Tag Archive | Opposition

Say something about these, please, PM Lee!

If I were to respond to a survey about life in Singapore, I would say I am 60% happy with my external environment and 80% happy with my home environment. Can’t be 100% lah or else I would be in paradise, and I’m not talking about the Paradise restaurants :roll:

So, I would like Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to address some of the issues that bug me about things that aren’t within my control and hopefully change them so that my happiness level with the external environment would match that of my feelings for my own home.

First and foremost is this thing about the People’s Association and the grassroots adviser.

For years and years I’ve found it — and still find it – impossible to understand why defeated PAP candidates are allowed to remain the grassroots adviser to the ward/s that has/have gone to the Opposition.

I am no Opposition fan. In fact, I am mostly neutral when it comes to the Opposition. And when it comes to one or two Opposition noise makers, I am downright hostile.

Yet I feel it isn’t right for Opposition MPs who have won fair and square to be left out in the cold where community events are concerned. Especially at the once a year National Day dinner.

Shouldn’t the kosher MP be the GOH instead of the defeated PAP candidate? Sure, it’s the grassroots organisations such as CCCs that organise the dinner and the entertainment but when was the last time that the grassroots of an Opposition ward asked the standing MP to be the GOH, instead of the PAP loser?

If there has been such an occasion I am sure it would have made the front page headlines in the Straits Times. I don’t remember ever having read such an account. :roll:

My hope therefore is for PM Lee to address this topic, preferably at the National Day Rally when all Singaporeans, PAP, Opposition and everyone in between are supposed to be united as one nation, one people, one Singapore.

If PAP nurtured grassroots leaders don’t know any better about propriety and respect to the Opposition MP who represents their constituency, then let the supreme commander of the PAP educate them about respecting the wishes of Singaporeans in word and deed!

The other topic I would like to hear the PM talk about is the ever-annoying policy to share government goodies with Singaporeans by using the annual value of property yardstick.

Of course I am highly grateful that the $120 discounted maid levy wasn’t doled out based on homes’ annual value or else I won’t have got that either.

Never mind that my flat would be put to shame by most of the ECs such as Bishan Loft and new generation HDB housing.

Never mind that everyone of my generation in my family has more or less stopped working, some for years. And although all of us live in private property, none of us are of the Wee Cho Yaw class; not even the permanent secretary class. We are even below lesser mortal classes for that matter.

Also, as our homes were bought decades ago, the prices that we paid back then won’t be able to get us decent public housing today. But if anyone would today offer me public housing of 1800 sf near Orchard Road for $500K, we might have a deal! :lol: Then, there would be no more angst about having my full share of budget goodies.

Seriously though, what is so difficult about determining who should get the GST Voucher? (see below) Why base it on a combi annual value of one’s home and assessable income, when it’s owner occupied?

Why not improve the criteria by checking the ages of the occupants? If someone is already 80+, is it likely that he or she would be able to benefit from the GST rebates for very much longer, even if he or she lives in private property? And as the annual value is a notional number, the effect of such a yardstick is that the person is given an implied make-believe income when none exists

It is the private-public property blunt cut-off that I find so galling. Why not throw in age consideration and the price paid for the property? Given our massive computing power, surely this isn’t too much to expect? Or am I mistaken?

The Straits Times
Published on Aug 03, 2013
GOVERNMENT HELP SCHEMES

Fair system of income, annual value as criteria in place

 GOVERNMENT help schemes such as the GST Voucher (GSTV) aim to provide support to those who are less well-off. They use both assessable income (AI) and the annual value (AV) of homes as criteria, as this combination provides a better picture of a person’s means than if just one criterion is used (“Govt help schemes: Income more relevant than annual value” by Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi; Wednesday).

To address one of Mr Chan’s points, the AV does not refer to actual rental income earned, which would be reflected in the AI. The AV is a measure of the value of the home, irrespective of whether it is rented out. Besides a person’s income, this is an additional measure of how well-off he is.

