Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A fantastical piece of advice...

MM Lee has gone to Russia to impress the Russians with PAP's success story. He was asked by a Russian business students what advice he would give if approached by 2 Russian presidents - one old and the other young:
.
".....'to get out of business' and not have the state run all major enterprises. Mr Lee said that it has been proven time and again that private companies are always more profitable and more efficient than state-run ones." - Straits Times, 20 Sep 2010.

In Singapore, GLCs (Govt Linked Companies) account for a significant portion of the GDP[Link]. GLCs are closely linked to PAP govt's power hierarchy. For example, when Minister David Lim left the govt, he went to NOL to replace the foreign talent who was then CEO. High ranking officers in SAF and govt transit to GLCs such as ST (Singapore Technologies), Semb Corp and so on. When the PAP needs new blood, it frequently looks for them in the GLCs e.g. MP Wee Siew Kim (father of Wee Shu Min) works in ST, and so on (here is an un-updated list to show PAP govt's link to businesses[Link]). The close association of the PAP govt with this network of GLCs causes the interests of the PAP govt to be aligned with a small group of power-elites and policy making to be lopsided trading off the interests of ordinary Singaporeans to maintain a power structure that preserves the PAP's hegemony. The PAP govt had to keep raising the salaries of ministers and MPs because they found it hard to bring in highly paid overcompensated GLC executives into politics.

It is strange, almost bizzare, for MM Lee to tell the Russian govt to "get out of business" when his own govt is so closely linked to a network of GLCs.
-------------------
Sep 20, 2010
MM's take on a 'fantastical' scenario
By Jeremy Au Yong MOSCOW:

Imagine two Russian presidents, one young and one old, came to you and sought your advice on the next decade. What would you tell them? This was the scenario put to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew last Saturday by Russian business school student Sergei Koltovich at a dialogue in Moscow.Mr Lee, while stating that the situation was fantastical, said he would give both leaders similar advice: Get out.'I would say to the older leader, get out of the communist system, shed it. Forget your empire. If you think you can re-create your empire, you are wasting your time and resources,' he said.To the younger one, his message would be 'to get out of business' and not have the state run all major enterprises. Mr Lee said that it has been proven time and again that private companies are always more profitable and more efficient than state-run ones.He said: 'If a man is hired by the state to run the company, his career is not at stake, the company succeeds or fails, his salary may go up and down slightly or he may get the sack. So if there's a crisis, he can go home at 12 o'clock and he's asleep. 'But if he has a 30 per cent shareholding, that night he'll be working frantically... he must solve the problem or lose his fortune.'The need to encourage private enterprise was a message Mr Lee would dwell on during his dialogue with the MBA students of the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management. He is a member of the school's international advisory board.Throughout the hour-long session, he was asked numerous times for his take on Russian issues.He told the students that the two reasons for his faith in the future of Russia's economy were the enormous amount of natural resources the country had, and the calibre of its people.But the people were being held back by a system that did not allow private enterprise to bloom and be supported by the government, he said.'If you discover an oil field, the government comes over and Lukoil says we will look after it. In that way, you control everything, that holds them back,' he said, referring to the Russian oil giant. Elaborating on the example, Mr Lee said that if the country was more open to letting foreign oil companies in, it could benefit from their expertise. American oil companies, in particular, were very good at drilling, he said.'If you open up the market, American oil companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, they come exploring. Yes, they make some money but they discover new fields for you and ways to reach it. 'I think it's not in the Russian mindset, it's something that has to change if they want to grow faster,' he said.Mr Lee attended the meeting of the school's international advisory board yesterday as he wrapped up his visit to Moscow.He is in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev today and is due to meet Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.
__________________

83 comments:

Kojakbt said...

It's quite hypocritical for MM Lee to give advice to Russia not to do certain things when he is practicing blatantly in his own home turf, Singapore:

http://forums.delphiforums.com/3in1kopitiam/messages?msg=39037.1
http://www.singsupplies.com/showthread.php?t=75122

Kojakbt said...

check this out: http://www.singapore-window.org/sw02/020210gl.htm

Some of the info may be outdated but certainly in Singapore, the state continues to "hire" ex-civil servants, ex-generals to man our state-owned enterprises (ie, GLCs):

GOVERNMENT-LINKED companies (GLCs) appear to be playing a bigger role in the Singapore economy than ever before. With Singapore experiencing possibly its worst economic downturn since independence, the government is re-examining its economic policies. The government’s deepening and broadening involvement in private enterprise is among the policies being scrutinized by the government’s Economic Review Committee. Some officials hint at a reversal of this practice but others appear to disagree.

