Friday, 30 January 2015

Who will be Singapore's Next Prime Minister?

Singapore Pink Bear has put forth an interesting blog posting comparing Chan Chun Sing, Tan Chuan-Jin, Low Thia Khiang and Roy Ngerng. If you want to know who will be Singapore's next Prime Minister visit

Who is Singapore next Prime Minister

AHPETC S&CC Arrears Shows that the Worker's Party is No Different from the PAP

SINGAPORE - The Workers' Party town council has taken steps to collect some of the service and conservancy charges it is owed. 

Workers Party of Singapore Letter of Demand S&CC AHPETC

Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) vice-chairman Png Eng Huat told The Straits Times that legal proceedings are started "as a last resort after some time has elapsed". "From the first reminder right up to the legal letter sent to the resident, there are ample time and opportunities for the resident to make payment or negotiate a payment plan with the Town Council," he added. "The resident can also approach the respective MP for further assistance."

Mr Png was responding to media queries after a report on Tuesday in Chinese-language daily Lianhe Zaobao, which said some residents had approached the People's Action Party branch chairmen in Aljunied GRC for help after receiving lawyers' letters of demand from AHPETC over the last few months.

Managing a Town Council requires money. For Singaporeans that criticize the PAP-run Town Councils for collecting arrears, the Worker's Party actions proves the reality that there is no free lunch in this world

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Roy Ngerng Interview with Joel Lazarus: "I want to save the world"

In a recent interview with British academic and activist, Roy Ngerng declared his "intentions to save the world". Apparently, Roy Ngerng is not content with trying to save Singaporeans, but now sees it as his calling to save the world.

We at SG Bumiputra are not sure who Roy's thinks he is, but his antics are bordering on being delusional. Surely Roy Ngerng must know that the world does not need his saving.

SG General Elections 2016: Nordic nations aren’t the utopias they’re made out to be ...

Stop the Scandimania: Nordic nations aren’t the utopias they’re made out to be. They may do well on happiness surveys, but they have plenty of problems.

Michael Booth, a UK journalist who married a Danish wife, is the author of a book about the Nordics called “The almost perfect people”. Here’s his op-ed in Washington post, which gives a balanced view on the Nordics and calls out the media who laud the Nordic model unthinkingly.

Michael Booth, a British journalist, is the author of “The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia.”

Singapore Swiss Standard of Living

'What’s there not to love?” actor Will Ferrell enthuses in the second episode of NBC’s expat-comedy “Welcome to Sweden.” “Picking blueberries, outhouses, a year off if you have a baby — even if you don’t have a baby, just a year off. Your family around constantly. Lagom — not too much, not too little. I mean, they’re doing it right over here.”

Ferrell is in character, but his fervor is all too familiar. The United States is in the midst of an episode of chronic Scandimania, brought on in part by the habitually high placing of Sweden and its similarly prosperous, egalitarian, collectivist neighbors — Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland — in global rankings of everything from happiness to lack of corruption, gender equality and consumption of organic root vegetables.

It is true, the old Viking tribes excel in many of these areas, but I fear, lately, we non-Scandis have become rather blinded by the Northern Lights.

Consider the glowing reports on Finnish schools (the best in the world, says Smithsonian Magazine, though the latest rankings show they are slipping), Norwegian prisons (“superior” claims the Atlantic — it helps that Norway barely has any criminals) and Swedish road safety (New York Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to borrow the model, though I suspect that speeding fines that rise with income wouldn’t be popular in Manhattan). And there’s the adulation of Nordic cuisine. (Is there a U.S. publication that hasn’t gone foraging with René Redzepi? Car and Driver, maybe.)

The Washington Post is not immune to Scandinavia’s charms, recently marveling at how Danish branches of McDonald’s manage to pay their employees 2.5 times U.S. McDonald’s workers’ wages (clue: When about 75 percent of earnings disappear as income and consumption taxes, higher wages are more necessity than choice).

The New York Times also seems to have a crush on the Nordics. “Joy Is Always in Season,” it gushed in a piece on Denmark (the latest Gallup polls indicate that’s less true than it once was), and last month the Times assured us that “A Big Safety Net and Strong Job Market Can Coexist. Just Ask Scandinavia.” (*Cough* unemployment is 5.6 percent in the United States, vs. 8.1 percent in Sweden, 8.9 percent in Finland and 6.4 percent in Denmark.)

I live in Denmark, and although it appears to have been surpassed as the happiest country in the world by Panama, Costa Rica or Fiji (depending on which list you believe), it is still a pretty great country, especially in which to raise kids. But Scandinavia is not the utopia that American liberals or the 11 million Americans of Nordic descent often make it out to be, just as it is not the quasi-commie, statist gulag that those on the right would often have us believe.

And global and domestic events are conspiring to make life a little more uncertain for these former high achievers. I am not just talking first-world problems, although those are definitely a Scandi specialty — at a recent dinner party, I heard one woman complain that her son’s preferred university did not offer the surfing degree he wanted. Rather, the Scandinavian model’s structural fissures are coming under increasing stress.

Plummeting oil prices have made the Norwegians jumpy, for instance. The oil boom that began in the early 1970s transformed them from the butt of country-bumpkin jokes to the Beverly Hillbillies of the north. But now revenue is declining, and their economy is stuttering for the first time in decades.

