Saturday, February 25, 2017

TOTD: PAP's Poison to the Sick Economy


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goh Meng Seng

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Protest against Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Visit to Singapore



For Immediate Release


Protest against Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Visit to Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Facilitating and initiating ILLEGAL settlement on Palestine land.

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

4) Effecting apartheid rule on Palestinian land.

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Shameless Blatant Glorification of Japanese Invasion and Occupation by PAP



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

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

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

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

It says "Syonan Gallery : War and its LEGACIES"

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

Goh Meng Seng

TOTD: PAP Government's Idiocy in Naming WWII Memorial

Thought of the Day

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

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

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

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

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

Goh Meng Seng

P.S.

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 10, 2017

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



For Immediate Release:

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

We refer to the Committee on the Future Economy report. 

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

International Trade Treaties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International Relations

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

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

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

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

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

Soft Power of Cultural Essence and Organic Industrial Growth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Increasing Business Cost vs Productivity Growth and Wage

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

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

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

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

Business Connectivity and Market Intelligence

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

TOTD: Hypocrisy of PAP's Minority Representation



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

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


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

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

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, January 21, 2017

TOTD: The Parasites of Elitist Cronism

Thought of the Day - The Parasites of Elitist Cronism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Goh Meng Seng

Monday, January 16, 2017

TOTD: Back to Fundamental of CPF

Thought of the Day -
Back to Fundamental of CPF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goh Meng Seng

Sunday, January 15, 2017

TOTD: Terrex the Jialat Ministers

Thought of the Day -Terrex the Jialat Ministers

I believe many people may be wow or fooled by Defence Minister Ng's exclamation that it is "illegal" for HK to impound our Terrex by the argument of "sovereign rights" over these war vehicles but anyone with that bit of common sense will see through the fallacy of such naive and illogical argument.

First of all, HK Customs didn't even know who own these military vehicles when it first seized them. They were acting on their own law that any shipping companies which are doing transshipment should follow, regardless whether these are sovereign assets or not. Thus, there is no illegality in HK Customs' action but ironically, the one which has breached HK law is SAF and the shipping company, where both failed to make declarations and apply for proper permits.

Our Defence Minister has aggravated the situation by making such unfounded accusation. Instead of lowering the tension, he has instead heightened it! Imagine if you were the Chinese government or HK authorities, instead of having Singapore admitting that they have done wrong, you are being accused of acting illegally! How would you feel? Will you return the Terrex? It is no wonder that such irresponsible and untactful speech by our Defence Minister drew sharp retort and warning from China by saying, please watch what you are saying! Basically, the actual diplomatic message behind is, please stop talking cock!

So I guess our Defence Minister is not interested in getting back these Terrex at all but his only aim is to justify that he and his Ministry are not in the wrong!

If our Defence Minister is really interested in getting back the Terrex or at the very least, want to diffuse the tension, he should have put it in a more a tactful way.... let me teach this undeserving overpaid Minister how to talk skillfully....

"I believe it is a great misunderstanding between us and HK that resulted in the seizure of these military assets. There is a gross oversight on our part in working according to HK law but I believe we have sovereign ownership of these military assets, unlike any other cases of military transshipment. I hope that both sides could resolve these issues amicably...."

The above speech would convey the same message of sovereign rights but at the same time, give enough space for both sides to work out a resolution.

The second point is that having sovereign rights over these assets doesn't give you immunity from not abiding local law. For example, as Alex Au had agreed with me, if a country tried to send massive military weapons to a terrorist organization to carry out a war against another sovereign country, do you think your claim of sovereign ownership will work? This is a real life situation whereby the Americans or Saudi or other countries are sending arms to those terrorist groups in Syria!

The third point is, apparently this is more of a diplomatic issue rather than just a legal issue. But our undeserving overpaid Foreign Minister has instead tried to play it down by shifting the focus to legal issues! This will further agitate China and in the end, the problems may not be contained within this Terrex issue but may just escalate into some other issues later on. Please bear in mind that Singapore has over $100 billion investment in China!

It is apparent that China is not satisfied with our Minister's assurance of adherence to One China policy. However we cannot succumb to its demand of cutting all our ties with Taiwan. This will need, first, a show of commitment more than just reciting the mere mantra of One China policy. We need to add to that although we have military training in Taiwan but this is not a support of Taiwan's Independence movement. This is purely a move to meet our own military training needs. At no time will we support any Taiwanese attempt to declare independence from China, neither in diplomatic nor military terms. We are all for a peaceful progressive development of One China diplomacy which we have contributed in the past and will continue to support in the future.

