Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Is linking HDB upgrading to votes pork barrel politics?

"Pork barrel is a derogatory term referring to appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative's district"
- Wikipedia [Link].
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Friday, October 7, 2005 at 07:24 JST SINGAPORE — Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday criticized the corruption and pork barrel politics that have bedeviled Japan's political system.Lee, speaking at a luncheon organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association, said Japan is a good example of an Asian-style parliamentary democracy that has worked well. "But they landed into problems because of corruption, money politics, pork barreling, and then necessary changes were not made and the country, instead of making adjustments and prospering like America, just flew straight on and went into a storm. So how do we maintain our system and not end up like that?"[Link]
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Our PM is so enlightened to be able to see the flaws in the Japanese democracy. The flaws that cause the Japanese system to become stagnant and eventually led the LDP's loss of power.
Before the Singapore General Elections are held, these were some of the announcements that came out:
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Sembawang Town Council to spend $570m on renewal plan.
Jalan Besar Town Council unveils $517m estate upgrading plan
Sembawang Town Council to spend $570m on renewal plan
East Coast Town launches S$500m makeover programme
PAP's Sitoh has 10-year facelift plan for Potong Pasir
"Five years down the road, assuming Chiam do win, there will be no upgrading. After that, we got to ask ourselves whether the estate is worthwhile upgrading" - SM Goh
PM Lee said in March 2006 - "Whenever it comes to upgrading between the PAP and the opposition ward, it has to be the PAP first or else how do we explain to voters that they supported us and we did not pay attention to their needs? So that remains the policy. In Hougang and Potong Pasir, I think both Eric and Sitoh have ideas on what they want to do for their constituencies and these ideas include upgrading."
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Because HDB flats are so expensive and most Singaporeans spend their whole working life paying for it, Singaporeans are very fearful that their estates are left out in estate upgrading because it will result in their flats being worth less. By linking estate upgrading to votes, Singaporeans are compelled to vote not for someone with the best ideas but for upgrading works in their area. Many will even vote for someone who is less ompetent and underperforms just to get priority in upgrading. Linking votes to upgrading undermines our democracy (or what is left of our democracy) because it takes away our right and freedom to choose the right person to represent us.
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What the PAP govt has been doing is wrong and they keep doing it to preserve their own power at the expense of ordinary citizens. What we need are honest men with integrity who are willing to do the real work needed to serve the citizens and win elections fairly. We will never have this as long as they link votes to upgrading.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is no Pork bArrel Politics in Singapore. You got to read between the lines. Period.

Anonymous said...

When it is done in Singapore, it is not pork barrel politics!

Anonymous said...

The funds rightfully belongs to the residents and they should be given the opportunity to vote on how the town councils spend the money........just like in private estate. Period.

Anonymous said...

"The flaws that cause the Japanese system to become stagnant and eventually led the LDP's loss of power."

Rubbish. Who told you? Get your facts right.

Anonymous said...

Pork barrel politic does not exist in Singapore. In Singapore it is called candies. Fear and candies are a good mix.

Alan Wong said...

"... how do we explain to voters that they supported us and we did not pay attention to their needs "

Firstly, our PM conveniently misled the voters because the upgrading money does not belong to PAP in the first place. It is perfectly OK if the monies comes from his own savings to buy a coffin for his father for he can decide when the need to buy one arises.

But here we are talking about public funds to rectify past mistakes make by the PAP govt.

Then how do you explain to those voters in Potong Pasir & Hougang who did indeed vote for PAP. Does it mean that they can all wait at the end of queue for all he cares ! Very hypocrite of him to show that he cares, isn't it ?

I believe that any smart Minister worth the monies that they are paid should have implemented the lift upgrading in accordance with the age of the flat, with the oldest block given priority. This is not only equitable but is also fair to those owners who are getting older by the day.

I do hope that in our coming GE, our PAP Ministers & MP will dare to engage in pork barrel politics again as before. Otherwise it will only give us the impression that they have chickened out!

Anonymous said...

Lucky,

Ok we (the electorate, you, me and all those other Singaporean that can vote), now knows that the PAP play politics with our hard earn money. In fact, it is not a case we NOW know, we HAVE ALREADY KNOW for donkey years.

When you say:

"What the PAP govt has been doing is wrong and they keep doing it to preserve their own power at the expense of ordinary citizens. What we need are honest men with integrity who are willing to do the real work needed to serve the citizens and win elections fairly. We will never have this as long as they [the PAP] link votes to upgrading".

The question is we have already KNOWN this is what PAP is doing and THEY are still not bend on changing, SO WHY DON'T WE -- the electorate -- DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND STOP MOANING (to put it kindly ANALYSING)?

IF we -- the electorate -- wants to live in hope that the PAP will, to use your word, "do real work" than well, live with the consequences. We can moan (oops analyse) until the heaven collapse, but not get off our backside and do something about it, I can bet my entire life saving nothing will change.

Clear eyed said...

Most of us seem to forget that the father and son and their hangers on are of a class of their own. They are Greater Mortals. This is why they have to be paid salaries no other mortal on this earth can dream of. It also gives them the right to go around criticising and giving unsolicited advice even to countries many thousands of times larger than the tiny red dot they lord over. So words as we understand them either do not apply to them or have their meaning changed. Pork barrel politics is one of them. Other examples are accountability, responsibility, transparency, peanuts ...

Anonymous said...

Pork barrel politics or not but what is the better alternative?

Unless the opposition can form the govt, even voting 3, 4 or even 10 of them into parliament also no use. PAP still has the 2/3 majority.

