Only one announcement in Parliament needed to increase PUB’s income by $361 million

Lee Kuan Yew: “We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think.” link

And so Finance Minister Heng simply announced a staggering 30% increase in the price of water during Budget 2017. PAP had already decided that increasing the price of water was right, no need for debate, never mind the current economic contraction or that businesses will be hurt by rising costs.

The 30% increase in water bill reflects poor/no planning or that the single-party government is trying to fleece citizens. This comes on the heels of S&CC increase by 15 PAP town councils announced – no debate – only a few days ago.

Rising costs has been cited as the reason which is of course another PAP half truth. This is because costs have already been offset by higher PUB income resulting from a 1.7 million population increase since 17 years ago.

By failing to provide supporting figures, Heng is clearly concealing some material information and therefore telling a half truth.

The government should allocate tax dollars for expenditures on basic infrastructures. But in our unique system, PAP has shifted the responsibility of the government to consumers by running PUB as a for-profit organisation.


PUB Annual Report (pg 7)

Like HDB, PUB has also declared ‘losses’ before government grants. PAP should stop misleading the people and remove ‘loss’ from stat board accounting because there was never any loss to begin with. If PAP’s obligations result in losses, why aren’t polyclinics, libraries, schools, etc declaring them?

At the stroke of a pen, Minister Heng will increase PUB’s income by at least $361 million. No capital outlay, no R and D, no nothing: just his mouth. With the ability to create money out of nothing, wouldn’t Heng be the greatest CEO in the universe?

Of course Heng’s achievement pales in comparison with Mah Bow Tan’s COE system which has generated at least $30 billion for the PAP. Again, no capital outlay, no need for R and D but just a piece of paper.

In the last 2 financial years, PUB received about $270 million in grants which means the government outlay was about only 20% of PUB’s operating cost. With the 30% increase and an increasing population, there will soon be no need for any government grant.

In a democratic country, the head of a stat board would have to justify a price hike with sound arguments as well as the issue debated in parliament. But since ours are mostly jiak liao bee PAP elites and could only offer hogwash, politicians ramming it down the people’s throats is preferred.

If the top 3 guys at PUB knew their job, Heng would have an easier time.

Chairman Tan is a former permanent secretary and a member of numerous government committees. Tan is also the chairman of Jurong International which has merged and is now part of Surbana Jurong. Surbana Jurong was recently rapped by the Manpower Minister over the handling of the termination of 54 employees.

CEO Ng Joo Hee is a former Commissioner of Police and was transferred to head PUB after the once-in-44-years Little India riot disgraced the SPF. Like other scholars, Ng had ZERO relevant experience before he was parachuted into PUB in 2014.

Director Zainal Sapari is a PAP MP and chairman of my town council. Sapari could not even reply to my simply queries concerning municipal issues via email. link Under chairman Sapari, my town council has remained opaque and evaded many issues I highlighted.

If PUB were competent, it should have been able to engage the public on such an important issue.

But it’s not only incompetence which prevents PUB from engagement – PUB doesn’t need do so because our system allows ministers to simply announce any hike in Parliament.

With talents like Minister Heng, PUB’s income just increased by hundreds of million$ – at our expense.

Posted in POLITICS | Leave a comment

More than 1.85 million CPF members have less than $20,000 in CPF Ordinary Account?

In 2015, there were 3.69 million CPF members.

According to MOF, more than 1.85 million CPF members do not even have $20,000 in their CPF Ordinary Account.

MOF: “More than half of all CPF members earn 3.5% per year on all their Ordinary Account (OA) balances” (see image below).

Source: MOF

In order to earn the stated interest rate on ‘all’ balances in the OA, a member’s OA cannot exceed $20,000.

Almost 2 million CPF members having less than $20,000 in their OA is a shockingly large figure. Even if retirees, foreigners and new workforce entrants are excluded, that still leaves hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans.

Since the CPF scheme has failed its retirement objective, it looks like PAP will need to come up with more help schemes to ‘help’ Singaporeans downgrade our homes.

Posted in CPF | 5 Comments

Why is 100% of CPF retirement savings invested overseas?

