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NTUC’s “gift” – helping the poor or blatant exploitation?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 11, 2008

Leong Sze Hian and Andrew Loh

The National Trades Union Congress just announced a $4 million worth of assistance for 80,000 low-wage workers under the new discount vouchers scheme.

According to the Straits Times report, “NTUC’s $4m gift to less well-off workers”, the ST says:

“In all, about 80,000 lower-income union members can apply for these vouchers from NTUC.”

It goes on:

“Each voucher gets them a 5 per cent discount for every $10 spent at six NTUC cooperatives, including its childcare centres and pharmacies.”

Now, before we all start cheering the ostentatious generosity of the NTUC, read the report closely. You will notice that :

One, the report couched it as a “gift”. Is it really so, or is it a blatant attempt by the NTUC at self-promotion – and to generate even more revenue for itself? (Read on and judge for yourself.)

Two, the headline says “less well-off workers” without mentioning that it is unionized members only who qualify for the vouchers. (Read on to discover how much one has to pay NTUC to be a member before enjoying the “5 per cent discount”.)

Three, “each voucher gets them a 5 percent discount for every $10 spent”. In other words, for every $10 you spend at NTUC cooperatives, you get 50 cents discount.

Why give discount instead of cash?

A 5 per cent discount voucher may not help the needy as much as giving the equivalent amount to them in cash. What the needy needs most now may be to mitigate the rising cost of basic food items.

For example, Fairprice raised the price of one of it house brand rice (5 kg bag) by 13 per cent, from $4.70 to $5.30 in March. Cooking oil and dairy products have also clocked double-digit gains.

Thus, giving them say $5 cash may be better as they can use it all to buy rice or milk powder, instead of just getting a 5 per cent discount when the price has already risen by double-digits. If prices continue to rise, discount vouchers also become lesser in actual value.

As each voucher gets them a 5 per cent discount for every $10 spent, if the purchase is say $11 or $12, the effective discount would only be 4.5 or 4.2 per cent respectively.

Giving discount vouchers may also be setting an undesirable precedent, as assistance to the needy has always been in cash or cash-equivalent vouchers, instead of a discount.

ComCare Funds should not be used to benefit NTUC

The ST article also reported NTUC Chief Lim Swee Say as saying that “grassroots leaders can use the money from the million dollar fund to buy the vouchers for their needy residents”. Mr Lim was referring to the ComCare Fund. This may not be a good suggestion, as grassroots organisations should give cash to the needy, instead of purchasing the discount vouchers.

The ComCare Fund budgeted amount is for direct assistance to the needy that they are already entitled to, and therefore should not be used to purchase discount vouchers.

Thus, using ComCare Fund to buy the vouchers is not a good way to implement the decision to set aside at least $1 million from the fund to help needy families cope with rising food prices.

Increased profits for NTUC

NTUC Fairprice Group’s after-tax profits increased by about 90 per cent from $52.7 million in 2006 to $100.1 million in 2007, against an increase in revenue of only about 12 per cent, from $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion, for the same period.

This begs the question: Why, despite absorbing the GST increase on hundreds of essential items for the latter half of last year, NTUC Fairprice Group’s profits increased so much?

So, instead of just giving $4 million of discount vouchers, why not give cash vouchers which would only reduce its profit increase last year from 90 to 82 per cent?

What’s the point of increasing the price of rice by 13 per cent or milk by 20 per cent, and then giving a 5 per cent discount?

Mr Lim was also quoted as saying in another ST report titled, “Rice a small part of bills at Fairprice: Swee Say”:

“Yes, the cost of living has gone up, but it does not mean your $10 has become $5 because you did not spend all your $10 to buy rice.

“You spent only 22 cents to buy rice.”

To infer that only 22 cents out of every $10 is spent on rice, derived from the $1.6 billion spent at Fairprice, of which $36 million was on rice, may not be entirely accurate and indeed seems simplistic. Generally, the lower-income may be spending more on rice relative to their total expenditure, relative to what the general population spend on all items at supermarkets.

Helping the poor or blatant attempt at self-promotion?

Companies give discount vouchers all the time, as a means of promoting more sales and advertising. Will the call to buy house brands, and now the giving of discount vouchers, lead to higher sales volumes, which may result in even higher profits at the end of the day?

In this NTUC vouchers case, a low-income or poor Singaporean would have to spend money being a member of NTUC and pay its monthly membership fee (which we understand is about $9 or thereabouts per month), before he is entitled to a 50 cents discount every time he spends $10 at NTUC Co-ops.

Do only union members shop at NTUC?

This “gift” of a 5 per cent discount sounds rather like blatant self-promotion and exploitation of the plight of the poor by the NTUC rather than any sincerity in helping them.

Finally, isn’t this in a sense, akin to unfair competition against other supermarkets, retailers, childcare centres and pharmacies ?