A closer look at the issue suggests that reversing this policy is difficult. The government’s withdrawal from business could hurt the employment, income and ownership interests of people closely connected to it –

1) relatives of senior government leaders,
2) former senior government officials,
3) former senior military commanders,
4) current senior government officials, and
5) current and former ruling party politicians.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lucky,

I do have my doubt that GLCs account for 60% of our GDP,I went to your link but it was just a statement of fact.

Appreciate if you can follow up on this point,I have been trying to dig deeper for quite a while but fruitless.

Anonymous said...

TQ. Kojabt for the list.
No wonder they keep saying not enough talent in Singapore. Many opportunities are given just to a handful of select elites. If you're outside their inner circle not much chance. Many talented young men don't like the PAP system and won't be part of it.

Kojakbt said...

Anon 21/9/10 11:13, if you look at the market cap of GLCs in SGX, I think it's probably more than 50%...

Kojakbt said...

Anon 21/9/10 11:17, yes, you're right. To "get promoted and get rich", you got to be part of the elite system. And to be an elite, you need to learn to be a hypocrite first... doing things that you may not believe in but then you may have "no choice"...

Look at Vivian. Before he was "co-opted" completely, he still has some principle of his own. But now, he is just part of the "system"... even good people can become "bad" under a system...

Anonymous said...

Talk is cheap..advice is even cheaper, especially when you are paid millions to give your words of wisdom..which everyone take with a huge bucket of salt..haha what a joke. I am really becoming a great fan of the old man, he is so good at making fools out of people..poor Russians, they do not know that he is paving the way for GIC and Temasek to buy some of the government owned companies..

Anonymous said...

If I follow the figures given at

furrybrowndog.wordpress.com/.../a-quick-examination-of-singapores-economic-figures/
which is quite reliable with official PAP figures.

In 2007,GDP of S$243B,shres of foreigners and MNCs was S$108B,indigenous' GDP was S$135B,(55%),so it is not possible for GLCs to account for 60% of Singapore GDP.

In summary,Singapore residents which include our citizens plus more than 500,000 high net worth foreigners account for 55% of our GDP in 2007,if you ask me for the share of our citizens which include many recently converted citizens,my guess ia bout 25%,if you ask me the true blue Singapore citizens-second generation citizens,my guess is about 10- 15%

So in summary,the second generation of Singapore citizens has a share of about 10- 15% in this red hot country!pl note that these 15% are mostly made up of elites,PAP linked.

That is how bad this country has been managed,in official figures provided by PAP!

Lucky Tan said...

anon 11:38,

Thanks for the numbers - maybe it was 60% some time back, I'll correct the posting to put "significant portion" of our GDP is due to GLCs. GLCs likely account for a bigger fraction of the GDP than most other countries less socialist & middle eastern states....but the troublesome part is the close links to the ruling party which works against ordinary Singaporean workers.

Anonymous said...

Lao lee only told them the first half of his "foolproof forumula"....

the second half involves investing those funds from the sale of state assets into overseas companies,

and then LOSING several BILLIONs to the stock market!

Just ask his daughter-in-law.

Kojakbt said...

Hi Lucky, yes, the close links to the ruling party certainly give a lot of the "insiders" many advantages. Problem is, old man likes to "reward" those old civil servants for their loyalty for supporting him in the many years.

Such "reward" does not always translate to appointments of the old civil servants into high "retirement" positions in GLCs. It can also be business opportunities given to them who have decided to venture out on their own after retirement.

A good example, I recalled, is Horizon Technology. This company was founded by a retired top ex-general of SAF (forgot his name). Eventually, all PAP's IT systems at the various TCs were supplied by Horizon. The deal (I remembered it was reported on papers) was worth tens of millions of dollars!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lucky,

With yr knowledge on economic development,I do hope you woul look further into this sensitive,secretive yet fatal subject of how much of Singapore wealth belongs to Singapore citizens,my feeeling is that you are the most suitable and qualified guy,apart fr perhaps Ken of RP Party,I think he is too busy to prepare for looming war.It would be useful as an election slogan too.Cheers

Kojakbt said...