By putting up such assurance and reminding China that we have been working and contributing towards the One China policy will in fact, subtly enhance our position that we need to maintain ties with Taiwan in order to continue to contribute towards this role.

Both our Defence and Foreign Ministers have failed badly, epic failure in fact, in handling this Terrex diplomatic crisis. Of course, the biggest culprit is our PM Lee who has ignored all well meaning warning from everyone including opposition of his dangerous diplomatic stunts against China.

While Singaporeans should stand up against big countries like China or US if they assert unreasonable demands, but we must also realize that all these could have been dissolved or avoided totally if we have more competent Ministers instead of these current undeserving and overpaid Ministers.

Goh Meng Seng

Supplementary input from a FB friend:

Fact

1) Ship manifest does not reflect armoured vehicles exist on ship. It is the same as smuggling, undeclared goods.

2) Military goods must have special permit to transit. Plus standard Export Control declaration, as required by international shipping law. Since there are no documents, means special permit not done. Export Control declaration not done.

Terrex armoured vehicle is being smuggled on the ship. Breaking Taiwan law, Sinkaland law, China law, HK law and international shipping law.

Could any white supporters please tell me which country would consider smuggling armoured vehicles without documents as legal ???

Friday, January 06, 2017

TOTD: The Misguided Education System

Thought of the Day - The Misguided Education System

I could really empathize with Aqil's family in not getting a place for his son in the nearby school.

When I was young, I face similar problem of not able to get a place in the primary schools in Toa Payoh basically due to the Two is Enough policy. As the 8th child of the family, I was systemically discriminated by the various institutions, including the schools.

My parents were worried that their young son could not get education and will end up as road sweeper one day. After the neighborhood schools have rejected my application, even though my kindergarten result (not PAP kindergarten!) was above average, my parents have to go all the way to upper paya lebar road Elling North Primary, to enroll me. Students at my age had already started school but I was still knocking door.

This school was the Primary School which brothers and sisters studied while we were still living in Tai Seng almost 7 years ago.

I was lucky that the Principal Mrs Chiang had agreed to accept my application. Though this was just a village school with limited resources and hardly a good reputation but quite a lot of "Sam Seng" or gangsters, I am extremely grateful to my Principal for accepting me despite the fact that the classes were full. This is despite of the fact that I needed to travel by bus to and fro for 45 min each on my own at the age of 7.

An education is an important start for any child in his or her long life journey. To deprive a child the BASIC education is just like taking away his future. Even more so for those with special needs.

I won't be what I am, going through the SAP school and graduating with an Honours degree if it was not for the grace of my Primary School principal, Mrs Chiang.

Thus whenever I see schools rejecting students for whatever reasons, forcing them to be out of education, I felt extremely sad and angry. Especially for those schools which reject or getting rid of students for fear of affecting their KPI, I just find it totally unacceptable. Those principals and teachers have basically lost sight of what education is all about... It is not about KPI nor plainly following rules. It is about helping to build someone's life.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

TOTD: Political Illiteracy

Thought of the Day - Political illiteracy

I had a nice chat with an alumni of my Alma Mater today over lunch.

We talked about almost everything under the sun but eventually, the topic comes back to Singapore politics.

He told me that many of the Singaporeans he came into contact with are basically politically ignorant. He gave me an example that two of his close associates did not think that it is wrong that PA or Town Council under PAP's control refusal to let opposition party use the facilities is wrong. The reasoning given was that these "belong" to PAP and it is purely politics that PAP should not allow opposition parties to use these facilities.

But when they were corrected that these facilities were built using taxpayers' money and do not belong to PAP, they raised doubts about it!

Such political ignorance is really deep rooted all thanks to PAP's deliberate effort in blurring the lines between itself and PA. Opposition controlled TC is expected to allow PAP to use whatever premises in their town via "grassroot organization" like PA or RC or CCC. But PA has all rights to allow PAP to use its facilities for whatever activities disguised as "grassroot events" while opposition parties were banned from using its facilities by using the excuse of "PA's premises should not be politicized"!

And you may wonder how could well educated Singaporeans who are graduates or diploma holders, actually agree and even support such blatant abuse of tax payers' money for partisan interests!

The conclusion my friend has made, most Singaporeans are not "Politically Educated" and PAP is very happy to maintain such Political illiteracy for Singaporeans. This I will have to agree. Do our schools teach our students on what is Democracy? Rule of Law? Separation of Powers? Judiciary Independence? Freedom of Speech and Expression? Well, only on some "abstract Highfalutin" National Pledge which PAP didn't even believe in nor respect!