Meanwhile, the Norwegians seem to have lost their parsimonious, workaholic, Lutheran mojo. Norwegians treat Friday as a “free day" and take more sick leave than anyone else in Europe, if not the world — a law enshrines their right to claim sick days even while on holiday. And they don’t want to work in fish-processing factories anymore. They’ve delegated that to cheap foreign laborers, while, at the same time, the popularity of the right-wing, anti-immigration Progress Party indicates declining tolerance for those very outsiders.

Sweden, too, has its problems. It is struggling with increasing racial tension — as evidenced by the firebombing of a mosque in Eskilstuna on Christmas Day.

It has also seen the rise of a hitherto gagged right wing. The Sweden Democrats party, which has its roots in the neo-Nazi movement, won 13 percent of the vote in September’s general election. Some credit its rise to Sweden’s “open door” immigration policy; others point to the poor integration of those immigrants and their resulting overrepresentation in crime and unemployment figures.

Either way, the party’s electoral success prompted hasty political horse trading among other parties intent on keeping extremists as far from the levers of power as possible, which in turn prompted allegations that Sweden’s political establishment was subverting the democratic process. This has distracted from the slowing economy, increasing state and household debt levels, and one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Europe.

Denmark took a bigger hit than its neighbors following the 2008 global economic crisis, which increased pressure on its massive welfare state, funded by the highest taxes in the world. Household debt is the highest in Europe (any connection there, I wonder?). And there is a nagging suspicion that the universal, free education and health care we receive are not as good as they should be. Danish schools perform poorly in international rankings, and the country has the world’s highest cancer rates.

Like the Norwegians, the Danes appear to have taken their foot off the gas. They too enjoyed an oil boom, albeit a rather more modest one that peaked in the 1980s, and along with the Norwegians they work among the fewest hours a year of any Europeans.

In Iceland, a combination of ultra-Nordic social cohesion — bluntly, nepotism — combined with Milton Friedman-style rampant monetarism led to the near-bankruptcy of the entire country. This wasn’t just a question of bonkers bankers, but a kind of collective giddy spree that saw ordinary households taking out sophisticated yet reckless loans in yen or mortgages in Swiss francs. The Icelanders are recovering after a fashion, but their pride has taken a mighty blow, they still owe an awful lot of money, and few outsiders are prepared to lend to these semi-feral mavericks.

Finally, Finland is dealing with the double whammy of a loss of trade with Russia — after the European Union imposed Ukraine-related sanctions — and the decline of its golden goose, Nokia. Prime Minister Alexander Stubbrecently blamed Apple for the country’s economic woes: The iPad killed off Finland’s paper industry, he moaned, while the iPhone destroyed Nokia.

The Finns also have a colorful portfolio of demons and taboos with which to wrestle, ranging from binge drinking (alcohol is the No. 1 cause of deathfor working-age people) to one of the highest homicide rates in Western Europe. There was a particularly nasty double axe murder in Oulu on Wednesday.

All that said, the Nordic countries do remain true lands of opportunity. There is far greater social mobility here — freedom for people, regardless of background, to fulfill their potential and rise up the income scale — than there is in the States. Scandinavia also has relatively low crime, great public transportation and low-cost day care.

But here are just two Scandi-paradoxes that might make you hesitate before signing on a nice penthouse in Turku: These countries that do so well in life-satisfaction surveys also record the highest consumption of antidepressants in the world, and despite their reputation for gender equality, they have the highest rates of violence against women in Europe.

I suspect that few Americans would truly embrace a Scandinavian-style society. The tax rates alone would likely be a sufficient deterrent. Though I’m a freelance journalist, I essentially work until Thursday lunchtime for the state. And it’s not as if the money that is left in my pocket goes all that far:

These are fearfully expensive countries in which to live. The Scandinavians’ collective modesty, distrust of boasting and self-censoring of ambitions would also be hard for Americans to comprehend, I suspect. A Danish acquaintance who lives in Washington was recently back in Copenhagen having coffee with friends. She remarked, proudly, that her son was doing especially well in math. “There was a silence, and then someone changed the conversation,” she told me. “If I had said he was great at role-playing or drawing it would have been fine, but it was totally wrong to boast about academic achievement.”

Even if you are willing to accept such downsides, there is no exportable model for turning a country Scandinavian. These lands have evolved into the flawed, fascinating paragons of civilization that they are today over many centuries, through a combination of unique historical events, religion, geography and climate — to which some might add DNA. There is no secret to replicate their success.

Put it another way: I’m not saying the Nordic miracle is over, but it was never a miracle. And it’s over.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Demon-cratic Singapore Crosses the Line into Distasteful

In a recent post on the socio-political Facebook page of Demon-cratic Singapore, author Leslie Chew has crossed the line. In his post, Leslie Chew asks for the quick death of Singapore's founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew and alluded to the fact that Singaporeans would celebrate it endlessly.

Demon-cratic Singapore Distasteful Leslie Chew

While I can understand Leslie Chew's hatred for Mr Lee, I think there is a limit. Beyond which, I think Leslie Chew himself is no better. I would like to ask Leslie Chew, if the tables were turned and people made similar remarks about his own father, how would he feel. In short, Leslie Chew has allowed his hatred, to be so all consuming that he has himself become an ugly and bitter person.

While Leslie's comics were entertaining when they first began, I believe that the comics have becoming nothing but vengeful rants. It is no wonder that Leslie Chew's comics no longer have the following they once had and that viewership is fast dwindling. In our opinion, Leslie's attack on Mr Lee Kuan Yew is nothing more than a desperate attempt to drive up readership for his inevitable appeal for donations.

