Friday, October 16, 2009

Lim Swee Say : Cheaper, Better, Faster (CBF)....

CBF = work harder for lower wages or work harder for same wages or work much harder for a small wage increase?

The old trick to attract foreign investments has always been to have wages lag behind productivity growth so that per unit labor cost falls. Please come to Singapore where workers are cheaper and faster. This tired old formula is just not going to work anymore because China and Vietnam has MUCH CHEAPER, MUCH FASTER workers. Why does the govt of Singapore not apply CBF to itself? Can the HDB build cheaper and better flats faster? Can Singapore Power supply cheaper energy? Can our public transport come faster, fares made cheaper and commuters have a better more comfortable ride instead of getting herded like cattle?

CBF is only for workers - the lesser mortals of this country. Our ministers are certainly not cheaper, better or faster than those of other countries. When it comes to problems faced by Singaporeans they have been SLOW. Slow to react to the housing shortfall, slow to react to minibond fallout of Lehman's collapse etc.

Workers should no longer accept this CBF formula which has led to a large income gap and misery among a large segment of the population. We should have QPS instead - quality, premium and smart workforce to distingish ourselves from the Chinese and Vietnamese. Unless the cost of living is low, workers cannot afford to suppliers of cheap labor. Lim Swee Say doesn't come cheap and as labor chief he cannot expect Singapore workers to be cheap. The influx of cheap foreign labor sends the wrong message to investors and creates the expectation of low wages when they come here. Low wages does not go with the high cost of living in Singapore. If Lim Swee Say wants CBF he should apply first to himself, then to the PAP govt before he opens his mouth to ask workers to be CBF.

Labour movement working towards cheaper, better, faster economyBy Ismail Saifulbahri / Hoe Yeen Nie, Channel NewsAsia Posted: 15 October 2009 2230 hrs

Labour movement working towards cheaper, better, faster economy

SINGAPORE: The labour movement, NTUC, will be working towards helping put on track a "Cheaper, Better, Faster (CBF)" economy in the next two years. The CBF strategy will help drive Singapore into the next phase of growth. "We want to create early successes in all sectors to demonstrate how the CBF concept can be implemented on the ground," said labour chief Lim Swee Say. Mr Lim gave examples of companies that have already taken the CBF strategy to heart. The wafer fabrication sector had launched a national framework for skills upgrading in August. ST Microelectronics began training 7,000 engineers this year, to be followed by 3,000 technicians and operators next year. Making his closing address at the NTUC Ordinary Delegates' Conference, the labour chief was also encouraged by the strong endorsement given by union leaders to the CBF concept. However, even as they pledged their support, unionists raised concerns over how it would translate on the ground and impact workers. Some delegates at the conference were worried that the CBF strategy might lead to job cuts. Mr Lim said: "They feel that it's very important that the management has the same understanding of the CBF because the CBF economy is not about downsizing the workforce. "It's not just about applying them to manufacturing sector, it's not about just including the younger workers, better educated workers, but instead it should be inclusive for all workers - young and old." Mr Lim pointed out: "Which country, which tripartite partners will want to work together to become cheaper, better, faster, to improve productivity so that every one per cent improvement in productivity will lead to one per cent rise in unemployment rate?" He added that the end result will be stronger economic growth, more profitable companies, and higher wages. Mr Lim also said that older or less-educated workers will not be left out in the drive to be cheaper, better, and faster. Foreign workers too, will be given training. Over the next two years, NTUC will be working with companies to raise worker productivity. It will also work closely with the Singapore National Employers' Federation (SNEF) in the months ahead to ensure that both businesses and workers are on the same page regarding what the CBF strategy entails. The three-day conference, which ended on Thursday, was a time for unionists to take stock of their progress and to raise issues on the ground. Some said more could be done to get women back to work, and to provide better support for working mothers. Others suggested ways to make training courses more accessible. - CNA/sc


Anonymous said...

Either he is deaf and blind or he is in total denial of the state of affair of the nation. Coming out with a statement like that when many of our fellow countrymen are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table. This ranks up there with Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake." Even that's just a rumour and she probably didn't even said those words.

We are paying this guy millions of dollars a year to insult us. Talk about being masochist. How long is this going to go on for? I have a better description of the acronym that befits him, Ch** B** Face!!

Anonymous said...

Update : I have post this issue before. Just here to express my *wonders*. Pardon my sua-kuness

I went to the Ang Mo Kio Hub yesterday. This is my second visit though it has opened for some time.

