LKY was PAP and PAP is still LKY. LKY’s ‘prescriptive’ approach is still being employed by PAP which has continued to assume well-educated Singaporeans are daft.
But it is the PAP politicians who are dumb because they are still not aware that the words they utter are so unbelievably nonsensical. This is popularly known as ‘TKSS’ or “talk khawk, sing song”.
In March this year, PAP’s propaganda mouthpiece screamed, “Hot market tamed, housing more affordable, says Khaw Boon Wan”. This confirmed our $8 heart bypass minister had remained as disconnected from reality as he was after his operation.
The unaffordability of HDB flats is confirmed by ST’s chart below, in the same article, showing HDB flat prices doubling within a mere 7 years, from 2005 to 2012. When prices eased by 13% in 2014, HDB flats did not suddenly become more affordable, as Khaw had claimed. It was still unaffordable but only to a lesser degree.
In order to claim something has become more affordable, it has to be affordable in the first place, eg an affordable 5-room resale flat costing $300,000 was reduced by, say, $20,000 has certainly become more affordable. But when a $600,000 5-room flat is reduced by 13% to $535,000, it has only become less unaffordable, not more affordable. Khaw was trying to mislead the public by playing with words. An apt description of what Khaw was doing – TKSS or ‘talk khawk, sing song’.
Image credit: Straits Times
The chart also shows median household income growing 72% from 2005 to 2014. The impression Khaw gave was that wages had generally gone up 72%. But was a poly graduate with a starting pay of $2,000 in 2005 earning $3,440 in 2014, give or take? Was an employee with a $3,000 salary in 2005 earning $5,160 in 2014? If that was the case, why would 40% of the population vote against a government which had created plenty of good-paying jobs? This is clearly another case of TKSS.
(We should bear in mind that PAP has an unlimited pool of foreign graduates waiting and willing to work for $2,000 to $2,500 at our doorstep. If it continues to dominate parliament, rest assured real wages will remain stagnant and the situation will be irreversible in future.)
Khaw then proceeded to use a shorter 5-year time frame to showcase his success in taming the red hot housing market. And guess what? Income actually grew 1% above HDB resale price increase! PAP has so many scholars who are able to pick and choose the perfect statistics to ‘resolve’ our issues immediately. Why not use the 2-year statistics where income grew and housing prices eased instead? PAP should not joke at our expense leh.
The problem with PAP is it has been in denial since decades ago. Exorbitant housing prices is a chronic issue and it must be seen from a longer time frame perspective. In an earlier post, I highlighted the prices of new HDB flats having shot up 500% while wages have only increased by only 250% over more than 2 decade. Wages therefore have a long way to catch up with housing price increase and it is disingenuous for Khaw to use shorter time frame statistics to paper over the issue of unaffordability. Hmm… Khaw seems to think that TKSS will help.
From resale flats, Khaw then quoted a survey showing “people were willing to pay up to $300,000 for a new three-room flat” despite “90% of new three-roomers last year were sold at below $250,000”.
Perhaps LTA should follow in Khaw’s footsteps and conduct a survey to show there are people willing to pay $250,000 for a 1.6 litre Japanese sedan. Or MOH could conduct its own survey to confirm there are patients willing to fork out $50 for a polyclinic consultation.
Whenever PAP cites statistics from its ‘survey’, Singaporeans should take it with a truckload of salt because they can never be verified. Khaw wasn’t wrong to quote from a biased survey because there could have been, say, 2 of 1000 surveyees (Khaw’s ‘people’)who said they were willing to pay up to $300,000 for a 3-room HDB. Were these outliers living in bungalows and what about the 998 surveyees? Did 90% say they were willing to pay only $100,000? Of course no one would ever know the facts and one can’t say that Khaw lied. He merely TKSS.
The reason for Khaw not to mention resale but new flats is because 99% of 30-year old flats in Tampines estate and a high percentage approaching 40 years old in Ang Mo Kio cost above $300,000. Resale flats are also public housing and PAP should not conveniently exclude them because they are unaffordable.
If new HDB flats are affordable, there should have been no need to provide increasing amounts of CPF housing grants.
Like his predecessors, Khaw has buried his head in the sand by continuing to TKSS and he has even TKSS in Parliament. Khaw is a liability to Singapore.
The PAP makes itself out to be a caring government by increasing the quantum of CPF grants. But the reality is it is trying to avoid a political backlash from skyrocketing public housing prices. But CPF grants don’t really help because they are insignificant, ie flat prices increased $200,000, grants increased $20,000.
The betterest in TKSS is none other than Lim Swee Say. The Dy Chairman of PA tried to defend the indefensible by claiming “the root cause of financial lapses” was “grassroots leaders’ good intentions”. When 30% of grassroots organisations test checked by the AGO were found to have financial or accounting irregularities, any responsible leader would have conducted an independent audit of PA books. Since there are 1,800 grassroots organisations with access to taxpayers’ money, it’s possible that 540 GROs did not comply with financial rules. Lim shouldn’t have TKSS and trivialised the issue.
Going by the undisputed TKSS champ’s logic, any grassroots leader or civil servant can suka suka spend millions of tax dollars and subsequently use “good intentions” as one’s defence. Can directors from our 2 SWFs take $10 billion out to speculate with the intention of putting back $10 plus all profits, and use “good intentions” as defence for their action in court? Did Lim talk to every grassroots leader involved, especially Admiralty branch CCC Chairman, Tonic Oh, to confirm that all of them had good intentions? Or perhaps Lim is a mind reader?
When a minister spouts such nonsense, Singaporeans consider this TKSS. We have zero respect for such ‘leaders’ and obviously they can’t expect our votes.
PAP’s TKSS is akin to treating Singaporeans as daft digits. Although citizens will be the ones having the last laugh, we must also be mindful that such jokers are a liability to our country.