Our advice to Leslie Chew is to go get a proper job. Perhaps by actually working, you will earn an income and not be so bitter about not having anything at all.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Singapore General Election 2016: Facts Singaporeans Must Know - Public Transport Fare Increases

Singapore General Election 2016: Facts Singaporeans Must Know - Public Transport Fare Increases (article reproduced from Channel News Asia)

Public transport fares not tied closely to oil prices: Boston Consulting

Boston Consulting tracked changes to bus and MRT fares over the past 17 years and found these increased much more slowly than oil prices.

SINGAPORE: Bus and MRT fares in Singapore are not tied closely to changes in oil price. That is a key finding of a study by Boston Consulting Group, which shared the report exclusively with Channel News Asia.

Boston Consulting tracked changes over the past 17 years and it found that bus and MRT fares increased at a much slower pace than oil prices.

The survey also showed that wages rose steadily between 1997 and 2014 - the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose at a slower pace for the first 10 years, before picking up pace from 2008. And according to the study, fare increases have lagged behind wages and consumer prices. Boston Consulting said fare increases kept pace with CPI for about the first 10 years, before slowing down. It added that Singapore is one of few cities in the world that keeps its transport costs low.

"The state actually invests in majority of the infrastructure - so the MRT, LRT lines, the bus interchanges, they have been built by the state there is an expectation that the public transport operators should achieve efficiency and productivity improvements every year," said Partner and Managing Director of Boston Consulting Group Singapore Dinesh Khanna.

"So even if you are expecting inflation to go up, fares should be growing at rates lower than inflation. Over the past few years, the state has also subsidized and put in place more concession fares for the senior citizens and other important interest groups."

Friday, 23 January 2015

TOC Censors Negative Comments

theonlinecitizen censors negative comments

In typical opposition fashion, where facts are distorted for the purpose of stirring anti-government sentiments, The Online Citizen has accused Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for hiding negative comments on his Facebook page.

SG Bumiputera is once again curious why there is a double standard. When we were threatened with arrest and legal actions by NSP' Ravi Philemon, we tried to tell our story on The Online Citizen. We were however disappointed that we were blocked from posting anything on TOC's wall. The above screen shots (on the right) will prove our point.

In short, unless you are abiding by the same standards as you demand of others, you have no right to say anything.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

SG Bumiputra Responds to Ravi Philemon's Threat to Sue Singapore Blogger

Dear Mr Ravi Philemon,

I refer to your Message of Demand on 18 Jan 2015, telling me to take down my blog post and Facebook entry as (in your opinion) it is defamatory. I also note that you have already made a police report and that you will take legal actions against me if I do not submit to your demands by 21 Jan 2015.

I thank you for your kind offer, but I have given the matter serious thought. I have come to the conclusion that any reasonable person will take you blog posting on 9 Jan 2015 titled "I am still Charlie" to mean that you support the absolute right to free speech even if it means insulting Islam and Muslims. In view that your blog posting was advocating the absolute right to free speech, I find it ironic that you are demanding that I not exercise the same right that you champion.

Therefore, after careful consideration, I have decided that I will not submit to your demands and will continue to leave my post online for all to see your hypocrisy and the double-standards of opposition members like yourself. Opposition members have long argued that the People's Action Party (PAP) use defamation suits to silence their critics. It is now obvious that Opposition Members like yourself also do the same.

Having said that, this is my counter proposal. If you can satisfactorily explain to me the difference between your actions and that of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's defamation suit against Roy Ngerng, I will take down my post. If you do not respond or, in my opinion, cannot satisfactorily explain the difference, the post will remain online.

For your information, I have also sent email and Facebook messages to the Secretary-General of the National Solidarity Party (NSP) Ms Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss seeking her views on the use of legal actions against perceived inaccuracies.

SG Bumiputera

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Chee Soon Juan rebuts Chan Chun Sing

In response to Minister Chan Chun Sing's highlighting of his political failures as an example of why Singaporeans (and hence foreigners), should not give weigh to Dr Chee Soon Juan's  comments on the Huffington Post, Dr Chee Soon Juan responded that "I have, unfortunately or otherwise, chosen a different path. It is, admittedly, not a conventional path and, certainly, not one that leads to power, privilege and a high salary. In this respect Mr Chan is right, I have not succeeded."
Since Dr Chee has admitted that he is a failure, how does that work? Vote for me: I am a failure!
SDP Singapore Chee Soon Juan
If Dr Chee stopped for a moment from his ongoing efforts to denounce Singapore and Singaporeans on the international stage, he would know how ridiculous this sounds. This is no different from a taxi driver saying I failed my driving test, but ride in my taxi anyway. Or a lawyer saying I failed the bar exam, but nonetheless let me defend you in court.
Simply unheard of.
In short, Minister Chan Chun Sing is saying, "trying and not succeeding is fine. Lying and not admitting is not."