Most Singaporeans with lower incomes do obtain larger GSTV benefits. This includes, for example, the majority of non-working spouses, who rightly benefit from the GSTV.

However, if GSTV benefits were based on AI alone, those who live in expensive homes and who choose not to work would obtain the same benefits as the poor.

Similarly, using AV alone would mean that Singaporeans who earn high incomes, but who choose to live in flats with lower AVs, would benefit unduly.

Our approach of using both AI and AV as criteria is a practical way of identifying those who are less well-off, from among the full population of adult Singaporeans. It is not perfect in design, but broadly equitable. It also complements other schemes which are less broad-based and allow for more customised assessment of an individual’s needs.

We will continue to review the eligibility criteria of government help schemes to benefit those who need greater support.

Lim Bee Khim (Ms)

Director, Corporate Communications

Ministry of Finance

Game, set, match? Checkmate?

If I wasn’t alone in my car, I would have laughed aloud yesterday on hearing the 93.8 radio report of the Prime Minister’s reply to an MP’s question on a by-election for Hougang, a Workers Party seat vacated when it sacked its erstwhile treasurer Mr Yaw Shin Leong for alleged personal misdemeanors.

However, I resisted laughing for fear drivers in nearby cars might think me mad :lol:

After a good night’s sleep and waking refreshed to reflect a bit more on the matter, I can’t help laughing still.

As PM Lee said to Ms Sylvia Lim, WP chairman, who asked won’t Hougang residents be unde-represented in the interim while Mr Lee mulls when is a good time for the by-election: well, babe, who brought this on in the first place? Shouldn’t WP have considered such a possibility be4 taking the ultra drastic step that affects not only Mr Yaw but also some 25,000 Hougang residents, the majority of whom had supported WP?

But with friends like the WP, you don’t really need enemies as Mr Yaw has learned and as Hougang residents are learning now.

Add to that the friendly benevolence of high profile lawyer M Ravi. In one fell swoop by representing a part-time cleaner from Hougang to bring the by-election saga to the courts, he has ensured that Singaporeans in and outside of Parliament will be prevented from discussing the merits of the case till they have been decided by their lordships. To do otherwise would be sub judice, usually punishable by jail :(((((

The gods seem to be conspiring to favour the ruling party when every action taken by those opposed to it has turned out so far not to hurt the PAP but the Opposition!

 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will call for by-elections in Hougang (reproduced from Yahoo website)

This is PM Lee’s full reply in Parliament to PAP MP Christopher de Souza’s question on a by-election in Hougang:

The Hougang Single Member Constituency (SMC) seat is vacant after the Workers’ Party expelled Mr Yaw Shin Leong, following several weeks of media reports on Mr Yaw’s personal indiscretions. I intend to call a by-election in Hougang to fill this vacancy. However, I have not yet decided on the timing of the by-election. In deciding on the timing, I will take into account all relevant factors, including the well being of Hougang residents, issues on the national agenda, as well as the international backdrop which affects our prosperity and security.

As for the legal question of whether and when I must call a by-election, an application has been filed in court concerning this, so the matter is now sub judice, i.e. under the consideration of the court. While MPs enjoy parliamentary immunity in this House, our parliamentary convention is that we do not talk about matters which are sub judice, for good reason.

I can, however, remind Members that Parliament debated this issue extensively in 2008, when two NMPs moved a motion proposing to require the Prime Minister to call a by-election within three months of a seat falling vacant. I participated in that debate, and stated the Government’s position fully, after taking the advice of the Attorney-General. I consulted the present Attorney-General again to confirm his advice before answering today’s question. Let me summarise what I said in 2008 about the Constitutional position.

Article 49 of the Constitution states that when a seat falls vacant it shall be filled by election. In an SMC, a seat falls vacant when the MP vacates his office, for example when he is expelled from his political party, resigns his seat, or passes away. The timing of the by-election is at the discretion of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is not obliged to call a by-election within any fixed timeframe.

