Posts Tagged ‘WP’

Defining Oppo “Unity” and “Credible Candidates”

In Uncategorized on 11/11/2015 at 5:26 am

Following the Institute of Policy Studies publishing its analysis of the GE2015 results, based on surveys done with voters, and a related  conference, the MSM and cyberspace are full of reports, commentary and analysis. (Even I joined in pointing out that one reasonable conclusion of the survey is that the PAP is doomed.)

The noise reminded me that anti-PAP paper warriors (brainy ande nutty) when still in shock and denial (they still are) gave advice to the SDP, WP and other Oppo parties on how to do better next time.

Their advice centred around the need for Oppo unity and good candidates.

I’ll use Uncle Redbean’s advice as a representative sample of these views as he is pretty direct:

Perhaps these three parties* should hold a pow wow session to build a bigger base for a new coalition to fight the next battle. In the process, they could round up the better potentials in the remnant parties and invite them to the coalition or new party.

There is an urgent need to get the act together, to get all the good candidates together to mean business. To put up an opposition party is a very serious business and there is nothing better than to join forces to stand united. No more loose cannons and mavericks standing alone shouting in the wilderness. It would not do. A real, credible and substantial force is needed to win the confidence of the voters if they want to stand a chance in the next GE.

On the issue of “unity”, the problem is that he and others have not defined what they mean by “unity”. A combined manifesto? What can be more united than the present informal system of sharing out “seats”. In the last UK election, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats fought for votes in all constituencies despite being in a coalition govt for the previous five yrs.

True there can be problems when WP thinks it has a better chance than the tiny tots, otherwise the system works: if’s a straight fight between the PAP and an Oppo party (99.9% of the time). And even then when there are two oppo parties, the other oppo party candidates always loses his deposit.

Then there is the issue of “credible candidates”. The candidates of the WP, SDP, SingFirst and the Chiams were all credible candidates in my view. But they were soundly trashed. So the Oppo needs more credible candidates than a NUS, NUH professor, uni lecturers, lawyers? Please define credibility UncleRedbean and fellow advisers to help the Oppo parties better select winning candidates.

Related to this is where to draw the line of who is not a credible candidate, and who is?

Are Roy, M Ravi, New Citizen Han Hui Hui, Goh Meng Seng and s/o JBJ credible candidates? Going by comments that Uncle Redbean has made about them, he seems to think they are all credible candidates.

I for one don’t think they are. To me, they fall within Uncle RedBean’s loose cannons and mavericks

And their share of the votes tell me that only 20 odd percent of the voters (the really hard core)  think they are.

As for the credible candidates of the WP, SDP, SingFirst and the Chiams, their credibility didn’t prevent them from being thrashed, albeit the SDP and WP candidates managed to lose less badly than the other Oppo candidates.

So calls for “unity” and “credible candidates” are only useful if accompanied by explanations of what these terms mean.


*WP, SDP and SingFirst. He now sees the Chiams no “ak”. I also see the Chiams as now irrelevant.


30% keep on KPKBing– Don’t despair

In Political governance on 09/11/2015 at 5:33 am

Be brave and of good cheer. History is on yr side. PAP is doomed: by demographics and S’pore rising levelsw of education.

I’m not joking.

That’s a reasonable conclusion to draw from the survey* by the PAP administrations’s very own Institute of Policy Studies that shows that respondents who viewed the SDP and WP as credible were mainly those aged 39 years and below, and mainly had a university and diploma education.

As for the PAP, it was the pre-independence generation, or those aged above 55 years that mainly saw the party as credible.

Reasonable conclusion: only the dying, about to die and the uneducated really support the PAP. Goh Meng Seng, Roy Ngerng, Han Hui Hui, Kirsten Han, Lynn Lee and TRE cybernuts are not representative of the 30% even if they behave as though they represent the 30%. SDP’s Dr Paul Thamby, and Leon the Lion are?

No wonder Ah Loong says the PAP must change, and the PAP’s already preparing for the next GE (I’ll blog soon on what its a doing in my area, a safe PAP area according to the WP), and the acting minister of education plays down the PAP’s success (my take).

So Oppo activists and anti-PAP cybernuts should look on the right side, and look beyond the trashing they got and in the case of the latter fully deserved.

And Dr Chee (and the ang mohs backing him) must really be be happy that the percentage of people who found the party credible** more than doubled from 20% in GE2011 to 42% in GE2015. The PAP saw an increase of credibility of only 20 percentage points, while the Worthless WankersP’s credibility in the eyes of voters increased by 15 percentage points. Too bad for Khaw and his ministry’s civil servants, no performance bonus for sliming the Wayang Party over the AHPETC accounts. It didn’t work. WP’s cred did not fall.

Related post on what stats really mean: they are not facts.


*2,015 S’poeans were interviewed for the survey, by phone from 12 to 26 September. IPS senior research fellow Gillian Koh was in charge of the survey.

**But he can’t afford too many of things like this

The news that Jeffrey George was arrested by the Central Narcotics Bureau comes as a shock. I have known Jeff for many years and all this time he has discharged his duties as an SDP member and leader with professionalism. He is respected and well-liked by his party colleagues. This is why the matter is all the more a complete surprise.

At this time, the family members need support as they go through a difficult period. They should be left alone to sort things out.

Chee Soon Juan

Singapore Democratic Party

Guy was SDP chairman until juz before his arrest it seems. Very convenient for SDP.




Leon Perera: A Lion of a Man

In Public Administration on 03/11/2015 at 4:39 am

(Or “Worthless Party’s Worthy Man:Leon Perera” )

If only I had known that Leon Perera would turn out to be the kind of co-driver that I had hoped Low and friends* would be but were not (They prefered to take the money and behave like Kate Spade Tin, the PAP social worker), I’d have voted for WP in the last GE. It was the first time in my life that I didn’t vote for the WP. I once even even voted for a ex-Woodbridge patient but I grew the line on an arrogant, worthless (most of the time and JJ excepted) parly team who don’t do accounting and monitoring.

The Workers’ Party (WP) has reiterated its call for the Government to reconstitute the Hepatitis C review committee as a Committee of Inquiry (COI), saying it does not see the need to wait for findings to be released, before convening a COI.

The party’s Central Executive Council member Leon Perera said this to reporters on the sidelines of a food distribution event on Saturday (Oct 31).


Leon the Lion rightly said it is possible to convene a COI without making public aspects that are under investigation, but said that “deliberations” into the workflow within SGH and MOH after the cluster was discovered, as well as the point of public announcement and containment measures, should be made public.

He also said it is not “necessary or helpful” to have a two-step process, where the authorities wait for the findings of an independent committee before deciding to convene a COI. He again cited the examples of the Little India riots and MRT breakdowns, where COIs were convened missing this step. “We do not see the necessity for a two-step process.We would rather in the first instance take the existing process we have, strengthen it. In the interest of timeliness and efficiency, we feel it is the best approach. It’s not our intent to undermine the current process or the committee members. We want to keep all of them and strengthen the process.”

The last line shows that he knows how to have the cake and eat it too.


Losing the plot? Who said what when?

The govt set up an Independent (but it’s an internal) Review Committee earlier this month to look into the Hepatitis C outbreak at the Singapore General Hospital. The virus infected 25 patients and may have contributed to the deaths of five people.

In a statement on Oct 25, WP urged the govt to reconstitute the committee into a COI. NCMP Leon Perera, had said the outbreak is “at least as grave” as the train breakdowns in 2011 and the Little India riots. A COI was convened for both incidents.

The Health Ministry responded saying a COI will be formed if WP is “prepared to lead evidence before the COI, to substantiate whatever allegations it might have”. WP, rightly, called the suggestion “inappropriate”, as the Party does not have inquisitorial or investigative powers to obtain evidence and said convening a COI does not constitute wrongdoings by any party.MOH had also said the WP had asked for a COI before the committee concludes its probes and pending police investigations.

Lion Man repeated the call for a COI on Saturday, adding it will help restore confidence while making deliberations public.

Gan’s response to Leon the lion.


The WP once was full of loonies and bicycle thieves. But it had a Lion of a man: JBJ, Lion Man..

The way things are going, Leon is the lion who could transform the WP, if given the opportunity by Low and the wankers into an alternative party of govt, rather than the PAP Lite, Worthless Party wanking its way to the bank that it is now.

Any tots JG?


*If only Gerald Giam had done some constructive criticism of the PAP administration’s public tpt system when it ground to a halt between 2011 and 2015. Instead he kept quiet. He only knows how to stab his sifu in back in a dark alley isit?

MoH: PM needs a minister who can communicate

In Public Administration on 28/10/2015 at 4:36 am

PM says the PAP must change. Obviously MoH thinks otherwise. Is the MoH (minister included) saboing the efforts of the PAP administration to project a PAP administration that does the right thing in the right way, always explaining its actions.

Seriously like in transport where the PM said the minister in charge must be able to communicate to the public, MOH needs a minister who can communicate to ,we, the rabble.

When the “noise” whacked the MoH on the Heptais C tragedy, my sympathies were with the MoH. It was trying to fix a problem while dealing with the noise from the usual suspects like parachutist extraordinaire Goh Meng Seng (three GEs, three GRC and three different parties: and getting less votes eeach time). “Stuff happens. So why the chattering? 30% ng kum guan isit? So KPKB?”

Even when MoH responded in an ultra defensive, aggressive way to an ST article, I wasn’t too fussed. ST was a juz being a pariah trying to bite the hand that fed it. I was thinking, “Yup beating up ST is good. Dogs should not bite the hand that feeds them.”

But MoH’s response to WP’s call* for a Committee of Inquiry (COI) was so petulant, aggressive, defensive and so misrepresentative of what the WP said** that I’m wondering if there is an email or two somewhere in the system that could be perceived as a “smoking gun” that MoH wants to hide?

Seriously MOH needs to stop playing word games and being so ultra-defensive yet so aggressive.

As a member of the conservative FB group I belong to put it

I think that the final question that needs to be asked is:

“Why not?”

1) Does a COI incur much greater cost than an independent committee? Is there a disadvantage? Why not just do the COI, if there is nothing to hide?

2) If a cluster of deaths do not meet the threshold for implementing a COI, then this raises the question: What would be a serious enough incident? Accidental black hole? Heat death of universe?

3) Why is MOH protesting so defensively? Not once, but twice (once against Rachel Chang, and once against WP)?

It would have been so simple, reasonable and appropriate to say that a COI is not necessary at the moment. because a COI can still be convened after the initial investigations by the police and review committee. The call is premature and the juz WP wayang, trying to show that its not the Worthless Party.

Instead, the MoH’s reply to the WP to produce evidence came across as dismissive, defensive, aggressive and arrogant. This should not be the way if the MoH is not trying to hide anything.

The WP says rightly that it’s “inappropriate” to call for the WP to present evidence before the COI) into a Hepatitis C cluster at the Singapore General Hospital can be convened.

Finally, I note the health minister wasn’t good in MoM too. Maybe he’s scare to get moved on out like Lui, Paymond Lim? Juz wondering.


*The Workers’ Party welcomes the broadening of the remit of the independent review committee to include review of MOH’s procedures and actions.Drawing the right lessons from the outbreak of the Hepatitis C virus infections at the renal ward of the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is critical for Singapore. It is tragic that four individuals may have lost their lives as a result of these infections in one of our leading healthcare institutions, and one more person may have died for reasons possibly related to the infections.

The outbreak and the government’s response to it have exposed potential gaps in our public health protection protocols. Aside from the risk to human life, the matter has considerable implications for Singapore’s status as an international business and tourism hub.

The work of the review committee is critical not just to rectify any lapses to prevent future recurrences, but to maintain and bolster public confidence in our healthcare system and review processes. To this end, not only must the review be rigorous, transparent, independent and fair in terms of its outcomes. It must also be seen to be so.

With these ends in mind, we call on the government to pursue the following actions in respect of the committee’s work.

  1. The government should explicitly task the committee to investigate the reasons for the extended delays between:
  1. The discovery of the cluster in April/May and the notification of MOH in late August.
  2. 3 September when MOH’s Director of Medical Services knew of the existence of the cluster of 22 infections, and 18 September when the Minister for Health was informed of the cluster.
  1. The terms of reference of the committee do not explicitly state that the committee is required to arrive at conclusions and recommendations about the timeliness of public alerts and preventive or containment measures. Given that the public was only informed about the cluster in October when the probable existence of this cluster was discovered in April/May, we repeat our call for the committee to review:
  1. If existing protocols about timeliness of public alerts and containment measures were adhered to in this instance; if so, how can these protocols be improved upon as they have been shown to be lacking; if protocols were not adhered to, why not; and what measures are recommended to strengthen adherence towards zero fault tolerance on such matters of life and death.
  2. If protocols do not exist, to recommend protocols that should be adhered to in future in respect of the maximum time frame for ascertainment of an infection cluster, for MOH notification, public notification and commencement of containment measures.

The Workers’ Party regrets the degree of delay between the discovery of a probable cluster of infections in April/May and the initiation of public notification and screening in October. We note that the Press Secretary to the Minister for Health stated, in a letter to The Straits Times Forum published on 20 October 2015:

“Medical professionals and public officers in MOH and SGH sought to perform their duties professionally and objectively. They acted in the interest of patient safety and to minimise risks to patients. Political calculations played no role in their consideration of the proper course of action. To suggest otherwise impugns the professional integrity of these public servants, who are unable to reply to defend themselves.”

We hold that a responsible and transparent government should explain in detail how the delays in public notification and screening from April/May to October represent actions that were taken in the best interests of patient safety and risk minimisation to patients.

Calls on the government to explain the delays in detail should not be met by calls to provide evidence of any inappropriate motivation.

Now that the review committee’s remit has been broadened to cover MOH’s workflow, we also call on the government to take action in regards to the committee’s composition and procedures in the following two regards:

  1. In the case of the Committee of Inquiry into the 15 and 17 Dec 2011 MRT breakdowns and the 8 Dec 2013 Little India Riots, the deliberations of the committee were made public so as to strengthen public confidence in the security and public transport systems respectively. In this case, we recommend that the deliberations of the committee likewise be made public. The Hepatitis C outbreak is at least as grave an incident as the MRT breakdowns and Little India riot, with serious implications for the public confidence of Singaporeans and foreign stake-holders in our vital national institutions. So as to facilitate this and in line with the norms established by the COIs relating to the MRT breakdowns and the Little India riots, we recommend that the current review committee be reconstituted as a Committee of Inquiry (COI) under the Inquiries Act.
  1. We note that the review committee is composed of currently serving clinicians in public healthcare institutions. Now that the committee’s remit has been broadened to include a review of MOH’s workflow, these individuals are effectively being asked to critique the actions of senior civil servants who oversee and administer government policy that affects their work as clinicians on a day-to-day basis. This would place members of the review committee in an awkward position. We suggest the inclusion of retired clinicians and healthcare administrators in the committee and the appointment of a retired healthcare administrator or clinician as co-chair. We further suggest that one of the committee’s members be a person qualified to be a Judge of the High Court, as required by the Inquiries Act should the committee be reconstituted as a COI. This would strengthen the ability of the committee to conduct a truly rigorous and, where necessary, critical review.

In this grave matter, the review committee bears a huge responsibility. We offer these suggestions so as to strengthen the review committee’s ability to do its job well and to be seen to be doing so.


25 October 2015

++In response to media queries on the Workers’ Party’s statement today, the following can be attributed to the Press Secretary to the Minister for Health:

The Workers’ Party (WP) has called for a Committee of Inquiry (COI) into the cluster of Hepatitis C cases at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

An Independent Review Committee has been appointed to review the cause of the incident and surrounding circumstances. To facilitate its work, the Review Committee has engaged additional resource persons, including international advisers, to ensure that it has access to all the necessary expertise to do its review thoroughly.

The Committee’s findings and recommendations will be made public. A Police report has also been filed and the Police are conducting investigations.

The WP statement is careful not to make any suggestion that SGH or MOH officers acted with improper motives. Yet it has asked for a COI ahead of the Committee’s report and the conclusion of Police investigations. If the WP believes that there are questions that the Committee cannot answer, or that any officer acted with improper motives, it should state so directly. The Government will convene a COI provided the WP is prepared to lead evidence before the COI, to substantiate whatever allegations it might have.

25 OCTOBER 2015

What the SDP, activists and analysts don’t get

In Political governance on 15/10/2015 at 3:45 am

Below is an extract from a piece by the FT’s Gideon Rachman on the difference between the US and China written on the eve of Xi’s visit to the Hegemon’s capital.

4. Individual v community: American leaders stress the rights of the individual. Chinese leaders stress the interests of the community. The difference between American individualism and Chinese communitarianism filters into their attitudes to the state. In the US, the ideas that the individual needs to be protected against an over-mighty state is built into the constitution and into political rhetoric. In China, it is more normal to argue that a strong state is the best guarantee against “chaos” that has led, in the past, to civil war and bloodshed. Many Americans assume that this Chinese rhetoric simply reflects the self-interest of the Communist party. But it also has deep historical roots. Americans might trace their emphasis on individual rights to the War of Independence in the 18th century. By contrast, in stressing the need for a strong state, Chinese leaders unselfconsciously refer to the “Warring States” period, which began in 476BC.

5. Rights v hierarchy: Different attitudes to the state lead to contrasting views of what holds a society together. Americans stress individual rights and the law. But while there is now much more talk in China of the need for strengthened “rule of law”, the Communist party is also promoting the Confucian tradition, which stresses a sense of hierarchy and obligation, as crucial to the smooth functioning of society. Once again, this has implications for international relations — since it affects China’s view of the proper relationship between big countries, such as China, and their smaller neighbours.

Given that S’pore is 7o% ethnic Chinese is a de-facto one-party state, and has a conservative society*, is it not surprising that

— communitarianism and 

—  the Confucian tradition, which stresses a sense of hierarchy and obligation [the PAP listens to our grouses, does something about them, so we should reciprocate by voting for the PAP and not as the WP suggests vote against the PAP. PM said said this argument against “numan nature”: I’d say against the Confucian tradition. ], as crucial to the smooth functioning of society

means that 35%** of the voters think the PAP deserve their votes in 2015? In 2015, the percentage was 25%.

Whatever Sr Chee, his SDP, s/o JBJ, Western-educated activists and analysts should stop looking at S’pore from a Western perspective. They should “Seek truth from facts”.

WP’s success has been built on Low’s insight as a man of Tao that the vast majority of S’poreans are comfortable with the PAP. Sadly a strategy built on that insight has its limitations both for the WP’s and S’pore’s prospects.


*Btw, I’d argue that Taiwan because of its history of colonisation by the Japanese and repression by the KMT is a more radical place than S’pore. Likewise South Korea because of Japanese colonisation and the Korean war.

**I’m assuming based on PE 2011, 35% of vthe voters will  die die vote PAP and 30% will vote for any donkey, so long as it’s not a PAP donkey, even if it turns out to be Tan Kin Lian advised by Goh Meng Seng.

Haze, 9/11 & TOC

In Indonesia, Political governance on 28/09/2015 at 5:18 am

PM got really lucky on 9/11? Or did the 9th Immortal* use his newly acquired powers to fix the weather?






































Imagine if 9/11 was as hazy as last Friday (Schools had to be closed and in the morning, the Pollutants Standards Index,PSI, hit 341- the highest level this year.). PM would most probably not have got the 10 point swing that had the anti-PAP cyberwarriors like Constance Singham choking on their venom from their fangs A five point swing would have been more likely, something which I tot probable based on my analysis that East Coast and Marine Parade would not fall, but Aljunied would repent

In the run up to 9/11, if the weather had been like that in the last week TOC (WP’s Hammer Online) would be pushing the line that the haze is almost all the fault of the PAP administration: like it did on Friday

The Singapore government has a duty to address the annual issue and to stop pushing the blame to “uneducated” villagers and companies that are almost never prosecuted in any way. The residents of Singapore deserves a better answer than being urged to bear with it and told that things are beyond our control.”

I’ll go into what the Hammer Online TOC wants the govt to do one of these days. But until then bear in mind that anti-PAP cyberwarriors accused the govt of using salt to induce rain juz before F1. When the govt denied this, TOC said the govt was being less than open because the M’sians and Indons might have used salt to induce rain (Wow everything blame PAP isit?). Btw, TOC and the anti-PAP cyberwarriors didn’t use the the word “salt”. They used the term “sodium chloride”. To make the seeding sound more “sinister”?

It’s stories like this that “double confirm” the PAP administration’s assertion that TOC is indeed “political” and worthy of being hantamed, left, right and in the balls. When it was “gazetted” yrs ago, I tot the action unfair: now I’m not so sure.(Disclosure: I helped out at TOC when Ravi was chief editor,)

TOC doesn’t respect the decision of 70% of voters to support the PAP? It like, Dr Chee, wants the 30% to rule over the 70% isit?

“At home, anger at the current political situation is palpable [Huh? OK on TRE] and some have resorted to action [TRE cybernuts are shoutong obscenities and cursing their fellow S’poreans? Nothing unusual there.] . If the PAP is content to label this group of citizens as the ‘noisy minority’, … For these people, the prospect of being unable to bring about political change through the ballot box* only makes the PAP’s claim of legitimate power sound dangerously vacuous.”

(He forgot that over the years this 30% of voters have been able to get the support of swing voters in Hougang, Aljunied and Punggol East. Juz because the SDP can’t win, doesn’t mean that others can’t. Go ask the WP. Yes, it’s an uneven field, but winning is not impossible. Takes time, patience and maturity: virtues that Dr Chee may not have.

Yes the minority has rights, but so does the 70%. Democracy is not about majoritism, but neither is it about dictatorship by the minority.

Here’s an extract (emphasis mine) from a BBC article that Doc Chee and TOC should bear in mind when demanding that the views of the 30% must prevail (because the 30% agrees with their “right” views?)

Clem Attlee’s Labour government had a massive Commons majority and an undoubted mandate, but had only 16 peers in the Lords. Theoretically, their Lordships could have frustrated Attlee at every turn, throwing out or wrecking every bill in their programme, but that would have risked retaliation in the form of outright abolition – so, instead, a deal was struck.

Peers would not oppose measures promised – “foreshadowed” – in the government’s manifesto, and therefore assumed to have the endorsement of the electorate, at second or third Reading. In other words, the government would get the legislation it had promised to voters, and therefore would not have to get bogged down in an Asquith-style struggle with the Lords – Addison was a veteran of the Asquithian Liberal Party, and would doubtless have preferred not to repeat its epic battles with peers.

Cranborne spelled the new doctrine out in the debate on the King’s Speech in July 1945:

“Whatever our personal views, we should frankly recognise that these proposals were put before the country at the recent general election and the people of this country, with full knowledge of these proposals, returned the Labour Party to power. The government may, therefore, I think, fairly claim that they have a mandate to introduce these proposals. I believe it would be constitutionally wrong, when the country has so recently expressed its view, for this House to oppose proposals which have been definitely put before the electorate.”

He reserved “full liberty of action” on legislation not included in an election manifesto.


*Funny that no-one has accused LKY of using his unearthly powers to transform Oppo votes into PAP votes. But Uncle Redbean comes close.

The final result was just too incredible and unbelievable. This must be the biggest mystery of this GE. It was like a strange event in the Bermuda Triangle that defied all logic and reasons. How could a SDP team that was technically superior or at worst equal to the PAP team lost so badly?

Call it a miraculous win for the PAP team. The other mystery must be the near loss of the WP team in Aljunied GRC. The voters could not switch camp just like that, and without a big crisis. The AHPETC was no crisis but a red herring. The voters of Aljunied were not so daft not to see it to affect their voting decision.

Yes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

I’m sure that he, like Goh Meng Seng, believes that UFOs are aliens visiting.





Png the troubleshooter

In Accounting, Corporate governance on 25/09/2015 at 4:43 am

But first: when I read the following extract

“This is very much (Mr Low’s) style, he wants to give residents as much face time as possible, and they are also willing to wait to speak to him,” said Ms Ivy Tan, who has been helping out at the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol division since 2012. As such, their MPS often stretch past 11pm.

Mr Chen Show Mao (Paya Lebar) and Mr Muhamad Faisal Manap (Kaki Bukit), meanwhile, set up several stations at their MPS, which are manned by party activists who help to interview residents, transcribe their cases and draft relevant letters..

I couldn’t help but wonder about PritamS style of looking after his constituents. I read the article several times and couldn’t the answer.

Ah well.

Have you noticed that in the last few months, Png Eng Huat is the man beside Auntie, when it came to AHPETC matters? Before that it was always Auntie (chairperson) and Pritam (Both Png anf Pritam are vice-chairpersons). But ever since after the AGO’s report was published, it has been Png beside Auntie. Seems he has been tasked to sort out the mess created by the lack of oversight.


What did the Auditor-General’s report say?
The report found five key lapses in the AHPETC’s accounts:
1. Lack of governance over transactions with related parties;
2. Poor monitoring of S&CC arrears;
3. Poor record and accounting system;
4. Non-compliance with rules on sinking fund;
5. Insufficient internal controls


The PAP had bayed and howled for the the WP to “come clean” (produce the documents), or if the WP was really concerned about its finances, it bring a forensic accountant to reconstruct the accounts. Pritam retorted that they needn’t answer to Parliament, but to residents.

There was  no production of the documents (AWOL? MIA?), and no forensic audit (Too expensive? Concerned about the probable findings?). Instead Png worked with the AHPETC’s auditors and another newly appointed accountant to sort out the mess. The end result was that Auntie could write in the report to the 2014/ 2015 report:

AHPETC has continued to improve its financial processes and management.

AHPETC has cleared most of the disclaimers from the previous annual audits. The remaining observations relate mainly to opening balance issues for which there are still information gaps and legacy issues. There are still areas to work on. AHPETC will continue to improve its financial management.

Still even by the WP’s admission, there’s plenty of work to be done. And the use of the word “mainly” gives the lie to the claim that it’s all the fault of the PAP and PA. Makes one wonder if the WP is afraid of what a forensic audit will uncover?

Never mind the PAP may still force one.

Oppo areas are NOT slums

In Property on 24/09/2015 at 4:35 am

Private property and HDB prices are NOT better in PAP areas.

Research by property website shows, it doesn’t matter whether a property (HDB or private) is located in a constituency held by the PAP or the WP or the Chiams’ Party.

Today reported:

Amid perceptions that Opposition-held constituencies are not upgraded as much as ruling party wards and get fewer amenities, and thus may be seen as being less attractive as a residential area, studied housing price data from the past 10 years and laid to rest concerns among some residents of their homes being undervalued.

The first two graphs show how private housing prices in the four constituencies — Aljunied, Ang Mo Kio, Potong Pasir and West Coast — have changed from July 2006 to July this year.

Both Aljunied and Potong Pasir outperformed the Singapore average in terms of the property price appreciation, noted. In fact, both constituencies are among the best performing areas in Singapore, with its properties more than doubling in price on average over the last 10 years — a growth rate of over 100 per cent.

What about PAP territory?

Choosing Ang Mo Kio and West Coast … , noted that home prices in the former have performed just as well as those in Aljunied, but those in the latter lagged quite a bit behind the national average, growing only about 50 per cent in the last 10 years.

Importantly, the price movements and trend lines in the constituencies have remained in sync with the national average and other wards despite control of Aljunied and Potong Pasir changing hands in 2011.

“The rise or fall of property prices is not dependent on whether the property is in a PAP or an Opposition ward. Rather, the property prices are a factor of the location, and the corresponding supply and demand characteristics at the given point in time,” said Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer of real estate agency ERA.

What about HDB flats? reported that over the last 10 years, HDB resale prices in almost all wards have appreciated 80 to 100 per cent. With the exception of the spike in Tanjong Pagar due to Pinnacle@Duxtonhaving matured for resale in 2014, the graph lines for all of the wards have been pretty much the same.

HDB resale prices show that whether an estate is in a PAP or Opposition ward doesn’t matter. Prices move in line throughout S’pore, unlike private housing, where the price appreciation has varied widely from 50 to 150%. explains: “The data from clearly indicates that there is no difference in the valuations of residences between neighbourhoods. This likely indicates that common areas such as pavements, drainages and landscaping are being managed to similar standards. Otherwise, over two to three years, the differences will show and valuations in badly managed districts would drop,” said Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of property agency Century 21 Singapore.



Denial continues/ Swing voters not stupid, WP

In Economy, Political governance on 22/09/2015 at 5:14 am

Retired (axed?) FT MP, Irene Ho wrote on her Facebook

The “hot” topics at the election rallies that some opposition parties said they would champion are issues that many of us, including the PAP MPs, have raised before – the widening income gap, social mobility, help for single mothers, job opportunities for Singaporeans especially the middle-aged and above, helping the vulnerable groups, the cost of living, and improving public transport. Indeed, I have spoken on all these and more, and so have other PAP MPs. Here is a selection. The question is not how fiery the debate is in Parliament, but how effective is the MP in pushing for change.

Over the last 15 years as a backbencher, I do see change within the PAP – and it is not because of the opposition. It is because of your support for PAP MPs who speak up for you. I myself have benefitted from the support that you have given me, as it gave me the courage and confidence to fight for what is important to you and to the country. Please support the PAP so that it can be in a position of strength to serve you better. ‪#‎GE2015‬‪#‎PAP4SG‬

If she and other PAP MPs are so good at bending the administration’s ear, why did PAP administration after 2011 GE and PE

— stop being in denial that the public tpt system sucked;

— start that building more HDB flats raided the reserves;

— introduced the Pioneer Package etc;

— in the process spend more of our money on ourselves; and

— curb FT inflows.

If the PAP MPs were really being listened to, the first four measures would have been introduced in the early noughties, and the last after the 2006 GE.

The PAP listens to the swing voters not to its MPs.

But let’s be fair, the Oppo groupies are in denial too

Someone posted this on Facebook

How PAP won PE back in GE2015…/the-punggol-east-fix-how-…

Why I am not even surprised? PAP is master at this fixing game by shifting the goal post whenever they stand to lose the election which they want to win badly.

However, PAP Mandarins do not understand this simple logic – by winning PE at all costs, they stand to get exposed even more in AHPETC-gate and AIM-gate.

Wait and watch – PAP will find more cow dung on their white attires in time to come. It is not a question of if but when.

I had told MP Tin Pei Ling on the counting day at Kong Hwa school that PAP’s #1 enemy is not WP but some hot headed brain swollen PAP Mandarins who do not understand this simple fact:

Karma is bitch – whether one is Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Jew, Sikh, Jain, Atheist or Agnostic.

By the way, on the counting day, the only PAP MP I found very relaxed and self assured was Tin Pei Ling. She has long future in politics for sure because she is able to win without “help” (???) of out of date and out of tune GCT.

On 9 Sep, I had Polling agent duty (as WP volunteer) for 6 hours (2 to 8 PM). Later I followed the sealed ballot boxes (together with another WP volunteer) on the bus to Kong Hwa school counting center. I was at Kong Hwa counting center until midnight while counting was still on but the sample counting results were already announced by 9:30PM.

Around midnight, I left Kong Hwa counting center to go home – tired, exhausted and also disappointed with the results. A senior PAP Activist (PA) also left Kong Hwa school at the same time feeling satisfied with the results and sweeping victory for PAP.

I congratulated PA and we had nice chat on the way out. PA offered me ride in his car until Haig Road. I had left my car at HDB car park next to Haig Road Community Center. On the way home, I was surprised to hear that gentleman (PA) wondering whether the voting results will send wrong signals to PAP Mandarins and whether PAP will interpret the results as license to increase GST to 10%.

I was baffled. I asked PA why he thinks GST may have to go up to 10% when the Government has such huge reserves and all social spending is being spent from returns of Temasek / GIC etc. He just smiled at me.

I think that poor PA gentleman doesn’t understand the bigger problems PAP has on hand now.

Not only PAP’s bluff will be called out in AHPETC-gate / AIM-gate but now they have to deal with significant number of foreign born citizens who will also be interested in joining politics to run for political office and they will vote only for those party that protects its interests.

I am tempted to yet again share a Gujarati (my native Indian language) idiom which reads as “જે ખાડો ખોદે તે પડે” <– unreadable on Android (transliteration “je khaDo khode te paDe”) which means – the one who digs hole for others, will find himself falling in the same hole…

And that is THE problem for PAP…

My FB avarar posted: Someone still in denial. PE victory means that a forensic audit of AHPETC accounts will have to be done to determine PE’s fair share of assets and liabilities

Let’s give three cheers for the swing voters. They balance things they admire* about the PAP against things they deplore** and voted accordingly. The PAP listens to the swing voter, not its MPs or to Oppo MPs and parties. The swing voters are not stupid and didn’t buy into WP’s self-serving message of voting in more WP MPs. They saw that Show Mao*** was taking the money and keeping quiet.

Related post:

(When this was republished by TRE it attracted a lot of abuse.)

*Like its new-found willingness to spend S’poreans’ money on S’poreans. And it’s decent economic record.

**They don’t give a hoot that Amos kanna takan so hard that he had to beg foe mercy****; or that ang moh tua kees like Cherian George and Kirsten Han shout “repression” juz because some fourth rate trashy sites are forced to close. They notice that TRE is unmolested.

***I know he’s a good social welfare officer in his ward (like Kate Spade’s in hers) and I hear he’s being groomed to succeed Low. But that doesn’t make it any easier to accept that he’s doing bugger in making the case for WP, and in helping managing the town council.

****I’m sure many were cheering on the AG: quietly of course.

WP’s Punngol East problem/ PAP’s excuse king

In Accounting, Corporate governance on 21/09/2015 at 5:08 am

Forensic audit of AHPETC accounts

As someone who wants S’pore to move from a de facto one-party state to something more pluralistic, I was glad that Aljunied remained WP territory. But I was sad that the WP had escaped a forensic audit of the AHPETC accounts. This would have happened if PAP had won.

But I forgot the Punggol East victory.

Independent auditors may be called in to verify the accounts of Punggol East Single Member Constituency (SMC) only if facts and figures are in dispute, said its newly-elected Member of Parliament (MP) Charles Chong.

How not to dispute? For one, Auntie and Low want a fight over Charlie Chong’s alleged statement of a $1m surplus. A lot of he said, she said, TOC said: so I’ll let it be.

More importantly, while the latest set of accounts are pretty decent, as Auntie has said

AHPETC has continued to improve its financial processes and management.

AHPETC has cleared most of the disclaimers from the previous annual audits. The remaining observations relate mainly to opening balance issues for which there are still information gaps and legacy issues. There are still areas to work on. AHPETC will continue to improve its financial management.,

there will be a need for the SMC to ensure that it is getting its fair share of the APPETC’s assets (and liabilities). Given that all the accounts of the AHPETC are qualified, it is reasonable and legitimate to ask for a forensic audit of the AHPETC accounts in order to calculate the SMC’s fair share of the assets and liabilities.

Three cheers for the swing voters in PE.

Illustration of Singapore 2015 general elections by A Good Citizen

Of course, Auntie and Low could agree to be so generous to the residents of PE (thereby short-changing Aljunied and Hougang) that Charlie would keep quiet.

Zorro Lim: excuse king?

When I read this some time back, I couldn’t help laughing at Zorro’s excuse and wondering why Auntie etc hadn’t used such a similar excuse: “We screwed up, but had good intentions.”

Arrogant meh?

Grassroots leaders involved in financial irregularities were only trying to help, said the deputy chairman of the People’s Association (PA), Lim Swee Say, in Parliament on Monday.

“We can fault (grassroots volunteers) for their non-compliance of financial procedures, but please do not doubt them in their passion and commitment in always doing their best for the community,” Mr Lim said*.


The problem is that while Zorro can get away with “I can say with confidence there is no irregularity at the system level”, the WP can’t, given the Auditor-General’s report and its own auditor’s qualifications.


*More: He said the root cause of these lapses were the “good intentions” of the grassroots leaders.

He went on to tell grandfather stories, by raising various examples of how grassroots leaders were “actually doing their best to serve the interests of the residents and meet the urgent needs of the community.”

… related how grassroots leaders had gone “all around Singapore” to look for face masks when the haze hit the island in 2013.

This was after a community hospital had appealed to the GROs for air purifiers for patients who were being housed in the hospital’s non-airconditioned wards.

When they found a “small store which had limited stock”, the grassroots leaders decided to purchase the masks without first calling for three tenders, which is what is required by the rules.

“… is this a case of non-compliance of financial procedures and rules? The answer is yes,” Mr Lim said. “Is this a case of grassroots leaders and volunteers compromising the interests of the community? The answer is certainly no.”

Backgrounder: PA, where the AGO had conducted test-checks on about 115 grassroots organisations (GROs) under the PA umbrella.Out of the GROs test-checked by the AGO, 30 per cent were found to have financial or accounting irregularities.

WP faces early test: tiger or mouse?

In Political governance on 18/09/2015 at 4:16 am

WP may soon have the chance to walk the talk of being a check on the PAP administration. But will it take it? Or prove that it’s the Worthless Party?

Let me explain.

Ms Lee Li Lian, Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong and Mr Leon Perera from the Workers’ Party have been elected as Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMP), the Elections Department (ELD) announced on Wednesday (Sep 16). (CNA).

We know Ms Lee will not take her seat. She has said that she won’t because she as an incumbent was rejected by the voters. (Btw,makes Lina Chiam look opportunistic, in accepting the post after GE 2011, given that her husband, the MP before the election, wanted her as his successor?)

The WP said that should Parliament resolve to fill the vacated NCMP seat left by Ms Lee’s decision not to accept the NMP Post, that Associate Professor Daniel Goh would fill that seat.

The ELD  said: “The Attorney General is of the view that if any NCMP declared to be elected under Section 52 of the Parliamentary Elections Act fails to take and subscribe before Parliament the Oath of Allegiance under Article 61 of the Constitution at the first or second sitting of Parliament during its first session after the General Election, then Parliament may at its discretion declare that seat vacant. Parliament is not thereafter obliged to declare that seat be filled by the next succeeding candidate.”

The AG’s view is supported by Dr. Jack Lee who argues that if an opposition candidate declines to take up an NCMP seat, the parly may not be obliged to offer that seat to the next eligible opposition candidate.

This has thrown up a very interesting debate as to the legal obligations of Parliament to fill the NCMP seats. Besides Dr Jack Lee, Professor Thio Li-ann has also been reported as taking the position that there is no legal obligation on Parliament to offer the seat to the next eligible candidate. In contrast, Professor Kevin Tan argues that article 39 of the Constitution, read with section 52 of the Parliamentary Elections Act obliges Parliament to offer the seat. He is quoted as saying that “The seat cannot be left vacant. A combined reading of both provisions makes it clear that Parliament must have nine members who do not form the government.”

If parly refuses to fill the seat, surely the Wayang Party should ask the court to decide if the AG’s interpretation of the law is the correct one. True the WP left it to  a part-time cleaner to ask the court to decide on whether the PM had the unfettered discretion in calling a by-election when it (the WP) would have been the beneficiary of such an action (Think Yaw’s vacating his MP’s post). M Ravi the lawyer who argued that the PM didn’t have unfettered discretion, said that the WP’s MP lawyers were “cow dung” for not supporting him.

Maybe that was WP Low practising non-action?

But since then, the WP has been going to court to row with the government on the need to get a licence from NEA to hold a trade fair, and with the MDA on whether an independent accountant should be appointed to supervise the disbursement of monies to the AHPETC.

And should the WP go to court, it has a good lawyer. Peter Low, WP’s go-to lawyer, is a highly respected lawyer in legal circles (unlike M Ravi: Ravi’s understanding of the law is problematic to many lawters, though not his bravery). Peter Low like Ravi works almost for free.

MUST READ: JG explains the results

In Political governance on 12/09/2015 at 12:41 pm

A v.v. good explanation esp how the LKY effect works. Where I disagree with JG is that she leaves out the changes in PAP policy: These to me played a big part. Since PAP has become PAP Lite, the WP can no longer pose as PAP Lite: It will show that its strategy of being PAP Lite doesn’t work anymore.

Because PAP has become the real PAP Lite by moving left a little? What with all the spending of our money on ourselves, making life more comfortable

Dear TRE readers and CI (this letter sent to both sites),

During the GE hustings, I previously posted 2 articles ( and warning that PAP will do very well this election. These 2 letters attracted almost 200 comments in TRE with many deriding its prediction and even slamming me for being a PAP IB.

Unfortunately, many of my predictions materialized :
a) GE2015 is a pro-PAP wave,
b) GE 2015 is to PM LHL what GE 2001 was to GCT (as I correctly compared both), both of which was an unexpected +10% swing and major PAP landslide,
c) WP lost Punggol East SMC and was not even close to capturing East Coast GRC.

The knee-jerk reaction from the online community is to blame this on the increase in foreigners. Yes, maybe a 2-3% swing can be accounted for by this one factor, but a 10% swing cannot. With the benefit of hindsight and having observed all the hustings during the campaign period, these are my explanation for what accounted for the PAP landslide. I also have encouraging words to us opposition supporters at the end of this piece.

When a +10% swing happens, or when a huge wave happens, there can usually be only 1 major strategic explanation. In this case, to me, its undoubtedly LKY factor. But not in the way that you may think. The average voter didn’t go to the polls still mourning for LKY and feeling sympathetic enough to cast his/her vote for PAP. No, Singaporeans are much more sophisticated than that.

Instead, LKY’s death and week of mourning totally transformed today’s electorate : The Silent Majority Woke Up. Half a million people bonded in silence as they queued for hours at the Padang. Feeling united as Singaporeans. Millions more were similarly touched during the funeral procession and in that week of mourning. These observations are nothing new and naturally, emotions have also cooled with time.

But what has lasted is that the death of LKY had re-focussed Singaporeans, in a way no other event can, on what a rare gem they have in the Singapore they live in. A united people. A stable economy. A peaceful country. Strong leaders even though they did make mistakes prior to GE2011. These sentiments were reinforced by external events – 1MDB saga in Malaysia (making S’poreans appreciative of their clean govt), the plunge of the Ringgit to S$1=Rgt$3 (making S’poreans appreciative of their strong economy). During my conversations on the elections during the GE, not a few people mentioned about the Ringgit plunge and how “heng” they feel. Even the big haze on Cooling Off day did not elicit the usual complaints from S’poreans – if anything, it reinforced the Govt’s message that Sgp is a little red dot, vulnerable, and therefore needs a uniquely strong govt to paddle the ship. And this appreciative spirit (ie. looking back at the past with gratefulness), which was initially triggered by LKY’s death, had persisted and permeated the Sgp psyche going into GE2015.
As I wrote in my earlier pieces, as long as the electorate look back, PAP will win; if they look forward, the Opposition has a better chance.

