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Uniquely Singapore

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 28, 2008

Uniquely Singapore

$3 billion benefits to cope with inflation?

Leong Sze Hian

With headlines in our local papers screaming “S’poreans in line for $3b payouts” (TODAY, April 15), “$3b payout over the next six months” (Straits Times), “2.4m S’poreans to get $3b in benefits this year” (Straits Times), one would be hard pressed to find anything amiss.

The Ministry of Finance’s (MOF) press release that some 2.4 million Singaporeans stand to get $3 billion in benefits this year, to help them cope with the rising cost of living, is laudable.

Until you sieve through the $3 billion help package itself.

Skewed examples in MOF’s press release

In its press release, the MOF says:

“For example, a family of three living in a three-room HDB flat could receive benefits of about $5,000, which is about six times the estimated increase in their cost of living (Annex A), and a family of five living in a 5-room HDB flat will get about $4,900 – about 2.5 times the estimated increase in their living costs (Annex B)”.

The above two examples given may be skewed towards higher benefits, because they both have retirees and older low-income household members, who receive relatively higher benefits and the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) than the average household.

If we take for example, a typical family of a couple with two children, and household income of say $4,000 ($2,000 each working member), the direct cash benefits would be $1,100 ($700 Growth Dividends and $400 GST Credits).

Thus, the benefits may not be 2.5 times the estimated increase in living costs in 2008, but only 0.56 times ($1,100 divided by $4,912 (Annex B) divided by 2.5).

What percentage of households has a combination of both retirees and older low-income workers in the same household? This may probably be the exception, rather than the norm. Thus, the examples given by MOF are not terribly accurate or representative of households.

Offsetting inflation?

Further, despite claims by the government that the handouts will help combat inflation, this may not be completely true.

For example:

Medisave top-ups which can only be used in the future when one is hospitalised. Also, MediShield premiums will be increased this year. According to the Straits Times, “basic MediShield insurance are set to increase – by about $120 for most people… They will go up for everyone, with older policy-holders bearing higher increases, and younger ones most likely paying just a few dollars more.” In another ST report, “For older people who are likely to require more hospital care, the premium is set to increase by less than $40 a month. Their current premiums range from $600-$705 a year. The change will push it to more than $1,000 a year for them.”

The Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) can only be used when children enter university. How many households have children that enter universities annually? (Universities have also announced, in February 2008, an increase in tuition fees by between 4 per cent to 20 per cent – Straits Times.)

The Property Tax Rebate may be negated by the increase in property tax for all HDB flats from 1 January 2008

The U-Save Rebate may be eroded by increased utility tariffs. (Channel NewsAsia)

The S & CC Rebate may be offset by the previous years’ increases.

The Income Tax Rebates may not benefit the lower and middle-income, as over 60 per cent of Singaporeans do not pay income tax.

By the way, The PAP Community Foundation (PCF) has just announced that the fees at its kindergartens will increase by up to 100 per cent in July. (“Sharp hike in kindergarten fees”, Today, Apr 25).

It is important to note that the GST Credits are meant to offset the GST increase last year, and is not a new or extra measure to cope with the 26-year high inflation.

In the example given of a family of three living in a 3-room flat, with two retirees and a son earning $1,000 a month (Annex A), even after adding the direct cash benefits, the per capita household income would still be only about $449 (see below [1]), which is still below the criteria of $500 which is generally used to define a needy family in Singapore.

I feel that it may not be very appropriate to describe the so-called “benefits” as “six times the increase in their cost of living”.

Medisave top-up keeping step with healthcare inflation?

As to the claim of giving about 60,000 elderly an extra $100 top-up to their Medisave in September (“Over 80s to get extra $100 Medisave top-up”, ST, Apr 18), the total one-time ad-hoc top-up amount is only enough to pay for about one to one and a half years of the premium increase.

Remember that, according to news reports, Singaporeans aged 81-85 will need to pay between $30 and $40 more a month in premiums – or up to $480 more a year.

What’s the point of ad-hoc top-ups, when medical costs and premiums keep rising? How can the Medisave top-up be included as “benefits to help Singaporeans cope with inflation”?

To facilitate analysis and policy review of the impact of the benefits package, I would like to suggest that a breakdown of the different amounts for each benefit category for different households by income be made available to the public.

Raising wages not an option, depending on govt handouts is?

So, what else can be done to help Singaporeans cope with another 26-year high inflation of 6.7 per cent in March 2008? Raising wages?

Well, according to the acting Minister of Manpower, Gan Kim Yong:

“Raising wages to address the issue of rising costs may be an enticing option but that is not the right solution… He said adjusting wages upwards to meet rising prices would only result in a “price-wage spiral” and Singaporeans should look at the bigger picture.” (Channel NewsAsia)

It would thus seem that Singaporeans will have to regularly and constantly depend on the government for handouts in order to ‘fight’ inflation. Yet, such ad hoc top-ups will only be given “provided we have the surpluses in the budget”, according to Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. (Channel NewsAsia)

Perhaps the more important – and puzzling – question is: Why have Singaporeans, with one of the highest savings rates in the world, become so dependant on government handouts to even just get by?

One shudders to think what would happen to the poorer Singaporeans if there were no “budget surpluses”.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Special thanks to Grace Toh.