—————

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74 Responses to “NTUC’s “gift” – helping the poor or blatant exploitation?”

  1. Daniel said

    This is the common practice of the coffers.
    Just like GST that says help the poor by increasing the GST first to gain surplus and then return fraction of sum as GST rebate and keep the remainder to themselves (or for Temasek or GIC ?). Of course, then you see the world start praising Singapore for been so generous and compassionate (Full of compassion and love) because these countries can only read a day headline and don’t bother to find out how is it been possible.

    Same applies to NTUC. Markup all the prices (even US items purchase at cheaper price due to US dollar plunge) in preparation of their ‘generousity’ and declare blatantly that they are helping the the people. (Of course, until one read clearly, we all thought it applies to all citizen. (Remember our pledge ? Based on Equality and Justice.).

    Singapore Incorporated is always Singapore Incorporated, a business entity no matter what they do. It always about money and deception just like most business dealing. I wonder how about thing that done behind the scene ? I won’t be surprised a lot of window dressing has been done privately since public need not know (Remember the reserve thing where minister say that public need not know ?)

    Asking for public cash fund to only buy thing from NTUC that has pre-markup price ? Why only NTUC only ? How’s about Sheng Siong that most find cheaper than NTUC ? Is government politicalise their cash-making business ?

    Thank to this post, now I know better of how NTUC works.

    “You spent only 22 cents to buy rice.” ?
    The minister must have been disconnected again. They should stop rambling like Raymond who says that taxi driver earn $380 per day.
    Perhaps this minister who comment only eat shark fin as rice replacement ?

  2. Fever Guy said

    Well said. Keep up the good work TOC.

    The discount voucher is very meaningless to most people. Talk COCK sing Song our ministers are the best. Thats why they are paid millions of dollar, why not pay them their pay in NTUC voucher instead? So that they can buy “cheap rice” at 22 cents. Hope they read TOC to realize how pathetic they have become…very disconnected from the people. Get the cable guy to fix their antenna long overdue.


  3. First World democracy in action guys! After all, we are citizens – the lowest rung of the ladder. As far as Singapore Inc is concerned, the poor and unhealthy are just a drain on the budget, plain and simple. We are still hanging on to a semblance of a democracy or else, they would have been shipped them to Batam or Johor Bahru via some national scheme or other.

    Remember, it is ‘Foreign Talent’ and ‘Local (Idiot?)’ – not the other way around, for good reason. The least the poor can do is channel back money (whether they have or don’t have is immaterial) into the government machinery – ie. NTUC.

    As pointed out, if given cash, these senseless negative ‘digits’ on our economy will just buy something cheap(er) at Sheng Siong. That’ll be a double whammy for the company… err, I mean country. They take from the government and fund the local (quite successful) competitor – the bast*rds!

    I am more surprised at the number of Singaporeans out there who will no doubt be surprised by this ‘revelation’. You mean to tell me, all this isn’t obvious by now? Do you really need people like us to actually spell it all out for you every time?

    It’s been 40 years already leh, time to wake up, brudder…

  4. hogwash said

    I hope the quality of Straits times matchs up with TOC quickly!
    Shameful, hopefully reuters or some international papers will pick it up – how a worker’s union is screwing its workers…

  5. Big Scams said

    I can also go and print $10 million worth of discount vouchers
    and give to people in the streets to encourage them to come to my
    shops to buy things.

    I can be even more generous: I will give them 10% discount instead
    of only 5% that NTUC is giving. And I will not confine to only
    members but to all Singaporeans as well as foreigners and even
    tourists.

    That is merely advertisement and promotion sales. Who don’t know
    how to do? Only thick skin and shameless people stoop so low down
    to translate it as a “gift to help the poor”.

    Taking Singaporeans as gullible and stupid?

  6. tiredman said

    I believe to help Singaporeans to cope with the rising cost, subsidizing all the goods using a percent discount is a good way. I would support this because inflation rate is calculated in percent. However, I believe that the government can do more by waving 7% GST on all essential goods items. Giving discount vouchers or giving away money is like a small lump sum subsidy, it is a short term help which I feel that it hardly solve the problem of income gap widening. Although I am glad that the government did attempt to help her people, I still did not feel how the increase in GST to 7% helps the poor and needy.

    Like Andrew and Leong Sze Hian had said, the 5% (plus 4% goods rebate) hardly covers the $9*13 months = $117 of membership fee.

    Recently, gas for cooking has gone up by 40%, pock meat which my mom bought from the wet market seems to get smaller and more expensive, a bar of chocolate had gone up by 20%, a plate of chicken rice has gone up by 25%. Sadly, what is 5%? Given a price increase in everything, my dad’s income remains at around $3.00 per hour is a really a sad thing.