Here's another website detailing some of the close links between the ruling party and the elite insiders of GLCs:

http://www.yeocheowtong.com/Salaries.html

(some of the info may be a bit outdated but PAP's mandate of putting scholars and civil servants to "jaga" the GLCs remains the same)

Anonymous said...

The "but we are different,we are unique" thingy by LKY

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Anonymous said...

This is about the best article I have had read for the year.

Our leeder's hypocrisy at its best.

http://vonhayek.blogspot.com/ said...

//////////////
"Mr Lee said that if the country was more open to letting foreign oil companies in, it could benefit from their expertise. American oil companies, in particular, were very good at drilling, he said.'If you open up the market, American oil companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, they come exploring"
/////////////////

Even the American denied non western companies from drilling on their land or buying their oil asset.

Remember Unocal.

In Canada, China is having a tough time on their deal of oil sand.

Ultra-stragetic resource like oil is not to be controlled by foreigners, this is a fact of the day.

LKY is either ignorant or he is lying outright, peddling for Wall Str.

Anonymous said...

First old fart fools the local, next he fools the world.

Does the old fart think the world is as daft as Singaporeans ?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lucky,this is a piece of sound advice that LKY has given,except it sounds a super hypocrite in the eyes of deeper Singapore citizens(a small minority,that incllude this reader)

Anonymous said...

GLCs are the reasons why Singapore SMEs are unable to grow big and become a conglomerate. The GLCs profitabi litydepend very much on most of the large contracts dished out by either the government or a government organisation. With huge government support and credit, most GLCs are able to survive, except for some like Chartered Industries.

As there were no level playing field, SMEs cannot compete with the GLCs as they had no such support nor the capital. Instead they had to depend on the GLCs for their business, which curtailed any ambition to venture out and succeed. If the government sets out to compete with their local SMEs, it is very obvious who will have more success in winning contracts. Unlike Korea and the Taiwan governments which support their local SMEs, Singapore killed whatever plans that a local SME to make a name for themselves.

Anonymous said...

The GLCs absorbed all good local talents who prefers having a secure job, rather than working in an SME. Furthermore, most Singaporeans are not risk takers, having been educated in Singapore and having their mindset fixed that to do well, one has to study hard and get a good degree, so as to secure a well-paid job. The environment thus created by the educationists and parents are not conducive for evolving the type of citizen who dare to to dream and be creative, thinking out-of-the-box.

For LKY to hand out such advice for governments to get out of business, is exactly the opposite of what he himself is propagating in his fiefdom. Is he getting senile and suffering from some delusion?

Anonymous said...

From Paul Theroux's Ghost Train to the Eastern Star (pg. 329):

"Some time ago, on a rare trip to Paris, so a well-placed friend told me, Lee (Kuan Yew) was granted a meeting with François Mitterrand. Lee began lecturing the premier of France on governance. After Lee had left the room, Mitterrand said, “Who is this ridiculous man who wastes my time? Running Singapore is like running Marseilles. I am running a whole country!”"

Anonymous said...

Charity starts at home. So does credibility.

Anonymous said...

Singapore's GDP numbers are pointless!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Lucky

Moscow is full of millionaires like yourself.
MM Lee is truly embarrassing.

PS: Any advice on the stock market for the less fortunate?

Anonymous said...

From Paul Theroux's Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

" Singapore, under the über-strict dictates of prime minister Lee Kwan Yew, “is a place of great loneliness and fear, the apprehension of people who know they are forever being watched.” And yet Theroux largely keeps his criticisms to the governments’ officials who create these climates, rather than skewering the citizens themselves. Here he is not pointing out their flaws; he is trying to understand their lives."

from
http://www.worldhum.com/features/travel-books/wrestling_with_paul_theroux_20080807/

Anonymous said...

How many GLCs have ventured out and succeeded? LOL

Kojakbt said...

I think possibly only SIA...

Kojakbt said...

