Another day another explanation for the 21% increase in electricity tariffs. Recent explanation gets interesting - the $1B profits last year is due to one-off asset sales, SP Power does not benefit from the price hikes and Singapore is already very efficient in generating power so our consumers are getting the best possible deal etc. The thing is Singapore Power did not make $1B only last year it made this amount the year before and even more the year before that[Link]. As for efficiency, some Singaporeans are asking if we are so efficient, why are the paying 2nd highest tariffs in the world and 82% more than Hong Kong. Why did Singapore Power use the billions to buy those Aussie assets instead of returning it to consumers? They are very good at explaining things to citizens so maybe next week the govt can generate a new explanation for all this.
Everytime Singaporeans stand up and ask the govt to do the right thing usually all we get is an explanation why the govt cannot do it. Hold back GST hike - cannot....but after all the explanation to us why it was so critical to accept the pain of GST hike, we had the horror of finding out that the govt had a surplus of $6.4B straight out of our pockets. Now people are asking if the govt can undo the painful GST hike given the recession is biting hard. I'm sure the govt has a good explanation why it cannot. Along the way to this 2008 financial crisis and recession we have received a number of explanations why the public transport fare has to be hiked - oil price increase, improvement of service quality, rising costs. Well the oil price has collapsed and did anyone see improvement in service quality?...Its more like people are getting used suffocating sardine cans which we call buses. Reduce fares due to fall in oil price? I'm sure the govt has a good explanation why that cannot be done.
Given we have a govt that is so good at explaining why it has to do what it does, it is only right that I reciprocate by giving an explanation why the PAP govt finds it hard to do the right thing. ...hmm where do I begin? There was a time when Singapore paid its ministers only $10,000 a month and Singapore didn't sink. Why? Those days the job of the minister was simple - he looked at the needs of the people and does what was best for them in the long run. All policy decisions were simple and optimised to best serve the people of Singapore. Today our ministers are paid $150-$200K a month. Why? The job of the govt is a lot more complex now. The PAP govt has links and stakes in a huge conglomerate of GLCs and decision making is no longer so simple. Singapore is now Singapore Inc - the interests of the PAP govt is now diversified. When the minibond fiasco erupted, the job of the Hong Kong govt was very simple - they stood firmly on the side of the people, spoke to them first to find out what they needed, threaten to sanction the banks for wrong doing and recently promised to provide unlimited sums to pursue legal action against the bank. Things are not so simple in Singapore - DBS bank for example is part of the PAP govt financial eco-system so MAS had to discuss with them first before listening to Singaporeans on the way forward to resolve the matter. Our transport ministry probably has more meetings with our transport monopolies than ordinary citizens to understand their financial concerns....hmm incidentally SMRT has increased its profits again for the latest quarter.
Next time the PAP govt does something that you think is not right please be more understanding. Things are a lot more complex behind the scenes and unlike many other govts the PAP govt cannot simply do what is best for you.