unless there is a consensus from both countries.

Malaysia had previously announced that they intend to cancel the project, but has since brought it back up for review, if the cost is reduced by half.

Public tpt: PAP ahead of the curve and flew off the rails?

In Infrastructure, Temasek on 16/07/2018 at 7:26 am

Use of public transport is in decline in many wealthy cities. Blame remote working, Uber, cheap car loans and the internet. That’s what reported recently in the PAP’s bible*: https://www.economist.com/international/2018/06/23/public-transport-is-in-decline-in-many-wealthy-cities

So maybe when the PAP administration decided to cut  back SMRT maintenance all those yrs ago, they were way ahead of the curve and got biten by reality? Sometimes thinking long term is bad for everyone. It’s also mud in the eye for The PAP way is the American corporate way.


*PAP’s bible challenges “market-based solution”

Why no NIMBYism here

In Infrastructure, Political economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 08/07/2018 at 10:18 am

NIMBYism is a problem in developed countries bar S’pore.

A really bad example of “Not In My Backyard” is Heathrow’s expansion. They’ve been talking about it since the 70s (I first used that airport in 1976). UK’s parliament has finally decided to let Heathrow build a third runaway.The majority of 296 for third runway is welcomed by business and deplored by locals: court challenges are expected.

Here’s someone complaining to the FT about the decision

What utter tripe. Of course the most important question is whether the runway is “needed”, and for this Country, in this Century; the answer is no. There is little to be gained environmentally or financially for the Citizens of the UK. BAA – yes. Transit passengers- yes. BA- yes. Travel operators- yes. But for tax payers, Children who breathe the air, and UK PLC as a whole, who will suffer ever poorer traffic delays and travel costs. Nope. It’s a scam. Like The Privatised Utilities, and the whole Brexit fiasco. Heathrow expansion is a bl33dy scam.

NIMBYism is kept in check in S’pore not because 70% of S’poreans are constructive and nation building, putting the needs of S’pore (as defined by the PAP) before self, but because S’pore is a one-party authoritarian state.

 

My experience with S’pore’s digital programme

In Infrastructure, Public Administration on 04/07/2018 at 5:24 am

And Three cheers for PM’s son

The following reminded me that I juz had to related my experience with an initiative of the Digital Government Blueprint

By 2023, citizens and businesses will be able to access all Government services anytime, anywhere on an Internet-enabled device.

Citizens will also be able to complete 90 to 95 per cent of transactions entirely on government websites.

Fresh from announcing the Digital Readiness Blueprint to help every Singaporean navigate a digital future of cashless payments and other innovations last Saturday, the Government laid out its own targets in the Digital Government Blueprint on Tuesday (June 5).

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/nearly-all-govt-services-go-digital-2023-20000-public-servants-be-trained-data-analytics

Well a few years ago, renewing my dogs’ licences went online: no paper at all. Couldn’t  go to the Post Office to pay cash.

It was a pain in the neck following the online procedures (presumably for “security”) and so unnecessary because each “licence” is unique as is the owner’s i/c.

Finally someone realised this and this year renewing the licence was a breeze.

Rumour has it is that it was PM’s son (also rumoured to have become a dog lover two years ago) who sorted this out. Remember he’s in charge of the digital programme.

Whatever, at least dedication to public service runs in PM’s family, unlike in his younger brother’s family where LKY’s grandson pisses and shits on grandpa’s legacy of reforming the judiciary. Sad. Btw, rumour has it that this boy loves dog meat. Sad.

Coming back to dog licences, one has to assume that elderly S’poreans who are not digitally literate or have bad eye sight have to put down their pets and go without the companionship of dogs because the PAP govt wants to do away with paper and go digital. Sad.

Achtung cybernuts: Facts about global LNG prices & our gas supplies

In Energy, Infrastructure on 03/07/2018 at 10:56 am

Phillip Ang (Cybernuts go to financial expert who raised money for CPF lawsuit CPF class action: Phillip Ang’s “reply’ to fellow cybernut then no picture, no sound*: like his buddy Lim Tean: A disgraceful chamber of horrors?,)TRELand and TOCLand and allied cyberspace and social media allies are shouting that since S’pore uses natural gas to generate electricity and LNG prices are weak, there’s no need for electricity prices to rise when oil prices rises as per the automatic formula.

What they don’t know or not telling us, if they, do is that most of our natural gas supply is not in form of LNG but in the form of gas from nearby Indon and M’sian fields that come here via pipes (like water). This gas is priced off the oil price because the fields would not have been developed otherwise all those years ago. Why don’t the cybernuts blame PAP for not having foresight to wait for LNG?

In those days, only after long-term contracts priced off oil from users were signed, were fields developed. These contracts are still in place. Why don’t the cybernuts blame PAP for not negotiating shorter contracts or ensuring that the price of gas be priced in a different way?

Until very recently, major gas fields were not developed until long-term contracts priced off oil were in place. This is changing surely but slowly. Whatever, a lot of global LNG are still priced off the price of oil because the contracts were signed a long time ago. Surely but slowly, there’ll come a day when the spot price for LNG sets the price for deals, but don’t hold yr breath.

With enemies like the cybernuts who peddle rubbish analysis eg on water and electricity, the PAP doesn’t need friends.

===================================

*Will Lim Tean & Phillip Ang help out fellow cybernut?

They didn’t

Cybernut on “Why Singapore really need[s] the HSR?”

In Infrastructure, Malaysia on 01/07/2018 at 9:59 am

Below is what a cybernut wrote in TRE on why “Why Singapore really need[s] the HSR?”. I can’t stop laughing because the cybernut forgets (or doesn’t know or doesn’t want to tell?) that it was M’sia that first proposed the HSR, almost as soon Najib became PM, wanting to build it ASAP (to be operational in 2016), and that S’pore was the one dragging its feet.

The two PMs agreed to go ahead with the project after a meeting on 19 February 2013. A committee was set up to look into ‘the details and modalities’ of the project. Then it was announced that the high-speed rail proposal will be finalised by end of 2014 with a targeted completion date of 2020.

S’pore and M’sia only signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 19 July 2016.

And here’s interesting facts that even I had forgotten. KL had earlier unilateraly started work

In 2006 YTL Corporation, operator of the Express Rail Link in Kuala Lumpur, revived the proposal, with a projected speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). This was expected to trim travel time between the two cities to 99 minutes, compared with 4–5 hours by road, 7 hours by conventional rail services,[5] or 3 hours by air (including travel to and from the airports, check-in, boarding and other airport procedures). In 2008 the Malaysian government halted the project citing high-costs of over RM8 billion.[6]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuala_Lumpur%E2%80%93Singapore_high-speed_rail

The thinking was that if S’pore said “No” when formally asked, the terminus would be in JB.

Whatever why didn’t Tun M speak out earlier against the HSR?

Why Singapore really need the HSR?

They created the problems, at end of the day, it is we are paying the  price. When the PAP saw the property slumps, they kicked in by having  the two casinos, property prices shoot up. It is well known fact,  black money goes hand in hand with casinos, it is the best way to  launder money. Suddenly we saw 70% of the private properties owned by  foreigners. How many of them are black money?

Jurong areas saw buildings after buildings, vacant spaces all around .  Recently came out an article on depress markets around Jurong.  Something must be done if not it create a cycle of busts, a collapse  of property market. PAP knew about it, something must be done. Wallah  an ingenious came out, mega project, the high speed railway to  resurrect the Jurong properties market. And who have to foot the bills  to bail out the rich property developers?, it is we. Gst, cpf,  utilities, transportation went up.

Mahathir is shrewd, he knew, it benefits Singapore not Malaysia. PAP had made mistakes, in billions and we always have to foot the bills,  it is high time we be like our brave brothers and sisters of Malaysia,  say no to PAP.

Aziz Kassim

Next mkt China wants to corner

In China, Infrastructure on 25/06/2018 at 4:24 am

Global electricity suppy via ita Global Energy Interconnection initiative.

The first stage, set to run until 2020, involves investment in domestic grid assets within other countries. The second phase would see the knitting together of some of those grids and that generation capacity.

FT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Western observers see a geopolitical strategy on a par with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a grand design that seeks to boost Chinese-led infrastructure investment in more than 80 countries around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

HSR: I was right wasn’t I?

In Infrastructure, Malaysia on 18/06/2018 at 11:04 am

Trumpets pls.

HSR “delayed” not “cancelled” according to Tun. (Btw, someone pls tell TKL this. He thinks still cancelled according to his TOC article.)

In Will we ever get letter cancelling HSR?

I wrote

The two DAP** ministers want to send a letter saying M’sia wants to have talks on a review of the project with a view to revising the costs and timetable. They hope that lower costs means S’pore will be amendable to a delay in the start date, and not ask for compensation.

**Remember that Lim Guan Eng and his pa came to brief our Harry when the DAP won Penang in 2008. More like “kowtow” said my UMNO inner circle connection when I told him what the present finance minister told an ISEAS seminar in 2008.

Now Tun (and his anti-PAP fans here) has had to swallow sperm what with

The proposed high-speed rail (HSR) project connecting Malaysia’s capital city to Singapore has not been cancelled but merely postponed, Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said, softening his earlier intention to scrap the deal entirely.

In an interview with Japanese media published in the Asian Nikkei Review on Monday night (June 11), Dr Mahathir explained that the project was put on the backburner because of its exorbitant cost of RM110 billion (S$37 billion).

https://www.todayonline.com/world/kl-singapore-hsr-project-postponed-not-scrapped-says-dr-mahathir

And

Mr Khaw’s Malaysian counterpart Anthony Loke said on Tuesday a negotiating party consisting of the Finance, Economics Affairs, and Transport ministers will make a trip across the Causeway to iron out a deal concerning the HSR.

“As it was announced last week, we will still negotiate with Singapore. We, the Finance, Economic, and Transport ministers will go to Singapore and negotiate this deal,” Mr Loke said.

As it is alleged by UMNO (Or so I’m told) that DAP leaders have to burn incense before this graven image daily, our ministers sure have to pang chance.

 

Anti-PAP S’poreans sucking up to Tun

In Infrastructure, Malaysia on 30/05/2018 at 11:04 am

From my coffee shop chat group: I feel the silence on d part of our govt on d cancellation HSR proj is shocking in diplomatic terms. We shld imm announce that we will forgive d penalty other than for what we had spent.!!! LHL fave strategy is always to keep quiet on any crisis. This is leadership.

FB post by anti-PAP FB warrior yesterday

I’m sure if Dr M asked this group to suck his XXXX, this bunch of anti-PAP Facebook warriors would happily do so. They’d even offer their asses to Anwar while pleasuring Tun with their mouths,if Anwar asked.

Think I’m being too harsh?

The above was posted on Vesak Day (public hoiday in both countries) and came after media reports overnight that

— Tun said that he had cancelled the agreement on Monday,

— and S’pore said that it had not received official confirmation of the cancellation.

Had the letter the agreement cancelling even been sent, let alone drafted? Why must do everything to saka Tun? Thinking about it, since Tun has said that S’pore has yet to be told, looks like these guys will suck Tun’s XXXX while allowing anwar to bugger them even before they ask him for these actions.

Is there really na vneed to saka him? We survived his last premiership (22 years) in pretty good shape, while he now admits M’sia is now in a mess because of the actions of his handpicled successor.

As I said before I know very well the KL that Tun and Anwar were in charge of: I thrived in that environment. Their actions and inactions came to roost and haunt them personally and other M’sians after Najib became PM.Yet our anti-PAP types praise them as antidotes to the PAP.

By all remains praise the DAP* and the moderate Muslims that left PAS to form the National Trust Party (Amanah;Malay: Parti Amanah Negara), but be real about Tun and Anwar. They won a famous victory but it was a victory that owed a lot to the DAP and Amanah.

===============

*Though anti-PAP types won’t because Lim Guan Eng and his pa came to S’pore to “brief” our Harry when the DAP won Penang. More like “kowtow” joked an UMNO insider when I told him what Lim Jnr told a seminar at ISEAS in 2008 after meeting Harry.

 

Man that should be running SMRT

In Infrastructure, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 18/04/2018 at 10:46 am

As Desmond Kwek’s successor, instead of another scholar and general as reported by  ST, the PAP administration should try to recruit Andy Byford who has worked in some tough MRT systems (London, Sydney and Toronto) and has a record of success in the MRT field. So much so that New York turned to him to do something about its system.

He is a MRT man to his bones: all his jobs involve trains.

Better still he personally checks the system daily: he takes the MRT to and from work. When was the last time Desmond or any other CEO or presumptive CEO took the MRT to work?

And finally, he personally apologises for delays. A Ferrari driving FT MD of SMRT said commuters had a choice not to use her trains if they were unhappy. Even the PAPpies found this too much to stomach.

But he’s no Oxbridge or Ivy League man, so our system discounts him immediately.

He made a name for himself running transport systems in London, Sydney and Toronto. Now Briton Andy Byford is in charge of turning around New York’s ageing, failing subway system. What did he get himself into?

About 400,000 people pass through the Bloor-Yonge subway station every day in Toronto, Canada’s largest city.

And on a summer’s day in 2013, the city’s transport chief Andy Byford tried to apologise to every one of them.

Earlier in the day, water damage had caused a signal failure, delaying trains from rush hour that morning until early afternoon.

Walking up and down the platform, Byford tried to apologise in person to harried commuters while a recording of him formally apologising played on a loop on the station’s loudspeaker.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43561378

 

 

“Free restaurant food for SMRT & ComfortDelgro”

In Infrastructure on 23/03/2018 at 11:37 am

“Abalone, geoduck, sea cucumber and sharksfin isit?”

“Only in S’pore will a PAP minister sneer at serving restaurant food for the elderly poor while the PAP administration condones welfare for public tpt cos.”

The above were my tots when I read

“However, he noted that in the PTC’s discussions with commuters, the council had found that there was an “expectation on the ground” that transport fares will be increased. He added that commuters spoken to were “quite happy to bear higher fares” as they recognise the cost of improving the transport network.”

Public Transport Council chair Richard Magnus

Err so not true that the public tpt network (i.e. infrastructure) is not getting $20bn from the surplus as said by the presumptive PM and a possible one (Lawrence Wong: a PM-in-waiting) in parliament to improve the network?

Ministers wouldn’t lie in parly because lying is “dishonourable”.

So what is this “improving the transport network” by the tpt cos? Network (i.e.infrastructure is not paid for by fares because network is under the LTA.

Welfare for the tpt cos methinks. S’poreans (Surpluses belong to S’poreans even the PAP says though many S’poreans, not juz the cybernuts, may disagree) for improving the tpt network, yet we have to pay tpt cos for these improvements via fare rises.

Welfarism the PAP way. Sad. Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham (“Rob the poor, to give to the rich”) must have been reincarnated as PAP ministers.

Where is Robin Hood when we need him? Goh Meng Seng (Silence of Goh Meng Seng) and Lim Tean (Where’s yr defamation video and jobs rally Lim Tean?) are certainly no reincarnations of Robin Hood.

As is Mad Dog.

Dr Paul? But his followers sadly still prefer to listen to their top Mad Dog. Sad.

CNA report shows public tpt Hard Truths are BS

In Infrastructure on 18/03/2018 at 6:55 am

Constructive, nation-building CNA visited Taipei and reported

How Taipei Metro turned itself around – and the lessons for Singapore’s MRT system
It suffered a spate of delays, then became one of the world’s most reliable subway systems. Talking Point travelled to Taipei to find out how the system is run.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/taipei-metro-subway-system-lessons-singapore-smrt-breakdowns-10046044

So far (and beyond), constructive, nation-building stuff.

But buried really deep in the report, there are things that contradict Hard Truths:

— “To appease the public, the Taipei Metro gave fare discounts …”

Where got this here? I don’t count the “early bird” scheme.

— “The Taipei Metro is nationalised and is majority-owned by the Taipei City government … the metro boss is Mayor Ko Wen-je – who is also one of Taipei’s most recognisable commuters, as he takes the train to work.”

Khaw or Ho got like this meh? Let alone Chairman and CEO of SMRT?

— The Mayor “told Talking Point that ticket fares have not changed in the past 20-something years.”

PAP MP Cheng Li Hui (Was she brown-nosing when she said it was wrong to cut fares, or juz stupid?) should note the above. As should other PAPpies including ministers.

— He also said: “If profit is the only criterion … then very quickly, the public transport will break down.”

PAP MP Cheng Li Hui (Was she brown-nosing when she said it was wrong to cut fares, or juz dumb?) should note the above. As should other PAPpies including ministers

PAPpies do imitate the Japs

In Infrastructure, Japan on 19/12/2017 at 6:37 am

Don’t ever say our leaders don’t imitate the Japanese even if I said they didn’t

— Learn from Japanese — set example leh elites

— The Japanese story PM didn’t tell us

The following extracts could be Japanese PM Abe saying, “It’s not a failure. We’re working hard.”*

Improving rail reliability is a “multi-year war”, said Mr Khaw, who added that calling for a leadership change with each disappointment would be a “sure strategy for failure”

SMRT: The cock that Khaw talks

And

“Much progress has been made with the inculcation of a positive work culture, but there remain some deep-seated cultural issues within the company that has needed more time than anticipated to root out.”

Where’s Khaw? (cont’d) 

Meanwhile following the traditional Japanese bowing

Chairman of SMRT Corporation and SMRT Trains Seah Moon Ming bowed and apologised to the public for the underground flooding incident along the North-South Line (NSL) on Oct 7-8 that resulted in a 20-hour disruption.


*Responding to a complaint by mothers that their children did not places in child care centres, the Japanese PM insisted that 500,000 more nursery places would be available by the end of 2017. “It’s not a failure. We’re working hard,” Abe said, the BBC reported in 2016.

Wah lan SMRT CEO so cock isit?

In Corporate governance, Infrastructure, Temasek on 07/12/2017 at 5:09 am

Scholar and ex-SAF commander is so useless that Khaw, Temasek and SMRT thinks he needs more supervision, a lot more.

It’s not me or angry commuters or the anti-PAP mob saying this. It’s the constructive, nation-building media reporting comments by Temasek, SMRT and Khaw.

If he’s so in need of supervision, why not fire him? Or cut his salary by half? Meritocracy? What meritocracy? Meritocratic hubris/ Who defines “meritocracy”

Here’s how MediaCorp reported the story. ST’s report is along similar lines so maybe there was a dictator dictating the narrative?

Temasek-backed Pavilion Energy’s CEO Seah Moon Ming will step down to focus on his role as chairman of train operator SMRT.

CNA

That shows that Temasek thinks he needs more supervision.

And so does SMRT because

In a separate media release, SMRT said it is “pleased” that when Mr Seah took on the chairmanship in July this year, he had planned to prioritise more time in the role.

“Under the guidance of Mr Seah and our board, SMRT remains focused on delivering key initiatives such as asset renewal efforts, while it continues its multi-year effort to strengthen management, operations and maintenance teams, and build robust engineering and operational capabilities for future needs,” SMRT said.

“The board, CEO and management of SMRT welcome the opportunity to work even more closely with Mr Seah from Feb 1 2018.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/pavilion-energy-ceo-seah-moon-ming-stepping-down-to-focus-on-9470572

As to Khaw, Desmond’s public defender

Earlier on Tuesday, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan called for more support for the SMRT chairman, after saying that the flooding of the Bishan-Braddell MRT tunnel on Oct 7 was not a failure of engineering, but a “failure of organisational management at SMRT”.

CNA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real reason why S’pore wants to be a Smart Nation

In Economy, Infrastructure, Internet, Political governance on 04/12/2017 at 3:35 pm

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says efforts to simplify and integrate electronic payment systems are underway, including making such a method available at hawker centres, in a bid to transform the country into a Smart Nation.
Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/national-day-rally-singapore-to-go-bigger-on-e-payments-with-9140068

Makes survelliance of the sheep people a lot easier. Black-listing of trouble makers will also be easier.

Companies in China, including Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, are required to help China’s government hunt criminal suspects and silence political dissent, and their technology is being used to create cities wired for surveillance. (WSJ)

NYT Dealbook

I wrote this Coming here, China’s new tool for social control? sometime ago

Beijing wants to give every citizen a credit rating for everything.  Citizens’ ratings are to be linked with their identity-card numbers. The rating will be based on behaviour such as spending habits, turnstile violations, filial piety and “assembling to disrupt social order”. These scores can be used to blacklist citizens from loans, jobs and air travel.

Three cheers for TOC

In Infrastructure on 01/12/2017 at 10:59 am

The latest SMRT problem and LTA’s announcement that

the two rail operators are required to inform passengers of any delay exceeding 10 minutes, via regular announcements within stations and on board trains. If the delay worsens, updated information should be announced via mainstream and social media.

reminded me that Terry’s Online Channel has been tracking and documenting delays in train service, announced and, more importantly, unannounced, by SMRT.

This is important because memories are short especially for sheep and BS artists.

Here in Wah train service so reliable meh between 2012 and 2016? I reported that I challenged a TRE reader to tell me about his experiences of SMRT delays between 2012 and April 2016. As expected, no picture, no sound.

I also asked via FB a few other very vocal complainers, but they admitted they couldn’t remember or they were not regular MRT commuters.

Which is why it is important that there is a record of the delays that is publicly accessible. But if TOC closes, then no records exist. And after a trouble-free 2019, come the next GE, the sheep will think that the trains have always run on time.

Wah train service so reliable meh between 2012 and 2016?

In Infrastructure on 25/11/2017 at 11:35 am
A usual sane TRE reader posted this in response to my comment that there was only one major cock-up between 2015 and April 2016 On the contrary cybernuts, Desmond did a great job
opposition dude:

Ah Cynical, it’s always interesting to read how you like to whitewash the truth isn’t it?

