A few weeks ago, I wrote that our Transport Minister, Mr Lui Tuck Yew, and those who create and run our transport system and infrastructure just don’t get it. (read it here )
In his latest comment on runaway certificate of entitlement prices for cars, Mr Lui has double confirmed — to me at least — that he simply doesn’t get it, just like many of those who put up our road signages. But that’s another story.
The story in this post is what Mr Lui said — or least what’s reported today on the Straits Times free online pages. (see below the extracted report)
What Mr Lui said is factually true. But his factual statement is as sensitive as what ex-SMRT CEO Ms Saw Phaik Hwa once said re folks finding it difficult to board trains: “”People can board the trains, it is whether they choose to.”
Yup, COE prices are rising because the economy is good. But Mr Lui should know that not all are benefitting from our great economic growth. And if benefitting, not in equal share, OK. Otherwise, there won’t be need for more and more help centres, Comcare, Workfare and an endless run of fund raising activities.
Mr Lui should also ponder why despite going strong for 10 years, The ST Pocket Money Fund ain’t winding down but is instead growing by leaps and bounds?
Indeed among the many growth sectors, our charity sector appears to be one that’s recession proofed and on an unstoppable trajectory of growth!
Oh sure, I quite agree that COEs and their prices should be the furthest from the minds of those needing charity and state handouts to survive.
But Mr Lui shouldn’t overlook that there’s a huge sandwich class — sandwiched between the super rich 10% and super poor (in SG not sub-Sahara terms, lah) bottom 20%!
I think many of the 70% needing to replace their cars would find it a pinch to buy a COE priced close to the cost of a 30-year leasehold HDB granny flat That’s be4 paying for the car itself!
Perhaps those feeling this pinch should choose to give up their cars and not bellyache about the run-away COEs?
After all, if people with the moolah and dealers with new cars are all buying in anticipation, what can poor Mr Lui and indeed the Government do, huh?
Mayb not a lot but for a start, let me suggest: how about not subjecting taxis to COEs? That way will allow for more Cat A COEs for those who can afford only a basic car for driving around. Also it will allow for lower taxi fares and encourage more people to take taxis. OK, if anyone should abuse this COE-free taxi system, jail those caught and throw away the key! (I was going to say hang the culprits caught but I’m basically anti-death penalty, believe it or not!)
Another way the government can do something to make car-ownership more accessible to all is to cap car ownership to just two cars per household. To those who need more, then they can only rent. That will create a new niche business but such companies will only be allowed to bid for Open Category — like when I’m Transport Minister or when the cows sing Come Back to Sorento
An even more egatarian way is to allow those without cars to buy on behalf of those who need more than two cars and so allow those who choose to be without cars to benefit from the transaction. Such households should be allowed one go only – to stop rampant profiteering.
These are just outlines but I’m sure Mr Lui with his wide brain trust in LTA and Mintransport should have no problem knocking down my suggestions or — (hope springs eternal) fleshing them into reality.
Also, there may be many more other ways to skin the cat.
Mr Lui, don’t wring your hands and imply, we can choose to give up our cars — if we can’t afford the sky high COEs.
Lastly, I must confess I’ve a huge vested interest in this issue. This is because I’m an angsty auntie who just paid $1,050 to a workshop uncle to put my bone shaker into better shape to withstand another 3.3 years of my idiosyncratic driving !
The Straits TimesPublished on Apr 16, 2012
COE prices up because economy is doing well, says LuiBy Goh Chin Lian
COE prices are soaring because the economy is doing well and not because the Government is further slowing the growth in the vehicle population to 0.5 per cent, as that kicks in only in August, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said on Sunday.
He was responding to a steady stream of complaints about certificate of entitlement (COE) prices – now at their highest in more than a decade – from residents during a walkabout in Cheng San.
Mr Lui said high COE prices are due to strong demand – with wages still on the rise, dealers introducing new car models and more people bidding now in expectation that premiums may rise further.
Come August, the annual allowable vehicle population growth rate goes down to 0.5 per cent, from 1.5 per cent today and 3 per cent before 2009.