Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another day another charity scandal.... Part 2


Part 1 is here.

Here we go again. This is like a neverending drama serial just when you think that it is over, a new story pops up. This time it is Ren Ci and its appears to be more serious than the NKF.

In Ren Ci money was loaned to various businesses(interest free) and the amount recorded in the books was smaller than what was loaned out effectively siphoning money from the charity.

In the 60s and 70s before MM Lee and his men cleaned up Singapore corruption was rife. You can purchase anything from certificates to driving licenses. One of the great achievements of the PAP govt was to clean up the corruption and they were pretty harsh...... zero tolerance for dishonesty. I heard that officers conducting driving tests were allowed to carry limited amounts of money in their wallet. If they were found with wads of cash, they would be sacked. Over the years, corruption declined and we forgot how bad it was. But are Singaporeans more honest that they were 40 years ago? I believe they are... not because we are born virtuous but because of this fear that they will be caught. It is the laws, regulations and effectiveness of enforcement that keep many people honest. I believe corruption tends to fester in areas where there is little regulation and people think they can get away with it. In the Citiraya case, the former CEO who was convicted for fraud managed to bribe storemen, clerks, accountants, executives to carry out his misdeeds. When there is money to be made and people think they won't be caught fraud occurs.

After the NKF scandal broke, public pressure resulted in the formation of an Inter-ministry Committee on Regulation of Charities & IPCs in early 2006. You can read about the new rules and guidelines here. Our govt believes in using a 'light-touch' approach when it comes to regulating our charities. They now have to follow a new Code of Governance to improve the way they are run. The code is not mandatory and charities (including churches/temples) can choose not comply with the guidelines if they are able to explain why. Given the 'light-touch' and millions of dollars collected by our charities...hmmm if you're a dishonest person, would you try to cheat a bank with all its safeguards or.....

The govt has decided to review mega-churches and temples which attract something like $10-$20M per year in collections. These entities have been in the news for snapping up properties worth hundreds of millions of dollars and a number of them also operate big businesses. Many welcome this move by the govt and donors expect them to be honestly run so any surprise here will be a mega-surprise for them.
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Scandals have tarnished a large number of our charity organisations. It is not unexpected. Where there is alot of money and very little regulation & controls, it will attract crooks and conmen. This is not unique to Singapore:


19 comments:

Capt_Canuck said...

religion, charity and conmen are definitly not unique to Singapore and definitly not a new thing. As long as there are charities, there will be conmen and the likes. I remember in my history class hearing about how the catholic church would get donations by selling 'forgiveness' for yourself or others. Pay a certain amount of money and you are forgiven your sins, the greater the sin the more the money needed. One historian was even noted as saying that during a certain time period there were enough pieces of the cross that Christ was crucified on to build a cathedral. America is loaded with conmen and shysters trying to dupe old people out of money. I mean, if God really was out there and wanted to pick a prophet to tell the world about him, I really don't think he would have choosen a man in a bad polyester suit with bad hair and a neon cross over an electric organ.

Guess to clean up the charities they have to do what the PAP has done in the gov't. Zero tolerance for dishonesty, and pay the charity people a million dollars a year for their time and services. After all, the only way to stop corruption and greed is to give in to it and have society pay the people.

Anonymous said...

Paying the charity people a million dollars a year for their time and services will not stop corruption because, then, they will want more. That's human nature. The only way to make it look less corrupt is to legitimise the payment of more and more money. That has been the universal argument in Singapore. When will it end?

Anonymous said...

The charity sector in Singapore differs from those in other developed countries in that here PAP shirks its responsibility to the needy.

To PAP social welfare = state welfare of the Western nations.

This is a sweeping and misleading take of the issue to excuse itself from its responsibility as the government of the day.

Social welfare provided by the state should mean that the needy are taken care of by the govt, when family and community help is inadequate or unavailable.

It is not about collecting monthly dole - and the abuses that go with that - from the state when one is out of job.

But even then, such state welfare - based on high taxation - may well be more reliable than our CPF system which has ended up with so much complications and issues.