To me, there were also indications that the Silent Majority is not only awakened to be grateful quietly, but has become more vocal in their rebuttal to the Vocal Minority. I follow a couple of other non-political blogs and I noticed this awakening. For eg, this stay-at-home-mum blogged about how she’s not only grateful during this National Day but resolved to teach her children about how far Singapore had come ( Even middle-of-the-road Instagram personalities like limjenjen (genre = food & cooking) and jwphay (genre = metrosexual male) were unabashedly demonstrating their support for today’s govt. These are people leading ordinary lives, not following all the ins and outs of politics. And the commonality is that all of them only started becoming more vocal of their support after LKY’s death.

That to me, is the single biggest factor.

Yes, there are other factors at play too but none of them qualify as a good-enough rationale to trigger a +10% swing in PAP’s support :
a) AHPETC : On balance, I think this is neutral. Some are put off by PAP’s constant barrage on this issue while some are put off that WP can’t seem to keep its house in order.
b) WP was a tad over-confident towards the last few days of the GE campaign. They started talking about what they will or will not do, if they form an alternative govt, never mind that they did qualify that this is not for the forseeable future and that they’re only contesting 28 seats. The average voter is no mood to contemplate an alternative govt.
c) NSP, RP, SDA, PP etc parties and campaign remain a joke.
d) SPP : The message from voters is that you can only play the CST sympathy card once (GE2011) and after that, it backfires.
e) SDP : Yes, the re-surgence of CSJ has excited some people but just those on the far left. You can’t win an election with just 30% of votes. SDP has yet to find a way to appeal to the centre in GE2011 and similarly in GE2015.

Finally, I want to end with some encouraging words to the opposition camp, particularly to WP :

1) I once again commend LTK for helping sense the change in wind conditions correctly and put his A-team to defend Aljunied GRC. Many were surprised when he announced very early that the Aljunied team is staying in tact. Many asked why he’s not deploying heavyweights into other GRCs. I argued then, that this is because LTK had lived through many elections, including GE2001 and knows only too well how if you read the wind conditions wrongly, you can get wiped out, as SDP’s 4-seats did during the pro-PAP GE2001 wave.

2) PE SMC won by Li Lian during the BE was a special case and not indicative of any change in trend, as LTK himself pointed out after the BE. PAP fielded a weak candidate in KPK and had been neglecting the SMC during Palmer’s time. Once PAP fielded a stronger candidate in Charles Chong, together with that wave, inevitably Li Lian lost her seat. So neither was the BE win nor this GE2015 loss any special indication of trend.

3) On balance, I think WP got the best result they possibly could, given this wave election. Think about it : Now WP got 1+5=6 MPs. And since Li Lian had indicated she’s not interested in the NCMP post, this means that Dennis Tan and 2 of the 4 (ie. Gerald Giam and either A/P Daniel Goh or Leon Pereira) East Coast GRC blue team now get to enter into Parliament. The latter 3 now have 4-5 years to make their mark on the national stage and arguably, strengthen WP’s ability to debate robustly in Parliament.

4) Finally, the most important message is this : Waves come and waves go. Nothing is permanent. Just as GE2001 was a singularly high point for PAP, GE2011 just 10 years later became a singularly low point. Indira Gandhi’s death in 1984 swept the Congress party to a 76% seat super-majority in Parliament; by 2014 Congress was swept out of power.

In the long term, WP’s message is correct : Today’s PAP is no longer the same as the old PAP and for long term stability, strong checks and balance is required. But political change takes time and first and foremost, the alternative has got to prove himself/herself. For India, it took 30 years from Congress’ high point to losing control. For Singapore, it will easily take a generation. None of these can be rushed.

In that sense, I applaud the sophistication of today’s Singapore electorate. They got 9 WP members into Parliament, including 3 of the most promising young turks. At the same time, it sends a clear message to the other opposition parties to present credible candidates or risk getting totally marginalized. Forget about “chopping as many seats as possible” in the next GE (what? you think its like choping hawker centre seats with tissue paper?). Its better to contest less seats but put all your firepower in walking the ground, again and again. And it allows the PAP the chance to prove that indeed it has truly changed and will not become more arrogant. Remember : the electorate can exalt you (as it did in GE2001) and it can also punish you (as it did in GE2011). Everyone, please buck up and work hard for the sake of Singapore. Isn’t that a good result ?


WP’s “landmark election”

In Uncategorized on 11/09/2015 at 4:34 pm

This election will be landmark election,” says Workers’ Party secretary general, Low Thia Khiang, in the party’s video featuring its candidates for the upcoming elections.

“It marks a new phase for Singapore after 50 years of independence, and your vote will set the direction for the future of Singapore.”

He is right. This will be a landmark election for S’pore, and for the WP whether

— it wins East Coast or Marine Parade or both (all three possibilities unlikely in my opinion); and retains Aljunied*;

— doesn’t win another GRC but retains Aljunied*; or

— lose Aljunied (possible see earlier link) and ends up with only Hougang*,

because advance, draw or defeat has serious consequences for the WP and S’poreans who want plurality in politics i.e. an end to a de facto one party state.

If it wins another GRC or more, we’d have more oppo MPs in parly showing that more S’poreans have bot into the argument that the WP needs more MPs in parly before it can be a slapping co-driver. But will the swing voters be happy if the WP keeps its present stance of “being a constructive opposition” (Its definition. My take. Another take of mine. And remember even if it wins both East Coast and Marine Parade, it will still have less than the 20 it says it needs to be effective, so it may continue avoiding confronting the PAP. It may juz take the money and carry on keeping quiet.)? Or will they expect more than what WP delivered in the last parly?

If WP turns out to be the Worthless Party, the SDP may decide to challenge the WP in its territory. Remember that the WP wins seats because it can take for granted the hard core anti-PAP vote (anything up to 30% of the voters); thereby allowing itself to appeal to the swing voters as PAP Lite.

If it retains Aljunied, it will have shown that it can fight its corner, but the message from the rest of the seats contested will be that swing voters don’t buy its message that it needs more MPs before it can open its mouth. They also don’t buy into its PAP Lite message.

If the PAP regains Aljunied, WP better do some serious rethinking. It will show that its strategy of being PAP Lite doesn’t work anymore.

Because PAP has become the real PAP Lite by moving left a little? What with all the spending of our money on ourselves, making life more comfortable.

And it could be because swing voters that want plurality prefer a stronger brew?

Btw, the experts are more optimistic than I am about the WP’s prospects.

“It is my expectation that WP will pick up support and has a well-crafted campaign focusing on gradual gains and appealing to concerns of ordinary citizens,” said Bridget Welsh from the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies at National Taiwan University. Yahoo

“It is not only curiosity. One could interpret the large turnouts — by some accounts larger than 2011 — as pointing to WP’s message gaining traction,” said political analyst Eugene Tan, an associate law professor at the Singapore Management University.

“Voters are reciprocating by turning up in full force,” he told AFP.

Watch and wait,


*Hougang is safe. Punggol East, Feng Shan and Sengkang West are the icing on the cake if Aljunied holds firm, or another GRC or more is won but totally irrelevant if Aljunied repents.


Uncharacteristic of Low/ Low rattled?

In Accounting, Malaysia on 06/09/2015 at 5:26 am

To be fair, Low said

“In Singapore, if we had committed any criminal offence, we would already been thrown in jail!

“If there were any corruption, would they still leave you alone?”

Seriously, I always tot that a lot of the ministers’ attacks on AHPTEC’s accounts and affairs were over the top and were actually damaging the PAP rather than WP: own goals.

But perhaps the PAP were trying to goad the WP into remarks like what Low did above. I personally find Low’s comments offensive because I know that if proper records were not kept*, it’s impossible to find out if crimes were committed. Low’s “But the most important is after the inspection of the accounts, they found no criminal offence,” is absurd. There may be none. But the only way to find out is to reconstruct the accounts using forensic analysis.

Here two comments by the Pet Minister are relevant: “Another observation the High Court made was that if this kind of conduct had taken place in a public company, it probably would attract criminal sanctions,” the Pet Minister said.

And, “The High Court said Ms Lim misled Parliament, was dishonest. She has not responded to that.”

Only a PAP victory in Aljunied will reveal if the WP leaders can be charged in court.

Low used to be known to use silence or non-action as a weapon effectively. Not anymore?

Take his comments on GST

I’m suggesting that we have enough representation in Parliament,” Mr Low said. “So that after the elections, they have to think twice if they want to do anything, including the GST hike.”

“From past experience, it shows that the PAP is always capable of doing something, revising policies which will affect the lives of people after the general election,” Mr Low said on Saturday.

 He forgot this?

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) says there is “no basis” to claims made by some online websites that the Government will raise the Goods and Services Tax (GST) after the upcoming General Election (GE).

In a post on the website on Thursday (Aug 6), the MOF said that online chatter, which claimed that GST would be increased to 10 per cent, were “inconsistent with what the Government has recently stated”.

“In the 2015 Budget Statement in February, DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam stated that the revenue measures the Government had already undertaken will provide sufficiently for the increased spending planned for the rest of this decade,” the MOF noted.

Among the measures is the inclusion of Temasek Holdings in the Government’s Net Investment Returns (NIR) framework from 2016, and the increase in the top marginal rates for personal income tax from Year of Assessment 2017. The statement added: “These measures came after moves in recent years to make Singapore’s property tax rates more progressive, with significantly increased tax rates for high value residential properties, offsetting reduced tax rates for lower value homes.”

Related posts:



*When the AGO auditors went in to do a special audit of the TC , they were horrified to find that the TC’s archival and record system consisted of a room full of piled up boxes overflowing with documents.  No proper record keeping and many missing records, some conveniently so for FMSS as related third party transactions were found to be an issue by the AGO and even later by the TC’s own auditors. What was Sylvia and her MPs doing during all this time?  To be blunt, they had been sleeping on the job, underestimated the challenge of running a GRC TC and trusted the wrong people to do it but who screwed them. The only problem is because the monies are all residents’ monies, the ones who got royally screwed are the residents of AHPETC and many of them till today don’t even know it.

Warning, blogger is pro-PAP.




Profiteering? Dodgy accounts? Forensic audit needed

In Accounting, Uncategorized on 30/08/2015 at 5:38 am

So there’s another round of “he said, she said” about AHPETC’s managing agent. T’ll not comment but remind readers yet again of the underlying very technical and very dry issue. As it’s the weekend, you might want to skip the bolded bit and read to the end. There’s a bit of “She said, he said” asfer this pix.

Recently, representatives from nine opposition parties and the ruling PAP were represented at a three-hour forum organised by the National University of Singapore Society.

“I think in the case of AHPETC, I think what we’ve been hearing are fairly lengthy – I don’t want to say excuses, that doesn’t sound very nice – explanations which I also don’t fully understand. If you were to ask about money then I would say in the case of the AGO audit, all the monies we’ve been talking about has been accounted for, and no money is lost. But in the case of AHPETC, I’m not too sure,”

“I wish that more answers had been forthcoming from AHPETC. Then I think we would have wasted much less time on the issue and I think the population would be much the wiser.”

Have to agree with her.

To be fair, I’ll report what WP’s Mr Gerald Giam said. He pointed out that AHPETC Chairman Sylvia Lim, as well as the elected MPs who are town councillors, “all spoke, all explained various aspects of the report” during a two-day debate in Parliament. He said that this was in addition to “numerous other press statements”, “open letters to residents” and door-to-door explanations.

“I think we have done a lot of explaining already. Just because the PAP does not want to accept our explanations does not mean we haven’t explained,” said Mr Giam. “We have explained every point that has been brought up which demands an explanation and we have spared no effort in that. And with the coming election, I’m sure this issue will be raised up by the PAP and we will respond if we need to.”

Note WP has avoided stating categorically that no public funds have been lost, and no damage suffered. It can’t because AGO has said the accounts are not fit for purpse.

Yet WP has yet to commission a forensic audit, reconstruction of accounts that will tell all. This despite saying that it accepts that the AGO is professional and independent. So it saying AGO is wrong that its accounts are not fit for purpose?

Sadly as DPM Teo has said, only a PAP victory in Aljunied will uncover the truth. Or to be more accurate, a reality that is closer to the absolute truth. Remember the PAP is always out to “fix” the Oppo.

Let the voters In Aljunied and the areas where the WP is challenging the PAP decide. I’ve already decided (somewhere here, near the bottom) what I’m going to do. And voters might want to be reminded that AHPETC does things directly (like Bishan/ TP GRC. It no longer has a managing agent.


JJ our very own Houyi

In Political governance on 29/08/2015 at 1:08 pm

(For those not Chinese

The real Houyi would be targeting Auntie and her Singh for saboing the chances of JJ’s team winning Marine Parade. They failed to monitor the Managing Agent. Btw, JJ has an MBA. But obviously, this MBA didn’t include accountancy.

Bit sad about the WP’s short-comings. Would have been nice to see that arrogant GCT being made to chiai sai by being defeated.

Only 2 GRCs in play/ Only one will change hands

In Political governance on 28/08/2015 at 4:46 am

The only vulnerable GRCs (based on the 2006 GE election Aljunied margin of 12 points difference) are East Coast and Aljunied. In each, the winner won by only 10 points.

As Marine Parade is only two points more than Aljunied’s 12 points in 2006, I’ll include it as possibly being in play.

I’ll let Avinology describe the ground before I analyse the two issues that will decide who will win in these areas.

East Coast GRC

Without a doubt, this will be the hottest contest to watch for GE2015. The strongest opposition party, with 7 MPs and 1 Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) in parliament, is set for a rematch in East Coast GRC where they narrowly lost to the People’s Action Party (PAP). It was the narrowest win for a GRC for the ruling party, with just 54.8% of valid votes. For the WP, Gerald Giam from the losing team in East Coast GRC managed to snatch a seat in parliament as a NCMP for being one of the best-performing losers.

Giam is likely to be leading the WP team for this second showdown. His potential WP team mates include National University of Singapore associate professor and sociologist Daniel Goh, 42; law firm partner Dennis Tan, 44; research and consultancy firm chief executive Leon Perera, 44; and librarian Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, 36.

On the PAP’s end, the anchor minister in East Coast GRC, Minister for Manpower, Lim Swee Say, 61, wants to stay put. It is likely his team will stay very much the same. His running mates are likely to be Lee Yi Shyan, 53, Senior Minister of State in the ministries of Trade and Industry and National Development; Dr Maliki Osman, 50, Mayor of the South East District of Singapore, and a Senior Parliamentary Secretary at the ministries of Defence and National Development; and  Jessica Tan, 49, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore.

Aljunied GRC

This is the only GRC currently helmed by an opposition party. The WP’s top guns are all in this GRC, including WP’s secretary-general, Low Thia Khiang, 58; WP’s chairman, Slyvia Lim, 50; lawyer Chen Show Mao, 54; lawyer Pritam Singh, 39 and Muhamad Faisal Manap, 40.

The PAP seems unlikely and unwilling to send any bigwigs to contest in Aljunied GRC. It seems more apparent that they will be fielding a ‘suicide squad’ of political unknowns, comprising Victor Lye, PAP’s branch chairman at Bedok Reservoir-Punggol; Chua Eng Leong, 42, PAP’s branch chairman for Eunos; Chan Hui Yeh; K Muralidharan Pillai, 44, head of commercial litigation at Rajah and Tann; and Shamsul Kamar, 43, former head of department for student management at Spectra Secondary School.

WP’s Achilles heel are the controversies over town council funds and the way the WP is running the town council. By fielding a team of grassroot leaders, the PAP may be capitalising on this issue to bring down the WP. Do not dismiss the ‘suicide squad’ just yet as they may be the underdogs necessary to win over the hearts of Aljunied voters.


Marine Parade GRC

Versus a weak opposition party, the National Solidarity Party (NSP), who had just one strong candidate in their team, fresh face, Nicole Seah, then 23, the much stronger PAP team was only able to win with a small margin of 56.65% of valid votes in 2011.

For the coming election, the PAP team will see competition from a stronger opposition party, the WP.

With Goh Chok Tong stepping down from the cabinet, the anchor minister for Marine Parade GRC is now Minister for Social and Family Development, Tan Chuan-Jin, 46.

Would Tan be able to win back vote shares? Or would WP claw away more votes?


A very important difference between Aljunied 2011 and East Coast and Marine Parade 2015, is that the WP has not been walking the ground in the two PAP areas. And that the PAP teams are not as complacent as George Yeo and his wimmin from hell were.

Auntie Sylvia started work walking the ground almost immediately after the 2006 GE. She had a core of dedicated WP members with her (Goh Meng Seng who contested in Aljunied with her, doesn’t do walking the ground, only parachuting in and walking out in a huff, and blowing smoke, was not one of the team. Not it seems that Auntie wanted him. It’s alleged that he was a male chauvinist pig. Other half beat him at home and he took it out on Auntie publicly?)

The WP made their presence felt.

One cannot say the same of the WP in East Coast and Marine Parade since GE 2011.

Senior Minister of State and PAP MP for East Coast GRC Lee Yi Shyan appears confident that his team will triumph come the General Election.

He quipped that with so much work done in East Coast by the PAP team, any opposition party that comes around once in five years might need to be ushered around the constituency.

Someone was joking to me that because we have undergone so many changes in Bedok Town Centre, some who come here once every five years might get lost, so we might need to provide free tour guide services to show them around. CNA

Actually the tour guides will come in useful for the WP for another reason. Only Gerald Giam is left of the v2011 team that contested East Coast. The new team will be newbies who have only recently starting walking the ground.

Zorro Lim talked recently of personalised outreach in East Coast.

“Since 2011, throughout East Coast, we’ve organised many small groups of engagement with our residents, block by block, group by group. We always go for mass outreach through deep engagement,” he said.

“We do it block by block, so block by block, so one week, one resident from this block, next week resident from the other block – very deep engagement. I am able to talk to the residents, I am able to look at each and every one of their faces, I can address each and every one of their concerns, and they can see me personally.”


Something similar has been done in the HDB blocks in Marine Parade GRC.

As for Marine Parade, JJ has walked Joo Chiat but the rest of Marine Parade had not seen the WP, until now. let alone the NSP. Both parties were AWOL.

(No her, in Marine Parade)

Meanwhile Victor Lye and team have covered the ground thoroughly in Aljunied. If George Yeo and his women from hell had bothered to do half the walking Lye and friends have been doing, Aljunied would have been safe.

Other than who has been more diligent in walking the ground, the other issue that will prevent East Coast and Marine Parade from becoming WP is one I’m sick about writing.

During a recent debate between the PAP and the Oppo parties Mr Giam of the WP said the WP has addressed the points raised by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) on the town council. “But we didn’t see a need to constantly respond to every single time the Government kept repeating the same issues again and again,” he said. “Just because the PAP does not want to accept our explanations does not mean that we haven’t explained.”


Sorry, as readers know, I don’t buy this.

I now live in Marine Parade GRC (Joo Chiat kanna rezoned). I’ve voted for the WP since I was able to vote (bicycle thieves, an ex-Woodbridge patient) because I believe that a one-party state is bad for S’pore; but do I want to live in a GRC managed by the WP, a party that couldn’t keep proper records, and is in denial over this fact? And which throws smoke on the issue. It can’t bluff me because I was a Hon Treasurer of a club JJ assure Marine Parade voters.

And I’m not alone: the neighbours (they are accountants, lawyers etc), and the really real Marine Parade residents I talk to, are wondering if the bad record keeping will continue. We know WP can keep the area clean and tidy, but can it keep proper financial records?

If JJ wants our vote, pls tell us how we can be certain that proper accounting records will be kept? And give us his personal assurance that no major irregularity will surface when there is a forensic audit of AHPETC’s accounts from 2012 to 2015. Btw, JJ has a Masters in Finance but I assume it didn’t cover basic accounting principles.

If no assurances are forthcoming, the PAP may not get our votes (certainly not mine), But the WP certainly won’t.

I’m sure there are enough voters in East Coast who will will agree with us, and by denying the WP our votes, keep these areas free of irregular town council accounting.

And I wouldn’t be surprised that there are enough voters in Aljunied who think like us and don’t support the WP this time round.

As I said: Two GRCs in play, only one will change hands.

AIM’s sotong trap

In Accounting, Political governance on 27/08/2015 at 4:36 am

 This piece is my reaction to

— what TOC reported MP Ravi as saying on the running of a town council if he wind Hong Kah’; and

— a letter to TRE from a reader.

Mr Philemon said that residents can be assured that he would be able to run a town council if he were to be elected as he is supported by the party machinery of SPP, which had run Potong Pasir for twenty over years.

“We have twenty over years of experience with Mr Chiam leading the town council in Potong Pasir. And when he left, he left with a surplus. And there were lifts upgraded, I think about 29 lifts that were upgraded, without residents co-paying for it. So that is the kind of assurance the residents can have, when they elect someone from SPP.

Not so easy Ravi. I hope that the appropriate people in SPP read an article in TRE on how AIM fixed the WP in Aljunied. To double confirm, I append the piece in full below and I sent this post to Ravi.

Last December, I asked if AHPETC had a 21st century IT systema world-class town council town council management software package?

It turned out that according to the Auditor-General, AHPETC didn’t even an accounting system that was fit for purpose.

Here’s a piece from TRE that has a plausible explanation for part of the WP’s accouting woes: that the WP was fixed. The writer makes certain assumptions like AIM uses Oracle or that the WP used Excel to store files, but ignore these very technical issues.

At heart waz he saying is that the WP or (rather I suspect) its Managing Agent walked into a trap laid by the PAP: “When the export [of data from the AIM system] is done, you will need to import the data to the new system. And you can only do it after the new system is developed. Most likely the new system will be a subset of the old system.

Therefore with the removal of the system from AHPETC, all this information is gone. They will need to manually extract the information from the exported files. Definitely no easy task.”

This explains why the AHPETC had problems submitting data to MDA, And why Auntie and Pritam took so long to verify the arrears issue.

Now this begs the question: Why did the WP not foresee the problem? Or did it think, minor IT issue? (No, I don’t ask why did AIM fix the voters’ choice, it’s in the DNA of the the PAP: fixing the Oppo and all voters.)

And is it now too pi seh to admit it got screwed?

But it still doesn’t explain why its Managing Agent didn’t keep proper records of the transactions that the Managing Agent undertook when it started operations or why the WP didn’t monitor its Managing Agent. Remember it had three hot shot lawyers, and JJ (Masters in finance). OK it didn’t have a trained accountant at a senior level.


What you should know about the AHPETC-AIM saga

 With the elections coming, I decided to pen this article about the whole AHPETC saga. So far the articles that have been written have always been about the accounting lapses and what not. But none of them were written from an IT perspective. (Maybe no more SG IT professionals since all of them are replaced by FT, including me)

This is what we know so far.

The town council system that was used previously by the old Aljunied is a S$24 million software solution and it was sold to AIM for S$140,000.

I wasn’t involved in the project nor am I a member of WP. But anybody who has done Application Development projects with the government will know this is a huge project and it will probably involve hundreds of developers and testers, a couple of Project Managers and more Business Analysts. The size of the project tells me that they are using Oracle database (its license can easily reach $1million at least). The type of servers it is running on should be very high end, always turn on and has to be constantly kept cool (Air con is always on. Redundant air cons must be on standby in case the main one failed). This should be at least a 16 months project. I will not be surprised if it is 24 months.

However this is not the main issue. The main issue is the information from the database. And there are lots of it.

For example, these are the scenarios that I can think of.

Who has paid S&CC fees for last month? Who hasn’t? If you haven’t paid, is this your first time? Any reminders send? If so when? If this isn’t the first time, then how many times haven’t paid? If this isn’t the first time, then what are the months that have missed payments?

What type of flat? Based on flat type, penalty fees can be calculated.

Whether you are a PR or a citizen? Because the rates may be calculated differently.

If you have moved to a new flat within the GRC and you have missed the payments, what is the new address? How to ensure that the bill will be send to the new address and not the old?

These are just the tip of the iceberg. For a S$24 million project, there will be hundreds of scenarios more.

So if AHPETC was given 1 month to migrate the data, it will be an impossible task. Because to migrate, you need a new system for the migration to work. You need to migrate from the old to new system.

If there is no new system, then you have to export the data out. Given the time constraint, most likely to Excel files. And it will not be to 1 file. There will be hundreds/thousand of Excel file because of the way relational databases are designed. With Excel, it is very difficult to sort, filter and analyse the huge amount of data.

However that is only half the story.

When the export is done, you will need to import the data to the new system. And you can only do it after the new system is developed. Most likely the new system will be a subset of the old system.

Therefore with the removal of the system from AHPETC, all this information is gone. They will need to manually extract the information from the exported files. Definitely no easy task.

In short, I hope everyone will know the significance of what AIM has done.

Yours Sincerely,


GE 2015, repeat of GE 2001?

In Political governance on 23/08/2015 at 4:45 am

Below is a piece that appeared in TRE’s letters section. I commend it for yr reading. V.V. good good analysis. Most of which I agree. Actually a better comparison would be with the GE in 1997, when the SDP dropped from 2 seats to zero. Oppo had two seats from 4. And the PAP had a 5 points increase in its share of the popular vote.

Is that you JG that commented on my pieces? If so can you give yr views on Hri Kumar’s latest views on the WP’s stonewalling on the AHPETC accounting issues see below). Basically I agree with Hri Kumar’s comments. For the sake of completness I also include Andrew Loh’s comments on Facebook

Dear TRE and TRE readers,

I have read your comments to my earlier article and not surprisingly, many of you are in denial of this possibility. Many of you think I am PAP IB or just out of touch. I am not. I have contributed comments before to TRE (TRE admin can easily check against the email address that I use) and can see that indeed all my previous comments are not pro-PAP.

In Greek mytology, Cassandra warned the people about what was happening but was ignored to the people’s detriment. I can see what is happening and it is my duty to put this red flag right in front of you so you too do not get shell shocked if it happens.

Simply put : GE 2015 will be to PM LHL what GE 2001 is to GCT. And of all people, WP’s LTK knows it and this is why he is strategising accordingly.

Election rides on waves. GE 2011 was a wave election and even the PAP candidates sensed it. The people were angry – Josephine Teo said “sometimes we don’t know why people are so angry”, WP’s LTK risked everything on the table by leaving Hougang SMC and joining the Aljunied GRC. But don’t assume that just because the last election was a wave that favored the opposition, it will be the same this year.

Sometimes the wave can turn and favor the PAP too, although TRE readers find that hard to believe. GE 2001 was a wave election that favored the PAP because the people were scared when the economy fell off the cliff after the 9/11 attacks. Result : Unexpected +10% swing to the PAP and even WP’s LTK Hougang share of votes went down by 1.7%.

GE 2001 was a crushing blow to opposition supporters. They did not see it coming. They could not believe it. They saw the crowds in the opposition rallies and thought they were going to win, this time. It was totally unexpected and a big blow. I’m writing this article so that you do not feel that same way in this GE 2015.

GE 2015 will similarly be a wave election favoring the PAP. The LKY sentiment is still strong, especially among the seniors. Couple that with the Pioneer Package and recently concluded SG50 celebrations which put many people in a good mood. I’ve elaborated on all these in my last post, so will not do this here.

But I will share this lesson from history : Indira Gandhi was assasinated on Oct 1984 and a snap election was held on Dec 1984. Riding on the wave of sympathy votes, Congress party gained 30 seats and a landslide victory. You ignore lessons from history to your peril. Many of you think LKY is no big deal but to _70% of the voting population, he’s a big big big deal.

In any case, the strongest indication that I may be right comes from no other than WP’s LTK himself. Other than CST, he is the only surviving opposition MP who has lived through wave elections that turn against him. So of all people, he’s easily the shrewdest and most battle hardened politician around.

What is PAP’s strategy when they released the electoral boundaries? Simple –

1) Just contain WP’s influence solely to Aljunied GRC and Hougaing SMC. In other words, give up on these.

2) Fortify East Coast GRC by cutting off Feng Shan SMC. I estimate that pro-forma basis, GE 2011 would have seen East Coast GRC at 60% PAP votes, not just 55%, with this change. Dissolve Joo Chiat SMC.

3) Flood all the GRCs that WP is likely to contest in with veteran, strong MPs. Look at Jalan Besar GRC — it now includes the Chinatown ward of ever popular Lily Neo carved out of Tanjong Pagar. Plus heavyweight unionist Heng Chee How. Look at Yishun GRC — it has now included the strongest ward of former AMK GRC, ie. Kebun Baru.

4) Adopt a new strategy of putting in retiring, veteran MPs into winnable areas. Thus move Charles Chong out of Joo Chiat and get him to win back Punggol East SMC. Punggol East SMC was lost in the 2013 BE not because Li Lian was a particularly strong candidate but because “Son of Punggol” made so many rookie mistakes that he was a bad candidate.

Look at how LTK responded.

LTK sensed that this election will be different from GE 2011 and much tougher because this time, the wave will turn towards the PAP.

Look at WP’s message in this GE 2015 –

“I know you are happy with the changes that the PAP has started to make. But you got all these changes, because you voted us opposition into Parliament. If you are so happy now that you don’t vote for us, you will regret it because PAP will take you for granted again”.

I repeat : ” I know you are happy “. In other words, he knows the electorate mood in GE 2015 is not the same as GE 2011.

He knows that the electoral boundary changes PAP has made will make it more difficult to gain ground. His own people are giving him this feedback too — here is what Gerald Giam posted on 6th Aug in his Facebook :

“Visited Simei again yesterday evening. Many residents told us they were glad we were coming back to contest. Had a good chat with one resident who said she was voting for the incumbent because she liked the local MP. I acknowledged that the local MP has done a good job (Jessica’s work at the local and town level is certainly something we look to emulate) but that a general election is about more than just voting for a local MP.”

He also knows that PAP had attacked AHPETC hard enough that while many people still do not fully buy PAP’s story about “integrity problems”, it is enough to cast doubts in middle-ground voters mind, especially those outside of Aljunied GRC. At the same time, he knows that by 31-Aug, the audit results for FY 2014 must be released and more likely than not, it is again a poor audit results.

This is why he has decided to keep the Aljunied GRC MPs intact. In other words, he is playing defensive, not offensive, in this GE 2015. Uncharacteristic of him, he announces this very early so that the PAP will “lose hope” and not field any changes in their weak team in Aljunied. He hopes that he will get _55% of votes this time, so that he can claim a mandate from the Aljunied residents that notwithstanding all the AHPETC audit issues, they back him strongly. This is similar to how, after the Saw affair, there was a BE in Hougang and all talks about “integrity problem” dissolved when they did better in that BE than in GE 2011 itself.

His best hope for a seat pickup is in Feng Shan SMC and he’ll probably field Gerald Giam there. When PAP cut Feng Shan off from East Coast, PAP is already prepared to potentially lose this SMC in order to save East Coast GRC. (Like I said, on a pro-forma basis, this new “East Coast” GRC would have been 60% PAP votes in GE 2011. A 10% swing against the PAP is extremely unlikely.) But to still give this their best fight, they’ll likely use their “use retiring veteran MP” strategy and probably deploy Yeo Guat Kwang there.

What’s the conclusion from all these tea leaves ?

People’s sentiments for or against a ruling party can change. Sometimes the wave goes against the PAP (like GE 2011) but sometimes it goes for the PAP (like GE 1997 and GE 2001).

If you read the wind condition wrongly, you will get crushed. Look at what happened to SDP in pro-PAP wave election GE 1997 : it lost all 4 seats.

LTK is a very shrewd politician who has lived through these waves – both for and against him. He knows that GE 2015 is not going to be a continuation of GE 2011. He knows that in politics, sometimes you live to fight another day. So he is playing defensive this election. He is smart — he can see all the writing on the wall (as I’ve detailed in my earlier “PAP will do very well in this election” post).

The only possible gains for WP is Feng Shan SMC, offseted by the very real possibility of losing Punggol East SMC.

Meanwhile, because all the other GRCs that WP is contesting in such as Yishun GRC, Jalan Besar GRC and East Coast GRC had been significantly fortified by the PAP, PAP’s share of votes will increase, not decrease.

The only other wild card is Marine Parade GRC. PAP did not expect that NSP will give up this so easily and thus did not expect a WP fight here. But they did win by 55% in GE 2011. Couple this with the expected pro-PAP wave and notwithstanding GCT being a liability, they still expect to win this GRC. Even if they win by 55%, it will be good enough. They are thinking long term too — if WP did no better than NSP in contesting Marine Parade, in future GEs, NSP will not give in so easily to WP and 3-corner fights will be more likely to happen.

If what I’ve said is true :

1) Then PAP will likely win _60% of votes this election. As I said, even if GE 2011 share of votes everywhere remain, but only Tanjong Pagar is now included with 70% PAP support due to LKY sentiment, the total pro-forma PAP votes would have been ~62%.

2) WP’s strategy is absolutely the right one. Play defensive, get a stronger mandate from Aljunied GRC to overcome the AHPETC issue, live to fight another day. By GE 2020, the middle class squeeze will get worse especially with Medishield Life coming in place forcing everyone to buy insurance that increases in price every year. And more and more foreigners crowd this place. And then WP will ride that wave to increase its seats.

3) The other parties all need to wise up. Forget about putting their big guns into GRCs. Put their best candidate into one or two SMCs. And instead of working the ground in different GRCs each weekend, just keep walking the same ground in the SMC again and again, just like Ah Lian did to win the Punggol East BE. Concentrate your time and resources there. At least, get a foothold into Parliament and make a name for yourself, then you will get a chance to get more seats and potentially a GRC in the future. Otherwise, you will forever be relegated as a non-entity, someone who makes noise on the Internet only.


Submitted by TRE reader.

Hri Kumar’s Facebook post

At the NUSS forum on Tuesday, Gerald Giam told the audience that with regard to the troubles at Aljunied Hougang Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), the Workers’ Party (WP) has“explained every point that has been brought up which demands an explanation and we have spared no effort in that.”

Good grief! Is he serious?

Here are just 7 basic questions the WP has not answered:


  • Why hasn’t the WP carried out any independent investigation into the many areas of concern raised by the Auditor General’s Office (AGO)?
  • Why did WP hide information from its own auditors?
  • Why hasn’t the WP asked its friends in FMSS and FMSI, to whom they gave multi-million dollar contracts, to open their books for scrutiny?
  • Why hasn’t any independent auditor hired by the WP been prepared to issue clean, unqualified audit reports on the AHPETC accounts since WP took over AHPETC in2011? 
  • Why is WP refusing MND’s offer to pay the government grants to AHPETC on condition that an independent accountant safeguards the use of those funds, when WP’s own lawyers accept that the MND can impose conditions and the High Court found that MND’s conditions were reasonable?
  • If WP claims to be transparent, why, as the High Court found, did its Chairman Ms Sylvia Lim suppress facts and make a false statement to Parliament, and why did WP MP Pritam Singh say that he will not answer to Parliament?
  • Why has WP done nothing to determine whether any public funds are lost or misappropriated?

The WP says that it accepts that the AGO is professional and independent. It says that it accepts the High Court judgment. But 6 months on, we are no closer to knowing the truth. Significantly, the WP has avoided stating categorically that no public funds have been lost, and no damage suffered. How could it, given its own conduct?

The only thing the WP has done is submit qualified audited accounts for FY2013, 10 months late. It trumpets this as an achievement. But the crucial fact remains that AHPETC’s own auditors were unable to verify their accounts for the third year running. So, we still do not have answers.

Despite all of this, Mr Giam claims only the PAP is not satisfied with their answers. He does not give Singaporeans enough credit. Ultimately, the AGO’s conclusion still stands: “until the weaknesses are addressed, there can be no assurance that AHPETC’s accounts are accurate and reliable, or that public funds are properly spent, accounted for and managed”.

The WP’s posturing ignores a more fundamental point. MPs manage millions of dollars of public monies and owe a duty to the people to ensure that Town Councils comply with the law. MPs are all accountable and must act with honesty and integrity. If for any reason a Town Council goes wrong, MPs have the responsibility to be transparent and take effective action to put things right, regardless of how embarrassing it may be to the MPs personally or to their party.

That is what the National Library Board did. The AGO found flaws in the way NLB procured electronic resources and made those findings public. NLB has tightened its processes. NLB’s parent ministry, the Ministry of Communications and Information acted swiftly and decisively by referring the matter to the police. No cover-ups; no sweeping under the carpet. That is what honesty and integrity are all about.

The WP MPs know what they need to do to put things at AHPETC right. As I said in my speech in Parliament in February this year, WP must commission a thorough forensic investigation, get its friends in FMSS and FMSI to open their books, clean up the accounts and sue to recover any losses suffered.

The WP has lawyers, and it know it can be done. But the WP does not want to do it. Why not? That is one more question it has not answered.


Andrew Loh’s response to Hri Kumar

Here are my answers to Hri Kumar’s misguided tirade:

• Why hasn’t the WP carried out any independent investigation into the many areas of concern raised by the Auditor-General’s Office?

– Huh? AGO found certain things were not complied with and AHPETC made the necessary corrections. Just like the ministries and stat boards did when the AGO similarly found lapses in their accounting.

• Why did WP hide information from its own auditors?

– What information did WP “hide”?

• Why hasn’t the WP asked its friends in FMSS (FM Solution and Services) and FMSI (FM Solutions & Integrated Services), to whom they gave multi-million dollar contracts, to open their books for scrutiny?

– The contracts were awarded in open tenders. Why didn’t the PAP also asked AIM to do the same?

• Why hasn’t any independent auditor hired by the WP been prepared to issue clean, unqualified audit reports on the AHPETC accounts since WP took over AHPETC in 2011?

– Because the AHPETC were trying to square accounts after the handover. And AHPETC had even requested the MND to help in squaring these accounts. And the AGO, even after one whole year of investigations, were also unable to square some of the accounts which were handed over.

• Why is WP refusing MND’s offer to pay the Government grants to AHPETC on condition that an independent accountant safeguards the use of those funds, when WP’s own lawyers accept that the MND can impose conditions and the High Court found that MND’s conditions were reasonable?

– AHPETC already explained – this is because the MND wanted to appoint PriceWaterHouse as the external accountant. WP said PwC would present a conflict of interest because it had been involved with helping the AGO in its audit. NOTE: WP is not against appointing an external accountant per se.

• If WP claims to be transparent, why, as the High Court found, did its chairman Ms Sylvia Lim suppress facts and make a false statement to Parliament, and why did WP MP Pritam Singh say that he will not answer to Parliament?

– What “facts” did Sylvia Lim “suppress”, and what “false statement” is Hri Kumar referring to?

• Why has WP done nothing to determine whether any public funds are lost or misappropriated?

– The Ago had done a whole one-year audit and found no funds missing.
Andrew Loh

PAP trying really hard to fix WP?/ Why NS undermines PAP

In Uncategorized on 21/08/2015 at 4:53 am

On a conservative Facebook group I belong to, some friends of Jason Chua were out trying to make the WP  look “unpatriotic” for not attending the coming National Day Rally. The thread died a natural death when regular members didn’t bother to join in the conversation.

If the regulars had joined in the grumbling, I’d have posted something along the lines of “Don’t forget that historically, opposition MPs were not invited to the NDR,” Siew Kum Hong had posted elsewhere on Facebook.

What I find surprising is the timing of this year’s rally. I think it’s a bit later than it usually is. I had tot it would be held last weekend, not this weekend. Many yrs ago, I told an overseas “wannabe” observer that the National Day speech was rubbish, he should focus on the rally speech if he wanted to see what concerned the PM. I remembered telling him that the rally was held about a week after the NDP, on the weekend.

So could it be that the WP in scheduling their function assumed that the rally would fall on the weekend of the 15th?

“Ms Lim also addressed recent reports that the Workers Party would not be attending the National Day Rally on 23 August. She said, “We planned our dinner – which is a special SG50 National Day dinner – last year, in fact. The date was already chosen, and we think that it’s meaningful for us, especially as an opposition party, to rally our supporters to remind everyone that what we want is betterment for Singapore as a whole.

And that the PAP administration then fixed the rally date to fix the WP? Given the perceived track record in trying to fix the WP. sounds plausible meh?

Here are some other views on the NDR:

— Anyway ndr is use taxpayers money to score points for themselves. Propaganda anyway

— Spot on ))). Maybe PAP trying to fix WP by fixing date after WP fixed their date for bash. Usually BAt Day Rally held week after NDP.

Anyway Auntie is right, “I think sometimes people get confused – they can’t distinguish between national interest and ruling party interest. And we want to underscore the point that even if you’re an opposition supporter, you can be as loyal to Singapore as any PAP supporter.”

For starters, all the Oppo boys (even Garbra Gomez) did NS. Many like JJ, Eric Tan, Tony Tan (Haze; Poa’s hubbie) TJS, Dr Paul and Dr Ang (OK the last two are  MDs) were officers. If they were good enough to be SAF officers*, how dare people like Jason Chua and other members of the PAP IB call the Oppo unpatriotic?


*But SAF has a lot of explaining how Goh Meng Seng became an officer.

Auntie, good accounting is a national issue/ TOC bans avatar again

In Accounting, Financial competency, Political governance on 18/08/2015 at 4:43 am

People are interested in national issues, not just town council matters, Sylvia Lim says (TOC). Well the need for a town council to have an accounting system that is fit for purpose is also a national issue. OK I exaggerate. It’s an issue at least in areas where the WP is contesting, is a fairer statement.

Auntie Lim*, Gilbert Goh**, TOC (As SPH and MediaCorp are to the PAP, so TOC** is to the WP) and TRE are trying to equate the lapses at PA and other government entities and departments identified by the Auditor-General with that of the the lapses at AHPETC identified by the Auditor-General.

The big difference is that the while the Auditor-General  says nasty things about the way the govt bodies like the PA does things, he doesn’t say that they don’t have an accounting system that is not fit for purpose. He is able to pick out lapses in the PA and other govt bodies because they have proper accounting systems. The accounting systems allow the lapses to be noticed.

But he says that the AHPETC accounting system sucks so badly that no proper records are kept.

The Auditor-General pointed out, inter alia, that AHPTEC did not “a system to monitor arrears of conservancy and service charges accurately and hence there is no assurance that arrears are properly managed”.and “No proper system to ensure … proper accounts and records were kept as required by the Town Councils Act.” (Related post

Because proper records are not kept, no-one knows if there are irregularities.  There may be none but there may be some or many: who knows? And what if there are major irregularities?

The way things are going, only a PAP win in Aljunied will ensure that the truth comes out on whether anything is wrong. WP is dragging its feet on setting the system right. It is moving to the Bishan/ Toa Payoh model of directly managing the cleaning etc, which will allow it to say it has “moved on” without resolving the issue of irregular accounts.

Someone posted this analysis on Facebook

Having read the full report, the responses by APHTEC and AGO and PWC’s responses I would say the following.

1. That management and supervision for the first two years were sorely lacking , to the extent that corporate governance is needed , FMSS and FMSI was allowed both management powers, payment powers without supervision.

2. Whether current WP members accept it or not. There is a difference between Management Companies appointing their own people to the TC as GM’s when the management companies are owned by the GOV or GLCs and hence there is no direct pecuniary interests and when in the case of FMSS everything is owned and attributed to Miss How and her Husband and there is a direct pecuniary interests.

