Tuesday, August 16, 2011

National Day Rally : A few tweaks but where is the vision?

The Natinal Day Rally this year after the 2011 General Elections is an opportunity for the PM to address the deep unhappiness among Singaporeans seen during the election campaign that ultimately resulted in a big swing in % of votes against the PAP. His speech outline changes to housing, foreign influx, education and healthcare - raise income ceiling for HDB purchase, increase university intake of Singaporeans, tighten the criteria for employment passes  and lowering the age for subsided Primary Care Partnership Scheme (PCPS) from 65 to 40. While these are changes in the right direction, they are changes that are long overdue for problems that have frustrated Singaporeans for many years.

The income ceiling for HDB should have been raise years ago - this celing was kept as the prices of HDB flats rose and it wasn't even adjusted for inflation. The increase intake of Singaporeans in universities partially address the aspirations of Singaporeans who are capable of getting degrees but have been squeezed out of local universities - they end paying to get an overseas degree. Does it make sense to give scholarships and places to foreigners when our own citizens capable of getting degrees have to go overseas to get one? This shouldn't have happened in the first place. As for the tweaking of criteria for employment passes, after they do this, Singapore's foreign influx will remain high. This large influx on a per capita basis exceeds those of all countries we compete against and is the highest by a big margin compared with all other developed nations. The economic fundamentals that has led to such a big dependence on foreign workers remains - our low productivity and large number of industries dependent on cheap labor.

In recent days, instead of outlining a economic plan to reduce our dependence on foreign labor, the govt has fallen back to tell us not to be "negative" about foreigners and embrace them. It just shows how economically entrenched we are - the PAP took a short cut to keep the GDP growing by simply expanding the workforce with a high foreign influx, now they can't turn back and the dependency just grows with time. Worse still, they try to get us to accept this policy using disingenous reasons like our low birth rate in an attempt to push the blame on ordinary Singaporeans - the fact is the foreign influx is many times higher than what is needed to make up for the shortfall due to low fertility.We need a plan to grow this economy without depending on the foreign influx;. GDP growth achieved in recent years has been like empty calories from soft drinks, the side effects exceed the benefits causing a rising tide of dissatisfaction among Singaporeans.

We need bold leadership and a grand vision to reshape our future. We need a truly universal healthcare system in place not one that leaves out thousands of Singaporeans who do not have insurance or whose insurance coverage has been outstripped by rising medical costs. We need an education system that will level everyone starting from a high quality pre-school education to overcome the large inequality we have in our society. We need a truly world class public transport system that will elevate the quality of life of millions of Singaporeans not one that has to compromise quality with the need for high profits.

With a few tweaks, the PAP govt hopes to move this system along. 4 years from now the demand for change will be even greater. Merely softening the edges of policies and not making fundamental change will not get us very far. Perhaps, the people will be slightly less unhappy in the short term but they will remain unhappy nonetheless. 4 years from now they will feel that little has been done and by then those who had given the PAP a chance in the last GE may run out of patience waiting for real change.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi JT,

Thanks for the enlightening article.

Yes. Foreign influx is many time what we need. Singapore govt seems to be awfully in a hurry to get somewhere at least economically .

No offense but time is running out for the mortal soul, the 88 yrs old founder who thinks that Singapore a Young country is just as mortal as he is.

Yes. I think you are right, Singapore has taken the short cut and looks like we have reach a point of no return.

Anonymous said...

I wish this is the speech by one of the EP's.

Anonymous said...

Talking about topic of tweaking, one more tweak would like them to do is to the health care system. Gan should get the the private hospitals to let specialist doctors do housmanship, serve as registrar and fresh consultants there under the private senior specialists. Many of these senior specialists are from the govt/restructured hospitals who start as registrar, patient profile are mostly locals on subsidised rates referred from govt polys. It here and this time they hone their skill practising what they train and building up valuable case studies all the way consultant level. With experience and reputation, clientele base they will leave for private hospitals catering to foreigners and local rich, leaving those seniors who stay behind with extra workload . If these groups who benefited earlier could now play mentor to newly qualified specialists just like they once were as registrar in the private hospitals settings, it would lead to fairer standard of services for all. It would even reduce the medical wastage where such specialists attempt unnecessary treatments for personal skill enhancement especially in surgical procedures with technology(eg areas like plastic or cosmetological) before going private as seen in the rise in the no. of complaints and claims reported. Ultimately it makes less incentive for professors and seniors in govt sector to follow their footstep. Local no longer become guinea pigs.