In Singapore, the PAP govt expects the community to provide welfare to the people.

Community means religious organisations, members of public, companies, anything but the PAP govt itself which sits back and enjoys the show and then steps in when abuses of funds in VWOs cannot be hidden anymore.

PAP hesitates to impose a strong hand over the VWOs because if it were to do this, too many skeletons may be uncovered and the public would lose further trust in them.

Funds will dry up and it or its supporters will have to think of other ways to patch up the situation.

What other ways?

Like what Prof Lee Wei Ling (daughter of LKY) had proposed : legalising the selling/buying of human organs in Singapore.

This in the aftermath of the old NKF scandal which saw more than 20,000 donors withdrawing their regular contribution.

It's hard not to see the connection. Is this kind of patchwork and questionable solution the way forward for our nation?

PAP should cease preaching to other nations how to run their countries when it has not even got its own fundamentals of looking after its own people right.

Anonymous said...

What happens so far in Rec Ci seems trivial to me.

Makes me wonder: Ren Ci is high profile, but I'm sure there are more hanky-panky in the mega-churches of Singapore.

Why Ren Ci? Maybe the conservative Christian PAP minister is giving time for the mega-churches to burn their books......they must be praying that hopefully they burn the right book, not burn their bible out of panic.

Capt_Canuck said...

anon 11:13am

Paying them a million wont mean they will want more. I mean, that is how the PAP justified the huge pay increase right? You pay high top dollar you get the best minds and best people around and no one is tempted to take bribes because you are already getting millions.

Pay charity people millions and not only do you get top minds thinking of ways to help the poor and needy get more money, but they wont be tempted to put their fingers in the pie.

Anonymous said...

When you pay politicians and charity executives commercial rates, then the spirit of public service and of charity is lost.

Our wonderful former PM Goh went to Canada years back and urged its politicians to draw similar super salaries like PAP politicians.

The reply from the Canadian PM was that Canadians would reject the idea because politicians were in public service.

Actually no point arguing that politicians and top executives of charities should be paid commercial rates.

This is because they choose to be in public service and in charity work. Nobody force them into those vocations. So should they complain they are not being paid commercial rates?

If they want market rate they should leave for the commercial sector.

Singaporeans fortunately are unconvinced by PAP arguments for their super salaries.

Singapore is the only place in the world that is practising the policy of paying politicians such high salaries.

So please do not advocate this for the charities also, when their CEOs are already drawing something like 10K to 15K a month.

It is not a solution to the misuse of funds in charities.

Unless capt_canuck is speaking tongue-in-cheek, he should be able to understand all this.

Robert HO nric S0197974D said...

RH: Forgot to point out that in all cases of prosecution, the cases were REPORTED. In my case, NOBODY REPORTED. Thus, even less likelihood of any prosecution, except for publicity stunt reasons and now, for purely political and vindictive reasons. Proven beyond any shadow of dount. So fuck off, LIE KY LHL PAP and Americans. Leave my family and I alone! Fuck off! You have not the slightest excuse to continue, you fuckers! As for LIE KY, this publicity stunt has gone on long enough for 15 years. Not enough publicity? You fucking, shrivelled ball-less bastard!

From: Robert HO
Date: Nov 11, 2007 4:44 PM

Subject: ONLY 9.7% AVERAGE CASES OF VCH PROSECUTED; PROBABLY 0% FOR DOMESTIC! PROVES PUBLICITY STUNT!

Hansard

Parliament No: 11
Session No: 1
Volume No: 83
Sitting No: 14
Sitting Date: 2007-10-22
Section Name: WRITTEN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

Title: INCIDENTS OF VOLUNTARILY CAUSING HURT

MPs Speaking: Mr Wong Kan Seng; Ms Sylvia Lim

INCIDENTS OF VOLUNTARILY CAUSING HURT

2. Ms Sylvia Lim asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs for the years 2005, 2006 and the first half of 2007, in respect of incidents of voluntarily causing hurt (a) what is the number of reports or calls for police assistance regarding such incidents received by the police; (b) what is the proportion of domestic to non-domestic incidents; and (c) what is the number and percentage of cases in which the police voluntarily initiated prosecution of the suspect and the reasons for police initiation of such prosecutions.