Monday, 19 January 2015

Ravi Philemon Threatens Blogger with Arrest and Legal Actions

Ravi Philemon Threatens Singapore Blogger with Arrest and Legal Actions
In an interesting turn of events, free speech proponent Ravi Philemon has threatened SG Bumiputra with arrest and legal actions if we do not take down our blog post and Facebook entry, and publish an apology for making false allegations about him. It is indeed ironic that the post in question is about Ravi Philemon’s support for Charlie Hebdo which champions absolute free speech to the extent of insulting another’s faith and belief.
Ravi Philemon #IamCharlie Law Suit
The #IamCharlie movement is not about freedom of expression. It is about whether this freedom is absolute or whether the exercise of this freedom comes with responsibility. By declaring your support for the #IamCharlie movement, one is saying that freedom of speech is absolute and does not come with responsibility. As the #IamCharlie movement was started in response to the attack on Charlie Hebdo as a result of a comic insulting the prophet  Mohammed, supporting the #IamCharlie movement is saying you agree with the rights to insult Islam and Muslims as it is free speech.
As we consider our decision with regards to Ravi Philemon’s threat of arrest and legal actions, we would like to ask Ravi Philemon (and opposition supporters in general) the following questions:
a.   how they reconcile their belief for absolute free speech when it affects others, and why the right to absolute free speech does not apply when it concerns them
b.   what are their thoughts on Mr Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation suit against Roy Ngerng in view that their own people also now take similar actions to correct perceived inaccuracies

SG Bumiputra

Saturday, 17 January 2015

SDP Chee Soon Juan Denounced by Chiam See Tong

Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) Dr Chee Soon Juan is denounced by respected veteran opposition leader Mr Chiam See Tong. Even opposition members question Dr Chee Soon Juan's love for Singapore and are offended by his acts of attacking Singapore to others.

Chee Soon Juan SDP v PAP



Hansard - 3 November 1995

Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), Dr Chee Soon Juan, with two other SDP members, attended the "alternative panel" discussion organised by Dr George Crane in Williams College on 15 September 1995, and there endorsed Mr Francis Seow's attacks on the judiciary, and deplores the SDP's support for a baseless attack by a fugitive from justice on the independence and integrity of our judiciary and legal system, that ensure the rule of law in Singapore.

Mr Chiam See Tong: Much obliged, Sir. During the break, I have the opportunity to read the speech of Francis Seow, the famous fugitive from Singapore, who has been making headlines of himself in America. This passage that I have looked into has, in fact, already been read by Mr Chay. But I think there is no harm reading it again because of the serious allegations there. It says here:

"The judiciary in Singapore is neither independent nor free. It is pliant. It is corrupt. It is beholden to the Prime Minister and the establishment, judges in Singapore are invariably leaning over backwards in favour of the government and of the establishment and award them grotesque sums in damages for so called defamation. The record quantum of damages awarded to the SM Lee Kuan Yew and his son Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister in waiting and Goh Chok Tong the seat warmer Prime Minister in the recent IHT libel case, is a good case in point. It is renowned among Singaporeans that the rule of Lee has displaced the rule of law in Singapore."

Mr Speaker, Sir, this is a very serious allegation of our judiciary and of our courts in Singapore. And what astounds me is that the Secretary-General of the SDP was present there. Instead of saying that he agreed to many of the things spoken by Francis Seow, he should immediately, after the speech, stand up and say that the judiciary in Singapore is not at all like that of what has been made out by Francis Seow. That is the position he should have taken.

And it also surprises me that the Leader of the Opposition in this House has not come out with the position in regard to the independence and integrity of the judiciary because he has not taken a stand on what Francis Seow had said in Williamstown.

It saddens me that the SDP is now run by a megalomaniac. This man wants the centre-stage. He wants the centre-stage all the time. I think it is this character which sends him to Williamstown. He thought he could get centre-stage there and he could get some publicity and score some political points.

Mr Speaker, Sir, but what is more important that has happened in Williamstown is that there are certain people there who would like to see Singapore being run down and attacked Singapore. The issue here is not just about people like Chee Soon Juan who come and go in any event but about the survival of Singapore. Singapore's survival is at stake because there is an attack on the basic institution of Singapore and on the system of Singapore. And it is the duty of loyal Opposition to defend Singapore.

If I were asked: whether I would attend this alternative panel at Williamstown on 15th September, my answer would certainly be "no". I would not have gone even if I were given a free return air ticket. Why not? If you know the motive, the reasons why they want to hold the alternative panel, no decent Singaporean would attend that meeting.

The purpose of that meeting was specifically held to denounce our political system and, in particular, our judiciary. I say that it is not right to attend that meeting. In fact, it is very wrong. Any Singaporean with some sense of decency and good manners will tell you that it is wrong to attend. But some will even dare to say, "Well, Mr Goh Chok Tong went to Williams College on a private visit." People who said that are either completely naïve or dishonest. I can tell you that those who aspire to win Parliamentary elections are not that naïve. Therefore, the people who said that must be completely dishonest.

Would Williams College confer high honours on Mr Goh Chok Tong, if he were not the Prime Minister of Singapore or has not contributed to the economic success of Singapore? I do not think so. But the people at Williams College are no fools. It is precisely that they know Mr Goh Chok Tong, as Prime Minister of Singapore, has in fact contributed to the economic success of Singapore that an honorary doctorate degree was conferred on him. Therefore, it is wrong to say that one can attend and take part in the alternative panel discussion because Goh Chok Tong went there as a private citizen.

I have not been consulted by the SDP. If I were consulted, I would have advised them against sending a delegation to attend the alternative panel discussion at Williams College. I give my reasons. One, the SDP does not need such publicity. Two, the fact that the SDP was there, it had already given support to that occasion because the purpose for which the alternative panel discussion was specifically organised was to denounce the honouring of Mr Goh Chok Tong and also to denounce the political system in Singapore which includes, of course, the judiciary. Three, as Singaporeans, we must have human decency, good manners and behave honourably. As Singaporeans, it is really in bad taste to attend a function organised by foreigners to denounce the conferring of high honours on our own Prime Minister. If we, as Singaporeans, do not respect our own Prime Minister, how else do you expect foreigners to respect Singapore's Prime Minister.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chiam See Tong: At this juncture, I am not in any way running down the SDP. In fact, that is the party I founded. I am against those who are now in charge of the SDP. They are turning the SDP upside down and making it beyond recognition. When I first started politics in 1976, I said that I would be a constructive, honest and sincere Opposition and I have not, for the last 19 years, deviated from that philosophy.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chiam See Tong: Some people think that the Opposition's duty is to tear down the system and one of the pillars popularly denounced, especially by people like Francis Seow, is the judiciary. I said "no", we should not do it. The SDP, in particular, should not do that.