*Wonder* No. 1. Almost the whole of 3rd floor was taken up by NTUC Income and I did not there is a NTUC Medical Group like the rest of the commercial Medical Groups

*Wonder* No.2. I have observed that quite some time ago, foreigners have taken over 7-11 and coffee shop jobs. Add all those xiao chi stores to the mix e.g. those that sell kuehs, fishballs and other assorted stuff. Now, those people are foreigners plus elderly people in their late 40s and above.

I seriously wondered what is going to happen to about 80 to 90% of each cohort of age-group of people. We know that no matter what, 80 to 90% of each age-group of people will not be *brilliant* and talented people. If you are a school teacher, you will know that for each school population, you will get about 10% of the level population as *good* academic students e.g. for all P6 classes, will be about 10 to 20% population as *good* classes. These percentages are fixed as you are measured against the next person. This is pragmatic because the society will need to sieve out the good ones and the better ones. (anyway, that is another issue on the philosophy of education...)

Conclusion is that if I have young children right now, I need to pray that they can study well and become the top 10% in every field to make a decent living. If they do not, then they will end up like the 80 to 90%. Based on what I have observed, where are all these less educated young people working if they are not in the fields mentioned above and also that the MSM always reported that Singaporeans shun. I saw many as retail assistants and in sales. I am not trying to point out what/who is better. I am just wondering for the ordinary citizens, less options are available (and not to mention the prospects as well, for if humans has no hope, then what is the point of living...) and we have not touched on the issue of real disposable income which is of course intrinsically linked to many other issues.....

Anonymous said...

LSS was given the mandate(or was it a walkover??)at the last elections to say and do things which he thinks is best for the labour movement.

Unless there is a better available alternative to LSS or better still the govt.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Anon 08:45 said:

"LSS was given the mandate(or was it a walkover??)at the last elections to say and do things which he thinks is best for the labour movement."

It was a walkover.


"He added that the end result will be stronger economic growth, more profitable companies, and higher wages."

If the end result is intended to be higher wages, then what is supposed to be "cheaper"?


steven loke said...

Leaders lead by example. The whole labour situation is turning into a farce.

Anonymous said...

Are our leaders hypocrites?

They ask us to be cheap but they are the most expensive in the world.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 16/10/09 08:45

On the practical side, the opposition, even a "perfect" coalition, will not have the resource and manpower to form a government by itself in the next 10 years. I think MM Lee is right on this. Given this, the way forward is to improve the PAP government by "bringing in the auditor" so that the PAP cannot be too mischievous without consequence. As ordinary folks, the only thing we can do is to vote the opposition even if it fields a chimpanzee.

Anonymous said...

LSS is, merely in name, the head of the worker's union.

His role, as a union leader, is supposedly to fight for the worker's rights and interests.

Can he really do so when he is paid handsomely to work as an MP, ie for the government? Any obvious conflict of interest?

As we've seen so far, he obviously stands up more for the interests of the companies and government in this tri-partite relationship.

With him at the helm of NTUC, all the worker's concerns are effectively gagged.

Worse, if you examine the leaders at the top of the NTUC hierarchy, most if not all of them are PAP MPs who have been appointed

Too conincidental that all the Sg workers rights have been subjugated?

Anonymous said...

"As ordinary folks, the only thing we can do is to vote the opposition even if it fields a chimpanzee.

16/10/09 09:47"

Hear! Hear!

Remember pao zuan yin yu - throw bricks to attract jade.

Don't worry, the civil service will still run. the backbone of this is done by ordinary singaporeans like you and me anyway.

Anonymous said...

Sound more like Che* By* Fac* to me.

Anonymous said...

Minister Lim Swee Say has got Superiors that are more well known for gaffes, blunders and doubtful integrities than abilities and competencies. So, what can Singaporeans expect of Ministers in the PMO?

Vote chimpanzee, vote monkey and donkey BUT never vote those faces that tell You all they want is money.


Lim Leng Hiong said...

Anon 10:02 said:

"LSS is, merely in name, the head of the worker's union.

His role, as a union leader, is supposedly to fight for the worker's rights and interests.

Can he really do so when he is paid handsomely to work as an MP, ie for the government? Any obvious conflict of interest?

As we've seen so far, he obviously stands up more for the interests of the companies and government in this tri-partite relationship."

This arrangement is purportedly for the long-term benefit of Singapore. Having union leaders who actually fight for their workers will result in strikes and disruptions that will hurt the long-term benefit of Singapore.