3. I could accept the need to appoint FMSS. I cannot accept the need to appoint FMIS whereby the shareholders were both the deputy GMS for lift EMS services. To the extent that there are only a few TC management companies and they refused to help , can the same be said of lift management companies ?

4. To an extent the problem can be laid at the head of the Sec Gen and Low. The people under his leadership trusted low and low I believe trusted miss how.

5. The trust was built over her management of the TC in Hougang for many years and it just seems that when faced with the problem of integrating seven town councils which in itself will be the largest town council in SINGAPORE, she lacked both the management and accounting expertise necessary to integrate all the bits and pieces.

6. FMSS at the end of the day seems to have bitten of more than they could handle, likewise FMSS was not adequately supervised by all the MPs and the leadership within the party for whatever reason.

He could have added, but didn’t, that the WP TC Chair and Vice are lawyers, albeit one was from SMU law school. And there is another MP that is a lawyer, a former partner is a top US law firm. Btw, one, M Ravi called these lawyers three,”cow dung” in another context.

One wonders why they didn’t draw up better conflict of interest mgt rules for the TC’s consideration. And if they did, why were these not implemented? Because Low trusted the Ms How?

Let’s be very clear, the PAP administration didn’t bully or fix the WP on this issue of bad record keeping. This was self-inflicted.The managing agent bears a lot of responsibility for the state of affairs. It didn’t keep proper records of who it was paying, and for what purpose. The AHPETC failed in its duty to monitor what the managing agent was doing.

The inability of the AHPETC to keep proper records is now personal.

I now live in Marine Parade GRC (Joo Chiat kanna rezoned). I’ve voted for the WP since I was able to vote (bicyle thieves, an ex-Woodbridge patient) because I believe that a one-party state is bad for S’pore; but do I want to live in a GRC managed by the WP, a party that couldn’t keep proper records, and is in denial over this fact? And which throws smoke on the issue. It can’t bluff me because I was a Hon Treasurer of a club

And I’m not alone: the neighbours (they are accountants, lawyers etc), and the really real Marine Parade residents I talk to, are wondering if the bad record keeping will continue. We know WP can keep the area clean and tidy, but can it keep proper financial records?



*Ms Sylvia Lim says the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), has been singled out for “exemplary treatment” by the government.
She also called on the govt to “act with similar vigour, by withholding grants and commencing legal proceedings”, against gov’t depts and stat boards which have been found with financial irregularities in the Auditor-General’s Report.
Ms Lim made the call in her court affidavit on the hearing on the MND’s application on Monday.


**A statement seeking support from the public has been posted online as a petition calling for the government to investigate fully the recent slew of financial and accounting irregularities unearthed in the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) Report.

“We… hope our government will investigate thoroughly the AGO audit lapses and come up with a official statement to address the concerns of the people,” the statement, posted on, said.

“The lapses are both glaring and shocking as Singaporeans have all along place their trust in a government that has enjoyed above-board corruption-free governance for a very long time,” the statement by Gilbert Goh said.

(TOC again)

***TOC has again banned my Facebook avatar from commenting on TOC’s Facebook posts. It’s TOC’s right. But so like the PAP. But then WP is nothing more than PAP Lite and TOC is its poodle. And let’s see if a TOC founder stands as a WP candidate this GE.

PAP, WP don’t do accounting

In Accounting on 16/08/2015 at 12:09 pm

As Chairman and deputy chairman of the PA, ah Loong and Zorro should do what Khaw implicitly asked the WP leaders to do and what Lui may or not have done (I’ll blog one of these days on why the Ah Loong administrations sucks in comparison with that of his dad’s: never a clear message). I don’t know if Lui is willingly (or unwillingly) taking the rap for the failures of the MRT system, or he juz going MIA or AWOL to look at his monthly CPF statement and feel happy).

In the Budget earlier this year, the PA’s expenditure was increased 51.3% to over $1 billion.

Minister Lim Swee Say, Minister (Prime Minister’s Office) and Deputy Chairman of PA, said that the budget allocated to the PA “reflects a higher level of commitment by the Government towards promoting social cohesion and racial harmony.”*

Yet the management of the PA didn’t ensure that the systems were in place to ensure that the records on how this money (and earlier funds) were kept in accordance with the PA’s own internal rules.

The Auditor-General (AGO) is not happy. The People’s Association was flagged for various lapses in the Auditor-General’s Report, released on Wednesday (Jul 15), including lapses in management of tenancy contracts in Community Club/Centre Management Committees (CCMCs) and procurement lapses.**

The AGO had conducted audits on only 115 GROs out of the 1,800 over GROs, which as TOC points out “is only 6.39 percent of the total GROs which PA is in charge of”.

As TOC points out, with the recent findings by AGO on the GROs, one would have to be concerned or extremely concerned that public money may be misused or misappropriated due to the lack of understanding of proper accounting practices set by PA’s financial rules.

To recap:

There are 1,800 grassroots organisations under the People’s Association’s umbrella.
That’s a mere 6.4% of all the GROs.The Auditor General audited only 115 of them.

And already, the AGO found almost 40% of them with financial irregularities.

So while PA has said that it would conduct internal investigations and audits of its GROs, a more prudent method to ensure public monies would be lawfully used, is to get AGO along with a 3rd party auditor to audit the whole group of GROs under the PA.

In the meantime, the Minister of Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong, who oversees the PA, should be accountable and freeze the funds that are meant to be given to PA until the auditors can be sure that proper accounting process can be put in place for the GROs – and that public funds are duly protected from misuse.

Terry Xu

Now given that Khaw had recommended that the AHPETC commit hari kiri, and given that the PM is the chairman of the PA and Zorro Lim is the minister-in-charge of PA, why is Khaw silent on them performing hari kiri? At the very least, he should recommend that they do deep bows and apologies at the National Day rally next week.

But then the PAP believes that “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”:

But to be fair to the PM, Zorro and the PA and the PAP, rather than challenging the AGO and throwing smoke as the WP would (think AHPETC: there is lousy record keeping, so lousy that no-one knows if money has been stolen or not, and Pritam and his Auntie mentor have to do a manual check to report the correct arreas situation), a review by a newly formed Grassroots Finance Review Committee, to prevent a recurrence of procurement lapses flagged in a report by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) will take three months, the People’s Association said.

“The common lapses found in most of the grassroots organisations test-checked indicate that they may not be familiar with PA’s financial rules,” the AGO said in its report on Wednesday (Jul 15).

A statement released by the PA on Thursday said the committee will be chaired by a member of the PA’s board of management, Timothy de Souza. “Mr de Souza is a trustee of the Eurasian Association of Singapore and an experienced grassroots leader”, the PA said. He is also the auditor of a Neighbourhood Committee.

The other members of the committee are chief financial officer and member of the Auditing and Assurance Standards Committee of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants John Teo Woon Keng and Mr Chiang Heng Liang, director of wealth management at an international bank and chairman of Kolam Ayer Citizens’ Consultative Committee.

The committee will be supported by PA senior officers, and they will be able to tap on expertise from the Ministry of Finance for advice.

The committee will review and recommend refinements to financial and procurement rules and procedures, especially with regard to AGO observations, the PA said. It will also propose measures to enhance compliance of financial rules and recommend measures to strengthen monitoring by staff. And, it will enhance training for staff and grassroots leaders.***

I’m still wondering what the WP are going to fix its accounting systems? Can some cybernut enlighten me? I got rezoned into Marine Parade and me and the neighbours (they are accountants, lawyers etc), and the really real Marine Parade residents I talk to, are wondering if the bad record keeping will continue. We know WP can keep the area clean and tidy, but can it keep proper financial records?

And we want to know if the WP can assure us that the excellent bus links to the other parts of S’pore will continue. Rightly or wrongly, we attribute these links to one Goh Chok Tok who was once the MP of the real Marine Parade.

Finally, the WP kept saying that a vote for the WP is a vote to keep the PAP honest. Who is keeping the WP honest? I mean someone has to take the rap for an accounting system that isn’t fit for purpose?

Will PritamS or his mentor step up for a deep bow? Or both?

But Ah Loong should set a good example, and take a deep bow next weekend. pigs will fly first.


*He said  that out of the $339.6 million or 51.3% increase in the estimated Financial Year (FY) 2015 expenditure of the PA, $239.3 million (70.5%) is meant for the development of facilities for residents’ use.

These include the building of the Tampines Town Hub, construction of nine new CCs and two Water-Venture outlets; as well as to upgrade 28 existing CCs under PA’s 15-year upgrading cycle.

The increase of $100.3 million or 29.5% in operating expenditure will go into implementing the Pioneer Generation Ambassador programme where staff and volunteers reach out to seniors where they live, as well as supporting the work of the grassroots organisations (GROs) and Community Development Councils (CDCs) in assisting the needy and in building and bonding our multi-racial and multi-cultural communities.



Of the 91 CCMCs test-checked by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO), 35 did not obtain approvals from the relevant approving authorities for awarding 53 tenancy contracts, totalling S$17.78 million. Approvals were either obtained from committees which were not authorised to do so, or whose approval limits were below that of the contract values, the AGO said.

In addition, 10 of the 35 CCMCs did not obtain the relevant approvals for the direct award of 13 tenancy contracts without competition, worth a total of S$3.67 million.

“The number of lapses detected points to a weakness in the People’s Association’s monitoring of CCMCs’ compliance with its financial rules with regard to tenancy contracts,” said the AGO. PA has informed the AGO that is has since obtained covering approvals for the tenancy contracts.


Test-checks of nine grassroots organisations (GROs) – comprising four CCMCs, three Citizens’ Consultative Committees (CCCs) and two Residents’ Committees (RCs) – revealed non-compliance with PA’s financial rules, including the award of nine contracts totalling S$152,600 prior to obtaining approvals; the award of 15 contracts worth S$565,300 from the wrong approving authorities; not seeking approval for 10 direct purchases from suppliers worth a total of S$53,700; and not inviting quotations in writing for 13 purchases totalling S$187,900.

“The common lapses found in most of the grassroots organisations test-checked indicate that they may not be familiar with PA’s financial rules,” the AGO said. “They also reflect a lack of oversight by PA.”

The PA has since informed the AGO that it will review its procurement rules for GROs, to strike the right balance between competitive procurement and “expeditious decision-making” on the ground.


According to the report, the AGO found common lapses in engagement of training operators and the collection of course fees across most of the seven grassroots organisations checked.

For example, four GROs engaged operators directly without calling competitive bids under eight contracts, totalling S$311,800. “Hence, there was no assurance that the GROs were able to obtain the most advantageous bids for the courses,” the AGO said.

One RC awarded a contract for tuition services with an estimated revenue of S$1.11 million to the incumbent operator through a quotation exercise, when a tender was required. There was no evidence other operators were invited to quote, the AGO said.

Four RCs test-checked could not produce evidence that they had carried out audit checks on course fees – totalling S$1.26 million – collected by operators on the RCs’ behalf, according to the report. The PA said that the RCs had conducted random checks on the collection of the fees, but these went undocumented. The course fees have been fully collected from the operator, PA added.

One RC did not take any action when an operator repeatedly delayed handing over course fees collected on behalf of the PA, totalling S$414,700, every month from April 2013 to July 2014. This exposed the RC to the risk of the operator defaulting on the payment of course fees, the AGO said.


The AGO’s checks found that the chairman of a CCC was involved in approving the award of two contracts worth a total of S$32,000 and corresponding payments to a company of which he was a member of the senior management. For one of the awards, another CCC member involved in the approval process was both a director and shareholder of the company, the AGO said.

The CCC chairman also approved payment for a purchase worth S$1,500 from another company where he was both a director and shareholder.

In these cases, the two CCC members involved did not declare their interests in the transactions, the AGO said. “As a result, there was no assurance that the transactions were conducted at arms’ length.”

PA acknowledged that the chairman should not have approved the payments, but checked and found that there was no irregularity in the payments as the amounts tallied with the quotations and the work tendered.

Test-checks revealed seven instances where the CCC chairman was involved in approving his own claims, totalling S$114,767 – a “clear conflict of roles”, the AGO said. In three of these payments, no supporting documents were available.

The PA’s response was that the chairman had inadvertently approved his own claims, and said that the vice-chairman and treasurer will endorse future payment vouchers instead.
MP for Sembawang GRC Khaw Boon Wan said the grassroots leader in question was from Admiralty CCC and that he has stepped down to facilitate a full investigation.

“I am glad that the Investigation Panel found no evidence of dishonesty. Nonetheless, it was a related party transaction that was not declared,” Mr Khaw said in a statement. “The CCC will study the investigation report, and review its procedures to ensure that such lapses do not recur.”

Fellow MP for Sembawang GRC, Vikram Nair said he was saddened to learn of the findings by the AGO and that the grassroots leader concerned has “served with distinction for many years”. The man is giving full cooperation in the investigation, Mr Nair said.


The PA obtained excess funding from the Citizens’ Consultative Committee ComCare Fund (CCF) from the MSF, amounting to S$84,394 over two years, due to errors and omissions in the updating of disbursements at seven CCCs checked.

The errors include duplicate entries of CCF disbursements, incorrect amounts recorded and inclusion of financial assistance that was not to be funded by the CCF. Disbursements were entered into the system by an officer without any independent checks, the AGO found.

These errors led to inaccurate CCF usage reports submitted by PA to MSF, ranging from an overstatement of S$225,703 in some cases to an understatement of S$120,210 for FY2012/13 and 2013/14.

In response, the PA said it was conducting a one-off reconciliation exercise for all CCCs to update and correct the CCF utilisation reports, meant to be completed by June this year.


***The committee will strengthen the supervision of its 1,800 grassroots organisations (GROs). “The committee will also recommend suitable measures that would enable our 37,000 grassroots leaders and volunteers to continue to serve the community’s best interests while maintaining good governance and sound financial practices.”

Additionally, a hotline has been set up to help GROs with queries on correct procurement procedures. The number is now active and has been communicated to GROs internally.

(CNA, I think)

WP, NSP scared of Kate Spade?

In Political governance on 13/08/2015 at 4:32 am

Update on 22 August at 6.30am: Obviously NSP He-man Steve Chia is not afraid of losing to Tin, having persuaded the NSP to change its mind on contesting here. Can we expect to walk-about dressed in a bikini brief only, showing off his abs and challenging Tin to show off her post natal abs.

(Update on 13 August at 2.50pm:

Tin Pei Ling is raring to rejoin her team in gearing up for the contest in MacPherson in the upcoming General Election. Speaking exclusively to 938LIVE, she said she will nevertheless complete her one-month confinement period, after giving birth to a baby boy, Ng Kee Hau, on Aug 5.

Ms Tin said even now it is business as usual, as she is maintaining close contact with her team in the constituency.

She hopes that the residents at MacPherson will understand her month-long absence. “(I) hope that residents will judge based on past experience, past work done, as well as looking ahead, I hope that they will continue to let me have this opportunity to serve them, continue the work that I’ve been delivering for them,” she said.

Ms Tin also said she is ready to face a contest in MacPherson. “My mission right from the beginning is to serve my residents, that has always been the case. So most part of my energy, my mental and physical energy, will be focusing on making sure that the day to day issues of my residents have been taken care of. MacPherson is well run, so whoever comes to contest in MacPherson, we will just roll with the punches and prepare accordingly,” she said. 


If the cybernuts are to be believed, even Goh Meng Seng (the movement’s founder and once their hero but now considered by even cybernuts to be a zero) can trash Tin Pei Ling if he stands in MacPherson.

Obviously going by their recent decisions regarding the SMC by the WP and NSP, the WP and NSP never consulted the cybernuts.

Sylvia Lim explains why the WP did not attend the opposition meeting on Thursday.

She says that her party had offered to let the National Solidarity Party contest Macpherson if the latter withdrew its intention to contest Marine Parade.


Funny that they were prepared to give away Macpherson while wanting to fight in Marine Parade. There is a 14 points gap to overturn in Marine Parade, two more than Aljunied in 2011.

If Tin is so easy to beat, shouldn’t the WP prefer to contest a winnable SMC? WP knows can’t win in thisSMC?

And now NSP double confirms the view that Tin is unbeatable, by not wanting to contest in this SMC. It could have challenged Kate Spade with u/m in Macpherson, but didn’t. I hear a lot of apeks in area upset she isn’t standing.

Seriously, before the WP came out with the above statement that it was willing to “give” Macpherson to the NSP, my Facebook avatar posted (when someone was making fun of Kate Spade): TPL will win. She’s a very good foot soldier PAP MP i.e. social welfare worker. Area is traditional PAP stronghold. And given the large number of older, less well off S’poreans here, the Pioneer Gen goodies will have an impact. If the PAP had two social welfare worker MPs in Aljunied in 2011, the result would be different. Instead it had two women from hell. One was union bureaucrat, other was rich in her own right.

Someone seconded my avatar saying: My old neighbours said who live there now view her in a new light. She’s bern working doubly hard and going the extra mile.

Double confirm: even the No Substance Party ignores the cybernuts. And do remember Goh Meng Seng left the WP because it wasn’t happy her was going nuts in cyberspace: rowing in cyberspace.

The state of the Oppo parties

In Political governance on 31/07/2015 at 5:18 am

It’s a good, short and sharp analysis by a TRE reader, who is definitely not a cybernut.

“Firstly, not all opposition parties have the same status”, says Harold who I quoted yesterday on the SPP and Mrs Chiam. As promised here are his tots on the other parties. Headings and non -Italic font are mine.


The strongest opposition party at the moment is the WP which has 7 parliamentary seats and 2 non-constituency members of parliament. The WP is stable, has good leadership, party discipline, a strong brand name, strong grassroots network and has managed to attract a critical mass of skilled professionals. These factors explain why the WP has a better image and thus a better chance of winning than the other opposition parties. As was seen in the Punggol East by-election, in a multi-cornered fight, the WP candidate will attract a much larger share of votes than the minor opposition parties.

All this is spot-on. The problem is that the MPs never slapped the driver (in fact they kanna slap by he PAP)  and their accounting, corporate governance management skills suck. It still irritates me that three hotshot lawyers (one of whom was a partner in a leading US firm albeit in its Beijing office, not in NY or London) didn’t see the dangers in the way the town council dealt with the managing agent*. Even more irritating is that Auntie and her Singh (lawyers both) didn’t ensure that the managing agent kept proper records**.

All these hotshot lawyers are actually lawyers buruk.

Seriously, can anyone credibility offer to be a accountability watch dog when they can’t keep proper records. Remember no proper records cannot detect irregularities easily.

Related post:

But voters decide and “liberated” zone is pretty much to PAP standards overall:

The PAP has always asked to be judged in the context of eveything it has done, so should the WP.


Next in the ranking of the opposition parties, is the SDP. Why? Because this is a party with a history, alternative policies and a clear ideology. SDP’s grassroots potential is underused but not lacking, as it seems to be able to attract social activists and other liberals. Say what you may about the SDP but at least it does not give the image that it is an unstable party that lacks people. The party website is well designed and is kept up to date. SDP’s decision to pull out of the Punggol by-election and avoid being a spoiler earned it goodwill from opposition supporters and thus the SDP’s image was not tarnished by a great defeat. The SDP may have committed some blunders such as implying that they were unwilling to run a town council, but they have corrected that mistake! They realized that they have to turn their attention to municipal matters too. And thus, earlier this year, they published a paper detailing their plans on running a town council. The SDP is not perfect, but if your constituency is not contested by WP, it’s your best bet if you want an opposition win.

Again, I agreem almost. If only Dr Chee would retire:

Related post:


All the other opposition parties are not main contenders. NSP received a lot of bad publicity after GE2011 because they went through a change of 5 secretary generals in such a short time and furthermore lost almost all their top candidates in the last GE to other political parties. Singfirst and PPP are new parties with no history and swing voters usually stick to established parties when they vote. RP and SDA have been discredited by their secretary generals losing their deposits in the Punggol by-election. These parties will be entering the upcoming GE with voters perceiving them to have a low chance of winning. They have a lot of hard work ahead of them. It will be an uphill task for them to win a seat in parliament.


SingFirst needs another 10 years of work before it becomes credible. Do the present leaders (Dr Ang and TJS are contemporaries of mine at RI: I was in Arts they were in the scholarship class) have the stamina to slog for another five years and then pass on the baton to a younger generation of leaders?

Related post:

A dream oppo party would we SDP and SingFirst with Dr Chee and his team of loonies moving on out gracefully and TJS suppressing his ego. Fat hope. Pigs will fly first.


*I’m assuming that they didn’t raise corporate governance and PR concerns because they were happy with the arrangements. If they did, but were overruled and they kept silent, that raises another can of worms.

**They are the two MPs running the operations of the town council and I’m assuming that they didn’t raise the accounting, record keeping issues of the managing agent because they were clueless: remember that they are lawyers, not accoutants***. If they did, but were overruled and they kept silent, that raises another can of worms.

***Not that many lawyers know the basics of accounting.

Time for the Chiams to step back?

In Political governance on 30/07/2015 at 4:49 am

A very common view in cyberspace and in the real S’pore of Lina Chiam even if I’m quoting a newbie SPP member (a friend and likely GRC candidate):

During the last GE, I was quite unsure about Mrs Lina Chiam, if she was the best SPP had, to be fielded in Potong Pasir. My doubts were soon proven wrong.

She has done exceptionally well in the constituency. She has regular meet the people sessions, tries to solve residents problems, and never turns away anyone who comes to her for help.

As a Parliamentarian, Mrs Chiam has been recognised for being one of the most active MPs in Parliament, having risen more than 80 times to either raise a Parliamentary Question, seek clarification, participate in Bill and motion debates, or to raise COS cuts during Budgets.

Those who have suggested that someone other than Mrs Chiam should be fielded in Potong Pasir have either taken issue with Mrs Chiam’s gender, age or supposed lack of qualifications. Such comparisons are unfair discrimination.

I personally cannot think of anyone stronger the Opposition can field in Potong Pasir.

I have always felt that it is in the best interest of Singapore to have a strong opposition in Parliament, which is why I helped Jeannette Chong-Aruldossin her campaign for Mountbatten SMC during the last GE.

This time, if I had to, I would support not only Jeannette’s campaign, but also Mrs Chiam’s. Why? Because she is a good leader, who is able to commiserate with the residents in Potong Pasir.

Contrast this minority view of Mrs Chiam by a TRE reader, Harold:

Why did I not list the SPP which has 1 NCMP as the second pick for opposition supporters? [He had praised and commended the WP and SDP: I’ll post his tots on them tomorrow, maybe]Last GE, we saw a nationwide 6.5% vote swing AWAY from the PAP. Thus, every constituency that was also contested by the opposition in 2006 saw a larger percentage of the votes gained by the opposition in 2011. All constituencies save for one – Potong Pasir. SPP instead saw their votes in Potong Pasir drop by 6%, leading to their narrow loss of a safe seat to the PAP’s Sitoh Yi Pin!

This is largely due to the choice of SPP to field Lina Chiam who was intended to be Chiam See Tong’s successor. This is widely perceived to be the reason why SPP lost. Mrs Chiam was not eloquent enough at her rallies. Nor did she attack the PAP candidate sufficiently. Most importantly, she did not manage to convince the swing voters that she had a good chance of winning against the PAP candidate. That was why there were 242 spoiled votes. If just half these votes had gone to SPP, she would have won!

I’m not against SPP but I’m just saying that SPP has to deal with these REAL perceptions if they intend to field Mrs Chiam in Potong Pasir again. A party only stands a decent chance if it can generate hype among its supporters. Supporters and swing voters have to be convinced that the party can win. Remember, Sitoh Yi Pin has been the incumbent MP for Potong Pasir for 4 years now and he has a huge advantage over Mrs Chiam. It is no longer 50-50 as was the case in 2011. Even other opposition parties like the DPP are doubting Mrs Chiam’s ability to win again. That is why these opportunists want to cause a multi-cornered fight in Potong Pasir.

SPP can still win back Potong Pasir if they field someone younger, whose appeal to the voters is stronger. If they wish to revive Mr Chiam’s legacy while renewing SPP, then why not field Mr Chiam’s daughter? As Nicole Seah proved in the last GE, it is possible for a young, eloquent and inspiring female politician to generate sufficient hype to shift the vote towards her party, even against a strong incumbent from the ruling party.

SPP has been gifted with the entry of strong opposition personalities like Ravi Philemon and Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss, who is poised to give the PAP a tough fight at Mountbatten SMC once again. So why not build on that to renew the party’s overall image? I hope SPP can see the bigger picture and try to attract back swing voters.

I agree with Harold that the SPP must move on from the Chiams (though not to their daughter who anyway seems uninterested in politics) even if Mrs Chiam has proved a better driver slapper than Low, Auntie, Show Mao, Baiyee and the other Worthless Party MPs. And even though she has grown in the job.

Isn’t it strange that cybernuts jeered at LKY because although he was frail he wanted to carry on bullying, while they cheer on a younger but even frailer Mr Chiam who insists on dominating his party?

Btw, given the face Mr Chiam was rightly given at LKY’s funeral, it would have been very petty for Poptong Pasir to have “disappeared”. Maybe there was a provision in LKY’s will (or letter of wishes) stipulating that Potong Pasir SMC should not be abolished?

Real Oppo politicians/ Creating the grounds for a revolution

In Uncategorized on 29/07/2015 at 5:34 am

A reader of my blof in responding to explained the difference between a cybernut like “Oxygen” and an oppo politician.

To convert a quarter of the pro-PAP voters. Exactly. Except that how are TRE cybernuts or anyone that is closely related to do them going to do it?

There is a distinct difference if you see how opposition parties engage the issue, and how cybernuts do. Real opposition polticians keep their arguments framed against the PAP and it’s policies. All others, civil servants, public/private sectors, they see them also as Singaporeans, people whom they will one day lead and serve.

Cybernuts on the other hand, feel free to mock and trample over their fellow Singaporeans so long as they can get back at the PAP. They are not interested in winning votes to be honest. When you have been busy mocking 60% for being daft, now you say you want to convert them over to your side?

I’m sure he means people like the Chiams, the WP leaders, the NSP leaders, and even Dr Chee. But this description doesn’t fit one Goh Meng Seng.

Seriously, paper  militant Marxists like grave-dancer Oxygen believe that by shouting and cursing at the PAP and ordinary S’poreans, they can change the ground.

It’s a tenet of militant  Marxist activists that if the conditions for revolution are not yet perfect, they can hasten the process of perfection. Using violence, strikes, agitprop etc to weaken the economy, they can force the state into being more repressive, upsetting ordinary citizens. There will come a time when the people are more upset by the tactics of the state than that of the revolutionaries,  then that’s the time to seize power.

Grace-dancer Oxygen and friends are hoping that by cursing S’pore and ordinary S’poreans bad things (like a property crash) will happen. Then S’poreans will rise against the PAP.  They should learn from history. To this day many of the detainees of Operations Coldstore and Spectrum say bad things about the way S’pore is run. But the economy and standards of living remain decent. Could be better though which is why this blog keeps on pricckling the PAP administration.

What Amos and Meng Seng have in common?

In Uncategorized on 13/07/2015 at 4:39 am

Yesterday I blogged that Amos is doing some good by drawing attention to a growing problem:  excessive attention-seeking behaviour in children

Going by Goh Meng Seng’s recent behaviour, maybe he’s suffering from something similar: excessive attention-seeking behaviour in adults? Seeking attention only becomes an issue when one goes through excessive lengths and means to get attention, and this can cause the person not to be functional in many areas in life.

Two recent examples of this behaviour by GMS:

He came close to joining New Citizen Hui Hui, TRE’s Oxygen and their fellow cybernuts in dancing on the graves of the children who died in Sabah. He, like them, blamed the MoE on the flawed logic of “Because there were deaths on a school trip, MoE, school are responsible.” Fortunately, he didn’t go further like Oxygen, and friends who gleefully blamed and sneered at the parents for the deaths. The parents had signed the consent forms, and were stupid to do so said Oxygen to loud applause from other cybernuts. How low can some people stoop?

Note no other politican or wannabe politican criticised MoE. Only Goh Meng Seng did.

And among the Oppo, only he and s/o JBJ came out in defence of Amos.  Do remember, he also came out in support of the right of Roy, Hui hui and the other young hooligans to disrupt an event where special needs kids were performing. So incidentally did Dr Chee of the SDP.

GMS trying to pander to his base of cybernuts? Or juz him showing excessive attention-seeking behaviour?

Now this weekend he wrote,

“[I]t would be natural to expect WP not to contest more seats than it has done before. In fact, it should be contesting less seats instead,” says Goh Meng Seng, once the adviser to the people’s clown, Tan Kin Lian in PE 2011, and now

His reasoning is that: I do not think WP can convince voters that it could manage ADDITIONAL constituencies well when it is currently struggling with the present 7 constituencies’ municipal management.

WP may risk a total collapse of credibility if it won more seats but in the end TC management become a horrible nightmare. This will in return destroy WP totally by the elections after next. Stay focus on the current 7 seats will be its best strategy. I believe LTK will want to fortify his positions in these current seats instead of having the ambition to win even more seats.

Err why doesn’t he advise the No Substance Party to contest less seats? In GE 2011, NSP contested 24 seats, WP 23. As NSP won a big fat zero shouldn’t it focus? Especially as the party has imploded in the last few months

— a few active cadres resigned including two former “portliburo” members (I know them personally and got a lot of time for them even though I think one of them is better of as a blogger and social activist*)

— the “new” sec-gen resigned and a retired sec-gen was wheeled out as an interim measure; and

— the president of the party made a fool of himself. It’s a complicated story:**

Whatever, WP and NSP contesting less seats means people like Meng Seng get a look in unless they are prepared to split the Oppo vote***. The “tissue” chopping system practiced by the NSP in the last GE (remember who was the sec-gen? makes it difficult for new parties. The NSP has a lot of tissue papers (or rather toilet roles)out there.

In yesterday’s piece, I advised that owning a dog would be a good way of curing excessive attention-seeking behaviour in a child. Still not too late for Meng Seng to get a dog.

*When P Ravi was at TOC, he organised a protest against the then CEO of SMRT. A few days layer she resigned.

**And there’s an interesting side story. Goh Meng Seng and the president were discussing his return to the NSP, a party he had left in a huff. But when the president went “bananas”, Meng Seng attacked him (see the TOC story for the details) and Meng Seng couldn’t return.

But it’s interesting to note that in all the recent in-line photis, he’s wearing the NSP colours.

***Which is no big deal given that NSP never came close in GE 2011 and 2006 to win a seat.

Battle in cyberspace/ Take the money and BS

In Media on 09/04/2015 at 4:55 am

In addition to saturating the newspapers and airwaves, the PAP administration and its minions  were saturating cyberspace with the news of LKY’s death. The constructive, nation-building ST made its online coverage of the death and other related   news available to netizens. And the news coverage on CNA’s website was all about him and the lying-in-state.

Then there was spontaneous outbursr of respect and tribute from social media and bloggers.

Even the cyber-warriors and cybernuts who tried to counter the right narrative added to the saturation coverage.

So Khaw would be happy. During the Parliamentary debate on 10 March, Khaw took the opportunity to KPKB about social media, “In 2011, many Singaporeans were swayed by the social media commentaries, and worried that the Singapore Dream would not be available to future generations .

How can the PAP do better in cybberspace?

For the coming GE, will the PAP pick up tips from the US and Ukrainian govts on how to handle the social media cowboys, Comanches and other renegades?

US State Department’s war on social media against Jihadists

Ambassador Alberto Fernandez is the US State Department’s Coordinator for Strategic Counterterrorism. The Department runs campaigns on Twitter and social media forums to challenge extremists directly, with titles such as “Think Again, Turn Away”.

These have been criticised in some quarters but he believes that engaging the jihadists’ audience rather than ignoring them means they are exposed to alternative views.

But, like the [London]Metropolitan Police team, his staff are few in number, with only around 20 engaging on a daily basis with jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

“We see ourselves as a rag-tag guerrilla organisation waging a hit and run campaign against the adversary,” Mr Fernandez told the BBC. “We’re definitely the David against the ISIS Goliath, which is perhaps somewhat ironic.”

Ukrainian Information Army

The Economist reports Ukraine launched the “Ukrainian Information Army”, a volunteer force of internet commenters tasked with spreading government-approved content and combatting Russian trolls. A recent mission asked the troops to post a propagandistic Ukrainian response to a Russian-made propaganda video.

(Emphasis mine)

Take the money and BS 

Btw, I’m sure MediaCorp and SPH journalists can advise the Ukrainian journalists what to do: Ukrainian journalists have been struggling with how to carry themselves in a war where the media plays an outsize role … Journalists constantly debate whether they can help Ukraine without contradicting their professional standards. “Ukrainian journalism is undergoing a crisis of values,” says Olga Chervakova, a television journalist turned politician, who now sits on the parliamentary Committee for Freedom of Speech and Information.

Juz take the thirty pieces of silver on offer and play whatever tune the paying piper wants you to pipe. Not unique to S’porean journalists: the WP MPs have their own version. They take the MPs’ allowances (about $15,000 per MP per month), and keep quiet even when the PAPpies beat them up publicly: “Sticks and stomes may hurt me but $15,000 a month can buy a lot of kok yok,” seem to be the mantra.

Finally, a piece of advice to the two social media celebrities, and ex-NSP activists who are allowing the Chiams to get blood transfusions from them. Set-up a Bishan-Tao Payoh-Potong Pasir* pages and sites and promote the sites to the people living there: be local.

*Prediction that PP will be merged to the Bishan GRC.

Double confirm: PAP TCs treat biz better than residents

In Political governance on 27/02/2015 at 5:04 am

Thanks to the mouthpieces of the WP, TOC and TRE (temporarily I hope), we now know that the Pet Minister in parly circulated a paper that showed that the managing agent’s commercial and residential rates are the same in PAP managed town councils. They say that this is wrong as there is a difference. in PAP areas between the two rates.

So far, I’ve not heard the PAP administration saying that someone made an “honest mistake” and given the correct numbers.

So I have to assume, at the very least, that the administration believes the numbers: that residents and businesses pay the same rate.

So shouldn’t we conclude that the PAP administration is so pro-biz that it charges businesses the same as residents rather than more as is logical? After all businesses are set up to make money for the owners, unlike residents. Isn’t the WP more people friendly by charging residents less, a lot less?

What do you  think?

Update on 1 March 5.45 am: Reader explains that PAP explained whuy numbers same. They claim the figures presented are weighted average. If there are 20,000 residential units and only 200 commercial units, the weighted average would be very close to the residential rate. WP should ask them to present the average rate for commercial.

What the parly debate about AHPETC’s accounts really tell us

In Political governance on 24/02/2015 at 5:09 am

That, Low and gang tot they had a deal with the PAP administration to

“Let sleeping dogs lie”;

“I scratch yr back, you scratch my back”; and

“We both see, hear, talk no evil”?

Taz what I can reasonably conclude after Low told us that the handover in Aljunied was not easy and that the WP faced many problems of the PAP’s making in response to the PAP administration telling us of the problems with AHPETC’s accounts..

As a long time observer of the PAP, his complaints ring true. These problems came as no surprise to those of us who worry that if the PAP loses a general election, the handover to the new govt will not be easy.

What annoys me is that the WP kept quiet over these problems for over two years. Why did it keep quiet? A responsible oppo party who says it’s a co-driver who believes in accountability and transparency, would have publicised much earlier the problems it faced. But it kept silent until after the the PAP administration threw mud at it, in an attempt to fix it. It then started to tell the truth about the handover.

Seems reasonable to conclude that if the PAP had not slimed WP in an attempt to fix it, we would never have been told by the WP of the problems it faced or how dastardly the PAP administration can behave when it loses?

At the very least it shows us the WP was prepared to let sleeping dogs sleep, and sweep matters under the carpet if the PAP didn’t try to fix it.

Could this explain why the WP did not

— call for the nationalisation of the public transport system, a WP manifesto call, when the PAP administration used public funds to buy buses for listcos;

— harass aggressively the PAP administration on the inadequacies of CPF system, Medishield*, education, and the affordability and  timeliness** of public housing;

— ask more questions about corruption in the public service in the light of court revelations?

Could it be that the WP tot they had a deal with the PAP? WP would help PAP wayang voters in return for the PAP keeping mum on the way the WP managed conflicts of interest and the accounts of AHPETC?

The WP couldn’t care less about the “little people” who expected them to be a co-driver, holding the PAP to account?

What do you think?

Was the WP behaving like the Wayang Party rather than the face-slapping co-driver we were promised?

Does the WP realise support for the opposition comes from disenchantment with the PAP administration rather than vote of confidence for itself and the other opposition parties, and cynically using this insight to lead the good life in parliament and the AHPETC?

No matter what it does, it’ll retain enough supporters to enable some members to leave the good life?

What do you think?

And finally to all those WP apologists who made excuses for the WP or claimed that the WP was playing the long game, what say you?

Next polling day, I’ll be travelling. Sorry JJ, I think you are a good guy, but the WP sucks. This is from from someone who voted for the WP when it was made of ex-Woodbridge nutters and bicycle thieves, led by an egoistic wind-bag.

*It’s response to the govt’s answers to the WP’s questions on Medishield was most disappointing. The actuarial consensus seems to be that Medishield’s premiums are a lot higher than they should be given the level of benefits.

**I’ve been told that a couple would have to wait five years, from time of application, to move into a BTO flat. And Khaw says the supply and demand for public housing are almost in balance?


New yr: A feel good vibe is necessary

In Corporate governance, Political governance on 18/02/2015 at 4:43 am

The lunar year is ending badly for the WP.

When someone who is no friend of the PAP administration but who was once part of its security appartus (head of ISD) writes

One of the most glaring lapses is the persistent conflict of interest revealed in the AGO’s report between the Town Council and its managing agents the FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) and the FM Solutions & Integrated Services (FMSI).  How on earth could the husband and wife team of secretary and general manager of the Town Council be the majority owners and proprietor of the managing agents at the same time is the serious conflict of interest problem no amount of explanation that the WP Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang and Chairman Sylvia Lim can give convincingly to pacify the electorate.,

the WP should know that it has problem and it should discount its cheer-teams at TRE and TOC*

My advice to Low is to go to the Quan Im temple in Middle Rd and chiam see tomorrow. I’m sure it’ll tell him to sort out the three lawyers on his team (They constitute 33% of the WP’s parly team). It’ll tell him particularly to ensure that PritamS’s vocal cords are cut and not allowed to heal.

Anyway more, one of these days, about

— how the lawyers let him down;

— were they coerced into silence: what Low wants he gets?

Whatever, either way doesn’t say much about all the four of them.

Anyway, M Ravi should be glad to see the year out, and so should the NSP. The NSP will start the new yr with a team that has Islamic and retro themes. As part of the return to the past theme, expect to see Goh Meng Seng return to the NSP.

Finally it looks like was a gd yr of the PAP. PM’s health problem is behind him

And the PAP must be feeling good for whacking the WP as part of SG50, and a prelude to the new lunar year. And as the whacking being around CNY, it is a good  warm-up to the CNY show.

Wonder if the Lunar show will have a video like this the Chinese are seeing

Of course, if you’re … a Chinese citizen with a dream, the Communist Party would like you to know that “The Communist Party is with you”.

Whether you want to open a diner, or you yearn for a blue sky, a world free of war or a beautiful wife, the message of a promotional video which spread online this week is “Chasing our dreams… and shaping the future together”.

Images of lush countryside interspersed with smiling clowns, farmers and bartenders… I couldn’t help feeling it looked a bit like the kind of TV advert that banks make to reassure you that they are looking after your money, your future and your family.

And missing from the feel good narrative was anyone who gets on the wrong side of the Party by raising problems or demanding rights.

Of course, “our” vision would have the WP, SDP, the Chiams, M Ravi, Maruah missing.

Anyway, have a stress-free good time. And make $ next yr.


*Wonder if TRE and TOC going to get ang pow, abalone dinner from ex Aljunied MA or from WP for being so supportive of WP. Their parroting of the WP line sounds like ST’s parroting of the PAP administration. We know ST staff are well rewarded for selling their souls, but I suspect TOC and TRE staff are selling their souls for free.

GE: Not before end August 2015

In Corporate governance, Political governance, Public Administration on 16/02/2015 at 4:44 am

At the very earliest. My earlier take that it would be in June next yr.

This is my latest guess based on the fact that AHPETC will not get any S&C funds until it can furnish clean accounts by end August 2015. This is what Khaw said:

“Make restitution to the residents for the losses to their town council. Submit a clean set of accounts for FY 2013 to Parliament by Jun 30, 2015. Submit your accounts for FY 2014 on time by Aug 31, 2015. Account to Parliament, account to your residents and those in this House.

“These are not high hurdles. These are the basic requirements for any organisation, for anyone seeking to run for office in any organisation. Every town council has been able to do this, including those run by opposition MPs in the past. This is what supporting the Motion means.”

Actually, they are very high hurdles given that AGO reports

  • Inadequate oversight of related party transactions involving ownership interests of key officers, hence risking the integrity of such payments;
  • Not having a system to monitor arrears of conservancy and service charges accurately and hence there is no assurance that arrears are properly managed;
  • Poor internal controls, hence risking the loss of valuables, unnecessary expenditure as well as wrong payments for goods and services; and
  • No proper system to ensure that documents were safeguarded and proper accounts and records were kept as required by the Town Councils Act.

After the CNY hols, if no-one else has blogged on the matter, I’ll try to explain the problems the WP faces in getting clean audit reports given the AGO’s comments. To tease readers: there needs to be a forensic audit (Guess what PAP rats MPs are calling for?), or a really nasty write-down coupled with a promise to “recover” monies from Low’s friends.

It’s that or allow residents to suffer. Because no govt grant (S&C rebate based on HDB units in the area) until then: “Until the weaknesses are addressed, there can be no assurance that AHPETC’s accounts are accurate and reliable, or that public funds are properly spent, accounted for and managed.”*(AGO)

The issue is will Aljunied voters repent voting WP? Or will they be so annoyed that die-die will support WP. Before answering, do remember that the PAP only needs a 5 percentage points swing to win back the GRC.

Meanwhile Auntie and her Singh will have to haul the garbage bins. Let’s hope they are better cleaners than lawyers. Seriously as a trained lawyer, I’m appalled that they and Chen Show Mao allowed this

  • inadequate oversight of related party transactions involving ownership interests of key officers, hence risking the integrity of such payments


The town council did not fully disclose the related party transactions in its financial statements, nor did it adequately manage the conflicts of interests of related parties arising from ownership interests of its key officers, in contracts amounting to about S$25.9 million in total, the AGO said.

For example, the AHPETC Secretary was the owner of FM Solutions and Integrated Services (FMSI) – one of two companies engaged to carry out managing agent services, as well as essential maintenance and lift rescue (EMSU) jobs. The Secretary, General Manager and Deputy General Manager of AHPETC were directors and shareholders of the other company, FM Solutions and Services (FMSS), the AGO said.