The present system that has been built up over the past 30 years has served Singapore well and Singaporeans have become prosperous. We have a good thing in hand, and I do not think we should destroy it.

Our judiciary system is now under attack. As has been mentioned by Members of the House, it has been voted the best in Asia, endowed with integrity, where people can get their case heard with confidence. This assessment is not by Singaporeans. This assessment is by foreigners. If foreigners, who have no particular interest in Singapore, have said that the standard of integrity in our courts is the highest in Asia and is incorruptible, I think Singaporeans have got absolutely no right to denounce our judiciary. Foreigners say so. It is not us. If Singaporeans say so, people might say that we want to praise our own system. But foreigners have got no particular interest and yet they say Singapore's judiciary is honest and incorruptible. And yet some people still deem fit to attack our judiciary. I myself have no doubt that our judiciary is independent and has the highest standard of integrity.

But is the Singapore system perfect? Is Singapore's political system perfect and there is no role for the Opposition? The answer, of course, is no. No political system in the world is perfect. Nobody has found a perfect political system yet. The Russians and the Chinese have tried the Communist system. They think it would build utopias, but what happened. They failed miserably. They have to convert their system from the so-called egalitarian system to the free market system.

Singapore has a free market system, but we are still evolving. The Government has commenced its privatisation programme. Singapore society is not static. We are changing all the time, hoping to improve ourselves. We have a good thing now but, of course, Singaporeans hope that we will get a better thing. So I think it is the duty not only of the Opposition but of all Singaporeans to be vigilant, to make sure that a good thing does not turn bad. Why? Because, as you know, human beings are greedy.

Look at Japan. It has been prosperous for over 40 years. Then what happens? Politicians there in the LDP, which has been the ruling power for over 40 years, I believe, have become greedy. But luckily, in Japan, there are patriotic and good people in the opposition who are ready to take over power and make sure that things do not get too bad for Japan.

If we take the example of Japan, Singapore must also put in its place an Opposition, but not any Opposition. Singapore must have a good, responsible and effective Opposition. That is the aim. I think of all responsible people in the Opposition, it is to make sure that Singapore has a good, honest Opposition. To me, Opposition means that we have to be honourable. On the Opposition, we must be honest and not dishonest. To me, the Opposition must be truthful, and not be liars and cheats.

Some hon. Members: Hear, Hear!

Mr Chiam See Tong: To me, above all, in the Opposition, we must be good and patriotic Singaporeans. We must not go around the world denouncing Singapore.

Some hon. Members: Yes.

Mr Chiam See Tong: A lot of talk has been made about the free air ticket. Apparently, it was paid for by students. But if I were asked for my view on this air ticket, I would say that they should not have accepted it. It is given by students who are not working. If I have already started work, I should pay for my own ticket. Why get it from the poor students? I think, in principle, it is just not honourable. It is not right to get students who are not working to pay for you when you are working and you have an income. What does it show? It just reflects the character of the man. Whatever he can get, he gets, whether it is $100 or $200!

There was also a serious attack on the Chief Justice - a crony of Lee Kuan Yew. If I were there, I would have rebutted and said that there is no such thing. It is a very serious thing to say that the Chief Justice is a crony of the Senior Minister. He cannot just stand there and do nothing.

I do not know whether Mr Yong Pung How and Mr Lee Kuan Yew are good friends, because they were students together. But I know for sure that they do have high respect for each other. And they both feel that they have responsibilities towards Singapore and contribute in their own way.

The Leader of the Opposition has already given his reasons for the way he would vote. But to me, this is an important issue which the Opposition must take a stand. For me, I will vote for the motion. I will support it.

An hon. Member: That is right.

Mr Chiam See Tong: When I vote for the motion, I am not voting against the SDP. I am voting for the long-term interest of the SDP. If the SDP, which is now run by people who do not take a stand on this issue and say categorically that the judiciary is independent and has the highest integrity, then I think the SDP has got no future.

What is the SDP trying to achieve? Is it just trying to be one of those irresponsible opposition parties that have come and gone? Or is it really going to contribute to making Singapore a success? I have said many a time that the Opposition must in fact be better than the PAP. We have to contribute as much, if not more than, the PAP in terms of nation building. The Opposition has got a responsibility. The Government has a duty in nation building. So has the Opposition. And there are many issues in which the Opposition can enter into for the good of the people. I think my stand in the Opposition has been very very clear. But unfortunately, there are others who are very ambitious. They come into politics at 30 years old and they hope to be the next Prime Minister of Singapore at 34.

Singapore has a viable system and I do not think that any Opposition should try to sing to the tune of people outside Singapore, whose intentions are in fact questionable in regard to the prosperity and success of Singapore. [Applause]

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Workers Party of Singapore - Rumours of In-fighting

The Workers Party of Singapore may be set to split .... Singapore Political watchers have long speculated that the Workers Party is splintering. Under immense pressure from their success at the Singapore GE 2011, Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Low Thia Khiang have had to up their game and this means eliminating the "dead weight" who have unconditionally supported the Party since it formation and leadership under JB Jeyaretnam. Their purge has upset many so believe that the Workers Party of Singapore is becoming as elitist as the People's Action Party (PAP).