This absence of any stipulated time frame is the result of a deliberate decision by Parliament to confer on the Prime Minister the discretion to decide when to fill a Parliamentary vacancy. Then-Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew explained this when he moved the Constitutional amendment in December 1965:

“[This amendment] revokes a clause which was introduced into the State Constitution of Singapore when it entered Malaysia.

Members in this House will know that there was no such injunction of holding a by-election within three months in our previous Constitution. We resisted this particular condition being imposed upon the State Constitution at the time we entered Malaysia, but our representations were not accepted because Malaysia insisted on uniformity of our laws with the other States in the Federation and with the Federal Constitution itself.

Since we are no longer a part of the Federal whole, for reasons which we find valid and valuable as a result of our own experience of elections and of government in Singapore, we have decided that this limitation should no longer apply.”

The Constitution therefore reflects a political philosophy that emphasises stable government, and the view that in elections voters are primarily choosing between political parties to be given the mandate to govern the country, rather than between individual candidates to become MPs. We have kept the Constitutional provision because the considerations for enacting it in 1965 remain relevant today.

Singapore a sex hub?

Hohoho, don’t think we would ever deliberately go for such a title. Aviation hub, yes. Financial centre, yes! Communications hub, definitely. Even arts hub, though some eyebrows might be raised at such an ambition because our country’s well-known pragmatism tends to make us appear like Philistines than Patricians in others’ eyes!

Yet the recent news concerning sex scandals at high to highish levels seem to be sowing the seeds for making SIN synonymous with sex – or at least scandal.

If the last two years had been infamous for our Singapore Land Authority and other high places of government being cheated by computer folks within the organisations and their vendors without, then the ramifications carried over from the tail-end of last year should see more computer related scandals.

At least as in the sex-and-contract allegations now being directed at two former law enforcer-bosses. They are supposed to have slept with a computer sales woman — separately, I hope :cry:

Not to be outdone, a high profile Opposition leader is rumoured to have (maybe had?) an extramarital affair with a married woman camp follower.

And in the past week or so, news has leaked about an online prostitution ring that caught a primary school principal (now ex) plus other civil servants, though the level of their seniority is not yet an open secret.

My curiosity is piqued by the fact that all the media stories assume that the ex-P and his civil service colleague were patrons. What if they were pimps instead? :roll:

Another wicked thought just crossed my mind. If the two ex-enforcer-bosses’ computer sales executive lover were a maried man instead of a married woman? What if the Opposition leader’s alleged paramour was a guy or an under-aged girl?

The mind boggles at these possible — though improbable — combos.

So if we are shocked now by these sexy developments, we really must steel ourselves to even more mind-blowing scandals in future.

Because in an anything goes world, nothing will be OB any more!

Having a political background matters!

Yup, you read right. Say what you like, but don’t you think the only candidate without any real political shadow hanging over him did badly in the recent presidential election precisely because he didn’t and doesn’t any real political affiliation?

I’m referring to Mr Tan Kin Lian who lost his deposit because he didn’t get the 12.5% of the votes needed to retrieve his $48,000. Why, he didn’t even get 6.25%! He got under 5%, leading to jokes about “low 5″! And this despite the fact that he’s been visible for years since he quit NTUC Income — online and offline at Speakers Corner at Hong Lim Park.

What’s so different about him from the other three competitors?

IMHO, I think it’s political affiliation. Tan Kin Lian really had none, never mind the fact — which few people knew, really and truly — that he was a PAP assistant branch secretary at some time in his NTUC career.

By contrast, all the competition had overt political connections, never mind if everyone of them strenuously tried to distance himself from, if not entirely disown those connections.

Take Tan Jee Say. He was as recently as May a failed election candidate standing under the banners of the Singapore Democratic Party. He resigned from SDP, as he must, to contest the PE.