Mr Wong Kan Seng:

In 2005, 5,490 cases of Voluntarily Causing Hurt (VCH) were reported to the Police. In 2006, 6,406 VCH cases were reported while 3,697 cases were reported in the first half of 2007 (from January to June).

Police does not actively track the proportion of domestic to non-domestic incidents for VCH cases.

In 2005, out of the 5,490 VCH cases, Police initiated action on behalf of the victims in 734 cases, which constituted 13.4 % of the VCH cases reported. In 2006, out of the 6,406 VCH cases, Police initiated action on behalf of the victims in 468 cases, which accounted for 7.3 % of the VCH cases reported. In the first half of 2007 (from January to June), out of the 3,697 cases, Police initiated action on behalf of the victims in 319 cases, which constituted 8.6% of the VCH cases reported.

Police will initiate prosecution into VCH cases where there is harm to the public interest and safety, and when it is assessed that the assailant is a bully who is taking advantage of the weak and vulnerable - especially young children, senior citizens and physically or mentally-disabled persons. Police will also initiate investigations into suspected cases of maid abuse or road bullying.
//////////////////////////////

RH: "No prosecutor in the world would even dream of prosecuting a man already certified insane in a marital causing hurt incident long forgotten by both sides for decades, if LIE KY had not intervened to thus secure for himself and Singapore billions of dollars worth of free publicity. This, simply, is what it is all about. The Americans were just evil and stupid to get involved."
--
RH: MY ACQUAINTANCE, MR DAVID DUCLOS, A FORMER POLICE INSPECTOR, AND HIS LAWYER FRIEND, EYEWITNESSED LEE KUAN YEW RIGGING THE 1997 CHENG SAN GRC ELECTION. READ MORE AT MY BLOG ENTITLED "I CAME, I SAW, I SOLVED IT" :

http://i-came-i-saw-i-solved-it.blogspot.com/

[ALSO AT THE ABOVE BLOG, LIE KUAN YEW's LIES, WRONGFUL JAILING, TORTURE AND BEATING TO DEATH OF INNOCENT POLITICAL PRISONERS LIKE MR CHAN HOCK HUA]

READ ALSO MARTYN SEE's INTERVIEW WITH ME AT:

http://singaporerebel.blogspot.com/

MY ARCHIVE OF WORKS AT:

http://i-came-i-saw-i-wrote-it.blogspot.com/

Robert HO nric S0197974D said...

RH:
1. Sorry, Lucky Tan, to use your excellent satiric blog to vent my frustration and hatred, the result of 15 years of non-stop torture and humiliation of me and my family.

2. I had to post this email here because it was blocked by LIE KY LHL PAP ISD hackers, who control all my computer usage from OS to HDD to internet connection.

3. Just this week, going out on Deepavali and last night [Sat], I was verbally abused as Ah Kua, 1 of uncountable times and kind of abuse directed at me over 15 years by LIE KY LHL PAP ISD agents following me.

4. The above email was blocked, so I had to post it here in the hope it will be spread. It is NCMP Sylvia Lim's question that pointedly proves that DOMESTIC fights are NEVER prosecuted, only NON DOMESTIC. On top of all this, only REPORTED incidents are prosecuted, never NON REPORTED incidents. THUS, LIE KY LHL PAP TORTURE OF ME AND MY FAMILY OVER 15 YEARS IS TOTALLY UNWARRANTED AND UNPRECEDENTED! THEY DID IT FOR PUBLICITY REASONS, TO GAIN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLICITY FOR FREE, AT MY AND MY FAMILY's EXPENSE AND SUFFERING. THE STUPID AMERICANS WENT ALONG BECAUSE THEY ARE STUPID AND EVIL AND HAVE NEVER BELIEVED IN LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS OR DEMOCRACY, FUCKING HYPOCRITES!

gnool neish said...