“The key officers of AHPETC who had ownership interests in FMSS and at the same time performed a role (for AHPETC) in approving payments to FMSS were in clear conflicts of interests,” the AGO said. For example, the town council’s General Manager both issued payment claims as director of FMSS while approving the payment as AHPETC staff.

As I said, if this had happened at the club where I was Hon Treasurer, not only would have the Committee been booted out but I’m sure members would have lodged a police report, and complained to the registrar of societies. Btw, a PAP MP was the chairman.

Can readers help me by telling if among the WP’s many words, they apologised for the failure to manage the many conflicts-of -interest better. I can’t find any “We goofed. Sorry.”

For the record: My other election guess in the past (2013)

*Another example of the anti-PAP cyber-nuts’ thinking. When AGO was appointed, the by the PAP administration, they said AGO would clear WP. Now they calling AGO part of “fix” WP team.

Conflicts of interest? What conflicts?

In Corporate governance, Political governance on 10/02/2015 at 4:57 am

Two months ago, I pointed to evidence that indicated that AHPETC did not have an IT monitoring system

Turns out I was spot-on because the Auditor-General pointed out, inter alia, that AHPTEC did not “a system to monitor arrears of conservancy and service charges accurately and hence there is no assurance that arrears are properly managed”.and “No proper system to ensure … proper accounts and records were kept as required by the Town Councils Act.” Trumpets pls.

And what does WP say?

We understand that there will be a motion filed in Parliament to debate the matter on Thursday 12 February 2015.  That being the case, the Town Council will give its response in Parliament.


09 February 2015

Seriously, of all of AGO’s observations*, one to focus on is

  • Inadequate oversight of related party transactions involving ownership interests of key officers, hence risking the integrity of such payments


The town council did not fully disclose the related party transactions in its financial statements, nor did it adequately manage the conflicts of interests of related parties arising from ownership interests of its key officers, in contracts amounting to about S$25.9 million in total, the AGO said.

For example, the AHPETC Secretary was the owner of FM Solutions and Integrated Services (FMSI) – one of two companies engaged to carry out managing agent services, as well as essential maintenance and lift rescue (EMSU) jobs. The Secretary, General Manager and Deputy General Manager of AHPETC were directors and shareholders of the other company, FM Solutions and Services (FMSS), the AGO said.

“The key officers of AHPETC who had ownership interests in FMSS and at the same time performed a role (for AHPETC) in approving payments to FMSS were in clear conflicts of interests,” the AGO said. For example, the town council’s General Manager both issued payment claims as director of FMSS while approving the payment as AHPETC staff.

If this had happened at the club where I was Hon Treasurer, not only would have the Committee been booted out but I’m sure members would have lodged a police report, and complained to the registrar of societies.

Doubtless, WP will give an explanation that will be acceptable to the anti-PAP die-hards, but I hope the WP realises that the rabble does not matter (They’ll vote for any monkey even Roy, M Ravi or New Citizen H3, so long as the monkey is anti-PAP). WP has to give a satisfactory explanation to the swing voters: the 24 –35% of the voters whose minds can be changed.

All to play for, WP. How can a co-driver have moral authority if it lacks integrity?

And if the WP fails to give a decent explanation? Then 2011 GE will be another false dawn: like 1991 GE.

Btw, I’m sure one Goh Meng Seng will soon have something to say. And Eric Tan (remember him?) will be smiling. And rightly so. Though I do wish he’d stop allowing himself to be tagged with anti-WP stuff coming from an ally of the PAP. It makes him look petty, something he is not.

*The Auditor-General highlighted five “major lapses” in governance and compliance:

  • Failure to transfer monies into the sinking fund bank accounts as required by the Town Councils Financial Rules;
  • Inadequate oversight of related party transactions involving ownership interests of key officers, hence risking the integrity of such payments;
  • Not having a system to monitor arrears of conservancy and service charges accurately and hence there is no assurance that arrears are properly managed;
  • Poor internal controls, hence risking the loss of valuables, unnecessary expenditure as well as wrong payments for goods and services; and
  • No proper system to ensure that documents were safeguarded and proper accounts and records were kept as required by the Town Councils Act.

“Until the weaknesses are addressed, there can be no assurance that AHPETC’s accounts are accurate and reliable, or that public funds are properly spent, accounted for and managed.”

Actor sacrificed career, $ to be MP

In Uncategorized on 01/02/2015 at 4:33 am

Of an Oppo party in South Africa.

South African actor Fana Mokoenam … had to put his Hollywood dreams on hold – and has just missed out on what might have been the biggest role of his career.

“I was supposed to be in Interstellar, with Christopher Nolan. I was going to play the scientist. I forget his name. We were in talks about me taking the role, and then this came up,” said Mr Mokoena with a faraway look in his eyes.

The “this” he is referring to is a new job as an MP for South Africa’s newest, brashest political party – the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

For him being a MP was more important than money. Compensation has come in the form of a generous MP’s salary, which Mr Mokoena said was less than he made as an actor.

Well we have one such high-minded person here, who every weekend is busy handing out walking sticks and even wheel chairsto the Pioneer Generation and others.

PAP that incompetent meh? WP trying to match it?

In Uncategorized on 27/01/2015 at 6:49 am

Barely 3 weeks after being co-opted into the PAP’s main decision-making body, MP for Chua Chu Kang steps down, citing “a conflict of interest” with his personal employment position at Ernst and Young which is the PAP’s auditor. (TOC on Saturday)

The PAP’s main decision-making body (the CEC) is the equivalent of a listco’s board of directors.

If a listco appointed someone a director and then found out that he couldn’t be a director, questions would be rightl asked about the competence of the board, the question and the management, and the compliance procedures of the listco.

Is the PAP administration totally confused? I tot PM said elect good people? How can good people make this kind of balls-up? An honest mistake?

Happily for the PAP, the WP decided to match the PAP’s incompetence. It told us that AHPETC lacks is a fully operational computer system to assist AHPETC to do aggregated S&CC arrears reporting in the format required by the Ministry of National Development (MND). In the absence of such a system, all reports submitted to MND before this were prepared by staff based on data generated by AHPETC’s IT system and extracted through manual sorting and counting*.

So this was right Trumpets and rose pretals pls, from those TRE born-losers who curse me as a PAPpy. And PAP Internet SWAT team (headed by above MP), pls send cheque and retainer contract. I’m a lot better than yr Fabrications about PAP team. I appear regularly in TRE.


*But the great news is that WP doesn’t have a 30% arrears problem: AHPETC wishes to announce that its S&CC arrears rate (for 3 months and above) for residential units as of 30 September 2014 is 5.66% of households. The corresponding arrears rate for commercial units for the same period is 7.24%.

We wish to explain that we are sharing the information now rather than earlier, as time was needed to have the data and process reviewed both internally and also by our consultants before release. AHPETC had also undertaken to explain further its arrears situation and management, which we now do.

Our review has found that the above S&CC arrears rates are generated from valid S&CC records that are maintained in the AHPETC’s financial system.

So don’t vote WP if you think they are going to be as heartless as the Pay And pay gang. They juz don’t have a first world IT system.

Bukit Batok rat and his Aljunied cousin compare TCs

In Humour on 16/01/2015 at 4:30 am

The rat infestation episode at Bukit Batok seems to be over – according to Star Pest Control, which carried out the extermination process. (CNA 6 Jan)

But not all the rats were killed. One managed to escape and is staying with his cousin in Aljunied. Here’s a conversation they had after it became public knowledge that AHPETC had sent lawyers’ letters to those in S&C arrears.


Bukit Batok rat: Wah see you also got problem here. Town Council cracking down on delinquent S&C accounts.

Aljunied rat: No sweat brudder. Plenty of time before people like the owner of this dump has to pay up

BB rat: What you mean? Took PAP guys less than a month after residents complained to clean us out. Surely yr town council as efficient?

A rat: This town council is WP town council. Takes time to do anything.S’preans still waiting for 2013 arrears data. Town Council had said in November 2014 that it was processing the data.

My owner has not been paying his bills since 2011. Why you think there’s so much food around. Life is gd here for us rats.

BB rat: Wah so would have been good for us rats if WP had run Bukit Batok.

A rat: Err wait a minute. [Dials his handphone] Hello, Victor, A rat here. My Bukit Batok cousin says that voting for WP is gd for us rats. Didn’t you tell us at the last PA meeting that PAP is good for us rats?

OK will wait for you to call PAP HQ to find out how to rebut my cousin’s logic.



I’ll keep readers posted of what PAP HQ’s answer is.


Rats: Daft S’poreans blamed

In Political governance on 31/12/2014 at 5:08 am

Initially, the big nests of rats in a PAP ward were blamed on stray dogs. After the dogs* fought back (Remember the de facto dog (OK pet minister) has real teeth unlike the ministers for Malays, Indians and Eurasians), the PAP administration via a PAP MP reverted to form by blaming daft S’poreans** living in the area:

Member of Parliament Lim Biow Chuan on Saturday (Dec 27) weighed in on the rat problem at Bukit Batok. He said many do not understand that stray dogs may not finish the food left for them, allowing rats and other pests to flourish.

Mr Lim, member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development and Environment, said: “We should go on an outreach programme to reach out to coffeeshop owners and people living in the area, to say that if they see anyone trying to feed stray dogs, tell them to please make sure that they clear up the food after they have fed the animals. Of course, it’s best if you don’t even feed the animals, because you’re just leaving food around in an unhygienic manner.” (CNA)

I’m sure if the rats’ nests had been in AHPETC, the PAP administration, and its media and NEA allies would be blaming Auntie and her Singh for running the place badly, not daft S’poreans.

But do you think if the problem had arisen in AHPETC, it would have been tackled so speedily and efficently? Remember, ‘We are looking into the arrears data, and will respond to the query on the financial and arrears situation in due course’. Not once, not twice but several times; since a month before Christmas.

What do you think?


*Stray dogs are not to blame for the rat infestation at Bukit Batok, said the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Singapore, pointing instead to members of the public who feed the dogs without cleaning up the leftover food.

In a letter sent to TODAY on Thursday (Dec 25), the SPCA’s executive director Ms Corinne Fong responded to media reports on the cause of the rodent infestation, calling for greater tolerance towards community animals.

She said: “SPCA wishes to dispute the notion that the community dogs are ultimately responsible for the rodent infestation in the area. Many a time, it has been observed that members of the public have been casually feeding the dogs, without actually cleaning up leftover food.”

She added that there is “already a core group of community feeders (and caregivers tending to the dogs’ basic nutritional needs and care) who would be happy to help in resolving any issue concerning the dogs”.


**Actually thinking about it, the PAP did blame S’poreans from the beginning: the dogs are born-and bred here.


SDP right about PSLE streaming/ What works in education

In Uncategorized on 19/12/2014 at 4:26 am

SDP’s right

After the PLSE results came out, I tot Mad Dog Chee had a relapse, when the SDP came out against streaming. I mean what could be a no-brainer than streaming? Don’t students learn faster when students of similar ability are taught in a group.

Seems that SDP is right: Dividing pupils into classes of different abilities is a popular approach to improving standards, but research suggests that it leaves students a month behind those in mixed groups. BBC report


This is a the one finding (see below for other findings) of intensive analysis of data from across the world, part-funded by the Department for Education as part of the What Works Network, and recently published by the British government.

And Dr Chee has form in calling things right. In the 1990s, Dr Chee articulateda  dystopian vision of S’pore. sadly the prophesy is more accurate then the than PAP’s administration or my views of how S’pore would look like today.

Too bad, SDP went AWOL under Dr Chee’s leadership. If only he had WP Low’s patience and wisdom to build up a grass-roots based organisation**. The PAP is always lucky in its enemies. JBJ and Dr Chee then. And Low today.

What works in education

 Doesn’t work

Uniform policy? 

Schools that don’t force pupils into blazers and ties are almost unheard of these days. But the best evidence is that a uniform policy makes no difference to attainment. If anything, it holds students back.

Setting and streaming? 

Dividing pupils into classes of different abilities is a popular approach to improving standards, but research suggests that it leaves students a month behind those in mixed groups.

Teaching assistants? 

Research suggests students in a class with a TA do not, on average, perform better than those in a class with only a teacher.

Longer lessons (block scheduling, in the jargon )? 

The evidence is double-chemistry and triple-maths don’t make for more accomplished chemists and mathematicians.

Repeating a year? 

Giving pupils a chance to repeat a year if they are struggling is not only very expensive – on average, it leaves children four months behind.

So what does work?

Meta-cognition and self-regulation? YES.

… that phrase reflects the most effective way to improve educational outcomes, according to the evidence.

Meta-cognition is often described as “learning to learn” and what it means is giving children a range of strategies they can use to monitor and improve their own academic development. Self-regulation is developing the ability to motivate oneself to learn.

On average, introducing meta-cognition and self-regulation into the classroom has a high impact, with pupils making an average of eight months’ additional progress. That is a phenomenal improvement.


Feedback is information given to pupils about how they are doing against their learning goals. In the workplace it might be part of an appraisal, and the evidence is that a similar approach works wonders in the classroom, increasing educational attainment by around eight months.


If pupils work together in pairs or small groups to give each other explicit teaching support, the results can be dramatic – particularly with youngsters who struggle the most. This isn’t about doing away with teachers, but it seems when working with their peers, children tend to take real responsibility for their teaching and their own learning.

Sometimes the tutoring can be reciprocal, with pupils alternating as tutor and tutee. Cross-age tutoring also has advantages for older and younger participants, it turns out. This intervention, on average, improves student performance by a GCSE grade.

One-to-one adult tutoring is, counter-intuitively, less effective and much more expensive than peer tutoring.

Homework in primary school doesn’t make a lot of difference, nor does mentoring, performance pay for teachers, or the physical environment of the school.

**To be fair, Low had the experience and help of the Barisan Socialists’ activists. BSoc diissolved itself in 1988 and its activists joined WP . They put up with the antics of one JBJ until there was an opportunity to defenestrate him in 2001.

Does AHPETC have a 21st century IT system?

In Uncategorized on 16/12/2014 at 4:53 am

Let alone a world-class town council town council management software package?

Going by

–Auntie’s repeated comments that ‘we are looking into the arrears data, and will respond to the query on the financial and arrears situation in due course’;

— TOC trying to confuse the issue with PAP’s TCs arrears position (TOC talks of arrears but not the time period: going by TOC’s report I suspect it’s one month, which is like comparing TOC to Petir); and

— TRE blaming AIM for depriving AHPETC of a world-class town council management software package,

triple confirms my suspicions that AHPETC does not a proper third-world IT system: there are allegations that some residents have never been billed since WP took over the running of Aljunied. I’ve heard whispers for over a year now that the AHPETC’s managing agent screwed up big time in attempting to scale up the existing Hougang IT system. Notice that the present agent is not offering to provide services under the latest tender. No-one is.

Auntie and Pritam Singh going to do the garbage collection and road sweeping themselves? Btw, heard her boyfriend Quah Kim Song is seeing very little of Auntie these days. He is not a happy man.


*Here I set out my views on arrears collection data as ex-Hon Treasurer of the Saddle Club.

Her replies have not only annoyed me but another blogger who is usually Oppo friendly:

And, pray tell me, Chairwoman Sylvia, how are all your fine legalistic semantics and arguments proof of your party’s idea of First World Parliamentarians in action? Honestly, unless you can come up with a good reason or two, I am actually appalled your party could only blurt out, ‘we are looking into the arrears data, and will respond to the query on the financial and arrears situation in due course’. Not once, not twice but several times. Does it not beg the question what with WP’s credibility at stake, you can’t, don’t want to get additional resources to come up with a credible answer pronto, if not settle the issue and clear any doubts? Pathetic.

Hello, even when yours truly was managing my annual expense budget of less than S$1 million p.a., I have already in place on a quarterly, if not monthly, basis small signposts to flag potential concerns or complications that my boss will want an explanation, if not a resolution to – yeah, BEFORE the issue is raised to me. And here WP is, only ‘looking into the arrears data’ when called to account and after giving your greatest political foes all the right reasons to kick you in the teeth?

Do read the post as the author also castigates PM for using million-dollar ministers to beat-up WP, when they should be serving S’poreans, who pay their salaries,not the PAP.

**TRE forgot to mention that Auntie said it was the plan all along to develop its own system. And AIM had specifically said that if WP had wanted to continue with the AIM system, it was willing to allow it. Err wondering if WP promised TRE a big donation to keep the site going. TOC no longer complains of insufficient money ever since it became more WP than the WP. I make no allegations, juz pointing out two facts that may or may not be related.

Look on the bright side: No wonder PM thinks govt doing a great job

In Economy, Financial competency, Political governance, Property on 11/12/2014 at 6:39 am

Blog E-Jay* posted this on Facebook to prove point that “PAP, will be voting against you again in 2015/2016. Thank you for making my life difficult.”

Well, there are other, reasonable legtimate ways of looking at the chart:

— Wah flat owners got windfall if they willing to retire to Batam or M’sia

— I should have used bonus for one yr to buy 3-room HDB flat for cash in early 90s . Only thing allowed for us oppressed singletons then: maybe taz why I’m so hard on those who KPKB about being discriminated for trivial things like being gay. Only a real sleaze bas got prosecuted by AGC under 377A. Had to client of M Ravi.

— HDB owners so ungrateful: property worth so much all ’cause of SuperLoong and sidekick Mah. Instead of being grateful, HDB owners fret for their children’s inability to afford “affordable” housing. PAP makes them rich, must also make their kids reach. WTF!

Seriously, what the chart tells us is that Ah Loong allowed Mah Bow Tan to screw S’poreans. And he wants us to vote for him? And not to have better checkers than the Worthless Party is now providing. One of these days, I’ll blog on why PM is behaving like scholar Eng, and how two really rich and privileged kids, to the manor born, so to speak, can teach him some humility and common sense. Then maybe, he doesn’t need checkers. In the meantime, we need better checkers than the Worthless Party’s MPs.

But we got to play our party, deprive the PAP of its two-thirds majority.

*Actually, a revised Magnificent 7 list should include him and Uncle Leong [Added at 11.00am]

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.

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.



“News” and “no-news” that annoyed me

In Humour, Malaysia on 07/12/2014 at 4:45 am

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has received a “clean bill of health” from his doctor after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer, and is now back at work. (CNA)

You mean he working? Doing what? Talking cock is work?

2 Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng told CNA that even though he gives people the impression that he is a very active and sociable person, he is actually an introvert.

“I think I give people the impression that I’m a very active, sociable person… doing a lot of things. But I’m actually quite an introvert. Really! It’s just that I’m active online so there are certain posts people remember and they form certain impressions about me,” said Mr Baey chuckling.

As TRE pointed out,  netizens have nicknamed him “Selfie King” because of his penchant for taking photos of himself at various events and at every opportunity, posting them online. He frequently makes postings of himself on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, sometimes multiple times a day.

3 Bit rich, what coming from a M’sian publication that is in same group as NST which promote special rights for the “right” race:.

“What does this policy say to us? That Filipinos can be maids but not servers? Indians are good for being construction coolies but we don’t want to see them as hotel staff? This is why you see Mandarin-speaking servers struggling to pronounce Palak Paneer across the curry houses of Singapore.”

I was juz talking to a retired Bumi financier and he was musing that Bank Negara has never had a Chinese governor, despite many capable deputy Chinese governors.

4 In an interview, PM Lee said that his children “have not yet” expressed an interest to enter politics.

When asked if he would influence or encourage his children to join politics, Mr Lee said, “They will have to make choices.”

“Every child is different. Of course parents would wish for their children to be successful but they all have different natures. Some may be more interested in arts while others could be keen on computing or science. This is something that will have to be developed based on their preferences.” (PM Lee was interviewed by Yang Lan on Beijing Satellite TV while he was in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit last month but aired here last Sunday)

So he telling us that he trying to persuade one of his sons to go go into politics? Like the way LKY persuaded him to get into politics? To be fair to him, the rumours are that that his wife has political ambitions for one of her sons. It’s also rumoured that his bro’s wife has political ambitions for one of her sons. Rumours also say that the bros are really relaxed about their sons not wanting to S’pore.

The absence of reports on the following is

Last Saturday was another Return Our CPF gig at Hong Lim Green. The MSM didn’t report it. But neither did TOC, ot TRE or Roy and New Citizen H3. So did anyone turn up?

And still no word from the WP on the arrears issue. Mgt systems must really be lousy.

And I’m surprised Goh Meng Seng is not attacking WP on this issue. But then maybe he focuses only on of inconsequential matters, not serious issues.

Now this had me smiling: Roy says  he is stopping blogging. His verbal diarrhea finally sucumbed to SingHeath’s tablets. (subsidised)?

But then Roy talks cock? Remember his research that PM stole our CPF money? Then he said he was talking rubbish and that the allegation wasn’t true?

Have a gd week.

Btw, if this post sounds familiar it’s ’cause I first posted something similar on Friday. Something went wrong and it disappeared. It ended up between two posts, days ago. So I reposted it with some amendments.

Worthless Party living up to its name?

In Uncategorized on 24/11/2014 at 12:38 pm

TOC, the  ‘defacto” Petir and ST of the WP, carried the following announcement this morning

Taking a break, looking for money

Starting this week, expect less content to be posted on The Online Citizen, as the directors of The Opinion Collaborative Ltd focus our attention on securing funding for the website.

Our funds are extremely low, as subscriptions have not been forthcoming and donations have dwindled. Whatever funds we have left now would be directed towards maintaining our web server, to keep the website online.

The budget crunch has affected the editorial operations in TOC. The full-time editorial team is living on fumes and passion to keep the website operational. While we attempt to secure the budget required for the smooth continuation and maintenance of an efficient news outfit, you may see a reduction of postings in the coming weeks.

Please bear with us with the slow down in content production.

Well despite all the help TOC has been providing WP in disseminating the truth (three cheers) and, sadly, para truths about the  AHPeTC saga, WP senior cadres are not stepping in in their personal capacity to help a friend in need?

Can those of us who voted for WP expect any better from WP in future, given how they treat an active ally and friend.

What do you think?


*Meanwhile, you can help us by:

1) Subscribing to TOC – by downloading the form, here, completing it and sending it to us; or

2) Donating to TOC by cheque – made payable to “The Opinion Collaborative Ltd” and sent to The Online Citizen, 20 Maxwell Road #09-17, Maxwell House, Singapore 069113; or

3) Donating to TOC by bank or ATM transfer – to DBS current account, bank code 7171, account number 04890-4435-7.

Please note that, under the Media Development Authority’s regulations for TOC Ltd, all donations to TOC must be accompanied by your name and identification number. Donations without these details will be reserved for TOC Ltd’s future projects.

AHPeTC: Sadly PAP IB gets it right

In Political governance on 23/11/2014 at 9:35 am

It’s with sadness and sorrow that I have to agree with The Fabrications about the PAP, the purveyor of night-soil and other garbage about the WP, other oppo parties and anyone who disagrees with the PAP*. This was posted late yesterday on facebook:

Today Pritam Singh & Png Eng Huat issue a statement saying nothing meaningful, repeating the same line that they “are looking into the S&CC arrears data”. What it means is AHPeTC are still taking its time to manually sort and count the data from the 55000 households.

They said they “will respond to the query on the financial and arrears situation in due course.” Well, the 70% residents still paying to subsidise the non-paying ones, Why Pay? AHPeTC can expect to get your payment in “due course” too.

Meanwhile, all tax-payers are paying to cover the shortfall in AHPeTC through the MND S&CC grant and S&CC GST Subvention grant, why should we pay if AHPeTC can manage with 30% less collection.

2012, Sylvia Lim said WP will pay special attention to address arrears problem.

April 2013, they report sudden spike in arrears, then immediately stop reporting.

Oct 2014, arrears red flag again. They now say “let us check, let us check”, “be patient”


The fact that the WP cannot assure that the arrears position has improved since March last year is worrying.

And having to take so long to give an answer to the allegation of a collection problem in the first quarter of last yr is doubly worrying. My Facebook avater (now barred from commenting on TOC’s Facebook again) posted (Apologies for his bad grammar) on Soul of S’pore

Having been an Hon Treasurer of members club where members bills were between $600-1,000 monthly, with only a full time accounts clerk and outsourced accounting systems supporting the GM, I always got an explanation for the arrears position as a matter of routine. That WP TC has to look into the details before answering is itself worrying. Whatever happened to the routine mgt accounting systems? Three months and more arrears should be routinely flagged and monitored.

Btw, readers might like to know that the chairman of the club then was a PAP MP. He never bothered me with financial queries. He left me to do my job and I didn’t let the members down. Maybe the WP left everything to Tai Vie Shun (alleged to be FT from M’sia)? Cze and Alex Au fingered him in HawkerGate.


*PAP denies anything to do with FATPAP but

PAP voter refusing to pay S&C cont’d

In Political governance on 21/11/2014 at 4:55 am
TRE republished this and below are three great responses to the PAppy’s reasoning on why he refuses to pay S&C charges: he didn’t vote for the WP and he and other PA PAP supporters want to use non-payment to force the WP out of Aljunied GRC.

WP should send people to scout the homes that don’t pay their S&CC. If homes are well furnished and no sign of poverty, must be PAP supporters who deliberately refuse to pay. After a month or two, cut of their power and water supply and charge them extra admin and penalty cost. No need for lawyer letter and waste money paying the lawyer fee like what pap town councils do.


This Idiot words:
” I am an Aljunied resident living with my parents. Lately, due to some disagreements I had with the TC, I have been asking my parents not to pay the S&C fees. My reasoning is simple. Why should we pay to an administration body that we did NOT vote for??? Let those people who voted for them pay for them.

I can only imagine the sheer number of people who feels the same way. I hope these people continue to withhold payment and hopefully we can shame the Workers Party out of parliament.

Why can’t Aljunied have a “normal” and competent town council like other constituencies??”

I can say that he should eat the rubbish in his mouth. National Processed Bills are to be observed whether in opposition or ruling party ward. It must be some uneducated bums who made this statement and a shame to the country.

It has been suggested that the writer is a member of the anti-PAP cyber warriors brigade, pretending to be a PAPpy. He could be but I think not because, Why can’t Aljunied have a “normal” and competent town council like other constituencies??, seems to have a ring of authenticity about it. Normality and competency is equated with PAP rule by die-die PAPpiess.. Anything else is abnormal and incompetent. It could be the PM speaking at a PAP election rally, or Temasek’s chairman at a PAP PA organised function in Aljunied.

Finally, while the WP’s cont’d silence on explaining the arrears is worrying (PritamS deleted the files? An “honest mistake”?*) so is Khaw’s and other ministers’ silence on the PAPpy’s rationale for not paying:

Samuel S:

Can PAP ministers, especially KBW, please comment if it is right for those pro-PAP not paying S&C. This is important and must quickly communicate to all citizens in this Singapore.


*Seriously as the Honorary Secretary of a club, that only had one full time accounts clerk and a part-time accountant, I could easily access financial data such as arrears collection. The delay in explaining what happened could be because the records are in a mess, or that mgt wasn’t reading the reports produced.

As to the deficit, I await the WP’s comments. TOC’s piece on the deficit sounds like Roy’s research on CPF, full of para-facts. Standards have dropped at TOC, I’ve informed TOC. Since the return of a co-founder, TOC has become to the WP what Patir and Fabs about the PAP are to the PAP administration.


Why WP Low is silent about almost everything/ Silence is no longer golden

In Political governance on 20/11/2014 at 4:18 am

Amended on 21 November 6.40pm to reflect MND’s explanation of the law. My “honest mistake”).

“[I]t is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood: there will always be some who misunderstand you”, Karl Popper*, an influential philosopher of the 2oth century said.

PAP’s ministers (think Desmond Lee**) and elders (think Temasek’s chairman**, and ex-minister and ex-NTUC leader), Roy Ngerng and Goh Meng Seng should memorise Karl Popper’s words because they talk too much cock. .

It’s obvious that WP Low, the man of Tao, takes these words to heart and opts to remain silent most of the time: he cannot be misunderstood because there is nothing to misunderstand seems to be his reasoning.

Trouble is that the silence of Low (and by extension that of the WP because it too practices silence, even PritamS) nowadays is itself is now being interpreted, given its number of MPs and NCMPS it has; often in ways that don’t flatter. Example from TRE sometime back

ake the AIMgate for example. They knew of AIM but kept quiet until they were given bad report. Then started to talk of AIM in disjointed way. Took netizens in particular Alex Au and Voiddecker and Lucky Tan to marshall the arguments. If this my watch-dog, I’d put it down for not doing its job. If this my jaga, I’d sack him, suspecting he bakat-bakat with robbers. Choice of term co-driver is apt. He is part of team: Team PAP that is.

“I am pleased that all the Prime Minister has to say about the WP is to lament that we have not done enough in Parliament.” ~WP chief Low Thia Khiang telling us he pleased with KPI that PM and him agreed behind “closed doors”****

So I hope the WP will soon explain why arrears collection in its area is so bad***. It’s taking too long time to get the facts, something Auntie is saying WP will do before commenting. PritamS deleted the relevant files? An honest mistake, or  the usual incompetency from Mr Singh?


*Another saying, one that encapsulates his contribution to intellectual thought, particularly the philosophy of science, “No number of sightings of white swans can prove the theory that all swans are white. The sighting of just one black one may disprove it.”

Scientists now look for black swans and if they cannot find any, they can feel reasonably confident that their theory is right, although not yet proved. It is, in the present state of knowledge, the best approximation to the truth.

**”Before merger, Aljunied had an operating surplus of $3.3m. Within two years, the merged AHPETC’s financial position has deteriorated rapidly. The operating surplus of $3.3m Aljunied had in FY10 had turned into an operating deficit of $734,000 in FY12, ” Desmond Lee.

Temasek’s chairman said the same thing. Mr Lim Boon Heng said that the WP-run town council’s (AHPETC) swing from an operating surplus to a deficit in the short span of 3 years is worrying. “It begs many questions,” he told reporters.

Well they ignored the fact that the WP did not inherit any surplus. Rightly, the surplus after an election has been locked up to ensure prudence. .

According to the Town Council  Act if after an election, the new MPs are from the same political party as those of the previous town council, then 80% of its surpluses shall be transferred to the sinking fund.

If, however, as in the case of Aljunied, the new MPs elected are from a different political party, then “all its surpluses” – ie, 100% of the surpluses – “shall be transferred to the prescribed sinking funds of the Town Council.”, Section 34 (4) of the act, should the area of a town be changed due to electoral boundary changes, the 80% and not 100% figure applies.

Under the Act, it states: “Where the boundaries of any constituency within a Town are altered under the Parliamentary Elections Act and there is an election in any or every new constituency so formed …  the Town Council shall transfer 80% of its surpluses to the prescribed sinking funds of the Town Council.”

***The charge by MND is that the “sharp decline” in the S&CC arrears situation in AHPETC as being “of grave public concern”. Aljunied’s S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6% in FY10 to 8.4% in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. This was significantly above the national norm of about 3%, the MND noted.

The arrears rate rose further to 29.4% at the end of April 2013. “From May 2013, the TC stopped submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report altogether, despite repeated reminders.”

To me as an honorary club treasurer, once upon a time, this doesn’t look gd. But the devil is in the details. So I’ll not pass judgement on the WP until I hear its side of the story. But its silence is deafening.

****He goes on, A good guard dog need not be the loudest barker. Most loud barkers are mad dogs and will either give you rabies or get put down if the neighbours don’t call the police or poison the dog first. If I want to have a good guard dog guarding my home and family, I’d get one that is smart and sensitive and knows how to protect my family best. That said, I certainly won’t vote in anyone I deem as volatile to represent me in parliament and to run my country. I will vote in someone with heart and think for the country while having a rational, guided and dignified approach. In any debates and arguments, the one who loses the temper first loses his audience. WP is matured and rational. They bid their time proper. If they eventually have to run the country, that’s how the people can trust them to do so.

PAP voter stops paying S&C charges to force out WP/ Oppo supporters shld imitate?

In Uncategorized on 14/11/2014 at 4:16 am

In response to this, the following was posted by someone who it seems voted for the PAP in Aljunied and who refuses to accept the election result and refuses to pay his S&C fees:

I am an Aljunied resident living with my parents. Lately, due to some disagreements I had with the TC, I have been asking my parents not to pay the S&C fees. My reasoning is simple. Why should we pay to an administration body that we did NOT vote for??? Let those people who voted for them pay for them.

I can only imagine the sheer number of people who feels the same way. I hope these people continue to withhold payment and hopefully we can shame the Workers Party out of parliament.

Why can’t Aljunied have a “normal” and competent town council like other constituencies??

Someone responded

‘why should I pay for a TC that I did not pay for?” that very same logic, then 40% of us can also stop paying for all our taxes to a govt that we didn’t vote for lah! Apparently PAP voters are even more nincompoop.

By the way, SMRT during Saw Phiak Hwa’s time also boasted a good corporate governance. What shit does that do for the consumers in terms of service and safety delivery?

But I’ll leave the last word to the PAP voter.

Don’t be stupid. When did I say you can don’t pay your taxes? I’m talking about S&C charges, paid to a party-run town council. NOT taxes, which is paid to IRAS, a non-partisan statutory board. The two are DIFFERENT things. IRAS will always be around, regardless of who governs. PAP does not own IRAS. But AHPETC (what a stupid acronym) will be gone once Worker’s Party is voted out. Please don’t compare apples and oranges. Clear??

Wonder if he has cleared this with the chairman of the PAP, who is also the MND minister. Or is he like Jason Chua of Fabrications about the PAP, both disowned by the PAP yet where a PAP MP has “pull”.

I reproduce the MND grading so that readers can decide if the WP estate is as well run or worse than a PAP one.



PAP administration scores own goal?

In Financial competency, Political governance on 11/11/2014 at 5:03 am

(Update on 12 november 2014 at 4.30am; U/m makes a mistake (“an honest mistake”) in assuming that “yellow” in the table means “gold” or “best”. It actually is an “amber” sign”. Hence the amendments shown.)

Don’t the MND KPIs show WP has a “heart of gold” and competency while proving that the competent PAP town councils have hearts of granite?

This is a plausible reasonable view despite the framing by wannabe Sith Lord turned wannabe Jedi Knight as“I wonder what is more important to the Aljunied/Hougang voter : the need for a contrarian voice in Parliament or a well-run housing estate.”. She is ignoring the fact that the one and only WP estate is as well run as any PAP estate by the three KPIs that should matter to residents: even better than some including the PM’s very own estate. But then she was once upon a time a serious contender to be ST’s editor.

First a reminder of waz the issue is all about.

The bureaucrats in a ministry (MND) in the PAP administration failed the one and only WP town council on two KPIs out of  five  devised by said bureaucrats and the governing party: arrears collection and governance.

Methinks, that the WP’s results will make voters reflect hard on whether

— “The PAP will always be on Singapore and Singaporeans’ side.”

— “The PAP will always do its best for Singapore and Singaporeans.”

(PM on 7 November)

As far as governance, the issue is a very technical accounting issue (which may or may not have financial implications, that may be serious or not) and the WP is playing hard ball. But then wimps* too sometimes have their boiling points. And whatever the PAP and stooges allies may say, this “red” card doesn’t affect the daily lives of residents.

As to the issue of arrears collection, the charge by MND is that the “sharp decline” in the S&CC arrears situation in AHPETC as being “of grave public concern”. Aljunied’s S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6% in FY10 to 8.4% in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. This was significantly above the national norm of about 3%, the MND noted.

The arrears rate rose further to 29.4% at the end of April 2013. “From May 2013, the TC stopped submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report altogether, despite repeated reminders.”

To me as an honrary club treasurer, once upon a time, this doesn’t look gd. But the devil is in the details. So I’ll not pass judgement on the WP until I hear its side of the story. But its silence is deafening.

Here’s what the PAP should be afraid of: what if LKY’s “daft” S’poreans decide

Those running AHPETC must have hearts of gold to hold back from driving those unable to pay to the wall. Thus demonstrating a caring spirit that others only mouth.?

And not the right views of

Would this seeming inability to collect what is due to the AHPETC make them shake their heads and vow never should this brand of incompetency be allowed to run our country?

Or would the revelations make some among the discerning voters think one or all of the following:

1) There must be a concentration of poor people in AHPETC

2) There must be a concentration of canny skivvers in AHPETC who are able to keep delaying paying what they owe

3) Those who want to be successful should move far away from AHPETC for poverty and dishonest skivving could be as infectious as SARS

On the KPIs of cleanliness and lift performance it was second to none: being equal to PAP estates. In estate maintenance it was better than five PAP managed councils, including PM’s very own AMK.

So based on MND’s KPIs, one can reasonably conclude that

Those running AHPETC must have hearts of gold to hold back from driving those unable to pay to the wall. Thus demonstrating a caring spirit that others only mouth; and

— The WP is juz as competent, if not better, than any PAP town council in providing services.

Oh what a tangle web we weave …

Related post:


Arrears collection, governance: Aljunied voters will decide

In Political governance on 06/11/2014 at 5:59 am

So, the bureaucrats in a ministry (MND) in the PAP administration failed the one and WP town council in two KPIs devised by said bureaucrats and the governing party: arrears collection and governance.

As far as governance, the issue is a very technical accounting issue (which may or may not have financial implications, that may be serious or not)  and the WP is playing hard ball. But then wimps* too sometimes have their boiling points. And whatever the PAP and stooges allies may say, this “red” card doesn’t affect the daily lives of residents.

As to the issue of arrears collection, the charge by MND is that the “sharp decline” in the S&CC arrears situation in AHPETC as being “of grave public concern”. Aljunied’s S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6% in FY10 to 8.4% in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. This was significantly above the national norm of about 3%, the MND noted.

The arrears rate rose further to 29.4% at the end of April 2013. “From May 2013, the TC stopped submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report altogether, despite repeated reminders.”

Well going by the figures, there seems to a serious arrears problem. The issues are is it a serious problem and if so why has it arisen, are steps necessary to bring it down, and are they being taken. The WP should explain and not simply repeat a variation of Low famous saying, by asking “Problem? What Problem?”

But at the end of the day, if the people the GRC, especially those who are paying their bills regularly, are willing for the community to bear the costs resulting from a 30% arrears situation so be it. After all, the people in Hougang have had to put up with the financial costs of voting WP despite paying their fair share of national taxes.

Maybe on this issue, the residents may not to be like the residents of Potong Pasir, MND also indicated that Potong Pasir Town Council, which reverted back to PAP control after 2011 GE, has improved its S&CC collections. Its arrears management improved from 4.2% last year to 3.7% this year. That means presently, a smaller number of households in Potong Pasir are owing conservancy charges to the town council.


*TRE post


We as paymasters elected WP mps to represent n voice our daily concerns in parliament

When WP has 1 or 2 mps we have charitably forgive their failures year I year out

No more excuses when they have close to 10 MPs

Either they perform or we as their paymaster boot them out with another opposition team

How many more years we can wait WP provide real check n balance or instal new govt to steer Singapore back to right direction to SERVE Govern in best interest of all Singaporean

What Hui Hui & WP have in common

In Uncategorized on 13/10/2014 at 4:29 am

PritamS (plays footie with PAP MPs and wants a coalition with the PAP), Yaw (remember him? I hope Mrs Yaw hasn’t repented of her decision to stand by her man.) and Hui Hui are from Jurong Junior college.

I’m sure ISD is monitoring the teachers there. Two WP MPs and one young crow from the same JC is worrying for the future prosperity of S’pore.

Teachers in JJC should be afraid, very afraid. Actually whoever is responsible for civic responsibility should be proud of having two WP MPs as old boys, though concerned about Hui Hui’s inability to tell the truth, and Yaw’s philandering. And so should the person who tot General Paper to Hui Hui. Go read her blog. She can’t think logically and rationally.

Update at 4.49am: Came across this disliked TRE post which sums up my views on KPKB Princess


what is wrong with HHH?

She has a persecution complex. When she wears the T-shirt that says “WANT TO SUE ME” , she is really challenging the authorities to take strong actions against her and she will go out to create trouble, even if means disrupting an event for the less fortunate to achieve her aims.

This girl has shown time and again that she will exaggerate and lie to get public sympathy and support. as much as I support a credible moderate opposition, I think HHH is nothing but a mindless trouble-maker and doing much to destroy the credibility of opposition.

I urge the government to rise up to her challenge and SUE her.

Hear, hear.

Btw, another reason why I dislike her is because as quai lan person she is always trying to avoid the consequences of her actions.

Want to be quai lan, have to accept the consequences of one’s actions. “Live by the sword, be prepared to die by the sword,” has been one of my mottoes.


Setting straight SPH’s tale on WP “discontent”

In CPF, Political governance on 01/08/2014 at 4:39 am

I refer to this “Discontent among WP’s old guard” in the New Paper. Typical of “constructive, nation-building” media. When the PAP changes members of the management team, the media praise it  for” self renewal”, “New blood”. when an Oppo party does the same thing the emphasis is on “discontent”, splits of the losers, malcontents.

I was going to deconstruct the article, given that I’m not too well-informed on the WP’s internal workings (My Morocco Mole has his agenda when telling me stuff. And he had a howler ). But my FB avatar came across a detailed analysis (deconstruction and factual) on FB by a WP member. As we didn’t ask permission, I will not name the person. But if she wants to be named, I will amend this piece to give credit where credit is due.

The New Paper published a report masquerading as a factual analysis of the dynamics at this year’s Organising Members Conference held at the Workers’ Party HQ on 27 July 2014. The article was mischievous and misleading. But more importantly, errors were aplenty. The following are my brief comments.

1. A binary between veterans and younger members who hold degrees was constructed. Supposed “facts” were thrown into this binary framework to create a seamless understanding of what has transpired and to provide analysis of and/ or an account of the situation.

In the article, John Yam and Somasundaram are conveniently labelled as part of the “old guard”. In that case, it appears that both of them were labelled as such due to their physical age in relative to the previous council members who were voted out, such as Ng Swee Bee and Koh Choong Yong who are in their 30s and early 40s respectively, rather than their experience in the Party. If the journalist had done his research, he would have realised that John Yam and Somasundaram joined the Party in 2009 and 2006 respectively. They are in no way “veterans” alluded to by the journalist as being “around for more than 15 years.” In fact, Swee Bee has been in the Party for the last 10 years, longer than John Yam and Somasundaram.

In listing down the reasons for the unhappiness of the “veterans”, he cited that “newer and younger members who hold degrees are preferred over veterans. In that case, the two “older members” who were elected does not in any way fit this caricature. Dr. John Yam holds a PhD and Mr. Somasundaram holds a Masters degree. Swee Bee on the other hand, for the longest time since she joined the Party in 2004 did not have a university degree, but she has been holding the position of Organising Secretary for many years.