He and his running mates – who failed in their joint bid for the Holland-Buona Vista group representation constituency — were very much in evidence in his PE campaigning. The ever-delectable Nicole Seah was there as were other National Solidarity Party luminaries. OK, all in their personal capacity, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. But you get the picture. :lol:

It was the same for Tan Cheng Bock. OK, he too said he was his own man. Independent. Above politics ad nauseam. But come lah, he was a PAP man for decades and successfully contested countless elections wearing the PAP badge.

Even all the evidence he proudly displayed to show his independence — speaking out against the Nominated MP scheme, getting free parking in HDB carparks on Sundays et al — were ironically achieved while he was a PAP MP, not because he was independent loner Tan Cheng Bock.

He spoke in parliament and was listened to because he was an important long-serving PAP backbencher who scored the highest percentage of votes in his final election — which incidentally he did not because he was just Tan Cheng Bock, independent but because he was a PAP candidate through and through, white on white.

Given the decades’ long association that he has had with the PAP, it would take decades, not months or a couple of years for the public to view him solely as indie Tan Cheng Bock without also seeing the PAP association in everything he does.

So, guess what? I think he was given a handsome outing because voters inherently associated him with the PAP and his success in garnering almost 35 per cent of the votes is due more to his PAP DNA than he was sweet Mr Independent.

Some observers say that Tan Cheng Bock attracted opposition support. I would like to suggest it’s not so much opposition support per se as voters who had voted against PAP in the general election, ands having taught the PAP “a lesson”, deciding they would rotate the support to a candidate with PAP cred.

As for Tony Tan, he got the solid PAP supporter vote all right. Although he too, in the mood of times, tried to move away from the PAP banyan, he was never vociferously anti or ungrateful about his PAP background. And he is to be respected for that.

And the lesson to be learnt from the recent pressie election? If you want to get anywhere in the next PE in 2017, you better have some political name recognition, overt or at arm’s length. Otherwise, be prepared to lose your deposit!

Opposition goes for lousy odds

we doing right?

taking on George Yeo

Call it their death wish? Or the way irrational eternal optimists do things?

I’m shocked but not surprised entirely that Mr Low Thia Khiang has upped from Hougang and gone to head a “dream team” to compete in Aljunied Group Representation Constituency.

Yet going by the look on Workers Party chairman Sylvia Lim’s face at the apres Nomination Day press conf, I don’t think she’s entirely pleased by this strategic move.

While I’ve never been enamoured of George Yeo, the incumbent lead at Aljunied GRC, it’s hard to imagine that Mr Low and Ms Lim, together with corporate legal big wig Chen Show Mao (who incidentally looks and speaks uncannily like corporate big wig Ho Kwon Ping) and two others, could actually unseat Mr Yeo and his team.

Ditto for Mr Chiam See Tong and his team tilting to represent Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. Ditto ditto for his wife, Lina Chiam, to whom he’s “bequeathed” his long held ward of Potong Pasir.

Of course Mr Chiam is much respected by many Sgaporeans and Mrs Chiam is much-loved by the people of Potong Pasir.

But would the people of Bishan-Toa Payoh want to swap two ministers — unpopular tho both might be among some Sgaporeans — for a leader who is visibly unwell and newcomers like Benjamin Pwee, though he might be a government scholar and articulate?

People may out of sympathy want to wish Mr Chiam and his team well but vote for them? That may be another story.

And it’s the same story from West Coast to Marine Parade. Some may prefer Nicole Seah to Tin Pei Ling but would you swap Chokie for what else besides Nicole on the other side?

Like Mr Low said, possibly prophetically, at today’s WP press conf: “This is a watershed election. We may end up with no elected opposition MP!”

He probably meant that for the WP but it could well apply across the board.

I hope I am wrong. I want to be wrong. But unless voting Sgaporeans are willing to make a leap of faith into the unknown, the outcome will be – alas — completely predictable!