Additional contribution from Andrew Loh.

———————-

[1] $4,150 Growth Dividends + GST Credits + WIS plus $12,000 income, divided by 12 months divided by 3 persons.

Read also: The Relentless Rising Cost Of Living.

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64 Responses to “Uniquely Singapore”

  1. Dr Syed Alwi said

    Dear Singaporeans,

    It is articles like this which makes me support the need for a free, unregulated Internet. Do you honestly think that our Straits Times would publish articles like this one here ?

    Thanks Leong Sze Hian. You have done a great service to Singaporeans.

    With knowledge comes power……..

  2. WL Tang said

    We would like to see MOF responding to this posting or ST running both sides of the stories and let the public see the bigger picture. If what the MOF said is acceptable, then the public would thank the Government for its consideration in this difficult time. ST or Today can also run a straw poll too as to how happy the people are. Or alternatively, someone could conduct an online poll.

  3. Expected Analysis said

    I have been telling my family members and friends that whatever the govt hands out, don’t be happy about it. In fact, everyone will have to suffer for it, more so for the middle and lower income group.

    Increases in govt service fees, etc, will always be used to suck this money from the citizens either before or after the announcements of bonus, handouts, reliefs, ERS, etc. These are PAP jargon to appease the simple minded citizens that the govt care for Singaporeans.

    Singaporeans have been putting up with reduced CPF, lower or no wage growth, foreign worker competition, exorbitant govt administration fees, ridiculous justification for top civil service pay, market priced HDB
    prices, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc….

    We should ask ourselves the source of this ‘govt generosity’. The govt is indebted to the citizens and not the other way around.

  4. Aidil Omar said

    Excellent perspective. I would strongly recommend that TOC enables a function to enable readers to email their favorite posts to their friends, colleagues and such. This in turn will help to disseminate information far and wide and help to counter the State Times.

  5. Robert HO said

    RH:
    1. Thank you, Mr LEONG, for another insight into a Govt of LIEs, by LIEs, for LIEs. They are LIEs and Liars.

    2. It is clear, as has been documented by Dr CHEE in his earlier books, before he got distracted by street protests, that EVERY SINGLE POLICY OF THE LIEgime IS DESIGNED TO ENTRENCH THE LIEs IN POWER FOREVER, AND THESE POLICIES, FROM HDB TO NS, etc, ARE ALL DESIGNED TO MAKE US DEPENDENT ON THE GOVT INDEFINITELY.

    3. Thus, a huge percentage of our salaries are, by law, taken from us and locked up by Them, so we have less money to invest, go into business, or, as with most, even to live without feeling the dread feeling of empty pockets by the end of the month.

    4. Since we have little money to spare, there are very few SMEs so we all have to remain EMPLOYEES and the Govt is the biggest employer, with the GLCs second. Even in the privates like Creative or Osim, the Govt buys into them, with OUR monies, so they can put Themselves on the board and control them, too.

    5. People who are thus made dependent on the Govt seldom vote against Them. We have become a nation of subservient EMPLOYEES and the highest value of being, in Singapore, is to become a Top Employee, like some scholar mandarin, unlike say, in HK where the top being is to be rich enough to be financially independent and thus live a Free Man. HK is all small businesses whereas in SG, we are all EMPLOYEES, thus dependent on our Bosses who are all ultimately dependent on their Boss, the Govt, for such as business licences, lucrative business contracts, even supplies and procurements.

    6. Thus, Mr LEONG brilliantly exposes the scam. Raise prices of everything but keep wages low so we become/remain dependent. That way, we cannot rebel, cannot even vote against Them. Give us pittances, exaggerated into false statistics and lies by the shameless PAPaganda, so remain dependent on handouts, not live proudly with an adequate salary. Thus are we all noosed around the neck with the pulling end firmly in the grasp of the LIEs.

    7. And how did this unique, horrendous situation come about? Because LIE KY LHL PAP RIG ELECTIONS AND SO REQUIRE NO MANDATE FROM US OR ANYBODY EXCEPT THEIR AMERICAN AND BRITISH BACKERS [LIE KY LHL gave the Americans US$3 BILLIONS in 2005, to be increased every 2 years, but total news clampdown in 2007 so we never know]. Thus, as long as the Americans get paid US$3+ BILLIONS every 2 years from us taxpayers, the LIEs can continue their illegitimate, illegal, LIEgime forever. And all of Dr CHEE’s street protests, even if amplified 100 times, will do little. Only outright rage, when the voters know the LIEs rig elections [read my blogs for eyewitnesses proof] that the Opposition MPs they have continually voted for, have been cheated out of their status as MPs, MPs’ allowances of some S$13,500pm I believe, plus future electoral wins, since Opposition who won have consistently rewon, only this outrage at the abuse of the very heart of the system of Govt, only this outrage at being cheated of a likely Change of Govt, only this outrage will overthrow the LIEs.