    I am a student, and have been giving tuitions to help to cope with my daily expenses. I would want to increase my tuition fee, but my students’ parents are not that well off too. A student like me are able to give a second thought to these people, why can’t the govt? I am rather disappointed.

    Again, I still believe that the govt is a “middleman” who “transfers” wealth from the rich to the poor to help the society to improve. However, what I see is, Singapore works more like an entity, Inc. Perhaps subsidies to the people are measure in term of how much return the govt get can back or in simple measured in dollars return. Perhaps that is why most of the subsidies have gone to the foreigners… Be it education, medical subsidy (include PR), “NS subsidy” (enjoy the same employment chance while local male had to serve)… and more… Rather sad and I hope that this will change in time to come… Hopefully, holding a pink IC would not get more and more expensive.

  7. patriot said

    Oh, oh, the stupid Singaporeans, and that include my wife who is a member of NTUC, who insists that anything the family must be purchased from NTUC because she is a member. She also insisted that my vote went to PAP in the last election, but of course it was over my dead body. I even warned her of a divorce, if she wants to insist on her ideas.

    Next, let talk about the Labour Ministers, Lim Boon Heng and Lim Swee Say and the Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan. They are liked preachers, sweet talkers, but what are they? Liked any other ministers, they want to make money for their Ministries. Are they kind and religious as they portrayed themselves to be? Know them before it is too late. Their pioneer, Devan Nair, will be a good example of what Labour People are all about. Devan Nair left this country that he was once the Head with his entire family and their belongings of course. Talk about patriotism of our leaders, tell it to the deafs please!

    Be complacent but never a fool, what voucher and all the nonsenses when many of us know that the prices are never the lowest in NTUC. Try checking the Ensure Brand Food Formula at different retailers and You will know that they are about the most expensive in NTUC Outlets.

    That is proof enough.

    patriot.

  8. patriot said

    Hi;
    a correction to the above post from me.
    I miss the word ‘buy’ in the Sentence that everything the family…..must be from NTUC.

    My apology.

    patriot.

  9. Lim ht said

    to the 66.6% who vote in this government, you fark up big time brother. you people must be working for the government and afraid rice bowl break is it? that’s why you continue to support them without using yr brain.

  10. Weijia said

    Once again, it would be nice to see the media do a front page exposure on the math on this. rather than continue to carry the government’s balls.

    i would also like to know, who actually came up with such a scheme. we all know who approves it, but i wonder who came up with it. maybe he’s one step closer to his next pay raise now.

  11. Disgusted said

    Here’s a suggestion:
    lower GST for the essential items. No need for discount cards. And benefits people not just in the NTUC membership scheme. Why can’t they do that?
    I can already hear the argument,”It’s not trivial to classify what constitutes as essential items”. Well then lower GST for the items you guys are giving discount cards in then Isn’t it the same, but with better overall effect? Why won’t they do it? The reason most probably being lowering GST will show that they shouldn’t have done it in the first place. So now they resort to stupid policies like discount cards.
    What a sad government this country has. It’s run by a bunch of incompetent people overpaying themselves with no real achievable results. Simpy pathetic.

  12. sarek_home said

    To infer that only 22 cents out of every $10 is spent on rice, derived from the $1.6 billion spent at Fairprice, of which $36 million was on rice, may not be entirely accurate and indeed seems simplistic.

    This is typical way of PAP playing with numbers. Factoring in foreign workers to get a very low unemployment rate, using average wage to calculate transport fare when top income groups don’t take public transport are two examples.

    The $1.6 billion spent at Fairprice includes all those premium, branded items. Using this figure to illustrate the point, Mr Lim self-contradict the suggestion to low income families to cut cost by buying house brand, frozen meat etc.

    It is pure PAP double talk and out of touch with the ground.

  13. tiredman said

    Maybe we should be reminded that not all the poor are members of NTUC. Perhaps NTUC wants encourage more poor to join NTUC as a member so that NTUC can have a higher profit. So, does it help when govt restrict the help to the people who are member of NTUC rather then getting the discount because they are Singaporeans. What if they are not member of NTUC? Enlighten me if I am wrong.

    Our great labour chief says this:

    ‘Yes, the cost of living has gone up, but it does not mean your $10 has become $5 because you did not spend all your $10 to buy rice.

    ‘You spent only 22 cents to buy rice,’ he said.’

    I begin to believe that he is not using his brain before he talks to the public. I would suggest that he repeats this comment to all individual essential items and see if he still believe that a small pice increase on every item will not hurt people’s pocket. Does he really know what is the difference between real income and income? I seriously doubt.

  14. Fever Guy said

    This Mr lim is an ex army chief. What do we expect a scholar from the ARMY can do? IF he is that good he will be in private sector already some CEO of a big company. Talk about talent….i don trust our own scholar…they are not of quality ones just blind loyalty. Anyway everything in NTUC is now so bloody expensive and the price increases so sharply in last 3 months. Tell the highly paid morons not just look at rice but all essential items…as we are paying not only rice increases but all items necessary that have gone up.