The journalist also pointed out that former members, “Mr. Mohamed Fazli Talip and Sajeev Kamalasanan” were veterans of the Party. They were not. Fazli joined the Party in and around 2009/ 2010 and Sajeev joined the Party in 2006. To put it into perspective, Swee Bee and Choong Yong joined the Party in 2004 and 2006 respectively. This binary of “veterans”/ “old guard” vis-a-vis the younger and educated members is clearly misleading and in his attempts to construct a “Other” in the Party, does more harm than good in helping readers of The New Paper understand what had transpired at 216G, Syed Alwi Road on 27 July 2014 and more importantly, the implications/ significance of the new Council in the lead up to the next General Election.

The fundamental point is this. The journalist contradicted himself with the use of the terms “old guard” and “veterans” to mean the same group of people or to construct a faction within the Party from thin air. As he writes on, even he became confused.

2. The journalist displays his lack of understanding of the operations and functions of the Workers’ Party. He did not bother to do his research and check his facts.

The Workers’ Party do not and would not parachute in their candidates. In the article, it was pointed out “candidates are parachuted in, despite not having walked the ground.” Anyone with a basic understanding of the Workers’ Party knows that this is not true at all. The journalist would also be interested to note that the Workers’ Party fielded an ITE graduate at the 2006 elections.

The reasons for Dr. Poh Lee Guan’s sacking, Mr. Eric Tan’s resignation (why Mr. Gerald Giam was made NCMP ahead of Mr. Eric Tan) and the earlier resignations of Mr. Fazli Talip and Mr. Sajeev were made clear to members, cadres and non-cadres at the annual members seminar of the Party. In particular, Mr. Low had explained to the entire membership the reasons as to why candidates were not guaranteed a cadreship. This point was consistently explained to the membership whenever it was brought at internal meetings. For the case of Dr. Poh Lee Guan, Mr. Low had made the reasons clear in his interview with the press after the nomination of Mr. Png Eng Huat during the 2012 Hougang by-elections.

Thus, the journalist was simply mischievous in attempting to illustrate a lineage of discontent and dissatisfaction in the Party. He accepted the comments of these former members at face-value, without trying to better understand the respective motivations/ intentions of these former members. Not too sure whether this is journalism or gossip.

3. “How bad was it?” / “Is there a split?”

In situating his piece in the context of an election drama and an internal party split, the journalist tried his utmost to fit his analysis with the gossip and rumours he picked up with members at the coffeeshop under the party’s headquarters. He had no intention to put up a accurate report.

4. The journalist do not understand the historical context behind Sylvia Lim’s statement.

Sylvia Lim told the cadres that the “WP could not afford to have internal problems or disunity.” Any responsible political party with an understanding of the period in Singapore’s political history (1991 – 1997, Singapore Democratic Party) would make a similar appeal to its members. A quick search would also find Lee Hsien Loong emphasising party unity to his members.

If a political party was nothing but a monolith, with the entire membership parroting the leadership, then I guess something is really wrong. It probably would be inherently broken. As a member of the Party, I am glad to say that this is not the case. The Workers’ Party is growing, its membership is growing and with that will come more competitive internal party elections. Different individuals with different views, ideological inclinations and backgrounds and experiences join the Party at different junctures in their lives. This can only be good for the long term development of a Party. As the case of Mr. Yaw Shin Leong and Dr. Poh Lee Guan had clearly shown, no one is above the institutions and standing orders laid down in the Workers’ Party. WP is a professional organisation and a well-oiled political machinery.

By the way, I attended the conference last Sunday. There were more cadres than the physical space at HQ would allow. It was packed, very packed. No wonder WP needs a new HQ for its continued growth and development. I like to think that this is not very newsworthy for The New Paper.

BTW, I’m sure that TRE ranters who call me a PAP mole, ISD person will say this post confirms what they have been saying, ’cause it sides with the WP. For the record, I think the SDP has the best policies for S’pore, 10-15 yrs into the future. It’s the only party that talks about

De-couple housing and healthcare from CPF.

The major reason why Singaporeans are left with insufficient retirement funds is because the PAP gives Singaporeans no choice but to use what is their retirement money to pay for their HDB flats and hospital expenses.

The SDP plan ensures that HDB flats are sold without the inclusion of land cost (see here) and that the Government stops profiting from healthcare (see here) In this way, our CPF savings are left unmolested for retirement.

Solving the problems around retirement, public housing and healthcare require solving all three issues together.

Yes, yed, I know that in the long term, the SDP’s retirement and healthcare policies will be very expensive for S’poreans but

The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again.

Here’s an explanation of what Keynes meant:by Simon Taylor

Keynes wrote this in one of his earlier works, The Tract on Monetary Reform, in 1923. It should be clear that he is not arguing that we should recklessly enjoy the present and let the future go hang. He is exasperated with the view of mainstream economists that the economy is an equilibrium system which will eventually return to a point of balance, so long as the government doesn’t interfere and if we are only willing to wait. He later challenged that view in his most important work The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1935). arguing that the economy can slip into a long term underemployment equilibrium from which only government policy can rescue it.




Want a Pekatan here? It’s disunited

In Political governance on 21/07/2014 at 4:58 am

(Since I had posts on Sat and Sunday giving little known details on the MAS tragedy (herehere, here and here, largely extracts from BBC reports), I tot I’d continue the M’sian theme, today and tom.)

There has been a lot of noise that S’porean Oppo parties should unite (actually the term should be “confederate”) like M’sia’s DAP, PAS and TeamAnwar under the Pakatan banner*.

Those calling for this kind of alliance should have their heads examined by the doctor treating M Ravi for bi-polarism. (related article:

Confederating the SDP and WP is like the DAP and PAS fighting under one umbrella, a recipe for disunity in unity.

Rowing over chopping of limbs and stoning

The PAS several months ago wanted to introduce a law in Kelantan (their state) introducing Hudud, or Islamic penal practices. Hudud prescribes punishments such as amputation of limbs for theft and stoning for adultery..

The DAP, a secular and liberal (even though it was founded as the PAP’s M’sian Trojan Horse), was more than upset

Lim Kit Siang (the DAP’s LKY) has repeatedly said that that Pakatan could split over the issue**.

The PAS has postponed the tabling of a private member’s Bill in Parliament, which would have paved the way for the implementation of hudud, the Islamic penal code, in the north-eastern state of Kelantan.The postponement was to give sufficient time to a technical committee — proposed by the govt and involving both the federal and state governments — to examine how best to enforce hudud in PAS-governed Kelantan.

Many in the DAP are sore because they claim that the May by-election in Teluk Intan was lost because of non-Muslim worries over the hudud.

WP, SDP are poles apart

In S’pore while the SDP, NSP, the Chiams and WP are multi-racial (Yes, yes I know some Indians dispute that the WP is multi-racial, they want it to be run by Indians like it once was when it had candidates who looney and bicyle thieves) and secular parties, there are big differences. The WP portrays itself as a more compassionate, moderate version of the PAP, while the SDP positions itself as what in the West would be called a Social Democrat party with leftist tendencies. The Chiams and NSP are in between. The other parties are a joke esp the JBJ Remembrance Party, and the two parties led by scholars who didn’t make it into the PAP. The two scholars and s/o JBJ only became politicians when it was safe to do so.

Furthermore, the WP has made it clear that it is not in a position to be the govt, and has no interest in being part of an alternative coalition. The NSP has indicated that it is not ready to be the govt, while leaving the possibility of being in a coalition unsaid. The Chiams are happy to be part of a alt coalition govt. The SDP thinks it can form the govt but knows that it would never win enough votes to get a majority. And anyway, we know Dr Chee can go whacko, if his RI doctors are not vigilant.

How the WP and SDP can confederate under one party is beyond me.

Chop system works

We actually have quite a gd system here of opposing the PAP. Problem is that only 25-30% support the Oppo parties. And 70% of voters are comfortable with two ex-PAP stalwarts to give them their votes in PE 2011. And the ex-PAP member who dissed the PAP lost his deposit.

As I see it, leg lifting to mark territory or, to use more polite language, the system whereby the party that contests in a previous election (once upon a time, as recent as 2006, there were uncontested GRCs) is not challenged is working pretty well and serving S’poreans’ interests given the 60-70% support that the PAP has.

The system is not perfect and the WP interprets it on the basis of “might is right”. But hey it’sw the only oppo party that kept on going thru the 90s and noughties.

1963 revisited?

The danger in the next GE is that Team TJS (Singaporeans First), JBJ Remembrance Party, and Pwee Gang ( Democratic Progressive Party, DPP). will stand as third party candidates in areas where the Chiams, NSP, WP or SDP have a decent chance of winning. This is something I’m sure the PAP is expecting to happen, and will do its best to make sure happens.

S’pore has been here before. Here’s an extract of a letter to a British magazine written after the 1963 elections

We [Barisan Socialists] won thirteen seats at the elections, averaging 15.000 votes to each seat. The PAP won thirty- seven seats, averaging 7,000 votes to each seat. The United People’s Party, whose function was to split the left-wing votes, campaigned on a programme that was somewhat similar to ours but more extremely put. Only their leader, Mr. Ong Eng Guan, was elected. We received 201,000 votes (35 per cent) and the PAP 272,000 votes (47 per cent). The difference is only 70,000 votes out of a total electorate of nearly 500,000. The UPP took away 49,000 votes (8 per cent), causing us the loss of seven con- stituencies (apart from Mr. Ong’s), and saved four PAP Ministers from defeat.

So for those who want an end to the PAP’s hegemony in parly (self included), let us make it clear to the three stooges, TJS, Pwee and s/o JBJ, and the SDA: “Don’t fight in any constituency where the SDP, WP, Chiams, NSP fielded candidates in the last GE”. Pwee and YJS go play in KenJ’s or SDA’s playpens. They don’t respect the “chop” rules and have lost deposits as a result.

And tell Tan Kim Lian and Goh Meng Seng not to contest. If not for their clowning antics, we could have had Dr Tan Cheng Bock as president.



We all feel buoyant and almost confident that the next GE will see a change in Government. Either PAP will be decimated, become the opposition party or lose its two third majority in parliament.

But lets not jump the gun just yet. There is a lot of ground work that needs to be done. Especially with the present group of opposition parties.

The present situation does not look too good. We have too many Opposition Parties such as WP, SDP, RP, NSP, PKMS, SP and etc. When PAP flatters in the next GE, we the citizens of Singapore want to be assured that our lives will go on as usual with some minor hiccups initially, but will normalise and in the coming months and years improve with the new Government. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT ALL SINGAPOREANS MUST BE SURE OF.

We do not want an Egypt or Iraq. We will be put off if we cannot see this clearly insight before we start to vote for better future without PAP’s overbearing control of our lives. When the opposition takes over the government and when there are too many Political Parties forming the government, this government will be weak. A coalition of such parties will be easily attacked and made weak, especially by the PAP who may be the opposition in Parliament. It will be easy for them to play the various parties against each other.

This will surely cause the coalition government to be very weak. A weak government cannot be an effective government to bring Singapore and its citizens forward to a better future.


This is much like the Barisan Nasional (National Front) and the Pakatan Rakyaat (People’s Coalition) of Malaysia. Both of them went into the GE as single parties.

We need a SINGLE PARTY to oppose PAP in the next GE. We need a two (main) party systems to ensure continued stability going forward after each election. Strong examples of these are the mature democracies of USA, UK, Australia, and most European countries.

WP, SDP, RP, SP, PKMS and the rest MUST THINK DEEP AND HARD FOR THE SAKE OF SINGAPORE AND ALL SINGAPOREANS to work hard on this. PLEASE WE HAVE PLACED OUR TRUST, HOPES AND ASPIRATIONS ON YOU LTK, CSJ, KJ, and the gang we truly trust are fighting for the welfare of all Singaporeans and Singapore as one UNITED NATION.

Singaporean For Democracy

Submitted by TRE reader.

**At a party dinner a few weeks ago in Malacca, Democratic Lim Kit Siang warned that PR could break up if the parties’ disagreement over the hudud issue persists. Mr Lim said if the three parties did not remain united, PR would go the way of the Barisan Alternative, a short-lived alliance between PAS, PKR, DAP and Parti Rakyat Malaysia formed in 1999. The coalition was disbanded after the 2004 general election.

“In the past year since the 13th general election, supporters of Pakatan Rakyat have been increasingly concerned whether Pakatan Rakyat … could only survive for one general election,” said Mr Lim.

PM is clueless about the WP & PAP

In Political governance on 02/06/2014 at 4:45 am

Sun Tzu said, If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.

Going by what he said last week, when and Low Thia Khiang engaged in a jaw-jaw in Parliament  on constructive politics, WP’s stand on major policy issues and the role of the opposition in parliament, PM doesn’t know the enemy and the PAP. So how can he fix anyone?

He said:

It’s an eloquent explanation for why the WP has been inarticulate, about many things. In a serious parliament, the Government presents its policies. The Opposition presents its alternatives. The WP may not have alternatives on every issue; it may not have a full range of all the complexities of designing an HDB scheme or MediShield scheme. You do have a responsibility to say which direction are we going. And that direction has to be set clearly – not to explain to the PAP, but to explain to Singaporeans what you stand for.

Err except that in a parliamentary democracy (I’m assuming S’pore is one, not a defacto one-party state), the opposition spends most of its time after losing a general election criticising the govt, and its policies. It only starts proposing alternatives maybe one yr before the next general election; and that only because it wants to present itself as a credible alternative to the govt.

Now the WP has made it clear that it isn’t ready for power and will at best be part of Team PAP if the PAP doesn’t win a parly majority. Nothing about teaming up with the other opposition parties.

So there really isn’t the need of presenting alternatives. And our PM should know it, and he should know that S’poreans know this too. The WP is uniquely S’porean: it doesn’t want to be the driver. It’s happy being a self-appointed co-driver.

And the following show that a Catholic High, NJC boy has problems understanding the principles of Tao that Low is using (’cause dad’s a legalist?

I hope he takes an equally reasonable approach when it comes to election rallies because the WP approach has been to be extremely reasonable – indeed low profile – in Parliament but come election time to turn into tigers and heroes.

It’s an eloquent explanation for why the WP has been inarticulate, about many things. In a serious parliament, the Government presents its policies. The Opposition presents its alternatives. The WP may not have alternatives on every issue; it may not have a full range of all the complexities of designing an HDB scheme or MediShield scheme. You do have a responsibility to say which direction are we going. And that direction has to be set clearly – not to explain to the PAP, but to explain to Singaporeans what you stand for.


[A]fter all this complicated explanation, I don’t know whether Mr Low Thia Khiang still stands by what was said in Parliament in the White Paper debate last year… But after telling me you can massage this and some people can do (with) less and others will need more – that’s easy to say, who’s going to do the massaging? Of course, the Government. And that, is the mark of a sub-standard Opposition.”

If PM doesn’t understand that WP Low is a follower of Lao Tze, then the PAP is in trouble.

And it’s not that PM understands himself or the PAP.

It’s a bit rich for PM to say:

I think the record will speak for itself, when we make a shift we acknowledge a shift. When the WP changes position they pretend they haven’t – that is the difference.


We have to call a spade a spade. If we have changed position and your previous position was wrong, say so. If you hold by your position, have your guts to reaffirm it and take the consequences. But to weasel away, play with words, avoid the issue and then claim to be responsible, that is what we fear can drive Singapore’s politics into the same place where many other countries have gone.

As Lao Tze WP Low said

Talking about the WP flip-flopping on foreign workers issue… In any case, I also noted that when the PAP has to make a policy U-turn, they call it policy shift. I don’t know whether that is a shift or it’s a flip-flop.

He could have highlighted other PAP semantics like “evolving” (public tpt sys policies are “evolving”) or “moving on” (“Let’s forget the cock-up. This is an order”)?”

But Low was talking rubbish when he said, This is the mark of a responsible Opposition not to jam up the Government; allowing the Government – after giving our view, debating it – allowing the Government to move forward, not to jam up the Government. It is a mark of a responsible Government and a mark of first world Parliament”.

WP can’t jam up anything. The PAP’s majority (more than two-thirds) means it can do what it likes. And there’s nothing the WP can do about it. So long as the PAP has a two-thirds majority in parliament, it can do what it likes.


*Lee Hsien Loong and Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang engaged in a verbal sparing in Parliament on 28 May on constructive politics, WP’s stand on the big issues as well as the role of opposition in parliament.

More equal than other S’poreans?

In Political governance, Public Administration, Uncategorized on 30/04/2014 at 6:03 am

I’m thinking of Ronald McDonald (a FT turned true blue S’porean who if he had a son with dual citizenship would surely insist that his son dows NS, unlike Yaacob who tells us only that he hopes his son will do NS) and again my beef (rendang flavoured) is with the way the S’poreans who don’t dream the “right” dreams” or think the “right” tots are being ghettoised and discriminated against by the PAP govt.

Let me explain.

I avoided going anyway near a McDonald’s store on Monday because it was the start of the latest “Hello Kitty” promotion. I had memories of what happened in 2000:

Fist fights broke out while frustrated patrons threatened store managers, damaged restaurant property and compelled the fast-food outlets to hire private security firms to police crowds. At one outlet, at least seven people were injured after a glass door they were leaning on shattered.

Singapore, which keeps tight curbs on public speech and famously bans most sales of chewing gum to keep its streets clean, was caught by surprise. While public demand was heated for similar promotions in Hong Kong and Taiwan, few expected law-abiding Singaporeans to turn so catty—or for the issue to claw its way to the top ranks of power.

“We should not get too carried away,” said then-Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who later became prime minister. “Even if you want the Kitty, there is no need to fight fiercely to try and get one,” he told local media at a public event.

In Parliament, a lawmaker asked the environment minister if he planned to stop McDonald’s from selling Hello Kitty dolls. “It’s not under my purview,” the minister replied.

And only last yr

… things got heated again when McDonald’s rolled out a so-called “Fairy Tales” Hello Kitty set, featuring six versions designed after popular folklore. The last one—a black kitten sporting a skeletal motif—sparked mayhem as security personnel were called in to deal with heated squabbles caused by widespread line-jumping. McDonald’s wrote a letter to a local newspaper apologizing for the chaos and promised to do better next time.


Finally, an online sale, I tot, was a warning of the public order problems that would ensure on Monday.

To improve buyers’ experience and curb black-market sales, the company also is offering online sales for a collector’s set featuring all six toys, Ms. Low said.

But the online sales drive was overwhelmed by the weight of orders, forcing the fast-food chain to temporarily suspend sales after less than two hours.

Hundreds of disgruntled Kitty-lovers hurled abuse on McDonald’s Facebook page, accusing the fast-food chain of sloppy customer service.

So you’d have tot that the police would conclude, “Three strikes and you’re out, Ronald.”; the police having the power to prevent such a commercial event from being held if they had concerns about “public disorder and mischief”, that “may disrupt community life”.

But, Pledging to prevent a repeat of ugly scenes that plagued past promotions, McDonald’s says it has engaged private-security firms to provide crowd control and prepared line-management plans for its staff. It is also boosting its toy supplies by roughly 50% .compared with last year.

In the event, the police were right in their judgment in allowing the promotion to go ahead, nothing untoward happened on Monday and Tuesday.

But my point is that given the track record of problems in 2000 and 2013, and the very recent online bad-tempered, why did our police not insist that McDonald cancel the event?

Yet some S’poreans are routinely not allowed to hold events in public spaces (other than in Hong Lim) because of concerns of public order. Even the light-blue clones of the MIW were not allowed to hold an event in a park in 2007 because of concerns of public order.

When WP chairman and NCMP Sylvia Lim raised a question over the issue in Parliament, she (and we) was told that such activities “have the potential for public disorder and mischief, and may disrupt community life.”*

Yet the police, it seems, had no such concerns with the MacDonald’s promotion, despite MacDonald’s track record of being the cause of public “disorder and mischief”, that disrupted “community life” in 20000 and 2013.

My point is that shouldn’t these S’poreans (who are not PA or NTUC activists) be given the opportunity as the Filipinos and McDonald of proving the police wrong. After all many of these S’poreans who dream different dreams or think different tots have served NS, defending the country.

Shouldn’t they be given the opportunity to show that they can behave in the right way in public like the Filipinos?

And why is Ronald McDonald given the benefit of the doubt despite his track record of causing problems (albeit unintentionally and indirectly) in 2000 and 2013?

And yet the “wrong” S’poreans are presumed to be dangerous to public order? Doesn’t their honourable discharge from full-time NS mean that they deserve to be treated like Filipinos and Ronald, and be given the presumption of good behaviour?

One could reasonably argue (I’m not) that such an attitude to NS men sucks, and is most insulting from a govt that says it values those who do NS. Just recently, the media reported that Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said a package of “meaningful” benefits is being considered for operationally ready NSmen. “We want to centre the recognition benefits by giving them a greater stake in Singapore, whether it is housing, health or education,”…

The various contradictions and inconsistencies  that have mutated from the Hard Truths on which the PAP has governed S’pore since 1959 are coming to haunt the PAP; contractions and inconsistencies which have especially multiplied since the “FTs are betterest” policies were introduced to repress the wages of local PMETs. Appropriately, the ghosts are appearing juz as the PAP govt is planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our enforced independence, as a prelude to its next GE campaign.


*”Police requirement is that such party activities be held indoors or within stadiums, so that any law and order problems will be contained. This policy applies to all political parties,” Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee.


Which voter are you?

In Political governance on 28/03/2014 at 4:53 am

Came across something interesting ( that can be used to analyse (ok pontificate on or BS on) voting patterns in S’pore.

1. Comfortable Nostalgia: “They tend to be older, more traditional voters who dislike the social and cultural changes they see as altering [country] for the worse.”

2. Optimistic Contentment: “Confident, comfortable & usually on higher incomes they are prudent & tolerant but think [country] is a soft touch.”

3. Calm Persistence: “Often coping rather than comfortable, they hope rather than expect things to get better.”

4. Hard-pressed Anxiety: “Pessimistic & insecure, these people want more help from government and resent competition for that help particularly from new-comers.”

5. Long-term Despair: “Many are serial strugglers; angry & alienated they feel little or no stake in the country or that anyone stands up for them.”

6. Cosmopolitan Critics: “Generally younger, more secular and urban-based, worried about growing inequality & the general direction the country is going in.”

“Comfortable Nostalgia” and “Optimistic Contentment” (me?) would be daft not to vote PAP, while “Hard-pressed Anxiety”, “Long-term Despair” and  “Cosmopolitan Critics” would surely vote for the opposition to the PAP? Though after the 2011 GE, Eric Tan (remember him?) told me that it was a surprise voters that well-off S’poreans, who could see that their children (grown -up or growing up) were not or would not enjoy the good life that they had or have, voted for the opposition.

The fight would be for the “Calm Persistence” voters, and the “Hard Pressed Anxiety”?

But if the SDP and WP decide to fight each other and the PAP, there will be problems  because based on the results of PE 2011, the SDP has most of the votes of the “Long-term Despair” and  “Cosmopolitan Critics”; while the WP has support among “Calm Persistence” even if the RI doctors in the SDP fall into this group), and “Hard-pressed Anxiety” (the SDP and WP share votes with some “daft” ones voting PAP ). By avoiding three-way fights, these two parties and the Chiams, NSP and the clowns other parties make sure that the anti-PAP voters are used to maximum effect.

Hence the uproar when Mad Dog Chee (escaped his RI doctors?) wanted to fight the WP in Punggol-East. Fortunately, the roar of protest shocked him into sanity, and treatment.

BTW, I think based on the postings on TREthe majority of TRE posters would seem fall into  the “Hard-pressed Anxiety”and “Long-term Despair” (i.e. into the losers) even though TeamTRE belongs in the “Calm Persistence” and “Hard-pressed Anxiety”  categories: the only people who would spend time and money on doing what they believe is right, even if the losers are freeloading on their efforts.

TOC’s editors, team and natural readers would fall into fall into the”Calm Persistence” “Hard-pressed Anxiety”and .”Cosmopolitan Critics” groups.

Those who read this blog (not via TRE) are in 1-5 1-3. Why TRE republishes me I know not. Maybe it’s to tell the losers that life is more complex than the PAP’s demand (“For us or against us”) that the losers seem to have adopted?  Or maybe because it knows that there is a silent majority of readers in the “Calm Persistence” and “Hard-pressed Anxiety”. Could be as TRE has raised the funds to keep on going for another year. So maybe the TRE community is more than losers freeloading on the efforts TeamTRE?

Finally, as to why I’m not a PAP supporter, it’s largely ’cause* I don’t like the PAP’s attitude of insisting on the imposing the “right” values on S’poreans (even if I may agree with many these values like hating free-loaders and losers who expect something for nothing). I believe that:

… pensioners would be free to spend their savings on a Lamborghini following a rule change in the Budget.

From 2015, people reaching retirement age will be able to use pension pots however they want, rather than having to buy a guaranteed annual income.

Pensions minister Steve Webb said it was people’s “choice” whether to buy Italian Lamborghini sports cars.

It’s our choice to do dumb things provided we are prepared to live with the consequences without moaning and groaning.

*Also I believe that a one-party state is bad for S’pore. For that think the problems in public transport and housing  that the PAP caused. BTW, one could argue that its recent changes in its public housing and tpt policies and its seeming change in FT PMET policy is geared at winning the “Calm Persistent” voters over and moving “Hard Pressed Anxiety” voters into the “Calm Persistent” group; and the “Calm Persistent” voters into the “Optimistic Contentment’ category. It’s also trying to show S’poreans that the gd life can still be found here.

WP should resurrect its 1984 manifesto and 1991 speeches?

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 21/03/2014 at 4:55 am

(Or “Back to the future for WP in next GE?

In the course of helping the author of Dissident Voices in the research for the sequel, I borrowed the WP 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book from the National Library, Marine Parade branch. I couldn’t find it on the shelves so I asked the librarian if it was “protected” by an invisibility field or was only available to the “right” people. No, it wasn’t hidden away under lock and key. It was openly displayed on the shelf near the PAP’s 50th anniversary book. But it is such an inconspicuous volume that I missed it.

The book told me things that the ST never reported about the 1984 and 1991  general elections. Remember that these events happened before the internet age. If the media didn’t report something, it didn’t exist for practical reasons (Somewhere I blogged on how the 1988 results for Eunos GRC came as a surprise: WP nearly won).

I learnt that the 1984 election manifesto was entitled”Wake Up to Your Freedom , It’s Time”. calling for the people to vote for “the Hammer for a caring society”. The WP called for

— Free and adequate medical care for the needy

— Commission to review education policy

–Free schooling and equal opportunities in education for children from poor families

— Workers’ rights

— Reduced CPF contributions and the right to take your CPF savings at 55

— Adequate care for the aged

— Greater share forSsingaporeans in the economic wealth

— Help for the disabled

— Abolition of tax subsidies and privileges for the rich

— Reasonable compensation for acquired properties

— Abolition of tax on water, light and telephone services

— Review of all fees paid to government and statutory boards

— Guaranteed personal for every citizen

— Freedom from exercise of arbitrary power and protection of citizen’s rights

All this in response to the younger PAP’s ministers call to vote for the PAP for a Swiss std of living.

Compare this to the 2011 manifesto (Key Highlights) which has since been watered down. No more public tpt nationalisation.

I find the 1984 manifesto more stirring and, more importantly, rationally relevant today. True the ideas in the manifesto sounded like pie-in-the-sky in 1984 (when I voted for the WP because I believed that a one-party state was bad for S’pore even though I was happy with most of what LKY, Dr Goh and the other Water Margin “bandits” were doing for us: ya I that ungrateful), but the ideas are no longer rubbish.

According to the PAP we now have a Swiss standard of living (huh? OK, like us the Swiss are unhappy about immigration, so unhappy that in a recent referendum they told the govt to restrict immigration)), and it’s a fact that we got oddles of money in the reserves (though you wouldn’t think so reading Chris Balding and his mindless “hate S’pore” groupies) thanks partly to Dr Goh’s ideas: doesn’t this mean we can now afford the things WP was calling for in 1984?

As regards the danger of overspending, we got the capital, and part of the income from it locked away from the govt in power, whether it be PAP or not. So the govt can only spend what it raises in taxes and the like, what with borrowing requiring the president’s approval.

So the ground is fertile for trying shumething new without worrying that the new policies cannot be reversed.

Another interesting fact I learnt is that according to the book in the 1991 GE, speeches centred mainly on bread-and-better issues:

The PAP would give beautiful promises before elections but there would always be strings attached — service charges would see a hike soon after.

— Under PAP’s reign, it would be difficult to maintain a family and provide decent education for the next generation.

— Their policies have promoted social inequality and a widening of the rich-poor divide.

— Job security for the workers was pathetically limited.

Sounds familiar?  Back to the future?

So, all in all, JBJ and his merry men of bicyle thieves*, ex-Woodbridge patients* , opportunists and economic illiterates were prescient. More prescient than me at least (trained lawyer and wannabe corporate financier). They were prescient earlier than Dr Chee who was still in shorts in 1984. Remember he had been banging away since the 1990s about growing inequality etc as the SDP rightly never fails to remind us. Well JBJ and his merry men had been doing so earlier.

With this track record, why doesn’t WP remind us that it called the future right in 1984 and 1991?

One reason could be that Low is a modest man, not prone in triumphalism; he was Organising Secretary in 1988. Another reason could be that the WP thinks that in the real world the public has a bad impression of the WP in those years even though JBJ is fondly remembered in cyberspace. History began only in 2001, after Low took power from JBJ.

It’s a fact (not a Hard Truth or a Heart Truth) that after the 1997 GE, the WP went AWOL (or is it MIA?).

It went so AWOL or MIA that it could only field two candidates in 2001. It had wanted to field a GRC team too but one James Gomez** it is alleged screwed up, even though publicly Low took responsibility for the balls-up. In 1988, in the first GE under the uber gerrymandering GRC system, it fielded 32 candidates of uneven quality and contested 6 GRCs and 14 SMCs. In 1991 it fielded 13 candidates in 2 GCs and 5 SMCs. in 1996 it fielded 14 candidates in 3 GRCs and one SMC (Houygang). The candidates in 1991 and 1997 were the kind of people voters were comfortable with.

True the leadership had a major distraction that started when JBJ as the editor of the Hammer, even though he didn’t understand written Tamil, published a letter written in Tamil. Let these extracts tell the story.

Legal Action: An Tamil Article Published on THE HAMMER
In November 1995, the Party and the whole of its Central Executive Council found itself the object of two defamation suits filed by five PAP Tamil MPs and eleven members of the Organising Committee of the Tamil Language Week arising from an article published in the Party organ, “The Hammer”. The Plaintiffs’ complaint in both suits was that the article implied that their efforts to promote the Tamil Language had been less than sincere.Members of the Central Executive Council under suit by PAP Tamil MPs and the Organising Committee of the Tamil Language Week were:-
Chairman Dr Tan Bin Seng
Vice-Chairman A. Rahim Rahman
Secretary-General J. B. Jeyaretnam
Assistant Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang
Treasurer Sim Say Chuan
Organising Secretary Ng Ah Chwee
Committee Member Lim Ee Peng
Committee Member James Teo Kian Chye
Committee Member James Tan Joo Leng
Committee Member K. Mariappane
Committee Member Chan Keng Sieng
Eventually, in September 1997, the Party and its Central Executive Council members agreed to pay the five PAP Tamil MPs by 6 instalments, damages for defamation of $200,000/- (inclusive of legal costs). The suit by the eleven members of the Organizing Committee was in the course of hearing at time of writing.

Judgment: A Tamil Article Published in THE HAMMER
By the said Judgment given at the High Court on the 30th November 1998 that Jeyaretnam, A Balakrishnan and the workers’ party were collectively and severally ordered to pay ten of the plaintiffs in the said suit a total sum of $265, 000/- for damages and costs to be taxed.The Worker’s Party’s appeal against the said judgment was dismissed on 21 April 1999. By then the total sum had snowballed to close to half a million dollars, inclusive of legal costs.

(Above extracts from

(Update at 6.52 on day of publication: More on nuances of the defamation case: and,d.bmk)

Whatever the reason for not invoking the past in the past since 2001, the WP should seriously rethink the strategy of trying to be near-clones of the MIW. It was the right strategy in the noughties, and it culminated in the victories in 2011 (it campaigned as the voters’ co-driver to the PAP), 2012 and 2013. Huat ah.

But is it the right strategy for the next GE? For the reasons given above, I think not. It’s like the by-election strategy that was adopted by accident in 1991 (JBJ didn’t want it but he couldn’t get enough WP candidates); gd idea for its time but by the end of the decade had outlived its usefulness.

What do you think?

Especially if the ideas expressed here ( root in the real world), not juz  cyberspace i.e.”cowboy towns” (actually paper-warriors’ alternative reality).

As someone who wants for starters, an opposition that deprives the PAP of a two-thirds parliamentary majority, I don’t want the next GE to be a rerun of the 1997 one.

*OK, OK . Only one of each.  But there were many “strange” MP candidates, pre 1988. But thinking about it only those who perceived reality differently from other S’poreans would have dared take on the PAP in the 70s and 80s.  Remember LKY was no wimp like Goh or Pinkie; he was the leader of Water Margin “bandits”.

**Yup the same Gabra Gomez of 2006. His instructors in BMT would sure have been real nervous during range, and grenade throwing. In 2011, SDP made sure he kept away from the form filling.

Accounts: PA fixed, WP got fixed?

In Corporate governance, Political governance on 24/02/2014 at 5:24 am

The usual suspects and other anti-PAP netizens are outraged that Khaw’s ministry has highlighted various concerns regarding the auditor’s report on the financial statements of Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) for Financial Year 2012, and Tharman has gotten the Auditor-General to investigate the matter, while no-one in govt is investigating why the PA’s “auditors have been giving an “adverse opinion” on the financial reports from the People’s Association (PA) for several years now.”

I won’t go into the rights and wrongs of the AHTC’s accounts because we will soon know the truth*, except tthat I found it puzzling that Auntie said bar one concern, they were related to handing-over issues. Some were, the others were not, even a cursory glance would have shown her, as it did me (both of us are trained lawyers). Anyway let’s wait for the report, though having witnessed at first hand how the AudG audits govt bodies, WP is in for a nasty report. It is hated and feared by the rest of the govt machinery. It works like the ISD: takes no prisoners. AudG is also very petty.

As to the PA’s accounts, I won’t go into details because the issue is one of consolidating accounts** and the PA had given up its row with its auditor and will be consolidating the accounts that the auditor wanted consolidated effective last yr’s accounts, due soon. It had resisted complying since the auditor raised the issue (“Auditor KPMG noted the omission of the financial statements of the community centres and community clubs”).in the accounts for FY 2001.

The usual suspects should be asking if the fixing of the PA’s accounts (WP Low had raised the issue in 2008 and was told to  Foff there was nothing wrong with the accounts**) and the row over the AHTC’s accounts are linked? Could it be that the decision to fix the way the PA’s accounts are prepared, was done in the expectation that the dysfunctional duo (Auntie and PritamS: remember they are lawyers, not accountants) would have failed to fix the AHTC’s accounts for the second yr in a row. And there could be an opportunity to show the entire WP as dysfunctional? Remember that a chain is as strong as its weakest link, and Pritam has shown us repeatedly that he keeps saying or doing the wrong things***. Or is this line of reasoning (fixing to fix) too cynical or too conspiratorial? Even believing that JBJ and friends really won at Cheng San, or that Ong Teng cheong lost the presidential elections is more believable?

Seriously, in thinking about the row on the audit reports, I hope readers remember the wise words of Low.  TOC reported that Low is also extremely “confident” that none of the Town Council’s funds were lost, and that there was no involvement of any form of illegal payment or transaction.”

WP Low got the issue absolutely right. It’s all about whether any funds were lost, and whether  there was “any form of illegal payment or transaction”, not whether he PA’s or AHTC’s accounts get clean audit reports, ’cause they do the “right” things. Audit reports are very impt, but they are maps not the reality.  The auditor gave Enron a clean audit report. Both are history. 

They should also take into account the following comments:

—  I think overall audit standards are tightening. What passed as ok earlier is not acceptable anymore (unless we have a serious case of casting with closed eyes). Seeing how liable for professional negligence auditors can be, no one is going to ruin their rice bowl any time soon unless they’re really old and ready to be disbarred. (Facebook poster)

As somebody who has been audited many times and qualified as an accountant, I am also breathless with admiration how so many capable and intelligent people can deliver so little value to society. Most big four accountants are capable individuals but put them together and they seem incapable of delivering anything of value to companies.  (A FT reader on a FT article on accountants)

I’ll leave with a wicked tot. Low has said he is “not an accountant”. Remember he said he was “not a private investigator (remember So will he, one day, tell tell us he is not a manager when Auntie’s and Pritam’s dysfunctionality finally causes the WP serious damage, and they have to move on from the WP like Yaw?

*Though I sure if the AudG sides with the MND, the usual suspects and groupies will be accusing AuditorG of being biased. When that happens, I hope they will then stop using AudG’s reports against the govt. Can’t suka suka use favourable reports, not unfavourables. After all, they claim not to be like the PAP govt: who is happy to use TI’s figures when it praises S’pore and slimes it when its figures slime S’pore If the government finds TI not to be credible {on defence procurement issues] as Dr Ng has alleged in Parliament, perhaps the government should stop using TI’s rankings and surveys altogether.

For a start perhaps, CPIB could stop using TI’s rankings on its website. Presently, it prominently displays TI’s CPI on its home page [Link]:

**As regards PA’s non-consolidation of grassroots organisations’ accounts, the auditor, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, has qualified the financial statements of People’s Association on the basis that the accounts of the grassroots organisations were not consolidated. PA’s view is that the accounts of grassroots organisations should not be consolidated for the following reasons.

Firstly, the funds in these accounts belong to the grassroots organisations. Secondly, the Government grants and the cost of staff support are already accounted for in PA’s financial statements. Thirdly, the grassroots organisations are operationally self-funding through revenues from activities, courses and donations. Fourthly, the grassroots organisations decide on how their money should be spent for the benefit of the residents. And, finally, proper procurement procedures, financial control and good corporate governance practices apply to the grassroots organisations.


— his “coalition with the PAP” comment;

— planning footie on PAP MPs’ team:

— silly slip that only a lawyer buruk would make

— Hawkergate:

Strong legacy of forgotten dissident & party

In Political governance on 21/02/2014 at 6:09 am

I feel the need* to remind readers about Lee Siew Choh, a dissident that even LKY, no sufferer of fools, respected**. Ironically, while he may be forgotten, and the party he helped found no longer exists, their legacy lives on, troubling the PAP’s hegemony. LKY’s respect is well-founded.

We all know all about that lion, and the reviver of opposition politics, JBJ, but who remembers Lee Siew Choh? The name doesn’t ring a bell among many younger S’poreans. And even people like me get their recollections of him muddled. Example: even though he was a medical doctor and studied at one of KL’s leading English language schools, I tend to think of him as Chinese-educated.

The basic, factual info about him can be found at NLB’s  Singapore Infopedia, a very useful site on things S’porean. (Sorry can’t link to the article ’cause NLB says must get its permission***. I don’t want AG to prosecute me, but where got time to ask permission to publicise an NLB product on a not-for-profit blog? Seriously, getting permission to link is so totalitarian or Big Brotherish. But then librarians are worse than teachers, policepersons and PAPpies in their authoritarian, “must have our permission” instincts. I was one in RI.)

Sorry, back to Lee. Part of his early life reads like an adventure and romance novel or film script. Born in KL, he came here to study medicine. He married a nurse he met at KK Hospital. Shortly after his marriage, in 1942, the Japanese sent him to work (as a doctor) on the infamous railway*** *made famous by the movie Bridge on the River Kwai.

You’d have tot that when he got back alive, he’d focus on getting rich and spending time with his wife. Well he did set up a medical practice at Hill St and they had three children. But he was a socialist who wanted Malayan and S’porean independence from the British.

One Dr Goh Keng Swee suggested he join the PAP: big mistake for him and the PAP. A yr after joining, in 1959, he was elected as Legislative Assemblyman for Queenstown. He was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Home Affairs Ministry in 1960. He was a coming PAP man. He might have even made it into the book “Lee’s “Lieutenants”*****.

But in 1961, Dr Lee and 12 other PAP assemblymen and other leading PAP members  (35 of the 51 branches of PAP and 19 of its 23 organising secretaries) broke away from the PAP over differences with LKY and the other “conservative” PAP leaders over the proposed merger with Malaya. They formed the Barisan Sosialis with Dr Lee as the chairman. There were heated rows in the Assembly: WP should study what the BSoc did there to see how to hold the PAP govt to account: no co-driver BS. In 1961, he made the longest speech in the history of the Legislative Assembly: seven hours on the subject of Singapore’s proposed merger with Malaya. I don’t think this record has been bettered after S’pore became independent.

Anyway, the decision to form Malaysia was made (There was a referendum where voters had to vote for some of merger, rejection was not an available option, not even casting a blank vote as the BSoc recommended: blank votes were deemed to be votes in favour of LKY’s preferred option), but BSoc continued to oppose the PAP govt on merger. And on other things too: like workers’ rights and welfare. They were to the left of the PAP (who remember called themselves “socialists”). So far left of the PAP, that when the PAP called them “communists”, the label tended to stick.

In 1963,  Operation Coldstore removed from politics (by detaining them under the ISA) many of the leaders of the BSoc, a few months before the 1963 general elections (Some for our PM to learn from?). Dr Lee was not arrested but the following senior party officials were

Lim Chin Siong, secretary-general (like in the PAP, this was the most powerful post)

— S Woodhull, vice-chairman

— Fong Swee Suan, executive committee member

— Dominic Puthucheary, committee member

Many members were arrested too (e.g. Dr Lin Hock Siew.)

Lee led the party in the 1963 elections, in which they won 13 of the 51 seats. But he lost his contest with Dr Toh Chin Chye by a handful of votes. BSoc won 33.2% of popular votes but won only a quarter of the seats. The PAP won 37 seats with about 47% of the popular vote. The BSoc claimed they were cheated of victory. While they couldn’t prove the allegations, it is a fact (not a Hard Truth) that anti-PAP vote was split, with multi-cornered fights.

Even though the BSoc was proven right on M’sia (it didn’t work did it?), and S’pore left M’sia in 1965, sadly for S’porean democracy, BSoc in a fit of collective madness boycotted the first post-independence parliament, and general election in 1968, allowing the PAP to win all 51 of the seats in Parliament. Lee apologised to S’poreans for this collective mistake by the party in a 1980 election campaign speech. But to be fair to BSoc, the ISD was arresting members (think Chia Thye Poh, an MP) between 1965 and 1968, so one can understand BSoc’s decision.

The party never regained a meaningful role in politics after 1968, and in 1988, the party merged with the WP that JBJ had by then revived.

At the 1988 general election, Lee stood as a WP candidate in the Eunos GRC and the WP lost very narrowly to the PAP. As the WP was eligible to nominate two members of its team from Eunos to become Non-constituency MPs, the WP nominated Lee and Francis Seow to become NCMPs. Seow fled before he could take up his NCMP seat: he wanted to avoid income tax evasion charges, alleging the charges were politically motivated. Lee became Singapore’s first-ever NCMP. In Parliament, he raised issues  of justice including the ISA, cost of living and welfare.

