With 83% of LTA’s projects awarded to the lowest bids, will roads, viaducts or MRT structures collapse in future?

​In time to come, Minister Lim Double Ass will likely be proven wrong: cheaperer is not betterer.

The collapse of an uncompleted viaduct in Changi last week has shocked Singaporeans. This should not have happened in Singapore but it did and soon there will be an accountability wayang. ​Thanks to social media, embarrassing information such as OKP’s link to PAP grassroots has been disclosed.  OKP not only placed the lowest bid but had been awarded the contract 2 months after a fatal accident had occurred at one of its construction sites.

The collapse of the uncompleted Changi viaduct might have be a blessing in disguise; many fatalities could have resulted had it been in use.

According to publichouse.sg, 83% of LTA contracts were awarded to the lowest bidder in the last 10 years.

Companies with lowest winning bids include:
A company which constructed the Circle Line; it was working on the Nicoll Highway tunnel when it collapsed.
Keppel-led consortium which constructed the constantly-breaking down Bukit Panjang LRT; the entire LRT may end up in the scrapyard after less than 20 years.(2 images above from the same link)

Are Singaporeans supposed to have blind faith in companies with proven poor safety records? Were there no other suitable companies or was LTA simply trying to cut costs at the expense of our safety?

The problem with construction projects is that problems may surface years or decades after their completion. A recent case – unrelated to LTA – was the collapse of a sunbreaker at Block 201E in Tampines; the block was completed some 3 decades ago.

An issue with LTA (and other government agencies) is there is very little/no oversight of contractors. Contractors affiliated to PAP grassroots may be one reason why career civil servants are forced to have blind faith in them. But the biggest issue is there are simply too many projects ongoing simultaneously in every corner of Singapore.

With little/no oversight, how do we know whether foundations of MRT stations were properly constructed?
Are underground MRT stations really ponding-proof?
Are MRT platforms and escalators designed to accommodate increasing loads due to more frequent major disruptions?

Could LTA provide evidence that it had sufficient manpower for oversight of completed projects?

It appears public safety has been compromised after once in 50 years incidents such as parts of a pedestrian bridge falling off in December last year.
And sinkholes – never an issue a decade earlier – are also not an uncommon occurrence anymore.
sinkhole-swallows-truck-in-singapore-april-24-20142.jpgConstruction and civil engineering companies cut costs by employing cheaper foreign labour or through the use of cheaper inferior construction materials, especially those from China. Cutting costs allow these companies to place very low bids to secure a contract.

By awarding contracts to the lowest bidder almost all the time, LTA could have been courting trouble. While another infrastructure may not collapse tomorrow, there is no guarantee it will not happen in future with our cheaperer = betterer policy. 😦

Posted in POLITICS | Leave a comment

Singaporeans will pay a very high price for supporting Lee Kuan Yew’s dictatorship, mess created by PAP

In order to extricate ourselves from the mess created by LKY and PAP, we have to understand our history; how Singapore got itself into all this mess. It’s only after we’ve understood the need for a system change that meaningful changes can be introduced.

By scrutinizing words and actions of our leaders, we will begin to realise that Singapore has always been an experiment for PAP elites to enrich themselves.

This grand plan to control and screw peasants was actually hatched more than 50 years ago by none other than Lee Kuan Yew. Even his comrades were made use of: in the 1980s, every ‘old guard’ was forced out of cabinet except LKY who continued to earn tax dollars till the day he died.

Years before Singapore became independent, there were already signs that LKY had in mind a system which only he could dictate to the populace.

South-East Asia: A Political Profile, Damien Kingsbury (2001, p. 337) quoted LKY in a radio interview in 1960:

Clearly, he was not interested to have any system remotely resembling democracy. 😦

What was LKY asking? He wanted a blank cheque to be a dictator. And he was obviously intelligent enough to ensure his dictatorship lasted much longer than others by wrapping it up “with a veneer of Parliamentary democracy“.

To confirm LKY had ambitions to be a dictator, here’s another quote: “… if we had not intervened on very personal matters – who your neighbour is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right.”

‘We’ of course refers to LKY.

LKY had realized that the best way to control the populace was by controlling land and citizens’ ‘pockets’ which he quickly set about, bringing Singapore centuries back to the feudal system. 😦

The Land Acquisition Ordinance of 1920 was repealed one year after independence by the Land Acquisition Act in 1966 to give the government the power of compulsory land acquisition for public development. LKY’s government was able to acquire land at a record pace after fixing the amount of land compensation at peanuts rates, ostensibly to curb speculation. Many landowners were effectively scammed because privatized GLCs subsequently owned properties which were constructed on government-acquired land.

Within a short span of 18 years of extended Great Singapore Sale by landowners, the PAP owned 76.2 percent of land in Singapore by 1985. HistorySG

Ordinary citizens who needed housing would have been forced to apply to LKY’s government for a roof over our heads. Hundreds of thousands of citizens, eg divorcees, singles, etc, failed due to arbitrary and onerous legislations passed by the rubber-stamping Parliament. Control of the people had taken root.

Since people were poorer in the 60s and 70’s and could not afford to purchase a lease from HDB, land acquired by LKY’s government would have no value. But he already had a ‘solution’ to create the Singapore miracle.

One year after the Land Acquisition Act came into effect in 1967, LKY’s government implemented another scheme to allow retirement savings to fund public housing (consumption) in 1968. By 1968, PAP had full control of Parliament and could pass any legislation at whim.

To ensure our public housing ‘success’, equal employer/employee CPF contribution rates skyrocketed from 5% to 25% in 1985 in 17 years. This was clearly a huge cost increase to businesses but to LKY, it must have been ‘never mind what businesses think”.