To Robert Ho,

I have on good authority that have intercepted Lee Kuan Yew's private secretary's emails, that believe your endless guerrilla internet posting poses a threat to the ruling government and it is considered to be seriously damaging its credibility, now the covert operation has gone up to level 4, with embedded monitoring network being put in place.

This may include the following:

1) Covert video surveillance for all activity, using the latest 'invisible' sand grain size cameras.

2) Incepting internet data traffic, which will noticeably slow the the connection, with deliberate remote turn off of firewall.

3) Adulteration of diet to deliberately cause physical discomfort.

4) Using 'cigarette pack' portable microwave targeting device to alter brain signals, causing temporary neurological confusion and behavior modifications.

5) Deliberate agitation of subject with scenario design to frustrate and confuse the individual, e.g. long queues, incorrect payment at cashiers, non-functioning of equipment, elevated audio preceptory response.

Anonymous said...

Our wonderful PM has just said on keeping inflation at bay that :

"We help, we do a lot ... making sure the low income are able to pay for their necessities, able to earn a living, able to have a roof over their heads."

Really? Let analyse these words.

1. "We help" What?! Please do not tell us that you are helping us. You are paid to look after the people.

2. "making sure the low income are able to pay for their necessities".

Oh, you mean this is something unique to PAP?

Come, this is elementary. Unfortunately your foreign labour policies are making this even difficult for the poor.

As Lucky has pointed out in a previous post, now you have brought in young mainland Chinese girls to take over the menial jobs in the neighbourhood shops including the "kang kopi", the coffee boy job.

3. "able to earn a living, able to have a roof over their heads".

Oh sure, at what cost? Now a new 4-room HDB flat costs as much as $250,000. This will take may be 25 - 30 years for an average-income young couples to pay up.

And PAP is purposely not building enough smaller flats like 3 and 2 rooms flats.

You PAP also prices HDB flats based on commercial market rate yet has the cheek to say they are highly subsidized.

When questioned in the press, HDB says the subsidy is based not on subsidy on cost but the difference between what HDB and private developer would charge. See.

Since no private developer is building HDB flats and HDB is setting the market price of HDB flats, such an explanation is rubbish.

We have a PM who is either ignorant of what is going on at the ground level or just want to keep boasting how great he and his team is.

Good luck to Singapore.

Anonymous said...

dennis foo, of devil's bar, was right to have said...you can't mix business with spirituality. basically, the former is about the pursue of materialism and the latter, the containment of materialism. and the true spiritual leaders are people who succumb not to materialism or the ways of mammon. at best, they seek the 'middle path'. they are guides to the marginalized, the losers in society and are living proof that it is possible to live meaningful lives apart from the deception of riches.
but when spiritual leaders aspire the role of a ' successful CEO'( their 'spirituality' then becomes the justification) or and living like one too, then, their faith loses substance or salt.
not only does this betray and corrupt its faith, they also mislead their flocks into the pursuit of the 'high life' instead of the 'heavenly life'.

the buddhist 'middle path' is about balance. a person who drives a luxurious lexus and lives the 'high life' can hardly be that 'balance' compare to someone who drives a humble hyundai and lives in hdb.
for the rich, by virtue of their command of wealth, will always impose its will on those who lack. there is no 'balance' except a growing divide and the spread of discontent. whereas, the middle path will seek to avoid excesses and exploitation for the good of the whole.

spiritual leaders must then show the way in the way they live their lives. and often, it is a common and ordinary life made successful.

omph.omph....

Anonymous said...

The mother of all irony is that religious leaders and their religions were suppose to be beacon of light to the people but instead, they have often been the cause of wars and conflict throughout the history of men. Sometimes, the exploitation of the gullible masses becomes so perversely acute that non religious bodies were forced to intervene or reign over the situation. Now not that the non religious bodies are any 'holier'. They're, often, poor imitation or cloaks of religion. Both rule through taxation. Charity is but another form of taxation. Perhaps, the non religious bodies are more forward and less hypocritical? But regardless, common interests of power and wealth have resulted in an unholy union or rather, the impurity has accentuated the corruption?No wonder some even refer the relation to being adulterous and... transvestite.