Workers Party of Singapore Faisal Muhamad Abdul Manap

With the purge, many long time supporters of the Worker Party have abandon their Member of Parliament (MP). It is therefore not an uncommon sight these days to see Party light-weights like Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap working the ground alone. This, experienced political observers say, is a clear indication of the in-fighting that is taking place in the Workers Party.
Insiders close to key members within the Workers Party have also told SG Bumiputra that that the commercialization of trade fairs at the expense of hard-working Aljunied shopkeepers, and the "dirty manner" in which AHPETC is run, are adding to the rift in the party. Party Activists are beginning to doubt the character, values and intellect of their key leaders. Many Party Activists have become disillusioned and see that the Workers Party of Singapore is putting their own interest ahead of the Singaporean's that they claim to champion.
Singaporeans should therefore think carefully about the people they bring into parliament. Simply voting opposition as you are unhappy with the PAP is dangerous. Vote wisely!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Has Blogger Roy Ngerng Embezzled Singaporeans Money?

On 13 January 2015, the Singapore courts ordered blogger Roy Ngerng, who was found to have defamed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last November, to pay Mr Lee Hsien Loong S$29,000 for legal fees and related expenses. The final damages to be awarded is still being assessed and will be decided at a late date.
Singapore blogger ordered to pay PM Lee $29,000
The Prime Minister filed the defamation suit against Ngerng in May last year. The suit arose from a blog post by Ngerng that same month titled "Where Your CPF Money Is Going: Learning From The City Harvest Trial", which alleged that CPF monies had been misappropriated.
In November, a judge ruled that Ngerng had defamed Mr Lee with his posts. The blogger was ordered to be restrained from publishing or disseminating the allegation that Mr Lee is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans to the Central Provident Fund, or any words and/or images to the same effect.
In a rare update on the Roy Ngerng Legal Defense Fund, Roy remarked “I suppose that is all I have left in donations and you might just as well use it up, why don’t you?” This is extremely puzzling as Roy had claimed to have raised in excess of $110,000 (more than the required $70,000) for his legal defence fund in 4 days.
Since then, despite his promise to be transparent and to account for all the monies he has collected, repeated calls by Singaporeans for Roy Ngerng to provide an update on the fund usage has gone unanswered. The calls for an update began when it was rumoured that Roy and Han Hui Hui had used the money to fund extravagant “study trips”.
In the clearest sign that the money well intentioned Singaporeans had provided Roy Ngerng is gone, a source close to Roy says that he is getting ready to make another appeal for donations.
We wonder if any of the well-meaning Singaporeans scammed by Roy Ngerng of their money will file a police report for criminal misappropriation.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Ravi Philemon of the NSP - An Irresponsible and Dangerous Man

Ravi Philemon of Singapore's National Solidarity Party (NSP) is an irresponsible and dangerous Man. Ravi gained notoriety in July 2013, at the height of the Haze crisis, when he was called-out for rumor-mongering which caused unnecessary public anxiety.
Ravi Philemon NSP Charlie Hebdo

Recently, in response to the attack on Charlie Hebdo, Ravi Philemon (a potential NSP GE candidate for 2016) posted his reflection (#IamStillCharlie) on the concept of freedom of speech. In his reflection, Ravi concluded that complete free speech is to be desired even if it offends others as having restrictions of any kind means that we do “go down the slope of censorship”.

Ravi Philemon is therefore saying that racism, bigotry and even malicious lying are to be condoned and encouraged. In Ravi’s opinion, the right to free speech is not conditionally on the need for the speaker to exercise responsibility.
According to Ravi Philemon, it is okay for Singaporean to insult Islam or Muslims simply because they are exercising their rights to free speech. In a multi-racial and religious country like Singapore, such an attitude is extremely dangerous.
What is therefore ironic is that Ravi Philemon was “outraged” by Anton Casey’s Facebook remarks over the stench of poor Singaporeans, and went so far as to post screen shots of Anton’s comments and a YouTube video.
So Mr Ravi Philemon, what exactly is your position on Free Speech? Does it only apply to you when you make false accusations about the Government? Or does free speech stop when it affects you? In a multi-racial and religious country like Singapore, are there no limits to free speech? At Singapore GE 2016, we believe you are an irresponsible and dangerous man.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Begins Campaign for Singapore GE 2016

Article first published on 10 January 2015 on Straits Times.