Anonymous said...

"4 years from now they will feel that little has been done and by then those who had given the PAP a chance in the last GE may run out of patience waiting for real change."

Yes they may run out of patience 4 years from now.

In fact perhaps they had already run out of patience in last GE!

Most important for PAP is that despite the people running out of patience, majority will continue to support PAP.

Simply because the people have no better choice!

You tell me, if the opposition had won 93% seats instead of PAP in last GE, will you be worried?

It is a matter of choosing between the lesser of 2 evils!

Anonymous said...

You hit it on the nail, leadership was and still not bold enough. How can you explain the reasons for those ineffectual minsters (MBT, WKS, RL) staying on in their respective ministeries and sticking to their stupid policies. MBT was until barely 4 months ago, still insisting that flats are affordable with plentiful supply and prices are cheap. It was no rally, just a patch up job that needed to be done 5 years ago.

I dont know what to say... said...

The Rally speech was an update on how they have responded to the frustration of the people.

The focus seems to be more on reacting to civic groups, special needs. The only applause was for the qualifying age of 40yrs old to get subsidy in long term medication.

The rest was about the KMT line, customer service at public agencies and touch and go on issues such as housing,university places and niche skills like media graphics. Some mention on foreign workers and pay scales.

There is no mention of plans to address the income gaps, the creation of new initiatives to drive the economy forward ( taking into account of what the GE revealed).

Its a dead horse.

Anonymous said...

MidEast and Britain are now paying the price of foreign influx. It's about time we tighten immigration and separate the wheat from the chaff. Let not Singapore fall into the same trap.

Anonymous said...

"There is no mention of plans to address the income gaps, the creation of new initiatives to drive the economy forward ( taking into account of what the GE revealed)."
I dont know what to say... said... 16/8/11 10:53

As long as more and cheaper foreign talents are welcome, how to avoid income gaps?

How to have new initiatives for economy when more and cheaper foreign talents or even casinos is and will be the biggest and easiest ways to drive up GDP?

You can't have your cake and eat it.

Anonymous said...

We as Singaporeans are dependent on cheap labour. Examples
1. Household maids.
2. Cooks and cleaners in Coffee Shops and Hawker centers.
3. Repair man for homes.
4. Others

We should wean ourselves from dependencies on cheap labour. Look at Western countries, they have no maids and they clear their trays after eating. If there is a leak in the toilet, they repair it themselves. All DIY.

We might want the government to discourage cheap foreign labour. But first we need to change our own habits first.

Anonymous said...

You expect these clowns to change when there is no change to gerrymandering and corruption in electorate ? These clowns obviously know that these devious practice of their can help them to survive in next election. Only by removing those root of evil can the clowns start to listen.

veritas said...

Re
///////
We as Singaporeans are dependent on cheap labour. Examples
1. Household maids.
2. Cooks and cleaners in Coffee Shops and Hawker centers.
3. Repair man for homes.
4. Others

We should wean ourselves from dependencies on cheap labour.
///////

Are you aware the implication to the elites for what you asked for?

Putting our woman at home instead of workplace will result to big lost in GDP, translate to loss of $ for government.

Using our workers instead of FT for manual work no doubt create equality, but wages have to be increased. The wage transfer to the workers will ultimately cut into the potential rent income to the parasitic landlords.

Do not dream about implementing your ideas, its equivalent to punching holes on the pockets of PAP.

All these boils down to monies. We can only have better life if we destroy PAP.

Anonymous said...

There is no need to come out with bold vision when you get them ready made from the presidential hopefuls TKL and TJS. If their ideas work then govt get the credit, if they don't then let they get the blame. Win-Win for govt whatever outcomes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this article. In a nutshell, you have summed up our dire situation in very few words. Well done !!

I can never ask for more, bravo !!

Anonymous said...

Destiny lies in our own hands.

learn to cope without maids
learn to do repairs at home
learn to teach maths
learn to achive what you want.

