Friday, June 18, 2010

Town Council Performance....what it actually shows...

When you elect an MP, you select someone to represent your interests in parliament. Someone who will speak up for you. Someone who understands your needs and tries to bring about changes in the country that will improve your life. We did not vote people to be estate managers. We can simply hire these people to run our estates like what they do in private condominiums - if they do a bad job and are not responsive to resident's complaints, their contracts are not renewed and someone else is hired. Managing an estate is not rocket science and the skills to do it is actually quite common.

Recently, the PAP govt came up with a set of criteria to measure town council performance and released the Town Council Report. The report showed that estate in by opposition members ward fared poorly based on the criteria. One of the indicators is how well the town council go after arrears[Link]. One PAP MP explained how they did so well in this area:

"Even after a person has passed away, the liability is passed on to the next-of-kin. It is possible to collect these sums" -MP Zainudin Nordin, who chairs the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council

For your information, they do the same for hospital liability does not disappear with your death and the financial burden is passed to your family members. We are supposed to be impressed?

MP Low argued that the PAP constituencies are prime beneficiaries of various upgrading programmes which gives priority to PAP constitencies. The PAP govt has refused to disclose how much tax payers' money has been spent on this form of pork barrel politics.

Lets get this very clear - your PAP MP is not the person running your estate. Most PAP MPs have full time jobs and their MP role is only a part time job. While he chairs the town council, the actual running of the estate is done by professionals. The PAP town council are beneficiaries of various upgrading schemes which helps to reduce the maintenance cost. At the end of the day, how well the estate is run has little to do with your MPs performance.

The Town Council Management Report which tracks a narrow set of measures that puts the opposition constituencies is a completely meaningless exercise and a waste of tax payers money that serve only to score political points for the ruling PAP party.

Singaporeans should be more interested in the performance of the PAP govt and I suggest a few KPIs for the measurement of this:
  • GINI Index - how high is the income disparity in Singapore compared with the rest of the developed world.
  • Cost of Public Housing - What can be more important than housing? Surely, providing affordable high quality housing is important ...I don't think anyone will disagree.
  • Cost of utilities - What does it cost to light your home?
  • Cost of govt - Is the govt costing too much? Surely, performance has to be measured relative to cost.
  • Cost of transport - something the affects the live of all citizens.
  • Quality of life - stress level of citizens, ability to live of full life i.e. raise a family etc.

The above are KPIs that matter to Singaporeans.....and it is important we know them to make an informed decision when the next elections comes...


Opposition MP urges MND to reveal town council benefits from upgrading programmes [Link]
By S Ramesh Posted: 17 June 2010 1913 hrs

Photos 1 of 1

Opposition MP Low Thia Khiang

SINGAPORE : Opposition MP for Hougang, Low Thia Khiang, has called on the Ministry of National Development to let the public know how much each town council has benefited from various upgrading programmes from the time they were started.

These are the Interim Upgrading Programme (IUP), Main Upgrading Programme (MUP) and Community Improvement Projects Committee (CIPC) funds.

In his latest salvo on the Town Council Management Report released recently, Mr Low said in a statement on Thursday that he had asked in Parliament, and again on June 14, for the information on the amount of funding to be made public.

But he said he was disappointed that the ministry had kept silent on this.

Mr Low was replying to several points made by Senior Minister of State for National Development, Grace Fu, in her statement released on Wednesday.

Ms Fu had said that Mr Low was using the town council report to pursue his political objectives.

The opposition MP now argues that the PAP government has spent huge sums of money over the years to upgrade HDB flats in PAP constituencies. He said this has benefited the PAP town councils immensely.

As a result, he said these town councils could have saved substantial sums of expenditure in cyclical works and routine maintenance. And the savings, he argued, would have contributed to the operating surplus and higher sinking funds over the years.

So Mr Low felt that the public should know how much additional funding is given to the town councils of the PAP wards - directly or indirectly - through the upgrading programmes.

He said Singaporeans can then judge for themselves whether this could affect the outcome of the town management and financial position of the town council.


Anonymous said...


Fully agreed that the KPIs you cited are very much more meaningful. Frankly I don't give a damn to the Town Council Report.

There are many inefficiencies and inadequacies of PAP governance, policies, structure and systems that result in the KPIs you cited not having good scores. So of course PAP is not keen to talk about them.

And best of all, these KPIs, even though having bad scores, do not reflect in obvious and observable ways.

Hence on the surface you see the streets are peaceful, roads chokeful with cars, restaurants full house, etc and everywhere things look modern and prosperous.