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) on Saturday launched its campaign for the next general election, saying it would focus on alternative policies and use the slogan: "Your voice in Parliament".
Party chief Chee Soon Juan also said he would run in the election, after sitting out the previous two elections as he was a bankrupt then.
"I am excited about the prospect of leading the SDP into the next election," he said.
The next election has to be called by January 2017, but many expect it to be called at the end of 2015 or early 2016, and the SDP said it had lined up activities in the coming months to publicise its plans.
Speaking at the campaign launch at the Holiday Inn Atrium hotel, Dr Chee urged some 200 supporters to help get him and his party members elected so they can press the Government to back down on policies on the Central Provident Fund Minimum Sum and immigration. SDP member James Gomez also outlined policies the party had proposed in areas such as education, housing, and health care, which include abolishing the PSLE as well as Medisave, Medifund and Medishield schemes.
National University of Singapore medical professor Paul Tambyah, an SDP volunteer since 2010 and a likely candidate, also said the party needed enough people in Parliament to "deny the ruling party its two-third majority" that had allowed it to amend the Constitution easily.
Dr Chee said: "It has been too long since I've been able to stand as a candidate." The SDP secretary-general could not contest the 2006 and 2011 elections as he had been declared bankrupt after failing to pay $500,000 in damages for defaming then-senior minister Lee Kuan Yew and then-prime minister Goh Chok Tong during the 2001 election. He was cleared of bankruptcy in 2012, after both men accepted his offer of settlement.
Dr Chee did not want to say where he would stand, but said SDP would contest the same areas it had in 2011: Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, Sembawang GRC, and Bukit Panjang and Yuhua SMCs. It is also looking at constituencies it has actively visited since then, such as Tanjong Pagar and West Coast, but could only be certain how many seats it would contest after the electoral boundaries are redrawn, he added.
The SDP also turns 35 in August and will hold an anniversary dinner on August 1. Before then, it will launch its economic policy paper next month, a book on Dr Chee in March, and its election manifesto in May. It will put out a town council management manifesto in June and organise members into constituency committees in July, before introducing potential candidates at a pre-election rally at Hong Lim Park in October.

Friday, 9 January 2015

The Real Singapore Misleads Singapore: Chew Thiam Kwee

The Real Singapore Misleads Singapore
On 9 September 2015, The Real Singapore (TRS) continued its efforts to deceive Singaporeans with an article titled “The Civil Service is “Politically Neutral” but many Civil Servants Are PAP Members”.
The articled was based on the sudden discovery that Dr Lam Pin Min’s, Member of Parliament (MP) for Sengkang West SMC, Branch Secretary is a Senior Manager at NParks, specifically at the Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology department.
TRS then goes on to argue that one of the fundamental principles of the Civil Service is political neutrality and quoted the Public Service Division (PSD) which defines it to mean “remaining completely neutral in all political matters and matters of public controversy”.
Where TRS is wholly wrong is that NParks is not part of the civil service, but is instead a statutory board. Statutory boards are separate entities from the formal government structure and are set-up to achieve multiple economic goals. Statutory boards are expected to generate their own funds from their activities, and can thus be considered like a private business entity. As such, Mr Chew Thiam Kwee (the “Senior Civil Servant” in TRS’ article is not a civil servant.
As a Singaporean, Mr Chew therefore has the same right as anyone else to support the political party he believes is necessary for Singapore's continued success and survival.
Once again, TRS has shown their contempt for the truth in their deliberate misreporting of the facts on political activities in Singapore.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Workers Party of Singapore: How their supporters whine about the PAP

How Workers Party supporters whine about the PAP: By Sylvia Low Mei Ling
(Taken from the Facebook page of Fabrications About The PAP)
Singapore workers party manifesto 
"Problem happen, complain government lousy. Fix problem, complain government slow. Fix problem fast, complain government should have anticipated. Government anticipates problem and wants to put in safeguard, complain waste of money. Government explains problems and justifies, complain that it’s propaganda and lies. Government doesn’t explain, complain government doesn’t care about public opinion. Hold public dialogue and consultation, complain government wayang and making up the problem. Problem happen, complain government lousy.
WP turn million dollars TC surplus into deficit plus surging arrears? Leave them alone everything is fine I know it. OMG!! Low Thia Khiang I luv jooo!"

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Singapore General Election 2016: The Group Representation Constituency