I was approaching the exit barriers in the MRT yesterday. A chinese looking man tapped his EZ link card but the barrier remained closed with a red light illuminated.
Each time he tapped, the barrier remained closed. With more human traffic building up behind him.

Among those behind him, about 4th in line, a Caucasian lady just overtook everyone else and said " excuse me, let me try.."

The barrier opened for her and she just breezed out.

What does this reveal?

Discourteous behaviour?
Racist?
or simply taking responsibility for self and solving our own problems?

She solved her own issue of: "getting to my destination... "

She was not rude,
She was not abrasive
She was respectful

The man's EZ link card's problems are not hers to solve, but his problem is affecting others.

Her solution was simple:

"Let me try..."

If it worked, I move on

This is the type of thinking which is lacking here, in Singapore.

I now emulate it.

Anonymous said...

4 years from now there will be many vehicle owners either forced to pay up to their necks to continue owing a car or have to give up owning a car because of the spiralling COEs prices.

All these will turn to anger at the ballot box and the anger will be directed at PAP for allowing so many foreigners in and causing COE prices to shoot up like fuck.

It will be payback time again.

Anonymous said...

To annon:14:37

Please do not buy a car...
Please buy SMRT shares or OCBC instead.

SMRT @ 1.77 x 10,000 = $17,800
return 4% per annum
OCBC @ 9.00 x 2,000 = $18,000
return 3% per annum
( and you still have option to vote against PaP)


COE @ $30,000 without car
Owe $60,000 at 5% interest rates
for 10 years
( No option, but to vote against)

Please dont buy car... please????

Anonymous said...

Compared to the FT policy that was implemented liberally and boldly, the measures today were piecemeal. where is the real intent? you have a rift, instead of healing you come up with a magic show and chocolates!

"4 years from now they will feel that little has been done and by then those who had given the PAP a chance in the last GE may run out of patience waiting for real change."

obviously, the momentum for change should be building right into the next ge. meanwhile the unhappy, frustrated and disappointed can put their tails between their legs or bury their faces in the sand.

Anonymous said...

Change comes only at the precipice.
The ruling party is not at the precipice.

It currently believes that reality is about perception, and perception is about packaging.

National Day Rally 2011 was about them showcasing evidence of the success brought about by their policies, cherry-picking the positive effects.

National Day Rally 2011 was not about change. It's about business as usual with a dash of marketing.

In essence,
They have always been right,
They are still right,
They always will be right.

“It isn't that they can't see the solution. It's that they can't see the problem.”

Anonymous said...

On a more positive note, National Day Rally 2011 is a vast improvement from past rallies.

I guess that change comes in small steps to those who fill big shoes.

What's needed is a pinch of optimism, pragmatism, compassion and level-headedness for both the ruling party and Singaporeans.

With that, Singapore can emerge a better place for all who are here on this little island.

Ghost said...

Personally I'm more worried about the steps which were introduced than the vision. Rising the income ceiling for HDB is a case in point. I just don't think this move will work because prices of HDB flats has been rising so much in the past few years, it might be a case of too little too late. Hopefully I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Dear Leader already compare ur problem to stray dog. Still dun get the hint?

But to show that he is listening to u, he has declared pay rises starting from $200 for all FTs. And increase the ceiling so that you can afford even more expensive public housing.

Dear Mr Lucky, pls stop asking PAP to help!!!
I cannot afford it!!!

Anonymous said...

Increasing the starting salary of employment pass holders
from $2800 to $3000,
is effectively a cosmetic micro change.

Why?

First, employers have to pay 16% employer CPF contribution for Singapore Citizens employees whereas the increase of starting salary for employment pass holder is only $200 or 7%.

Also, since employers need not pay employer CPF contribution for foreigners, the foreigners being paid at $3000 is still cheaper than a Singapore Citizen employee.

This increase is definitely not enough. In fact, the increase should be 25% at the minimum and the starting salary should be $3500 at the minimum.

Second, the increase will not impact the existing employment pass holders upto the next 2 years 4 months. That means existing employment pass holders will continue to be paid cheaply.

Third, the implementation will take place only on 1 Jan 2012 which implies that employers can continue to employ cheap foreigners as many as they like in year 2011.