  15. Outraged and Furious said

    What “spent 22 cents out of $10 to buy rice”? This kind of talk reflects a slithery, slimy and calculative character! Fxxking disgusting and absurd!

    Lim Shia Suay in Hokkien means “Disgraceful”. No wonder he is always talking cock like singing song. Looks like it has become his second nature, isn’t it?

    I seriously wonder whether he is aware that he is representing the workers and not the govt and the rich businessmen!

  16. Daniel said

    Increasing GST after every election is a entitlement to the government not a privilege and it becomes a post-election practice to do that. So they need to find every possible and moronic reasons to justify the GST increment to migitate public’s uproar. Did we not know that ? Anyone bother to guess the next GST increment ? I reckon it be 10% if the clowns could not recoup their loss of soverign wealth over sick banks. They might just be cracking their brain to find superficial reasons for next GSt hike now. A plate of Mee Siam Mai Hum might cost $4.50 in next election.

    I believe the cause of all these senseless promotion and sale happen because of increase in GST to help the poor. I mean the ‘poor’ ministers who unduly poorly paid compared to private sector, and along bunch of expensive governance. Come on, it is just a small police-state and nanny country with no natural disaster, and is it so hard to manage Singapore ?

  17. xyoshiki said

    From what i see the main purpose of an increase in GST is not what the government says to help the poor and stuff. They are superficial reasons for GST increase to make it easy for the public to swallow.

    The main reason is actually due to demographics changes which will result in a shortfall in income taxes unless income taxes increase due to an ageing population and decreasing workforce to pay income tax.

    The PAP basically thinking something which will happen in say 10 or 20 years time. The stupid thing is….their estimation in tax revenues damm off. GST increases may be delayed for 5 or 10 years. Unless we have more immigrations to make up the base of income tax payers or Singaporeans give birth more…..GST likely to increase further.

    my view from an economics point of view.

  18. Daniel said

    xyoshiki,
    the worse thing is that the goalpost keep moving. As can be seen from practice of our government, once they get the money, they will mindlessly and hesitantly spend it all on building infrastructure and provide investment for Temasek and GIC (Did any one bother to ask if surplus used to fund earthquake and cancer research etc ? ). And yet these coffers could tell us that they save it for 20 and 30 years. But when the time comes, it is the same old story been repeat. When you there, it is another rhetoric of down decades. But what did you know ? In the meantime, the ministers and expensive governance has already start spending the wealth the moment they received the money. Isn’t this deceiving the public ? No wonder, we always short of money, always has budget deficit because the reserve may probably be spent it all on investment and perks, exorbitant salary, and no more left for citizen. Now you see the point ?
    How stupid can Singaporean be believing in rhetoric and ShittyTime ?

  19. Gary Teoh said

    Pui, NTUC, I have terminated my membership long ago.I can’t trust this union chief esp. LIm Sia Suay, I see his face make me ‘too Lan”!!!!This TOC article made me more angry.I can’t wait til next GE to throw this LIm out,but he always won by walk over.

  20. I wonder if we could start something? Perhaps if the ordinary (better-off) among us were to buy the vouchers from the poorer folks at $10 or $15 a voucher, the amount can be recovered with a purchase of between $200 and $300 respectively.

    I know that this may be a long-shot and many would probably not be keen, but this would certainly be a way for the people to circumvent a ridiculous initiative without much repercussion to anyone else.

  21. Weijia said

    @Thought Provoker

    that’s a nice thought 🙂 and it’ll certainly help and benefit the poorer folks directly. Like donations directly to charity will (supposedly) help them.

    but for me the point is that the government should have thought such a scheme through before implementing it (or maybe they already did!). They should not always leave it to the “rich” to help the poor. if that’s the case, then pay tax and have government for what!


  22. Just read the news report itself.

    Since each eligible low-income person will get a booklet of 100 coupons, a booklet can be bought for $100 or $150 and if $20 to $30 was spent per voucher, the amount paid can be recouped.

    Of course, this is assuming each voucher is ‘minimum spend’ and not ‘only $10’. If it is the latter, we should all buy each booklet for exactly $50 – the money coming in handy for the low-income and no net loss for the rest of us upon using the vouchers.

  23. WeLoveSg said

    Leong Sze Hian and Andrew Loh

    Your article makes sense. May I suggest that you seek a reply from the respective party so as to be fair to them the right of reply.

    If they refuse, please state so. I think this is definitely useful in engaging them for more accountability.

  24. shoestring said

    Good idea to buy the vouchers from the members provided NTUC doesn’t raise prices further and there aren’t cheaper alternatives elsewhere. Otherwise, it means limiting ourselves to freedom of choice and falling prey to the marketing gimmick with a binding “contract” to buy from them.