No major cockups until 2015 you say? Perhaps you aren’t a regular user of the trains and have never been caught in a disruption? What about the frequent disruptions faced by commuters every other month since he took over, all that magically doesn’t count ah? Only major shit like the tunnel “ponding” and the langga at Joo Koon?

Well I asked him

@opposition dude, look forward to u giving me details of disruptions between 2012 and April 2016 based on yr experience …

No picture no sound so far. So can I reasonably assume he was talking cock? What do u think?

On the contrary cybernuts, Desmond did a great job

In Infrastructure, S'pore Inc on 20/11/2017 at 5:59 am

Look at his track record from 2012 to 2015 and to now sack him would show that the PAP are a bunch of ingrates like the TRE cybernuts and rats (From conception to death, the PAP looks after S’poreans),

He was appointed CEO of SMRT after two major problems in December 2011 that affected 250,000 commuters and which resulted in a public inquiry.

From his appointment till April 2016, there were no major cock ups bar one major whopper just before GE 2015. This was on 7 July 2015 and affected the North -South and East-West lines. 500,000 commuters were affected.

But I suppose S’porean voters didn’t think about this massive-cock up when they voted on 11 September 2015, a month and a half later. I suppose that they were really happy that commuters had reliable service from 2012 till 6 July, and from 8 July till election day. They thought it was one-off event.

Whatever, they gave the PAP a really overwhelming mandate of 70% (10 more points from 2011 GE, held before the December train cock-up.)

What I’m saying is that Desmond ensured that SMRT service did not become an election issue that could cost the PAP votes.

Things only started going wrong after some trainees died in an avoidable accident in March 2016.

There was a real problem on 25 April 2016 affecting the North -South and East-West lines, parts of the Circle Line, and the Bukit Panjang LRT

Then this year there were the October flooded tunnels and then the 15 November train crash.

Maybe the deaths in March 2016 of some trainees have something to do with these problems? Their spirits need to be appeased?

Time to call in the bomohs? Maybe ex SMRT director Hali, now president (#notmypresident protest and me), can recommend one? More on Hali’s judgement between 2007 -2011/ Meritocracy? What meritocracy?

Now if he fails to call in the bomohs, he should be fired. What do You think?

 

 

Khaw blaming Dr Goh for SMRT failings?

In GIC, Infrastructure, S'pore Inc on 16/11/2017 at 6:22 am

How can Khaw say we were poor money 30 yrs ago?

Thirty years ago, Singapore’s per capita GDP was about $16,000. Last year, in 2016, it has grown more than four times to about $73,000….So when there are people who criticise the North-South and East-West Lines on why we did not do this and that, we were simply short of cash.

Khaw

In 1981, 36 yrs ago, we had so much reserves because of consistent budget surpluses that Dr Goh Keng Swee decided to set up GIC to better manage the returns on the reserves. (Btw, Goh was no fan of the MRT system. He wanted buses.)

Is he implying that Dr Goh, the then PM of the day, one Harry Lee, and the cabinet decided to prioritise overseas investment returns over the MRT system? Is he also saying that the money in the reserves stashed away then were better deployed building a Great MRT system?

Khaw must be punch drunk after taking too many head blows because in defending SMRT, he’s telling us that the then leaders prioritised surpluses i.e. reserves, over infrastructure. Until his latest comments, the official narrative was that we could have surpluses (reserves), and good infrastructure and that the founding leaders achieved both in their wisdom. Now Khaw is saying that the official narrative is BS, and that the money that went to GIC to manage should have been used to make a Great MRT system, not one that is braking down 30 yrs later.

Separately as Chris K pointed out

GDP per capita had grown more than 4 times in 30 years means the govie has 4 times as much tax revenues as 30 years ago. If “we were simply short of cash”, then the govie is not spending enough for the transportation system to keep up with the size of the economy.

Is Khaw, blaming the other Goh and PM (then DPM) for not spending $ in the 90s?

I’ll leave the last word  to a M’sian PR working here (he married local so as to get HDB flat)

30 years ago might have been short, but since then fiscal surpluses have been close to 10pc of GDP a year by IMF accounting. See this is the problem, train investments come out of the budget but land sales get squirreled away unseen. And we pretend we are poor… So easy to invest in a massive investment portfolio, so hard to invest in your own infrastructure. This fiscal dinosaur begs to be made extinct.

Related posts

SMRT: The cock that Khaw talks

Fat cats need help

P&G mgt reminds me of the PAP

SMRT: Why Desmond must go

PAP has lost “output legitimacy”

SMRT: The cock that Khaw talks

In Infrastructure, S'pore Inc on 09/11/2017 at 1:11 pm

Improving rail reliability is a “multi-year war”, said Mr Khaw, who added that calling for a leadership change with each disappointment would be a “sure strategy for failure”

Hey Desmond Kuek was brought in (or “volunteered”) five years ago. So how long more will he be allowed to disappoint?

Did he, when he “volunteered” ask for “5 + x” number of years to make “SMRT great again” or was promised  “5 + x” years to make “SMRT great again”? If he asked for, or was given a specific number of years to make “SMRT great again” we must be told the number and the reason for that number.

Otherwise five years on the job, and still no results sounds like jobs for the generals.

And this is BS

Due to budgetary considerations faced by the government decades ago and the island’s land scarcity, the design of the North-South and East-West lines — Singapore’s oldest MRT lines which were opened in 1987 — is not ideal.

And overcoming the constraints would require the halting of operations for an extended period and at large costs to taxpayers, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan told the House on Tuesday (Nov 7).

For instance, the two lines, which account for about 60 per cent of the MRT ridership, have relied only on one depot in Bishan over the last 30 years because of “budget constraints” at the time of design.

Budgets were not the only constraint. Citing the example of train systems such as those in London and New York, Mr Khaw said he was “quite puzzled” by how the trains there could run 24 hours while allowing engineering work to be done.

While these lines were designed as far back as a century ago when land was cheap, he has also realised that the networks catered for many side-tracks, such that trains could run on alternate tracks. “That’s why they were able to continue running 24 hours, not necessarily along the same tracks. It will go to the same stations but there are bypasses … And that’s how a well-designed network ought to be,” he said. Again, Singapore does not have this “luxury”, he said.

Not having these “luxuries” means that there should have been a lot more emphasis on preventive maintenance. It’s now clear that this was lacking, hence the present rush to fix the system before the next GE.

And btw, land was (and is) expensive in HK too. And the British administrators were not exactly spendthrift in their MRT construction budget.

SMRT: Why Desmond must go

In Infrastructure, S'pore Inc on 03/11/2017 at 11:15 am

That SMRT has asked staff to own-up to lapses without being penalised before a detailed audit is carried out is very worrying. The implication is that SMRT’s senior management is worried that the falsification of records on the maintenance of a tunnel is not the work of “a few rotten apples”. As someone posted on FB:

To be at this juncture, they must have lost control over the operations of the company. Employees must be very unhappy and demoralised too!

Management must be worried that the falsification of maintenance records is systemic. If it’s systemic, senior management cannot escape responsibility even if S’pore does accountability and responsibility in its unique understanding of “meritocracy”: Why PAP doesn’t do accountability, meritocracy.

Talking about the falsification of maintenance records and the failure to detect that work was done, a few days before the amnesty:

Singapore Management University’s Toru Yoshikawa said they are indicative that it was not a priority for SMRT’s top management and board to review its system of checks and internal audits.

Well Desmond has been CEO long enough (5 years) to be responsible for systematic mgt failings. so he and other senior managers should commit hari-kiri. And btw, Hali, the president, and Ong, a contender to be PM, were directors of SMRT: More on Hali’s judgement between 2007 -2011/ Meritocracy? What meritocracy?

During his 1984 National Day Rally speech, LKY had this to say about getting things done and what should be done when things don’t work: “Everything works, whether its water, electricity, gas, telephone, telexes, it just has to work. If it doesn’t work, I want to know why, and if I am not satisfied, and I often was not, the chief goes, and I have to find another chief. Firing the chief is very simple.

Wonder why his son forgot this Hard Truth when rereading LKY’s speeches? How PM honours “Pa”

Because LKY would fired him after the 2011 GE if LKY had the power? Instead LKY had to move on and was rumoured to have said that Teo Cheen Hean would have made a better PM than “Hsien Loong”.

 

 

 

 

 

PM, Khaw, SMRT: Apologise like Zuckerberg

In Infrastructure on 30/10/2017 at 11:13 am

Recently, Mr Zuckerberg observed Yom Kippur, the Jewish festival of atonement. He wrote on Facebook: “For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better.”

I think Khaw, Desmond and the chairman of SMRT should have followed him Where’s Khaw? (cont’d) instead of doing a pale imitation of Japanese-style apology over the “ponding” problem.

PM and the PAP should also do a Zuckerberg for creating disharmony to ensure the “right” person became president by

— going against the national aspirations of meritocracy and multiracialism by wanting a Malay as president, and

— selecting as the Malay president someone whose i/c says “Indian”.

But let’s be fair. Maybe this is why Why PAP thinks we need a Malay president?

And after the recent London terror attack, only the anti-PAP TRE cybernuts will say that the PAP administration is wrong to try to prevent terror attacks.

 

MRT: Pouring petrol on the waterborne flames of discontent

In Infrastructure, S'pore Inc on 24/10/2017 at 7:11 am

That’s what the chairman of the Public Transport Council did last week, a few days after Khaw, and the chairman and the CEO of SMRT did a pale imitation of Japanese-style apology over the “ponding” problem. 

The Public Transport Council (PTC) will consider the rising cost of maintaining new rail infrastructure as it goes into its annual fare review exercise, PTC chairman Richard Magnus said on Thursday (Oct 19).

Mr Magnus wrote in a blog post, titled Balancing Sustainability and Affordability, that the council “cannot turn a blind eye” to rising costs as it has to ensure the “viability of the public transport system”*.

Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/fare-review-adds-to-rising-costs-of-public-transport-magnus-9325772

He obviously isn’t singing from the hymn sheet as the other three because the last thing the PAP administration wants, is to remind the commuting public that once the trains run like clock-work again there’ll be fare rises**. (Funny that the trains were on time when ran by a Ferrari-owning FT retailer, who also owned a Mercedes sports, not a paper general.)

Whatever, somehow I think that even if the problems at SMRT and the other MRT lines are fixed by this time next year next year, way before the next general election (latest possible date is in early 2021), there won’t be fare increases until after the general election. (And if the problems ain’t fixed by 2021, I wouldn’t be surprised if PM declares a state of emergency, delaying GE until after the MRT problems are solved.)

Btw wonder who are the

— turkeys voting for Christmas,

— suckling pigs voting for Chinese New Year, and

— the sheep voting for Eid al-Adha,

in the focus groups that tell the PTC that “fares are affordable”. Must be the die-die must vote PAP PAPpies.

————————————————

*The report contined:

He detailed the cost of investments in public transport, such as the new Downtown Line and bus contracting subsidies.

The Government’s investments in new rail infrastructure will cost S$20 billion over the next five years, and comes on top of S$4 billion to renew, upgrade and expand rail operating assets, he wrote. Another S$4 billion will be spent on bus contracting subsidies over the same period.

“While these investments are a necessary part of the Government’s push to improve the public transport experience, they raise operating costs and impose a heavy cost burden on taxpayers,” he said.

**Chris K, no fan of the PAP, points out that by first world-standards, public transport fares are low. Funny on this pro PAP occasions, he doesn’t point out that salaries here are not Swiss standard. Btw, his FB wall is becoming the home of TRE’s cybernuts. Comments by the likes of Albert Tay and Es Nolan could have come TRE cybernuts like Oxygen and Rabble-rouser. Chris K will steal eat the lunch of TeamTRE. He doesn’t ask them for funds.

Making MRT Great Again

In Infrastructure, S'pore Inc on 19/10/2017 at 5:31 am

“Win back our trust”. Taz what Khaw, and the chairman and paper general CEO at SMRT should be doing to make Our MRT Great Again.

First world country.
First world transportation.
First world ethics.

Not the usual suspects KPKBing “PAP is always wrong”.

Someone by the name of Eugene Weeposted u/m on FB. Although he isn’t at present living overseas, he’s spot on on his take of SMRT and what needs to be done.

I think Singaporeans are an understanding bunch.

Yes, we complain like mad when the train service is delayed because in more ways than one, it affects our daily lives and jobs.

But this does not mean we are on a witch hunt to get people fired.

We have been brought up in a culture of honesty and responsibility, and we expect the same from the highest levels of management or government. I believe we are simply looking for an honest response, admission of the issue and a credible solution.

We are more than happy to move on.

But what is unacceptable is when problems remain unaddressed, and worse still, its getting more common.

In light of these, of course there is a swelling ground discontent. but what makes me really uncomfortable is the responses to the public are nothing more than PR spins… get the public to be grateful, look at the hardworking people, to empathize with the workers etc etc.

These PR stunts are not only failing to address our concerns but also basically missing the point, not to mention eroding public trust.

We are not blaming the workers; what we are saying is that the only affordable form of public transport (that the majority of Singaporeans relies on for their bread and butter) is not reliable and please fix it – that is the management’s role.

Yes, we get it. Transportation is not an easy role, and we are not saying it is. But please don’t whitewash or brush it over with some convenient statistics of how more reliable it is when it is not.

If we believe Singapore’s education is top notch; we too, have to believe that Singaporeans are not that gullible to believe in selective statistics, and ignore the day to day disruptions.

If we aim to uphold our values as a first world country that takes pride in what we do, then please don’t give third world responses.

Take issue with the problems at hand, fix it, stop pushing the blame and definately not passing the buck down the line.

We are better than this.

Please don’t take aim at the ground workers, it is not only an appalling display of poor leadership but a clear indication of a lack of moral courage to be there for your people.

And please don’t talk about increasing public transportation fares or increasing salaries till you can increase reliability.

We know it’s an uphill climb, but important sacrifices have to be made in the higher echelon and communications have to be more sincere.

Win back our trust.

First world country.
First world transportation.
First world ethics.

Why PAP doesn’t do accountability, meritocracy.

Where’s Khaw? (cont’d)

In Corporate governance, Infrastructure, Public Administration, Temasek on 17/10/2017 at 6:59 am

Since I wrote Where’s Khaw? on Sunday, he’s resurfaced like a submarine. From a flooded MRT tunnel isit?

And he’s not blaming the constructive nation-building media or new media or even commuters for misrepresenting the truth about the “ponding” at Bishan. Instead

In his first comments on the unprecedented flooding-induced train outage on Oct 7, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan apologised to commuters but pinned the blame squarely on operator SMRT’s maintenance regime.

But there’s more:

Chairman of SMRT Corporation and SMRT Trains Seah Moon Ming bowed and apologised to the public for the underground flooding incident along the North-South Line (NSL) on Oct 7-8 that resulted in a 20-hour disruption. 

But SMRT’s president and group chief executive officer Desmond Kuek, while expressing regret, did no apologies or bowing:

“Much progress has been made with the inculcation of a positive work culture, but there remain some deep-seated cultural issues within the company that has needed more time than anticipated to root out.”

Hello he became the President and Group Chief Executive Officer of SMRT Corporation Limited (SMRT) on 1 October 2012.

So it’s been a good five years since he took charge. He now owns the culture and all other bits of SMRT. SMRT’s history pre October 2012, is no longer an acceptable, reasonable excuse.

But in S’pore scholars don’t get sacked do they? Meritocracy? What meritocracy? Why PAP doesn’t do accountability, meritocracy.

Here life is good for scholars. Multi-millionaire salaries but not accountable for results: juz for trying hard it seems.

 

Where’s Khaw?

In Infrastructure on 15/10/2017 at 5:38 am

They seek him here, they seek him there,
Those MRT commuters seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven?—Is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive Khaw*.

I mean until last weekend, whenever there was a breakdown in SMRT service, Batman Super Khaw would come out swinging defending SMRT.

Kerpow! The constructive, nation-building MSM for pointing out that commuters were delayed.

Thwack! Social media for posting commuters’ complaints.

Zap! Commuters don’t appreciate SMRT when it doesn’t breakdown

Crunch! Kick all the above in the balls for KPKBing.

But, he’s been silent (MIA? AWOL?) since rainwater flooded tunnels on the North-South Line and causing a disruption between Ang Mo Kio and Newton MRT stations between Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.

He posted on FB but on other things.

Meanwhile

Vivian Balakrishnan

Our bus and train staff from SBS and SMRT work tirelessly to provide good service for us all. Some of them even wake as early at 3 AM to catch the company shuttle so that they can start the daily services bright and early. They work six days a week for long hours. Their jobs are difficult and challenging.

Mayor Teo Ho Pin, Mr Liang Eng Hwa, and I hosted breakfast for them as a small gesture of appreciation this morning. Remember to give them a smile the next time you see them 🙂

Image may contain: 9 people, people sitting
Image may contain: 19 people, people smiling, people standing
Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, people standing
Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people sitting and table
 Maybe there’s going to be a new transport minister? And VivianB is the chosen one?
But maybe Khaw had other things to do. He hosted the 23rd ASEAN Transport Ministers meeting on 12 October.
Or maybe, SMRT is preparing to announce something major? Like the CEO committing hari-kiri. But don’t hold yr breath. Scholars and other PAPpies do not do Japanese despite GCT telling us to follow the Japanese Learn from Japanese — set example leh elites

————————————-

*Apologies to the original

We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven?—Is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel.

Sir Percy Blakeney, Baronet

MRT: insufficient attention to maintenance

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 24/08/2017 at 5:18 am

Yesterday, I posted a short piece on accountability in a meritocracy  PM, this is accountabilityand alluded to SMRT as its anthesis.

Here’s more on SMRT (and MRT) from an expert. Forget all the smoke about the need for new sleepers, initially, and now, new signaling eqpt as the cause of disruptions.

The efficiency of the system led to overconfidence, said Lock Kai Sang, engineering professor at the Singapore Institute of Technology and a former member of an Independent Advisory Panel appointed by the Land Transport Authority to assess the rail system’s power supply.

“At a certain point, there wasn’t sufficient attention being paid to the maintenance,” he said. “They were too confident at one point.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-18/singapore-workers-get-a-taste-of-commuting-chaos-as-trains-fail

Let’s also not forget the population increase which should have raised the priority of the the issue of maintenance because of the pressure of an increase in commuters.
And as I’ve pointed, Hali was a non-executive director of SMRT from 2007 to 2011. The maintenance issue and labour problems originated or festered during that period.
The good news according Mr Lock is that “the government and rail operators are putting in a lot of effort to install systems that allow predictive maintenance, designed to stop problems before they occur.”
Granted but if we were a truly meritocratic and accountable society, the systems should have been in place to help prevent problems before they occur i.e. predictive maintenance should have been in-built into the system. SIA doesn’t fly its planes until they crash.

Where was Hali’s judgement between 2007 and 2011?

In Infrastructure on 17/08/2017 at 2:42 pm

AWOL? MIA? Looking at her monthly CPF and bank statements?

The  constructive, nation-building media repoeted that the presumptive Madam President said making a decision to unlock the nation’s reserves is not just based on numbers but involves exercising judgment gleaned from years of experience in policymaking. (Here’s what Chris K says about the lack of discretion that any president has.)

Well between 2007 and 2011, where was her judgement when she was a non-executive director of SMRT?

I mean it wasn’t only the cybernuts in TRELand who were pointing out the problems that SMRT was not owning up to such as overcrowding and a lack of maintenance. Luckily for the PAP and PM, it was only after GE and PE 2011 that the wheels came off the trains, the signal lights failed, and the power supply failed, something predicted by many S’poreans.

Where was her judgement then? Presumably that management not the users of the MRT system were correct that everything was fine?

 

Tan Kin Lian is absolutely right

In Infrastructure on 30/07/2017 at 4:42 am

This blog is anti-TKL because in 2011 he was clowning around (albeit on the advice and instigation of one Goh Meng Seng) and doing the PAP’s work in depriving Dr Tan Cheng Bock of the presidency. Though they never got the thirty pieces of silver.

Transport minister Khaw BW held a media briefing to announce the rail reliability target for 2020. The journalists asked him some questions about the current train breakdown in Singapore.

The minister chided the journalists. He said that it is not easy to fix the engineering problems. He challenged them to try to solve the problem if they are so smart.
I find the minister’s remarks to be deplorable. The journalists are required to do their job as journalists. They are not supposed to be experts in engineering.

The transport ministry, the Land Transport Authority and the train operators are supposed to employ the engineering experts. They are supposed to identify the problems and to find the solutions.

The correct benchmark is the breakdown frequency in other train systems around the world. Do these train systems break down as often as has happened in Singapore. Some of these systems are older than our train system.
If our engineers are not up to mark, the transport minister should look for other engineers to fix the problem. He should not rely on journalists to give him the solution.

It is absurb for the minister to speak in this manner.

Sad to say, this is the quality of the ministers and the top officials that are appointed by PM Lee HL to run Singapore. It seemed that paying top salaries, in the millions of dollars, does not provide the answer.

We do need a change of government.

Sad there is viable alternative in sight.

How Pay & Pay can ensure we complain less

In Infrastructure, Media, Public Administration, Temasek on 29/07/2017 at 10:31 am

You know the PAP administration is rattled when a PAP minister castigates the constructive, nation-building media for reporting the problems that MRT breakdowns are causing commuters. He wants the media to report how Great SMRT is.

ST’s editor responded, “If press coverage doesn’t match everyday experience, then the press loses credibility.”

He only said that because we have the internet and social media to keep honest his paper and other media. I’m old enough to remember when local media coverage at times didn’t match everyday experience.

Now to some constructive advice to the minister and his minions on how to make sure S’poreans KPKB less when the trains don’t run on time.

Behavioural economists tell us we are wired to care more about things we pay than things we get for free. This tendency is called the “endowment effect”. Paying for something represents a loss of money, so we care more and get more upset over things we pay for than over things (identical or otherwise) we can get for free*.