Lee again stood in Eunos GRC in 1991, the WP again losing narrowly. However no NCMP seats were offered as the opposition parties won a total of four elected seats. Sadly two of the SDP MPs turned out to be clowns. Lee would have made a better opposition MP. He, Chiam and JBJ would have been a formidable trio.

Lee left the WP in 1996, saying he had differences with JBJ. What these were were never made public.

As to his legacy? Here are some tentative musings. The areas where the WP holds power is where the BSoc had its power base. Hougang was a BSoc stronghold and the ex-BSoc team there worked for Low and formed his power base. After he became Sec-Gen of the WP, the WP changed from a group of bicycle thieves, ex-Woodbridge patients, opportunists and “JBJ is always right” groupies held together by JBJ’s charisma (though not his organisational skills) into the disciplined, serious-minded force that it is today, PritamS notwithstanding.

The people that helped Low do this were former BSoc cadres and other activists from the Punggol area. I may not respect the WP’s attempts to hold the PAP govt to account as self-appointed co-driver, but I respect the discipline, purposefulness and hard work that enabled the WP to win a GRC and two SMCs, and nearly winning a third. And attracting members of the calibre of Chen Show Mao and JJ. Too bad about Pritam though.

While today’s WP is no longer the WP of JBJ (for which S’poreans should be grateful), one could argue that today’s WP is BSoc reincarnated. Even WP’s cautious stance, it could be argued, can be traced to the WP leaders wanting to avoid the mistakes BSoc made. Example: It was easy for the PAP to demonise the BSoc as “communist” because activists used the language of people like Mao: “class struggle”, “revolution” etc.


“When I opened a copy of my friend’s latest book “Dissident Voices”, and saw the dissidents featured (Lim Chin Siong, Catherine Lim, Ong Eng Guan, David Marshall, Chia Thye Poh, Lim Hock Siew, Said Zahari, Tan Wah Piow, Francis Seow and Vincent Cheng Lim), I tot how come no JBJ and Lee Siew Choh? After all, they too stood firm on their convictions despite the odds. And they too paid a heavy toll for their beliefs … But they never broke. In fact, Catherine Lim is a nobody when compared to those giants, JBJ and Lee.” ‘

When we met, he explained to me that he and Marshall Cavendish (the publisher) had agreed a tentative list of names. More than one book was needed to do justice to the names on the list.. The author thought the subjects he chose for the book “S’pore Dissidents” would resonate more with readers who wanted to know more about personalities who dared to be different – and paid a price. There are plans for another volume to cover JBJ and Lee Siew Choh for sure.”


**Part of ST’s report on death of Dr Lee in July 2002:

Recalling that, the Senior Minister wrote [to his widow]: ‘It altered the course of
his life, and the part he played in Singapore’s politics helped change
the course of history.’

Despite their strong political differences, Mr Lee felt ‘no personal
animosity’ towards the opposition leader.

‘In many ways he was a likeable man; he was open and transparent if
somewhat impulsive; he had a sense of humour, and often laughed at
what he was saying,’ added SM Lee.

‘And I felt partly to blame for getting him involved in a field not
his forte. So I was glad that he accepted my invitation for both of
you to accompany my wife and me on our 10-day visit to China in
October 1990.’

***You also may not, without the permission of NLB DIGITAL LIBRARY, insert a hyperlink to this website on any other website or “mirror” any Material contained on this website on any other server.

****The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma. Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre: Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

*****Incidentally, the implication of the title is that they were LKY’s subordinates. While they regarded him as the leader of the pack, the evidence shows he was regarded as merely first among equals to the likes of Dr Goh, Toh Chin Chye, Baker, Lim Kim San. It wasn’t like the master slave relationship that LKY had with GCT, Dharnabalan, Wong Kan Seng and others. .

“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. (**

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)


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,

*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.

A PAP MP on the need to lose dignity to get $50 vouchers

In Political governance on 20/01/2014 at 5:00 am

Last year, the Fare Review Mechanism Committee (FRMC), among other things, proposed that public transport operators be required to contribute to the Public Transport Fund to help needy households when fares are adjusted, as a way of “sharing” their gains with commuters, it said. This could range from 20% t to 50% of the expected increase in fare revenue, depending on profitability, Presumably it would then issue vouchers for distribution to the needy poor.

I was reminded of  the proposal when I read, The thing is, the G talks about public transport vouchers again. Now if I remember correctly, hundreds of vouchers in the past hadn’t even been taken up…Either people really don’t need them – or there wasn’t a good plan to get them to the needy. Perhaps, that should be fixed first.

The proposed fund in turn reminded me that one Charles Chong in the  early noughtie said the needy should be made to lose their dignity to get $50 help vouchers.

This is what I posted in 2011

I hear Charles Chong will speak in parliament tomorrow. Doubtless he will talk about helping the needy*. It’s the in- thing in the PAP to want to help the needy. (This is of progress of sorts. Only recently, Lily Neo was berated and sneered at by VivianB for asking for more help for the poor. When that happened, I tot of Oliver Twist asking for more food and being beaten for his pains.)

But I would like to ask Charles Chong, “Must a needy S’porean still lose his dignity for a $30 voucher?”.

Let me explain the background by winding the watch back some years.

In the early noughties, when S’pore was in a recession or recovering from one, one Charles Chong said, “We shouldn’t…be telling everyone that there’s this help available. It’s quite a process to go through to get the vouchers. A person with dignity won’t do it unless he’s in genuine trouble.” Charles Chong was explaining his (and some other PAP MPs’) reluctance to distribute free electricity vouchers on the ground that giving these to the needy would create a culture of dependence.

After reading this remark, I began to have serious problems with the attitude of the governing party. (Previously I had been indifferent to the PAP, even though before 1991, I was a “LKY is almost always right” and “LKY has his heart in the right place” person.)

This remark of Charles Chong also prompted a writer to MediaCorp’s freesheet to ask,”Can a Singaporean no longer lend a hand … without being accused of encouraging a crutch mentality? Aren’t we allowed to feel compassion for another? …cannot use for any other purpose except to pay your utility bill. There is no need to make people beg for that.”

I don’t recall the government or Charles Chong responding to this letter …


Will Kee Cui tell us that the PAP govt repudiate such an attitude today? Will Charles Chong say “It was an honest mistake?”.

For the record, Charles Chong is my MP. As readers will know, I’ve always voted WP all my life. But even if JJ stands for the WP, I’m likely to be on hols next GE. Charles Chong and the WP makes me want to puke**. My wish i9s that the SDP stands in Joo Chiat in place of WP, with JJ as its candidate. Yah, I typival S’porean: want cake and eat it too, all of it.

Let’s not be fooled into believing that the PM, cabinet ministers,  and PAP and WP MPs and  get out of bed in the morning to help the working poor. I would exempt Lily Neo and Halimah Yaacob and possibly Kee Chui from the last sentence.

Maybe, anti-PAP paper activists including readers of TOC and TRE should remind Charles Chong and voters that he said,“We shouldn’t…be telling everyone that there’s this help available. It’s quite a process to go through to get the vouchers. A person with dignity won’t do it unless he’s in genuine trouble.”

If this turned me against the PAP’s policies, it might turn others too. Or remind wavering anti-PAP S’poreans why they are right not to trust the PAP.


*He did. speak of helping the needy. Funnily he didn’t say that they should be made to crawl on their knees to get help. But then he only won by 300 votes in GE2011, and the PAP only got 60% of the popular vote.

**In its election manifesto WP called for public tpt nationalisation, something Low reaffirmed after the Punggol East victory. Now, “The WP believes that public transport should be provided as a public good and not for profit” And if we help it be a kingmaker in the next GE. will it play us out and support the PAP, Hard Truths and all? Remember PritamS’s comments on coalition with the PAP juz after the voters of Aljunied gave WP a gd majority. He slapped us in the face, not the PAP, driver. Low only slapped Singh’s wrist.

Cost benefit analysis: PAP govt underestimating the value of human life?

In Economy, Financial competency, Political economy, Political governance on 12/01/2014 at 6:27 am

I came across this in the latest copy of the Economist in the letters section:

Petty’s cash ledger

SIR – You credited William Petty with inventing economics in the 17th century, but did not do full justice to his cost-benefit calculations (Free exchange, December 21st). The good doctor estimated the value of a person to be somewhere between £60-90 and in “Political Arithmetick” he suggested these values could be used “to compute the loss we have sustained” from the plague and war. In 1667 he argued that given the value of an individual and the cost of transporting people away from the plague in London and caring for them, every pound spent would yield a return of £84 as the probability of survival increased. (He also suggested that an individual in England was worth £90, and in Ireland £70.)

In a lecture on anatomy in 1676 Petty argued that the state should intervene to assure better medicine, which could save 200,000 subjects a year and thus represented a sensible state expenditure. Today’s economic estimates are more refined and the data are more exact, but the arguments presented by Petty still resonate in public policy.

Rashi Fein
Professor emeritus of the economics of medicine
Harvard Medical School

This set me thinking that since the govt is forever touting the importance of costing out the benefits of any spending proposal (something I agree with), maybe it should tell us how much it values a S’porean in monetary terms? Esp since the PM has just said that that more social spending does not mean better results

As pigs are likely to fly first maybe the SDP RI brains trust (Paul A, Wee Nam, Ang -Drs three- etc) can  “force” the govt to do so by coming up with their own SDP valuation, and what they calculate is the PAP valuation.

As to the co driver doing something? They wearing white?

Why a 2015 GE is now more probable

In Economy, Political governance on 13/12/2013 at 6:03 am

(Note there is an update since first publication at the end to reflect the PAP’s calls for ideas on how to celebrate a coming 50th anniversary.)

I’ve been beating the DRUMS that 2014 is the last window that the govt can raise prices because the GE has to be held sometime in 2016 and raising prices in 2015 is too close for comfort. I’ve also been drumming that an election in 2015 is possible.

Well going by one report and one speech. last week,  an election in mid 2015 is  more than probable

The report: Singapore’s economic growth will stay strong in the next two years relative to the other countries in Asean, despite the cooling of China’s economic engine, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has predicted.

The independent consultancy said in its latest quarterly report that healthy increases in consumption and strong exports will boost Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 3.8 per cent this year.

Next year, strong momentum and greater demand will push up its economic growth to 4.1 per cent.

In the year after, 2015, Singapore’s growth will ease, but remain robust at 3.9 per cent, said the Cebr report entitled “Economic Insight, Southeast Asia”.


The speech: Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing  said the PAP has to deliver a better life for Singaporeans during its term of government, and also convince the people that it is the best party to deliver beyond this term. He was addressing addressed 1,000 PAP members at the party’s annual gathering on Sunday morning.

He, who is also the PAP Organising Secretary, said the party will act to “deliver, enable and communicate”*.

(Aside, netizens are missing the point by focusing Chan’s call for party members to “continuously and strenuously defend the common space for people to speak up”.

“If we do not stand up for what we believe, other people will occupy that space and cast us into irrelevance. We must not concede the space – physical or cyber . . . We will have to do battle everywhere as necessary.” 

And netizens are not making hay that the FT rioters really listened to him, unlike Sheep, Singkies S’poreans)

So, returning to the issue of a GE in 2015, the ground is likely to be sweet in mid, late 2015. In addition to a decent economy (other Asean countries too will do well), S’poreans would have forgotten about the early 2014 price rises in public tpt etc, lulled by the goodies in the 2015 Budget, improving public tpt, steady HDB prices, and propaganda that the govt is no longer pro-FTs and that it cares for S’poreans.

On the last point, there will a lot of smoke about the need for FT manual workers for the infrastructure projects. Already an ex-ST editor (who is it is alleged had designs on the top job in ST) was quoted (singing for X’mas goodies?**) as saying,  “It will be tough for the (government) to fulfill its promises on infrastructure development without foreign manpower,” observed Singaporean blogger Bertha Henson. “And it would not make sense for citizens to advocate such a tightening of the tap that it compromises our own future.”. One of these days I’ll blog on why her first statement is an exaggeration, that is straight out of the PAP’s spin book.

Then after the GE, and PAP has its more than two-thirds majority, and its toilet-trained WP***, the balance, let rip the GST increase, price rises and resume the flood of FTs?

What can the paper warriors do to counter the paper generals? In late 2014, and in 2015, it is impt for S’pore Notes, TOC, TRE (if it hasn’t closed down in disgust at the failure of its ungrateful readers to fund its continued existence: they expect Andrew, Richard etc not only to work for free, but to fund the servers needed), the other tua kee bloggers, and the ikan bilis to keep reminding voters to ask the PAP if after the GE, the govt will increase GST, or other taxes, or the cost of services, or allow in more FTs (to achieve a population of 8m, more than the White Paper projection of 6.9m). Of course, the PAP leaders and ministers will will say not say, “YES”, lest they lose a few more GRCs.

The PAP will then be held accountable for their pre-election promises, if the promises are broken, somewhere down the line, hopefully. But then, the PAPpies may play the same cyclical, cynical game again, knowing that S’poreans got short memories: even sheep got better memories.

Update on 27th January at 4.05am: I’ve been asked why I didn’t mention the 50th anniversary celebrations as an election feel good factor. The reason is that this is a two-edged sword. If handled in the traditional PAP manner (Soviet, Chinese, North Korean parades) style, it would remind older S’poreans (like self) of the difference in the quality of the PAP leadership. I think the PAP realises this. Witness the spate of ministers asking S’poreans for ideas on how to celebrate 50 yrs of independence? Since when has the PAP listened to the people?


*“The world has changed, and so must we,” declared Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Mandarin yesterday at the biennial People’s Action Party (PAP) convention.

To that end, the ruling party has adopted a new resolution statement – its first in 25 years – which reinterprets the PAP’s goals so as to stay relevant “in this new phase and with the new generation”.

“This is a strategic shift,” said Mr Lee. “Although the content looks similar, its meaning is different. This is a new frame of thinking for the PAP, to make the party’s long-term goals more relevant to the needs of society today.”

As the culmination of five engagement sessions with party members (spread over the course of three months), the main thrust of the new eight-point resolution involves upholding an “open and compassionate meritocracy” in a “fair and just society” with “opportunities for all Singaporeans”.

“We rely on free markets to grow the pie but will moderate its excesses . . . We support a progressive system of benefits and taxes to enable all to enjoy quality education, good housing, and affordable healthcare,” (Extract from BT)

**She juz kanna saboed by MDA as readers will know.


Men in White wearing blue

Men in Blue wearing white. Yup Auntie’s a man. Wonder if Kim Song noticed? (OK, OK, I sorry for being mean to an old RI boy).

PAP’s view of us 40%ers?

In Humour, Political governance on 04/11/2013 at 5:40 am

“Their bowls are filled with rice, their mouths are filled with pork, but after they finish their meals, they criticise the government,” he* laughed.

“The Chinese masses are shameless and you don’t need to respect them.”

Substitute the word “Chinese masses” with “40% of deft S’porean voters”, and I suspect the PAP would “Like” the sentiments expressed.

Given that the PAP has ruled S’pore since 1959, and our standard of living is now first world, surely the PAP had shumething to do with it*? And surely. the PAP is entitled to get upset that 40% of the voters (self included) prefer to vote for the opposition?

Actually, the PAP should adopt a slightly different perspective. True, WP*** won a GRC and got 12.8% of the popular vote. But it is widely perceived by S’poreans as “PAP Lite”: in some lighting conditions their light blue shirts appear white.

This means that 72.8% of the electorate are very comfortable with the PAP, and S’pore being a defacto one party state: all the elected MPs are from the PAP (most) or the WP (7).

The presidential election double confirmed this as the preferred candidate won by a very, very short nose in a photo finish. The runner-up was a former PAP MP who unlike Tan Kin Lian, who lost his deposit, did not repent of his time in the PAP. Between Tony Tan and Tan Cheng Bock, MD, they got 70% of the votes. Tan Jee Say, came third, with 25%. Taz the gap between the support for the PAP, and the real opposition.

Maybe, this is what the PAP is worried about (see my extracts from govt think-tank October 2014 Asean Monitor)?

Most probably, though, the PAP juz wants 150% control. It’s in the DNA, like Hard Truths.


*A BBC report said that this was said by one Liang Wenyong, the Communist Party boss of Gushanzi, a farming town in Hebei province, At a lavish banquet as he picked a variety of delicacies in front of him, including a whole lobster, Mr Liang gave his unvarnished views on the Chinese masses. Unfortunately for him, he was caught on tape.

The leaked video quickly prompted more than 9,000 angry comments on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter …Unsurprisingly, Liang Wenyong was fired. But in a twist typical of the new clean-up campaign, officials in Gushanzi were also ordered to study Xi Jinping’s teachings.

**Yes, Yes, I know that one Jack Lam and friend keep saying on Facebook that S’pore was in the 50s, the second biggest  port in the Asia, as though that alone would explain S’pore’s subsequent success. My retort:

***S/o of JBJ takes exception to the claims (he says) that the local media make that Low founded the WP. Low may not have founded the WP but after the party’s leadership dethroned JBJ, and appointed him as leader, he changed the party, bringing organisation,, respectability and moderation to it. Remember JBJ’s WP allowed loonies and a bicyle thief tpo stand as MPs. And no-one could call WP “PAP Lite”: it waz too dysfunctional for that, and, anyway, was nothing more than JBJ’s chariot. BTW there is a gd site on FB to JBJ. Worth a visit:

Low shows the usefulness of “non-action

In Political governance on 25/07/2013 at 1:44 pm

My last piece, until new facts emerge, as I’m sure they will.on this Tweedledum and Tweedledee row that Low ended temporarily by saying “Let the people decide”.

Low clearly stated in Parliament that he would find out who had asked the contractor to give a quotation for the Bedok hawker centre cleaning. But a day later, he told reporters there was no need for further investigations (“Low: No need for further probe into hawker centre cleaning row”). Maybe he finally spoke to Tai? Remember, the day before he surprised by saying he had never spoken to Tai. This surprised some (including self) but on reflection he was not the chair, nor vice of the town council. And he ain’t a micro mgr like PM’s dad. More like PM who allowed Mah Bow Tan and Raymond Lim to continue with their now discredited (now reversed) policies. Or maybe, Auntie and her man threatened to resign as MPs? True WP can rule Aljunied, but looks bad for Low and WP. First Yaw, then Auntie and her man.

Then he went on, after PM’s comments, to say, “Our MPs’ consciences are clear.  Not saying the MPs got integrity in his view. Juz saying their consciences “are clear”. Leaves open the possibility that MPs wrong to asset that Tai didn’t ask for $.

Meanwhile PritamS is so quiet. Lost his voice? Or had his vocal cords cut?

So they traded places, which is the best for WP. If WP is smart, they should lock PritamS in a padded cell, and when the next GE is called, announce that he will not be standing again. He is a liability in a party with men of substance and quiet achievement like Low, Show Mao and JJ.

But non-action has its downside. Take Faisal’s silence: It was interesting how the PAP politicians referred to the silence of Mr Pritam Singh …  denied that the town council had asked for undeserved payment – but failed to mention the other GRC member, Mr Faisal Manap. He had actually written to the town council on the issue, handing over an appeal letter from hawkers about being made to pay extra. Was he in Parliament? Couldn’t he have shed light on the matter? Or was he merely acting as a post box for hawkers when he handed over the appeal?

The above reminded me that it was a convoluted (so painful to read)  remark of Auntie’s that got me analysing the case more closely. She said, “the letter evidently shows MP Faisal’s awareness that it was not the policy of AHPETC not to clean the high areas of the market during annual cleaning, nor to collect any additional charges from the hawkers; otherwise, MP Faisal would not have written to AHPETC to look into Mr Chan Kheng Heng’s claim”.

Before that, I tot most of the noise was the typical PAP bullying, trying to stir the waters in an espresso cup, even if I tot WP had goofed and was silly to muddy the waters and Auntie dumb to accuse a govt agency of being political.

What got me analysing was the convoluted nature of what she said*, and the fact that Faisal didn’t juz pick-up the telephone and call Pritam, “P, waz this nonsense about charging the hawkers for the annual cleaning of the ceilings? Isn’t it our policy to pay for this?”. He didn’t but handed on the petition letter, supporting it.

His continued silence while not damning is strange.

Overall though, non-action has worked to the WP’s advantage here. If only Auntie and her man were followers of Lao Tzu, as Low surely is. Instead, they were people of violence, ala PAP.

So until fresh facts emerge, I’ll say no more on this matter.

*I said here that lawyers use language like this to confuse matters.

Will Tai do a Yaw? Cut & run?

In Political governance on 14/07/2013 at 5:22 am

This is speculation but speculation based on what worked before for Low, the man of Tao, who is non-confrontational: like water.

As Cze, me, and, now tua kee blogger, Alex Au have point out, Tai Vie Shun has some questions to answer, but he never did.

And never will if Low’s statement of Saturday evening is the final word: taz it’s for public to decide. This followed PM’s latest comments (even TRE says he has many supporters) on the issue.

Might Tai leave S’pore? In effect doing a Yaw?

Low could come out to say, “We were investigating privately, we are not detectives,. But he left S’pore so we can’t do anything,”

Let’s see. Let me be clear, I’m not saying that Low will “fix” things. As someone steeped in Tao, things will juz happen, to his advantage.

If Tai does a Yaw, I sure the usual suspects will praise Low like they did when Yaw skipped town, saying nothing about his sex life

Finally, if no-one blogs on why the PM is taking such a hard line, other than he has evidence that can stand up in court behind him, I’ll have to blog on why Auntie’s attack on a govt agency without evidence that could stand up in the court of public opinion was dumb. Whoever originated the ST article that got PritamS all upset, deserves a million-dollar bonus.

If only Auntie and her man were men steeped in Tao, the PAP would have had to move on. Happily for them, only Low is a man of Tao.

Related post

Why young S’poreans should be sent to Yangon

In Logistics, Political governance on 13/07/2013 at 10:57 am

“Still, if the Workers Party can’t get its act together over cleaning hawker centres how can it ever hope to run a $trillion country? :lol:,” Auntielucia. She is right. Actually, it’s worse than this or what PM is alleging. It is really very stupid to accuse a govt agency of being “political” without evidence that can hold up in the court of public opinion. Might blog on this if no other blogger raises the issue.

Anyway, I’m sure she would agree with me that S’pore would become like Burma under incompetent government.

A WALK AROUND battered, ramshackle Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city and former capital, quickly makes it clear how far the country has fallen behind the rest of Asia over the past half-century. In large part the place is but a ghostly reminder of former glories. Under British colonial rule, before independence in 1948, Rangoon (as it was then) was a thriving, cosmopolitan entrepot, the capital of Burma, one of the region’s wealthiest countries. All that came to an abrupt end in 1962 after a junta of army officers, led by the brutal General Ne Win, seized power and launched the country on the quasi-Marxist “Burmese Way to Socialism”. Private foreign-owned businesses were nationalised, prompting the exodus of hundreds of thousands of people, many of Indian origin. (From the Economist, a few weeks ago)

The govt should pay to send kids there during the hols. Make it the PAP as the usual suspects would shout “politics”, and rightly so.

No Asean-round up this week. But readers might find this interesting It’s about the building of a highway across the Kra Isthmus that shippers can use to by-pass the Malacca Straits.

Related post

The deafening silence of Tai Vie Shun

In Political governance, Public Administration on 11/07/2013 at 4:44 am

Low says he stands by Auntie and her vice chairman, and the WP report clearing them.He has to would say that, wouldn’t he?. after VivianB’s savaging of (at least he stopped picking on the elderly, needy poor, a SDP gay, the and Indonesian govt). In cyberspace the usual suspects are rushing to their defence. Sadly, most of the stuff is of the “WP right, VivianB is a lying bastard” variety. Seems that the usual suspects have nothing substantive to say in defence of Auntie and her man*. They are reduced to replaying the video of the exchange, frame by frame, adding their spin.

To be fair, they can’t be blamed when she says convoluted lawyerly stuff like:

— “This quotation was requested by the market association and does not coincide with their annual obligation to clean the high areas under the town council contract. Does the minister not agree that in this quotation, nowhere is the town council implicated?”

— “Minister, it is still the consistent position of our town council that Mr Tai at no time said that the hawkers had to pay extra to fulfill the town council’s annual obligation** to clean the high areas. At no time was this said, I don’t think these documents show it either.”

— “[T]he letter evidently shows MP Faisal’s awareness that it was not the policy of AHPETC not to clean the high areas of the market during annual cleaning, nor to collect any additional charges from the hawkers; otherwise, MP Faisal would not have written to AHPETC to look into Mr Chan Kheng Heng’s claim.”

How to help leh?

I had blogged in mid June “And this is the dog that didn’t bark, The WP TC’s property manager was aware of everything going on – he was CC-ed in emails and forwarded quotations. How could it have escaped him that everyone was pulling in different directions and essentially working against each other? Insidious or sloppy?

‘Auntie and PritamS have never explained his silence, or allowed him to speak to the public.”

Their failure has caught up with them.

And I’m surprised to learn that Low had yet to speak to Tai. Another Stag Yaw situation? Low doesn’t want to hear an inconvenient, hard truth?

I don’t expect Auntie and her friend to sue VivianB to show they are not lying; too short to respond to him in that childish way.Let him bawl in his play pen. (BTW, can you imagine him and that other rich snooty kid, s/o JBJ, in the same play pen in the same creche?)

I juz want to hear from Tai Vie Shun, the property manager. Did he ask the hawkers to pay for the scaffolding? Any scaffolding?

If he says, he didn’t, is he willing to swear a statutory declaration to that effect**?

And if he admits that he asked the hawkers to pay for scaffolding (any scaffolding),did he think he was doing it in accordance with the town council’s guidelines?

And did he inform Auntie and PritamS about his request. And if he did, when did he inform them?

Why is it so difficult to get Tai to speak publicly on these issues, Low?

Finally, bloggers, pls note that the minister’s version of events is consistent with that of the hawkers (actually it’s based on their version). Are they saying the hawkers are wrong or lying?

The PAP isn’t going to let this issue drop, so bloggers had better get more creative in their response, if Tai doesn’t open his mouth, which I don’t think he will.

[Last two para added after hr hour first posting.]

*No not defamatory as there were several other Indians working hard in Aljunied, all trying hard to be the WP Indian candidate. Singh got it ’cause Auntie mentored him. It has been alleged that he made it clear that if he wasn’t chosen to stand in Aljunied, he wouldn’t stand elsewhere and would cut the time he spent on WP activities.

**Is it WP’s position that if the ceilings are cleaned more than once a yr, the hawkers have to pay? Waz the position in PAP areas?  My PAPpy connections say the PAP town councils pay for all ceiling cleaning, and they are cleaned more than once a year. I pointed out that they charge more, a lot more.

***Then it would be in VivianB’s court to prove that he is lying.

WP & NEA deserve one another?

In Humour, Public Administration on 24/06/2013 at 6:03 pm

Given PM’s warning that the haze will last for weeks, and that this respite is temporary, I was surprised to read in yesterday’s ST that the WP town council was beginning  the cleaning yesterday of the two hawker centres (when PritamS had said needed only to be cleaned once a yr: despite them not being cleaned since 2011 according to a TOC report, I think). His remarks provoked a typhoon in an  expresso cup.

I mean with all the haze around, cleaning the ceilings now would be a waste of effort and money.

Wonder if the WP town council had consulted the hawkers and the NEA on whether it made sense in view of the haze to clean the ceilings now.

NEA should have stepped in to advise, “Wait awhile”. After all WP are novices when it comes to managing a GRC. Only had tiny Hougang before 2011.

The hawkers should have the final sale as their sales are affected when there is cleaning.

As it is, the hardworking hawkers will have to forgo sales yet again, and to what purpose? If the PM is right and the haze returns, and it seems to doing so, as I write, the ceilings will get dirty pretty fast.

Town Council Debate: Cocks posturing & preening

In Political governance on 22/05/2013 at 5:30 am

Yes,yes Aunties’s not a cock but she sure behaved like Khaw and  Dr Teo. All these three, and the other supporting speakers didn’t try to bother to explain what the facts were. They juz tried to slime the other side, hoping that some mud would stick. No one drew blood.

I won’t bother to go into detail critcising what the PAPpies said as Sg Daily has done a gd job over the last few days providing links to a critique of the PAP’s position and its attacks on the WP. All I will say is that it confirms my view, many yrs ago, that the idea of town councils would come to haunt the PAP. It wasn’t even a gd idea at the time. Ah well, another black mark to Goh Chok Tong and one Lee Hsien Loong and their team.

I’ll juz make some points about what I found astounding about the WP’s position and netizens’ views.

I find it really strange that the WP thinks its OK for it to give a contract to its supporters but that it is wrong for the PAP to give a contract to a PAP linked company. The distinction escapes me. To me, “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice”. (Deng Xiaopin).

The other point is Auntie telling Dr Teo to report the WP to the CPIB if he had evidence of wrong-doing. Err Auntie, why so more PAP than the PAP? Imagine if when Auntie first made her allegations, those many noons ago, the PAP had said the same to her. I mean she, WP and netizens would be bitching at the PAP for trying to hide something. And rightly so. So why like that Auntie?

Which brings me to the point that netizens are so anti-PAP that they unthinkingly cheer the WP’s position on

— it’s OK to give contracts to supporters, but not party-affiliated organisations; and

— trying to win the argument by telling other side to report the matter to the CPIB.

While the PAP has the 120% support of the constructive, nation-building media, netizens are 99.9% anti-PAP. Here’s a tot for the PAP: if the local media were less servile to the PAP, would the internet be a less hostile place to the PAP. Could the hostile environment on the internet be a reaction to the power of the PAP over the local media.

To end, it would be nice if both sides respected the other side so that we the public can learn the truth of the allegations. Here’s an interesting excerpt on the benefits of respecting one’s opponent, though the author readily admits it’s damned difficult,:

Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticising the views of an opponent? If there are obvious contradictions in the opponent’s case, then you should point them out, forcefully. If there are somewhat hidden contradictions, you should carefully expose them to view – and then dump on them. But the search for hidden contradictions often crosses the line into nitpicking, sea-lawyering and outright parody. The thrill of the chase and the conviction that your opponent has to be harbouring a confusion somewhere encourages uncharitable interpretation, which gives you an easy target to attack.

But such easy targets are typically irrelevant to the real issues at stake and simply waste everybody’s time and patience, even if they give amusement to your supporters. The best antidote I know for this tendency to caricature one’s opponent is a list of rules promulgated many years ago by social psychologist and game theorist Anatol Rapoport.

How to compose a successful critical commentary:

1. Attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly and fairly that your target says: “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”

2. List any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).

3. Mention anything you have learned from your target.

4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

One immediate effect of following these rules is that your targets will be a receptive audience for your criticism: you have already shown that you understand their positions as well as they do, and have demonstrated good judgment (you agree with them on some important matters and have even been persuaded by something they said). Following Rapoport’s rules is always, for me, something of a struggle…

Low & gang are pro LHL?

In Humour, Political governance on 08/03/2013 at 5:35 am

Readers will know by now that JG is a WP groupie, usual making coherent and rational arguments.

In response to this, she wrote: Looks like you’re still only 3 steps or so into your 10 step journey of epiphany about LHL. You really think he “gets it” and beginning to change since GE2011? Bookmark this post and come back again 2 years time. I’ve seen countless hopeful like you – including Andrew Loh, “Blogging for Myself” – slowly learning for themselves that it is not MBT, TCH, WKS that’s the issue – its the top leadership. When its rudderless or ineffective – what you call “hands-off” – you get bursts of swinging to the left, swinging to the right, tweaking a little here, tweaking a little there. You’re colored by your hopes and prejudice that I think, you will take a longer time to see his lack of leadership for what it is. The problem, as Lucky Tan rightly pointed out, is that the longer you let certain things fester, the worse it becomes and harder to solve. OK, lets set the clock ticking …

Err JG seems to have forgotten that her dear leader, Loh, says,”Effect of policy changes not felt yet” and “Give govt time to work policies”? So isn’t he saying that we should give PM and the govt more time, now that PM is no longer neutered mentored? And remember Show Mao’s analogy of the WP being loyal courtiers to the emperor (OK, OK, I exaggerate: only slightly though), another way of expressing a variant of the idea: give constructive, nation-building criticism so that the PAP can reform itself and change it policies for S’pore?

As to decisive leadership from him, don’t expect it.He is not that kind of person, and anyway, S’pore and the world are too complicated for that kind of style in other than in crises. George Bush was a decisive leader: look what happened.

Budget debate: No more Wayang pls WP

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 27/02/2013 at 6:06 am

(Esp since govt stops Wayang on COEs and properties)

I was surprised to learn from DPM Teo last yr, that the WP MPs voted in favour of the 2012 Budget. Given the passion that they spoke against things they didn’t like about the 2012 Budget, I had tot that they would abstain. Voting against the Budget would be expecting too much of a party that sees itself as a “co-driver” with the possibility of sharing the driving one day (Dream on Baiyee).

Still I tot that abstaining would be a principled stand (Not opposing for the sake of opposing), that reflects the realities: there are gd bits, and any way PAP will win the vote. But support the Budget was two-faced by any standard, especially given that there were strong speeches against bits of the Budget. (And talking of two-faced, Baiyee and Auntie voted for the govt’s bill changing the law on mandatory capital punishment, after waxing impassionately against it).

So come the time, I expect the WP to be principled: either abstain or vote against the govt’s Budget. I’m of course assuming that there are things in the Budget that the WP strongly disagrees with. If the WP has only minor quibbles, and supports the Budget, in general, I expect it to say so openly, loudly, and to vote for the Budget. Don’t attack it, and then support it. In short, no more Wayang please.

The WP MPs should show us that they got balls they can walk the talk, not talk cock sing song. For the latter, we got PAP MPs like Inderjit Singh. The voters of Punggol East and Aljunied did not vote for WP MPs, only to discover that they voted for PAP clones who dress in light blue.

Penultimately, PritamS had a great suggestion for the govt that he should suggest to WP Low. Practice what you preach: set an example.

“Member of Parliament (MP) Pritam Singh has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to better highlight Singapore’s stand on controversial issues.
He said this was not only to solicit public feedback, but also to remove the chance for misunderstandings among the public to occur on such matters.” CNA on 4 February 2013.

The WP should better highlight WP’s stand (and voting record in Parliament where applicable) on controversial or complicated issues to remove the chance for misunderstandings among the public to occur on such matters.

Finally, nice to see that the govt has stopped its wayanging on inflation caused by COEs and property rentals (Remember Tharman’s and Hng Kiang’s,”Inflation? What inflation? Don’t rent, no new car, no inflation leh.”) Why did it  take the govt so long to introduce these measures I also like the new car financing measures. Shumething should be done similarly on residential property financing, other than first homes. SLimit the loans to 10 years, given that interest rates are low.

Update: WP groupie JG (see comments) has a gd point on voting records. This is something that the WP should explain to S’poreans as per Baiyee’s suggestion.


Restoring TFR should be a top priority: WP chief

In Humour on 09/02/2013 at 2:43 pm

Err so Auntie got her orders to get married and start breeding ASAP?

Co-driver must also help driver by setting example. All the cabinet members are married with kids. So Auntie should also follow.

And if she not getting married, what about breeding? Every little bit helps.

“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? (

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

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 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.

Analysing Low’s speech of “Unity? What unity?”

In Political governance on 27/01/2013 at 5:10 am

— Netizens note: Nemesis did not punish his hubris

I was wrong. The WP won, overturning the 14 percentage point advantage of the PAP. My friend who predicted that with the amenities already in place, or on the way, the voters would vote WP. They had nothing to lose. Here’s TRE immediate take on it: Lingering unhappiness over issues like immigration and transport continue to plague the Government and the major policy announcements over the past few weeks clearly did not sway public opinion.

The WP also seems to have picked up momentum since their historic win in Aljunied GRC two years ago and it is clear that a desire for a strong opposition voice is a tide that might prove difficult for the PAP to reverse.

Ms Lee Li Lian also achieved a first in the history of Singapore – for the first time, an opposition managed to win a multi-cornered fight in an election. That speaks a lot on how Singaporeans feel about PAP these days.

So the 22 January 2013 speech by Low setting out the WP’s position on Opposition unity: it was for the fairies as far as WP was concerned did not upset Nemesis even though he got a lot of stick from netizens. It didn’t upset the 3,000 voters who swung the area WP’s way.

Below is an analysis sent in by “Choked by red pills” written in the immediate aftermath of that speech.

But first let me say that I understand Low’s annoyance with the calls of unity or co-operation. Based on what KennethJ and Mad Dog Chee said, it seems that their idea of teaming up against the PAP is: “You do the work, I get the glory and acclaim”. It juz isn’t on especially in the case of one-man band KennethJ s/o JBJ. What had he to offer to WP in PE? Look at his rally attendances. As to his economic expertise, if the WP wanted to tap economic expertise there are many high IQ, High EQ economists that the WP can take advice from.

At least in the case of SDP, one could argue that Mad Dog Chee offered extending the loan to the WP of the rabid anti-PAP vote, so that WP has a base on which to do its traditional outreach to the moderates. But even I who incline towards this view of the SDP having the mad dog vote, can’t be sure if this is true, or of the size of said vote, unless the SDP fights the WP. I’ll explore why the SDP WP blinked one of these days.

Then there is the resentment within the WP (very understandable) of the Johnnies come later: who are trying to tumpang on the brand building (that the opposition to the PAP can be responsible, mature and moderate; not just a “motley crew” of bicycle thieves, loonies led by a brave, charismatic, egoistic demagogue) by WP (under Low) since 2001. NSP, RP and even SDP were riding on WP’s hard work. The Mad Dog party only turned to electoral politics in 2010. Before that it was bite-and-bait-the-government  game.

Then there is for Low and the other WP leaders the issue of pleasing their activists who are not MPs. The activists want a crack at $15,000 allowances, The jockeying to get places in Aljunied was not funny.

So while I have problems with WP’s performance since GE 2011, I’m on Low’s side when he sneers, “Unity? What unity? Co-operation? What Co-operation?” when the other pygmies parties want the giant to tie himself up, so that they can take advantage of said giant’s hard work.

Having said all this, I commend this for yr reading. Written by one “Choked on red pills”, it analyses Low’s unity speech of 22 January. It was written on 23 January, well before yesterday’s victory.

For all intents and purposes, this Saturday’s by-election may not be significant for the country’s political future …

However, last night’s rally is extremely significant. It’s not because LTK chose to regale us with his POV about the opposition’s political history since 1991

(note: history is often written by the victor). It’s his explicit rhetoric that his party of alternative political moderates will now go their own way. It wasn’t implied. It wasn’t a suggestion. It wasn’t a hint. He said “opposition unity is impossible”.

Before 2011, it may be reasonable to believe that politics in our neighbouring country was far advanced in terms of maturity than ours. The ruling party there was dealt a heavy blow and resulted in the resignation of their Prime Minister who presided over the elections. It was possible because the opposition there had a central figure, who could persuade other parties to form one united banner against the ruling party, i.e., a coalition. The rest, as we know, is history and there is talk about how the coming elections up there could possibly result in more gains for the opposition.

With LTK’s strongly worded statements during last night’s rally, all chances of an opposition coalition have evaporated. This means that the strategy that the opposition held since 1980s – to avoid three-cornered fights – has been abandoned*. While it signals his confidence in his own party which he has painfully shaped (to his credit), there will be serious implications for Singapore’s political future from this.

Firstly, WP will strongly brand itself as a moderate alternative to the PAP. With the tacit rejection of any form of co-operation with other opposition parties politically, it will go their own way but possibly not stray too far away from the path that the PAP treads in terms of policy. At the same time, with LTK’s rhetoric, he has burnt a fair bit of bridges with the other parties. Effectively, it will be far harder for WP to convince other parties to form any agreement with them if it needs a slim majority to form the Government in the (far) future.

At this point, it may be useful to be reminded of how, when PE SMC was open to a by-election, many believed that the old strategy of a two-cornered fight would still serve the best interests in sending another opposition candidate to Parly. Which means, other parties should stay away from contesting so that WP will have abetter chance of winning the BE. [Yet, ethically it may be tricky to suggest that WP should have the right to contest in the two-cornered fight as they weren’t the first to contest there.] But with LTK’s speech last night, it is an admission that the WP will not hesitate to contest in other wards even if other parties had “staked their claims” and worked the ground there.

Punggol East: More Tak Boleh Tahan comments

In Humour, Political governance on 24/01/2013 at 6:06 pm

(Or “Who are WP, PAP Koh, s/o JBJ, & TJS trying to bluff?”)

Starting with WP, the “can’t stand” comments (Note unless otherwise attributed, quotes are from CNA)

— “Lee Li Lian said having another WP member in Parliament will strengthen the voice of the opposition party.”/ “Lee Li Lian said the Punggol East by-election will serve as a barometer of her party’s performance since the last General Election.

Ah Lian, Voice, what Voice? Performance, what Performance? Eight no sound, no action: one more make the difference meh? WP juz wants another 15k a month allowance.

— “Ms Lee said the by-election will show whether residents will have the confidence to give the party their votes.”

She means confident that WP is PAP Lite, without being able to give away goodies?

— “The Workers’ Party has urged Punggol East residents to use their votes to make the government work harder.”

I prefer what a PAPpy minister said, “Voting for PAP will make WP work harder.”

— Sylvia Lim said that some things (alternative suggestions on certain policies) are whispered to the govt behind “closed doors’’

This was what PAP MPs used to say, Auntie. Oh, I forgot: you are PAP Lite.

— “Chairman Sylvia Lim had said that this by-election is in some way an indicator of how the people feel about the government’s performance.”

So if voters like the way the govt is spending our money on ourselves, vote PAP is it, Auntie?

(I can go on and on, what with what PritamS and Low said on rally nights, but I don’t want to appear anti-WP. Still hoping to have a date with JG.)

But the PAP is just as bad:

— “Dr Koh also said he is fighting his own race in the by-election.”

Err, so so PM, DPM, Education Minister etc did not come, or attack the WP? Impersonators did these things?

— “[H]e feels that tackling local issues first will bring about more immediate reprieve for the residents.”

So Palmer was not doing his job as MP, preferring mangoes with Laura? So why didn’t PAP tell him to pull up his socks (and pants) and help residents? Why wait until now?

— “serving the people”

In Telok Blangah to be precise, not Punggol East or even Punggol. And the ST dares call him “son of Punggol”: err more like prodigal son, who preferred to “move on” to Toa Payoh, then Telok Blangah: anywhere except Punggol area.

— “I want to be a participant in this process of change from within.”