So how can you convince anybody, especially in a recession where there is high unemployment and underemployment, that the way forward is "Cheaper, Better, and Faster"?

For the long-term benefit of Singapore, their plan appears to be: render the entire local population irrelevant by continuing to flood the market with foreign workers, so that they will have a much better chance to succeed in their "Cheaper, Better, and Faster" strategy.

In less than a decade, "Singaporeans" will be a minority group and there will be no need to be convincing to anyone.

To address any criticism right now, just hint that the inflow of foreign workers will be reduced without providing any specifics. Don't talk about specifics. Why? Because there are no specifics. Nothing will change after the elections.

For the long-term benefit of "Singapore", Singaporeans must be marginalised. If you protest, it is because you are selfish and short-sighted and do not have helicopter vision.

So don't be afraid, come and join the parade - just vote for the ruling party once again, and wish again, and hope again, and pray again that something will finally finally change for the better this time round.

Be positive! Think long-term.

Anonymous said...

The term was probably coined during a night out at Geylang. Want cheap, want fresh, want big breasts!

Clear eyed said...

For the longest time, the mantra of the MIW is Cheaper, Better, Faster, in so many different words, but always the same message. Of course this mantra applies only to lesser mortals. And trusting that these MIW are honourable and incorruptible and work only for the good of Singapore, Singaporeans have obediently put our shoulders to the wheel and huff and puff, slogging longer and longer hours for less and less pay. As we toil, the MIW crack the whip and stuff their pockets with $$$ from our toil and live the high life. Singaporeans, wise up to the brutal truth - these MIW we have trusted and slogged for are no angels in white. They are clowns masquerading as wise men and they are cracking the slave driver's whip and paying themselves incredible $$$ for this.

Anonymous said...

Lim Leong Heng said:

"Having union leaders who actually fight for their workers will result in strikes and disruptions that will hurt the long-term benefit of Singapore."

The other end of the extreme is where a union leader tells the workers to play dead (be absolutely passive) all the time.

There's got to be some middle ground somewhere. Not all responses have to be disruptive nor violent. This is where the union leaders have to be assertive and think of creative solutions.

The usual sort of response from LSS, where workers concede every time, is the kind that encourages the employers and the government to treat Sg workers like slippers ie. they get to walk all over the workers interest and rights every time.

It's sad that our only union has been effective inflitrated and neutered by individuals the other camp.

In a real tripartite arrangement, each party strives to jostle to maximise their own benefit.

Perhaps it is more accurate to call the Sg version of this relationship a bipartite relationship instead.

Anonymous said...

From BT Quote from Mr Lim SS "With the economy bouncing back, workers would think it's pay-back time. They had taken pay cuts to help their company when business was bad. Now, they want the cuts restored - and more - for their sacrifice.

But the economic recovery is going to be weak despite the promising growth numbers in the second and third quarters. Remove the fiscal prop provided by governments the world over, and we could see that the growth in many economies - economies that we depend on such as America, China, Europe and Japan - totter. And governments, faced with crippling budget deficits, are pulling back."

Seems like we are screwed.

xl said...

Precisely-hard to compete on cheaper, better, faster.

Ought to focus on other metrics. Vietnamese didn't win war against americans by continously pitting against the american strength esp in Air Power.

Likewise chinese communist guerillas don't go head to head against better equip KMT metrics of better equip & trained. They focus on metrics where they stand a chance.

A race to the bottom in terms of cheaper is bloody.

What's next free?

Anonymous said...

We are going in the opposite direction of a 1st world country - switching back to 3rd world labour. It used to be, when we were told to achieve the swiss stanard of living, that we were to be a technologically strong, advanced nation, having advanced labour skills. Well fast forward 20 years, and we are told to be cheaper, better and faster. They have failed to control inflation and the cost of living has spiralled out of control and now CBF? Are we up against China, Vietnam and Myanmar now? We are just following the blind man LSS into the longkang.

Fievel said...

Lim Swee Say is a pretty low intelligence life-form. It shows on his past policies and actions.

One of the first ministers who should go, I'd say, in the event of a "freak election"

Anonymous said...

NTUC = Never Trust Union Chief.

That says it all.

Seelan Palay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

That is the direction everyone needs to take. Not only singapore.

Cheaper here means Cheaper and not mean Cheapest. So your arguement of China or Vietnam is thrown out straight away.

It's all about increasing your output. Why would we wanna do something to decrease our output?

Fievel said...

