Monday, March 08, 2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Most Unproductive of Them All?

"The Singapore government of course!"

Yes, we've been jawboned to be "cheaper, better and faster", but it is the government who should improve its productivity.

To run the various government ministries of the little red dot with a population of five million, the ministers are paid at least $1 million each. This is almost twice the salary of the U.S. President who governs the world's 1st economy with a population of about 300 million.

The three ministers without portfolios are even more unproductive. Despite having no ministries to take care of they are paid more than $2 million each.

But to top it all is the PM who despite being paid a gargantuan $3 million still needs 2 Senior Ministers and one Mentor Minister to hold his hands!

Monday, January 11, 2010

No Need to be Clever or Prescient, Just Do Your Work

“Nobody, no matter how prescient, no matter how clever, would have been able to predict that this was what was going to happen,” he said.

That was what National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan defended himself for missing the price hike in HDB resale flats last year, a recession year.

By saying that our elite minister didn't seem to know he was telling everybody that he or his officers have not been doing his or their work.

HDB should have all the records of sale or resale of its flats. Those records would show, among other things, who were buying or selling and at what prices were those flats transacted. Had Mr Mah or his officers been monitoring the transactions, he or they would know that the prices were heading north and could take whatever actions needed.

Without a good understanding the current developments, one just wonders how is the National Development Minister going to chart the future development of the country.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A PR Blitz Gone Bad

With a ”We'll agree to disagree” the PAP govt. beats a hasty retreat from a pr. blitz that has gone bad.

In an attempt to show its magnanimity, the PAP govt. announced in Sep. that some blocks of flat in the two opposition wards will get lift upgrading. But, alas, being so used to bulldozing its way, it wasn't able to capitalize on this image-enhancing opportunity effectively. It bypassed the two opposition mps and let its failed candidates to claim credit for procuring the upgrading plans.

Sylvia Lim and Low Thiang Kiang of the Workers' Party first took issue with the misstep which was subsequently picked up by many netizens.

This incident seems to show two things. One, despite its claim of having the best talents as its members, the PAP leaders are still stuck with the 3rd world mentality. The PAP govt. also forgets that it longer monopolizes the national narrative

Straits Times, 17 October 2009
Lift upgrading: We will agree to disagree

I REFER to Ms Sylvia Lim’s letter on Thursday, ‘WP rebuts ministry’s reply on lift upgrading’, in response to the Ministry of National Development’s (MND) earlier explanations on the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) in Hougang.

As we have pointed out, the LUP is carried out and funded by the Government, not the local Member of Parliament. The Government tasks the local adviser to grassroots organisations to work with all interested parties, including the MP, to implement the LUP. This is not a matter of protocol, but because of the need to implement government programmes through persons and agencies answerable to the Government. Opposition MPs do not answer to the Government, and implementing the LUP is not one of their constitutional or legal duties.

We do not expect the Workers’ Party to accept these basic facts, and we will agree to disagree. In the final analysis, the people of Singapore will decide. In the meantime, the interests of Hougang residents are best served by concrete actions, not words.

The MND and HDB will continue to work with the grassroots adviser and other stakeholders in Hougang to implement the LUP in the constituency.

Lim Yuin Chien
Press Secretary to the Minister for National Development

Monday, May 18, 2009

Single Worst Investment in History

This is to put on record that our extraordinary talents in Temasek Holdings have created world history with their extraordinary transaction: they lost 4.7 billion on their 5.7 billion investment in Merill Lynch/Bank of America

Video link:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

World Standard Government?

In a letter sent to the media, National Environment Agency CEO Mr Andrew Tan wrote:

“When markets and hawker centres are being upgraded, grassroot organisations and their advisers can choose to have a temporary market which is not provided for under the Government’s Hawker Centres Upgrading Programme.

If so, they also carry the responsibility of keeping the temporary market clean to meet NEA standards. However, NEA will intervene if it assesses the need to do so in the interest of public health.

In the case of Geylang Serai Market, the Kampong Ubi Citizens Consultative Committee decided to build and manage the temporary market. Despite the best of efforts put in by the Temporary Market Management Committee in implementing its cleaning regime and in tackling the rat infestation problem, the problem had persisted.”

The above letter is disturbing in the following ways:

Firstly, persistence rat infestation is not considered threatening enough to public health for NEA to intervene.

Secondly, NEA seemed only too happy to cede its oversight duty to some ordinary laymen.

But worst of all, PAP is feared so much that no public agencies dare to censure any of its subsidiaries even if their action, or inaction as in this case, not only can harm but lead to loss of human life.

What happens to our world standard government?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

'Bonus' Not a Dirty Word

BONUS has become almost a dirty word in these times, with its meaning highly misunderstood, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Boon Heng said on Saturday.

Speaking at the launch of this year's Singapore Kindness Month, he noted that public anger arose in the United States over large bonuses paid to executives of failed American corporations because of the economic downturn.

'Nowadays, the word 'bonus' is almost a dirty word,' he said in his speech. 'There has been great misunderstanding over what the word 'bonus' entails. You have to understand that in today's context, companies' bonuses are part and parcel of the overall wage package.'

'We now operate differently from the past. So, let us not get overexcited whenever we see the word 'bonus' being used,' he added.

He said the uproar over bonuses paid by troubled firms like AIG was because the American public perceived these to have come from government bailouts.

But Mr Lim said people should not mistake a bonus as 'somebody getting something extra and undeserved and out of line with the current economic situation'.

He stressed that, with the downturn, it is even more important for Singaporeans to be kind and considerate towards others.

He also called on Singaporeans to be kind to foreigners living here, such as students from overseas.

Be kind and considerate towards others? Does that mean keeping an elegant silence when we learn of some Deputy General Manager and Senior Manager of some government agencies receiving 7 months bonus?

If the bonuses paid to executives of troubled U. S. firms did not come from government bailouts then could Mr Lim enlighten us where did the money come from?

So, for organising MM Lee's 80th birthday bash, Mr Lim deserves every cents of the millions he gets?

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Bad Old Days Are Back!

Some time last year, we were told that we were in a golden period which could stretch out over many years. Instead of having a golden period which hopefully could lead to some kind of renaissance, recent events showed that we are heading back to the bad old days.

Those notorious financially-ruining and fear-instilling court cases are making a fast and furious comeback.

Just this year alone, MM Lee and PM Lee won two defamation suits, one against Dr Chee Soon Juan and the other against Far Eastern Economic Review.

The judiciary appears to miss the 3rd world stage so much that it is now actively seeking out individuals as well as companies to bring them to court. One was charged and convicted for insulting the judge, others are being charged for peaceful protest. It has also taken and taking a series of contempt proceedings against critics like The Wall Street Journal Asia, Dow Jones, three activists who donned kangaroo t-shirts and Nair Gopalan for his articles in his blog.

It appears that our Golden Period has become our Dark Age prematurely, how sad!