So when an MRT delay occurs, shut the KPKBing down by making the trip free.

It has the additional benefit of showing Khaw, LTA, SMRT and Temask how much revenue is lost when trains don’t run on time.


*Take “WordPress”. Because I use the free version, I don’t grumble about things that suck.

One Belt One Road: S’pore aping the West?

In China, Infrastructure on 15/05/2017 at 2:27 pm

Is S’pore the West’s running dog on the issue of One Belt One Rd?

Let me explain.

Delegates from more than 100 countries, including Putin and 27 heads of state, attended Xi’s recent summit on One Belt One Rd.

Mr Najib’s long-scheduled trip to Beijing next week, following President Xi’s personal invitation to his One Belt One Road summit …

(FT last week)

Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Indonesia sent their leaders. Thailand may not have been invited. Why, I don’t know.

But Lawrence Wong represented S’pore. So our PM not invited isit? Why lidatt China?

Or, as is more likely, he was invited, but like many ang moh leaders, declined theinvitations to attend? Why liddat then PM? FT reports “that the largest economies in Asia and the west sent lower-level representatives.”

PM and PAP administration another bunch of amg moh tua kee wankers isit?

Looks like in S’pore, PAP and anti-PAP got plenty of ang moh tua kees. Aping the West is the in-thing among the PAPpists and anti-PAPpists.

And yet S’pore keeps saying it wants S’pore and S’porean to participate in the One Belt One Rd projects. Think China that stupid isit?

Smart Nation: It’s all about Big Brudder watching us

In Economy, Infrastructure, Internet, Political governance, Public Administration on 24/04/2017 at 2:45 pm

True the BBC in  http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39641262 can come across as constructive and nation-building as ST but three cheers to the BBC for pointing that the way the PAP administration does things is a major problem for the Smart Nation initiative:

Harminder Singh, a senior lecturer in business information systems at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, says the main issue with Smart Nation is that there may be too much government control over it right now for real innovation to take place.

“Singapore’s way of doing things is that the government leads, then others follow,” he told me. “This might be a problem – it is too centralised and so it may take too long for plans to trickle down.

“And ideas from the ground may be neither visible to those on top nor acceptable to them, especially if they are related to the delivery of services that are traditionally handled by the government.”

But he’s very cock in saying

it is not clear why Singapore’s leaders are so keen to move full steam ahead with this plan.

Ah ya no need to explain. It’s all about making sure Big Brother can keep on watching S’poreans. But he’s right to say that we don’t know “how the Smart Nation project will improve salaries and jobs”

“Smart Nation is about building national technology infrastructure so that the government can offer new services, or do what they do now differently. The government may need to explain more clearly how the Smart Nation project will improve salaries and jobs in Singapore to get the project moving faster.”

 

High-speed train: PRC cos not welcomed in S’pore

In China, Infrastructure, Malaysia on 11/02/2017 at 7:17 am

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) appointed AECOM Singapore to conduct an advanced engineering study for Singapore stretch of the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail (HSR) infrastructure, it announced onFeb 8.

The US engineering firm will provide architectural, civil, electrical, mechanical and other design services required for the Jurong East terminus, tunnels and the bridge across the Straits of Johor.

It has also appointed specialist consultants, none of which are from PRC:

But it’s different in M’sia:

The Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high speed rail is a project that is keenly eyed by Chinese rail companies. While the contract to construct the Singapore-KL high-speed rail line has yet to be issued, “local media reports suggest that Singapore prefers a Japanese or European bidder but Malaysia favors a Chinese firm” (Martin, 2016). Indeed, China Railway Group, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, has formed a consortium with a local developer to purchase 60 percent of the land parcel for the RM 160 billion Bandar Malaysia real estate project, located at the KL terminus of the Singapore-KL high speed rail line, from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) — the Malaysian state-owned investment fund whose financial troubles, as we shall shortly see, have triggered the current political crisis.

When completed, Bandar Malaysia will serve as the new transportation hub for KL, connecting the high speed rail line with KL’s existing bus and rail lines, and it will also house China Railway Group’s USD 2 billion regional headquarters. Due to the close working relationship between the Malaysian government and Chinese investors — including China Railway Rolling Stock Co. which has supplied Malaysian Railway with trains since 2010, and which also set up a manufacturing plant in Malaysia in 2015 — some experts believe China holds the advantage in securing the contract for the Singapore-KL high-speed rail line. Looking to the future, China Railway is already “in discussions with the Thai government to build a high speed rail connecting Bandar Malaysia to Bangkok”.

http://ippreview.com/index.php/Home/Blog/single/id/338.html

When there were really floods

In Environment, Infrastructure on 26/01/2017 at 5:28 am

Jerome Lim (Mr Nostalgia) reposted something from 2011 that he put up on Facebook

And we thought that occasional pool in Orchard Road was bad … a map of the 1978 floods ..

No automatic alt text available.

(Remember in 201– 2011 there were several “once in every 50 years” floods within several months)

Well ministers were paid a lot less in the 70s. We got higher expectations of millionaire ministers today. Cannot isit?

Seriously, it was really good to be reminded of how bad things still were 19 years after the PAP came into power.

Fake news about Chinese port investments here isit?

In China, Economy, Infrastructure, Logistics, Shipping on 19/01/2017 at 5:25 am

Recently the anti-PAP cybernuts have been gleefully predicting the economic demise of S’pore what with a recent spate of reports on Chinese initiatives

— China and M’sia to build a major port in Malacca;
—  China was looking to build the Kra Canal; and
— the first freight train to make the journey to the UK.

They are saying part China wants to take business away from our port ha, ha ha.

One Eugene Tavano has been particularly vocal on TRE especially on the freight train service, not realising are already regular train services* to Germany (and Spain I think), which have not affected S’pore’s port. But then cybernuts are like that: blur factually. Think Tan Jee Say (who compares our economy unfavourably with that of PeenoyLand instead of with HK, Taiwan or  South Korea), and Philip Ang and Roy Ngerng (on our reserves etc).

Eugene Tavano (What a Peenoy sounding name: FT here?) is also been very vocal on the M’sian port.

So maybe they know that the u/m is “fake” news? But when another cybernut posted links on Facebook about the M’sian port and Kra canal projects, gleefully predicting gloom for S’pore. I posted the u/m link on Chinese investment here and asked if was fake news? No response.

Most likely then the nuts don’t seem to realise that there’s a 2016 Chinese agreeement to invest in three new megaberths here which will ensure S’pore maintains its global ranking.

Hong Kong-based COSCO Pacific and PSA Singapore have signed a new investment agreement in Shanghai, China today to co-invest in three new mega berths at the Phases 3 and 4 expansion of the Pasir Panjang Terminal which was opened last year.

The investment will be implemented through a joint venture Cosco-PSA Terminal (CPT) and allow for the arrival of mega container ships at the new container berths in anticipation of trade growth and growth in size of boxships plying the international waters.

The new mega berths are slated to begin operations from 2017. According to PSA, they will be fully integrated with PSA’s infrastructure and supported by the automated and intelligent port technologies.

The co-investment agreement is strategically important to both partners and will help them up their competitive game. It is also a clear demonstration of China COSCO Shipping’s confidence in Singapore as a well-connected transhipment hub. I believe the project will also contribute positively to China’s Maritime Silk Road initiative and “One Belt, One Road” vision,” said Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, Josephine Teo.

COSCO Pacific is a subsidiary of China COSCO Shipping, which was formed following the merger of China‬’s two largest shipping companies, COSCO Group and China Shipping Group. The merger created the 4th largest container shipping line in the world.

Cosco Pacific and PSA formed Cosco-PSA Terminal Pte Ltd (CPT) in 2003 to manage and operate two berths at Pasir Panjang Terminal.

http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/187056/cosco-pacific-psa-to-invest-in-mega-berths-in-singapore/

*Update at 2.00pm: The UK’s biggest supermarket, Tesco, doesn’t have any goods on this particular train but does use rail to carry toys, electrical goods, homeware and clothing from China to European rail hubs such as Bratislava in Slovakia and Krasnaje in Belarus.

BBC report

 

PAPpy Grinch strikes? Or is it Scrooge?

In Financial competency, Infrastructure on 29/12/2016 at 6:43 am

And “Heads or tails, we get screwed”, and “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.” were the tots that crossed my mind when I read that the Public Transport Council (PTC) may recommend standardising fares for all MRT lines and bus routes here.

In a blog post on Monday (Oct 10) PTC chairman Richard Magnus said that “it is clear that commuters prefer a simple fare structure”.

True but we prefer lower prices too. And the plan to standandise the fare structure sounds like an excuse not to pass on the benefits of lower costs to us.

Mr Magnus added that while the large negative quantum of 5.7 per cent may have commuters hoping for a corresponding drop in fares,trade-offs may be necessary to balance the various interests of commuters, the need for operators to sustain a viable public transport system, and the “financial burden” of Government expenditure on public transport infrastructure and assets.

ST

Stop the BS about “financial burden” of Government expenditure on public transport infrastructure and assets**. Hey we got budget surpluses that need recycling. And recycling doesn’t juz mean giving Temasek and GIC money to gamble invest.

So long as there are humongous budget surpluses, we can have our cake and eat it. Now if the budget is neutral, then fair enough to raise fares.


*“The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”

Jam tomorrow or jam to-morrow (older spelling) is an expression for a never-fulfilled promise. It originates from Lewis Carroll’s 1871 book Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.[1] In the book the White Queen offers Alice “jam every other day” as an inducement to work for her:
“I’m sure I’ll take you with pleasure!” the Queen said. “Two pence a week, and jam every other day.”
Alice couldn’t help laughing, as she said, “I don’t want you to hire me – and I don’t care for jam.”
“It’s very good jam,” said the Queen.
“Well, I don’t want any to-day, at any rate.”
“You couldn’t have it if you did want it,” the Queen said. “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”
“It must come sometimes to ‘jam to-day’,” Alice objected.
“No, it can’t,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every other day: to-day isn’t any other day, you know.”
“I don’t understand you,” said Alice. “It’s dreadfully confusing!”

Wikipedia

**ST reported him as saying:

He noted that $4 billion would be spent to subsidise bus services over next five years under the bus contracting model.

Other considerations include the reliability of the expanding rail line and the manpower crunch in the sector.

“Realistically, it is not sustainable to keep imposing higher standards on our operators while fares remain unchanged, or to keep increasing the level of subsidies from the Government. The experts’ view is to avoid large fluctuations in fares which may create adverse impact to industry stakeholders; and to have small and gradual fare adjustments instead,” he said.

“A fine balance is therefore necessary to ensure that our public transport system remains viable and sustainable in the long run.”

So long as there are humongous budget surpluses, we can have our cake and eat it. Now if the budget is neutral, then fair enough to raise fares.

BPLRT: Is SDP or LTA telling the truth?

In Infrastructure on 08/10/2016 at 10:29 am

What the LTA says is going to happen is not the what the SDP claims is going to happen.

Below is the SDP’s claim that the Bukit Panjang Light Rail Transit (BPLRT) system is going to be scrapped and that this is a waste of money. It goes on to say

There are many train systems all over the world much older than the one in BP that are still running. Some were built in the 19th century with wooden carriages powered by steam engines when they first started.

But the trains kept running because innovative minds re-engineered and made improvements to the systems. There is a strong sense of pride in the work done in these places, something that is obviously missing under the PAP’s leadership in Singapore.

Sadly for someone (me) who wants an end to the PAP’s hegemony and for the Oppo to gain cred with the middle ground, the SDP is at the very least guilty of misrepresentation.

This is because according to a BT (or ST?) report “Bukit Panjang LRT may be scrapped: SMRT company blog” the LTA is also thinking of extending the working life of the line and upgrading it, not juz getting rid of it.

In an internal LTA SMRT blog

SMRT Trains managing director Lee Ling Wee said a joint team is reviewing the future of the system with a view to giving it a major overhaul.

“It will be more than just a makeover,” Mr Lee wrote, adding that the 17-year-old system is near “the end of its design life”.

One, to deploy self-powered autonomous guided vehicle on the existing viaduct.

Two, build a new LRT system with significant design enhancements in key infrastructures such as power supply, signalling, rolling stock, tracks and stations.

Three, to renew the existing Bombardier system with a more updated signalling system – allowing trains to be tracked more accurately, and to ply at a higher frequency.

Mr Lee said that an idea to do away with the entire LRT system was also mooted and for residents in the Bukit Panjang area to go back to riding buses.

Isn’t

to deploy self-powered autonomous guided vehicle on the existing viaduct

or

to renew the existing Bombardier system with a more updated signalling system – allowing trains to be tracked more accurately, and to ply at a higher frequency

what the SDP accusing it of not doing?

There are many train systems all over the world much older than the one in BP that are still running. Some were built in the 19th century with wooden carriages powered by steam engines when they first started.

But the trains kept running because innovative minds re-engineered and made improvements to the systems.

Wake up yr ideas SDP. Can’t find people who understand English isit? Why liddat?

Dr Chee is KPKBing that he and the SDP lack cred with the voting public because they are fixed by the Chiams, and the PAP and its media allies. He should put his own house in order before throwing stones.

With enemies like the SDP and Dr Chee, the PAP doesn’t need friends. The PAP is really lucky.

—————————–

*Singapore Democrats

The idea of scrapping the Bukit Panjang Light Rail Transit (BPLRT) system is typical of the malaise and lack of direction that has enveloped the present government.

Unable to think outside the box and come up with viable solutions to make things work, the PAP chooses instead to waste public funds by ditching the nearly $300 million system.

The SMRT, under the governance of the Land Transport Authority, gives the excuse that the BPLRT has come to the end of its 20-year design lifespan and therefore should be discarded.

This is an affront to common sense. There are many train systems all over the world much older than the one in BP that are still running. Some were built in the 19th century with wooden carriages powered by steam engines when they first started.

But the trains kept running because innovative minds re-engineered and made improvements to the systems. There is a strong sense of pride in the work done in these places, something that is obviously missing under the PAP’s leadership in Singapore.

The truth is that the BPLRT system has been plagued with problems right from the beginning and the authorities have been unable and unwillingly to fix its regular and frequent breakdowns, preferring to focus on making a profit off the system.

This is similar to the regular and frequent breakdowns of the MRT experienced nationwide. The inability resolve the sorry state of affairs of the system is not because of the design lifespan of the trains or the tracks – platform doors are even falling off in the brand new Downtown Line.

Rather, the source of the problem is the incompetence of the government to put together a team of able leaders and to marshal resources to deal with the malfunctions.

Instead of tackling the problem head on, the PAP chooses the easy way out – abandoning the entire system. Such a move means that hundreds of millions of dollars of the public funds will be flushed down the drain. While money is easy to come by for the government through the raising of fees and taxes, it is something that Singaporeans toil for.

The SDP calls on the PAP to not take the people’s hard earned money for granted and earnestly look into to fixing the problems of the BPLRT and MRT.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share76

Traingate: Only TRE reader sees the big picture

In Infrastructure on 10/07/2016 at 12:19 pm

Everone else is talking cock and singing song. The Oppo parties, anti-PAP cyberwarriors and activists, allied websites and bloggers, and other new media outlets are screaming their heads off over the cracks in PRC-made trains and the failure of SMRT, LTA and the transport ministry (MoT) to tell us about the cracks.

Only a TRE reader asks: Was our Jurong Port’s security compromised?

The report by Hong Kong’s Factwire Agency yesterday on SMRT defective trains certainly created an online furore amongst netizens.

Video footages of the trains being transported in the wee hours of the morning to Jurong Port by now must have been circulated and shared umpteen times on social media.

For most of us, the focus is on the trains that were defective and were transported `covertly’ back to the manufacturer. For those who have completely missed the video (there are a few others), you can click on the link here (credit of icablenews).

Now scroll to 35 second portion of the video.

This is my concern.

A drone was launched and had a bird’s eye view of the trains that were going to be shipped out.

Aerial surveillance by a drone (both daytime and night time) inside our port?

It is also frightening to know that whoever launched the drone over our port knows exactly the spot where the trains were being unloaded. No one actually spotted the drone hovering inside our port?

Our port is supposedly a protected area. Maritime Port Authority (MPA) perhaps can answer this question of whether drones are allowed to hover over our ports.

Now the next question, if indeed the drone was launched `inside’ the port, was our security so laxed that the perpetuator(s) was able to sneak by our the check points without proper security pass and clearance?

Imagine this drone carried explosives and launched by terrorists to crash into our critical facilities within the port.

Food for thought.

JY

*A concern citizen with more than 9 years’s experience working as a risk practitioner.

Shame on TRE* , TO** , the Indian***, TMG, mothership etc.

And shame on the anti-PAP mob who in their hurry to criticise SMRT, LTA and the PAP administration missed this open goal.

New media and anti-PAPpies are guilty of group think, something that they criticise the PAP of. They are just as guilty of gtoup-think.

————————

*OK it did publish the remarks but otherwise its coverage was juz as shirty as the other publications.

**OK Terry’s away and TOC did tell us about the HK report: the other publications were clueless until they read TOC. They didn’t even credit TOC for reporting the news first. Taz new media ethics fot you.

***Politician Ravi needs to  clean up the mess that he inherited ASAP before TISG’s past tarnishes his reputation.

Traingate: Only SGDaily asks the right question

In Infrastructure on 10/07/2016 at 4:42 am

And researched the answer.

Everyone else is talking cock and singing song. The Oppo parties, anti-PAP cyberwarriors and activists, allied websites and bloggers,  and other new media outlets are screaming their heads off over the cracks in PRC-made trains and the failure of SMRT, LTA and the transport ministry (MoT) to tell us about the cracks.

Can the critics answer the following questions:

Has anyone died as a result of the faulty trains?

Has anyone been injured?

And, has SMRT, LTA or the MoT lost money?

So why should the swing voter care?

There’s only one reason why the swing voters and all S’poreans should care about Traingate. But the usual suspects are too clueless to ask the question that will interest the swing voter. The usual suspects all own cars isit? Or they all unemployed isit? So no need to travel during rush hours?

Only SgDaily’s Joel Koh asks: What happens to service reliability and timings?

And better still, he did some research.

He writes: Remember that SMRT announced last year that it would be adding trains to shorten train service intervals. The current move to recall 26 trains removes 11 per cent from the current fleet’s capacity. Should we expect a corresponding decrease in service reliability and a lengthening of service timings?

This means longer waiting times and decreased passenger satisfaction. Perhaps in typical “only hear the good stuff” fashion, LTA has decided to keep mum about this to avoid making a bad situation even worse?

Yet it does get worse. The existing infrastructure may have to bear hidden additional costs because of this recall. With the reduced capacity, existing trains would have to make more trips, ferry more passengers and undergo more wear and tear during this period.

What would be disastrous is if the older trains also start to display similar issues or develop problems as a result of the need to meet this increased load, which could lead to more trains being taken out of service.

Article

Shame on the Oppo parties, anti-PAP cyberwarriors and activists, allied websites and bloggers,  and other new media outlets for not asking this question, resulting in missing an open goal.


To be fair to TeamTRE, after their rant there was this throwaway line which ended the piece

With 26 trains out of service, MRT commuters might want to consider waking up a few hours earlier than usual or bunking in at the office to avoid being late for work as it sure as hell is going to be more crowded than ever.

———————————————————–

Finally, a clarification. He wrote

This piece was inspired by Thoughts of a Cynical Investor. He asks why LTA did not mention how the train recalls will impact MRT train service timings.

Actually my question to SgDaily in an email was more general:

Do SMRT, LTA tell us how train services will be maintained as these trains are repaired.

Got any site, blogger asking?

Don’t see anything on above. LOL

 

 

 

Problems at upgraded Panama Canal

In Infrastructure, Logistics, Shipping on 08/07/2016 at 12:58 pm

From NYT Dealbook:

A RISKY BET ON THE PANAMA CANAL The Panama Canal’s new locks will be on display this weekend, when heads of state congregate to see a Chinese container ship become the first commercial vessel to make the passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

But when the celebrations end, the future of the expanded canal will be cloudy at best, its safety, quality of construction and economic viability in doubt, Walt Bogdanich, Jacqueline Williams and Ana Graciela Méndez report in The New York Times.

A new canal needs enough water, durable concrete and locks big enough to safely accommodate larger ships. A Times investigation has found that the Panama Canal fails on all three counts.

The low bid for the project – a billion dollars less than the nearest competitor’s – made it precarious from the outset, according to a confidential analysis commissioned by the insurer for the four-nation consortium that built the new locks. “This is a high-risk situation,”wrote the analysts from Hill International in 2010.

As the project developed, it was mired in infighting, political firestorms and severe concerns about its physical structure.

The canal has made Panama, a country with few natural resources, crucial to global economics. It became a major banking, trading and airline hub, not to mention a transit zone for drug dealing and money laundering.

The consequences will be wide-ranging if the canal does not deliver. American grain and soybean farmers and producers of liquefied natural gas may find it harder to sell to Asian customers. Asian manufacturers may forsake the struggling ports on America’s East Coast, or they, and ultimately consumers, will shoulder the added cost of going the long way round, through the Suez Canal.

The canal’s success may also be undercut by the slowdown in global trade, especially from China.

Read The Times investigation into the problems that struck the $3.1 billion expansion project here.

SMRT: Still no hati-kiri meh?

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 26/04/2016 at 3:07 pm

(Update at 4.30 am on 27 April: Came across a great comments on Facebook: When train services were disrupted in 2012, the Board said it hold the CEO and management responsible. A COI was subsequently called. Now trains break down ever so often plus the fact that two staff died on the job, What has the Board of SMRT got to say?

And this: Minister Khaw made a Facebook post about the 100 day achievement but has been oddly silent after the repeated breakdowns right after

But let’s be fair: maybe he realised that his previous “100 day” comment provoked Nemesis to punish him for his hubris. He didn’t want us to suffer because he talks cock.)