    Apart from liquidating the coupons, the poor do not benefit from the sale of coupons because they would then have forfeited the “discount” and have to pay in full when they buy from NTUC. Unless they need cash urgently or will not be using all the coupons at NTUC. Could be more helpful to donate directly to the poor instead.

  25. Gary Teoh said

    NTUC = Never Trust Union Chief

  26. for your infor..recently in Dubai…the government made a clear decision to SUBSIDIZE the prices of at least 13 basic food items for their NATIONALS only.

  27. joker said

    Action: Minister in US/UK/Taiwan/Hongkong/Japan/Malaysia/Germany/France/India gives himself million dollar salary increase and tells citizens to use non-branded stuff, to tighten their belt, to smile and be happy they have such good ministers looking after their well-being.

    Reaction: Minister gets kicked out and is reminded that his job is to help the people not the other way around.

    Action: Minister in Singapore gives himself million dollar salary increase and tells citizens to use non-branded stuff, to tighten their belt, to smile and be happy they have such good ministers looking after their well-being.

    Reaction: Singaporeans nod their heads like cows and agree to eat China-made luncheon meat till they get cancer.

    Meanwhile they agree to increase the ministers pay by another million dollars because they have these fine upstanding leaders who otherwise will go somewhere else (private sector) to make money.

    Conclusion – Most Singaporeans (at least 66.6 per cent) are morons.

    Discuss

  28. Laughter said

    Hi Joker,

    The 66.6 Singaporeans are not morons lah.
    They are over dependent on the govt for jobs and rice bowls.
    And as a result, they have become very complacent as pointed out
    by MM and PAP MPs.

  29. Seeking Salvation said

    NTUC = Never Trust Union Crooks

  30. Gerald said

    On the issue of using ComCare funds to buy NTUC vouchers, I have several objections:

    1. ComCare funds are, as I understand, taxpayer monies. Why should they be used to increase the profits of one company, NTUC Fairprice?

    2. Why are these vouchers being distributed through grassroots people? We know these are only the PAP grassroots members. Hence our taxpayer money is being used to buy political support from low income voters. It’s pork barrel politics all over again.

  31. Laughter said

    NTUC = New Treachery for Unaware Commoners.


  32. Me’s On A Roll! Another idea…

    I wonder if there are any legal implications if a supermarket/department store – let’s call it ‘Sheng Siong’ for brevity, offers to honour the NTUC vouchers at it’s outlets for the ‘sake of the nation, the people and altruistic patriotism’? It would in fact be sharing the S$4 million ‘burden’ in true nationalistic fashion, wouldn’t it?

    Wouldn’t that then overcome the obstacle of monopolisation by FairPrice in this instance? If ‘Sheng Siong’ were to be persecuted at all, then it would cast tremendous doubt on the sincerity of this gimmick. If the powers that be allow for it, the people win and the poor in fact get a better deal.

    Now I wonder if ‘Sheng Siong’ is reading this…

  33. patriot said

    So long the Scheme gets accepted, Singaporeans will become greater suckers and suck they will.

    patriot.

  34. Laughter said

    This incident is only one of the numerous incidents that shows
    NTUC is no more a trade union.

    When NTUC has become a filthy business monopoly itself, it cannot sincerely represent the workers any more. It should be denounced
    as a trade union.

    A new and proper trade union body should be formed to replace it.

  35. Laughter said

    Whichever Opposition Party (or a coalition party) that may have
    a chance to form a new government in the future should seriously
    bear in mind that NTUC has actually become an extension of the PAP
    political arms. Therefore, it has also to be cleaned and flushed
    for good measure.

  36. Daniel said

    Same old trick again from the coffers.

    Using Jokers’ format

    Action: conflate property price to very high and create inflation, minister citing free market force. “It is the inflation. What to do ? It happened.”

    Result: Minister proclaim government is full of love and compassion because government is giving ‘generous’ (pathetic) subsidy for HDB. PUblish this at the first page of ShittyTime with BIG HEADING. Of course, the world is deceived into thinking that because price increase in property is higher than the subsidy !

    Fuc@#$king coffers think that Singaporean is stupid and educated idiot.

    Now doing the same thing for NTUC…
    We should remind NTUC that
    NTUC = Not To Underestimate Consumer
    or face boycott.
    Let go to Sheng Siong.

  37. macktheknife said

    The rationale for implementing coupons is supposedly a good way to help the poor families. However, coupons alone are just a supplement. What I really hope to see in with immediate effect – to lower the current GST from 7% to around 3% at least until situation allows. The way i see how our government operates, it’s close to impossible.

  38. joker said

    LOL!!!

    Thanks: laughter and daniel, at least the people on this site are not stupid!!