From: pipakh
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2017 7:30 PM
To: PRITAM
Cc: LEON ; <a title=”sylvia ; WP ; <a title=”kathijah.rahaman ; C K WONG ; <a title=”cue_liew ; GERALD GIAM ; <a title=”ken_dxb ; JAYA ; <a title=”cklau60 ; STANLEY
Subject: Where is our CPF? (7)

Dear Pritam Singh

As elected MPs, it’s really a shame that you guys don’t even know where all the $300 billion in our CPF is invested.

Not only that, you have stood idly by while PAP continues to introduce legislations to trap more of our CPF into GIC with absurd justifications. This is expected of PAP MPs who are there to ensure transparency doesn’t see daylight, but WP?

Nobody invests 100% retirement savings in foreign assets

This is too obvious for WP not to have known but for decades, nobody has questioned the government.

You wouldn’t subject 100% of your retirement savings to high forex/political risks and neither would I. But why has PAP been allowed to do so for 100% of our CPF savings when most citizens will retire in Singapore?

Which PAP elite has invested 100% of his/her retirement savings in foreign assets?

Something is clearly amiss here and with each passing year of silence, an additional $25 billion CPF will find its way into GIC.

For the past few years, GIC has been forced to invest in assets at inflated prices. Why not stop tweaking CPF legislations, return CPF members our savings and let us decide how to spend OUR own money? Is it necessary to continue taking high risk?

GIC invests during every part of the economic cycle and undeniably must have made outsized returns when investing at rock bottom prices. But didn’t GIC also lose many shirts investing during periods of irrational exuberance?

Without the ability to pick and choose its timing, unlike other fund managers, GIC’s tikam-tikam, dollar-cost averaging model can only produce mediocre returns

Another cause for concern is its inconsistency (see chart above). In 2001, CPF Board suddenly invested $29 billion in SSGS**. This amount is equivalent to the total increase in SSGS in the subsequent 5 years or in the preceding 7 years. Why?

Since CPF was not invested in preceding years, it could mean CPF:
– Was diverted to other government projects.
– Was used for other purposes, undisclosed in Parliament, during/after the Asian Financial Crisis.
– Interest rates could not be increased above 2.5% because it wasn’t invested for a prolonged period.

(There is too much material information concealed from the public which an elected president would have been able to access.)

A large portion of CPF should have been invested locally in GLCs because they had been set up using our CPF. According to Temasek, GLCs have achieved unbelievably high 40- and 30-year returns of 15% and 14% respectively.

But PAP did not allow CPF members to benefit from GLCs’ performance. The beneficiaries appear to be PAP elites parachuted into top management of GLCs and the government which has been using their returns to supplement the budget. CPF members have been left with 3.5% crumbs from GIC (average CPF rate).

I hope you will begin to ask questions on obvious issues in Parliament and not allow 100% of Singaporeans’ retirement savings to be invested in risky overseas assets.

Thank you.

Regards

Phillip Ang

**

MAS AR 2015/2016

MAS AR 2008/2009

MAS AR 2002/2003

CPF balances* – $29 billion estimated for 2016 after taking into account $23 billion increase during the first 9 months.

Posted in CPF, WP | 3 Comments

Another wayang apology by PAP for the Syonan Gallery blunder

On 17 Feb, Minister Yaacob caved in to public pressure and apologised for the ‘pain the name caused’ by “Syonan Gallery”. link This was yet another blunder by NLB.

A simple and sincere apology would have sufficed but since PAP elites could really do not wrong, another minister and even the PM had to be roped in to provide moral support for Yaacob.

In the same CNA article, MOT Minister Khaw said “he fully supports Dr Yaacob’s decision to drop the words ‘Syonan Gallery’ from the exhibition’s name”. Khaw then went on to tell readers a grandfather story (real story about his maternal grandfather) and explained why the name provoked a strong reaction from Singaporeans.

Strangely, Hara Kiri Khaw did not hit out at NLB’s stupidity earlier and did so only after Yaacob had admitted to NLB’s error – by praising Yaacob!

At the end of the article, Hara Kiri gave his stamp of approval: “I fully support Minister Yaacob’s decision to drop it from the name”. And this is considered ‘news’ in Singapore.

Why should the Minister for Comms and Info need the Minister for Transport to support his backtracking decision? Hara Kiri got no issues to fix in his ministry? Trains not breaking down anymore and “commuter satisfaction in public transport at 9-year high”?