And to top it all, a weak opposition and 50% walkovers at elections. And a consistently happy electorate of over 60%. Really don't know why despite those poor scores for the KPIs that you want to measure.

What more can a gahmen want?

Anonymous said...

What about PAP town councils who lost millions in investments? These losses are simply written off? Where is the accountability?

Anonymous said...

I think it is time for a change and vote for a CBF party to takeover. Definitely benefit me if the monthly fee is reduced greatly.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with Lucky's KPIs since I for one am impacted by them. I have so far only voted once in GE, the others were walkovers. Most likely the changing electoral boundaries have something to do with votes.

Anonymous said...

sg is a very pollutive city also, just today the paper touched on the dangers of PM 2.5 particles emitted by exhaust of vehicles on e road

Anonymous said...

Kudos to LTK for pressing the Minister for answers regarding funding to town councils.

Very unfair to our fellow citizens in Hougang and Potong Pasir. Afterall, they pay taxes like everyone, serve NS, etc, but are deprived of any funds simpy because they have opp MPs.
And they are supposed to defend Singapore in time of war!

Do they have a choice therefore not to pay tax? Not to serve NS?

Talking about an inclusive nation.


DanielXX said...

poor grace fu. aspiring minister who published this report has to wait several more years to be promoted after God disagreed with her report and unleashed Noah's Flood on Orchard Road. Now she has been silenced. What Low Thia Khiang couldn't do, a greater Being has.

Anonymous said...

Any lawyers can comment. Is it legal to pass on the liability after death in Singapore law? said...

In all democratic countries except Singapore, personal liabilities would be pass on to nobody including kins.

Fxxking PAP are really wicked.

I personally witness in NTU how PAP did this. 1 months in NTU year 1, the foreign scholars went around begging Singaporean classmate whom they barely knew to be their garantor for scholarship. The government effectively off-load the risk of bond-breaking to friends of foreigners to their local friends.

In Singapore, people require some of the social service often needs to pull in garantor, frequently their relative.

Many of their relative are not able to decline such soliciting despite knowing that eventually they would have to pay.


Anonymous said...


My parents stay in one of the HDB blocks directly opposite LTK's Hougang ward. The blocks and surroundings in PAP ward were upgraded and painted repeatedly. The lifts were even upgraded twice within less than 5 years. The first time the lifts were upgraded from stopping at only the 6th and 11th floors to stopping at every alternate floors. Then, the lift were updated again after less than 4 years by erecting a new lift that stopped on every floor. The 'old' upgraded lift was sealed. I do not know how the HDB and town council accounting works. But, in my world, the first lift upgrading has to be completely written off in the accounts. If it is not, someone seriously need to look into their books.

The similar HDB blocks in LTK's ward built in the same period just across the street were never upgraded, essentially left to rot.

Upgrading is good. But, the way it is done in this case was very poorly planned and a waste of our (taxpayers) hard earned money. It is blatantly done to spite and make the opposition ward jealous.

Regardless what the PAP does, the citizens living in opposition's Hougang ward across the street from where my parents stay continue to vote for LTK. I have the highest respect for their integrity and salute them.


Anonymous said...

You KPI is very pertinent and relevant.

Anonymous said...

Residents in opposition estate also pay tax to the govt yet they are not assigned with reasonable fair budget for the estate upgrading. How is this fair to use as comparison between opposition managed estate vs ruling party managed estate.

everyone knows how unfair it is yet they still got the cheek to publish comparison.

xl said...

GDP needs to be tweaked too. I'm sick of them boasting gdp up, up, up.

French president attacks GDP focus:

Current measurement includes cancer type of growth which is what current govt adore so much.

> people divorce, gdp up
> people eat out unhealthy, gdp up

Gdp up up doesn't matter much if it doesn't trickle down much to benefit the masses.

Anonymous said...

In Singapore,the government make sure that even if you die, someone has to pay your bill. Example, if you need an operation at the hospital, someone else need to sign as an guarantor for your admission so if you die, he guarantor has to oay.No escape.

Anonymous said...

I have always had the impression that Grace Fu was a decent MP but this episode showed her narrow mindedness, arrogance and total lack of integrity. I have no more respect for her!

Anonymous said...

Lucky, you are precisely spot on that this Town Council Reports are actually trying to boost the image of the PAP MOs. You would think that LHL and LKY are in anyway involved in how the estate under their constituencies are managed? Hell, no way and yet Grace Fu has the gall to lick their asses.