  39. joker said

    Job wanted ad spotted in Straits Times:

    If applicant does anything wrong, all he has to do is to say: “What to do, it happened!” and he will not be held responsible.

    Wages: Must pay at least S$2 million a year.

    Important: 66.6 per cent of Singaporeans need not apply. Only high IQ individuals allowed.

    Also – applicant’s father gets to have the final say over everything.

  40. Elfred said

    It is just the same old rechanneling of public funds methods… Why don’t NTUC just start more private school and get the gahmen units to ‘subsidise’ the students? The money can still go to NTUC in such manner.

    The former chief is now at AEC. But my personal view is maybe we have too many schools already.

    Some years back, NTUC even wanted to be listed~

    Actually, what the gahmen should do is simply start rationing to the poor. Now many poor ends up getting just about nothing…

    We have so many MPS centers all around Singapore where some constituencies even have two. They can help dispensing ration coupons on critical basic items.

    The way the ad is written for the public is a point of contention. But nowadays, just read your MSM ads, so many misleading and super incredible~ There are these ads that promised huge fat discounts but when you go down, the ‘discounts’ will come ONLY when you win the lucky draw for the purchase.

    If this is USA, many of these coys will be sued everyday.

    What is CASE about to do? CASE has been making news recently for all the wrong reasons. Hahahahahaha…

    Pardon mine being blunt, in the future, some reasons will crop up and TOC may be charging fees the way Malaysiakini is doing.

    Want free lunch? Go to China.

  41. Elfred said

    Gary Teoh,

    Actually NTUC wasn’t like that long long ago. But that was when dedicated Ong Teng Cheong was around.

    The NTUC back then was ‘wary’ to more coys and exploiters, hence. Mr Ong was well-known fighter close to the workers or the underdogs.

    But that was many years back then…
    If only we have another Mr Ong TC… Things will be different.

    So there is no need that NTUC must be bad. It all depends on who are behind a name. Tat’s all.

  42. Gary Teoh said

    I paid $8/month for so many years and get nothing, only receive birthday card every year. hahahaha, see how much ntuc earned from me

  43. PopEye said

    It is damn cruel of the NTUC to seize this opportunity to exploit the suffering of our poor citizens. How can Lim Swee Say sleep well?

  44. patriot said

    Gary Teoh deserves a scolding, did NTUC put a knife to your neck to force you to be a member?

    You cannot make the remark you did when you willingly signed up to be a member.

  45. Insulted said

    Going by NTUC’s claim of spending $80 million to help the low income, I guess all the petrol companies are also helping the people too. Why in fact they are giving up to 12% discount, they must be spending anout 100 Million.So selfless and generous. The MSM should report that too. Why even many foodstalls are helping the poor, they give 10% discount for every $10 spent. Looks like they have already decided that not only that we are dumb and stupid as well.

  46. Insulted said

    Note PM’s comment in the MSM, lloks like they are going to take action soon.
    “The second is the instant transmission through the Internet of unfiltered, raw information or misinformation, with their potential to spread extremist views, stoke religious hatred and lower the level of public debate to one in which emotion rather than reason prevails”
    The Malaysian election results must have spooked them and lately the hot topic is able leadership which the MIW has decided only they can offer. Wonder TOC will be affected, artilces like this is making the MIW look real bad and making the citizens awaken to all the hogwash

  47. hogs said

    since we can’t have protest , what better things can we do to stop this inhuman expolitation of singaporean ? now i begin to see Dr Chee point cos it seems that the rules/regulation/policies have covered all avenue for us to fight back these suckers. if there is a moses, hope he come quick to get us out of Egypt.send diseases to these high handed authority or finally take away their first born son.

  48. Crocodile Tears said

    PopEye Says:
    April 14, 2008 at 12:14 am

    It is damn cruel of the NTUC to seize this opportunity to exploit the suffering of our poor citizens. How can Lim Swee Say sleep well?

    Hi PopEye,

    You can rest assured that Lim Swee Say is sleeping soundly every day and night.

    With millions of dollars in his bank accounts, his wife and children (and future grandchildren) would be well taken care of. Their future is already made (at taxpayers’ expense of course).

    Plus he would sincerely believe in his heart of hearts that he is doing a great serve to the poor.

    Plus at the end of the year, his Master would give him nice pat on his back and tell him “What a good job you have done!” and give him a fat bonus (at our expense of course).

    How can you ask such an embarrassing question?

    Crocodile Tears.

  49. Crocodile Tears said

    Typo – “service” instead of “serve” in para 3 above.

  50. SS Lee said

    They raise prices across the board and then ‘give discounts’ to a select group. Nett nett, they will earn even more while ‘helping’ the less well off workers. So if you don’t work, you are not worthy of the discount. If you work (i.e must be a union member), you get a 5% discount after spending $10 on already inflated prices. Nett nett again, the is probably no discount cause they probably raised more then 5% in the 1st place. Of course we don’t expect CASE to say anything do we? hahahahaha. How Sad this place.