Perhaps it's because SIA can bulldoze through the unions to ensure that only younger ladies can work as SIA girls... our competitive advantage... LOL!

santa claus said...

to anon @ 20:25
I am not surprised by the story of LKY attempting to lecture the ex president of France on governance.

The old fart obviously does not know his place in the scheme of things and lack a sense of proportion when comparing achievements.

Let's hope the Russians do not sweet talk old fart into parking $Billions with them...otherwise, future generations in many parts of the world will think santa claus comes from Singapore.

Kojakbt said...

Lucky, can you help me to verify if this fact is true? I've done some digging of the data on DOS website and found out that while S'pore GDP is going up but our Avg Salary is actually going down!

The following 2 graphs are pretty self-explanatory (all data is sourced from Dept of Stats website).

Over the last 4 quarters, even though the GDP % growth is moving upwards but our average monthly earnings (nominal) of employees is not growing in tandem: http://i56.tinypic.com/wbx8qe.jpg

In % terms, the average earnings was actually negative in Q2 of 2010: http://i56.tinypic.com/54h9us.jpg

Can this be true?

furrybrowndog said...

Hi kojakbt,

With regards to the graphs you posted, I didn't look at the raw data to verify it but I saw this post earlier:

http://www.pressrun.net/weblog/2010/09/singapore-average-earnings-fall-not-unemployment.html

Generally there has been an uptick in labour productivity but this has not trickled down to workers in the form of higher wages. In fact quarterly wages have shrunk even as GDP grew. But as a commenter pointed out, there's been a real increase if you compare on an annual basis ie. with 2009 instead of month-on-month. But generally even that modest increase has been dwarfed by the expected double-digit GDP growth.

Anonymous said...

Lucky. Thanks for the posting.

My heart grows burden. I have many questions . . . Singapore belongs to who? Can they continue this system? When the system fails, who will pay the price dearly?

Anonymous said...

Dear furrybrowndog

It is great to see you post here,I benefitted greatly from yr blog,thank you.

I hope that you can post more,the only effective way to compete with PAP is to present facts and correct the twisting and manipulations by PAP over the years.

Respectively reader of yr blog

Anonymous said...

@furrybrowndog

"But generally even that modest increase has been dwarfed by the expected double-digit GDP growth."

Hmmm...somehow this statement seems somewhat odd. I mean increased in "average earnings" dwarfed by "GDP growth"? I miss something there.

Anonymous said...

Even if the incomes of the average citizens did not fall(dip), the ever rising costs of almost everything would have caused and resulted in them becoming more poor and poorer as prices rise each day. This is the reading of an ignorant layman.

Anonymous said...

The old man has long been living in the world where rules apply to everyone else except him. Hence, he does not see any contradiction telling Russians to privatise their State Owned Entreprises while in Singapore GLC's continue to dominate the commercial landscape. His whole life is full of hypocrisies.

Anonymous said...

again, the oldman is lying. He should be walking the talk. No brainer that our own GLCs form a substantial chunk of the local economy.

Jezebella said...

Could he be referring to just Russia, or countries with larger landmass? Otherwise it's just hypocritical of him to say all that.

Anonymous said...

Possible because the old farktard wants his "GLCs" to take advantage of the future Ukraine's "free market economy" to the detriment of the ukraineans themselves...just like what he did to Singapore and its people past, present and for the forseeable future.

Sad.

Alan Wong said...

I think the old man is really hopeless. Giving out advice which are at odds with what our PAP govt has been doing all these years.

Either he is right & our PAP govt is making all the mistakes. Or that he is mistaken or trying to fool the Russians.

Hey Old Man, are you senile or what ?

Anonymous said...

Even President Ferdinand Marcos the famous dictator was feted by Nixon, Kissinger, Reagan, Mondale, Bush, Carter and Weinberger. Despite protestations of being pro-democracy, America shamed itself when it doesn't stand up for the things it believes in. When it is in their interests, national leaders will put up an appearance to listen to advice given, whether it is sound or otherwise. With the downfall of the Marcos regime, the Americans were very willing to get him out and sing a different tune, and so will all these hypocrites listening to "advice."

Anonymous said...

i think he thinks too much of himself. he can succeed here because singaporean are so submissive. like lost souls, they have no roots. thus, they are gullible.