Who can then blame you if you have mistaken a clergy for a pitiful woman?

Anonymous said...

10% of salary is nowadays not enough, then there are the additional mission tithes, building funds, etc etc funds peer conscious christians are pressured to give weekly, so if you think about mega churches like City Harvest as example, I think their annual receipt of $25-30 mil is a big big understatement. The thing about church tithes is that they are mostly physical cash donations. Are there any independent audits? How are these cash handled? Any independent witnesses in counting money? See how diffucult it is to enforce transparency in religious institutions. I don't think the PAP will be so free to send in auditors every Sunday just to witness people counting money and balancing books. And moreover, the majority christian PAP would be given the guilt trip every Sunday at the pew for going against God's work.

Anonymous said...

There was much reaction in another blog against external audit for religious organisations. This is misguided.

Every organisation including even the government of the day needs such external independent checks.

Just because religious organisations are declared non-commercial in nature does not mean they do not deal with money.

And since money is involved, it for the good of members and the organisation to upkeep their financial integrity.

But even as the PAP government does this kind of check it should open up its own books to the public.

What is happening to our CPF money? After the late President Ong revealed his doubts about this, what else is being done?

Does President Nathan have anything to report to us on this to clear up the issue?

It does not seem right for the government to insist on the transparency and accountability of VWOs - many of which do not even get a cent of donation from the PAP government - and religious organisations if the government itself is not transparent enough with its own accounts.

Does anyone know how our national reserves - of which a large portion is made up of CPF savings - have been and are being used?

The best I can make out is that CPF Board buys govt bonds. The CPF money goes to MAS. GIC manages national reserves and does its own investments. Temasek is also funded with the national reserves.

How much of the national reserves proper and how much of the CPF - directly or indirectly through bond purchases by CPF Board - is being invested in GIC and Temasek ventures?

How exactly are these big corporations doing in terms of profit and liquidity to pay back Singaporeans' CPF savings on maturity?

We have to know all these for they are fundamental security issues of the nation.

Anonymous said...

In a time where the number of desperation is rising we still see the rich sitting in the comfort of their multi million dollar religious buildings karaoking and enjoying 'rock concert'. When are they going to perform their 'religious duty' and reach out to the 'poor'; the ' dumb and blind', the 'possessed', the 'lame', the 'prostitutes' with their accumulated wealth?

Perhaps, the lure of being a rich merchant is much greater than being a humble carpenter?

Anonymous said...

Well, it seems the American brand of Christianity with its form of consumerism has successfully replicated itself in Singapore. Mind you, these organisations do good works too, but the value of works as per proportion of assets lag far behind many other bodies like the Roman Catholic church and other religious charitable groups. Even World Vision is no stranger to controversy by spending a large % per dollar in "administrative" and advertising costs rather than actually spending more of their receipts on the needy and poor. Moreover, there is also proselytisation involved in between good works, although there is much denial after complaints from the Cambodian, Sri Lankan and Indian governments. You be the judge.

Anonymous said...

On the issue of transparency, what about the recent revelations about the EDB problems? Seems everything about this case has been lost in the sands of time. I am sure this is not the only case of inappropriate behavior by a Government Department. And Singaporeans are indeed also interested in what is going on with Temasek, GIC and the CPF board. Telling us that everything concerning them is confidential whereas what is happening with charities and religious establishments should be made transparent smacks of double-standard. After all, public money is at stake in all cases.

Anonymous said...

the religious institutions are so enamored by the 'success' of the world and have fattened their coffers and attained 'high honor' like unto the hypocrites of the world that they have forgotten the eternal words of their KING who said... Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the KINGDOM prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I, the KING, was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I, the KING, was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I, the KING, was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I, the KING, was sick, and ye visited me: I, the KING, was in PRISON, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the LEAST of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

hmm...the last impression i had was that they seem to be too busy singing and dancing around the 'tithe' in their little empire to even notice the LEAST in their midst.

top transex milano said...

This cannot work in fact, that is what I consider.