  51. Gary Teoh said

    sooner or later, pm lee will clamp down on cyber politics, refer to his speech these few days,pap is worried about the events that happened in GE Malaysia.The way he talked is very arrogant.

  52. jake said

    The discount scheme is nothing more than NTUC protecting itself against lower price supermarkets like Sheng Siong.
    Assuming the government pays for the 5% discount vouchers to NTUC, effectively NTUC is NOT giving any discount, but at the same time is assured that a huge mass of consumers are ‘forced’ to buy from them.

    Who wouldn’t want to buy things at a discount? But the very questionable practice is that the government is using taxpayers’ money to lock consumers into NTUC run businesses.

    How can this be allowed to be carried out? Unbelievable.

  53. thanks said

    I also would like to recommend OCBC bank card to all motorist. Use their card at Caltex, you get 10 percent discount. Waahh…better than NTUC leh. Caltex and OCBC really TAKES CARE of our singaporeans!!

  54. Insulted said

    This is what happends when you get elected through the back door by walkovers or on the coat tail of ministers.

    ” Said Mr Lee: “In fact, if we test people’s understanding of policies, I think even news workers and PAP MPs might not pass.”

    If they can’t even understand policies why are they MPs in the first place, just to attend CCC events and give out vouchers to the needy and look important. Now it becomes clear why we seldom have critical questions in Paliament, the poor blokes just dont understand what’s going on.

  55. Daniel said

    ” Said Mr Lee: “In fact, if we test people’s understanding of policies, I think even news workers and PAP MPs might not pass.”

    Even Junta, Saddam, and any nefarious dictators can quote such a statement with pride. I aghast at the increasing arrogance of the PM. Look like father, like son. Traits of dictator are so evident.

    How do we understand the policies of
    1) fixing opp party and buying supporter’s vote
    2) Windows dressing and data massaging resulting in loss of credibility in name of nation building
    3) PayAndPay ERP galtries without explaining but keeping silent on issue.
    4) Paying themselves millions in the midst of all time high inflation
    5) Proposing against wage hike against commoner while elite like them using their legal power to increase salary …

    What logic is that ?
    Kangaroo policies make by kangaroo parliament ?

  56. Gary Teoh said

    The ERP gantry at Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, make businesses at Toa Payoh dip to 30% less.Is this a caring government ?Collect $1 per vehicle end up businesses decline.What kind of policy ? No wonder we and PAP MPs can’t understand!!!

  57. Daniel said

    Gary Teoh,
    we commoner do not understand but jokers like LKY, LHL, and rest of the coffers understand the policy of money-making business using the government very well. Aren’t they the largest shareholder in Singapore Inc ?

    ” Said Mr Lee: “In fact, if we test people’s understanding of policies, I think even news workers and PAP MPs might not pass.”

    When Joker Lee say the above, I can understand him because these new workers and PAP MPs have yet to be welcome into the board of Singapore INC. Once there, they have the Best Jobs In the world as describe by http://www.insanepoly.com

  58. patriot said

    Other than telling us that PAP MPs may not pass tests on policies, PM Lee also said that oppositions are not potent. I AGREE WITH HIM WHOLEHEARTEDLY.

    The Oppositions have to wake up, your impotences are too obvious. We do not see YOU having the impetus to act at opportune time like this. TOC and the participants at this Site and elsewhere have given YOU, THE OPPOSITIONS, much supports and materials to gain momentum, but sadly, liked what the PM said and I paraphrase; ‘speak too little and too inconsequential’.

    Now that Singaporeans are clearly shown how schemes from NTUC work and how people contribute to their businesses and become suckers themselves(members/public), it is time to disseminate these facts clearly to relatives, friends and everybody else. Many need to be enlightened about how we, the people, are being played by the Leaders.

    Schemes that are scheming because they are planned and executed by Schemers are by nature as this Sentence connotes, implies sophistry. It is bad to be sheep and worse if you are turn into mutton. Beware, beware and beware!

    patriot.

  59. Gary Teoh said

    Let us boycott ntuc and buy from shop n save or sheng siong, ntuc always come up funny funny idea such as a corner at the supermarket for the poor people to buy things, then we middle income ppl suffer like shit

  60. Expected Analysis said

    “If we test people’s understanding of policies, I think even news workers and PAP MPs might not pass.”
    PM Lee (TODAY)

    Not surprising, LHL plays the role of goalkeeper to keep out the legitimate shots from the public and others.

    Is LHL also admitting that the PAP’s part-time MPs are there to make up the numbers only, put on some superficial appearances, make some noises in parliament and still end up supporting motions anyway?

    It’s not a matter of Singaporeans not understanding PAP’s policies. It’s a case of not agreeing with PAP’s profit oriented policies.