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The Setup of Labour Task Force



After our initial effort in exposing the discriminatory hiring practice of Certis Cisco in its recruitment effort of Taiwanese to become Auxiliary Police officers in Singapore, Certis Cisco has tried to clarify that it is "paying the same" or "even more" to local Singaporeans.


We are dissatisfied with Certis Cisco's statement because apparently, it did not put up the full picture of its hiring policy in its public statement and it did not include the Free Lodging which it is providing to the Taiwanese employees. In addition, what Certis Cisco had said, contradicted the hiring advertisement and reports posted in Taiwanese media. According to the recruitment advertisement, it has specifically said that the BASIC salary is NT60,000 which amounts to SGD$2,700 instead of the SGD$2,575 which Certis Cisco has claimed. The recruitment advertisement has also said that there will be additional Over Time pay for the Taiwanese Auxiliary Police Officers.

However, we have cross-checked with various sources. For local Singapore Auxiliary Police Officers, they are receiving extremely low "BASIC PAY" while the $2575 as stated by Certis Cisco is actually salary ALREADY included Over Time pay and "Allowances". We were also told that no CPF was paid for these "allowances". These allowances are also subjected to stringent conditions that the Auxiliary Police should not take any Medical Leave during the month else the bonus will not be given to them.

From our various sources, we did not get any information of the "$10,000 bonus" given upon at the end of the contract. We would like to urge current Auxiliary Police Officers to come forward and verify on whether they have received this $10,000 bonus before or is it subjected to some ridiculously stringent terms and conditions.

On top of that, there are more complains of the couple of companies which employ Auxiliary Police Officers by former as well as current employees of their Human Resource policies which we think may possibly contravene our Singapore Labour Law.

PPP is extremely concerned about all these labour issues arising in the hiring and Human Resource management practices. In view of the seriousness of the various issues raised by the public over these companies' hiring practices, PPP has decided to set up a small Labour Task Force to investigate and look into the various labour issues arising from the hiring of Auxiliary Police Officers.

The Task Force will be led by our Organizing Secretary Mr Augustine Lee Zixu. This Task Force will investigate thoroughly the truth of the matters with regards to the hiring practices of these few big security companies which manage and supply Auxiliary Police Officers. It will embark on a fact finding mission and would make formal complains if there is any lapse or breach of the Labour Law by these big security firms.
We hope that former and current Auxiliary Police Officers who have suffered any unfair treatment by their employers would contact us through Private Message, to provide or furnish us with details of their employment terms and conditions as well as their working conditions. We will seek professional Human Resource advice to evaluate and make assessment on the situation. All identities of informers will be kept private and confidential unless they are ready to lodge formal complains.

These leaders of the security industry should lead by example as a role model to implement good HR management system for all other smaller security firms to look up to.

We empathize with the plight of the employees in the security industry and we just want to make sure that none would be exploited in any way by their employers.

Goh Meng Seng
Secretary General
People's Power Party

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

TOTD: The Failure of PAP's Scholar-System

Thought of the Day

No matter how smart, intelligent or brilliant you were in your teens, scoring As and A stars in your exams, once you are being "anointed" with the label "scholars", you may just find yourself entrenched and kept in a environment which will not be conducive to your proper development of mental and social faculties.

That label of "scholars" along with the mindset of "Natural Aristocracy" will destroy your common sense and empathy towards the people you were supposed to lead.

It has proven in history, the best leaders come not from the group of "elites" but rather the intelligent people from the streets.

In our Singapore's system, the PAP government tries very hard to "monopolize" all the talents we have in our system by installing the elitist streaming in our education system. They will give scholarships to those identified "early talents" and bond them to civil service or statutory boards. It is one way to monopolize talents and keep them for PAP's selection so to prolong its monopolistic rule over Singapore.

However, just look at the numerous scholar-Generals, or rather, what we call "Paper Generals" we have today.

These scholars were holed up in SAF and lack the exposure of the "REAL WORLD" out there. They have wasted their time in SAF without exposures to the REAL world outside their war gaming computers. Their administration of the SAF is based on simple top-down military command hierarchy without the need of more sophisticated management skills.