    8. Thank you, Mr LEONG, and other TOC researchers.

  6. Zheng Xi said

    Hi Aidil,

    Thanks for the suggestion. Is there anyway we can contact you direct to discuss ways to improve TOC? I can’t seem to get your email from the site. Do drop us an email at theonlinecitizen@gmail.com

  7. Fever Guy said

    Dear gahment,

    Stop your propaganda is time to get to work! Stop making yourself look so good on paper instead put in your effort to help. Stop bluffing your people and try to face the reality. Do you seriously care for us singaporeans? We are confused and sadden by all the gahment actions lately.

    All these benefits are for the surplus that we have and should be given to the people not as some inflation fighting tools. What have you guys (million dollars minister) done to fight inflation? Any brilliant policy that have been proposed that merit your ridiculous pay? So far there isn’t. Wethe poor and middle class are still suffering buying house brands and eat frozen food. We also have to ask for vouchers and buy cheap stuffs. We are really left to fend for ourselves because very very few(why not shit times give us a figure?) will received up to $5000 of benefits and most us will receive about up to $1000 at most. There is a long way to go before the year ends.

    Yet, these are given to us to fight inflation and not budget surplus. We are doomed not only to fend against GST increases and 6.8% inflation, dible whammy. We are now at your mercy and please dont be complacent with our livelihood my dear gahment.

    regards,
    your doomed citizens.

  8. guojun said

    OF course we’ll suffer! Don’t forget, Gahmen is generous today because they screwed up yesterday!

  9. Weijia said

    @Aidil Omar:
    Great suggestion! i support! Even better, can there be a mailing list where people can subscribe to too?

    and as the married men on 91.3 will say… “you kenna bluff!”

  10. cesla said

    “Thanks Leong Sze Hian. You have done a great service to Singaporeans.”

    Ditto. Thank you TOC, I can safely ignore The Straits Times now and not worry about missing out on Singapore news. Keep up the good work! I’m a big fan now.

  11. Aidil Omar,

    We will have that feature on our new blogsite soon. 🙂

    You will be able to just click and email any article to your friends. New TOC site coming soon… 🙂

    Regards,
    Andrew Loh

  12. Cesla,

    Thanks for visiting with us. Glad you’re a TOC fan.. 🙂

    Regards,
    Andrew Loh

  13. ordinaryman said

    good works, LEONG.
    Imagine,if the above can be print out in chinese laugauge,distribute around (low level,common area wher ppls. don read english,computer not available)de impact should be great..
    …BTW,IS IT AN OFFEND TO ASK FOR DONATION(SMALL AMOUNT)?

  14. Logicalman said

    Thanks, Mr Leong, for taking pains to put things in perspective. I think the Govt is over-simplifying things here, as with CPF Life and hospital means-testing.

    The average Singapore household has seen costs of living escalated since the GST increase last year, even before the oil, flour and rice price crisis. Yet, costs have continued to spiral, even for those who do not drive, from something as basic as food (staple items such as floor, rice, cooking oil), utility, preschool education, school transport, public transport, taxi fares, to less obvious increases, such as ez-link cards and property taxes. For those who drive, they are faced with steep increases in petrol prices, plus additional ERP gantries.

    Instead of dishing out hand-outs which promotes welfarism, something which the Govt has been discouraging, the Govt will do well to remove the 2-point increase or defer it, remove GST altogether for staple items, as well as all public goods and services. We are not asking for free services or staple food here, or to subsidise/artificially control market prices or even interest rates, just no GST on basic goods and services. I do not believe that the Govt cannot afford to do this, as Singapore has garnered healthy surpluses on various fronts, and will continue to reap healthy revenues from the coming events such as F1, Youth Olympics, etc.

  15. Daniel said

    Holy shit ! Another scam scheme by the establishment get exposed again. Not only Strait Time is ShittyTime, but also ScammyTime to even put such a misleading article of insulting citizen’s trust and intelligence. When will the government lead by the ulimate clown ever wake up their idea ?

    ShittyTime will at least rebuilt its reputation if it publish this excellent post.

    26 years inflation and still increasing inflation will have the coffers kick in their ass if they happen to govern in other countries. Only in Singapore, can the government downplayed the inflation and give their ever-wonderful rhetoric. More good years ahead for the coffers, more bad years for the citizen. Another 13 years of clown regime by Joker Lee, I wonder how do tahan ?

  16. Daniel said

    Logicalman,
    the question is to ask the government if it is the standard practice to increase GST after every election. It look like it become a cultural practice and therefore no valid justification need apply.

  17. aygee said

    Sze Hian,

    what set me thinking is this – if handing out cash in this manner would not be equitable, what is a better way of helping then?

    I shall compare it with the way the HK government does it.

    The government announced a surplus at this year’s budget announcement, and thus made the following actions to “spread the wealth”:

    1. give levies to electricity, water, gas and public transport. this was done as a payout to the relevant companies – as such, they reduce prices and/or stop any plans to increase fees for the year.

    (public utilities and public transport have to go through a debate in parliament before allowed to make any fee increases anyway. NGOs, unions, pro-Beijing and pro-democracy parties, and even the public are invited to comment before any decision is made).

    2. a rebate on income tax for this year’s assessment. this was structured such that the middle class and lower class enjoys the most benefits.

    3. Remove taxes on wine altogether (zero taxes on wine in HK), and reduced tobacco tax (yes, cigarettes got cheaper…)

    4. put money into education, healthcare and increased welfare for the poor. there are other areas i cant recall now, that the govt put in the money.

