Tuesday, September 07, 2010

SM Goh : Take the rational approach....

"On housing, Mr Goh acknowledged that the surge of immigrants in 2007 and 2008 caught the Government by surprise. But the Government had not stopped them from coming because the booming economy needed workers.

Mr Goh also acknowledgedthe National Development Ministry 'did not provide for the sudden surge' in its housing plans." - Straits Times, 7 Sept 2010.

It is not very rational to allow so many immigrants into the country without providing sufficient housing. Worse still, the Minister of National Development first denied the problem when it surfaced, then said he was caught by surprise and he later played around with numbers to show that housing was 'affordable'. He was caught by Reform Party's Hazel Poa for his use of those numbers[Link]. Along the way, the govt tried to blame the people for having 'unrealistic expectations' [Link] and so on. The govt's denial and dithering on the issue is what got the people all up in arms (this is a figure of speech, metaphoric use...lest I'm accused of inciting violence) over the rising housing prices. It would have been more rational for the govt to simply admit there was a shortage and move quickly to address it. SM Goh is right, the govt should have taken a rational approach to problem solving.
SM Goh also has other deep and interesting thoughts, here is one of them:

"Unhappiness, those who are happier, in total there's net happiness, there's no such thing called total happiness, don't believe in it. It's whether we create net happiness in all this," said SM Goh.

He added it is "very difficult to satisfy everybody" and in politics, trying to make everybody happy is "impossible".

They key, said SM Goh is to "make the most number of people happy, the most number of times". [Link]
Make the most number of people happy the most number of times - that is indeed a wise idea. If the PAP govt has been doing that for the last 5 years, they can confidently have an election tomorrow and not worry about the results. The truth is one of SM Goh's successor's first major move after taking office was to up the world record salaries of our ministers to set new world records - how does that make the most people happy? It only makes the PAP leaders happy and a large segment of the population who have seen their incomes stagnant in the past decade unhappy and angry. His next big move was to increase the GST - an unnecessary move which resulted in the govt having billions of surplus. The GST increase was implemented together with the reduction of tax rate for the richest Singaporeans and corporations at a time when Singapore has the largest income inequality among developed countries. So how does that make the most people happy? Does medical means testing make most people happy? - the poor pay the same while middle class families now pay more. SM Goh's successor did not lead with this wisdom of 'making the most people happy most of the time". Almost every major policy change exacerbated the income divide (foreign labor, GST, removal of benefits for workers e.g. medical benefits for low ranking civil servants, neans testing, etc etc etc) ...you can read my blog of numerous examples of PAP's lopsided and unbalanced policies. That is why the PAP should be worried about the coming elections.


Anonymous said...

"On housing, Mr Goh acknowledged that the surge of immigrants in 2007 and 2008 caught the Government by surprise", unquote.

Government caught by surprise ? When it(the Government) was/is incharge of both immigrations and public housings ?

How is that so ?


Anonymous said...

SM Goh has change much. he is not the same person when he first became PM.
that is why we did not give a damn. not only him, but many others as well. having said that, who cares anyway?

Bubbles said...

The bottomline is PAP does not want to shoulder accountability for its own mistakes.

PAP is megalomaniac and thinks it can do no wrong and it's whiter than all white.

If PAP will descend from its ivory tower, join the rest of the earthlings and admit that it's only human to err, it would gain more respect from the voters.

Anonymous said...

With all their faulty, flip-flopping, lop-sided past policies resulting in inconveniences, hardship and suffering caused to their constituents, PAP leaders can't bring themselves down to the level of the people, but instead offering words like "be rational, regrettable, most unfortunate, acknowledged there was a problem, caught off guard, unforseen...etc" that fall far short of actually apologising or ever saying "sorry".

This alone tells you how far removed they are from the common people whose lives they are supposed to better.

Lucky Tan said...

anon 11:46,

Bringing them down to earth may not be too difficult if everyone knows what to do.

Goh Meng Seng said...

It is totally IRRESPONSIBLE for the PAP to say "surge of immigrants in 2007 and 2008 caught the Govt by surprise"! Does it mean that these immigrants just walk into Singapore and work without visas or working permits? Who issue these visas and working permits? Faint! Really shake head! What we want is NOT EXCUSES of how the PAP govt is sleeping on the job! What we want is solutions, accountability and responsibility from this govt!

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans who vote for PAP in previous election should start waking up from their fucking idea and stop pretending to be "caught by surpise" over GST and transport hike.

Anonymous said...

Blame on Act of God, long coastline etc but themselves...sigh

Anonymous said...

I dont think that the immigrant surge caught the govt by surprise. In fact, the govt wanted the squeeze to happen for higher HDB prices, more GST, more mobile phone users, more commuters, more money...

What they did not anticipate is that the squeeze was so bad that many Singaporeans are pissed off, and might vote against the incumbent

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

LKY said within 20 years, Singaporean will be half if we dont take in FT. His math is flawed but we can still ponder a little more on his bullshit.