Anonymous said...

MM suffers from cognitive dissonance, the whole PAP government for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Dear FurryBrownDog

//
Generally there has been an uptick in labour productivity but this has not trickled down to workers in the form of higher wages.
//

What uptick in "labour productivity"?
Have you checked the composition of the GDP figures?

There is a good reason why our disposable income is so low while the GDP per capita is high.

On 2nd thought, the more you know the more depressing it becomes.

Anonymous said...

1.People look at it this way : my contention is LKY is screwing himself without even realising it.Let me explain.

2.LKY is indirectly telling the Russians that they cannot follow his GLC model. Reality is Singapore is a small and compact while Russia is huge and
disorganised. In Singapore the top political leadership can easily and effectively supervise government setups. In Russia this is impossible.
3.So LKY is indirectly admitting that Singapore is easy to govern and manage. This is the opposite of what he has been telling us all these years. That running Singapore needs top brains and talents which have to be rewarded with the world highest pay.
4.Never trust LKY and his papist leegime.

Anonymous said...

i was thinking the same thing when i saw this article in Today newspaper. another brain fart from our dearest senior

Anonymous said...

Many locals hv no proper jobs.
A smart solution is to import more FTs to compete with them, & then to "create" jobs for them.
End results-more people hv to "share" the same pool of jobs.
More F. graduates are competing with our ITE graduates or people with Pri 6 education for low paying jobs.
But GDP has grow tremenously, so it is considered a great acheivement to the "managers" who hv scored well on paper.
Don't worry, jobs will be created sooner or later for the locals, when these FTs settled down.

Anonymous said...

Majority of Singapore men and women do live by BREAD alone!contrary to the teaching of our Lord Jesus.
Hence I see no solution to this problem for a very long,long time,and in the long run we are all dead(quoted John Maynard Keynes) as MM LKY is edging towards now,also nicely articulated by him in NY Times recent interview as well!
MM LKY does know his Singapore subjects well,a grudging toast to him!

Anonymous said...

In China, there is a very popular saying these days: 'Guofu Minqiong,' which means 'Rich government, Poor people.'

Don't you agree with global class Communists in China copied MM LKY very well,so it is really not an empty boast fr LKY,as I suspected initially!

But in the long run???

Anonymous said...

Which is more credible:
MM's advice for Russia or,
PM's advice for Japan (on pork barrel politics)?

Anonymous said...

Suppose you meant more "incredible"!

Kojakbt said...

Mencius, the Chinese sage 2000 over years ago, said:

"The people are the most important element in a nation; the land and grain are next; the sovereign is the least in importance."

民为重 社稷次之 君为轻

Mencius clearly put the interests of the citizens of a nation first. Now, compare what Mencius said and what PAP is doing currently. PAP is advocating growing Singapore's GDP at all cost, never mind if Singaporeans are suffocated by the influx of foreigners or not. And since the Ministers' pays are tied to GDP growth, the Ministers will get benefits too.

Sounds like PAP is doing things against the advice of the wise sage Mencius. PAP is putting the land and grain first, themselves second and the people last. History has shown time and time again that sovereigns who put the people last will suffer eventually.

Food for thought...

Anonymous said...

If the Sin leaders and as one collective leadership, think like the man in the street(with commonsense), they would not be doing what they have done and are doing. The leaders have more than commonsense, they are practising the wise Chinese Saying 'ren bu wei ji, tian zhu di mie' pragmatically. This is to say whilst they have the power and authority to amass their fortunes, they shall go all out to get more power for more wealth. They themselves must have priorities over the people. As they have insatiable appetite, the people welfares and wellbeings will have to come after them. Occassionally, they will throw a little to the people to provide some consolations and to prevent them from getting too upset.
As many have said, they can and will take flights the very moment each, some or all of them feel threaten.
It is only realistic and fair to believe they have all the plans for any contingency.
When abroad, Sin Leaders dish their wisdoms, they spout philosophies. They have no qualm to quote any Sage, why should they ? Their dissertations are likely to be well received and if not, it's the faults of the Philosophers they quoted. On the other hand, foreigners will be envious of the sinkies for having great leaders.
Sophistries in politics are boundless and the people must admit that most politicians are masters at them. Most cannot be trusted but we must 'respect' their artful talents.
The only way to get rid of these selfish leaders is to strip them from power. Everyone got to play a part in order to rid them.