Let alone a deep bow of apology?

Mitsubishi Motors President Tetsuro Aikawa bows during a press conference on April 20, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan

(Japanese CEO of Mitsubishi Motors recently apologising for corporate misbehaviour )

Yesterday, when the SMRT reported what went wrong when two trainees died and where thetr was a massive failure of train services, I was reminded that the PAP administration talks the talk of about following Japanese values; while not walking the talk,

GCT was keen to stress Jap values so long as they didn’t apply to the PAP administration and Khaw only when they applied to the WP.

Where was GCT’s and Khaw’s Jap style of responsibility from the head of SGH and the senior official in MoH?

And why no bowing at SMRT?

Actually this is this the kind of Jap behaviour the PAP administration prefers? CEO takes cover.

But I’ll end on a constructive, nation-building note

Here’s something from the BBC on how to admit mistakes without admitting that one has personally made a mistake. PAP ministers and others should take note.

Going back further still, in 1961 John F Kennedy faced a news conference days after the failed CIA-sponsored invasion at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba.

Despite saying he had no more to add on the debacle beyond an initial statement, a reporter asked about conflicting information surrounding a “certain foreign policy situation”.

“There’s an old saying that victory has 100 fathers and defeat is an orphan,” Kennedy said in his reply.

That neither he nor his administration had anything more to say at the time was not to conceal responsibility, he said, because “I’m the responsible officer of the government”.
All in the wording.

Admitting fault is a political minefield. As political scientist Daniel W Drezner wrote in the Washington Post last year, it brings few benefits: an admission is unlikely to change critics’ minds and could damage supporters’ confidence.

While some commentators on the BBC website praised Mr Obama’s candour, others said he should have chosen the healthcare reforms as the focus of his contrition: something he instead picked as a highlight of his presidency.

And long before the 24-hour news cycle, presidents were careful when acknowledging faults.

In a 1876 report on his presidency, marred by political and financial scandals, Ulysses S Grant said “mistakes have been made, as all can see and I admit it”, according to Safire’s Political Dictionary.

Or in other words: “Mistakes have been made. But not necessarily by me.”

Our cock town planners

In India, Infrastructure, S'pore Inc on 03/02/2016 at 2:13 pm

They cut and paste ang moh ideas. Works in Animal Farm but not in India

“The draft masterplan for Amaravati was prepared by planners from the Singapore government as part of an agreement between the state of Andhra Pradesh and Singapore,” explained Srikant Nagulapalli, commissioner of theAndhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA). “But when the first draft arrived, we realised that it would not work.”

According to Nagulapalli: “Global town planning principles do not take Vaasthuinto consideration. But the people of Andhra Pradesh have a deep-rooted belief and will not buy any property that is not north- or east-facing. We had to send [the draft plan] back to the master planners and ask them to rework it taking these principles into account. The whole capital city project would have had no buyers if the initial draft had been implemented,” he said.

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jan/26/amaravati-andhra-pradesh-india-singapore-new-state-capital-city

More

“The master planners with the Singapore government were puzzled,” Nagulapalli said. “They wanted to know what Vaasthu was and who wrote it. We were stumped. After some rather frantic research, we found that the Indian scholar Varahamihira had written it in the 6th century. We have learnt a lot during the process of building this capital.”

And

Amaravati was envisioned as a world-class smart city, the first to be part-funded by the Indian government. The new city will be built at an expected cost of 1 trillion rupees (£10.7bn) on 217.23 square kilometres of land on the banks of the Krishna river, and is expected to generate jobs to sustain a population of 9-12 million people in the surrounding capital region.

The Andhra Pradesh government signed a pro-bono agreement with Singapore in December 2014 to plan the new capital. In all, the government of Singapore, along with private agency Surbana Jurong, committed to preparing three masterplans – the last of which, the “seed capital masterplan” for the core of the city (which will house the Central Business District and the state’s new government offices) was only submitted last week.

Data centre security: HK v S’pore

In Hong Kong, Infrastructure on 02/01/2016 at 5:30 am

Parachutist extraordinaire, (Three GEs, three different parties, three GRCs and a diminishing share of votes) Goh Meng Seng is at it again, dissing S’pore in favour of his adopted home. HK. Where everything is better.

Here’s one area where S’pore is tops according to a HK newspaper.

The city-state’s financial regulator has set up a test for centres looking to host sensitive data from banks, called a threat vulnerability and risk assessment (TVRA).

In order to pass, the centres must weather severe natural disasters and even attacks from rocket-propelled grenades.

Intruders to one of these heavily guarded units should beware of the “mantraps”. This type of security door will lock down upon detecting a breach, trapping within bewildered, defenceless data burglers.

The test also has an equally stringent cyber security assessment in place to ensure the centres can keep most hackers out.

It could just be a marketing element from the regulator. But if it is, it’s a good one,” Krupal Raval, senior vice president for finance at Digital Realty, told the South China Morning Post in an interview. “From a banking perspective, we see more activity in Singapore. That’s because [regulators] are more proactive in reaching out.”

By “reaching out”, Raval means that the Monetary Authority of Singapore is signalling to banks and other financial institutions they can safely outsource sensitive data operations. The TVRA is the monetary authority’s stamp of approval on the centres at a time when a data breach on banks can spell out massive fines and a loss of reputation.

Digital Realty is one of the world’s biggest data centre companies, with major hubs in both Hong Kong and Singapore.

The 177,000 square-foot facility in Singapore has passed the TVRA test, something that the company said has attracted the interest of financial institutions looking to outsource sensitive financial data from clients.

Not so for Hong Kong, however. Digital Realty operates an even larger centre in the Tseung Kwan O industrial estate. It has a tier-III rating from the Uptime Institute, which is mainly concerned with how much time the plant must be shut down in order to be maintained.

While Raval says that site is just as secure as the one in Singapore, banks are less likely to outsource in Hong Kong without a financial regulator’s thumbs-up on the centres. Financial institutions in Singapore can outsource data operations only to centres that have the TVRA. Hong Kong regulators do not have an equivalent assessment. Spokespeople at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau said they could not answer questions on the topic.

“It would be an opportunity for Hong Kong going forward,” Raval said of instituting a similar test. And a missed opportunity for the time being as companies holding sensitive client data search for safer but cheaper ways to do their businesses.

Banks have traditionally built expensive in-house data centres to reduce the risk of breaches. Offering regulator-approved choices for outsourcing the work presents an attractive option for financial firms moving to Asia.

The stringent regulations for data centres were just part of Singapore’s digital competitiveness. The 15 submarine fibre optics cables connected to the city have boosted connectivity and lowered costs, says Clement Goh, South Asia managing director at Equinix.

“As such, a multitude of companies are not just flocking to Singapore but choosing to headquarter their businesses here,” he says. Equinix is another one of the world’s biggest data centre companies with centres in both Hong Kong and Singapore. “This definitely gives us a competitive edge over our other counterparts in the region without such regulatory measures in place.”

http://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/1880844/singapore-mantrapping-away-hong-kong-financial-competitiveness?utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=outbrain&utm_campaign=Outbrain-SG-business&utm_term=48752606

Why so many MRT breakdowns

In Infrastructure on 23/12/2015 at 4:36 am

Senior lecturer at SIM University, Professor Walter Theseira, said: “… We’re doing a lot of backdated maintenance or fixing of problems after they become really apparent.”

The above was hidden in a long CNA article entitled

Singapore’s train system: What needs to be done to ensure a smoother ride?

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-s-train-system/2364656.html

SgDaily also spotted this and highlighed it on Facebook. Great minds think alike LOL.

But there is Karma. Dividends from SMRT to state have been recycled back and more. The free lunch was enjoyed by the private investors who got the benefit of dividends (i’m assuming they sold their sgares in time).

Related posts: Learning from the Arabs and this. But I was wrong about assuming that general could make trains run on time. Forgot he paper general and scholar, like the CEO of NOL.

 

Chinese pearls in Indonesia

In China, Indonesia, Infrastructure on 31/10/2015 at 5:06 am

China Communications Constructionis currently in the process of finalising a $2.5bn deal with the Indonesia Port Corporation to upgrade 30 ports in East Indonesia 70% financed by the China Dev Bank

 

2025: LKY’s memorial unveiled

In Environment, Infrastructure on 25/08/2015 at 3:37 am

In a recent blog post,”Where will the energy business be in 2025?” the FT’s energy guru, Nick Butler gave scenarios of the world in 2025. One scenario mentioned us and our dear Harry.

Climate change remains a serious and unresolved issue because of the continued use of coal but the focus of attention has shifted to the impact of climate volatility and extreme weather conditions. Insurance premiums for low-lying areas that could be hit by flooding have tripled. In 2025, Singapore announces that it will proceed with the construction of the 40km Lee Kuan Yew sea wall surrounding the island, which can be raised and lowered according to the level of risk.

The Great Wall of S’pore begins construction on the 10th anniversary of him becoming the 9th Immortal. DSC_0029

Yup cybernuts in TRE and TOC Land, in 2025, the PAP is still ruling S’pore. Grave dancer Oxygen and friends, go bang yr balls and cry. Harry rules OK. DSC_0011

Don’t see S’pore on this list of most productive ports

In Economy, Infrastructure on 21/03/2015 at 4:27 am

 

Singapore had 73 total berth moves per hour in 2013 .http://www.joc.com/sites/default/files/u48502/Charts/Singapore-Transshipments.jpg 

Aqua Lions?/ No worries about coup/ SMRT no got this

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 20/03/2015 at 4:47 am

So the SAF was upset that the swimmers called their team “Red Lions”, the description that SAF’s parachuting team uses? And the swimmers decided to drop the name.

What the heck? Given that it’s a swimming team, “Red Merlions” is more appropriate? Or “Blue Lions” or “Water Lions or “Aqua Lions”?

What do you think? A lot better than “Sea Lions” that GCT suggested? [Last sentence added at 7.15am].

Actually, this storm in tea cup could have been engineered by the SAF’s special ops team to divert attention from the fact that three ex-SAF commanders are showing themselves to very incompetent: the tpt minister and the CEOs of SMRT and NOL.

Shouldn’t Khaw be calling fot Lui* to commit hari-kiri? Or resign? But then our leaders always talked cock about Japanese style responsibility: only for the “little people” not them. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/learn-from-japanese-set-example-leh-elites/

But let’s look on the bright side of the incompetncy of the transport minister and the CEO’s of NOL and SMRT

Given that they  are scholars and two are ex-generals and one an ex-admiral, and given the problems that the tpt ministry and NOL and SMRT are facing, SAF generals and admirals are sure to cock-up any coup attempt**.

Seriously, the u/m report amazwd me

Transport operator SMRT said on Friday that it will accelerate the setting up of a new maintenance operations centre, which will provide swifter responses to rail incidents.

Experts stationed at the centre will be able to communicate directly with maintenance teams on the ground, and provide in-depth diagnostic advice to speed up service recovery.

The centre is expected to be ready in the coming year, SMRT said in a press briefing which was called in light of the recent spate of train disruptions.

Only one other metro has such a maintenance operations centre, SMRT added, while declining to say which one.

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/transport/story/smrt-beef-its-team-engineers-and-technicians-20150306#sthash.soP3EC4t.dpuf

Given that Kuek was an ex-SAF general, I’m surprised he didn’t make establishing such a centre a priority given the situation he was left by the previous Ferrari driving CEO. This FT told commuters to bugger-off if they weren’t prepared to be crammed like sardines, pointing out that they had a choice not to take the train, and anyway trains were more packed elsewhere.

If as an army general, he doesn’t know the importance of a state-of-the-art command-and-control operations centre, what does he know?

Kuek would never have made it into the German general staff: From the mid 19th century to the end of WW II, the train section, an elite section,  of the elite general staff had to ensure that the trains would run on time when war came. When the Kaiser on the eve of World War I asked his chief of general staff if he could stop the mobilisation, he was told that the train schedules wouldn’t permit it. Now if Kuek had been in charge of the train section, the trains would have delayed and WWI prevented.

*I suspect post GE, he’d join Raymond Lim.

**Fortunately, Indon and M’sian generals and admirals are just as incompetent as our SAF ones: think the MH 370 incident (military radar not switched on, or if it was no-one was watching); or the inability of the Indon navy to curb piracy and sand smuggling.

SG50/ HDB: PAP man didn’t take salary? Kidding me leh?

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 18/03/2015 at 5:20 am

Continuing the theme of the HDB and public housing, let’s remember Lim Kim San.

I had tot of him when I read this a few weeks ago: My grandfather sold his plot of land to the government in the 1960s and moved into a HDB or Housing Development Board home, thousands of which were sprouting up all over the island. It was an affordable way for Singaporeans to buy property and raise their standard of living.

“We had a huge task when we first started in 1960. At that time our population size was 1.6 million, out of that, 1.3 million lived in squatters – not to count thousands of others living in slum areas and old buildings,” says Liu Thai Ker, who was known as Singapore’s “master planner” in the 70s and 80s. The new HDB towns that Liu oversaw came with their own schools, shops and clinics. The high-rise buildings introduced many Singaporeans to the miracles of flushing toilets and clean water at the turn of a tap.

By 1985, in just one generation, Liu says, the HDB was so successful in its rehousing policy that Singapore could claim to have “no homeless, no squatters, no poverty ghettos and no ethnic enclaves”.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31626174

Sad that Lim had not been mentioned. Maybe the BBC writer, an FT of S’pore origin, didn’t know about him because I get the impression that he has been moved into the margins of the right narrative of our history despite being highly  praised by one LKY.as one of the Government’s past “political entrepreneurs”, who had seized opportunities using powers of analysis, imagination, a sense of reality, drive and character, “He has a lively, practical mind …” http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/data/pdfdoc/088-1996-11-28_lky.pdf

Let’s start at the beginning. He volunteered  in 1960 to be the HDB’s first chairman and was not paid for three years (but (Jos, Grace and Hen should take note) it seems. But then he was rich, very rich and as an Oz tycoon said A$5m is enough money to live on, though I’m sure Jos and Grace will disagree: money always not enough say the aunties.

He was in charge of the massive construction of high-rise, low-cost (Note: not affordable) housing that made the PAP popular with the masses.

LKY said he could organise and plan. But his planning was “rough and ready”: using simple estimates, not derived from detailed stats (there were none then) and detailed analysis (not that number of number and data crunchers around, and there were no computers).

Critics said he could not build 1,000 units a year because the HDB did not have the capability and the materials to reach the target. By the time a committee published its report on whether HDB could reach the target, the HDB had already completed 1,000 units of housing.

I’ll let his Wikipedia entry tell the rest of the  story.

In the first Five Year Housing Program, HDB achieved its goal of completing 5000 units of housing by 1965. The largest project at that time was Queenstown, a satellite town of more than 17,500 apartments capable of housing close to 22,000 people. The new neighborhood was built as a self-contained entity, with all amenities and shops built along with the houses, so people will not need to travel to other areas for basic necessities, thereby lowering traffic congestion. This philosophy (which was ultimately extended with the concept of regional centre), is generally accredited by many to have significantly contributed to the lower rate of congestion and burden on the central business district than before. [If so good why CBD charges introduced? And then island-wide tolls? Raise monney isit?]

In May 1961, the Bukit Ho Swee Fire broke out and some 16,000 people became homeless. Under Lim’s guidance, the relocation and reconstruction of the lost housing was completed in just over four years, and 1200 housing flats were made available to those who lost their homes in the fire.

The success of the housing project was considered by some to stem mainly from the standardized architectural designs that were used. Another important factor was Lim’s decision to use private contractors rather than employing construction workers directly. This allowed the HDB to supervise the contractors to ensure standards, rather than dealing with minute problems. Also, overall cost was kept low by using a large pool of contractors and different sources of building materials.

There are some who said that by solving Singapore’s housing problem, Lim saved the PAP in the process. However, Lim himself was more modest, saying the success of the housing programme was also due to government funding, as housing was, and still is, a top priority.

Part of Lim’s success at the HDB was that he had the trust of the Prime Minister at the time, Lee Kuan Yew. He also worked closely with the Minister of Finance at the time, Goh Keng Swee. These connections allowed Lim keep the housing program well-funded. Another political factor that allowed the success of the Housing Project was that Lim managed to cut through bureaucratic red tape and rigid regulations that would have otherwise hindered the housing program.

As to why he’s almost invisible? Maybe because he didn’t take a salary for three yrs? I mean with Grace, and Grace, you can figure out why he can’t be that popluar among younger PAP ministers. .

One cheer for the PAP’s housing policy?

In Infrastructure on 17/03/2015 at 4:56 am

During the Parliament debate on Tuesday (10 Mar), National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan talked about the affordability of HDB BTO flats and how Singapore housing system is better than other countries’, “Recently, UK newspaper The Independent (Jan 23) had an article and with this headline: ‘Londoners queue overnight in sub-zero temperatures to buy one bedroom flat for 400,000 pounds’. 400,000 British pounds is equivalent to about S$840,000. On the same day, in Hong Kong, South China Morning Post (Jan 23) reported 130,000 applications for 2,160 subsidised flats in Hong Kong. The article’s headline reads: ‘Only 1 in 60 chance to win in Hongkongers’ rush for subsidised flats’. The flats, which are roughly the size of our 2-room flats, are priced between HK$1.9million and HK$3.3 million. This is more than 4 times our Build-to-Order (BTO) prices.”

“I think they put into better perspective our much more benign situation in Singapore,” he added.

He got a earful from TRE regular contributor Chris K who has lived in London. http://www.tremeritus.com/2015/03/13/khaw-talked-nonsense-comparing-hdb-prices-to-londons

I leave it to a letter righter to the FT to put the situation in the UK into perspective for us S’poreans: “For the young rent is over 40% of wages. Why do we have to keep paying the rentiers who generate no wealth? We don’t need a new productivity revolution we need to crush the rentiers. There is your paradigm shift.”

But many S’poreans for all of Khaw’s KPKBing about our HDB policies shares one problem with the Brits: Lord Best has spent a lifetime working in social housing and sums up how things stand: “Everybody under 40 has got some kind of housing problem. They’re paying too much for their mortgage, they’re paying too much for their rent, they’re in trouble one way or the other.”

Interesting even that lover of all things HK, Goh Meng Seng, hasn’t attacked Khaw’s comments on HK’s public housing programme. Neither has any other anti_PAP cybernut. In fact no-one has it seems.

So we are one up on HK? One cheer then.

 

 

Fare reduction in 2016? Dream on?

In Infrastructure on 26/01/2015 at 4:45 am

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said last Monday that commuters could see fares fall by about 1% in 2016 because of a drop in energy prices last year.

Three amber signs that this will not happen? Or should that be three straws in the wind? Constructive nation-building CNA carried three stories on 22 January and 23 January that could indicate that even if oil prices remain at the US$50 level (or even below US$100), public transport fares will rise.

Fare review formula review : PTC

The overhaul of the bus industry would require the fare review formula to be relooked, with the Public Transport Council (PTC) having to consider, among other things, whether to apply different sets of fares for a period of at least a few months in 2016 when some bus routes would be under the new bus contracting model while others would not.

The bus contracting model – under which the Government will own all bus operating assets and collect the fares, while operators run the services – will be implemented in phases, starting from the middle of 2016.

Three packages of routes, making up about 20 per cent of routes, will be tendered out first. The remaining 80 per cent will be grouped into nine packages, which will be run by incumbents SMRT and SBS Transit on negotiated contracts under the contracting model, for about five years after their Bus Service Operating Licences expire on Aug 31 next year. After the negotiated contracts expire, more bus services will be gradually tendered out.* (CNA)

“Energy costs are not the biggest contributor to fare rises”

So said Nanyang Technological University transport economist Walter Theseira in another article

SIM University’s urban transport management expert Park Byung Joon said bus and trains operations are not making “huge money”. “We are not in the government contracting model (for buses) yet, we are still in the operating mode (where) the expenditure has to be recovered from fares,” he added.

Dr Theseira said a large part of the increase year to year is usually due to the rise in labour cost and other operating expenses, while fuel cost is not a “large explanation” for the increase in prices over time.

While energy prices have been high over the past few years, they have also been stable. “Usually, year on year, public transport becomes more efficient, so the fuel cost component will be dropping over time,” he said.

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der Horng said while no one likes to see a hike, there is a price to pay if Singaporeans want to see a better public-transport system. “And I think the key thing in this whole exercise is that the authority or Government must make sure fares are affordable, especially to low-wage workers, minority groups, senior citizens and students>”

Fares not tied closely to changes in oil price.

That is a key finding of a study by Boston Consulting Group, which shared the report exclusively with Channel NewsAsia.

Boston Consulting tracked changes over the past 17 years and it found that bus and MRT fares increased at a much slower pace than oil prices.

[W]ages rose steadily between 1997 and 2014 – the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose at a slower pace for the first 10 years, before picking up pace from 2008. …fare increases have lagged behind wages and consumer prices … fare increases kept pace with CPI for about the first 10 years, before slowing down. It added that Singapore is one of few cities in the world that keeps its transport costs low.

“The state actually invests in majority of the infrastructure – so the MRT, LRT lines, the bus interchanges, they have been built by the state there is an expectation that the public transport operators should achieve efficiency and productivity improvements every year,” said Partner and Managing Director of Boston Consulting Group Singapore Dinesh Khanna.

“So even if you are expecting inflation to go up, fares should be growing at rates lower than inflation. Over the past few years, the state has also subsidised and put in place more concession fares for the senior citizens and other important interest groups.”

So are we screwed yet again?

Maybe an election in 2016 will stay the instincts of the Pay And Pay administration?

Finally MPs who can afford not to take public transport (think monthly allowance of S$15,000 each which makes them outearn president Xi: they each earn in two months whay he earns in one yr) pontificate

MP Seng Han Thong, who is deputy chair of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for transport, said the middle-income group would be most affected by the fare hike. However, as buses and trains improve connectivity, it would benefit this group.