What happen if we take in FT?

Within 20 years, native Singaporean will still be half, within 40 years, it will be a quarter and within a century Singaporean will be 1/32 from what is today.

Is he trying to make us extinct?

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

The 2 main reason of low fertility is first giving and emancipating woman in education and jobs. Second, highly leverage debt for property which saddled young man here with 30 years debt.

It may not be advisable to reverse the first. But property is what PAP tries very hard to hike to take $ from middle class.

And experience from rich countries shows that low fertility is fully reversible when states steps in.

What PAP did are cosmetic compared to France pro-natal policy.

LKY real intention is always elitist and final goal (speculate) is to wipe out native Singaporean who is born into house of coolie and indenture labour. (Our fathers all all coolie)

He is getting new one from India and China who have higher IQ.

Anonymous said...

Caught by surprise? The Forcaster Extraordinaire obviously did not see this coming.

Why is this forcaster needed then?

Clear eyed said...

"He is getting new one from India and China who have higher IQ."

Vonhayek, I agree with most of your views. But the above I have to disagree with. The majority of the "talents" I see in my estate, the trains, buses, streets, malls, shops, offices, etc definitely do not possess higher IQ than the average Singaporean!

Clear eyed said...

Goh Chok Tong should collect all his deep and interesting thoughts and publish them in a book. It would be a more noble way to pass his time than just play golf, indulge in fine dining and go on long exotic holidays. He should follow in the footsteps of one of our highly respected and idolised Founding Fathers who has published a few books and another beloved and respected Grand Old Man presiding in the Istana who also has a published book under his belt. GCT's philosophical work can be made a textbook for Primary 6 students and required reading for all citizens. Think of all the $$$$ he can collect as royalty!

Anonymous said...

Last time when GDP growed, we benefited more.
Now when GDP grows, we even suffered more!!
(While the cost of living has increased, our salaries have decreased!)

Anonymous said...

QUOTE: His next big move was to increase the GST - an unnecessary move which resulted in the govt having billions of surplus. UNQUOTE

Actually raising GST was necessary for PAP to lower corporate tax rate down to today's 17% in order to compete with HK. It was also necessary so that they can lower personal income tax so that multi-billionaires like Jim Rogers and Mark Mobius will settle down in S'pore and set up their operations here.

All of PAP's policies and governance has a common theme --- to improve the environment for MNCs and big business and rich tycoons. For sure, if PAP can attract more MNCs and business activities, this will definitely increase GDP. Of course PAP's monetary rewards also directly proportional to GDP, and the attraction of money loaded people to S'pore.

So obviously there is a conflict of interest with ensuring social equity and providing social goods & services that are affordable to even the bottom 20%. I'm talking about things like minimum wages, anti-discrimination laws, pro-citizen policies, housing, medical including outpatient & GP, education from preschool to tertiary. All this costs money, and more importantly will reduce GDP. MNCs will also not be happy if suddenly got more human rights and workers' rights.

Anonymous said...

If PRs are forced to take up citizenship, some of them might quit.
This could lead housing prices to go down, which might be good for sporean.

Anonymous said...

About 10% PR invited to be citizens. I suggest 50%. dt

Anonymous said...

"Actually raising GST was necessary for PAP to lower corporate tax rate down to today's 17% in order to compete with HK. "

You wonder what kind of nonsense Singa sprout. Do this commenter even knows that HK has no GST, and if HK doesn't need to raise GST to lower corporate tax, so why should Singapore does ? Or better still, why even need to give SinCity lower corporate tax ?

It shows Singa lacks questioning and critical mind. A product of our "no-question" society.

Anonymous said...

GCT explanation is wrong. The main issue about housing here is that they did not build enough flats. Its a basic supply and demand problem.

LKY prediction of population is consequence of his own wrong doing for the 2 is enough policy.

Amused said...

"(this is a figure of speech, metaphoric use...lest I'm accused of inciting violence)"

Funny but necessary when you have illiterates (or computers?!) scanning your blogs for words and phrases that might incite violence.

You will never have great writers and speakers as a result!

Anonymous said...

The 10% PRs invited to take up citizenship is only the beginning. It is likely to be used as an experiment to determine the result in terms of take up rate and many other things they want to find out. It is curious to know what are the factors that are used to decide which PRs are chosen.

runroad said...

Clear eyed said...

"Goh Chok Tong should collect all his deep and interesting thoughts and publish them in a book. "

Good idea. May I suggest a slight modification? Have the guru's words of wisdom about how all our problems are the fruit of FAP's' success embossed on toilet paper rolls sold by NTUC Fair Price. That way we can, rich or poor, sick or healthy, old or young, have a bloody good laugh when we go to do our business and then put what he says where it rightfully belongs - behind us.