    While there were a few small protests from certain segments in society, overall, the HK citizenry lauded the govt’s approach in achieving a balanced budget for 2008, and their way of spreading the wealth.

    I dont know why- but somehow, the HK govt’s approach seems a lot more palatable than SG govt’s approach. Somehow i feel much more satisfied this way, making sure the money is spent in the right way, as opposed to receiving cold hard cash.

    what do you all reckon?

  18. Daniel said

    aygee,
    The HK government is being entrusted by the citizen to serve the nation and the citizen and that is the main role of government, nothing else. However, in Singapore, the government entrusted themselves into business-running mentality where business-opportunity (PayAndPay schemes),even governing the nation as profit-orientated Singapore Inc, cost-cutting and reduction measurement endup as profit and benefit for them without the responsibility and the accountability of a democratic government. Will I be surprised if one of their KPI is to to reap economic profit (As to who are the few to benefit immensely is no brainer) ? How much of the money actually went to Temasek and GIC that should have been invested as social benefit and welfare for the citizen ? How much of the money has they withhold from the public in their excuse that given too much to the public endup in crude mentality (so where did the money go to ? )

    When even Joker Lee tell us no free lunch in the world, that already tell something about their mentality.

  19. Aidil Omar said

    That’s good news. I’m sure the new TOC site will provide more features to enhance visitor’s interactivity such as email posts, print and subscribe to comments. Allow me to congratulate TOC on the upcoming new site. 🙂

  20. CelluloidReality said

    Daniel,

    Ironic that HK is theoretically not as “democratic” as us eh.

    Kudos to the quality of governance and having their priorities on the right shoe for the HK adminstration.

    🙂

  21. Jihadist said

    When our Minister of Manpower, Gan Kim Yong said “Raising wages is not the right solution”, so i guess this won’t apply to Ministers’ pay, this is because they apply a different set of rules to themselves. Peasants like us must die for them (do NS), pay for them (Pay & Pay), take the blame (MSK incident), our rights taken away (no voting, only walk over), take away our CPF (increase age, increase min sum & transfer from OA to SA), no welfare for singaporeans after years of working and paying taxes! no wonder some ppl already start chanting “Tak Boleh Tahan”.

  22. ireadpapers said

    ty, TOC! another splendid piece of journalism. i thought the numbers didn’t add up, but i must confess i was too Complacent to actually count how they were going to screw us over this time…. this is exactly the reason why we need independent media. will be sure to share this link with friends 🙂

  23. Fean said

    I find it extremely hard to believe that our beloved Government actually set out $3 billion benefit to help us. If let’s say they really want to help us cope with rising cost of living then they should give permanent rebates on transport/food/housing. Otherwise better still, give all Singaporeans $10k each. That would really go a long way to help. It doesn’t even add up to $3 billion. Something’s totally off with their calculation.

  24. logicalman said

    finally got my copy of the flyer. Well, there’s nothing new in there, so I wonder why the Govt even bother to do this, if not for the purpose of diverting attention from the Mas Selamat saga. As Mr Leong pointed out, the examples are skewed. In short, it’s taking the best case scenario and playing that up. And that’s about $300,000 in printing costs alone, not to mention costs to distribute to the 800,000-odd households. Sheer waste of taxpayers’ money.

  25. patriot said

    (May I say that if costs of essentials are not raised to the present level, we need no handouts from the Government. They can keep the money for other developments.

    It is so simple for us lay citizens to see that the handouts given to us are taken back before the handouts and after that. We have great difficulties going through the processes to qualify and collect the handouts, resulting in many giving up their rights to the handouts and what happened to them (unclaimed handouts)?

    Really, I find it hard to believe the kindness from these leaders, especially when I cannot fathom how 3.5 million citizens are so lucky to share a windfall of $3billion. The Mistake is really me, for being very poor at Maths. But as I said earlier, I do not want the handouts but wish that they(Government Officials) stop raising prices of their services and goods. And I will be thankful.

    patriot.

  26. Daniel said

    patriot,
    for your information, the budget surplus is $6 billion, plus another $10 billions from property, and plus few millions everyday for ERP (don’t we recalled lot of new ERP activated since the last surplus ?) and there could probably be more from elsewhere. Moreover, the surplus is from 9 months report, so for next few months, it should be even more.

    The government is smart because only by raising price that they can find way to generate additional exorbitant surplus that secretly inject to who know where eg GIC , Temasek holding , or for their millions dollar increment ? Seek to confuse the people so that more revenue coming in to themselves. As in business world, there is only opportunity to make money if there is change, and the government knowing that they have a upperhand will waste no effort in making the change. Well, what to do ? It’s happened. Let’s wait and see.

  27. […] http://theonlinecitizen.com/2008/04/28/uniquely-singapore-4/#more-764 […]

  28. Jihadist said

    gahmen is showing its horseshit again, telling us where to hunt for $2 meal. do they really think it will cost only $2 after included the transport cost and not to mention the travelling time and probably a bloody long queuing time and probably even sold out!

  29. Expected Analysis said

    Fellow Singaporeans,

    Have you done a simple calculation of the monthly collection from foreign worker levy???