Singapore General Election 2016: The Group Representation Constituency (Article first published on Singapore2B).
The Group Representation Constituency
Singapore switched to a mix of Group Representation Constituency (GRC) and Single Member Constituency (SMC) in the 1988 elections after the PAP-dominant Parliament amended the relevant acts to allow for such electoral grouping. Originally, GRCs were 3-member constituencies of which at least one member had to be a minority to ensure that the minorities were represented in Parliament. This meant that political parties had to field teams of candidates in the GRC, and with weak opposition parties who could barely win single seats, finding a credible team of opposition candidates was highly unlikely.
In the 1988 elections, there were 13 GRCs, and 42 SMCs for a total of 81 seats. Only two PAP minority candidates stood in SMC (Abdullah Tarmugi, and S. Dhanabalan) but they were established MPs (Dhanabalan was a Minister).
Ostensibly, the GRC system was to ensure minority representation in Parliament.
The Singapore government policies actively prevents the formation of ethnic enclaves with housing rules. Hence it would not be possible for a constituency to be predominantly or even significantly Malay or Indian and so guarantee or increase the chances of a minority candidate there.
While the PAP was the default choice (up to 1981), it ensured that its slate of MPs were representative of the ground, and included minority candidates. However, as the opposition started to break the complete deadlock of the PAP, their explicit concern was that PAP minority candidates could be disadvantaged at the polls, and vulnerable to chauvinistic attacks. Although to be fair, the first to break the PAP absolute dominance, was a minority.
In 1981 J.B.Jeyaretnam broke the PAP's hitherto clean sweep of Parliament. JBJ was a veteran campaigner, but until 1981 had been unsuccessful in trying to break into parliament. He was well-known and well-loved for connecting with the common man and championing their causes. At his wake there were many stories of his generosity and kindness to the common man. So although a member of a minority, he had invested years of campaigning and connecting with the people on the ground to win that by-election.
However, since his win, all opposition candidates who managed to be elected were uniformly Chinese, heartlander- and grassroot-type candidates.
MPs like Chiam See Tong, Low Thia Khiang, Ling How Doong, and Cheo Chai Chen were all Chinese MPs who appealed to the Chinese-majority heartlander and were identified with them.
Low Thia Kiang worked the ground to win Hougang, but his ace card was his ability to connect to the people with his fluency in Teochew. PAP subsequently fielded a candidate (Eric Low) in Hougang who is also fluent in Teochew!
Ling How Doong, a grassroot-type MP beat Seet Ai Mee, seen as an elite and upper-class. The story of her washing her hands after shaking hands with a fish-monger may have been debunked subsequently, but it was telling that many people (even SM Goh Chok Tong!) believed it. It speaks to her "atas" public image.
Cheo Chai Chen who won Nee Soon Central in 1991 was also a grassroot-type, non-elite, non-high-flyer MP (he was/is a businessman). He won by just 168 votes so maybe it was a bit of a fluke, but he match the general profile of opposition MPs.
However, the trigger for the GRC may have been the lost of Potong Pasir.
In 1984, Chiam See Tong defeated Mah Bow Tan in spite of, or perhaps even because of then-PM Lee Kuan Yew's campaigning for Mah. Lee had compared the sterling scholarship of Mah with the late bloomer achievement of Chiam (who got his law degree at 40). Mah lost that election to Chiam the hardworking, heartlander who had built up his base of supporters in Potong Pasir and with whom the voters identified with. After all, how many of us are scholars, and how many of us struggle in our studies and sometimes hope or plan to further our studies, acquire new credentials and get a second chance, a second career?
Singaporeans, and in particular, voters in Potong Pasir identified with Chiam. Few had sympathies or affinity for Mah.
However, Mah was earmarked for bigger things and his loss at the election delayed plans for leadership changes. Mah later benefited from the GRC scheme, contesting on the Tampines GRC slate.
PAP may also have realised that their technocrats, the leaders that they intend to bring into parliament and eventually take up ministerial posts, may be able men (they keep losing women ministers at elections), but are hopeless at elections. They speak facts and figures, but are unable to generate hope and aspirations. They can speak of plans and schemes, but fail to provide vision and dreams.
So while the GRC may have been explicitly presented as a means to ensure minority representation, it may also have served a purpose to bring in brilliant technocrats or policy wonks to take up ministerial posts. The problem was that brilliant policy wonks are not always passable, electable, political candidates. The GRC scheme solved that problem.
The PAP had always recognised the need to provide grassroot MPs. However in a one-on-one campaign, a Low Thia Kiang would always beat an Ng Eng Hen, a George Yeo or a Vivian Balakrishnan especially if he has prepared the ground well (and speaks Teochew?).
Few PAP minister are also personable types that can win elections. Why? Because the ability to win elections does not translate to the ability to run ministries well. Meritocracy fails when what is meritorious is not what gets one the job.
(This is a key difference why the Singapore government works, while other countries fail. Politicians in other countries are chosen based on political savvy. After that, their ability to govern is at best 50-50. PAP chooses potential ministers based on ability to develop and implement policy. Then they work the GRC system to try to get them into parliament.)
I believe it was Churchill who said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that we have tried. Similarly, the GRC system is the worst way to try to ensure all segments of the population are represented, except for all the other methods that have been tried in various other places.
In a sense for Singapore, Democracy is secondary to Meritocracy. At times we have been called a technocracy - rule by technocrats or "experts". That's meritocracy in governance. But there have been humbling moments for the PAP - Chiam beating Mah, Ling defeating Seet, - which were also a check on meritocracy/technocracy. So I see the GRC as a compromise.
Instead of a parliament of average MPs (which would be QUITE bad) or a parliament of demagogues (which would be HORRIBLE), or a parliament of ELITES (which without the opposition, might be what the PAP would evolve into, and would also be TERRIBLE), the PAP had to come up with the GRC system to ensure that a) capable leaders (who may be seen as elite/elitist, aloof, arrogant, out of touch, and politically inept) would be elected in, b) grassroots-type MPs are amply seeded throughout to represent the average, middle-class, common man's concerns and c) minorities are adequately represented.
So we have a Parliament to Govern (Ministers) and a Parliament to Represent (grassroots-type and Minority MPs). Which may well be the best compromise conceivable at this point in time. And one of the role of the opposition, is to ensure that the Parliament to Represent does not dwindle over time. And in that sense, I think they have played their roles very well.
Without a more cerebral parliament to govern, it would be mob rule, and tyranny of the majority. More importantly, it encourages demagoguery, appealing to the emotions, polarisation of segments of population, politics of envy, pitting the haves vs the have-nots, and generally drawing out all the worst parts of democracy.
It's like a buffet. People always go for the seafood, and the meat, cos that's what they like and that's value for money. But this leads to an unbalanced diet. Similarly it will lead to an unbalanced Parliament, where the people who are represented are the majority, and the majority is average.
But isn't this disguised elitism?
By most reasonable definitions of of "elitism", no. In the GRC system, the Minister, the Grassroot MP, and the Minority MP must work together and they depend on each other to make the system work. In most cases, if an MP becomes a Minister, he will have to hold the post for 4 terms according to PM Lee. Most backbenchers stay for 3 terms (my estimate), so often we see grassroots leaders stepping down while the Ministers carry on.
Now if the Ministers are using/misusing/abusing the grassroot MPs, there would be some sign of the discontent. So far there has been no cases where a PAP MP having been let go, turns against the PAP, alleges discrimination or elitism, and challenges PAP as an independent or joins an opposition. Such a defection would be a huge PR coup for the opposition! And because these are experienced grassroot MPs, they would be able to whip up support for their candidacy.