PAP MPs always saying this from time immemorial (“Go with the flow” Georgie said this once): were it not for GE and PE results, there would be no change on the policy of not spending our money on ourselves. The money would be allocated allocated for casino games. Post these elections, the govt has been spending our money on making life more comfortable for ourselves. Voters forced this change of mind-set on the PAP. It didn’t come from within. If change could have come from within, PM would not have had to apologise. Nor would George have turned like a cornered rat on the PAP in a vain attempt to remain a minister.

— Kate Spade Tin and side-kick Denise He were told not to sabo when they volunteered to run Koh’s social media activities.

As to the Sui Kees who think they are Tua Kees:

— “The Reform Party will be having their rally carried out as per planned … This is after being assured by the police that it would be safe to attend the rally and that security has been stepped up. Just a while ago, the fanpage announced that the party will not proceed with the rally unless Singapore Police Force ensures the safety of their supporters.” TOC

Wayang King, Drama Queen, this son of Lion King, JBJ, and Lion Queen, Margaret. They must be weeping in heaven, at how their son turned out. Never mind, the other boy is better, a lot better, even if he married into a PAPpy family. Err maybe, taz why he has high EQ, in addition to high IQ, and is one of us.

— s/o JBJ got flu after being in rain

How to be MP in S’pore? Always raining here. He will always be AWOL or MIA if elected MP.

— “TJS says he tried but failed to persuade RP) and SDA to withdraw” TRE

Wonder if KJ or DL said to him, “Juz following your example, Big Brudder.”. Someone posted this on TRE, “TSJ you yourself is a spoiler do you think as a spoiler you are more professional to talk to spoiler.Come on you are a jilted failure candidate.”

No, not criticising Desperate Loser because he deserves two cheers. He is a warning to Low and Sylvia and other arrogant non-fat people that fat, short, balding men should not be taken for granted nor pushed around: they can cause trouble, serious trouble if provoked. Remember Eric Tan? One day he too may have his revenge on Low, Sylvia and GG, Eric’s apprentice.

As for Mad Dog (or is it it Coyote?) Chee, he deserves a posting of his very own. Akan datang.

Anyway, voters of Punngol East, as the PAP used to say when the WP fielded bicycle thieves, Maurice Neo, loonies,  and JBJ, “Vote wisely”.

And if any voter wants to vote “unwisely” to send messages to the PAP and the WP, vote for DL: he is one of us, a true blue S’porean. He juz got mad as hell, fed-up of being pushed around. KennethJ is not one of us. He is low EQ, high IQ FT that juz happened to be born here, who thinks that S’poreans owe him a living because he is s/o JBJ. Give him the finger.

*I mean one LKY even said that the size of the reserves had to be kept a secret from S’poreans, lest we want it to be spent on ourselves.

OMG! Low: a great strategist & sage

In Political governance on 24/01/2013 at 5:48 am

Given that netizens have turned against the WP and Low, I tot I should bring a little balance into the row, by letting JG say a few words.

I’m glad she didn’t compare Low and WP to Sun Tzu because then I’ll be reminded of what Edward Luttwak, a modern-day American strategist, recently wrote of the use of Sun Tzu teachings by the Chinese, “While Han generals in charge of large armies were busy quoting Sun Tzu to each other, relatively small numbers of mounted warriors schooled in the rudely effective strategy and tactics of the steppe outmanoeuvred and defeated their forces.” Lest we forget, the Hsiung Nu, Tibetans, Jurchens, Khitans, Mongols, Manchus,and other nomads defeated Chinese generals steeped in Sun Tzu’s aphorisms.

She writes:

Re : Low’s weird comments

I take the opposite tack of you – instead of Low being a liability in this BE, I think he has acted splendidly. Put it another way : on a scale of 1 to 10, I rank Low 8, LHL 6 and CSJ 4 in terms of strategic manouevers and tactical execution.

First of all, we need to recognise that in the heat of a campaign, if you put every person’s words under a microscope, you’ll find meat that anyone can go after. Dr Koh had made many verbal blunders (“As professionals, we need 2 cars”, “my wife said you want to help but people don’t want your help”), KJ (“on MC today”), LTK and interestingly so far, none from Ah Lian. These are TACTICAL mis-steps – every candidate makes them. The Great Obama said something about “bitter people .. clinging on to their guns”, Michelle Obama (“for the first time, I’m proud of my country”).

These tactical blunders happen, but most are minor and recoverable. Particularly if you look at the context they are uttered. In LTK’s case, I think he meant “all the PM has to say” to mean, “is this the best complain you PM can find about WP so far?”. In any case, I think very very few Punggol residents microscopically analyse a candidate’s every word and go off-tangent with one single badly worded utterance.

The more important battle is strategic, not tactical per se. Here, you got to give LTK credit, where I think he is due. Even PAP MPs I speak to (off the record), applaud LTK as being politically very shrewd.

At the start of the BE, look at how LTK handle the SDP jumping in saga. He did it, basically like how Obama handled Romney or McCain – let them self-destruct. LTK stuck to the politically correct script – everyone has the right to stand for elections – who can argue with “the sun rises from the east” type comments, right? Meanwhile, CSJ was detonating landmines publicly, day by day (cannot contact WP, publicly disclose confidential letters, we only good at making speeches in Parliament but not confident in handling Town Council) and then withdrawal. Similarly, it lets the ego of Desmond and KJ grow and over-shadow whatever credence SDA or RP used to have. Suddenly no more rallies, “paid volunteers” saga (for Desmond). AWOL, daily complaints of threats and police reports (for KJ) — let their wayang hog the limelight, let them self-destruct, no need to say a word.

Behind the scene, LTK selected Ah Lian to take on smooth, professional Dr Koh. Arguably, a better choice, than say GG. Because Ah Lian is so down to earth, so real (right down to her missing 2 front teeth) that the contrast with Dr Koh became greater, especially when Dr Koh came across as stretching the truth ($10 left, only enough for chopsticks, switch from BMW to Toyota car when visit Punggol etc etc). This contrast seems to be hitting a cord. It was reported on-line that reporters tailing both candidates on house visits, observed that residents are warmer towards Ah Lian, posing for photos, sharing their stories, introduce their family, giving a drink. Word got to the PAP too.

LTK also straddled the “local issue” vs “national issue” beautifully. I’d say,to the extent of running circles around the PAP. What do I mean? For Aljunied, LTK bet 100% on national – PAP thot local issue usually matters more but was swept by the tide. So PAP tried to immunize itself right from the start with PUnggol BE – a wave of good news. But LTK attacked first on the local front – Riverdale, how come so many RCs but so little coffeeshops, transport, – ie. what has your PAP MP been doing all these years? So local concerns got paraded to the front, and Dr Koh tried playing the same game – I’m my own man. LTK used these local issues to get Ah Lian to connect to each resident on the ground-game front.

Then in the closing stages of the campaign, LTK swings back to national issues in the public campaign. The more good news got trumpeted, the more it appears that if Aljunied had not fallen, PAP would not have reversed course. If Punggol BE had not happen, some of these good news would not get announced. So it plays into the need for opposition, theme. And LTK only drums up AIM in the last few days of the campaign. Why? I do not think many PUnggol residents know what is AIM, or even really care. But the hard core opposition supporters do care. So this is “red meat” for the base. In other words, focus first on the middle block, handle the risk that the base will defect to Desmond/KJ by giving them some red meat right at the end (and after giving time for Desmond/KL to implode). The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Hopefully, this then consolidates both the middle and base votes.

The other advantage of trumpeting national issues at the late stage of the game, is that it baits the “big guns” of PAP to respond. And they usually respond clumsily and turn off voters by the way they over-react.

Whether or not this is enough to win Punggol, I do not know. But I have heard that PAP is sweating. It was said that PAP carefully carved out Punggol SMC in 2011 and that in the prior elections (2006?), that Punggol SMC had 30+% vote swing to PAP. Unexpectedly, this got cut to 10% swing in GE2011. PAP had counted on multi-corner fights, particularly from newly released CSJ and SDP to spoil the party. That didn’t happen. LHL called the elections thinking there’s a good chance they’ll win. As the campaign progressed, and they too feel the “smell of Hougang”, they’re now not so sure.

But as I said, as long as WP increases meaningfully from 41%, and PAP decreases meaningfully from 55% – WP does not need to win, for PAP to lose. A 5% swing away from the PAP (ie. 49% or 50% only) will be a dreaded signal that the electorate is still unhappy with PAP and this will keep them on their toes. A WP win is a jackpot.

And oh, the other thing I like about this BE — it has also put WP under the fire too, to defend its record and hopefully, correct course where necessary. You didn’t hear WP being so defensive in Hougang BE. In other words, this time they got the message – there are some out there who’re unhappy at their low-key approach. Hopefully, this makes them a better party moving forward too. So Desmond is right and wrong – someone needs to keep a check on both PAP and WP. Unfortunately, its not Desmond — its we, the people. Through the messiness of the internet, online chatter, rallies etc. Both PAP and WP are hearing us. That’s good isn’t it ?

* If I were her employer, I’d sure be angry that she skivving.

WP supporter’s analysis of the Punggol East by-election

In Humour, Political governance on 22/01/2013 at 6:05 pm

JG responded to with some good, rational points. For the sake of JG and other decent, sincere and rational WP supporters like her (there are people on Facebook who doubt that such supporters exist: WP supporters are like PAP supporters), I hope Low stops trying to join the PAP Comedy Club. Either that or he should replace his speech writer who must be a PAPpy mole. After JG’s comments, I repeat Low’s “jokes’ and add my comments on said “jokes”.

WP Forever

I’m not sure that the “practical difference of having a DPM” is being felt in Punggol BE or is even on the radar of residents. Sometimes, I also feel that we (the so-called “vocal minority”, of which I’m admittedly one) tend to over-analyze things.

My own take is that residents are probably still disgruntled with PAP, whether more disgruntled or less compared to the mood of GE2011, I’m not sure. That’s on the national factor front.

Also, GE2011 had the factor of “Aunty-killer” and incumbency advantage for Palmer. And on WP side, all the oxygen was being sucked out to Aljunied contest, all other candidates fielded were perceived to be “B” or “C” team. Now its a solo contest. And SDA was perceived “neutrally” then (now, its no longer neutrally perceived, I’ll be surprised to see it get half of what it even did last time). And it seems to have a drumbeat of “bad local factors” – like Riverdale, etc.

Put it all together, I think there will be a reduction in PAP support. GE2011 was 10 point PAP advantage vs opposition. I expect this to drop. I hope the swing is >5%. If its 10% swing, then its a jackpot. But no need to have jackpot to celebrate.

For me, as long as WP increases it support (regardless Ah Lian win or not) and PAP meaningfully decreases — its a big win. Its a win for WP becos it will show that WP’s “style”, while being lampooned by some online, still resonates with the heartland. Most importantly, it sends the signal to PAP – the change you’re making is still not good enough.

An outright win by WP will be a major disaster for PAP. The grassroots will be totally demoralized. This is the “jackpot” scenario.

On the other hand, if the results mirror GE2011 (ie. ~10% advantage PAP), then PAP will have a major win. Not that WP has a lost, unless their support drop <41%. But PAP will be able to say that all these nonsense about AIM-gate etc are just a “vocal minority”. They will feel vindicated. And continue to do what they like, starting with revealing (surprise, surprise) the plans for population growth over the next decade. [These are the reasons to hope and pray for a PAP Lite win. Keeps the Real PAP “kan cheong”. Sadly, s/o JBJ and Desperate Loser don’t see things this way: selfish.]

Low’s weird comments

His “Why vote PAP”,“The Government should be given time to rectify the shortcomings and neglects pointed out to it. Doing so [not whacking the PAP] would ‘serve the public interest better than continuing to agitate and raise political tension to gain maximum political mileage for WP’, as it takes time for policy changes to take effect on the ground.”

Right so vote PAP to give them more time.

And this comes across as telling PM that he (Low) has met his KPI (presumably decided behind “closed doors”), “I am pleased that all the Prime Minister has to say about the WP is to lament that we have not done enough in Parliament.”.

Waz the reward? Thirty pieces of silver or a doggie biscuit? LOL

Maybe, Low should return to being,”The deaf mute from Hougang”? He is coming across as , “The WP’s parody of s/o JBJ, the talk cock, sing song wayang king and drama queen from Saint Andrews”.

Punggol East voters are not daft

In Humour, Political governance on 20/01/2013 at 5:58 pm

(Update again: PAP got the killer reason to vote for it “Voting for PAP will make WP work harder: Heng Swee Keat” LOL)

I predict that the PAP will win with  a 6-10 percentage points  margin over the combined votes of the Ah Lian, Determined Loser and Wayang King (or is it Drama Queen, or both?)*. The last two will lose their deposits.

Why a comfortable PAP win?

The very cynical answer is that the voters have experience of being part of a town council in a DPM’s patch. Long-term residents in the GRC and Punggol East know that things get done when an MP is also the DPM. They would have seen the contrast: civil servants, PA officials may tai-chi away a MP or minister’s request, but a DPM’s request is different.

It happens in Tharman’s GRC too. A friend who has been living in Tarman Jurong for many years, and who has been a grass-roots activist since Tharman became an MP, tells me the practical difference having a DPM makes. When Tharman was an MP and then minister, things happened but only at a glacial pace. Always got some reason for not doing what he wanted. The usual excuse is “Not in present plan. Next plan, maybe.”

Tharman and residents had wanted a covered walkway to a MRT station since he became MP. Always told why it had to wait. But when he became DPM, and made a request for the up-teem time, the walkway was not only built but better than the one he had been requesting.

Now, I know, residents in the Punggol, Pasir Ris area have similar tales to tell. So would the voters of Punggol East take the risk of becoming part of a WP town council, given that they have a PAP MP who happens to be a DPM round the corner?

They also have the following non-cynical reasons excuses to vote PAP:

— PAP has apologised and started delivering on its promises (witness ministers’ salaries reduction, S$1.1bn on buses, MRT plans, more flats)*;

— WP has done bugger-all for them (KennethJ double confirms this, as though he has done anything for them too too) and country;

— Low implicitly tells them to vote PAP, “The Government should be given time to rectify the shortcomings and neglects pointed out to it. Doing so [not whacking the PAP] would ‘serve the public interest better than continuing to agitate and raise political tension to gain maximum political mileage for WP’, as it takes time for policy changes to take effect on the ground”**;  and

— WP can’t win what with the two clowns contesting. Even if they weren’t, the previous margin of victory of the PAP would show that it wouldn’t be easy. No George Yeo and his gals from hell here.

So, the voters will be Chinese (even the non-Chinese 20%) i.e. pragmatic. They will vote for the PAP teochew boy born in the area made and good, for goodies, to show WP and other opposition parties not to take voters for granted, and to show netizens that they (the netizens) are nothing but elitist kay poh do-gooders who live in districts 9,10, 11 and 15, not in the heartlands of S’pore.

The people of Punggol East are juz decent, hard working, aspirational S’poreans, not elitist activists. And the PAP knows this.

*I’m glad to hear that it seems the SPF asked if he had contacted the London police. He apparently said, “No”. He was asked “You not taking the threats that seriously? Surely you want the police there to keep an eye on them?” I’m told, he kept quiet. [Line struck out after reading Monday’s ST report that his wife had made police report in London. But I’m surprised to read that grandson of that Lion was so upset: he 16 years old, not kiddie.)

**No, PAP has not paid me to say this. It is a fact that the govt is finally spending our money to make life more comfortable for us.

***Isn’t this telling voters that they should continue giving PAP the chance to deliver on its promises? Low needs a better speech writer.

When Mad Dog meets Tua Kees

In Humour, Political governance on 13/01/2013 at 8:49 am

Or “Chee, Sylvia & Low should resume taking their medicine”

While I don’t agree with everything this TRE piece said about Dr Chee, I must say I agree with, “We wait for Dr Chee’s next move. All this is more entertaining than reality TV, if it were not so tragic.”

I’m wondering if he has stopped taking his “anti-wacko” pills (What say you Drs Ang and Paul?). His behaviour increasingly resembles that of Ravi when he stopped taking his medicine. And I’m someone who thinks SDP should contest Punggol East if Sylvia, Low and the other WP leaders continue their tua kee ways.

For the future development democracy in S’pore, there is a need to prove or disprove the thesis that the SDP is carrying the WP. A three-way or more fight will prove or disprove this thesis in a PAP bastion. The PAP  won by 11 percentage points over the combined WP and SDA share of the voters. Taz a solid majority that is impossible to overturn even in a straight fight. So why not turn it into a test of strength between the Wackos and the PAP clones?

Who can mobilise the hard core anti-PAP votes?

“Happy” responded an anti SDP rant to this republishing on TRE saying, among many other things, “The SDP should garner around 20% of the votes. They too know this. However this is what they would like the WP to know should they not want to compromise. There is actually more for the SDP to gain than the WP should the results turn out as such. 8) The WP will be made to realize the reality that their 40% margins were due to one party fights in most areas. The SDA is not a credible party in the eyes of the people.”

Based on the 2011 presidential election, Happy would seem to have underestimated the hard core anti-PAP vote which ranges from 25-30% (25% that voted for Tan Jee say and 5% for Tan Kin Lian). The “Always PAP” is 35% (they voted for Tony Tan), while the remaining 35% that voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock are the discerners, “pick and choose”, moderates, “swingers” or people who don’t do religion. It is many in this 35% that the WP are able to persuade to vote for WP.

But these votes are insufficient without the block vote of the hard core ant-PAP voters. The “chop” system ensured that the WP gets this block vote in the areas it contests, even if these voters do not like the WP. They vote WP because they hate the PAP more.

As the PAP is unlikely to lose Punggol East in a straight fight with any opposition party (what with a margin of 11 percentage points over the combined SDA and WP vote), the contest is a good way of showing the WP that it needs the SDP more than the SDP needs the WP. The WP Aljunied MPs want to keep their $15,000 allowances and the life-styles it allows them to lead.  They can do this in the next GE only if they play ball with SDP, according to Happy’s thesis.

And he could be right. In the 2011 presidential election, I’ve been reliably informed, that Tony Tan won 40ish % of votes in the Aljunied area, and TJS came in a close second. Dr Tan was nowhere near. This shows the power of the anti-PAP vote in Aljunied GRC. It also shows the depth of feeling against the PAP: even Dr Tan is haram. What more near-clones like the WP?

Tua Kee WP

So Low, Sylvia and other WP leaders: don’t be tua kee. Be the humble WP pre the Aljunied win. What I find strange about the WP’s arrogance  is that juz after the 2011 GE, when talking to a WP leader (not Low or Sylvia), he was fretting over the loss of the anti-PAP vote, if the SDP decided to play rough. He said the WP needed these votes, while it tried to attract the moderates. Have the WP leaders forgotten to take their “humility” pills, since then?

The WP shouldn’t take the risk that the SDP is right about the votes it can mobilise. If the SDP is wrong, the consequences for the SDP is less devastating than the consequences for the WP if the SDP is right. Whither PritamS’s dreams of being a cabinet minister in a coalition with the PAP?

Cut a deal

The WP should talk to the SDP, offering not to compete in Tanjong Pagar GRC, in return for SDP not contesting Punggol East. Remember

— “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

— “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”. Remember the humblessness displayed by Low, not the arrogance of JBJ and son.

And Dr Chee should start retaking his “I’m a rational man” pills, and double the dosage. Or least pretend to. He may be a coyote, doing crazy things for rational game theory reasons, but public perceptions matter. And to the public, brought up on US cartoons, not the fundamentals of game theory, the coyote is mad. This doesn’t matter to the hard core PAP haters, but it matters to the moderates. I’m one of the moderates but I’m from RI, and I know the basics of game theory. Besides, I got an affection for wackos with balls.

Otherwise SDP and WP, “A plague a’ both your houses!”. No wonder the PAP rules OK.

Related post:


*RI boys got 65% of the votes in the 2011 PE. It also shows that RI can produce a clown, brawler and gentleman operative, all with brains and balls. Eat yr heart out Saints, and other RI haters and self-haters. RI rules OK. And remember Mad Dog Chee, and Tua Kee Auntie and Low never went to RI. LOL, is all one can do with the antics of these politcans.

AIM: Taz what netizens & WP should do

In Political governance on 01/01/2013 at 6:06 pm

— Don’t any how fire & volvo

The PAP,made flesh in Dr Teo Ho Pin, and the constructive, nation-building media are “throwing smoke”, trying to confuse S’poreans on the issues around AIM.

The sad thing is all the noise about AIM being a $2 co, or not having the expertise etc that is coming from many of us  “cowboys”, is distracting S’poreans from the four issues that matter:

— As Aljunied GRC seems to be one of the GRCs that paid for the development costs of the software that was transferred to AIM, how come AIM can cancel contract if a GRC moves on to the Jedi (OK, OK, I exaggerate) from the Dark Side of the Men in White? Sure it’s in contract, but is this ethically or morally correct? Didn’t LKY say we are a Confucian society? Ethically behaviour is expected.

— Is the WP being fixed by being deprived of AIM’s services? And what are the implications if there is a change of govt? Will the civil service, armed forces, police and government agencies cancel contracts with the new govt? From what happened with AIM’s contract, sounds reasonable to assume this.

— What is the service level agreement (SLA) in the leasing? This includes questions such as what levels of help desk and technical support, how many staff will be providing support, or is AIM outsourcing the support to another company?

[Update: Straits Times reported today that service was ‘outsourced’ from AIM back to NCS, and the TCs must know this intention when awarding the contract. So the questions are why would they allow that having terminated NCS’s services themselves, and what value does AIM add as the middleman. They have to come clean or face accusations of some sort of ’round-tripping’.]

— Can a contract between PAP town councils and a company 100%-owned by former PAP MPs be considered arm’s length? Should it be allowed at all to avoid even the slightest appearance of any potential conflict of interest?

The points in Italics are from Void Decker who has a great piece on this matter: he is on target.

The WP never made allegations about whether AIM was a $2 co or its competency. It tried to focus (in its unfocused, dysfunctional way*), I think, on the first  two issues that shld concern us.

Sadly netizens are not focusing on the substantive issues. Partly it’s because of the hols and because CNY is coming in February.

But the WP is at fault too: its public communications team is a clone of that of Team PAP. Maybe Team Wayang Wankers should ask help from the real Opposition: Team SDP; Ravi the do-gooder (even if he from NSP); TOC (even if it’s undergoing editor change again*); or TRE. Or even TJS.

These are people who know how to communicate effectively with the public. BTW, only KennethJ*** is worse at communicating with the public than Team PAP and the Wayang Wankers.

“Target 50m ahead. At own time and pace, open fire. Make every shot count. Beng Pek mah?


*Show Mao is not pulling his weight, not being allowed to, or maybe he not that savvy? Will explore this later in yr, in “The AWOL, MIA of Show Mao”. Maybe Low and Sylvia were playing bait and switch, like investment bankers, and time-sharing salesmen?

As to the other two lawyers in Team Wankers Wayang, Sylvia got only so-so NUS law degree while PritamS got his from a crappy place, SMU Law School.

**New chief editor soon. It will by then have run through two Indian chiefs (they are actually Tamils, not Native Americans, or Aryans) in less than 11 months. Then there is the disappearance from TOC’s establishment, in 2011, of two ex-WP cadres and activists, Goh Meng Seng**** (Head of the Chinese Section) and Eric Tan (Managing Editor and then investigative editor). AWOL, MIA, or posts abolished: who knows?

But one of the co-founders is still active in editorially. So there is continuity.

****But then he speak in ang moh accent, don’t know the Pledge and was from Saint Andrews: the school where boys have two rugby props on each of their of shoulders. But despite having cips on his shoulders, a Saints rugby captain says on Facebook that KennethJ is not a Saints. More on this later in the year.

****Also ex-NSP member. Anything else he was member of?

WP changes mind on nationalising SMRT & SBS

In Political governance on 14/12/2012 at 6:08 am

This blog at regular intervals reminds readers that the Wankers’ Workers’ Party had been silent on public transport nationalisation, despite it being in the Wayangs’ party’s 2011 manifesto and despite Gerald Giam advocating it in ST in July 2011 (here, here); and despite the seeming failure of the govt’s public tpt policy (I mean does the pumping in of S$1.1bn show that the “for-profit” policy working?)

Finally WP and GG have broken their silence: “If PTOs are unable to do so because of their obligations to shareholders, public transport should be taken out of private hands and run by a not-for-profit corporation which focuses on providing efficient and quality public transport, instead of generating shareholder returns.”

Err this was what is written in Manifesto: “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.”

Spot the difference? The Manifesto call was unconditional. Now the operative word is “IF”.

Second time WP changing its mind on a Manifesto call. The first was on the benchmarking of ministers’ salaries. Like this change, one GG was behind that one too. Maybe Eric Tan (remember him?*) was right to rubbisg GG.

If the Manifesto is juz toilet paper, pls tell us WP. And tell us which first-world opposition party treats its manifesto with such contempt?

Related post

*GG called him his Si-Fu. Si-Fu lost NCMP seat to GG. Si-Fu had been promised NCMP seat before GE 2011, if East Coast team was entitled to one.

Why WP MPs are not First World parlimentarians

In Political governance on 23/11/2012 at 6:45 am

Last week, two WP MPs, Sylvia Lim and PritamS made impassionate pleas against the amendments the govt was proposing to the law on the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking. They said the amendments were wrong morally wrong and not logical and did not do justice. So I was surprised when I read that they voted for the bill. Stupid me because this isn’t the first time that the WP has “wayanged”.: grandstanding against the govt but then quietly supporting the govt, when the spot lights have moved on.

DPM Teo told us in the Hougang by-election campaign that the WP had voted in favour of the Budget earlier this year. I had assumed because of the criticism that the MPs had been making, that they had voted against it or abstained.

(And I will be not surprised if I learn that GG had voted in favour of the ministerial salary changes, despite criticising the changes).

They have promised to be First World Parliamentarians. But they don’t even behave like honourable men and ladies. And in the UK and US, when the Opposition voices unhappiness with govt bills, its legislators vote against the bills, not for them. At worse, they abstain.

The WP Mps are like PAP MPs who speak out against policies and then vote for the measures they juz spoke against. They do so because party discipline (the whip) requires that of them. Netizens and others sneer at this behaviour but are accepting of the WP MPs’ behaviour.

Given this hypocrisy by WP MPs, no wonder the party forgave Stag Yaw when he admitted after the 2006 election that despite standing against PM in AMK GRC, he voted for the PAP. He was later anointed by Low to be his proxy in Hougang. It’s in the WP’s genes to talk bad about the govt, but then support it. Remember Show Mao’s analogy of the WP wanting to like an adviser to the emperor? Well to stretch the analogy, the official would publicly criticise the emperor for an action, and then privately assure the emperor that the emperor was right.

A member of the Communist-dominated parliament in Vietnam has in a rare show of dissent told PM Nguyen Tan Dung that he should resign for his mistakes in handling the economy, it was reported last week. Bet you a WP MP will never ever ask the PM to do this. Remember Low refused when challenged by the PM to say that Wong Kan Seng should resign when a Muslim “terrorist” escaped.

But what do you expect when a party ignores its Manifesto twice:

— on the nationalisation of public transport: and

— on what to peg ministers’ salaries to.

The “W” in WP stands for “Wankers”, “Worthless” or “Wayang”: anything but “Workers'”

Sorry JJ, if there is no change in this behaviour, next time I won’t vote WP, even though I voted WP all my life, and even though I think you are doing a good job in parliament, questioning the govt’s education policies. And if Charles Chong, is still my MP, I’ll make sure I’m not in S’pore on election day. (Charles Chong is worse than VivianB when it comes to sneering at the needy, even though he ain’t as rich and high-class as VivianB.) Join the SDP, JJ.

I gave the WP MPs in the last parliament a lot of slack because Low’s strength is not being a parliamentary speaker or debater. He is a backroom fixer and organiser. And Auntie was new. And there were only two of them. Hey but now there are 6 MPs and two NCMPs. And the PM is moving in the right direction, even if the PAP has yet to shed its old ways. But the WP MPs are juz taking the money, and looking after their own interests so that they get re-elected.

Why history is not on the side of the PAP and WP

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 09/11/2012 at 9:18 am

But on the side of the SDP and NSP (maybe, if it keeps on its present busy beaver path).

There is every reason to believe that these developments [states approving initiatives on gay-marriage and marijuana] reflect national trends in public opinion. And these national trends are driven in turn by the same general processes of social change behind the gradual liberalisation of values in Europe and around the globe. Ronald Inglehart, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, was first to document this process in detail. Mr Inglehart’s well-confirmed thesis is that, roughly, as societies become increasingly secure in material terms, each new generation is predictably less “materialistic”—less focused on merely economic concerns—and more concerned with equality, autonomy, and the injustice of arbitrary authority. If we take the long view, we can see the success of this cycle’s gay-marriage and marijuana initiatives due to the inexorability of death, which in time disposes of antiquated mores, and to the relentless liberalisation of cultural attitudes in well-functioning market democracies. Thus are the young ever the vanguard of progressive social change. And the young stayed away from Mr Romney in droves

Extract from an Economist blog. No link as the rest is very, very US centric

Super wimps, elitism, double standards & other mean tots

In Political governance on 22/10/2012 at 6:06 am

I never had much respect for George Yeo, believing he wasn’t one of those people who one could trust in a crisis. This proves my point : suddenly turned critic of PAP when he sensed he was going to lose, “In war deserters are executed.” And a recent ST article double confirms me right: blames the political climate for his loss, not himself. Aljunied was targeted because  were runours since the late 90s that George Yeo wasn’t taking his MP duties too seriously. Only a WP goof-up (Gabra Gomez)  prevented WP from challenging him there in 2001. 

Worse, for the PAP, the ST piece confirmed what sceptics had always said abt the “younger” ministers: only committed when the going is gd.

ArchieB should juz release his letter. DPM Teo’s comments, last week, did ArchieB no favours. Anyone ever tot ArchieB shld not have sent the letter? He shld make the letter public so that S’poreans can decide if the govt was right or wrong to counsel him on the letter. Anyway, those who got him to sign the original must be happy: makes the government look bad.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong says Singapore has to stay exceptional by remaining cohesive as a nation, with first-rate leaders to navigate the choppy seas of the changing world order.” So why didn’t he sack DPM Wong, Minister Mah, VivianB, Raymond Lim, George Yeo, Lim Hng Kiang and Balaji when they underperformed? So easy to talk now. PM Lee got rid of the first three, and GY lost his seat.

James Buchan, an author, has noted, that “economists, like royal children, are not punished for their errors”. Well by ESM Goh’s record, ministers too are like “royal children”.  

And yes, Lawrence Wong, there is nothing wrong with meritocracy: the problem is that those who mess up often don’t pay for the consequences of their failures. In a meritocracy, failures get shown up, to encourage the others.

And it’s over a week since it was announced that two “terrorists” who juz happened to be Malay Muslims were detained without trial under the ISA. But Function 8, and other bleeding heart chattering human rights chatters and bloggers are deafening in their silence. If the govt wants to detain anyone under ISA, use the terrorism label. No-one will say anything. And to be on the safe side, add the “Islamist” label. That will do the trick. And to be super KS, add “drug dealer”.

But I’m being unfair. There is one very good reasons for the silence. No bleeding heart kay poh wants to be associated with a suspected drug dealer or Islamic terrorist, forgetting that the same arguments that apply to their educated, middle class, English-speaking friends who get ISAed, apply to “drug dealers” and “Islamic terrorists”.

And no, the Kay pohs are not Amy Cheongs.

There are two other good reasons for the silence on the “Islamic terrorists”. If the Malay Muslim community keeps quiet, it doesn’t make sense for the kay pohs (can’t think of any Malay Muslims among them) to get involved. I mean the community may very well agree with the detentions. After all, elements of the community were very vocal last year over perceived insults to Islam, filing police reports, and flaming.

The activists in the Muslim community also tend to keep to themselves. I have heard of occasions when Muslim activists quietly admit that they did not come out in solidarity with other activists because while grateful for the help that they (the Muslim activists) get on issues like homelessness, joblessness, HDB and utility arrears and single mothers, they don’t extend help or even recognition to the non-Muslim activists because the latter support haram causes like gay rights and sex education. Wonder if these activists are willing to share a meal with these infidels?

So why should the kay pohs still their necks out?

Funny thing is that in M’sia, Muslim activists (think PAS) have no compunctions working with the people in the DAP and non-sectarian NGOs. And even UMNO doesn’t dare attack the Islamic credentials of PAS. So it isn’t a racial or religious matter.

Finally, MP and committee member WP PritamS said: “Don’t mistake timidity for inaction. With more experience, we hope to get better.” Err wondering what he means by “get better”? “Get better” in keeping quiet?

For the record, WP has

— stopped talking about nationalising public transport despite it being a Manifesto promise and the govt throwing money at the system while enabling SBS and SMRT to have private shareholders;

— made it clear that it wants to be the PAP’s trusted adviser (Show Mao didn’t tell us that a trusted, loyal adviser can have his balls cut-off if the hegemon is upset* ; and

— told us it is willing to help out PAP in a coalition govt. Err why WP changed its mind on ministerial salaries, another departure from its Manifesto?

Heard that in WP HQ toilets, copies of Manifesto used as toilet paper. And members use it as cat litter. Can’t be true, can it?


*Guess this is the reason why the WP MPs are so quiet. Easier to juz take the money.

“Is WP living up to expectations?” “Yes” says JG

In Political governance on 24/09/2012 at 5:04 am

Below is a longish piece from a reader, JG, defending the WP’s actions (or is it inactions?): it worked in the past and will work in the future. Pls read it. It has some gd points.

My contention is that what worked in the past, may not work in the future. From 1991 till 2006, Low was alone most of the time (and JBJ wasn’t much of a help in parly or out of it). From 2006 to 2011, he had Tonto, aka Sylvia Lim. But now there is a team of five MPs and two NCMPs.

Expectations are different. The WP has to manage expectations, or live up to them. Or do both. It cannot continue doing things the old way. It must also communicate more. Pre-new media, it could get away with silence because the constructive, nation-building media dominated the info flow. And S’poreans knew it.

But now things are different. Yet while SDP is using the new media to put across its messages (free from MSM distortion), the WP is not using new media much. The initial stone-walling over Stag Yaw showed the WP up. Effective communications should have it saying, “We need some time to investigate the allegations”: not “Allegations? What allegations?”. 

I had promised to do a list of things WP did not do. I now won’t because between above, and below,  the criticisms of WP have been covered. I hope, in the future, JG will give me her take on the following “Not First World” WP parly practice:

— WP voting for PAP’s budget after criticising it.

— Keeping quiet on public tpt nationalisation despite it being a manifesto promise and despite the failure of the rojak system that the govt defends. It is so succesful that the government has to subsidise the bus system to a tune of $1.1bn.

— Tweaking its position on ministerial salaries contrary to manifesto.


“Is WP living up to expectations?”

If you read Temasek Times, its 100% no (“wayang party”). And everything is derived from 1 single sentence that Pritam once uttered : If PAP loses majority one day, we WP will work with them to form a coalition govt. One single sentence from one MP – and the entire party is disqualified. Can anyone find one single sentence from one MP from PAP which you strongly disagree with (eg: “repent”? “grow more spurs”?) for which you will also disqualify the entire party of 81 MPs? So Temasek Times is an extreme case. They, and probably some netizens too, prefer the “fire brand” type opposition that CSJ or SDP seems to offer. So if you’re not the fire-brand type, you’re not “effective”.

[Actually JG, it’s more than one sentence. Remember Show Mao’s Tang Dynasty allusion? Came across to some of us that he saw WP as at best as assistant to the PAP government: juz as official accepted his status vis-a-vis the emperor in the imperial system. And Low had often come across as accepting the hegemony of the PAP. But that could simply be his acceptance of the reality on the ground between 1991 and 2011. He is no idealist and rabble-rouser like the late Saint JBJ.]

But what you’re pointing out is a more moderate opinion that I’m also hearing from other sources – the WP are just not speaking up on issues of importance.

I’m not here to defend them. But everyone will have different expectations of WP. Some supporters of Obama are disappointed that he hasn’t rescued the world in 4 years, some are not so disappointed. In general, the higher one’s expectations, arguably the bigger the disappointment.

My personal expectation wasn’t high in the first place.

Before 2011 GE, when LTK was MP and Slyvia Lim was NCMP, you can already see the “style” in which they are comfortable in. At critical junctures, they will speak up. I still remember vividly how LTK berated WKS over the Mas Selamat screwup, and Slyvia berated the Ministers of having no shame for their pay. But they do not speak up on every issue. And many of their speeches are not memorable, they are basically not orators. They are more “ground people”. Personal touch, work the ground, take care of bread and butter issue and preferably in a low key fashion. In fact, if you ask LTK, I guess that he will say to him, the relative importance of ground work vs rhetoric is maybe 80 : 20. I sometimes think netizens weigh it the other way around.

So post-2011 GE, this was the tone adopted by WP team. So one part of “have they lived up to expectations” must surely be weighed in terms of whether they’ve met the expectations of people on the ground in Aljunied. Their bread and butter issues, their constituency issues. Running a Town Council is not rocket science and I think that in general, if you’ve got an experienced team (from Hougang) and you don’t screw up, you should be OK.

That said, I also think that many netizens do not bother to find out, or read up on, issues raised by the WP in Parliament. Not having made a combative speech, doesn’t mean not having raised an issue. When good points are made, they are also not necessarily covered in the ST, perhaps deliberately so.

But again, at critical junctures, they do speak up. The recent memorable ones are Sylvia raising the Woffles Wu issue, Gerald calling out the PAP for labelling Singaporeans dissatisfaction with the Govt’s immigration policy as “xenophobia” (and provoking a stupid response from Sim Ann) and Yeoh JJ speaking out on unfair subsidies by the Govt to PAP Kindergarten and NTUC in the private pre-school market.

Are they the best debaters? No. Could Sylvia have handled the cut-and-thrust of the debate with Shanmugam better? Yes and she didn’t. So maybe she scored say 6 out of 10? But that’s Sylvia. No different from the Sylvia of NCMP days. Its easy for netizens to, on hindsight and out of the line of fire, come up with more robust responses. But just take a look at the recent PM Lee tea-party with bloggers – when PM asked whether anonymity is supportable, look at the weak responses the bloggers give. Even seasoned bloggers like Andrew Loh literally “peed on their pants” when confronted with unexpected questions at the spur of the moment. I’m sure if you ask Sylvia to respond the next day, she will probably come up with a better answer. Just like all bloggers did, when they commented on the anonymity issue the next day.

My point then is this – It takes time to build up a credible opposition team. Its one thing to have only 1 or 2 opposition members, its another to have 8 or so members and quite another to have or to want to have 20 or 30 members. With WP, you know (or should have known) from the start that they’re not a fire-and-brimstone type party and see it as much more important that you do not screw up publicly and you work the ground. We do need to give them time and of course, constructive criticism is needed too.

But have they met my initially low expectations – yes. I want more of them in, so that when it comes to critical decisions in the future, it will not be a guaranteed “law is passed” vote in Parliament.

 Below is a longer comment by the same said JG defending the WP’s actions (or is it inactions?). My point to JG is that what worked in the past, may not work. From 1991 till 2006, Low was alone most of the time (and JBJ wasn’t much of a help). From 2006 to 2011, he had Tonto, aka Sylvia Lim. But now there is a team of five MPs and two NCMPs. Expectations are different. The WP has to manage expectations, or live up to them. Or do both. It cannot continue doing things the old way.

Can Eugene Tan be trusted to hold the PAP accountable?

In Political governance on 03/06/2012 at 6:02 am

During the Hougang by-election campaign, Denise Phua, the PAP MP S’poreans love and respect (OK at least Siow Kum Hong respects her) said there wasn’t a need to elect more WP MPs because there were NMPs like Eugene Tan and Siow to hold the government accountable etc.

Below I post the views of a TRE reader who read my tots abt Eugene Tan. I don’t know if his comments are the equivalent of an ST report, I don’t listen to the radio. But if they are accurate, then S’poreans who respect Denise Phua shld rethink their admiration of her. But shld she be respected in the first place? She joined a party whose views she openly disagreed with. Bit like a Jedi knight joining the Emperor because the knight openly said he wanted to fight to free the people from the Emperor: bit unbelievable. Also says a lot abt the party’s need for foot soldiers that she was accepted.



May 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm RDB(Quote)

GUTTER SHAME TO YOU Eugene Tan FOR STOOP like a “high-class” woman of low values for for the takes and nothing more!

This asst. prof. of Sg management university has totally changed after becoming a NMP and thus a LKYism PPpyism stooge as well. On the evening of HG voting day he and PN Balji the ex-TODAY editor in chief, ET was doing his complete wayang in typical PROFESSorry speak, bad mouthing all of WP, LTK & PEH to 938 Live Compere Bharati Jagdish before the results were in. Even when CNA gave unconfirmed ED results of PEH getting 14,000 & DC only 9,000, it didn’t make him abate in his glaring HYPOCRITCAL attacks so clear of a LKYism stooge. He delivered his best to sound within that HYPOCRITE system of massive high renumeration. Incomes made to get obedient materialistic professional VOID OF Ethical, Morals in fair somments with justice in mind. ET sound more of an SG alien-at-large prepared to sell his soul to the devil.

After the offical results were out showing clear cut win for PEH, he continued his POOing onslaught never letting up even when PN Balji now a media consultant said nicely that WP’s win meant more than just a HG win. He added that it has great implications for PAP in govt. Eugene went into I saw as oberdrive to salvage for LKYism as a most evil deft stooge to do it’s bidding. “sHE STOOPS to conquer” impresses no decent minded people but the villians who make meat of the ordinary folks! Eugene Tan IS NOW GUTTER like TCH!

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So desperate to slime WP that say this?

In Political governance on 29/05/2012 at 6:50 am

In another of his meaningless analysis pieces, NMP Eugene Tan, wrote in Today abt the PAP and WP “will need to raise their game”. As usual I was skimming thru it on the off-chance that it would contain shumething I didn’t know, something interesting, or a valuable insight. Yup, pigs would usually fly first.

Well today there was this, “The WP would also have to demonstrate that it does not seek special treatment and condone in what I call banal acts of lawlessness.”

Waz this I tot? Turned out to be,  “[T]he WP did not end its by-election rallies on time and overran by 10-15 minutes … extremely challenging for the police to intervene to ensure that the rules governing the issue of the rally permits are observed.”

So very petty. Being more PAP than the PAP. If the police and PAP didn’t kick up a fuss, why should anyone else?

And then this, “Further, in launching a stinging attack on the mainstream media for being a “political tool” of the PAP’s election campaign, the WP did not adequately substantiate its case.

‘Not only was this an attempt to capitalise on the by-election victory to make political points, the WP was also effectively asking the media for nothing but favourable coverage of its party and its candidates.”

Pls leh, WP doesn’t need to substantiate because it is so self-evident that SPH’s and MediaCorp’s coverage was so slanted. My observations on ST’s photojournalism. Another annoyed blogger who juz happens to be a grass-root activist in a PAP ward. I take his presence there as showing the PAP can change, or at least one MP is open-minded.