That's why those who feel the situation is hopeless have voted with their feet. Or planning to.

mint said...

do u really think that sporeans vote for PAP for the sake of getting their HDB upgraded? I say this is not the main reason. Have you really come across able opposition parties who are really worth our votes? For the opposition to win over, they have to prove themselves to be much more able in order to win over the peoples' confidence for a change. Simply being on par is not enough. Yes they have to compete under unfair circumstances. Only the outstanding ones can overcome these and emerge as victorious. If you are not able, dont fault others for putting you in an unfavorable position.

Anonymous said...

Lucky

Keep up your GOOD work!

runroad said...

"What we need are honest men with integrity who are willing to do the real work needed to serve the citizens and win elections fairly."

At this point it is worth trotting out Cardinal Richelieu's famous words, "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged."

In other words Lucky, dream on if you think the incumbents will meekly submit to power passing from their hands without every dirty trick in the book being deployed to prevent that ever happening. The rewards to be had for being top dog are simply so out-of-this-world that almost any sacrifice would be worth making. Forget the rule of law.

If they're fighting for their political lives, PAP would send their own grandmothers to the gallows if necessary. Honest men like JBJ and CSJ will be ruthlessly uninstalled and never mind the immediate consequences. Time heals all wounds.

Frankly, I don't see regime change ever happening in S'pore without heads being cracked as clearly exampled in Malaysia. That requires heroes to stand up and take the pain, Singaporean heroes. Where are they? Mostly at home hiding under the bed.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Runroad said: "Frankly, I don't see regime change ever happening in S'pore without heads being cracked as clearly exampled in Malaysia."

Then, my friend, you lack imagination.

Change comes, like how mushrooms sprout quickly after the rain.

And it has rained so very heavily in the past few days.

S Loke said...

The lines between the need to upgrade versus pork barrelling versus unnecessary work created are blurred.

Some estates really need decent lifts, some like where I stay gets ugly with 6 lifts to one block. It is an overkill. Then there are 3 storied blocks with the lifts to every floor. Maintenance will cost but do they care? You want lifts to every floor, we give you that.

Recently, I noticed the flower beds were dug up and replanted. There was a walkway in Siglap that was torn up and rebuilt. All these requires funding and they are signing projects with our money.

When I mean unnecessary work, I am short of defining this as a mild form of corruption, when orders for goods and services are not justified. Town councils should be prudent and conservative in the manner that they dish out work instead of investing the surplus or creating work.

Town councils need to be overhauled, so does the CPF in your other post. Best of all, we should overhaul our government.

S Loke said...

The lines between the need to upgrade versus pork barrelling versus unnecessary work created are blurred.

Some estates really need decent lifts, some like where I stay gets ugly with 6 lifts to one block. It is an overkill. Then there are 3 storied blocks with the lifts to every floor. Maintenance will cost but do they care? You want lifts to every floor, we give you that.

Recently, I noticed the flower beds were dug up and replanted. There was a walkway in Siglap that was torn up and rebuilt. All these requires funding and they are signing projects with our money.

When I mean unnecessary work, I am short of defining this as a mild form of corruption, when orders for goods and services are not justified. Town councils should be prudent and conservative in the manner that they dish out work instead of investing the surplus or creating work.

Town councils need to be overhauled, so does the CPF in your other post. Best of all, we should overhaul our government.

Anonymous said...

well, people voted for them for various reasons. if they can't handle it then don't vote for them. this is politics. No wonder the old man says singaporeans are naive about politics.

Anonymous said...

Just Vote Out PAP

JuSt votE OuT PaP

jusT vOtE oUT paP

jUSt vOTe OuT pAP

..................

Anonymous said...

FOR THIS UPGRADING, THEY DINT DO A GOOD JOB.


This is definitely a case of a Singaporean being left behind.

I am wondering why the MP in charge of Clementi Ave 5 dint say anything about this case. It has been online since 5 Nov 09.
http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/EDC091105-0000052/?Not-wheelchair-friendly-at-all
http://comment.straitstimes.com/showthread.php?t=27231

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Extracted from -
http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/EDC091126-0000059/Direct-lift-access-not-always-possible--HDB
Direct lift access not always possible: HDB

Letter from Chee Kheng Chye Deputy Director (Upgrading Programmes Management) Housing and Development Board (HDB) 05:55 AM Nov 26, 2009

WE THANK Mr Ryman Lim for his feedback on the newly-upgraded lifts (picture) at Block 340 Clementi Ave 5 ("Not wheelchair-friendly at all", Nov 5).
The objective of the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) is to provide direct lift access to the flats for the convenience of residents. For most blocks, this has been achieved through the upgrading of existing lifts or the addition of a new lift. However, there is a small number of blocks where direct lift access is not possible due to site or technical constraints. Block 340 is one such block.

HDB has earlier explored various options to overcome the site constraints. However, the only viable LUP solution then was a "half-landing solution". While this solution could not provide direct access to the flats, it would improve the existing situation by reducing the number of steps that residents have to climb. Hence, the solution was supported by the residents for implementation.

The blue stickers on the new lifts indicate that the lift car is wheelchair friendly as it comes with handrail bars, and the doors are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. It does not suggest that full barrier-free accessibility has been achieved.


We empathise with Mr Lim's situation, and seek his understanding on the LUP solution implemented for his block.




-No One Will Be Left Behind-
http://news.asiaone.com/News/NDP+Rally+2007/NDP+Rally+2007.html