What about increasing CPF contributions, as a percentage of wage ceiling, 10 times from $500 to $5000 in 17 years? And 20% in the subsequent year to $6000? Long-term planning?

The $6000 wage ceiling for CPF contribution was extremely high by any measure: it has remained unchanged for more than 3 decades while the cost of public housing has increased by at least 600%.

Why did LKY’s government increase CPF contributions, as a percentage of wage ceiling, to $6000 when more 90% of employees didn’t even earn this amount? Even in 1990, the median wage was only $1094.

LKY had known that CPF was a cheap source of finance to construct our public housing miracle; this was confirmed by The Straits Times more than 3 decades ago,

Image

PAP has inherited LKY’s legacy, ie dictating to the people our needs/abuse of power etc.

Fortunately, dictatorships don’t last but we will ultimately pay a very high price for helping LKY and PAP cover up their abuse for more than 5 decades. 😦

Posted in POLITICS | 2 Comments

Is our CPF really invested in SSGS or somewhere else?

The common understanding is that our CPF is invested in SSGS which provides guaranteed low returns. CPF funds are managed by GIC which invests in overseas assets.

But according to the MAS, CPF members’ returns include ‘interest earnings from investments held in funds that are administered by the CPF Board’. (see image below)

Some of our CPF is therefore not invested in SSGS but in these funds:
– Lifelong Income Fund
– MediShield Fund
– Home Protection Fund
– Dependants’ Protection Residual Fund


MAS AR 2015/2016

Questions:
What is the percentage of CPF balances invested in overseas assets?
What is the percentage of CPF balances invested in funds administered by the CPF Board?
What are the return rates of funds administered by the CPF Board?

The government should clarify to assure CPF members that nothing fishy is going on. 😉

Posted in CPF, GIC | Leave a comment

Why does CPF fund manager GIC need to conceal its cash position?

CPF fund manager GIC is no ordinary fund manager.

It is perhaps the only one in the universe which has been able to conceal material information with help from the government.

Information which GIC does not wish to disclose could be replaced with a different set of data (see previous post on GIC). Another way to do this is through commingling.

In 2014, GIC suddenly commingled cash with nominal bonds. This is indeed strange as cash is a different class of asset which has to be disclosed separately.

2013 AR shows ‘cash’ not commingled with nominal bonds.


GIC 2013 annual report

In 2014, GIC’s cash position became unknown as it has been commingled with ‘Nominal Bonds’.

​​​GIC 2014 annual report pg 14
(Perhaps GIC was too busy concealing information that it overlooked a typo. The 2013 AR reported ‘Real Estate’ at 10% whereas the 2014 AR reported the 2013 ‘Real Estate’ holding at only 8%.)

If GIC could differentiate between nominal and inflation-linked bonds as 2 different classes of asset, why did GIC see fit to lump cash together with bonds?

Since cash earns next to zero return, was GIC trying to prevent scrutiny of its performance?

PS

In the 2013 AR, ‘Nominal Bonds and Cash’ stood at 26%**. This combined asset class earns the least returns and could even be negative should long-term interest rates rise. In the latest report, GIC’s portfolio consisted of 35% ‘Nominal Bonds and Cash’.

With such a high percentage of unproductive investments, it is doubtful gains from other investments could have made up for this ‘special’ asset class. 😦

**
Appears to be another typo as the 2014 AR reported this figure at 29%.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

HDB must stop lying about HDB ‘lessees/tenants’ being ‘owners’

I refer to ST Forum letter “Are HDB residents tenants or owners?” and HDB’s reply, “HDB buyers are home owners, not tenants” by Ms Lim Lea Lea.

HDB legal documents and its website have always stated ‘owners’ as ‘lessees’ and “tenants”. (image below)
For rental in the open market, HDB uses the term ‘sublet/subletting’ and the ‘tenant’ is also stated clearly as a ‘subtenant’.

HDB has even stated itself as the ‘lessor’.
HDB cannot suka suka use these terms interchangeably, eg ‘lessee’ = ‘owner’, etc, as if dictionaries do not exist.

HDB Director Lim: “We would like to clarify that HDB does not use the term “tenant” to refer to those who have bought a flat, as Mr Leong had mentioned.”

But if buyers are not merely HDB’s tenant, why does HDB use the term “subtenant” and “sublet” when it comes to rental of HDB flats in the open market?

HDB has been using the correct terms on its website for years and it is silly to attempt to play with words now. 😦

​I have written a number of posts on our non-ownership status, a recent one titled “Ownerhip of HDB flats a big lie“.

Even the Singapore statutes have stated in no uncertain terms that “owners” are in fact merely “lessees”?

From a common sense point of view, one cannot be the owner of an asset when we hardly have any control over it. Again, our ‘control’ over HDB flats has been given by HDB, the legal landlord.

Another confirmation of our non ownership status would be an “owner’s” inability to mortgage a HDB flat despite it being fully paid.

Since PAP craves control over the people through control of public housing, it should bear all costs and not expect lessees to help shoulder them; simply because it has self-defined buyers as ‘owners’.

This issue has been festering for about 2 decades and may soon blow its top. To placate ‘lessees’ to accept ‘ownership’ status, remove all property taxes on public flats and the government should take over the maintenance of all assets belonging to the government, eg public areas, lifts, water tanks, etc.

Allow divorcees, singles, etc to purchase public flats and remove most of the 1001 rules dictated to us by HDB.

HDB owners are getting more educated and may wake up from this HDB ownershit nightmare pretty soon.

The PAP has trumpeted to the world our ‘successful’ public housing programme which in fact is more of a scam, similar to our CPF scheme.

What if this scam is exposed by foreign media? Will the HDB ownership house of cards collapse, with disastrous consequences for our property market?

PAP should quickly do something about this issue. And stop lying. 🙂

Posted in HOUSING | 1 Comment