    Here’s the painful fact:
    Assume 500,000 foreign workers in S’pore (There are easily more than that. *$250.00 is taken as an average)

    MONTHLY
    $250.00 x 500,000 = $125,000,000
    = $1.5 billion per year, minimum

    Now, do you understand why we need foreign workers? The amount generated from this levy alone is sufficient to cover for most welfare schemes promoted by the govt.

    Can we accept LHL’s excuse for raising GST to help the poor?

  30. david said

    Dear all

    I think the gahment is still sleeping to the fact that ordinary citizens are suffering.

    I do hope that the next election will be their wake up call.

    As for our national reserve fund, I strongly think that it is time for the gahment to have an independant and open audit. I think i smell a rat.

    Regards

  31. Gary Teoh said

    From the ST, we know that Gan KY, GCT all these ppl talk kok, we dont want ur hand out, what for, I received $75 only,1 vote cost $75, no way.What we want is pap gahmen reduce price, transport,electrical,housing, medical, food.Dont give excuse it is demand, supply. we dont want ur handout,with condition.Why pap like to tell lies ? 3 room flat dweller can get $5k,do u believe ? may be only 1 household.

  32. Expected Analysis said

    The fact that the PAP govt goes round the bush about our reserves is proof of fishy business going on there. As far as GIC and Temasek’s investments in those bankrupt banks are concerned, their excuses of that being long-term investments are pure illogical logics.

    With so much uncertainties about the magnitude of the losses and associated problems, they harped that it was an opportune time to buy into those banks. If the risks associated are that minimal, Warren Buffet or the Japanese or the Arabs would have taken up or taken up more of these opportunies at the same time.

    Everyone knows investments are based on long-term prospects and returns. However, the investments were made at a time when the outlook was more than grim. As envisaged, the stock prices of those banks continued to fall significantly thereafter. Does this mean that the investments had been done hastily without significant assessment of the downside risks?

    With so many billions of dollars involved, even a tiny 1% is able to let a person live in luxury for the rest of his/her life. As far as accountability is concerned, it’s a foregone conclusion.

  33. Too Smart to Be Fooled said

    MOF is being IRRESPONSIBLE when they publish figures that is not representative of the real situation at Ground Level.

    Shame on the highly (overpaid) Bureucrats.

  34. Gary Teoh said

    Tak Boleh Tahan

  35. The SS said

    Should we not ask the Govt to publish what is promised to be given out and what has been actually disbursed. This can be a measure of the effectiveness of their targetting and take away all these headline grabbing numbers.

  36. […] Singaporeans are fed, up with progress! – Hard Hitting in the Lion City: Very Necessary – URBANRANT: The “Union” in the new NTUC logo appears to fade into the background – The Online Citizen: Uniquely Singapore […]

  37. Insulted said

    I believe the Mas Selamat affair is the final straw. No one actually believes what the government says anymore. Call me cynical but how can anyone have any trust on them after the greed they displayed in enriching themselves and now the shameful way they have defended themselves. Every word they say, and every figure they provide will now have to be scrutinised. Somehow its begining to show that the figures don’t add up or are so manipulated that it is so far from the truth. How can we ever trust their self proclaimed “checks and balance”. How can we ever trust them again, you tell me.

  38. aygee said

    So, it seems that providing cash handouts indeed is not the way to go, from the few that responded to my comment.

    Is there a way we can put forward our ideas that levies to public utilities and public transport is a better way of spreading the wealth,keeping costs down, rather than giving cash handouts? would the govt listen to feedback?

    Now, separately – on the point of Singapore Inc. In a twisted kind of way, i kind of agree about how PAP goes about to make money and store it. Because “Money is Power”. our large reserves gives us the power to be a key player in geopolitical issues and the regional/global economy. We use it to get other countries/MNCs to come and put money in Singapore.

    Face it, folks, outside of our port, refineries, which is getting more and more obsolete, we dont have much else to offer to the rest of the world. The money we have in our reserves however, puts us in a strong geopolitical position.

    If Kuwait didnt have any oil and not selling it to America, do you think the US will be bothered to defend Kuwait when Iraq invaded it? We dont have oil, but we now have MONEY.

    But what i disagree is that in doing all this for the survival of Singapore, the residents are forgotten. thats where it becomes very sad.

    So – should we still be looking for the survival of Singapore in the long run, or should we be looking for our individual rights now?

    indeed, the P65ers, like me, would rather be looking out for my individual rights and well-being. we are different from our parents of the 60s-70s-80s era.

    The PAP govt really have to move forward and rethink of their role for us citizens as well…on top of the survival of Singapore in the long run. This is where we should be willing to pay top dollar for the best thinkers.

  39. Gary Teoh said

    I am very pissed off with the Piss And Piss government!!!Dont give us progress package during 2011.I can’t believe you anymore.Don’t use HDB upgrading to threaten us,we don’t believe you any more !!!

  40. tunkudon said

    yes . we dun believe u anymore !!!! any gahment pp read it pls forward it. again 1 more time we dun belive u anymore

  41. patriot said

    Yes! They are no more worthy of the slightest respect!

    patriot.