Anon@ 1558,

His idea is akin to saying, hey Singaporeans, lets compete with the Chinese and the Indians and see if we can come out costs competitiveness. Come on!?

There is a concept called market positioning. We've got to choose our place in the global market to fight and defend...but he wants us to choose the boxing arena with China and India inside. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Lucky, you hit the nail right on the head. Nothing much to say except I agree totally. We have bad leaders and they ask you to do things but they themselves are doing the exact opposite, WTF. We must tell LSS go and fly a kite, unless he can show us that he can walk the talk.

Anonymous said...

One day we will all be Taxi-drivers

Anonymous said...

This viable alternative to PAP is a great hoax that is widely circulated.

Better a man with reasonable wisdom but care for the people than a genius that will squeeze the people dry and abandon them.

Anonymous said...

I think this is establishment's preparing us for the change in global economic landscape.

What are the changes? US is losing its status the ONLY superpower and with its economic woes, we cannot rely on our good friend anymore. So forget those FDI. Ditto for Europe. For Japan, it is mired in deflation, and with the global slump, don't expect too much from them. With BRIC stepping on the accelerator in upgrading their manufacturing and service economy, expect FDI to flow there and Singapore will be marginalised.

Now it is not just BRIC, take away BRIC and G8 (G7 + EU), we still have 8 more countries to contend with for FDI in the G20 group. Yes, even Saudi wants investment with oil inventory declining.

So who can we rely upon? Our domestic economy is small and with influx of foreigner, do expect a downward spiral on the wages or at best stagnant wages for domestic jobs.

So if you are not in the top 10%, quickly adjust your expectations and live within your means. Better still, go to South America, Saudi or South Africa as this will be next growth region (forget China and India, they have caught up with us).

Anonymous said...

Let us begin with this cheaper, better and faster by slacking the prata man.

Every other foreigners are laughing at the stupidity of paying millions per year for a yes man to cut ribbions.

sgcynic said...

Only wages become CBF. All other costs (rental, government fees) status quo!? Talk about having your cake and eating it!

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you Mr Tan for speaking like it is. To me, this is your hardest hitting article yet. No niceties, no humor, no sarcasm, no place for PAP to hide. In this article you have informed the Singaporeans that their emperor is truly NAKED.

The govt tells Singaporeans to be Cheaper, Better and Faster.

Lets put that directive back at the govt.

Is the govt cheap? Singapore ministers are paid highest in the world to manage 5 million people.

How much is the US President paid to manage 250 million people and fight 2 wars at the same time?

Singapore is blessed with deep natural harbours and strategically located in one of the most important sea route in the world, if this is not a prized natural resource than i don't know what is?
Don't ever lie to us that Singapore has no natural resources.

Is Singapore govt better? Well to know the answer you need to ask yourself:

-How much losses Temasek and GIC made? If they profit, do you get to enjoy?
-You have cancer, who pays for the hospital bills?
-Your child is an average student in local uni, who pays the tuition fees?
-You don't have enough money for retirement, who pays for your daily meals then?
-You don't have enough money to buy a HDB flat or pay the monthly mortgage, who is going to help you put a roof on your head?

How can Singapore govt be better if it can't even help Singaporeans with basic needs? Singaporeans motto is "you die is your business" then for what we create a govt?

Is Singapore govt faster?
-How many yrs does it take to acknowledge stop at 2 is a mistake?
-how many yrs does it take to know that a lift landing on every floor is a basic need and not a luxury?
-after how many yrs does the public transport acknowledged the existence of handicapped people?
-How long does it take to catch a limp terrorist?
-how long does it take to know that the fund houses charged ridiculously high management fees for unit trusts on our CPF?

Conclusion: Singapore govt is expensive, ineffective and slow.

Please come up with better ideas Lim Swee Say or else give other Singaporeans a chance. Your time is almost up!

You can buy 2 type of watches:

a) Made in Switzerland
b) Made in China

Are the swiss watchmakers competing with chinese watchmakers? Can you see the difference Lim Swee Say?

We pay millions but we still get monkeys, WTF!!!

Anonymous said...

EXCELLENT! I have been waiting for this article for some time now and maybe I think Lucky Tan is busy.

Well he just talked about Singapore HALF BRAIN recently and now this??? No solution???

And also talking about the plan to persuade employers to scrap 10% wage deduction when they reach 60 years old... OH COME ON, THEY ARE BUSINESSMEN NOT CHARITY! Implement a law or something and then balalnce it up the equation. Don't just ACT IN SITCOM. YOU ARE PAID MILLION$$$.