    Only those naive enough will still believe totally in the PAP govt.

  61. Fever Guy said

    There is Cold Storage, Sheng Siong and Shop and Save. Mustafa also quite cheap less the crowd. We all should be encouraged not to buy from NTUC. The only reason i still buy from NTUC is that they still hire a lot of auntie singaporeans, even though china chinese are on the rise in numbers. Really hard to believe that NTUC employs non singaporean worker to replace us singaporean. What is NTUC for anyway?

  62. Fever Guy said

    Future is bleak for Singapore. Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand are rising again. Political change back home is changing how business is carried out. There are positive signs just look at Taiwan, new KMT VP went to china and relationship is on the mend. Thailand political landscape has stabilized and Malaysia ‘s UMNO is made to work hard and save their own skin. Vietnam is rising fast and same goes for cambodia. What about Singapore? Have we really invest in a real economy that can rely on its own? Does it need the gahment to have a leg in everything? As for now, our economy is so much dependent on the gahment it lacks resilience needed in a globalize world and when you compared to HK we really pale in comparison in many areas. They have produce more richest man and bigger companies that does not have any links to gahment or uses people’s money. Why cant we singapore do the same? It is time for sinkies to think hard and fast coz time is running out for us. For the morons, please continue to read shitty times for mind food and for the unplug sinkies from the make believe matrix read your source from the internet.

  63. Gary Teoh said

    Talking about pap MPs,most of them got full time jobs, so their MP duty is part time only, where got so much time understand the policy.anyhow hantam lah, anyway under GRC, they are guarantee a place, why worry

  64. Mr.Make believe said

    I think we have to revisit the definition of poor , Cause I believe the country can be rich and the top layers richer with fomulated policies.

    So whos helping the “POOR” ? if you had 100000 dollars and your policies make you own 2000000 dollars, then this is the a policy that will help the “POOR”

    To begin with we dont even have the number of familes who are classified as poor.

  65. Gary Teoh said

    Ya correct, Mr Make Believe, how to classify poor? Nowadays with high cost of living a person earning $2k after nett is 1.6k, still he has to pay electrical bill, S&C, transport, food,education, healthcare,and misc.no saving at all, is it consider poor or middle class ?

  66. xtrocious said

    Here we have the government blowing its own trumpet about how “tech savvy” Singapore is and yet can’t even have a system to exempt basic necessities from GST?!!

    Even in Australia, they are able to do that and everything is itemised nicely in your grocery bill…

    Then again, it is not the flesh (technology, capability) that is lacking but the SPIRIT!

  67. Jackson said

    Here’s a list of PAP-related blunders I observed:

    1. PM Lee became PM Lee because of MM Lee, not by people’s voting
    2. Parliament meeting looks like PAP meeting
    3. Major organisations like NTUC, DBS, CPF, SP, Starhub, Singtel, M1, Temasek Holdings, GIC, SIA, CASE, MediaCorp, ST are PAP-related
    4. ERPs always on the rise when traffic congestions still remain
    5. Just before elections, electoral boundaries are redrawn + got $$$ package
    6. Many PAP MPs holding dual appointments.
    7. NMP Eunice Olsen has 5-digit salary not for speaking up for people but shooting jewellery ads

  68. […] So, prices are skyrocketing. And NTUC’s “gift” might not be a gift after all. […]

  69. ANTI U SEE said

    Its about money never about people.

    People are digits and the more people we import the richer they will be.

    Anyone knows how much reserves we have ?

    Is there such a thing as a AUDIT TRAIL when we move money ?

  70. Jack said

    Sorry to “Defend” The PAP or NTUC but why vouchers?

    They are a good form to stop abuse. You never know when the person will take the cash and spend it on gambling. If a voucher can be used in a supermarket, the person can choose eith $5 worth of rice + $5 worth of milk powder. Or $10 of rice OR milk powder. They can choose their basket of goods. Sorry but the analogy is fundamentally flawed.

    Your analogy of the discount voucher being attrited over the (increased) expenditure of a person’s comsumption. Same that I give you $5 in cash, if you spend $10 it would be 50%. If you spend $50 then it would be only 10%. Sorry but this analogy is also fundamentally flawed.

    Since NTUC owns the fairprice chain, it is only feasible that they use it . It would be absurd from a corporate point of view that you release vouchers that can be used elsewhere because you do not have the control over the items/sales and receipt. Can I just issue you a voucher myself from lets say takashimaya? No! I would have to buy a voucher that can only be strictly used there unless we all come to consensus that such a voucher can be used and endorsed by all the supermarkets. Similarly other supermarkets can launch their own 5% discount vouchers. THere is nothing to stop them.

  71. MMSMPMMC said

    Looks like a score point strategy to me. Laymen translation will be left pocket out, right pocket in…

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