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furrybrowndog said...

Anon 22/9/10 07:56

Thanks for the encouragement. Unfortunately I haven't had much time to update it as of late. I should probably leave a note to readers to tell them to check less often.

Anonymous 22/9/10 21:45

You can check the labour productivity figures yourself at MOM's website. It's up 13.1% for quarter 1. Unfortunately, MOM uses a strange measure of productivity; simply dividing real output per worker.

As you can see this approach says nothing about working hours, which means increases in productivity can simply be due to workers working for longer hours.

Anonymous said...

30 years ago some towkays said, if you sporean didn't want to want for low pay, I would import more FT graduates who were willing to take low pay and work long hours.

But the givt did not allow cheap FTs to be imported then.

Now so many FT graduates are competing with local ITE graduates & people with little or no education.
So even if older local graduates are preapred to accept low pays and low status jobs, no one would employ them.
How to solve such problem?
If problem cannot be solved, just ignore it, bec no one would complain. Even if they complain, very few would listen or interested.

Anonymous said...

Dear furrybrowndog,

Although it was confirmed on 6 Jan 2010 that Singapore workers who according to PAP muli-millions ministers,by the grace of PAP IQ and hard work, are now living in first world,and are getting all the negative traits of first world workers,are indeed still the hardest working workers in the whole world,out of GOD knows how many countries,it was from an ILO survey report.

Chuang Peck Ming
Wed, Jan 06, 2010
The Business Times

http://business.asiaone.com/Business/News/Office/Story/A1Story20100105-189718.html

It was also picked up by Lucky on 7Jan 2010 under S'pore workers clock up longest work hours: ILO .

Unfortunately so far unable to trace any indication whether our Singapore workers are indeed working even longer hours despite of the fact that they are already crowned the most hard working workers in the world.

Hope some of our readers can dig further for further info,gifted Kojakbt perhaps?

furrybrowndog said...

Anon 23/9/10 23:53

MOM has all the statistics on working hours here:

http://www.mom.gov.sg/statistics-publications/national-labour-market-information/statistics/Pages/hours-worked.aspx

As you can see, while average paid working hours have remained roughly constant, overtime hours have increased by a comparatively large proportion, some 15,19% year-on-year.

The 15% figure looks suspiciously close to the projected GDP increase for the year. But because overtime hours are small relative to total working hours, I'm somewhat hesitant in drawing the conclusion that output has been due largely to longer working hours.

Instead I'll put it this way. While Singapore has an extremely flexible wage structure for its workers which allows for wages to be cut quickly in the face of a recession, there doesn't seem to be similar flexibility observed for working hours. In other words, when the recession hit Singapore, decreased output due to decreased external demand means more people idling at their jobs. Since working hours weren't cut, worker productivity went down.

So it's not that surprising that when China and East Asia picked up the slack left off by the Western nations, Singapore's economy revved up once again. Productivity went up only because of increased demand for output. So Singapore's double digit improvement in productivity doesn't mean anything since it's fully explainable by the business cycle.

What's more interesting are productivity figures when Singapore is neither in a recession nor just recovering from one. There's a fall in productivity in 2007 before the recession hit the world.

Anonymous said...

Dear furrybrowndog,

Thank you so much for your prompt,kind response.

I respect your stand that you are somewhat hesitant in drawing the conclusion that output has been due largely to longer working hours.

I have no such hesitation,although I do not belong to any political party and indded I do not trust any politician,whether Chairman Hu,or even President Obama who I have great respect,but my belief is that only a system of checks and balance can save Singapore,from the absolute corruption of power.

So I shall go to town(my very limited audience) with the story that PAP's much touted increase in productivity is indeed simply due to our poor workers working for longer hours,in addition to the fact that our poor wiorkers are already crowned the hardest working workers in the world.

Hope it can gain a fgew extra votes for non-PAOP parties,every drop counts,I do believe.

Anonymous said...

Its not surprising he is bullshitting again. He has been doing that all along. Only Sg are so gullible to believe that he will make our lives better. Our housing and transport are the most expensive and restrictive in the world.

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