GPC chairman Cedric Foo (Pioneer) added that those who “fall between the cracks”, such as the jobless, could apply for public-transport vouchers.

MP Lim Biow Chuan noted that a person who takes two public-transport trips a day would see increases of about S$1 a month. “It’s still bearable.”

What are you waiting for? Go buy SBS, ComfortDelgro and SMRT.

————————–

*Rest of article

RELOOKING THE FARE REVIEW FORMULA

The existing fare review formula is valid from 2013 to 2017, but PTC Chairman Richard Magnus said it could be relooked before the new model is implemented. He added that it would be a challenge to review fares for the routes under the existing and new models, as well as those in transition. “We will need to begin to rethink how fares will be then,” he said.

On whether there would be different sets of fares, he cited social equity and distribution as factors for consideration.

Nanyang Technological University transport economist Walter Theseira said that under the new model, the Government could keep fares down, “effectively throwing money into a loss-making operation”. “It changes the nature of how subsidies are provided to the system,” he said.

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der Horng said there was also room for the PTC to make the formula more responsive to inflation, wage levels and energy prices, though he acknowledged that it takes time for the relevant data to be available. Under the existing formula, there is a one-year lag in the indices used for computation.

SIM University urban transport management expert Park Byung Joon saw the merits of the current approach. “The whole idea … is that we want to avoid a situation (where there is) see-sawing (of fares) every time fuel prices go up and down.”

 

Big Data, the PM and the Oppo

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 10/12/2014 at 5:19 am

But bear with me first on the LTA and Uber and other taxi apps.

The PAP administrationis  afraid of losingrevenue from CoEs is the reason why LTA is creating its own taxi apps and making life difficult for Uber etc?

Because of Uber and other such apps, “Millions of people may decide that they no longer need to own a car because using Uber will be cheaper than owning one.”? This was said by Travis Kalanick, chief executive of Uber, on a new round of financing which values Uber at US$40m.

For “Uber” read “Uber and rival apps”

(A reminder of what LTA has done.

[A]nnounced plans to put its own taxi app into the growing market just after it announced regulations for the existing players in the industry.

The app, Taxi-Taxi.SG, will launch in mid-December, and will show commuters the number of available taxis near them, as well as signalling to taxi drivers the locations of potential customers. No details on app charges have yet emerged.

The Singaporean market already has t… Uber, local competitor Grab Taxi, and a number of apps from the individual taxi firms and smaller companies. These apps are free, but charge customers a cut of the taxi fare.

The plan comes as Singapore announced a new regulatory framework for private sector taxi apps, which are transforming an old-fashioned industry into a fiercely competitive and lucrative marketplace.

The regulations mean that all booking services must be registered with the LTA, specify their fees upfront, provide customer support services and prevent bidding on nearby taxis.

http://www.futuregov.asia/articles/5792-singapore-land-transport-authority-takes-on-uber-with-own-app)

Somewhere in the mix of measures,  the govt commended the LTA for its use of big data analytics to monitor travelling patterns and demand from commuters.“With this insight, LTA was able to perform targeted injection of bus capacity, which saw a 60 per cent reduction in the number of bus services with persistent crowding in spite of year-on-year increase in average daily bus ridership,” LTA.

Well if the data had been publicly available (and not confined to LTA, the transport regulator), perhaps the public good would be better served.

PM talks big about the use of big data analytics in developing S’pore. But my impression is that in S’pore, unlike in the UK, the data is only available to the right people: govt, state agencies and GLCs. In the UK and the West, big data is publicly available so that anyone can access the data to make sense of it, or develop apps, or both.

But if that happens here, the PAP administration will no longer have the monopoly of the data that is needed to formulate policy. Oppo parties like the SDP, NSP can come up with detailed policies based on the data. Now that would be a problem for the PM who has said the opposition have not articulated a vision for Singapore.

The SDP says:

This is untrue. The SDP published Dare To Change: An Alternative Vision for Singapore in 1994.

Dr Chee had also recently described a new vision for Singapore in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal. Mr Lee ignores these and claims that the opposition has not articulated one.

But more than just a vision, the SDP has laid out concrete and comprehensive alternative policies in key areas such as housing, healthcare, population, the Malay community, education, Ministerial salaries, and (soon-to-be launched) the economy. The SDP’s campaign for the next GE will focus on these alternative policies.

The SDP, NSP and TJS’s gang have come up with policies: the problem is that lackof access  to basic data (something often available in the West but not here despite S’pore being a first-world state) makes their policy papers little more than motherhood statements.

Thinking about it, the PAP should treasure the Worthless Party, not rubbish or fix it. All it wants is to check the PAP administration, something where the WP talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, and hopes that the PAP needs it as coalition partner.

If the PM can’t live with this, what does he want? A PAP dictatorship? Even LKY never went that far. He juz he made sure he won big in elections, something son has a problem doing.

 

 

Why SGX keeps on messing-up? Too many FT cooks in the kitchen?

In Infrastructure, Uncategorized on 04/12/2014 at 1:25 pm

It has three FTs in the most impt areas:

— CEO is ang moh FT, brought in for his tech expertise;

— president (COO) is Indian FT (Anyone knows his background?); and

— Chief Operations and Technology Officer is Indon FT (Brought in for his financial expertise*?)

Btw, when the first computer cock-up happened and TRE KPKBed about the Chief Operations and Technology Officer’s lack of hands-on IT experience, I pointed out to Richard Wan that by that line of reasoning, Richard, an IT scholar, shouldn’t be handling editorial matters at TRE.

At the National Youth Integration Forum on 22 November, Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing spoke to some 300 local and foreign tertiary students at the ITE College East, urging them (and other S’poreans) to embrace the opportunity to learn from foreigners, “They can share different perspectives and provide new ideas. The interplay of those ideas with our ideas will help Singapore stand out as a global city.”

So S’poreans can learn from these three-highly paid Foreign Trashes that its OK to balls-up** continuously and still not get the sack?

Bet you some true-blue S’porean manager will be held responsible for the IT cock-ups. Taz why SGX still has Singkies,  need scapegoats for FTs. FTs can do no wrong.

Pmk should say to these three FTs:

We command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.

Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! … lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!

———-

*Going by his CV (courtesy of TRE)

In September 2012, SGX announced the appointment of Timothy Utama as its Chief Operations and Technology Officer, effective 1 December 2012 [Link]. Mr Utama joined SGX’s senior management team and reported to the Chief Executive, Magnus Bocker.

“We are pleased to welcome Mr Utama to our management team. His diverse and global experience and knowledge will help further improve our operations and technology capabilities,” Mr Bocker then said.

Mr Utama actually started his career in banking with Bank of Trade (LippoBank) as Senior Credit Analyst/Account Executive in Los Angeles from 1989 to 1991 [Link].

In 1991, he joined Standard Chartered. For the next 13 years, he held various positions there:

  • SCB Indonesia from 1991 to 1992
  • Profit Improvement Unit Officer SCB Regional Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia from 1992 to 1993
  • Head of Trade Services from 1993 to 1995
  • Senior Manager Middle Market from 1995 to 1997
  • Senior Manager, Trade Products Group Trade Banking from 1997 to 1998
  • Head of Service Delivery from 1998 to 2000
  • Head of Global Clients from 2000 to 2002
  • Head of Banking Operations from 2002 to 2003
  • Senior Manager, Service Excellence from 2003 to 2004

He then moved to ANZ Bank in 2004 for the next 4 years:

  • Head of Trade Service Delivery from 2004 to 2007
  • Head of Trade Sales from 2007 to 2008

He rejoined Standard Chartered in 2008 as the Head of Wholesale Banking Operation of Standard Chartered India based in Chennai.

After his stint with Standard Chartered, he joined Indonesian bank PT Bank Permata Tbk in 2010. There, he was on its Executive Board of Directors as their Technology and Operations Director from 2010 to 2012. In December 2012, he jumped ship to SGX where he now serves as its Chief Operations and Technology Officer.

Mr Utama holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy and Finance from Texas A&M University, College Station, USA.

**Partial list of balls-up

— attempted takeover of ASX

— Thai exchange now biggest exchange in SE Asia

— penny stock fiasco

— not many major IPOs

— two computer failures in two months

 

SingTel: Free lunch from S’poreans?

In Infrastructure, Internet on 27/11/2014 at 4:28 am

And this after screwing us, itself and shareholders (us again) on footie*. WTF!

In mid May it was reported that

SingTel customers will be able to access a new high-speed WiFi network that is being progressively rolled out at popular shopping malls and underground MRT stations.

According to a statement by the telco, SingTel’s WiFi network average typical speed will range from 4 to 10Mbps, which is five times faster than typical free public WiFi services. More details below**.

I was surprised given that SingTel is cannibalisling its 3G and 4G networks with this rol out. No free lunch in S’pore esp for the public where TLCs, TLCs and the PAP admin is concerned. it’s pay and pay.

Recently, I came across the u/m which seems to explain why SingTel is rolling out wifi:

Once viewed as a threat to their precious 3G/4G services, Wi-Fi is now seen as the most cost-effective way of helping mobile-phone companies meet their customers’ insatiable demand for bandwidth. The recent explosion in data traffic—especially among mobile users viewing video on their smartphones and tablets from websites such as YouTube, Netflix and Hulu or using popular messaging apps like Vine and Snapchat—has forced mobile carriers to start building their own Wi-Fi networks.

One reason they are doing so is to prevent the rapidly expanding number of public hotspots—in cafes, stores and other places—from hogging too much of the traffic and threatening their cellular revenues. Another is to offload as much of the video streaming as possible from their congested cellular networks to Wi-Fi’s unlicensed public bands. Doing so not only helps them maintain the quality of service for cell-phone customers trying to send text messages or make phone calls, but it also reduces their capital-investment requirements. Installing Wi-Fi hotspots is easier and cheaper than erecting cell towers—or, indeed, having to bid for more wireless spectrum.

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21632739-wi-fi-hotspots-become-ubiquitous-who-needs-cellular-wireless-when-wireless-worlds.

And it’s a free lunch for SingTel

Besides, public hotspots can be made to piggyback, at minimal cost, on broadband routers installed in people’s homes***.

——-

*It’s unlikely to have made money on its footie rights given the small market here.

**Coverage is currently available at more than 100 hotspots at 11 locations such as Raffles City and Plaza Singapura. SingTel said that it will progressively roll out the network to all CapitaMall shopping centres.

Hotspots will also be available at Orchard, City Hall and Raffles Place stations from Aug 22 onwards.

The service will be progressively rolled out to 16 MRT stations on the North-East Line, as well as eight other stations with high commuter traffic over the next nine months.

This new WiFi service is part of SingTel’s new Combo plans, which offers high-speed WiFi usage in addition to 4G data bundles.

From Aug 19, the Combo plans will replace SingTel’s existing plans for customers who renew their contracts or subscribe to new lines.

Customers will enjoy unlimited WiFi usage until 31 July 2015 as part of its launch promotion. Subsequently WiFi data allowance will be capped at 2GB.

Combo plan customers will be able to switch automatically between the 3G, 4G and SingTel WiFi network without a manual password login.

SingTel hopes to set up 1,000 hotspots at more than 100 locations across Singapore by March 2015. It said that the numbers are expected to double by March 2016.

For the full list of SingTel WiFi hotspot locations, please visit www.singtel.com/stwifi.

grongloh@sph.com.sg

See more at: http://digital.asiaone.com/digital/news/singtel-unveils-new-wifi-network-overhauls-data-plans#sthash.mXwHeMGb.dpuf

***And offices and shops.

 

What LTA, SMRT & SBS CEOs, senior mgrs must do

In Infrastructure on 10/11/2014 at 1:52 pm

Commute to work using their very own system. The head of Moscow’s Metro explains why

Dmitry Pegov, head of the city’s metro, has signed an order obliging his own deputies and heads of departments to use the underground to reach the office “just like ordinary passengers”, the state-owned TASS news agency reports. “One should personally see and understand what is going on in the department that they oversee, how the work is being conducted, and what should be improved or changed,” Mr Pegov says. “I go to work on the metro, every day I get down to the station and travel for nearly 35 minutes, and even have to change lines,” he tells the agency. One of the perks of his job means Mr Pegov could travel up front with the driver, but he says he prefers to be in the carriage with the masses.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-29954523

Well for starters, SMRT will step up the security of its depots as its CEO and senior managers won’t want to get blown up. At present, it’s our problem, not theirs if a bomb explodes.

Seriously, investors should sell SBS, ComfortDelgro and SMRT shares if the mgrs have to use their transport systems to commute. Expenses will balloon.

SMRT is dysfunctional, still/ Why unaffordable CoEs should make S’poreans happy

In Financial competency, Infrastructure on 15/10/2014 at 4:52 am

What was SMRT thinking?

SMRT said on Monday it had decided against making a takeover bid for Addison Lee, London’s biggest minicab operator after

Britain’s Sky News reported over the weekend that SMRT was planning a £800m (S$1.6bn) for Addison*.

It shouldn’t have even tot of bidding because SMRT’s market capitalisation of S$2.3bn was only 30% more than reported bid price.. It’s finances are not in great shape either. At the end of its last financial yr, cash flow was negative and gearing stood at 65%, while it also suffered its first loss in its fare business.

It also has operational problems here.

So what were the ex-scholar and his fellow ex-SAF officers thinking?

Plenty of things to do in S’pore (including more reliable service) and it doesn’t need any distraction abroad,”

And going abroad in a political nightmare for the govt and SMRT: if it loses money, S’poreans will be screaming (rightly) that the public is subsidising their failure overseas.

The investment bank that brought a proposal to SMRT to bid should have been sent packing immediately, not entertained enough so that a staff member would leak that SMRT was planning to bid.

Happinness is taking public tpt

It’s ’cause commuting by public transport makes people happy.

No this isn’t ST propoganda for the the PAP govt, LTA, SMRT or ComfortDelgro/ SBS.

But a study in the UK where cars don’t cost a fortune, and where the public are unhappy with expensive and crowded public transport.

The University of East Anglia study surveyed 18,000 passengers and found that even when other factors that may affect wellbeing were taken out of the equation commuters who travelled to work on public transport were happier (that is, scored lower on feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness and sleeplessness) than those who drove. Key to it all is what public health experts call “active travel”. Drivers are choosing a “non-passive travel mode” requiring constant concentration. This can be boring, isolating and stressful. Active travellers, on the other hand, have time to relax. The simple walk to and from the station appears to have intrinsic value. As the UEA economist who led the study put it: “It appears to cheer people up.”

While we’re putting things simply, apparently the people who chose to take public transport were around half a stone lighter, too – the bodyweight benefits were found to be on a par with cycling. I don’t wish to do down the car, and perhaps I’m unusual in some ways – my commute is often the only hour in my day that is truly my own, which must go some way to making it special. If I had all day to read and listen to podcasts and radio programmes, perhaps I’d feel differently. But who has all day to do those things? Moreover, who wouldn’t feel better if they added half an hour or so of moderate exercise to their daily routine?

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/28/why-commuting-public-transport-makes-you-happy-lauren-laverne

The LTA and our constructive, nation-building media missed a PR trick when they disn’t highlight the UK study (The Guardian is the kind of paper that only Maruah-type people and economic illiterates like Roy read) when trumpeting, The number of bus services that were crowded during peak periods has fallen substantially over the past two years, following the addition of 450 buses under the Government’s Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP).

‘Giving an update on the programme, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the number of bus services carrying passengers at more than 85 per cent capacity during peak hours had fallen from 96 before the implementation of the BSEP to 38 in July.

The S$1.1 billion BSEP was launched in 2012 to boost connectivity and bus-service levels. Under the programme, a total of 1,000 government-funded buses will be added to the public transport network by 2017. [CNA]

The media went ape reporting the joy of commuters at the extra buses.

Locals can still afford CoEs

So we learnt last week that FTs didn’t cause CoE prices to (only 13% went to foreigners, Wonder waz the PR %? As usual not given.

———————

*Addison Lee is being put up for sale by its private equity owner, Carlyle Group, which paid £300 million for a majority stake in April 2013. Carlyle has decided to start an auction process after receiving unsolicited offers for the business.

Private equity firms BC Partners, CVC Capital and Charterhouse were reportedly among those making bids.

 

 

Urban planning: a constrasting tale of UK cities & S’pore

In Environment, Infrastructure on 12/08/2014 at 4:21 am

As I’m still in a celebratory mood about past achievements, let’s remember a UK prophet and his prophecy of urban planning

This appeared in the Economists’s obituary on Sir Peter Hall, a leading UK urban planner:

At first, Mr Hall was an enthusiastic supporter of that top-down, rational approach. One of his early books, “London 2000”, published in 1963, argued that London and the south-east should be comprehensively rebuilt, with vast areas of the inner cities bulldozed and replaced by blocks of flats, winding streets by a rectilinear system of motorways and on-ramps, and pedestrians segregated from traffic by walkways in the sky. Detroit, the spiritual home of the motor car, was his guiding light. The planners, in their patrician wisdom, would determine where the people would live, where they would work, and how they would spend their leisure time.

Sounds familiar? He would have loved the PAP govt’s HDB programme which has won global accolades though not from anti-PAP cyber-warriors who missed out on the rise in HDB apartment prices and are banging their balls and cursing the PAP and the 60% who voted for the PAP in frustration.

But this top-down, rational approach didn’t work in the UK, He soon changed his mind. Wherever that approach was tried—in Birmingham, or Glasgow, or around the elevated Westway in north-west London—it caused exactly the sort of ugliness and alienation he had hoped to banish.

So,

In the 1970s he began arguing that one way to deal with urban decay might be a bonfire of regulations; the idea, he said, was to “recreate the Hong Kong of the 1950s and 1960s inside inner Liverpool or inner Glasgow”. That sort of fertile chaos, he came to believe, was exactly what made cities so important, and such exciting places to live. He was an early advocate of the view—these days the received wisdom—that by allowing people to form connections with like-minded colleagues, cities are the engines of a country’s economic, cultural and artistic life.

The HDB programme worked because we had pretty gd planners, a sheepish population (emigrants from Animal Farm?), and one LKY whose gang was not afraid to bang heads to make sure that the sheep people behaved responsibly in the new environment: rememer the punishments for littering and killer litter.

Funnily, the govt is now trying to diktat Sir Peter Hall’s “fertile chaos”* idea. Maybe taz why the SPF allowed the Little India riot to happen? And allow ang moh FTs to get drunk and to beat up locals? And PRC FTs to litter, dirty MRT stations?

Related posts:

LKY & greenery

Green S’pore

———–

*Btw, HK city in the 50s and 60s was not a pleasant place if one didn’t live in Repulse bay or on the Peak.

Asean travellers, KS, security conscious? Use Changi Int’l

In Airlines, Humour, Infrastructure on 15/03/2014 at 6:59 am

Home Team’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority has been in the sights of DPM Teo and netizens (a rare distinction: err where’s the co-driver?) for a series of recent balls-up. So the tragic disappearance of a MAS plane gave its PR team an opportunity to blow its trumpet, (justifiably, no BS or hype)

Visitor passports presented to immigration officers at Singapore checkpoints are screened against Interpol’s database of lost or stolen travel documents, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Tuesday.

And if a passport is one of more than 40 million on Interpol’s list, the officer is automatically alerted and the traveller pulled aside for further checks.

This procedure has been in place since May 2008, an ICA spokesman told The Straits Times.

He did not elaborate on how the system works, but security experts said that this verification typically takes just a few seconds.

But despite the fact that checks are quick, Singapore remains one of only a few countries that use Interpol’s database to ensure border security, experts noted. (Wed ST)

EDB, and the tourism board should be following this up with a regional advertising campaign:

“Taking a flight of more than an hr? Transit via S’pore: all passports are checked against Interpol’s database of lost or stolen passports. Does yr airport do this? Or are they like KL?”

BTW, a gd riposte to the M’sian Home Affairs minister’s comments

“I am still perturbed. Can’t these immigration officials think? Italian and Austrian (passport holders) but with Asian faces,” he was quoted as saying late on Sunday.,

would be for immigration officers will say that they use to seeing Chinese and Indian faces on MALAYsian passports. So no issues about seeing Asian faces on European passports.

Seriously comment shows he has prejudices, hangups or is still living in the mid 20th century.

SMRT: only now meh?

In Infrastructure on 04/03/2014 at 4:55 am

I’ve only recovered from this piece of news on SMRT: on 16th Feb it was reported that “Singapore’s two train operators will adopt a “predict and prevent” approach to their maintenance regimes from now on.

‘Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said … this new approach will see operators actively monitoring the condition of the rail system to prevent breakdowns and delays.”* Seems they were using a find and fix” approach. Easiest way to “find” problems is sit back, drink kopi and wait for news of train delays, breakdowns?

Maybe taz why a CEO who is a scholar and ex-SAF chief is needed, not a Ferrari-driving FT retailer? Horses for courses?

Anyway now that SMRT is adopting state-of-the-art, cutting edge management techniques, time to buy stock? Stock set a new 52-week low during yesterday’s trading session when it touched 1.02. 36.7% down from a 52 weeks ago. That it yields 1.95% is a reflection that the price has collapsed.

DBS wrote this in 2012: SMRT has a dividend payout policy of at least 60% of net profit. In fact, in the past few years, it has paid over 70%, hence providing a reasonable yield.

ComfortDelGro, on the other hand, has paid only 50%of earnings as dividends. – See more at: http://sbr.com.sg/transport-logistics/markets-investing/smrt%E2%80%99s-dividends-risky-in-2012-dbs#sthash.k1ywpunr.dpuf

(Comfort yields 3.63%)

Surely after GE (next yr after August,  is my prediction), fares will be increased? Time to buy and wait now that mgt is better?