  42. Shirley said

    Clearly, the Public Interest is now out of sight. Driven by their own self-interest, WE ARE clearly out of sight. If they’re going to continue running S’pore like a Business entity, then go start a multi-million corp, don’t engage in Public governance!

  43. Daniel said

    “If they’re going to continue running S’pore like a Business entity, then go start a multi-million corp, don’t engage in Public governance!”

    That’s the point. Business entity masquerading as a government has the greatest advantage of any business. Simply enact rule and regulation, using governmental relationship that translate them into business competitive advantage. Whose business, we should know very well. Make use of governmental relationship and power to bid for business, and using our taxmoney as resource backup to undercut competitor (I don’t have problem with competition to reduce price, but the coffers going to use taxmoney, joyly well be accountable to the citizen). Making use of government figure for advantage. For example, Citigroup pays LKY as senior Advisor. Samewise for other banks like Standard Chartered, etc… Lee Hsien Yang for F&N. Note this are millions of income for coffers too.

    Now, given that these coffers have vest interest and hold position in public profit company, won’t there be conflict of interest ? Am I surprise that Singapore has 26 years high inflation and yet downplayed by the government which give rhetoric ?

  44. Logicalman said

    It’s amazing why the Govt will bother to tax us, collect & verify that tax, then put in even more resources using taxpayers’ money to work out how much to hand back to us as “goodwill”, based on a set of complex criterion (house value, income, age group, etc – funny again how GST is slapped across the board, even on donations, but handouts is so complex), separate handout into cash, medisave, education top-up, rebates, etc, printing and distributing flyers to tell us that they are helping us, wasting even more time & resources trying to convince us that they are in fact helping us.

    Let’s be practical. Remove GST from all basic good and services. Reduce GST to 5% for all other items until the global economic situation, as well as other crisis such as rice and oil supplies, improve. ERP? Well, tax only when practical transportation alternatives are readily available and affordable. Otherwise, this tax will only enrich the Govt but not serve the purpose for which it was conceived, ie. to curb car usage & improve traffic flow.

    As someone pointed out, the revenue from foreign workers’ levy alone is astronomical, compared with what it is supposed to fund. I firmly believe that the Govt is not cash strapped, and that ample surpluses are being generated from various sources already. Even if this is not true and they are losing money elsewhere, put simply, that’s the price for the risks they choose to undertake; the people should not be footing the bill.

    And if it isn’t timely to talk about wage increases now, for the sake of the country, we are willing to bite the bullet as what we did when the Govt dropped employer CPF contribution, but first, do the right thing and bring down the artificially bumped-up prices that have hit us most hard.

  45. patriot said

    Me posted this question twice at different sites but have got no response thus far.

    I was told sometimes back that there are Regulations concerning the importations of rice and sugar into Singapore. Was also told that Philippines sugar is not imported though it is cheaper, is this information true and accurate? Another concerns import quota(limit) on rice, how does this rule works?

    Can anyone who knows, please enlighten me.

    Yours truly: patriot.

  46. LimChuKangGRC said

    My conscience is questioning me. I can’t accept this money. I know it is simply there to appease the public over what happened with the security breach at Whitley Road Detention Center and lack of accountability demonstrated by PAP. But then I feel it is our money, we deserve it. What should I do? I feel there’s no closure on the whole issue. I hope there are honest Singaporean out there who feel the same.

  47. Fever Guy said

    The funny thing is that why delay paying the rest of the money to july and oct? The poor need it now since the inflation is hardest hit in early part of the year. MAS says inflation to drop in 2nd half. Then why isn’t all the money given one shot in 30th April? Why has the gahment need to separate them out in July and Oct. This gahment has very poor policy control and planning. They are really nuts about their own plans. The poor and middle class needs the money sooner than later to aid them, yet the gahment delay as much as possible so as to prolong the goodwill as long as possible. Wake up you suckers, who cares about prataman opening stupid palace for sinkies. Will MSK go visit him personally with a gift on 1st of MAY, unlikely?

    FG

  48. Daniel said

    FeverGuy,
    the answer is very simple. You see, our surplus is $6billions and $10billions from property, and that is only from around 9 months since budget announcement. This means that at end of year, the total from previous to end of year endup > $25billions extra then (Of course, unless you believe that property will not reap $10 billion till end of year.)… So by giving you paltry amount in stage phase rather than one shot, they can take the previous paltry amount to cover for next year surplus without giving you extra more. Yap, you nail it, this current surplus is only because of 7% hike, and that’s it, no more rebate until the next GST hike even though the ongoing surplus still reap billions for coffers. Mean that we citizen could no longer benefit from the surplus anymore then. Very smart of government but people do see through it. Now you know why government give moronic reasons of not giving you the full, like saying you spend it all, if given one shot ?

    Prolong the rebate
    For example, if one given rebate of $750, and broken into 3 phase => Apr, July, Oct

    accumulated March Surplus: $16billions
    Citizen: $250

    accumulated End of Year Surplus: $25 billions min
    Citizen: $500

    Now u see it clearly ? $750 just to curb for subsequent years.