Anonymous said...

Dichotomy of a nation :

Expensive ministers Cheap workers

Uniquely Singapore!!

Anonymous said...

Well written! That's the hypocrisy of PAP. Thank you for expressing what I feel so eloquently.

Anonymous said...

They use to say:

"Pay Peanuts, Get Monkeys."

Now, I think we can add:

"Pay Many Many Peanuts, Get Overweight, Fat, Complacent & Stupidified Monkeys!!!" haha :D

Anonymous said...

To: Anon 17/10/09 02:48

"They use to say:

"Pay Peanuts, Get Monkeys."

Now, I think we can add:

"Pay Many Many Peanuts, Get Overweight, Fat, Complacent & Stupidified Monkeys!!!" haha :D"



Anonymous said...

How is it that PAP people always
ended getting the top jobs in NTUC if there is "real' election in the
national union?
I think the odds should have been
longer that striking the Big Sweep
every month.

Anonymous said...

remember long ago, we used to sing that productivity song "Good Better Best", telling us singaporean to be kiasu, to be always ahead of others. Ironically now Good Better Best is outdated by Cheaper Better Faster!

Anonymous said...

When there is no change in the gahman policies, what he says is just another wayang speeh. He is not a INDEPENDENT judge. He is not the MAIN player. He just cannot do anything except talk, talk ,talk anf talk... and the talking continues...

yamizi said...

Coincidentally, CBF is an acronym for Honda Unicorn!

Anonymous said...

"Better a man with reasonable wisdom but care for the people than a genius that will squeeze the people dry and abandon them."

Very well said. Words of wisdom itself in this very sentence.

Anonymous said...

"Cheaper, Better, Faster."

Are the basic costs of goods & services that we need going to be "cheaper, better & faster".

For those at the low end of the value chain who are already cheap & better & faster, how are the different cost & income variables going to fall into place if we are to fill in the numbers.

Anonymous said...

"We pay millions and we still get MONKEYS"

How can this happen to us? F*ck this shit! I'm very angry.

Who are the stupid voters who vote for this "upturn the downturn" clown?

Stupid voters deserved stupid leaders

Anonymous said...

Can the HDB build cheaper and better flats faster?

The HDB flats already does not cost much as we use sand and cheap bangala workers, new ones in new estates like Sengkang and Puggoul shrink in size further reducing costs.

If one uses reverse engineering to calculate cost of constructions form private condos, they really can profits more than 100%, take note that the land is acquired cheaply from us in the first place unlike private developers need to bid for the land.

Can Singapore Power supply cheaper energy?

We use natural gas for generating 80% of the electricity yet it seems that what we pay is more related to oil prices.

With more cheap foreign workers working at these power stations, I really wondered where the high price comes from.

Can our public transport come faster, fares made cheaper and commuters have a better more comfortable ride instead of getting herded like cattle?

There are increasingly more and more China bus drivers working at salary 10 years ago, with manpower costs kept low, one wonders where the high costs come from, take note that for fuel, oil prices sometimes go up and down but transport price can only go up here.

I hope that they don't charge fuel taxes when the public transport companies buy fuels, because that is stupid and will pass costs to us.

We are unlike other countries where risk free returns disappears into western banks instead of being returned to us.

Fares are needed to be made more expensive to generate more revenue and getting herded like cattle to cut costs in order to generate more profits to declare as dividends before disappearing into western banks.

There is a difference between free transports, operating on cost recovery basis and operating to generate profits as like now.

They want to create a false dilemma by keep emphasizing that voting for opposition means free transport and that will empty our reserves.

There is still a 3rd option - that is operating public transport on a cost recovering basis.

Anonymous said...

CBF should send a shudder up the spines of workers. Here's why.

C-Cheaper = Lower salaries
B-Better = Higher expectations from bosses
F-Faster = 1 does the work of 2

Ain't the future looking pretty!

Anonymous said...

"Singaporeans motto is "you die is your business" "

Correction: It should be "Singapore Government motto is "You did is your business.

For the lesser mortal:
Cheaper, Faster and Better

For the Elite MIW:
More $$$, Better $$$ and Best $$$

Anonymous said...

..B should be bester lah !

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Don't pile the ballistics onto LSS alone. We all know he is just another mouthpiece for you-know-who/what.

Kam Lanjiao said...

Lim Swee Say open his lanjiao mouth again...phua cheeby knn! :(

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