60% dividend policy. SMRT has a dividend payout policy of at least 60% of net profit. In fact, in the past few years, it has paid over 70%, hence providing a reasonable yield.
ComfortDelGro, on the other hand, has paid only 50%of earnings as dividends. – See more at: http://sbr.com.sg/transport-logistics/markets-investing/smrt%E2%80%99s-dividends-risky-in-2012-dbs#sthash.k1ywpunr.dpuf
60% dividend policy. SMRT has a dividend payout policy of at least 60% of net profit. In fact, in the past few years, it has paid over 70%, hence providing a reasonable yield.
ComfortDelGro, on the other hand, has paid only 50%of earnings as dividends. – See more at: http://sbr.com.sg/transport-logistics/markets-investing/smrt%E2%80%99s-dividends-risky-in-2012-dbs#sthash.k1ywpunr.dpuf

But then think again as NOL is run by another general and scholar and NOL recently lost serious money. Here’s analysis from last yr after an earlier set of results https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/scholar-cant-repair-nol-maersk-steams-ahead/

——-

*Mr Lui was responding to questions from Members of Parliament on the reliability of train services, in the wake of several disruptions last month, including a delay on the North-South Line that affected some 19,000 peak-hour commuters.

So far, operators SMRT and SBS Transit have been using the “find and fix” approach to correct existing issues with their rail systems.

Mr Lui said he had called up SMRT’s senior management to convey his concerns after the recent spate of incidents.

He said: “They take it seriously, and as the CEO told me himself… the team was actually very disappointed themselves with the series of incidents, as well as with how the staff on the ground had handled it.”

SMRT will be reviewing its contingency plans on a station-by-station basis to better support its ground staff, rather than rely on a generic plan that covers stretches of the network.

Mr Lui said: “SMRT’s management has already committed to review its contingency plans on a station-by-station basis, and refine its command and control structure in times of disruption to better support ground staff.”

Both SMRT and SBS Transit have also switched to a “predict and prevent” strategy for their maintenance regimes.

For instance, some trains on the North-South and East-West lines are already equipped to collect real-time data and detect problems as they run.

Several MPs had asked why train disruptions continue despite efforts in recent years to improve the train services.

Mr Lui said: “Service disruptions do happen from time to time, especially as our rail network further expands and ages, and as we run more and more train trips.

“But in the case of the January incidents, SMRT could have done much better in service recovery, especially to provide timely information to affected commuters.”

Both train operators, however, have put in hard work to improve train reliability since 2011, Mr Lui added.

Government estimates showed that SMRT has increased its yearly repair and maintenance expenses by over 65 per cent from S$38.3 million in 2011 to S$64.6 million last year.

Both train operators have also hired more engineers and expanded their maintenance teams.

The Land Transport Authority is also upgrading the rail infrastructure.

The North-South, East-West lines’ third rail system will undergo a full, system-wide change-out this year, Mr Lui said, and the North-East Line’s overhead power system will also be improved with new corrosion-resistant materials to minimise cracking in its components.

In a separate statement, SMRT said it takes responsibility for the recent incidents, and will leave no stone unturned to improve the reliability of its train services. (CNA report)

SMRT: Update

In Infrastructure on 06/02/2014 at 4:38 am

.There could be a rights issue coming to shore up its finances. But to call it, it must be pretty sure of profits for dividends somewhere down the line. Massive train price increase after 2015 GE?  Don’t see PAP losing power or even losing a two-thirds majority. Or even PritamS becoming a cabinet minister in a PAP, WP coalition govt.

But remember the CEO is an ex-SAF chief, juz like in that dog with fleas, NOL :https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/scholar-cant-repair-nol-maersk-steams-ahead/

Good article on SMRT by someone whom I don’t usually think highly of: http://www.baldingsworld.com/2014/01/29/why-is-smrt-raising-fares/

This video has been making the rounds on Facebook: During a 45 train delay, SMRT begs passengers on board repeatedly for a pair of scissors

Taz why PTC raised fares. After paying Kwek and his SAF buddies, got no $ for proper tool box? LOL

Gd reports

— SBS (ComfortDelgro)  benefits more than SMRT from price hike

http://sbr.com.sg/transport-logistics/news/chart-day-these-charts-show-how-transport-firms-will-be-impacted-fare-hike

— Sports Hub to make $ for SMRT

http://sbr.com.sg/transport-logistics/news/singapore-sports-hub-could-turn-around-souring-smrt-profits

 

“Why Government Should Not Be Run Like A Business”

In Infrastructure, Political governance, Public Administration on 05/02/2014 at 4:29 am

The above article from Forbes has been making the rounds on Facebook following the public tpt fare increase. Meanwhile, the WP is now saying, “The WP believes that public transport should be provided as a public good and not for profit”*

The Forbes piece explicitly says, while the WP’s motherhood statement implies, that if only public services are run sans the profit motive, everything will be fine. Profit is the evil. In its place, would be a serious of targets that would in PR jargon “enhance the users’ experience”.

It follows that the guiding principle of target setting should be an analysis of function—ie, what something does, not what it is.

Sounds good but as usual the devil is in the details: here the devils (legions of them) are in the the targets set.

The flaws in setting targets in public services have long been apparent. The single-minded pursuit of them in the NHS has contributed to some of the scandals in treating patients. Hospitals became so fixated on meeting national targets that they lost sight of their overriding responsibility to look after the people they were treating and to make them better.

Now the London Underground offers another example of the perverse effects of targets, especially when they are pursued in a simple-minded way. Green Park is one of the busiest tube stations in London. It has three escalators to the station concourse from the Piccadilly line, which serves not just London commuters but international businessmen and tourists travelling to and from Heathrow. Yet routinely one is closed at peak times.

The reason? According to station staff Green Park has been set energy targets and this is the way that it is meeting them.

What folly. Whether or not this is intended by the top brass at Transport for London is unclear. But this is what happens when stupid objectives are set and managers are either pressured into meeting them come what may or follow them without paying heed to their primary responsibility, which in the case of a tube station is to convey passengers as swiftly and as safely as possible to and from the trains. (http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2014/01/trouble-targets)**

Another problem with the attitude articulated in the article and the WP’s motherhood statement is that they are quiet about the danger of “capture” of public services by the people working in the public sector.

As a student in London in the late 70s, I saw this capture at first hand. The London public tpt system and the state-owned British Airways were run for the convenience among other nationalised industries)ce and benefit of the employees (managers, executives and workers) not the commuting public.

The real issue when discussing the improvement of public services is finding ways to quantity the “public good”, something which Bloomberg tried hard to do when he was mayor of NY City. Bloomberg who recently finished two terms as NY city’s major, leaving office with a reputation as one of the best mayors the city has ever had, has said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

He used data to do boring things well—an undervalued virtue. His analytics team pools data from different agencies to inform decisions. For instance, it tracked complaints from 311 calls, a municipal hotline, and linked them with information about such things as tax irregularities to pinpoint illegal building conversions, which are fire hazards, quickly and fairly accurately. Mr Bloomberg listened to ideas if his staff had supporting evidence. (Economist)

(https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/culture-ministry-morphs-into-quant-ministry/)

Even the mystic and poet Blake who portrayed in his poetry Issac Newton, the scientist who discovered the maths behind the universe, to an evil god wrote, “Generalisation and abstraction are The plea of the hypocrite, scoundrel, and knave.”

The profit motive, while not perfect, and often misused (to benefit mgt, and shareholders) at least forces measurable quantification. It’s all about quantification as Bloomberg said. Note that his successor during the election campaign talked of ditching quantification. He was supported by the public services unions.

Of course quantification can go wrong like in our Arts ministry and the Vietnam War, https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/culture-ministry-morphs-into-quant-ministry/

*This is not the nationalisation it once called for. In its election manifesto, WP called for public tpt nationalisation, something Low reaffirmed after the Punggol East victory. Now, it says “public transport should be provided as a public good and not for profit”. In its manifesto for GE 2011 it said,

  1. Instead of public transport being provided by profit-oriented companies, all public transport including the MRT & public buses servicing major routes should be brought under a National Transport Corporation, a public body, to ensure a smooth integration of the overall national transport network and to avoid unnecessary duplication of services and overheads incurred by multiple operators.
  2. The Public Transport Council should be dissolved. Government accountability for public transport matters should be via a unit under the Land Transport Authority. This unit should receive feedback, audit services, review productivity and examine the need for fare adjustments.

**BTW, maybe someone in SMRT reads me? Further to this where I promised to report if the escalator at Eunos stn is working, last Wednesday when I was there, it was functioning.

Another reason why SMRT sucks

In Infrastructure on 27/01/2014 at 4:27 am

Last Monday, I made one of my irregular trips on the MRT. I entered Eunos Stn in the late morning and one of the escaltors was closed “for maintenance”. I returned home via another route partly to avoid walking down the stairs on the return journey

Last Friday, I again took the MRT from Eunos Stn. Guess what? The escalator was still closed for “for maintenance”. When I made the return trip (wanted to eat at a great but expensive Malay food stall at Eunos Hawkers’ centre: stall always asking why I don’t eat more regularly and I explain to them I don’t use the MRT that often), several hours later, the escalator was still not working.

Err how to expect train services not to be disrupted (five already this yr according to TRE*) if cannot even repair or service escalator within five days? But to be fair, maybe engineers too busy repairing tracks etc to bother about escalator. Got to prioritise everything, according to jnr tpt minister Jos Teo.

I will have to again use the MRT from Eunos this Wednesday and then the following Monday (yah lot of travelling these few weeks: pushing my luck leh), and I’ll keep readers informed.

Meanwhile, avoid the stock. It’s going to take huge fare rises to make it a gd dividend yielding stock again because it needs to spend more, a lot more to get (and then keep) the trains running on time. With an election likely in 2015, these fare increases are unlikely https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/why-a-2015-ge-is-now-more-probable/

Meanwhile, I wish MRT users a disruption free day, though the odds are rising against this probability.

Thinking about it, SMRT may have closed one of the Eunos escalators to save money as per this story about the London MRT (tube) system.

Green Park is one of the busiest tube stations in London. It has three escalators to the station concourse from the Piccadilly line, which serves not just London commuters but international businessmen and tourists travelling to and from Heathrow. Yet routinely one is closed at peak times.

The reason? According to station staff Green Park has been set energy targets and this is the way that it is meeting them.

So, in order to meet this energy-saving goal, the London Underground is prepared to cause unnecessary delays to passengers, even though time-saving for passengers is always a crucial element in any evaluation of a transport project. It is also prepared to create potential dangers to public safety as bunching occurs while people wait for the only up escalator that is operating. And as that happens another escalator stands idle, with the big investment that has been made in it in effect written off.

What folly. Whether or not this is intended by the top brass at Transport for London is unclear. But this is what happens when stupid objectives are set and managers are either pressured into meeting them come what may or follow them without paying heed to their primary responsibility, which in the case of a tube station is to convey passengers as swiftly and as safely as possible to and from the trains. (http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2014/01/trouble-targets)

Hmm, thinking about it, the setting of stupid objectives, and why the absence of the profit-motive when providing public services (like transport) is not a gd idea, may be the subject of posts after the CNY hols. Must try to stop writing about ang moh tua kee Bernice Wong and her masculine, not sheltered, babyed & childish (so unlike local boyars) hubbie, Anton Casey.

*Or is it four http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/01/26/smrt-5th-smrt-breakdown-not-a-breakdown/ (Updated one hour after first publication)

Jos double confirms that govt doesn’t plan for S’poreans

In Infrastructure, Political governance, Public Administration on 17/01/2014 at 4:44 am

A TOC reader highlighted this bit of ST’s interview with Talk Cock Queen Jos http://www.singapolitics.sg/supperclub/josephine-teo-%E2%80%98free-mrt-rides-has-allowed-lifestyle-change%E2%80%99

Q: You lead the committee for Changi Airport’s expansion. Is it expanding fast enough? Our aviation correspondent said given the projections, Changi Airport could be operating at more than 90 per cent capacity (in the few years before Terminal 5 opens).

A:We’re still building ahead of demand. When you plan airport handling capacity, you also plan with a service standard in mind.>

The person then commented: “Apparently, there’s no need to build ahead of demand for housing, local tpt & medical needs (remember the hospital crunch) OR is it NEW PAP don’t plan with a service standard in mind> when it comes to population needs?”

For the record, I had blogged in 2012  about the lack of planning when it came to immigration

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/integrating-fts-its-our-problem-now-contd/

and in 2011 on the difference between the difference approaches taken as regards the airport and public tpt https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/why-are-trains-overcrowded-but-not-the-port-or-airport/

PM should give her another tight slap for spilling for double confirming that PAP thinks we are “second class”, not “first class” like foreigners even though 60-70% of S’porean voters support the PAP.

Taz in addition to insulting his dad.

BTW, I hope readers noticed that LTA gave her (its boss, remember she senior jnr transport minister) a hard kick in her behind. In the above link, I said she refused to concede that inadequate signage contributed to the congestion on the MCE (and bad PR for the govt). Yesterday it was reported: “Two weeks after the opening of the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday acknowledged it could have done more in terms of pre-publicity and putting up more signs to get motorists familiar with the new expressway and the surrounding road network.” (Today)

Hey PM, even her subordinates getting annoyed with this NUT NTUC person?

Maybe she could serve S’pore (and the PAP)  better by having a fourth child? She had said if she hadn’t entered politics, she’d have a fourth child. One more baby, one less FT.

Tpt minister looks after shareholders, the poor and the disabled?

In Infrastructure, Public Administration on 15/01/2014 at 4:27 am

What about other disadvantaged S’poreans?

The Public Transport Council (PTC) will release its decision on raising fare adjustments for public transport tomorrow and a reasonable person would conclude that fares will go up based on what Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew wrote  on a Facebook post on Monday.

“I told (PTC chairman Gerard Ee) that the government was ready with our package for the low-income workers and persons with disabilities and that we would like to announce this together on Thursday. These two concession schemes will be fully funded by the government,” wrote Mr Lui, stressing that the schemes would make transport fares much more affordable for both groups.

Isn’t he telling the PTO, pls feel free to help out the tpt companies (and their shareholders*) because the govt (us tax-payers, including said poor and disabled: remember that they too pay GST) will absorb the increases for said groups.

Mr Lui also said that the discount under the scheme for low-income workers would lower their fares to around the same levels as 10-15 years ago, depending on the journey. Meanwhile, the discount for those with disabilities will be “even more significant”.

Hey what about retirees and those who never got pay rises?

BTW, the WP’s silence on nationalisation is deafening, even though WP Low told us last yr that WP still believes in it. I have my doubts  https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/wp-changes-mind-on-nationalising-smrt-sbs/

Backgrounder: In December, transport operators SBS Transit (SBST) and SMRT applied to the PTC to raise bus and rail fares this year, with SBS – Singapore’s biggest bus operator – citing cost pressures.

—–

*Some shareholders do get a free lunch:despite claims by scholar and ex-general running SMRT that its biz model is broken:

Using back-of-the envelope calculations and figures in annual reports, since it was listed SMRT (over a decade ago) has paid S$562.79m in dividends to Temasek, and ComfortDelgro has paid the S’pore Labour Foundation (a statutory board affiliated to the NTUC) dividends of  S$150.46m*since 2003 (Comfort and Delgro merged in 2003, and SLF had a stake in Comfort). The amount that ended up with the government was S$713.25m, with SMRT contributing 79%. But ComfortDelgro is likely be the main beneficiary of the S$1.1bn bus plan**, given that, at present, SBS Transit (a listed co 75% owned by ComfortDelgro) provides most of the buses. Taz an example of how messed up things are.

The funds’ flows also show that the government is putting back all the dividends it received from these two companies and then adding 35% more. So it’s wrong to say that the SMRT and ComfortDelgro are getting free lunches. At most the government is subsidising their lunches by 35%.

The government should get credit for ploughing its share of the “loot” (as the proponents of nationalisation would put it and MPs Puthu, PAP, and PritamS, WP, might put it), but it doesn’t. Taz how messed up are.

(Incidentally, one could reasonably argue that the other shareholders — and the minority shareholders of SBS Transit, remember ComfortDelgro owns around 75% – are getting a free lunch while the government returns its share of the dividends. But let’s nt get into that today.)

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/oh-what-a-tangled-web-we-weave-mrt-comfortdelgro-and-the-government/

Small wonder that foreigners snapped up ComfortDelgro at gd discount last year though tapering caused some wobbles https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/when-raising-fares-sbs-smrt-govt-dont-have-this-problem/. Now above price bot. in.

.

Jos keeps on talking cock

In Infrastructure, Political governance, Public Administration on 14/01/2014 at 4:52 am

“We cannot have the attitude that everything will be perfect from Day One. If we go in with that attitude, it can only mean that we have to build in a lot of redundancy.” – Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Transport.

As someone who once upon a time reported directly to people who reported directly to LKY and Dr Goh, I can safely say that they all expected things to be perfect from Day 1. So now Ms Teo implying  that because of their exacting standards, they were encouraging inefficiencies and wastefulness?

Even before he is dead, LKY gets slimed? Son should give Jos a tight slap to show his filial piety this CNY. Co-driver too busy looking at bank statements and feeling happy.

Seriously, the govt should stop giving excuses for a simple cock-up: it should simply admit that it was an honest mistake by civil servants who didn’t drive because they couldn’t afford the COEs. Insufficient signs were put up as I explained here and this was a major source of the problem.

(Pic from TRE)

Waz interesting is that even now she refuses to concede that there were insufficient signs:

Q: After the jam, more signs and advertisements on the routes came up. Why not earlier?

I once got a speeding ticket (in Singapore) and was adamant there was no signage (for speed limit). I had driven on this road umpteen times. I thought: “Never mind. Tomorrow I’ll pay attention.” True enough, I saw the sign. Sometimes we don’t notice (the signs) because we don’t need them.

You can always have more (signs and advertisements). But you have to be interested.(http://www.singapolitics.sg/supperclub/josephine-teo-%E2%80%98free-mrt-rides-has-allowed-lifestyle-change%E2%80%99)

Here’s a great comment from TOC’s facebook in response to her remarks about redundancy:

Tremendous time/effort would be incurred when trying to rectify a flawed design/system. Doing it right the first time is critical. A good design is the result of thorough research/ consultation/ brainstorming and that will ensure the success of the project. eg. years ago, woody goh said handicap people should stay away from travelling for safety reason, now we have to retrofit busses/MRT stations for wheel chair access. same for HDB flat, now installing lifts on every floor and the whole project takes decades to complete, what if the HDB architechs had done that in the first place? zero effort for wheel chair access! Our MRT trains adopted designed with 6 carriages while HK MTR already up and running and uses 8 carriages. We could have learnt from HK, instead, we choose ONLY 6 carriages. Now we are flooded with immigrants over crowding the transport system but we are handicapped in increasing the MRT stations capacity by using 8 carriages and must go for the stupid solution of changing the signaling system to cut down only 20 sec peak frequency. using tens of millions and takes 5 years or more to do it. Now who is the stupid one? which way is more cost effective?

BTW, notice that NTUC MPs were, are a bunch of cocks (the exception is Halimah). Think Jos, Lims ( Cheap Zorro, Cry Baby), Hard of hearing Han, Irene the Whiner, Choo the criminal and racist, BG Yeo’s MP from Hell (Cynthia) and NMP Terry Lee.

Related posts:

Jos: Talk Cock Queen

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/jos-too-is-talking-cock/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/reputations-be-mean-laugh/

Jos: Empress Dowager of Bishan East

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/thanks-jos-for-giving-nishan-east-residents-another-reason-not-to-support-the-pap/

Govt’s mistakes, S’poreans blamed

In Infrastructure, Political governance, Public Administration on 10/01/2014 at 4:42 am

Twice in three days, S’poreans get blamed by the PAP for govt mistakes.

The traffic snarls on the Marina Coastal Expressway’s (MCE) first day of operations occurred as motorists were unfamiliar with the newly opened highway, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew. (MediaCorp 7th January)

I see this this as Lui shifting the blame to motorists using the MCE for the initial congestion problems on the MCE for what a user (at 11 am on the Monday day, so he had plenty of time to observe his surroundings) told me was a failure by tpt officials: “There is only one sign indicating the first exit into the city. One would have tot that based on the signage used on other expressways, there would be signs saying ‘Exit to X, 100m’ etc at regular intervals.” As the media reports a lot more signage going up since I heard this comment, I assume this problem has been fixed. And that this is the source of the problem.

If additional signage was required, then it wasn’t only the fault of daft S’poreans, was it minister?

Then there is the problem of a shortage of hospital beds. Dr Chia Shi Lu, who is a MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, said the shortage of hospital beds is “due to holiday season”, effectively saying that it’s the fault of S’poreans who rather not be discharged.

The facts? From a medical professor albeit a SDP member:

— This is a perennial problem and unfortunately is a result of funding policies which are very hospital-centric. It has become something that doctors in the public sector have become accustomed to

“In my opinion, the obvious reason for the beds’ crunch, may to the best of my knowledge, has never been highlighted in the media – that the total number of hospital beds in Singapore has seen zero increase over at least the last 12 years or so, despite an increase in the population by more than 1 million.”  http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/01/interview-with-dr-paul-on-the-bed-crunch-issue-in-public-hospitals/

And Uncle Leong has been beating the drum of a shortage of hospital beds for several yrs: “In my opinion, the obvious reason for the beds’ crunch, may to the best of my knowledge, has never been highlighted in the media – that the total number of hospital beds in Singapore has seen zero increase over at least the last 12 years or so, despite an increase in the population by more than 1 million.” (This quote appeared very recently)

Looks like among the PAP’s new yr resolutions, there isn’t one one changing the Hard Truth, “The PAP is never wrong. It’s always the fault of daft S’poreans”. Seriously, it’s so typical of the PAP: blame S’poreans for an thing that could imply that the PAP govt is less than perfect. What next? PM blaming S’poreans* for the recent riot?