Thus, it is no wonder that when they were treated like some Elitist Gods and sent to the various GLCs or statutory boards, they screwed up badly. No matter how intelligent or smart you are, as long as you are not groomed in a proper way, in the most appropriate way but only the SAF way, you will be made redundant and useless outside of SAF in the end, regardless of your rank. This is the sad state of affairs for Singapore. We have wasted so much money and most importantly, these "once potential talents" by keeping them in the worse place for development, so much so that they are causing harm to our whole country as a whole.

These Paper General cannot survive beyond SAF. Even when they were posted to the GLCs and private entities, they expected to be in top management positions, even though they have no REAL WORLD Corporate experience whatsoever, and know NUTs about running the companies, worse, the country! However, they have this "Scholar-Entitlement" mindset. They were "helicopter" into such positions and eventually, they would find that they cannot manage such corporate unless they get their own KAKIs from SAF who knows the exact "military style" of management! This is exactly what happened in SMRT and PAP leadership!

I would not mind if these "retired" Paper Generals were willing to start from middle management to learn the corporate way and work their way up but no, they were expected to be able to "plug and play" which is quite ridiculous! It can only happen in Singapore because PAP government has created a web of GLCs to allocate these paper generals nice management positions to stroke their ego of "natural aristocracy"!

Singapore will definitely decline in the coming decades basically because SAF or the civil service is not exactly the best or right place to nurture our talents for running corporations and the country.

And all these, are the wrong doings and mismanagement by PAP.

Goh Meng Seng

Friday, December 16, 2016

TOTD: EZ-Link and Cash Card Redundancy


Thought of the Day

I was driving a friend's car the other day and found the car braked suddenly while I was cruising, my foot wasn't pressing on any pedal. It nearly gave me a heart attack and a RED LED indicator popped up CTBA... and I got worried when the "Temperature indicator" jumped from the usual 34 degree to 37.

I asked my friend why was this so, was the car having some problem. I got a smacking that I am just too OLD generation and didn't know "NEW (CAR) Technology" at all. I was using "old driving method" to drive a NEW HIGH Tech car!

Cruising is a method I learned from my late father to save petrol and this works especially well for manual gear car.

But I learn from Google (yes, please check Google before asking "High Tech" question, else, will get another suaning... :D ) that the "High Tech Car" nowadays will put brake on if it detected no contact of either the brake or accelerator pedal! Or that when the car was travelling at low speed and there is potential accident, it will apply brake on its own! This is to prevent drivers who are too tired from getting accident when they fall asleep with their feet off the pedal!

Wah, I say... but seriously, that's too "intrusive" for my "Old Method - Petrol saving driving"! And that temperature indicator is not about the car temperature but the surrounding temperature! Well, I told my friend I didn't know the street temperature can get as high as 37 and why do we need to know the "outside temperature" when we should be more concerned about the overheating of the car itself?

My friend scolded me, don't use "Old Method" to deal with "New Technology"!

Actually, this makes me thinking for the day. My friend has a point. When New Technology is evolving, we should be mindful to use new methods of operation to deal with it.

One fine example was the bloody redundancy of "Cash Card" and "Ez-link" card. Why would we need TWO cards when we actually could combine them into one-for-all usage Cashless card?

Cash card can be used for purchases but very few people use it because it was cumbersome. It came up with two types, one with Sim the other "Flash" card.. But some carpark can only use one of them! Such redundancy is caused by the "Old Method Mindset" using "New Technology"!

On the other hand, we have a handy EZ-Link card which we could just Tap away but it could not be used for purchases at 7 Eleven or supermarket! And it can only be topped up at the MRT/Bus stations or ATM machines.

Same for Cash Card. When you go to petrol station, they can't just top up the cash card for you but required you to top up at the ATM machine!

What the Heck! What's wrong with these people at LTA and those in charge of "Cashless cards"?

In Hong Kong, one Octopus Card, can do it all! Carparks, Supermarkets, 7 Eleven, Bakery Shops, Bus, MTR... and you can top it up at any 7 eleven shops or OK shops!

Apparently, these High End Natural Aristocrat Scholars sitting up there are only concerned about their "turf" instead of consumers' convenience and services! In fact, both cards evolved because of transportation needs, be it ERP gantries or public transport. LTA should have combined them all in the first place by setting the protocol and standards!