Totally routed!

winnings + fresh funds

If I were a thru-n-thru Opposition or PAP supporter, I would regard what happened to me today — the eve of Nomination Day — at Marina Bay Sands as seriously ominous for the election prospects of whichever side I’m rooting for.

Since I’m not, my losing heavily today at the slot machines doesn’t portend anything for either the Opposition or the PAP.

It simply means I’ve lost all my winnings painstakingly accumulated over many visits plus ploughing in something extra to boot.

I started the day with this cash out ticket (above) from my last visit. Actually, not all that money is winnings. Just $240 are winnings, down from $380 from another visit documented here.

When I had given back the $240 won, I should have stopped. I didn’t. So I lost the $260 which had been fresh money injected during the last visit as I recovered lost ground.

Worse, despite losing everything from the cash-out tix, I still didn’t stop–  because one of the casino promoters sashayed up and gave me a card with access to the Ruby Room not usually open to holders of plain red Premier Advantage, the lowest in the pecking order of the cards issued by MBS.

So I decided to add to my losses and visited the Ruby Room, which turned out to be no big deal really apart from the free alcoholic drinks. And my glass of white wine effectively cost me $25 (the money I lost there!), one of the most expensive glasses of wine I’ve ever had, paid by me!

I might have ended losing more had I not have to rush home to catch the final episode of a long running Korean drama on Channel U.

A friend, ST, who arranged to meet me at MBS also did badly.

Could today be the day when MBS decided to “sha” its patrons?

Or could the fact that I started the day by sitting next to not one but three fellow gamblers who had the temerity to ask me to look after their slots while they went to the rest room?

That was most off-putting.

I rejected every request as one, I hate getting friendly with strangers at the casino and two, I didn’t/don’t want to be restricted in my movements. Needless to say, they looked daggers at me which ruined my gambling mood :cry:

MBS should have notices to forbid slots from being “reserved” unless the person doing the reserving is a staff doing so at the request of a patron!

Whatever the reason for my massive losses today, it can’t be an omen –whether for the PAP or the Opposition!

Or can it? When I should have kept my winnings, I threw them all away and then some! All in the hope of the excitement of winning big!

It could be a parable about Singaporeans and the upcoming polls! :lol:

Natural selection, attraction or just 4 laughs?

One friend lamented to me her disappointment that Dr Vincent Wijeyasingha joined the Singapore Democratic Party instead of the Workers Party.

I also have the same lament, except that in my case it’s over why Tan Jee Say is contesting under the SDP banner instead of becoming a WP candidate.

Mulling over this, it dawned on me that there appears to have been a rather even spread of “new” talent across all the Opposition parties, and no concentration in any one party.

The WP has snared corporate legal big wig, Chen Show Mao, while the National Solidarity Party has two former government adminis and scholars, Tony Tan and Hazel Poa. Besides, there is Nicole Seah who is more youth and raw enthusiasm than talent, as such.

Meanwhile, Mr Chiam See Tong of the Singapore People’s Party has attracted his own former garmen admini and scholar, Benjamin Pwee.

In addition, the SDP has a much interviewed psychiatrist Dr Ang Yong Guan on board as well as James Gomez and Teo Soh Lung both of whom aren’t so much new talent as yesterday’s personalities. Also, Alex Tok, who was once the Reform Party’s talent.

Alas, the RF is now left with the heir of its founder, Kenneth Jeyaretnam, and its only apparent talent, old or new.

The unravelling of the RF may hold the key to why no single Opposition party has managed to attract most, if not all, the new talent of calibre in one fell swoop.

And that is, as one Chinese proverb says: One mountain can’t house two tigers.

Or perhaps some of the new catch are simply having fun and games, to jazz up the atmospherics be4 the Real Thing?

One would know for sure only by noon on Wednesday which is when nominations close.

If any of the hot cakes donning Opposition colours are in its just for laughs, then surely they won’t want waving good-bye to  $16K to be part of the game!