Yaacob also attempted to explain away the mistake and used a false analogy when he said that the word ‘Syonan’ had been used before in 1992.

A blunder caused by a PAP elite required 624 words to say a simple sorry?

NLB CEO is Elaine Ng (coincidentally the spouse of Defence Perm Sec Ng Chee Khern).

Image source

One day after Yaacob’s ‘apology’, CNA published another ‘newsworthy’ article, “Syonan Gallery renamed to bear witness to painful memories: PM Lee”. link

Questions:
If it wasn’t initially named to bear witness to painful memories, then bear witness to what?  Celebrate being attacked?
Why does a blunder by NLB require 2 ministers and the PM to explain to the public?

Would US President Trump or UK PM May issue media statements to explain mistakes made by counterparts of NLB CEO? Or leaders of any country?

The PM of a country is a leader who has very important issues to tend to. Is PM Lee paid $2.2 million by taxpayers to help explain away blunders of statutory boards?

CEO Elaine should be held accountable and not hide behind the back of politicians. Stat board CEOs who earn an estimated 500,000 tax dollars should learn to stand on their own 2 feet: don’t be spineless and the label jiak liow bee will not stick.

Hmm … so where is the jiak liao bee CEO Elaine Ng?

Posted in POLITICS | 2 Comments

NParks anyhow claims inspections exceed global standard after falling trees caused a fatality and injuries

Dear NParks CEO

I refer to “Inspection of trees in Singapore in line with global standards: NParks”. link

NParks can claim anything it wants as they are not verifiable anyway. SOPs always look impressive on paper but the reality is not every employee follow them to a T. Look no further than the massively screwed up SMRT to better understand my point.

From the get go, the CNA article wasted no time in praising NParks with having global or even higher standards in tree inspection. You seem to have forgotten that a tree under the care of NParks has killed the mother of a pair of one-year old twins and injured 4 others – including the twins –4 days earlier on 11 Feb. Two days after the fatality, a woman had to be warded in ICU after another one of your global-standard inspected tree had fallen and knocked her unconscious.

In view of the 2 recent incidents, you should not have boasted about your gold standard in tree inspection. It’s not only insensitive but confirms your total lack of EQ and that you must be an idiot.

NParks should not be preoccupied with correcting its dented image using state sponsored propaganda as this is not the way to go about regaining public trust. The use of propaganda is old school and thinking Singaporeans now trust you even less.

NParks should not even follow global standards but create our own because no other country has a “garden in a city”. Since our tree population density – in a concrete jungle setting – is the highest in the world, how could we be following others’ standard?

Since Tree Planting Day was introduced in 1971, the government has continued to plant new trees and ignored weather changes. By 2014, 1.4 million trees had already been planted. Including trees on state land planted by nature, there must be at least 2 million trees managed by NParks.

It is doubtful that NParks has the necessary resources and manpower to conduct proper checks.

This is because we have a government which is focused on generating returns on tax dollars invested. Any item seen as an expenditure, eg tree inspection, corners will be cut. As is the case with HDB lifts which did not have proper inspection for years and, again, SMRT. Taxpayers have always been paying the price for PAP’s screw ups.

If you have been sleeping on the job, I would suggest you wake up ASAP. Since decades ago, billions of tons of concrete have been poured into the ground and this is still ongoing daily. Does this not cause waterlogging? Are roots of older trees not rotting at an alarming rate?

You have underestimated the damage caused by waterlogging and I guess more trees will have to fall and kill or injure before NParks realises LKY’s “garden city” folly. Will trees along ECP fall and cause major disruptions to air travel? Are you certain every tree has been inspected or merely pruned?

As the PAP ramps up the population towards 10 million, construction activity will pick up. Doesn’t this have any impact on trees?

It is really unproductive to expand time and energy on propaganda which not only insults the public but is also self-insulting.

Guess I have said enough and I really hope NParks will cease all propaganda.

Do respect the public by not assuming you monopolise intelligence as well as give a thought to the family of the deceased.

If the deceased and injured were your loved ones and NParks put up a own self praise own self wayang, how would you feel?

Regards

Phillip Ang

Posted in POLITICS | 2 Comments