This is the "Old Methods" using "New Technology" stupidity we are seeing in Singapore... and we still want to pride ourselves as "First World High Tech Cashless City"?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

An Open Letter to President Xi of China

致中国国家主席公开信
尊贵的习近平主席先生

贵国最近通过香港扣押了九辆我祖国新加坡最先进的装甲车。据说这些装甲车里包含了世界级的高科技装备,是我祖国自行研法生产的骄傲。

无论这是否是贵国刻意使计由香港扣押我祖国的这批装甲车,我本身也意识到这整件事都是我们国防部的疏忽才导致这事件的发生。无论贵国是否决定归还这九辆装甲车,我们在国际社会里和军备市场中都已经是损失惨重。这是因为就算贵国没有趁此机会去对这批装甲车进行军事科技研探,国际社会的准军备购买者的脑子里都会对这军备的可靠性暗存疑问。

无论如何,我本人觉得这次事件的确是我祖国犯了低级错误,如果军备被贵国没收,也是无话可说的。于情于理,我们都输得彻底。我也认了。

从一个新加坡反对党的角度看这件事,我也只能对我祖国的领导鞭笞,追究责任,也无法理直气壮的对贵国指骂。

如果这真是贵国以计谋导致事件的发生,我本人不得不佩服为贵国出谋献策的智囊团的高明。可是,贵国如此做,也必须付出一定的国际政治代价。没有一个泱泱大国会喜欢国际社会在明或在暗批评以大欺小的。更何况是中国,一个打着和平崛起的旗帜发展经济与周边国家发展政治与贸易联系的大国。更重要的是您本人伟大的政治策略,“一带一路”不只是要靠金钱去发展,还要靠国际政治信誉去赢得参与国的信任。为了新加坡这个小国而冒着国际社会的不良反应,您认为值得吗?

再者,贵国对于我祖国新加坡在台湾进行军事演习提出抗议,我想我祖国的人民肯定感觉到非常反感。就连身为反对党人的我,也不得不站出来对贵国的抗议表示不满。

在贵国邓小平同志领导的时代,他展现了一个大政治家的洪量与风范,确实将心比心,以事论事,站在其他小国的角度看问题。他也谅解新加坡有土地的局限,到台湾借用地方做军训,是形势所逼,并非是要针对中国做出任何军事威胁或卷入贵国的内政。我们小国寡民,就算是真要与贵国搞军事对抗,也没那种能耐!那岂不是白痴说梦话?说了也不会有人相信的!

现在贵国要以这个借口要挟我祖国,打压我们,国际社会里,明眼人一看就知道贵国是故意刁难新加坡,以大欺小了!试问,这样一来对贵国有什么好处呢?

再说,如果贵国要是打算以这做借口开始对新加坡进行经济制裁,这更说不过去了!试问,谁才是真正对贵国进行军事抗争的?或防止贵国统一台湾的?那当然首推台湾人民嘛!但是贵国竟然没对台湾进行经济制裁,反而给台湾人台胞证,让他们到台湾去投资发展,您说,如果贵国要制裁新加坡,国际社会上说得过去吗?

对一个所谓军事反叛岛屿省份的人民给予优待,到大陆去投资发展,反而对一个只为了解决本身土地不够而到台湾军训的友好国家进行打压,经济制裁,这怎么能说得过去?

再说,要是新加坡没有跟台湾打交道,打好关系,政治上我们也没法有效的当大陆与台湾的桥梁了。试想想,为了一个不是理由的理由对新加坡打压,硬要把新加坡切断与台湾的关系,这符合贵国长远的政治利益吗?

说穿了,我们大家都必须务实一点。没有人想在东亚再打仗,因为这对所有东亚国家都不利。维持和平现状,各国为自己的人民福祉努力发展经贸,才是所有国家人民的真正愿望。

我在此恳请习主席,念在我们两国以往都是以互惠互利和务实的原则发展彼此深厚的关系,仔细的思量彼此的立场,核心利益和观点后,才做出谨慎的决定。

我本人身为新加坡反对党人,对本国的领导最近的表现都非常不满,对这次事件的发生,也觉得是我方之错。贵国要如何处置那批装甲车,我都无异议,认了。我相信我祖国对这笔损失千万或甚至几亿的军备收入,还是负担得起。钱输了换来一个刻骨铭心的教训,那也罢。钱可以再赚回来。高科技产品失去了,还可以再研发新的。

但要是贵国如要以不是理由的理由继续打压我们,针对我们国防的核心利益进行攻击,这个我相信所有新加坡人都不会容许发生的。

我更相信这对贵国也会是有伤害。我们两个友邦,以往都是以互惠互利与务实双赢的原则共存共荣,为何如今要以双输的形式自残?

尊贵的习主席,我相信以您的睿智,您必能理清这种种的利害关系。

吴明盛敬启