    Judging from history, do you think the government going to give you another rebate next year ? Nope. Wait till next GST hike when they ‘rob’ the citizen and give back paltry sum again…

    It becomes so standard practice that one can easily see through …

  49. janice said

    i’m a simple person. All this talk is giving me a headache. But what i try to do is gradually shift all my savings from government banks like dbs or posb to private ones. Not hold them in longterm plans or schemes so that i can hopefully leave the country asap if there is a chance. Other than the hdb flat my parents own, i refused to buy one myself and get suck into the 10 to 30 years loan. That being said, I am luckier than most even though i went on a crash course to reduce my debt to 0% drastically over the last 2 years so that nothing holds me financially.

    My point is that, i quit singapore inc. emotionally and mentally.

  50. Fever Guy said

    Daniel,

    Thanks for your clarification. I hope the our PM can sleep well at night in all his comfort.

    FG

  51. Fever Guy said

    Janice,

    I am happy for you and hope your plan succeed to leave the country but do not forget about those whom you care by helping to promote the truth to your friends and relatives about how pathetic is our gahmen. They may be still living in a make believe singapore dream and help spread the truth to them. thank you.

    FG

  52. Daniel said

    LimChuKangGRC,
    Accept the money but don’t feel indebt to the gahmen as it is the money that should rightfully belong to the citizen and nation. The coffers have more than their fair share of $$$$$$$$$.

  53. annonymous said

    aygee Says:
    But what i disagree is that in doing all this for the survival of Singapore, the residents are forgotten. thats where it becomes very sad.

    i totally agree. the govt only focus on building singapore inc. at all cost.
    unless they start focusing more on the ‘heartware’ instead of the ‘hardware’ they will not be getting my vote.

  54. K' said

    I’ve read that the last payout would be in 2010. Something significant about that date methinks… Why such a large spread out of payments I wonder?

    Also they are called growth dividends. Man… I feel like I am owning 0.000001 percent of stock of some corporation.

  55. Gary Teoh said

    Those can quit spore are in deed lucky, for me i have to suffer here for long long years.In the end no CPF savings,can’t withdraw for so many reasons.What is the use of savings and you cant get your money.Those young ppl,got chance better migrate

  56. Amused said

    Remember to remove about 50% of Singapore’s population from the calculation. Foreign workers and PR’s do not get “rebates”.

    So, an average of $1100 per person? Assuming 2.5 million eligible Singaporeans (how do you apply CPF grants to babies?), 2.5m x 1100 = $2.75 billion. Seems that even the “best case” scenario totals up to less than 3 billion. And don’t tell me that 0.25 billion (= 250 million) is insignificant…

    Oh, maybe that was the printing cost for the fliers?
    They sure been getting a lot of business recently no?

  57. Expected Analysis said

    “Will there be another Swiss bank like UBS for wealth management? We doubt it. That’s why we invested in it.”
    Lee Kuan Yew

    Is this a response to netizens’ posting on TOC?

    The fact remains that the investments were made at a questional time. 7 or 9% annual returns sound good only on paper.

    Can you deny the fact that with the same amount of investments in those banks done at their recent stock prices, GIC or Temasek would have increased their percentage of shares in those banks very significantly?

    In what way can Singaporeans hold GIC and Temasek accountable for less than desirable investments since we are the shareholders?

    Through the ballot box, of course!

  58. Fever Guy said

    Expected,

    I cant imagine how much GIC is going to lose in banks with a bottomless pit and the figures will require 56 man years or more to calculate.

    These banks are still raising capital and diluting stakeholders. Who ‘s call will it be to end capital raise if ever SWF buys more of them? Can SWF take up a seat in the board and say no to capital increase so that no more diluting our investment? Why the old man still so hard up on these banks? Did he want Singapore Inc to crash earlier by investing unwisely? We have money but it can be emptied sooner than we know.

    I am totally against anymore investment in sub prime hit banks. Once bitten twice shy, yet our GIC seems to like getting bitten all over again.

    FG

  59. Daniel said

    Fever Guy,
    that’s why the old man says it may take 30 years . By then, he’s gone, his family gone. No one accountable just like it is today. The new generation forgets about the ‘blood debt’ LKY and coffers own citizen 30 years from now….

    Do I say that Singapore future is gone ? Yes, it is gone because ministers that not even willing to hedge on Singapore but bet on getting more money first and then setting up law to prevent investigation show much confidence they have in future in Singapore. No one accountable. No one responsible. None of our asset transparent to citizen. Decade from now, all the old Papstards meet their maker, and so will be our money.

    Now, all we doing is just surviving. We have to find ways to salvage the situation.

  60. S' said

    Shareholders that doesn’t even have access to the most basic form of information – Annual Report. What kind of shareholders are we? If we are “investing” in the future of our country by paying tax, shouldn’t there be at least some kind of accountability from the people who’re managing these funds?

    “GIC, set up in 1981 to manage the country’s foreign reserves, has earned an annual average 9.5 percent since inception, it said two years ago at its 25th anniversary.

    The company, which doesn’t publish its financial statements, aims to achieve a rate of return exceeding the average inflation rate in the U.S., Japan and Germany, according to its Web site.”