And this is the NMP who took on two PAP MP lawyers on the issue of prime ministerial discretion to call a by-election. As I wrote then, he was so out of character then.

Trying to move on to ST? After all, today’s ST editorial is pretty decent abt the WP. I could have said most of those things myself. ST’s standards dropping?

Hougang: Only up to a point Lucky

In Political governance on 28/05/2012 at 5:27 am

(Or “WP must walk the walk on manifesto, not juz talk the talk”)

Ah so the WP got 62.1% of the popular vote in Hougang, a 3%age point drop from what the WP’s rutting stag achieved: statistically insignificant.  As Yawning Bread put it, “Png’s vote-share was only a shade lower than the 64.8% that Yaw Shin Leong won in the general election of 2011 and hardly different from Low Thia Khiang’s 62.7% in the 2006 general election.”

So let’s move on, shall we?

I agree with Lucky Tan when he wrote, “Vote for PAP men like Desmond Choo and he will fix the little pothole in your estate but you will find yourself unable to retire and financially strained when you get sick.”

And while Png and, Low and the WP are capable of looking after Hougang as well, if not better, than the PAP, I’m not so sure if the WP will be any better when it comes to helping S’poreans retire or coping with the costs of health care, if WP comes into power by itself, or in coalition.

While I disagree with DPM Teo’s comments on Png not being gd enough to be selected as NCMP so why shld voters “gift” him a seat as MP; on Png’s  character; and that the WP took the people of Hougang for granted (WP has “Always been there”even  before Desmond put on long pants), he has some gd points abt WP’s policy flip-flops: his rant below.

In addition to the flip-flops on the benchmarking of ministerial salaries, FTs, and agreeing to the Budget (I didn’t realise all the WP MPs voted for it despite bitching abt it both before and after), the WP has quietly ditched its manifesto call to privatise public transport. In effect, it now agrees with the governing PAP that the current rojak system is the “betterest”. This flip-flop when S’poreans know that the current model ain’t working, and want something better; when the government while talking the talk on the efficency of public tpt being in the private sector*, is pumping $1.1bn and more into the system; and when the WP had tot up of an alternative, long before anyone tot there was a need.   

What else will the WP quietly ditch, and which will not be in the interest of the governing PAP to alert tell us to? Neither party wants to talk abt public tpt nationalisation. The governing PAP wants to avoid it because it would show that it had one dud of a multi-millionaire minister (Raymond Lim) and because it would show that the PAP can do dumb policies. As to why the WP doesn’t want to talk abt it, yr guess is as gd as mine? Maybe it was the price that the WP had to pay to ensure that PM called a by-election in Hougang?

 Or is it a concrete example of what Low said,”Workers’ Party will move on from this election and work together with the ruling party for the betterment of Singapore.”

Be afraid, very afraid of a WP sell-out, when it sniffs power.

So the WP should start showing us that that manifesto calls are to be adhered to or openly dropped, not quietly ditched, and that it will be more open and transparent when it comes to communicating with the public on its internal affairs. Otherwise the 2016 GE will be like the 1996 GE, when voters threw out two SDP “bums”, showing that 19991 was a false dawn. I don’t want another false dawn; I’m in my late 50s.


Excerpt from Today’s report on DPM’s rant:

Citing the issues of ministerial salaries and foreign workers, Mr Teo, who is also the PAP first assistant secretary-general, questioned the WP’s flip-flop on national issues.

He said: “The WP had previously argued for less foreign workers, but in the recent Budget debate in Parliament, it suddenly changed its mind. The WP now says we should not reduce foreign workers in several major sectors, major industries.”

Mr Teo also noted that the WP had spoken “loudly and fiercely” on ministerial salaries at the election rallies just last year. “But in Parliament this year, they quietly abandoned their position. They gave up their previous drastic proposals, they didn’t explain why,” he said.

Referring to WP chief Low Thia Khiang and party chairman Sylvia Lim, Mr Teo added: “Their top two leaders remained totally silent throughout the Parliament debate.”

Members of Parliament (MPs) from the WP had also unanimously voted for this year’s Budget and “agreed with the (Government’s) measures and programmes” for the year, said Mr Teo. “But now on the rally stage, they’re posturing, making criticisms.”

“Are they changing the tune again, doing the twists, playing their guitars, and singing songs which will give them the most appeal to the audience? But are they speaking honestly – honestly for the good of Singaporeans?”

*Despite Temasek owning 54% of SMRT, and a stat board being the single largest shareholder (12%) in ComfortDelgro.

Hougang: Random Tots & Facts

In Humour, Political governance on 24/05/2012 at 6:16 am

Wonder why Bill Ng, chairman of Hougang FC, the “Cheetahs” aka the “Hougang Hooligans” (youth team fought with SAF youth recently reinforcing club’s rowdy branding) is not endorsing either candidate? Endorse PAP and get money but lose supporters, endorse WP and Hougang Stadium will be off-limits. BTW, A S’pore family trust is part of the consortium that won the bid for Glasgow Rangers. Bill Ng’s family trust? He is part of the Ong family of stockbrokers (maternal side unfortunately for him).

Wonder if voters will remember that from 1991 to polling day in 2006 GE, the PAP were not “Always there for you”. In fact, it was trying to turn Hougang into a slum whose inhabitants would repent for voting WP. Remember one’s GCT’s threats in 2006 GE campaigning?

We might as well ask the PAP to account for why, if it felt Mr Desmond Choo was such a good candidate, was he not roped into a GRC team and allowed to enter Parliament by riding the coat-tails of a cabinet minister, Ng E-Jay, Taz why WP was so dumb to respond in way it did to DPM Teo. Shld have left it to “inhabitants of cowboy towns”.

Anyway no harm done, even if WP “malfunctioned” Wonder if TKL, KennethJ, GSM and Lina Chiam were sacked from PAP campaign team, and they “moved on” to WP?

Hope you eaten the free teochew mui. Might no longer be available from this Sunday.

Saw ST’s photo of Png “the dummy” between Low and Sylvia in Wednesday’s ST. A gd explanation why ST has reverted to “PAP is S’pore, S’pore is PAP” mode. Writer is a grass-root activist in Taman Jurong. With a  grass-root activist like him, the PAP does not need enemies.

Three cheers for Eric Tan who came out to say that Png told him before meeting to choose NMP NCMP that he didn’t want post. Credible witness to rebut DPM Teo’s rants on Png’s untruthfulness as he bears no love for Low and other CEC members. He resigned in a huff when he was passed over as NMP NCMP. Low has admitted indirectly that he had promised Eric his support for post by admitting he changed his mind. Eric was team leader in East Coast GRC, and is a friend.

I don’t think that DPM Teo realises that his nitpicking and parsing of Png’s words shows the gap between Teo the scholar and rich kid (dad was a senior bank executive at OCBC who helped me, and who later became CEO*); and Png, the ordinary S’porean. A scholar always chooses his words carefully, like a lawyer, accountant or banker: while the non-scholar uses words more casually, like most of us “lesser mortals”.


*and chairman (updated)

PngGate: Nothing more than a distracting sideshow

In Political economy on 23/05/2012 at 6:37 am

Ah so, so selling one’s soul is pointless. The person who leaked the WP’s minutes of meeting which showed that Png had misrepresented when he said he had removed his name from the ballot must be banging his balls in frustration. Png and WP cocked-up in the handling of DPM’s Teo comments abt Png, but thaz abt all. I doubt this would affect the voters views, even though the constructive, nation-building media (see today’s ST) is bitching about “dishonesty”, being more PAP than DPM Teo.

I have a shrewd guess on who leaked it. His hatred of Low has perverted the character of a decent, fair chap, turning him into a “I hate Low” zombie. I wish him a speedy recovery from his fixation.

On a separate issue, what I found most interesting abt the minutes was that it showed that Eric Tan had decent support for his bid to be NCMP but that GG had more votes. So Eric had supporters on the central executive council who appreciated his hard work and wanted to recognise his efforts. And not all the WP CEC members are cold, rational, calculating machines (Let’s face it, even as Eric’s friend, I think that giving the post to GG was in WP’s long-term interest, and still do despite GG’s “C-” performance in parly), or Low’s acolytes.

Back to Png and WP. WP has “malfunctioned” again, despite, or because of, having three lawyers as MPs. I hope the WP starts repairing and oiling its machine ASAP before something serious happens like getting disqualified in an election (2001). Both in the handling of YawGate and PngGate it made silly, avoidable mistakes. WP needs to get the machine to function as it did in 2006 (Garbra Gomez’s antics notwithstanding: BTW he took responsibility for the 2001 mess-up) and 2011 GEs.


Nice to hear that Eric Tan has confirmed that Png told him before meeting that he didn’t want NCMP post.

Hougang: ST photo coverage

In Political governance on 22/05/2012 at 5:35 am

Don’t know whether you noticed, but ST has, in my opinion, a very subtle agenda in its photo coverage. Practically every photo of Desmond Choo shows him with “lesser mortals” (i.e. the “little people” he, and his bosses, claim he (and they and the PAP) wants to help. But when it comes to Png, the photos are a mixed bag. Quite a number show him with party leaders. There was one that showed him in the background, clearly visible, but in the foreground was Low. And to make it worse for Png, there was beside it, a big photo, of Desmond Choo with a “lesser mortal”: Png is Low’s proxy but Desmond cares for the people seems to be the message.

And on Sunday, there was a photo of Desmond, friend of the “little people”, juxtaposed with one of a “triumphalist” Png waving to WP supporters with party leaders in the background.

All in all ST is getting more subtle. Remember in 2006, it was caught “fixing” a photo on the size of the crowd at a WP rally. It was Alex Au who pointed out that the shot gave a misleading impression of the size of the crowd.

As for Today, its photos of Desmond also tend to show him as “Desmond the compassionate, caring”. But there isn’t the attempt to paint Png as a Low’s “proxy”.

LOL: Expelling Yaw “took courage”

In Political governance on 21/05/2012 at 5:33 am

Well if that is how Low wants to spin it, then I’m putting him into the same category as Tharman and Hng Kiang who tell us that 5.2% inflation doesn’t affect us “lesser mortals” because we don’t rent apartments or buy new cars.

The WP expelled Yaw because he was becoming a liability to the WP and, in particular, to Low his mentor. That doesn’t require courage: only selfishness and self-preservation.

And he became a liability because of the cack-handled way the WP handled the allegations of his rutting. When the rumours became public instead of either coming out to say that the matter was a private one (and thereby incurring the anger of the moralists*) or saying that the WP was investigating the matter, the WP opted for stonewalling silence and evasion (Examples**). This from a party that fought a general election on the need for transparency, openness and accountability, and the need for a first-world parliament.

When the noise got extremely loud, the WP announced Yaw’s expulsion from the WP. Low explained, “[A]lmost a month had passed between the first media allegations and the WP’s decision to expel Mr Yaw Shin Leong. Mr Yaw continued to remain silent on the matter, and refused to account to the WP Central Executive Council (CEC). The WP had no choice but to invoke clause 22(a) of the WP Constitution to expel him.”

This reduced the noise considerably, as otherwise rational netizens, and the usual WP and Opposition groupies rushed to blog that the WP was “whiter than white” or at least “whiter than the PAP”. And that Low was a strategist, the equivalent of Mao, Sun Tzu, Sun Pin, Chuko Liang or Fan Li. (One of these days, I’ll blog on why Low is not a great strategist. But I’ll wait until he is riding the crest of a wave again: if the WP retains Hougang with a 70% majority.)

When ex-PAP MP Ho Kah Leong bitched in Lianhe Zaobao’s forum page that Low should take responsibility for the matter,instead of his usual silence when attacked (remember his silences in parly when asked to state his views on certain issues), Mr Silence became Mr Chatterbox, replying, “Even though I was familiar with Yaw Shin Leong’s background and I have met his family and attended his two wedding ceremonies, I have no way and no authority to inspect his private matters and personal life. I am a Member of Parliament, not a private investigator! Ho … said I should take responsibility for the Yaw … saga. May I ask how I should take responsibility?”.

Well he may not be a “private investigator”, but having worked with and mentored Yaw for many a year, he has to accept the responsibility of being partly responsible for choosing Yaw to defend Hougang for the WP. He also has to accept part of the responsibility of the WP’s stonewalling silence and evasion. Finally as leader of the WP, he has to accept responsibility (albeit partially) for a systems failure. “The Workers’ Party has a system to select its candidates,” he said, so that Yaw could become a candidate shows some flaw in the system surely? PM is right to point this out, though much gd that would do to help Desmond Choo’s campaign.

All in all, Low’s performance was less than satisfactory, and he should juz “shut up and sit down”, not try to spin it to his or WP’s advantage.

Especially as no lasting damage has been done to him or the WP. Certain ex-WP members were crowing abt Low’s imminent fall. They are now banging their balls in frustration.

They underestimated the goodwill he has from S’poreans, even from critics like me (Even I have said nice things about him). It will take a lot of mistakes to make him lose that goodwill. S’poreans will readily forgive him, or give him the benefit of the doubt. Remember, S’poreans were very forgiving of the PAP, when they perceived it as the equivalent of a bad-tempered and mean hawker who sold delicious food at very reasonable prices, while giving his enemies food poisoning that sometimes hurt accidentally an innocent customer. Even after the food ceased to delicious or good value, S’poreans supported the PAP. In economics, this is called “stickiness”. Low now has stickiness.


*But the WP would be tapping a new source of voters: the New Paper recently reported that 20% of Singapore women cheat on their husbands based on a survey done recently. And as Lucky Tan said, “For husbands the number is likely to be worse – you can take the 20% and double or triple it.”


– “if it is rumours …” (Yaw),

– “You said yourself that these are rumours, why are you still asking me?” (Low himself), and

– “We have to think carefully about our response” (deputy treasurer of the WP, a Mr Png).

These comments left me wondering if the Law Minister had been moonlighting after his pay cut, or if MP Baey’s PR firm had been advising the WP.

Hougang: Why PAP’s sliming will widen its losing margin

In Humour, Political governance on 18/05/2012 at 5:46 am

(Or “Is TKL, GMS or KennethJ running the PAP’s Hougang campaign?”

PM set the tone of the PAP’s campaign by saying in his prime ministerial statement* announcing the by-election: In January this year, news surfaced of personal indiscretions by Mr Yaw … The WP first kept totally silent, then supported Mr Yaw, and then three weeks later suddenly expelled him from the party. Until now the WP has not given Singa­poreans a full and proper account of what happened, or why it acted in this way. Mr Yaw …  has said nothing, either to explain or to apologise for his behaviour, and has reportedly left the country. Both the WP and Mr Yaw have let down all those who voted for him.

He is factually correct but being factually correct will not convince any of the 65% of voters who voted WP in 2011 to vote PAP. It might even cause some of the 35% that voted PAP to vote WP. In the days before new media, with the constructive nation-building local media parroting the theme of  WP “letting down” the voters, PM’s sliming would be effective.

But this is the age of Web 2.0 and anti-PAP netizens are reminding other netizens of the  following points and netizens who are not PAP friendly (the vast majority) will likely use these as talking points when conversing with their less internet savvy parents and other relations, and friends:

— The PAP too has “black sheep” MPs who “let down” voters. These  include ex-ministers Tan Kia Gan, Wee Toon Boon and Teh Cheang Wan. Then there is a Malay MP (whose name escapes me) and Desmond Choo’s uncle (and his “inspiration”)

— Choo Wee Khiang, Desmond’s uncle is a “let down” par excellent:

  — while a PAP MP, he was suspended from his golf club for intentionally hitting a golf ball at a flight in front of his group;

  — then he said in parly there were too many Indians in little India that he needed light for which he was censured by parliament;

  — in 1999, he was charged, convicted and jailed for cheating; and

  — he is again being charged. When president of Singapore Table Tennis Association, he is alleged to have committed three counts of corruption and one count of criminal breach of trust.

(And Goh Chok Tong asked us to forgive him and “move on”? Presumably because he was a PAP MP?)

Despite this really black track record, he is a role model for Desmond, “He has always been a source of counsel … About his past, that’s history, we look ahead. Whether that has stopped him from being an inspiration to me, never”.

—  One can reasonably make out the case that Desmond Choo’s uncle will inspire him to “attack” other golfers, make racist comments and cheat people. Perhap’s Desmond’s pledge “to be a ‘independent and objective voice’ for residents in Parliament if elected – even if it might mean differing from the government” was inspired or counseled by uncle Choo the cheat? There is such a thing as the party whip? And that he would make sure Hougang remains intact “as long as I’m here”. How can he promise this when he is not a senior PAP leader? Now, “So do not mix up the democracy part with providing alternative voices and the real purpose of this by-election, which is that Hougang residents need somebody to take care of them.” So very much like the cheat Uncle Choo.

— Raymond Lim, when he was transport minister, let down all those S’poreans and FTs who rely on the public transport systems especially MRT users.

— Mah Bow Tan, when he was HDB minister, let down young S’poreans who wanted her very own affordable HDB flat.

— the then DPM Wong, who let down S’poreans, over the escape and failure to recapture a terrorist suspect.

Add to that, remember the PAP’s boast that the “PAP and the state are one”? (Or shumething like that). Well two senior ranking Home Team members were investigated (results pending) by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau for corruption and “cheating” on their wives. And what abt the ex-principal, scholar-teacher, ex-stat board lawyer and naval officer charged with sexual misconduct with a minor?

All in all, being negative abt WP, Low and Yaw doesn’t seem to be a gd idea.

Anyway, the campaign seems to be run by the likes ofTan Kin Lian, KennethJ, Goh Meng Seng, George Yeo and Lina Chiam. It is so dysfunctional and incompetent.


— Early last week, CNA reported, “Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said the Hougang by-election should not distract the country from focusing on national priorities and building an inclusive Singapore.”

But then, The by-election in Hougang is strictly about choosing the MP who can best help its residents solve their problems, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman …‘This by-election is a local election,’ he stressed at a press conference held to introduce PAP candidate Desmond Choo, ST reported last Friday.

Is Tharman saying that the voters of Hougang should not think about “national priorities and building an inclusive Singapore” i.e. national issues when voting?

— Then we had this!/photo.php?fbid=419238791433672&set=a.317075431650009.80936.315021665188719&type=1&theater

— And Desmond Choo telling us he didn’t want PAP big-shots campaigning for him, when they were flanking him at a media conference. The latest is that he said he would readily welcome support from his party’s senior leadership. Make up yr mind boy!

He also seems to have altered his appearance. Get a photo of Yaw and compare it to a recent one of Desmond: to my eyes Desmond has adopted Yaw’s glasses and hairstyle. Trying to get the gals, Desmond? Wife only god for cooking?

Finally what could the other DPM be thinking when he suggested, imitating, an old opposition witticism that voters should vote PAP because then they will get both the WP and PAP helping them. Is he implying that if the PAP loses, the PAP will no longer be “Always Here” for the voters of Hougang. Or did he run out of things to joke about? Or out of something original to say?

LKY must be frustrated at the way the campaign is being run.  Things were better run when he was the PM.

BTW, wondering where’s the ISD arrests? So asking for the ISA to be abolished is a distraction.


*Err isn’t it unprime ministerial to use an official government statement to try to slime people that oppose the governing PAP?


DPM Teo & GG (or WP): gentle reminders for next week

In Humour, Political governance on 08/05/2012 at 7:23 pm

DPM Teo has been busy in April, what with opening a temporary carpark in Hougang, praising Desmond Choo (assumed PAP candidate there), talking abt the dangers of the internet, and pushing onto us the task of integrating FTs onto us, despite many of us wanting first-world FTs, not the garbage we’ve been getting in ever increasing truck loads, I’d tot I’d remind him of shumething he said in March concerning violent, ang moh FTs.

In March,  in parliament to a question from “Kate Spade” (the real people’s princess, not that NSP, TJS groupie gal who was from RP and who is looking to move on from NSP, not her boy friend: I mean tin looks ordinary, Nicole has star quality), he told us very upset S’poreans that Home Team was conducting an internal investigation on why two violent ang moh FTS who beat up two S’poreans badly in 2010 were allowed to post “peanuts” in bail; and why the police investigation took so long? They took the opportunity to cock a snook at S’pore by moving on.

He said the investigation would be completed in April, and implied that we would told the conclusions.

As it’s now May and parly sits next week, he should be abt to tell us abt the conclusions. And if the investigation has yet to be concluded, why not?

Tot he might need reminding as he seems to be trying hard to join Tharman, Sailor Lui, $8 Khaw and PM, as a teller of jokes in bad taste.

And I hope Gerald Giam (the apprentice who overthrew his si-fu Eric Tan) remembers that the WP called for the nationalisation of the bus and MRT systems in its 2011 GE manifesto, and that he wrote this on nationalising the public tpt system in July 2011.

If neither he nor any other WP MP raises this issue in parly next week, or explains why the WP has changed its mind of nationalisation (despite the apparent failure of the government’s model and the voters’ disgust with the government on this issue), the WP should have the decency to take down the manifesto from the WP website. First, the WP changed its benchmark that the WP wanted ministerial salaries to be referenced to, and now this. Said manifesto isn’t worth the paper it is written on even before the WP comes into power.  In first-world democracies, manifesto promises are ditched after the party wins power, not before: another WP first? Other firsts!/photo.php?fbid=449379458422514&set=at.281804541846674.87911.280285461998582.555162557&type=1&theater

SMRT: Quiet re-nationalisation

In Infrastructure, Political governance, Temasek on 06/05/2012 at 7:34 pm

(Or “SMRT: Has the government and WP switched positions on the quiet)

On Friday, SMRT reversed its recent losses and was up 0.9% to 1.65. It was at 1.81 juz on 24 April.

Interestingly among the slew of brokers’ reports calling it a “sell”, “nationalisation” seems to be a dirty word, never raised except by two honourable brokers. Only Citigroup was willing to hint at re-nationalisation, “We’d even dare conjecture a Government-led end game, while only Kim Eng suggested that “selective nationalisation” is already taking shape, “A hybrid model, where the Government comes in to inject money, is perhaps the best model possible under the circumstances … like selective nationalisation where the Government pumps in money in certain areas … being done already – take for example, the Government co-paying for the buses to help operators expand the fleet.”

UBS said SMRT is highly likely to move to a new rail-network financing framework where it would pay the government for an operating lease instead of owning train assets,

And only Citigroup is willing to hint at, “We sense more drastic actions are needed, perhaps raising capital to shore up finances.” In simple English, it says a rights issue is possible. Everyone else was silent on this pink elephant in the room.

I think a rights issue is very highly probable.

Let’s go thru some numbers. At Friday’s close, the mkt cap of SMRT was $2.49bn., of which $1.35bn can be attributed to Temasek (It owns 54.3% of SMRT).

Now SMRT has plans to spend $900m over the next eight years and it wants LTA (i.e. the taxpayer) to share the cost. What if the government tells SMRT that it shld fund two-thirds of the cost because the Commission of Inquiry finds that SMRT was not maintaining the tracks properly. (I’m assuming the COI makes this finding based on the way the inquiry is going).

To fund this $600m, SMRT’s directors call for a deeply discounted rights issue to raise $600m (about 24.1% of SMRT’s mkt cap as of Friday). Add to that they say that dividends will have to be cut drastically*, and that Temasek has agreed to underwrite any shares that minority shareholders refuse to take up. Temasek will say that its decision to support the rights issue is a “commercial decision” of a long-term shareholder. Right, and pigs can fly, a leopard can change its spots, KennethJ and TJS can stop boasting, Chiam can renew the SPP’s leadership, and Yaacob can tame the internet tsunami by building a CoC flood wall.

In such a scenario, Temasek could end up with 75-80% of SMRT, as many minority shareholders decline to take up their shares because of the reduced dividend payments.

Ain’t this partial re-nationalisation? And Temasek can have its cake and eat it too, depending on whether the other shareholders subscribe to the rights. Since SMRT was listed in 2000, Temasek has received $694.3m in dividends (I’m including the dividend declared recently). A $600m rights issue and assuming it has to take up all the rights shares still leaves Temasek $94.3m ahead. Might as well make it $700m rights call then, shall we?

Ain’t nationalisation of the public tpt system in the WP’s manifesto (I’ve blogged on this and that the transport minister parrots his predecessors’ defence of the rojak “for profits” system). Lucky Tan has this video of my friend Eric Tan then a WP member (and treasurer) talking abt nationalisation at the last GE. So the silence of the WP which I’ve raised before) is strange, and in the longer term worrying (No can trust its manifesto promises, why shld voters trust the WP?).

So I hope in the May session of parly, GG for one can raise the issue of nationalisation and put the government on the defensive. Why GG? In July last yr, he wrote this on nationalising the public tpt system. This was after Eric Tan had left WP in a huff, so the call for nationalisation of the public tpt system did not end when Eric Tan left.

If the WP remains silent on nationalisation of the public tpt system, it would remind me of a Sherlock Holmes mystery:

Detective: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

BTW, OCBC (a ex-bull on SMRT) is still relatively bullish. It downgraded SMRT to hold from “buy” and lowered its target price to S$1.71 from S$2.04, citing weaker-than-expected earnings for 2012 because it estimated that SMRT’s capital expenditure in 2013 will rise to S$500 million due to higher expenses needed for upgrading its assets.

CIMB cut its target price from $1.68 to $1.50, suggesting a switch to ComfortDelGro to maintain an exposure to the land transport sector. Deutsche cut its target price to $1.61 from $1.75 while J P Morgan downgraded the stock from “overweight” to “neutral” with a target price of $1.60. Phillips cut its target price to $1.33, maintaining its “sell” call. I suspect Phillips is right. A rights issue will be priced at around the $1.33 level.

I’d buy some shares then. Never bet against Temasek when it comes to a local counter.


*”Some [analysts] expect SMRT to cut its dividend payout from 70-80 per cent of profits historically to at least 60 per cent.” (BT). What if this was reduced to 25%?

PAP in Hougang: Young blood, old ideas

In Political governance on 12/04/2012 at 6:40 pm

(Or Why let’s go eat Teochew mui in Hougang”)

So, Desmond Choo is a “very good man”,  DPM Teo Chee Hean said. Err waz a DPM doing making a speech an opening ceremony of the temporary car park in Hougang. Surely he has more impt things to do?

I analysed shumetime back that in Aljunied, the PAP is focusing its renewal efforts on bringing in fighting fit and enthusiatic geriatrics to replace tired, worn-out younger leaders As to their ideas, we will have to wait to see if they got new ideas to win back Aljunied.

But the potents For Aljunied are no good based on waz happening in Hougang. In Hougang, despite having a team led by 30-something unionist Desmond Choo, the PAP are not trying anything new. Desmond Choo and his PAP PA activists are focusing on serving Teochew mui at two temples every sunday.

The regular attendees of these temples are older and less-educated Te0chew speakers. The younger voters don’t do temples. If anything going by the latest stats, they are likely to attend churches, like the one Yaw attended (More opportunities to meet sexual partners in churches, going by Yaw’s alleged affairs?) And I’m sure they prefer bland, tastless Western fast food to high quality Teochew mui.

What is even sillier for the PAP is that these older S’poreans have been the main-stay of Low’s support since 1991. Lest one forget, Hougang and the surrounding areas like Ponngol, Cheng San and Aljunied, were once staunch Barisan Socialist territory.

So the PAP is now reduced feeding the hand that has been biting it all these years?

Never mind, it ain’t the PAP’s money. It’s tax-payers money.  Remember the funding for the People’s Association comes from the taxes we pay. So us oldies from other parts of S’pore who want to eat good quality Teochew mui (this is PA/ PAP stuff after all) can catch a cab (ST reported a lady who took a cab to eat there: doesn’t fare cost more than the free porridge? But then S’poreans are suckers for “free” or “subsidised” stuff), or take public transport, or drive to Hougang.

With an enemy like Desmond Choo, Low can afford to relax. If need be, he can remind voters that Desmond’s uncle (someone who he has admitted to as inspiring him) was a PAP MP and convicted cheat who continues getting into trouble with the law: he is facing a corruption charge.

The only thing that can cause Low a problem is if Yaw comes out to say that Low knew of his sexual habits before anointing him as Low’s successor in Hougang. Remember Low has denied knowing anything about Yaw’s personal life, despite anointing him as a his suceesor after mentoring him for many a year. People who don’t like Low are saying that they have heard people claiming to know Low say that Low said he knew of Yaw’s staggish behaviour long before anointing him as his successor.

But so far, none of Low’s enemies have dared openly to accuse him of lying. Two of them, I know, are banging their balls in silent frustration, that they can’t bring him down. Only Yaw can do it.

Advantage Low and WP in Hougang.

Desmond Choo was thrashed badly by Yaw Shin Leung in the 2011 GE. Geeky looking stag head-butted a he-man looking eununch

And all indications are that he is limbering up to take on Low Thia Khiang’s nominee  in a rematch. And that he will be thrashed again even if the NSP or Tan Jee Say or KennethJ try to score points with the PAP by giving voters a wider choice of candidates. Indications are that the NSP Old Guard cannot find a candidate willing to lose his or her  deposit even if the Old Guard towkays pay for all the election expenses (including said deposit). Apparently even one Goh Meng Seng has passed up this opportunity for some cheap publicity (bit of a surprise there), even though he gallantly volunteered Nicole Seah for the task.

NSP Old Guard: don’t make fools of yrselves by taking on Low in Hougang, unless you can pay Yaw to rat on Low. Maybe you and Desmond Choo can make Yaw an offer he cannot refuse? And Tan Jee Say and KennethJ control yr personal obsessions for cheap publicity stunts. It ain’t worth the effort, shumething even GMS realises.

True, the WP has no God-given right to Hougang, but neither have any of you chaps. The WP deserves to fight the PAP unhindered because the WP and Low have been serving the people there since 1991.  Where were the NSP Old Guard, TJS and KennethJ then?

As this post is already too long by half, I’ll leave for another day (later rather than sooner) my tots on Tan Cheng Bok’s speculation that a possible strategy for PM Lee would be to call for a by-election in his Ang Mo Kio GRC together with Hougang single member constituency. “This will be very interesting as the politics of voting will change, especially if PM promises the people of Hougang that Hougang will be part of his Town Council.”

WP: No longer believes in public tpt nationalisation

In Political governance on 08/04/2012 at 6:59 pm

This week, one of the topics to be debated in parliament will be the public transport system especially the government’s plans to inject $1.1bn into the bus system.

In its 2011 General Election Manifesto the WP wrote: 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.

In simple English, the WP manifesto called for the nationalisation of the MRT and bus systems.

But, I’ve been reliably told, that the WP will not be calling for the nationalisation of the public transport system in the debate on public transport this week. It will keep silent on its manifesto call.

If my source (a WP member in gd standing) is correct, and I hope he is wrong, one can only wonder if the WP has forgotten its manifesto call on the nationalisation of public transport (see somewhere here) or changed its mind on public transport nationalisation? And then one can wonder why the forgetfulness or change, when the facts and public mood seem to favour nationalisation.

Granted, at the time, there was very little mainstream (to be expected) or new media (more surprising this) attention, and very little public interest (not surprising, given the lack of awareness on this call) on this issue. But things are different now.

There have been several major failures of the MRT system, resulting in chaos, and public anger.

With $1.1bn of tax-payers’ money going into the bus system (two-thirds or 67% of it, $733m, going into ComfortDelgro where the state has a shareholding that is “peanuts”*), there are many voices wondering why private shareholders should benefit from a public good?

Example: Since housing and transport are both necessities of life, and public transport is the only choice of the lower-income group, it is not unjustifiable to commit resources to keep the cost of public transport low … government spending on public transport is a form of income redistribution …

The key concern in the S$1.1-billion package to purchase and operate buses is not that it subsidises public transport per se but whether public funds could benefit a small group of shareholders, to whom bus companies are ultimately accountable.

This is what the Government will need to account to taxpayers.

Even BT, part of the nation-building, constructive media had this to say, The public transport model has come under scrutiny ever since a $1.1 billion package was announced by the government to supplement the existing privately run bus fleet with 550 buses.

How has the government responded?

The minister responsible for throwing $1.1bn at the problem can only parrot repeat what his predecessors used to say, Our current model leaves the operations of trains and buses to commercial entities as we believe the long term public interest is best served this way. The profit incentive drives the operators towards higher efficiency and productivity, which keeps costs as low as possible . . . Otherwise, if the system is inefficiently run, the public will ultimately pay for the higher operating costs, either through higher fares, or greater government subsidies.

He should be asked in parliament this week why despite the “higher efficency and productivity” (“which keeps costs as low as possible”) of the private companies, commuters keep paying more and more while getting worse and worse service, so much so that the government has to subsidise the companies to improve bus service quality.  The minister’s The profit incentive drives the operators towards higher efficiency and productivity, which keeps costs as low as possible, can and should be challenged.

So the WP has plenty of ammunition to rubbish the government’s public transport policy And remind the government and the voters that it called for nationalisation last year. But it seems it will not call for nationalisation.

Parliament is the best place to debate the issue and the WP should not let this opportunity be missed especially as it called for nationalisation in its election manifesto. If it does not raise this issue, S’poreans must hope that PAP newbie FT MP, Puthucheary (“No NS for me”) will raise the issue. He had suggested in the last session of parliament that nationalisation might be a gd option.

There should be a more selfish, self-serving reason for the WP to use this opportunity to call for nationalisation.  If  the WP doesn’t believe in its own manifesto or keeps quiet when it changes its mind on a manifesto issue, why should, we, the voters believe in the WP?

The PAP pointed out earlier this year (rightly) that the WP’s benchmark for ministers’ salaries had changed from the poor (in said manifesto) to a civil service senior grade (Gerald Giam in parliament). The WP could not rebut the PAP charge.

The voters who voted for the WP believed its call for the need of a co-driver, to keep the PAP honest and competent. If voters cannot believe in the PAP and the WP, what should the voters do? Vote SDP?

The WP might want to be reminded that in countries with first-world parliaments, the election manifesto is a very important document, not something to be chucked away after a general election. If the WP does not call for nationalisation of the public transport system in parliament this week, it should remove the link on the front page of its website to its manifesto.

*Using back-of-the envelope calculations and figures in annual reports, since it was listed SMRT (over a decade ago) has paid $562.79m in dividends to Temasek (which owns 74%), and ComfortDelgro has paid the S’pore Labour Foundation (a statutory board affiliated to the NTUC which has 12%) dividends of roughly $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 $713.25m, with SMRT contributing 79%. But ComfortDelgro is the main beneficiary of the $1.1bn bus plan, given that, at present, SBS Transit (a listed co 75% owned by ComfortDelgro) provides most of the buses. ComfortDelgro is getting $733m or 67% of the $1.1bn package.

Related rant


TJS: Right attitude, wrong project?

In Political governance on 30/09/2011 at 6:49 am

I’m one of those 75% of voters who didn’t vote for TJS in the presidential elections. I wasn’t convinced that he was sincere (to be frank,I thought he was an opportunist); and the lack of a verifiable track record, career-wise, since 1991 was of concern. My thoughts on whether he was a hero or bad guy.

And there was the issue of S$60bn. “[S]mall change”, but not to his fan websites, and the party he resigned from the SDP.

But 25% of voters voted for him which shows that he convinced a quarter of adult S’poreans that he was sincere and competent. I accept their judgement. I am happy that he has rewarded (or should it be repaid?) their trust by saying he will continue fighting for his articulated principles and convictions.

But is trying to unite the Opposition a good use of his passion and talents? I think not.

Chiam tried it twice. First with the setting up of SDA and then by trying to help KennethJ take over the SDA. The latter ended with Chiam taking the SPP out of the SDA, and with both Chiam and KJ looking stupid and arrogant. Chiam recovered his reputation, KJ never did. But KJ was playing for high stakes. If he had taken over the SDA, he would have established himself as a master tactican.

Next, why would the WP and SDP want to team up because of TJS? They have distinct brands, and appeal to different voters. If the parties worked together closely, WP would not be able to attract the swing voters. They would not to be associated with the “radicals” of the SDP. Although not true, that is the image that the swing voters have of SDP members, an image that the constructive, nation-building local media, PAP and government helped build and maintain. Though to be fair, until very recently, SDP members made it easy to caricature themselves.

It is no surprise they have not commented on what he has said.

Then there is the state of the other parties. The SPP punches above its weight because of brand Chiam. The NSP (forever reinventing itself between elections), RP (remember who this is?), and SDA are sick parodies of political parties.

See who are the parties that welcome his initiative, and are willing to join the “Coalition of the Hopeless”: the SPP, NSP, RP and SDA.

Finally, the present arrangement of all the parties not fighting three-way contests suits everyone except the SDP.  In particular, the WP benefits from having the SDP’s supporters having no choice except to vote for it. See this.

True in 2011, the WP refused to give way to the SDA in one area (but it was vindicated when the SDA candidate lost his deposit) and there were rows between the WP and NSP, and between the NSP and RP on seat allocations. But the bigger party bullied the smaller party into submission in both cases. Goh Meng Seng was bullied by the WP, and he in turn bullied KJ.

This co-operation may not be possible after the next GE. The parties, especially the WP and SDP, may raise their ambitions, but that is in the distant future.

So I hope TJS finds something more doable and constructive, taking into account his talents and weaknesses. What that could be I hope to explore in a future post. 

Meanwhile, “Tan Jee Say, Ho Say Leh”: so long as he repays the trust that 25% of adult S’poreans have in him.

Who is the Opposition Kingmaker?

In Uncategorized on 23/09/2011 at 7:00 am

Following this year’s two elections, I could reasonably argue that the core PAP vote (any donkey even if it is Tin Pei Ling, so long as it is a PAP donkey) is 35%, the core anti-PAP vote is 30% (any ass even an SDA ass, so long as it is an anti-PAP ass) and the remaining 35% are the Animal Farm sheep aka the swinger voters. 

(I’ve not used the term  “Opposition” because all the Opposition parties define themselves as being anti-PAP or its values.)

Given that the WP has five MPs and two NCMPS (while no other Opposition party has an MP, and the SPP has the only other NCMP) , one would think that the WP best presents the angry S’porean voter. I think not.

The WP has done well because it can attract enough swing voters with its moderation (or waffliness or BS, if I wanted to be unkind) while relying on the 30% of voters who are angry with the PAP. It does not have to appeal to these voters because the Opposition parties try to avoid three-way contests in the belief that such contests only benefit the PAP.

True, the PAP benefits most in such contests, But the WP benefits most among the Opposition parties in two-way fights. Its discipline, moderation and willingness to walk the ground between general elections, plays well to the sheep of Animal Farm.

The biggest loser is the SDP, the natural home of these angry voters. SDP supporters in areas not contested by the SDP, have no choice but to vote WP, SPP, NSP, and SDA and RP; or spoil their votes.

Think I exaggerate? I’ve been told by a usually reliable source that in the Aljunied GRC, Tan Jee Say polled a decent close second to Tony Tan. Tan Cheng Bock was nowhere. And look at the TJS rally, and even the booing of TT on Nomination Day. These bear the hallmarks of SDP activism; in the latter the Dark Side of SDP activism, not the mainstream SDP.

And remember Tan Kin Lian, who lost his deposit? He and his adviser, Goh Meng Seng, thought they had the angry vote stitched up, allowing them to focus on the swing vote. Then TJS got his COE and performed well in the presidential election. TKL could only get angry publicly with TJS.

True, TJS was not endorsed by the SDP but he had the active help of many of its activists, though the MSM and bloggers focused on the endorsement he got from Nicole Seah, the super celebrity. Incidentally, I was told that in Marine Parade, TCB was second to TT. So much for her endorsement.

My conclusion? The SDP is the kingmaker of the Opposition. Remember how the Communists destroyed David Marshall and the WP in the early 60s? They told their supporters not to vote for the WP.

It could happen again. The SDP could withdraw its support of the WP, and even field candidates to fight the WP if the WP doesn’t pay Danegeld to the SDP or move leftwards. But by doing either or both, it will lose its attractiveness to the sheep of Animal Farm. Not a sweet spot to be in, Mao.


Do we need more political parties?

In Political governance on 16/09/2011 at 6:58 am

So now there are voices calling for Tan Jee Say and Dr Tan Cheng Bock to each form a new political party. And I’m sure, there are voices out there asking the “Voice of the People” to make a fool of himself again (this time with his daughter by his side) by forming the VP Party or VPP.

I’m sure some of these callers are thinking, genuine and sincere people, while some of the callers are PAP activists hoping to split the votes of voters unhappy with the PAP. But most of these calls are coming from very daft, but sincere and genuine people.

Think of where the parties of TJS and TCB will position themselves.

There are two slightly left-of-centre parties, the Workers’ Party and the Singapore People’s Party. Further left (but not on extreme left, despite what the local constructive, nation-building media say), we have the Singapore Democratic Party and somewhere between the WP and the SPP, and the SDP, there is for the moment the National Solidarity Party.

The NSP is forever changing shape in between general elections and, at the moment, is undergoing yet another metamorphoses. The WP and SDP have strong brands and active supporters, while the SPP is finally trying to make a serious effort to move away from brand “Chiam”. Let’s hope it succeeds. Chiam deserves to leave behind a political legacy. He showed us that an ordinary, decent man could take on the PAP and survive. There was no need to play the matyr game.

Now where will brand Tan Jee Say fit in? Based on his behaviour during the presidential election, his party will be further left of the SPP and WP, and right of the SDP. A space that the NSP, with two of his scholat mates in its management committee, is now trying to make its own. Kinda crowded, aint it?

As for Dr Tan Cheng Bock, the man, who waffled on during the election about not being the preferred PAP candidate and abt unity via footie and multiracialim (If I sound mean, I remind that I voted for him. Yup I can be that irrational), where will his party stand? Right of the WP, and SPP most likely, based on his waffling.

Even if it occupies some of the right-of-centre space dominated by the PAP, it will be fighting for some of the very moderate left votes.

The space on the left is crowded, with these six parties. There may not be enough seats to satisfy the ambitions of these six parties in a general election. There may be three-way contests. Then there are the absolute no-hopers, Singapore Democratic Alliance and the RP: making a total of eight parties on the left. The only place left field unoccupied is on the extreme left.

Establishing a new party is not easy. Remember the Reform Party? Set up by the late JBJ, it had to be resurrected by his son, KennethJ,  because of JBJ’s death soon after its founding. Despite all the goodwill that the memory of JBJ attracts, the RP had problems recruiting. And anyway, the newbies soon left, leaving King KJ to play and fantasise alone.

So please, let’s not encourage bored men with large egos, deep pockets and axes to grind to form new parties of the left. The field is crowded left of centre with eight parties.

Now, there is plenty of space on the extreme right. Anyone bored with a big ego, deep pockets and an axe to grind interested? I’m sure one LKY will be the party’s patron if the party ideology is a mixture of fascism, capitalism, socialism and his Hard Truths.


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