Our Singapore government has unique powers to redefine just about everything.
Besides pseudo ownership of HDB flats and our CPF, we also have pseudo cooperatives such as NTUC Income.
A cooperative is defined as an organisation or business jointly owned and operated by members for their mutual benefit, ie lower premiums for insurance policyholders or higher bonus rates. In the case of NTUC Income, it is operated by PAP-appointees to make obscene profits for shareholders. With slightly less than 50% shareholding, the government is the biggest shareholder.
For an insurance company, NTUC Income has been generating obscene profits, thanks to our population policy as well as its linkage to another pseudo cooperative NTUC Fairprice.
I have been an NTUC Income shareholder – not a member of a real cooperative – for more than a decade and benefited from its dividend policy as much as the government.
Last year’s dividend rate was 6% ….
and since 2005, the dividend rate has been almost unchanged.
Income is actually no different from other insurance companies such as Great Eastern Life whose main objective is to serve shareholders.
In order to serve shareholders, NTUC Income even decided to reduce policyholder bonus by a whopping 45% permanently in 2008. This allowed Income to maintain a high dividend payout to its political master while policyholders were ripped off. Hmm .. daylight robbery again?
This issue was highlighted on former Income chief Tan Kin Lian’s blog and published on TOC (below). Tan’s blog post has since been deleted.
Any recourse for consumers when CASE is also affiliated to PAP?
But recent profits pale in comparison with those prior to 2005 which had allowed Income to issue bonus shares besides maintaining a high dividend payout.
From 2001 to 2004, Income issued bonus shares of between 3% and 12%. Before the turn of the century, it was even higher at 15%.
Income’s kitty had already been emptied into shareholders’ pockets and that’s a reason for policyholder bonus to be drastically reduced.
Who was Income serving? Did ‘cooperative’ members benefit from paying high insurance premiums? Should shareholders receive 6% dividends plus bonus shares while policyholders an average returns of 1%?
Government-linked companies, including Temasek, love to trumpet their ‘contributions’ to the community. Bear in mind they have been ripping off residents and the sources of their ‘contributions’ are from our pockets.
NTUC Income should not call itself a cooperative because its main objective is to profit shareholders, especially PAP.
GLCs derive their obscene profits from an exponential increase in the population and our costs of living. Without creating artificial demand by growing the foreigner population, government-linked companies will likely start to collapse.