    Lee said the fund would probably not give in to calls to be more “transparent” and is unlikely to disclose its returns beyond a period of 5 to 10 years.”

    source: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aGSqHSr.EHjw&refer=home

  61. Logicalman said

    We asked about publishing financial statements. May I know if other SWFs publish financial statements, and if so, fully, to their citizens? If not, we should not expect any different treatment for GIC or Temasek, as far as SWF is concerned. I do believe there’s a need for some non-disclosure here as it involves a country’s reserves & the way it is managed. What is published and known to the citizen can also be exploited by others to sabotage Singapore.

    I think there are two main issues that can be better addressed by the Govt:

    1. the reported gains from these investments do not translate into benefits for the citizen

    Yes, there are growth dividends, tax credits, economic shares, etc, but these do not stem from gains on investments, and if they do, we have not been told. A large part of the Govt’s surpluses stem from revenues collected from the citizen. So the question is, what about gains on investments made from the citizen’s money? Where and how are they spent?

    2. The absence of check and balance on how funds are used and investments made

    With unlimited access to a pool of ever-increasing reserves for investment, how can the citizen be sure that investments are being made and managed in a responsible manner, and that indeed half of earnings over a 5-year period is being spent (where and how)? How much is being re-invested, and in what form? Are investments sufficiently diversified to spread risks and to ensure a healthy overall return? How are the fund/wealth managers rewarded? These questions need to be answered and validated, at least by a qualified independent party appointed and supported by the necessary legislation to facilitate this, and also to recommend and enforce corrective actions where necessary.

    The Govt cannot afford to downplay the need to address these 2 issues. Afterall, the reserves exist because of our primarily contractionary fiscal policy over the years, and the main source of reserves is still from the citizens.

    The citizens are appreciative of the foresight of the Govt to manage and grow these reserves, instead of squandering them away. However, there is a very real need to ensure that the management of these reserves is carried out in a responsible manner, that independent processes are in place to validate this and address any deviation, and that gains on investment should be shared with the citizens in an equitable manner.

  62. Daniel said

    ” I do believe there’s a need for some non-disclosure here as it involves a country’s reserves & the way it is managed. What is published and known to the citizen can also be exploited by others to sabotage Singapore.”

    It comes to a point that no one trust the competency and judgement of those who make the investment of Temasek and GIC because no one is responsible and accountable at all as in the case of Selamat. From the Selamat, we see the true face of PAP that is no one on top going to be responsible. Imagine one day, if this thing blow out, who are responsible ? Not the management but the lowly operational guy who just as pathetic as the Selamat guard ?

    So the non-disclosure seems to be protected the incompetency and ineptness, and doing cover-up and all sort of thing. Isn’t so much investment end up as bad deal and yet no one even get boot out and question it ?

    ShinCorpse among those ? Where is the verdict ? Move on already ?

    Is Singapore’s financial is that strong as proclaimed by the government, why’s there to fear any attack if revealed to the public ? Not unless, it is all make-believe.

    The only thing I believe is that they fear scrutiny by the public, and their only excuse is that what they do is so complex no one or MP even understand them. Frankly, are these jokers even understand what they doing ?

  63. LHL accountability speech said

    in protecting WKS – LHL has made it very clear – if it is calculated risk, and if the dice is thrown and it shows one instead of six, it is not the government’s fault.

    In parliament, Tharman has indicated, the govt should not monitor the investments of GIC and Temasek too closely as it would hinder their investment.

    LKY indicated in the bloomberg interview – it will take 5 – 7 years to recoup our losses in Citi and UBS. Shincorpse and Suzhou – no news.

    Sorry, the govt is not accountable to our reserves, and they have indicated that our citizens do not need to know where our reserves are going.

    As long as LKY is managing GIC , Ho Ching Temasek and LHL is managing Singapore – we can sleep soundlee. first world corporate governance.

    Do not expect anyone to dare cast doubts and ask for independant audits. Ong Teng Cheong did not even get a state burial and I feel sorry as he was a hero in singapore. Lucky they did not incarcerate him in ISD or demonise him like Devan Nair. (cross dressing alcoholic)

  64. Expected Analysis said

    Hi all,

    Most of the points have been well covered in relation to GIC and Temasek’s investments.

    Without a good estimate of the amount of S’pore’s reserves, how are we going to quantify and qualify their returns? Base on $100/200/300 billion? 1% of either of these sums is a monstrous difference.

    Is there transparency in the remuneration of the executives and management at Temasek and GIC? Do we need to wait till a sub-prime type of management crisis there to realise the magnitute of their losses?

    As far as I’m concerned, there are only two distinct reasons for being evasive about GIC, Temasek and the reserves. One, we have so much more than perceived. Two, we use to have so much but depleted significantly over the last 2 years, especially since 2007 with the onset of the crisis.

    These is also a possibility that GIC has invested heavily in UBS prior to the crisis and finds it necessary to give it a lifeline.

    Whatever the reason, any further injection of funds into UBS will only serve to cover their write-offs for the foreseeable future.

    To protect himself, LKY hints that this investment may take up to 30 years to bear fruits. Unfortunately, it is unlikely Singaporeans can hold him accountable.

    May I offer this uninvited advisory to whoever concerned?

    Do not commit any long-term liability until the full impact of the crisis is known. The wealth of countries will be decimated and untold sufferings will unleash on human.

    We are already into the second phase of the crisis with high inflation and extremely high prices of most commodities. Take care and practise utmost prudence.

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