And this comes from me, who after the MCE operated smoothly after the addition of a few signs sent an email entitled: “Can’t help thinking of you guys )))” to a few of the usual “PAP are bastards” paper activists who had been yelling their heads over MCE, attaching this from TRE:http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/01/04/bang-balls-to-tre-whiners-mce-traffic-is-smooth-now/

*Actually he can, the driver of the bus that killed the migrant worker was “a S’porea resident”. He could be a PR from M’sia though. Name definitely not PRC name.

 

When S’pore has 8m people and counting

In Infrastructure on 04/01/2014 at 4:58 am

An unofficial map of how the MRT system will look like when fully developed

http://transitmaps.tumblr.com/post/68121163229/singapore-bernie-ng

 

Infocomm Dysfunctional Authority

In Infrastructure, Internet, Public Administration on 22/11/2013 at 5:01 am

Yaacob the Info minister wrote on Facebook a few days ago that many agencies have worked hard in the past weeks to strengthen the security of Singapore’s computer systems and websites*, and those responsible for the recent hacking incidents have been arrested or are being investigated**.

Taz gd, but what about making sure that IDA works hard and competently to give the public info on cyber security accurately, and in a timely manner? Rather than inaccurately, and only after cyber leaks and DRUMS.

Going by its recent ingloriously track record, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) should be renamed   Inforomm Dysfunctional Authority  because it’s so dysfunctional  in communicating info on cyber security and ICT matters.

It can’t even explain to our constructive, nation-building local journalists that the PMO’s website was not hacked. Granted that our well-paid hacks are not the most intelligent people in S’pore, but surely Yaacob’s finest could have told them in simple English, “PMO’s website was not hacked into”?

Singapore ICT regulator Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) was cited by local media reports to blame a vulnerability in Google’s search bar, embedded in the two websites, as the cause of the breach. In a media briefing to which only local media were invited …

… a Google spokesperson told ZDNet in an e-mail Wednesday: “It has come to our attention that the PMO’s website recently experienced an attack in the search functionality of the site run by Google’s Custom Search Engine site-search widget.

“After investigation, it appears that the code in the Google custom search engine is safe and the vulnerability lies with the coding on the webpage.”

While IDA declined to comment further on this issue as it is currently under police investigation, ZDNet understands the regulator was misquoted in local news reports. Rather than Google’s search bar, it had instead pointed to a vulnerability in the search function which the hackers were able to exploit and redirect visitors to the external webpages.

(http://www.zdnet.com/sg/google-denies-its-search-bar-caused-singapore-websites-breach-7000023129/)

At the very least, IDA gave the impression that our cybersecurity machinery was the equivalent of the flood prevention team  when Yaacob was “flooder-in-chief”.

Now onto an earlier, and more major, failure to communicate. Remember the Saturday a few weeks ago when govt websites suddenly closed for “routine maintenance’? Although they were soon up, netizens suspicions were aroused and they started playing DRUMS in the absence of authoritative info.

And they were correct to think that there problems, only not hacking but cock-ups.

Only on Monday evening (after a memo surfaced on the internet), IDA admitted the problems in accessing several Singapore government websites over the weekend were due to technical problems that arose during maintenance on Saturday afternoon. While the glitches have been rectified, people accessing these websites may continue to face intermittent access as maintenance was still ongoing.

In this day and age, IDA should communicate openly with the public. After all, this is not North Korea, even if our media ratings are close to that of the North Koreans than that to the US or UK.

I leave it to this blogger who wrote before IDA admitted that there were cock-ups, not juz “routine maintenance” to explain what I mean:

“It’s strange that the IDA did not deem it fit to update people more regularly when so many sites were out of service. Not only were they unable to transact, say, on SingPass, they were also wondering if indeed a cyber attack had been carried out against government agencies, as part of a bigger wave of attacks.

Ironically, the IDA can look at the way SingTel updated its customers in the hours after a fire at a telephone exchange just weeks ago. Though the damage was way bigger, angering a lot more customers, at least they knew what was going on.

And fall short, it definitely did this time. While there is speculation on why and how the sites could have been down, one thing is clear – this maintenance caused the sites to go down longer than expected.

That itself reflects badly on the nation’s cyber security efforts. “Self pwn” is the phrase that comes to mind when you bring down your own networks inadvertently.”

(http://www.techgoondu.com/2013/11/03/commentary-should-maintenance-bring-down-government-websites-for-hours/#.Ungbl1Nfp-d)

Recently, CNA reported, Singapore’s Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong, has said that countries in Asia need to adapt to emerging trends in social media, in order to get the new generation more engaged in literature and the arts.

Maybe he sould have a talk with  Yaacob and s/o Devan Nair who seem clueless about the effect of social media and the internet on public communications and PR in general. Strange this cluelessness, given their roles in govt as public communicators and PR. or they juz there for wayang.

One final tot. I’m surprised that neither GG nor TRE nor TOC tot it fit to ask if the people responsible for website security in general or the maintenance cock-ups, in particular,  were FTs or true-blue S’poreans.

This blogger has argued we need a S’porean core in cyber security.

One “career path” often joked about, but taken somewhat seriously, is to get into an IT management role in a bank then outsource the dirty work to vendors, sit back and enjoy a Dilbert moment every day.

Now, when that dirty work is cyber security, there is a problem. It’s an area where you can’t be an expert without getting your hands dirty. Yes, there are security solutions out there to tap on, but it is important to know your own servers well. How can you secure your home if you don’t know where the holes are in your fences?

Similarly, when it comes to defending national infrastructure, it pays to have a ready pool of experts, with actual hands-on experience.

This work cannot be easily outsourced, since it may involve getting access to sensitive information, say, military secrets. A Singaporean core, to borrow the government’s term, may be needed in such as an operation.

http://www.techgoondu.com/2013/11/12/commentary-singapore-hacking-cases-show-importance-of-deep-infocomm-expertise/comment-page-1/#.Uofv9idfp-c

But will our FT-loving govt listen? Worse it seems the govt’s model of “Talent is two-timing new citizen Raj or Tammy’s killer or the FTs that beat up S’poreans and then fled S’pore (one was even given PR after the beating), or a violent, cheating PRC shop assistant, or PRC hawkers or a looney, violent bank director.

*“A quote from a decade and a half ago: ‘Secure web servers are the equivalent of heavy armoured cars. The problem is, the roads are subject to random detours, anyone with a screwdriver can control the traffic lights and there are no police.’”
—Richard Guy Briggs on “Besieged”, Nov 9th 2013

**Taz before the latest reported hack of schools’ sites and a local museum’s mailing list was made public in NZ. Don’t know if you notice, but the local media is downplaying the security implications of the hacks by making them sound trivial.The schools’ hack is “defacement” and the mailing list was described as being on the website. The Hard Truth is that in these cases, servers were broken into.

This is in contrast to the “hack”of PMO’s site which was over-sensationalised. (There was no hack there as reported above. In the PMO’s case, at no time was there any server intrusion. The server was secure.) One wonders if IDA has finally educated the hacks on the basics of cyber security or did it order them to downplay the hacks as the hacks would imply that contrary to Yaacob’s comments about working hard to fix security issues, the cyber security teams are not working hard, or worse, working hard incompetently.


M’sia, S’pore tops Asean in household debt

In Indonesia, Infrastructure, Malaysia on 26/10/2013 at 7:31 am

Currently, M’sia‘s household debt stood at about 83% of gross domestic product. Household debt in S’pore now accounts for 75% of gross domestic product, having doubled in the last 13 years. According to Standard Chartered, a private bank, household borrowing as a share of national income now stands at 68% of Thailand’s GDP, much higher than in bigger Asian countries, such as China (20%), India (18%) and Indonesia (17%).

In other Asean round-up news:

Burma‘s Yangon had passed Singapore’s office rental rates of US$74 a square metre by the first quarter of this year according to estate agents Colliers. To give some context to this piece of info, something from yesterday’s BT: AT S$11 per square foot (psf) per month, or US$103 psf per year, the extended central business district comprising Raffles Place and Marina Bay is the eighth most expensive office area in the world, according to a Jones Lang LaSalle study.

Taking into account quoted rents from only premium office space in top sub-markets, Singapore was inched out by other Asian locations such as Hong Kong’s Central which commanded rents of HK$105 psf per month (US$162 psf per year) and Beijing’s Finance Street where corporates paid rents of 750 yuan per square metre per month (US$137 psf per year).

S’pore is sharing with Indonesia with its best practices in public-private partnership (PPP) in water and waste-water infrastructure projects.

Led by Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE), an integrated arm of International Enterprise Singapore, and Temasek Foundation, the partnership programme will be delivered over a two-year period by a team of Singapore experts from both private and public sectors to 200 Indonesian government officials from various provinces and cities as well as ministries including the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Public Works (Bappenas).

Singapore will provide knowledge in planning and procurement of water and waste-water infrastructure projects; and help cultivate a core group of officers from PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (Persero), a government partner promoting infrastructure development in Indonesia, who will develop public-private partnership training materials.

Waz the “right” kind of gotong royong?

In Economy, Infrastructure, Internet, Political governance, Public Administration on 18/10/2013 at 5:00 am

Update on 22 23 October 2013: Minister explains use of Criminal Law Temporary Provision Act (http://au.sports.yahoo.com/football/news/article/-/19491410/football-match-fixing-witnesses-fear-reprisals/) on footie fixers.

I recently came across “gotong royong” the American way, or community spirit the capitalist way: in American- speak, the “sharing economy”.

Technology is revolutionising the way Americans catch a cab with a ride now just a click away through mobile phone apps like like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Instantcab and Flywheel.

Many of these services are part of the so-called “sharing economy” in which car owners offer to drive strangers in exchange for a “donation”.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24393348

But is this the “right” gotong royong that the PAPpies say they want here?

Bet you the Hard Truths that premise the PAP’s governing methods will prevent S’pore from ever going down this route, even though this seems one of several viable solutions (several are needed)  to our public tpt and private car problems  Remember, NTUC is via the Labour Foundation, the controlling shareholder of ComfortDelgro, the owner of the biggest taxi fleet here, and Temasek’s SMRT has a big taxi fleet too. The former runs most of the buses, while the latter runs most of the trains too. And it might impact the revenue from CoEs.

Seriously, the problem here is that “gotong royong” is contrary to the PAP’s Hard Truth that it is fount of everything. Gotong royong is not compatible with a top-down approach, where there is always a “right” way of doing things.

In “gotong royong”, as in the “sharing economy”, things happen because the rabble plebs mob community, society, consumer is the driving force, not a benign meritocratic elite. The people realise that there is a problem, issue, and are free (within some, not many, constraints) to work out a solution*. They don’t bitch while waiting for the governing elite to solve the problem, feeling entitled that because said elite is well-paid, they must solve the problem, resolve the issue.

I consider the following to be gotong royong in action, but doubt the PAP ministers urging us to “gotong royong” would agree:

— TOC’s and TRE’s continued existence;

— the various fund raisings for various legal cases where the govt is the defendant;

— the public funding of the deposits of Alex Tan and friends, and the independent team at Tanjong Pagar GRC;

— Nicole Seah raising money for her team’s election expenses;

— the free food and drinks at Gilbert Goh’s Hong Lim Green functions;

— Function 8;

— CHC members who willingly pay the legal fees of church members being prosecuted for false accounting etc;

— pastor Khong’s gang funding a legal suit;

— those who lend sound eqpt and technical help at various Hong Lim Green parties

— the kay pohs trying to help FTs avoid being hung for drug trafficking**;

— those gathering to help the family of Dinesh Raman get justice and closure**;

— Maruah**;

— the volunteers who help FT manual workers;

— the LGBT community; and

the dedicated band of enthusiasts who have been trying to draw attention to the cemetery’s [Bukit Brown’s] value. They have succeeded in having it included on the biennial watchlist of the World Monument Fund (WMF), of heritage sites around the world that are in danger.

All these examples and more show that the gotong royong spirit is alive and well. They juz don’t fit the PAP’s narrative, especially the bit that the PA’s and PAP’s grass-root activists are the only selfless, dedicated volunteers. And that in cyberspace, their activists are no match for the the injuns, outlaws and other inhabitants of cowboy towns.

*In the US, there is no hegemonic elite to enforce the top down approach, and stifle innovation or stifle dissent or force recantations from members of the elite turned heretical.

**How come no help Dan Tan? Because he drive 7 series, got properties and China babe? And he not violent, middle class or FT?

SMRT: Rights issue coming?

In Infrastructure on 08/10/2013 at 5:54 am

Reading the u/m, I can’t shake the feeling that a rights issue is coming: the capex and running costs seem to call for it. Given that the share price has fallen from the 1.40ish level (at the end of July), to the present level of 1.29, it  might be interesting to buy if one expects a rights issue is in the offing. A rights issue will signal that Temasek expects dividend levels to be maintained at current levels, or slightly reduced, not slashed drastically. It took the results of 1Q 2013- 2014 to bring the shares to below the 1.34 level, a level brokers had been targeting since January.

Let you know if I buy after I buy. BTW, still not bot ComfortDelgro https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/when-raising-fares-sbs-smrt-govt-dont-have-this-problem/. Share price recovered 10% while I was thinking about it (blame QE reprieve). Shares are now near the price that institutions took a placement off the S’pore Labour Foundation.

CREDIT ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has lowered its outlook on SMRT Corp from “stable” to “negative” over concerns about its financial position, particularly its cash flow.

S&P said [on 27th September 2013] that the transport operator’s operating expenses are higher than expected. It also pointed to high capital spending over the 12 months to June, while noting the uncertainty over government financial support such as funding for the firm.

http://www.cpf.gov.sg/imsavvy/infohub_article.asp?readid=435478142-19258-9361788629

“… the lack of timely government support could delay a recovery in SMRT’s key financial metrics.”

SMRT’s “moderate” financial risk profile is weakening, S&P added.

It said it expects the group’s bottom line will be hit by increased operating expenses such as wages and repair and maintenance costs, without the offsetting factor of higher fares.

S&P added that SMRT’s capital expenditure will likely remain high at about $600 million.

It noted that the group’s capital spending will likely ease in 2015 as it implements a new rail financing framework. This, in turn, will ease its debt situation.

“Nevertheless, we base this on a positive and timely outcome for the ongoing discussions between the company and the Government.”

S&P said SMRT’s business risk profile remains “excellent”, backed by its dominance in Singapore’s rail sector.

Its passenger numbers have grown steadily over the past two years despite breakdowns in December 2011.

The agency predicts that passenger numbers will continue to rise as the economic environment improves and it retains its dominant position here.

S&P continues to believe that the likelihood of “extraordinary government support” for SMRT Corp is “extremely high”.

It said: “This is based on the company’s critical role as a provider of essential public transport service in Singapore, and its very strong link with its majority owner, the Government, through Temasek Holdings, which owns 54.2 per cent of SMRT.”

“Cheaper” to build F1 track

In Humour, Infrastructure on 08/09/2013 at 6:21 am

Netizens in July were making comments about a SMRT river training for F1 following a tragic accident when a bus alleged to be speeding overturned. The driver (apparently an FT PRC) claims the brakes didn’t work. http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/07/24/smrt-bus-crash-at-dairy-farm-road-actual-video-of-crash/. Nothing further has emerged.

For us lesser mortals, when F1 comes to town, those of us who have to work, have the inconvenience of blocked roads and altered bus routes. And the shops at Suntec have to deal with falling biz. All this so that S’pore doesn’t have to build a proper F1 track. Guess we now know why only Monaco, Montreal and S’pore have street races: peanuts compared to the number on permanent circuits. The public are inconvenienced, and the public cannot be upset even in countries where the people can’t vote for the govt ruling them. BTW, in Montreal, the street race ain’t in the heart of the city, and in Monaco, people commute by helicopters and boats too (at least the rich do).

It’s not as though there is a huge savings gap. In fact it’s more expensive to stage a street race, even without taking account of the economic losses.

However, the annual running costs of a street race are greater than those of one on a permanent circuit: temporary grandstands need to be built and the roads need to be upgraded to F1’s high safety standards. The biggest single expense for the operators is staffing (c£10m), followed by rental of grandstands (c£8m) and construction of safety barriers and fencing (c£5m). 

In total, the annual operating cost of an F1 street race is in the region of £36m. Then comes the hosting fee, which is paid to the F1 rights holder. The average hosting fee came to £17m in 2011 but the sting in the tail of the contracts is that the price accelerates by as much as 10 per cent every year. Most new F1 race contracts are for ten years, so by the end of the agreement the annual fee comes to around £40m thanks to the escalator clause in the contract. That means that over the ten-year duration the bill for hosting fees totals an estimated £272m (see below) with the cost of running the races coming to £360m. That makes a total over ten years of more than £600m.

With annual running costs that are far lower than those for a street race, the total cost of building a Grand Prix circuit and hosting an F1 race over a ten-year period comes in at around £560m. But promoters need to dig deep to fund that initial track construction… http://www.babusinesslife.com/Ideas/Features/The-cost-of-hosting-a-Formula-1-Grand-Prix.html … how much the key elements of a brand new Grand Prix circuit are likely to cost… [£164m]

So the difference is spending S$80m more over 10 yrs to “save” on the cost of building a permanent track. Of course, I ‘m assuming the cost of the circuit land is zero or nominal. But this being S’pore where giving away the land for public housing would be “raiding the reserves” (Mah Bow Tan), this is a non-starter. Anyway the usual suspects would shout “corruption” even if the govt was willing to lease land at a nominal price.

So, the end result is that the “little people” who have to commute by way of public transport, get screwed, So waz new?

(Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/f1-sharing-the-1bn-in-value-add-with-the-losers/)

But let’s look on the bright side like Brian Cohen in the Life of Brian. Suffering a lingering, painful death by cruxification, Brian’s spirits were lifted by others crucified along with him, who sang “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.

Hopefully SMRT and SBS are tapping F1 to make our tpt system more reliable and efficient. In the UK, train and bus companies have started working with the Williams Formula One team to help improve their service.

The companies are buying advice and equipment to make their vehicles more reliable, something every passenger in the land will be grateful for.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23132335

At the moment, SMRT’s only links with F1 is that the previous CEO drove a Ferrari, and is alleged to have had a Mercedes super car. Maybe when Desond Kwek and his ex-SAF mgrs want to buy super cars with their mega-bonuses, Williams could call them to see if something win-win can be arranged for them, Williams and SMRT? Free sex is no longer an option after recent corruption court cases.

SMRT might be interested in this: talking train window ads

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23167112

I mean its CEO is claiming that its business model is not sustainable i.e. he can’t raise fares to cover the costs of salaries and maintenance. Cut dividends leh? As at end February 2012, SMRT has paid SMRT paid S$562.79m in dividends to Temasek since its listing.

(Another way of raising $https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/how-smrt-can-spend-more-on-maintenance-while-contd-paying-gd-dividends/)

Finally, great video that shows guy driving round Manhattan at speeds that breaks the law. http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2013/sep/06/manhattan-island-24-minutes-video. Driver records 24-minute fastest lap around Manhattan

Govt doesn’t highlight subsidy problems in M’sia, Thailand & Indonesia; wonder why?

In Indonesia, Infrastructure, Internet, Malaysia, Vietnam on 07/09/2013 at 5:58 am

The govt likes to warn about the dangers of subsidies, forever quoting the deficits in the West. Well what about telling us about problems nearer home? And how come it’s ok to “subsidise” HDB flats at home? ‘Cause it not really a subsidy is what the usual suspects would argue.

Malaysia has cut fuel subsidies for the first time in more than two years as it tries to reduce its budget deficit.

The subsidy on petrol has been cut by 20 sen (6 cents; 4 pence) a litre and on diesel by 20 to 80 sen a litre.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said the cuts would result in savings of about 3.3bn ringgit ($1bn; £650m) a year.

The government spent 24bn ringgit on fuel subsidies last year, which contributed to a widening budget deficit.

Malaysia’s budget deficit was 4.5% of its gross domestic product (GDP) last year.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23926411

Some analysts said that the cut in fuel subsidies was an attempt by the government to increase investor confidence and persuade them to leave their money in the country.

Malaysia’s ratio of public debt to gross domestic product (GDP) “is approaching worrying leve according to a Bank of  America Merrill Lynch (BOAML) report. It said that the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio had risen to 54.6%  at the end of the second quarter, from 53.8% in the first quarter.

The figure is just short of the country’s mandated debt ceiling of 55% of GDP. In the 1960s, the limit was made law by then-finance minister Tan Siew Sin to ensure fiscal prudence.

BOAML said that it could worsen. “Rising longer-term bond yields (and hence higher debt-servicing costs) may accelerate the climb.”

Meanwhile, total debt including guarantees is piling up.

“Government guaranteed debt came in at RM147.3 billion (S$56.4 billion) in the second quarter, slightly lower than RM147.8 billion in the first quarter. Adding this to public debt brings the quasi-public debt to about 70.2 per cent of GDP at the end of the second quarter, up from 69.4 per cent during the first quarter.” [BOA report added after first publication)]

Other Asean round-up news

Thailand‘s Thaksinonmics runs into trouble

Thaksinomics has always been about two things. First, it was about establishing a secure hold over the voters, and in that it has unquestionably been successful.

But it is also supposed to be about driving the domestic economy.

The original schemes for micro-credit, affordable healthcare and local product promotion have lifted the living standards of millions of poorer Thais, as has this government’s decision to raise the minimum wage.

But the benefits of the car and rice purchase schemes are more doubtful, especially given their cost.