Singapore is creating more wastes every year, which is a cause for worry, as we cannot build more incineration plants and Pulau Semakau has already been filled-up one eight. With the increase in population and the care-less attitude of residents regarding recycling, we are heading for disaster. A clean estate does not reflect the sorry situation we are in as concentration of population in a land-scarce island state has no where to dump all that rubbish. Unlike Japan, Singapore has not been very successful in promoting recycling consciousness in her citizen's mindset. All this hype about estate cleanliness is just gloss, and probably sweeping all the dirt under the carpet.

How clean is not that great, and Grace Fu should look closely at the sorry state of public toilets and the hygiene of the food sellers. Can she change the mindsets of kway tiau sellers not to put highly heated food into polystyrene containers? Can all stalls not put utensils like chopsticks, forks and spoons upright in a holder? Won't you be upset to have supposedly clean plates that are damp and oily and taking your utensils from such holders that someone has already rummaged through with their hands? These are third world mentality prevalent in the citizens' mindset and promoted by the authorities. Are we not boasting that we are a 1st class country?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Lucky

Where is the selfless atheist Political Party that is going to save Singapore?

If PAP knows with certainty that the selfless atheist liberals are no action talk only ... then how they respond? Higher GST to help the people?

Anonymous said...

See, the problem lies in your assumptions.

Most people assume that their MPs / Town councils exist to serve the people's interests.

This assumption is incredible as a number of them are in office not due to these people.

So ask yourselves, whose interest do these people really serve?

Anonymous said...

PAP has been keeping quiet on things that they know they fare poorly. Keeping quiet means admitting that what people are saying is correct. Keeping does not abstain from your responsibilities and liabilities.

Alan Wong said...

Actually coming to think about it, PAP is actually very wicked to say that those HDB blocks in opposition wards have to wait at the queue.

But where is the queue ? What are the queueing nos allocated to these HDB blocks ? The PAP Minister cannot just keep saying wait for your queue every election come.

In fact they have to justify the queue. If we have some HDB blocks completed say 20 or 30 years ago but still not upgraded yet while those completed less than 15 years ago are continously upgraded, then obviously HDB is being manipulated by PAP. This is only blatant abuse by PAP, it is actualy cheating with the system because the funds do not belong to PAP. It is not for them to dictate how public funds are channeled to improving public housing estates.

I think the next time that any PAP Minister reminds us that those who voted for the opposition have to wait at the end of the queue, let's not hesitate to call him a Cheating Minister ! And a Liar too for lying that public housing estates in the Opposition Ward must stay at he end of the queue.

Alan Wong said...

Previous post correction :

This is NOT only blatant abuse by PAP, it is actualy cheating with the system ....

Anonymous said...

A lack of wisdom from govt.
Why would I want to pay part timers (MPs) to run the Town Councils when I can spent a fraction of that to REAL professionals that can run it better (with the right skill sets, right experience, right qualifications, and without the Taiji)!
Simple logic like this is enough for me to vote those fellas off!
Can't think for nutz!

Anonymous said...

this is the part where the 'talented wise elites' have.

pay millions to them.
they are being effective by outsourcing their work to cheaper more professional worker to do job for them.

come to think of it, seems like a job anyone with reasonable intelligence can do it. talented elites doesnt value add anything.

Anonymous said...

When you are paid millions, our expectations are also in millions. If you are paid thousands than the expectation of course is lower.
So MPs and ministers, we dont have high expectations, we set our expectations according to what you are paid.
Till now, you have not show us your worth to be paid millions.

Fievel said...

Singaporeans are finally slowly but slowly catching up with political games played in our country. This coming election will be like the world cup, full of shocking results..shocking not because the underdogs outperformed themselves...but because the favorites have both lost their wide gaping edge and have underestimated their own undoings of the past years. cousins, friends of the heartlands, colleagues squeezing daily in the trains to work trying their hardest to pull money together just to pay for a simple life, my life-long buddies, are all really looking forward to the next election!!!

Finally, a chance for all of us to control a little of our fates as citizens of Singapore.

Anonymous said...

I remembered the famous remarks of MM at past election rallies:"If the Opposition were to win in your wards the rubbish bins would not be cleared & would pile up 1 to 2 storeys high" This has not happened & will never happened. This is PAP's scare tactics. If the PAP Town Councils are rated so high vis-a-vis the Opposition, how come there is no accountability for the $16 million fiasco in exotic & toxic financial products last year!!! Clearly this shows the Opposition MPs are more prudent & responsible in their duties!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

hear! hear!

we'll hire professional estate managers for our hdb estates, at a fraction of the cost paid to pap mps.

it's national shame that singapore leaders are all about money!