Thailand still remains heavily dependent on exports and on foreign direct investment for its growth.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23903476V

What Viki’s US$ 200m exit says about S’pore’s, M’sia’s and Indonesia’s startup environment

And one of the reasons for the flight of money from Indonesia, is it’s failure to tackle the rising cost of its fuel subsidy. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23015511

http://sgentrepreneurs.com/2013/09/02/what-vikis-usd-200m-exit-says-about-singapores-startup-ecosystem/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=

CNA Group’s Vietnam-based subsidiary, CNA-HTE Vietnam Co, has landed a $10.6 million contract to renovate, upgrade and expand the domestic terminals in Ho Chi Minh’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

Under this project, CNA will provide mechanical, engineering and plumbing services such as the air-conditioning, ventilation and electrical systems at the airport’s new two-storey domestic terminal. CNA will also upgrade the airport’s existing domestic terminal, which will be equipped with a new bus terminal building and a VIP lounge. Its roof will be upgraded.

The project is slated for completion in October next year and will contribute to the group’s financial performance for the fiscal year ending Dec 31, 2013. It boosted CNA’s order book to $74.2 million, from $63.6 million as at June 30.

This is CNA’s second airport-related project in South-east Asia this year; it won a contract for Laos’ Luang Prabang Airport in April for common-use terminal equipment, typically used to facilitate passenger check-ins. BT

SMRT: Another breakdown!

In Infrastructure on 29/07/2013 at 10:49 am

Fortunately it’s not the trains, or the buses. It’s minor. Shares are marginally off today, so market doesn’t worry about this latest dyfunctionality

Still even think about investing in it because the continuing dysfunctionality  is not reassuring, inspite of having as CEO, a scholar and ex SAF head, who was brought in to get the trains (and buses) to run on time again. Still not running. There have been several train delays, the most publicised of which was in April when a crack on the northbound track between Somerset and Orchard stations slowed trains to a crawl. Then a speeding bus (driven by FT PRC driver training for F1) crashed overturned.There were injuries and a death. And then there was S’pore’s first strike (legal or otherwise) in decades.

All this on the watch of a scholar and general? Err what would have happened on the watch of a non-scholar, sales char bor FT? Actually, we know: overcrowded trains, poor working conditions for FT drivers, contempt for commuters.

Back to the latest failure: SMRT’s Vice President for Corporate Marketing and Communications, Ms Kalai Natarajan, has quit after only 5 months. She was among several senior management staff (mostly ex-SAF officers, but not her) brought in by the new CEO Lt Gen (NS) Desmond Kuek after he took over in Oct last year. She was hired in Feb this year, taking over from Mr Goh Chee Kong, who left last year. Mr Goh is the guy who insinuated, “Better you die, than damage SMRT property.” OK, I exaggerate, but not by much. He was ex-SAFer. (Her quitting shows the gd for the FT, where “T” stands for “Talent”, running Temasek’s public communications. I once blogged that he had turned down the SMRT post.)

During her short tenure, more than five in her communication team of about 10 people resigned.

According to ST, her departure is unusual because she is not required to serve notice. She told ST that she is leaving SMRT today (Monday). She confirmed that she will not be serving notice. Usually the notice period for senior management is three months. Seems she hasn’t another job waiting for her.

A HR expert speculated in ST report that there may be a “cultural misfit” if senior management staff “are not on the same wavelength”. Let’s watch to see if the Hongkie that was brought in to run train operations, quits.

If he does, then commuters should be worried, very worried, that experienced professionals have left, leaving only ex-SAFers, not experienced in running public transport operations or public communications.

Related posts: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/smrt-can-still-wait/ Interesting that it is still trading way above its “Sell” target price.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/for-they-have-sown-the-wind-and-they-shall-reap-the-whirlwind/

When raising fares, SBS, SMRT & Govt don’t have this problem

In Infrastructure on 17/06/2013 at 5:33 am

SBS and SMRT are grumbling loudly that their present biz model (after delivering golden rivers of dividends for Temasek and the S’pore Labour Foundation) doesn’t work. SLF even sold 8% of SBS’s parent at a huge discount to the market price. Great move as this was done before market meltdown. (BTW, at current price, tempted to buy into ComfortDelgro. It closed last Friday at 1.755, up 3% from Thursday. The co’s fundamentals havenot changed since institutions bought SLF’s stake at 1.94. It is likely that when they bot from SLF, they would have been given assurances of the fundamentals at that price.)

And govt has been pouring our money ($1.1bn and counting) at the public the transport system. And the Wankers’ Party remains quiet* about its Manifesto call to nationalise the public transport system.

If the PAP govt weren’t concerned that it would lose votes if fares were raised without a marked improvement in service standards, fares would have gone up by now to keep the dividends flowing. Screwing the public (by making the public pay-and-pay) is the PAP way pre the 2011 GE and PE.

Anyway, SMRT, ComfortDelgro and the govt should be grateful that this doesn’t happen here when faresw are raised: Protests against bus and underground fare rises in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo have turned violent.

Police fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas, and detained more than 200 people. Police say they seized petrol bombs, knives and drugs.

Violence has also been reported at protests in Rio de Janeiro.

Prices for a single ticket in Sao Paulo were raised on 2 June from 3 reals ($1.40, £0.90) to 3.20 reals ($1.50, £0.96).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22899748

For that, they have to thank people like this TRE reader

My Middle name is AhLong:

We need to organise a movement similar to BERSEH of Malaysia now to demand clean election. We need to ensure a proper way to secure and account for the ballot boxes en-route to the counting station …We must demand at the counting station, after all ballot boxes are accounted for and examined, all the ballot tickets should mixed into a single bunch and count from there. In this way, the sly election department will not be able to get the data for gerrymandering in the next election.

Finally, to have a level of playing field, election department should NOT be under PMO!

If he is serious, he should be trying to organise shumething, instead of juz bitching anon. His use of the word “We” is simply a way of saying “You”.He juz wants to let out hot air, like VivianB, Auntie and her favourite Singh, the M’sian gals from S’pore Writers, and the Nairs, Gopalan and Rajan. He doesn’t want to do the hard slog, like Low, Ah Huat, Ah Lian, the NSP’s Dynamic Duo, the Ravis (M and P) and Team SDP. If you’re wondering why Siow is not on the list, he’s away in the US until year-end. And no, he is not attending the CIA’s regime change course.

*To be fair, Low mentions it in passing, now and then.

LTA, SMRT: Learn from NY & Dubai pls

In Infrastructure on 04/06/2013 at 5:48 pm

“Sponsorship is already used on metro systems across the word in places like Madrid, Dubai and New York,” says a Tory party report, and it suggests “Sponsorship deals to rename London Underground lines and stations should be considered as a way to fund a freeze in fares, Tory politicians have said.”

A report by the Conservative Party on the London Assembly said if £136m was raised in sponsorship it could freeze fares for a year.And it claimed £204m would cap rises at inflation for the next three years.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-22745677

“Transport for London (TfL) said the cost of of changing maps and signs made a deal of that kind unfeasible”, and bet you that LTA and SMRT would give the same excuse.

But here’s shumething that SMRT cannot say, “Every penny of this and our other revenue goes towards keeping fares as low as possible”,. because as a listco, controlled by Temasek, it got to pay dividends.

Estonia doing it, S’pore still talking about it

In Economy, Infrastructure, Political economy on 19/05/2013 at 7:39 am

The inventors of Skype came from Estonia. More importantly, the economy there is using IT to leverage its productivity. Not like S’pore where FTs are thrown at any problem.

Estonian schools are teaching children as young as seven how to programme computers.

Estonia’s e-revolution began in the 1990s, not long after independence. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, then the country’s ambassador to the United States, now Estonia’s president, takes some of the credit … He read a book whose “Luddite, neo-Marxist” thesis, he says, was that computerisation would be the death of work.

The book cited a Kentucky steel mill where several thousands of workers had been made redundant, because after automatisation, the new owners could produce the same amount of steel with only 100 employees.

“This may be bad if you are an American,” he says. “But from an Estonian point of view, where you have this existential angst about your small size – we were at that time only 1.4 million people – I said this is exactly what we need.

“We need to really computerise, in every possible way, to massively increase our functional size.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22317297

Keep using the platform Sports Council

In Infrastructure on 13/05/2013 at 3:02 pm

The Marina Bay floating platform was meant to be a temporary structure until the Sports Hub was completed. But it was reported in ST today that it will be staying put for at least a while longer. The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) – which owns and manages the platform – told ST that it is “considering retaining the facility for recreation, sports and community use”, even after the hub is completed.”

Keep using it until it becomes to expensive to maintain SSC. It’s something different.

Hope it gets used “permanently”. Thanking SSC in anticipation.

AsiaOne pix

HPH Trust: Cost of strike settlement

In Infrastructure on 08/05/2013 at 7:29 am

Port workers in HK agreed to a pay increase of 9.8%, after initially demanding a hike of more than 20%. This works out to an increase of 5.6% to the costs of HPH Trust.

Earlier post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/hph-trust-time-to-buy/

Can now focus on analysing the revenue prospects. Watch this space.

SMRT/ LTA: Another PR problem round the corner?

In Infrastructure on 07/05/2013 at 5:06 am

Questions have been raised over the health impact of high levels of tiny airborne metal particles discovered in a European underground train system.

Millions of people travel on underground urban transit systems in cities across the world.

Researchers at Southampton University say metal in the air thrown up by trains running on metal tracks could pose a health risk.

Airborne particles small enough to be inhaled are known to damage health.

They increase the risk of developing asthma, lung cancer or cardiovascular disease.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22404446

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/smrt-can-still-wait/

 

SMRT: Can still wait

In Infrastructure on 05/05/2013 at 5:15 am

SMRT’s FY2013 profit missed expectations as cost inflation outpaced revenue growth. Margin pain will persist until SMRT moves to a more sustainable business model. Until then, not only are profits at risk, so are dividends.

Dividend payout was cut to 45 per cent versus its previous 60 per cent policy. FY2013 core net profit met only 92 per cent of our and consensus estimates. We cut our FY2014-15 EPS estimates by 21 to 27 per cent and introduce FY2016. Our target price (discounted cash flow, weighted average cost of capital 6.5 per cent) falls to $1.26. CIMB April 30.

The last target price I saw, six months ago I think, put it at 1.33. Not sure whose.

Buying for yield requires co to have a sustainable business model, something that SMRT admits it doesn’t have. Keep on watching.

 

These Hongkies must wish NTUC represented them

In Humour, Infrastructure on 01/05/2013 at 6:57 am

The striking port workers say their real wages have fallen in the past 17 years, while their working conditions have worsened. They say many work 24-hr shifts without toilet or lunch breaks, FT reports.

S’pore needs FTs like these! PSA should bring them in, and offer them 18-hr shifts without toilet or lunch breaks. Our port workers do 8-12 hr shifts with toilet and lunch breaks in-between. Throw in the right to buy “subsidised” HDB flats, and they will be be forever grateful to the PAP, unlike our present port workers who loved JBJ.

Bet you this piece doesn’t get republished in TRE. It shows S’pore in a gd light!

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/hph-trust-time-to-buy/

 

HPH Trust: Time to buy?

In Infrastructure on 25/04/2013 at 6:27 am

Is it worth a buy? HPH Trust has fallen 4% since the strike in HK. Its handling capacity is back above 80%, having fallen to below 50% when the strike began. But the gap between oits wage offer (7%) and the strikers’ 20% demand, is big. And even its 7% offer adds 4% to total costs calculates CLSA.

And there is China’s slowdown and competition.

Nah let’s wait to see the terms of the settlement. Remember buy this for yield, not capital appreciation.

PAP listening to SDP?

In Infrastructure on 11/03/2013 at 6:22 am

Err didn’t the govt rubbish the SDP’s idea of lowering the cost of HDB flats by making it a condition of getting cheaper flats that they be resold to HDB?

And didn’t Khaw just say that this idea will be studied? But didn’t credit the SDP for suggesting it?

As an oldie using SingHealth, here’s hoping the SDP’s healthcare ideas be adopted* and that Paul A** gets co-opted to become Health minister.

——

*Never mind if it bankrupts S’pore as healthcare costs in the US and UK are bankrupting these nations, I’ll be dead.

**He was a possible SDP candidate for Punggol-East. Gd that he didn’t stand because he couldn’t claim to be born poor: even s/o JBJ claimed that although born in a pram made of gold, silver and ivory, he became poor when his dad took on the PAP. He dared make this claim even though he went to very expensive ang moh schools. JBJ became so poor that he could send his son to expensive schools? Come on, man who doesn’t know the Pledge, pull the other leg, it’s got bells on it.

 

Safe? Are you sure LTA?

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 10/03/2013 at 6:32 pm

Sinkholes happen when a layer of rock underneath the ground is dissolved by acidic water.

Usually this layer is a soluble carbonate rock, such as limestone or its purer form, chalk …Typically rainfall seeps through the soil, absorbing carbon dioxide and reacting with decaying vegetation. As a result, the water that reaches the soluble rock is acidic.

The acidic water causes the erosion of the soluble rock layers beneath the surface – eventually creating cavernous spaces.

The soil or sand over the limestone collapses into a sinkhole when it is no longer supported because of the cavity below. This final collapse of the surface might take anything from a few minutes to several hours. Read http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21600410 for more details on how they occur.

After reading the article, I’m left wondering how LTA can be so confident that the other lanes are safe*? Ain’t the other lanes sited on the same piece of land? It’s that to imagine that the hollow in the ground coincide with the lane: surely the hollow, if any, is spread over several lanes? As the article points out, holes can appear suddenly and unexpectedly, when there is a “tipping point’.

And if other sinkholes appear on other lanes: another “honest mistake”?

But let’s be fair, if the LTA had closed sections of the road while it conducts tests, and then found no other problems, the “Govt are bastards” brigade on Facebook, TRE, TOC, TRS and the internet would have a field day. And S’poreans who were inconvenienced by the road closure would bltch like bleating lambs too.

In first-world democracies, the emphasis would be safety over convenience, partly because govt’s and officials are afraid of lawsuits when people die. Here the culture seems to be public convenience over public safety (and cross fingers and hope no one dies). We had one example of this attitude when the public inquiry into MRT breakdowns, revealed that LTA was upset when SMRT wanted to extend disruption of service to conduct more checks. And the bitch brigade bitched when a minister dared to suggest that there might be a need to stop services to conduct checks or repairs. Nothing further was heard from him.

A balance has to be struck between public safety and public convenience, and this requires a consensus. Now wouldn’t this issue make a great topic for NatCon? And isn’t this issue connected to the issue of how many people we want here, given our population density. We are among the world’s most densely populated places.

———————-

*The patched-up sinkhole on Clementi Road has reappeared.

The gaping hole is about two-metre wide and a metre deep.

It was fixed on 4 March but it collapsed again on Friday.

A Land Transport Authority spokesperson said the affected lane was closed off immediately for repair works.

They are investigating the cause of the hole and are also conducting scans below the affected portion for any possible cavities.

The other lanes on Clementi Road remain safe. CNA

“WP will vote for the White Paper,” Moley

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 04/02/2013 at 5:31 am

(Update after Auntie’s speech: Moley and I are most happy that we got it wrong. But let’s wait and see. I was happy about being wrong about Punggol East, until Low told us that a vote for the WP is a vote to maintain PAP hegemony)

Given the overwhelming majority of PAP Members of Parliament, there is no question where the debate will be heading – towards a total endorsement of the policy recommendations and continued population influx, despite the message sent to the PAP by the Punggol East electorate and many Singaporeans.

Dear readers, would you vote for your MP in GE 2016 if he or she approves of the immigration targets drawn up in the Population White Paper? (http://singaporearmchaircritic.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/broken-trust-broken-policies/)

Neat idea but what if WP votes for White Paper?

We got to vote for Mad Dog Chee’s elitist Singapore Indian Party SDP*, or No Substance**, or the Clowns Brigade: s/o JBJ, the Saints boy, SDA, or the Chiams, because Morocco Mole tells me that  the WP will vote for the White Paper too. Now Moley has been right about WP refusing to raise issue of public transport nationalisation in parly. (Sorry JG, GG never raised the issue as you claimed. He just asked the govt to justify its rojak policy and then when as you rightly pointed the minister gave an incoherent response, GG didn’t respond with a nationalisation call.)

Sure will have wayang by Drama King PritamS and Drama Auntie (Remember their rants against govt changes to the mandatory death penalty? They voted for the changes on the quiet, juz like PAP MPs. And remember WP voted for the Budgets, despite bitching about the said Budgets).

WP will vote for the White Paper. And unlike all the examples cited above of the WP quietly supporting the PAP, while attacking it publicly, WP is taking a principled stand on the issue. LTK and Auntie have been asking the govt to go easy on the policy of cutting FTs, speaking out against the govt’s policy (now discarded?***) of starving the SMEs of FTs. Chinese-owned SMEs  fund the WP on the quiet, so WP has to keep them happy.

And the PAP (the real deal) has just given WP the best excuse to support the White Paper:

— “Reiterating that the 6.9 million figure should be viewed as “the worst-case scenario”****, Mr Khaw wrote: “We hope we do not reach that figure; we may never reach that figure.”

–“Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said … he fully agrees with Mr Khaw’s explanation that a 6.9 million population is not a target, but just a worst-case, aggressive scenario the Government must prepare for.”

“Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office S Iswaran assures Singaporeans that the 6.9 million population figure in the White Paper is not a target the government is setting itself to achieve.”

(Excerpts from MediaCorp)

“6.9m? What 6.9m? Only projection, worse-case scenario, to spur debate leh,” WP Low will say, says Morocco Mole, Secret Squirrel’s side-kick. [This sentence was added an hour after initial publication.]

Which brings me to a suggestion on helping us monitor and assess a MP’s performance (from http://berthahenson.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/a-political-performance/)

Each MP should put up a yearly account to their constituents of what they did or said in Parliament. How many sessions did they turn up for? How many Bills did they vote on – and what did they say about them in Parliament? How many questions did they ask from ministers – both oral and written. What sort of answers did they get – and did the questions work in getting things done? … this keeps constituents politically attuned and keeps the MPs accountable. Simply saying vote for me again (I am looking ahead to the next GE) because I am kind, good, committed etc and my party has done what and what… isn’t good enough. Thing is, what have YOU done lately for me as my voice in Parliament?

But I doubt WP would adopt such a first-world practice of transparency and accountability. It would make transparent the WP’s two-headed snake strategy of being all things to all voters.

If ordinary netizens want the WP to vote against the White Paper, please start sending a strong message to the WP: use TRE, even TOC, or email direct to WP.

*I mean both SDP candidates were highly qualified Indians from very, very privileged backgrounds. They couldn’t claim, like s/o JBJ, that they were rich kids made poor by the PAP. But maybe they could argue that their families have been wealthier if the PAP had not come into power? Seriously, maybe the SDP is an elitist party that believes “multiracialism” is more than “an aspiration”: the voters are colour-blind? Says a lot for SDP’s idealism vis-a-vis that of the PAP and WP.

**NSP is getting its act together policy-wise: a good piece on population, responding to the White Paper   http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/02/02/nsp-proposes-alternative-population-plan-for-singapore/. And in working the ground. The problems lie in internal bickering and giving the WP the excuse to “knife” the NSP. An example of the latter: a prominent blogger who juz happens to be a NSP member was very vocal in his attacks on the WP’s leaders and followers during the recent by-election campaign. He accused them of PAP-like arrogance. (Even I won’t go that far in criticising the WP.). While I’m sure, the NSP had no hand in his attacks, which sounded as though they were written by s/o JBJ, it could cause trouble. NSP had no quarrel with WP over the by-election, yet its member felt free to attack WP. Low is very correct in telling his activists to toe the party line on the internet and social media. It could lead to misunderstandings. The WP now has the perfect excuse to move into Tampines, Marine Parade, Kallang and Mountbatten: a NSP member savaged WP on the internet and the NSP kept quiet would be the WP excuse.

***I’m confused. Cutting FT supply but by growing it?

****Shades of Yaacob, Remember he said this when one LKY shouted a Hard Truth about Malay Muslims.

SMRT: Dump

In Infrastructure on 31/01/2013 at 5:15 am

Brokers had forecast cost increases in staff, repair and maintenance costs, but not the 29.1% in maintenance & repair; and the 18.2% in staffing costs (all those new recruits from SAF?*) reported this quarter.

Brokers are putting a target price of around 1.34, a big drop.

But maybe there is the usually Biz School approved front-loading of costs, expenses whenever there is a new CEO. For yield buyers like me, the next Q’s numbers are awaited.

——

*https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/smrt-noticed/

 

 

 

More FTs on way, a lot MORE!: DBS

In Economy, Infrastructure, Political economy on 22/01/2013 at 6:29 am

OK, OK, I exaggerate: only 8% more of population if S’poreans don’t start breeding like rabbits.

DBS Vickers expects an upcoming white paper on Singapore’s population to raise its population target to 7 million from 6.5 million, which will benefit construction, land transport, property and healthcare companies. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/18/markets-singapore-stocksnews-population-idUSL4N0AN3GR20130118

SMRT is not on the “buy” list. It too has concerns about SMRT, like me and many others.

SMRT: Noticed?

In Infrastructure on 21/01/2013 at 5:45 am

I had planned to blog on the new appointments http://www.sammyboy.com/showthread.php?138562-8-New-hires-to-get-SMRT-on-track-4-from-military but forgot until today. Old age.

Noticed that SMRT has created seven new posts? Looks like Kuekie wants to spend, spend, spend on expanding management.He must think SMRT like SAF, money not an issue.

Taz two reasons to avoid the stock. The only reason to buy is to capture the gains from increased fares. But I’m not sure if fares would be allowed to rise this year, let alone this side of next GE: unless there is a marked improvement in service.

And speaking about service, on Boxing Day, for the first time ever, I couldn’t board a train because it was full: I didn’t have the right to board a crowded train, it was too crowded. It was at noon at Bishan. Note, I avoid using MRT and buses during rush hrs. And on Boxing Day and 31st Dec, there were problems when I used the NE Line.