Fourth, there should be a routine to increase the starting salary of employment pass holder on a yearly basic to ensure that the starting salary of employment pass holders is not obsolete.
But, there is no indication or mention that this routine of revision is to be carried out.

Conclusion:
The micro change in the starting salary of employment pass holders is only cosmetic in nature. It appears that work is being done but in reality, nothing is addressed on the problem that there is no level employment playing field between Singapore Citizens and foreigners as foreigners continue to be employed cheaply.

Anonymous said...

The article about the housing grant for singles is pathetic. If a single has to own a HDB flat on a single income, why can't they set it higher? I think it's on purpose. It's not like there's someone else to share the other $5K. For the middle-income earners, there no "bonus" and you have to pay more for income tax. My parents bought a 3-room HDB flat for $13K over 30 years ago and now the value is about $300K. Even unpopular places like Jurong and Pioneer are in demand increasingly nowadays.

My workplace is also overrun with FT from China. They are the yes men/women so our bosses love them. Behind them, they give us lower-ranked colleagues BS but what can we do? All of them got their PR within 2 years. One of them also is giving birth to her 3rd Singaporean-born child soon. She is 100% pro-PAP coz' their policies really benefitted her. For local-bred Singaporeans like us, we can't even get a HDB.

Every time I see my long lifeline on my palm, I feel so stressed coz' but my savings not going to be able to support me in my old age.

LWL said...

It looks to me that the current PM does not have a vision for tomorrow..... is it therefore time for someone else to helm the ship? this election could just be the opportunity for us to send a signal that we need a new PM to lead us in the next five years.

Anonymous said...

"You tell me, if the opposition had won 93% seats instead of PAP in last GE, will you be worried?"

Maybe. But that does not mean that the school boy who has played truant must be allowed to continue doing so.

"It is a matter of choosing between the lesser of 2 evils!"

One is already known. The other is still not tested but labeled negatively as evil. There you go in trying to confuse.

Anonymous said...

"Increasing the starting salary of employment pass holders
from $2800 to $3000,
is effectively a cosmetic micro change.

Why?"

Some of those on PR are drawing even lesser. Cosmetic ... Nothing unusual.

Like someone said, marketing. After all the repackaging. Do you think you will likely to see the prices of the same services rendered by them going down or up.

Anonymous said...

When his term as the PM is over, Lee Hsien Loong will be remembered for two things:

1. Lee Kuan Yew's son
2. Mee Siam Mai Hum

That's all.

Anonymous said...

Ah long mentioned that other advance countries are kicking the can down the road. However, i feeling that he is also kicking the can toward 2016. Good luck to him then, Singaporean may give opposition party a chance to pick up the can.

Anonymous said...

to anon 16/8/11 23:05:

Not to forget there's this S-Pass...seem to me this is a loophole for those kenna reject a EP can try S-Pass

Anonymous said...

I think the PAP has already put it upfront their thoughts.

Their policies are sound, it is just how they communicate their policies; thus the repackaging.

Underneath the rot remains.

Pity the daft and dumb Singaporean.

Anonymous said...

Pity the daft?
What talking u?
Ignorance is bliss!
It's the 40% that will suffer slowly and conscious of the pain!
In Japan, it took 16 YEARS of recession before the people awoke. Given our high tolerance for pain ... Maybe not in our life time!

Anonymous said...

Its once again another Great Sgp Heist .... The massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the Elites. the Powers That Be have determined long ago that to build a large so called middle class is the best way to sell the sgp dream. Thats how you sell your one of , if not the most expensive cars , homes , petrol, telcos subscriptions, utilities in the world. Wake up sheeple...read and watch widely in between the lines of the mainstream media here n around the world. They mostly report half truths n propangada to distract & to misinform. Using fear mongering techniques thru endless wars on Terror , on Drugs , on Communism. Many are stage false flags events conducted by their very own secret police , security paramilitary forces, using your own gst,levy,omv,coe,income tax paying hard earned dollar to finance. This n other global economic meltdown is yet anothe staged cyclicsl event stage by these price fixing oligarhs to furthe rape n plunder the citizenry.....theres no true free mkt. Te bankster n politcians never want change . They are placed there n voted in to maintain the status quo.....

Anonymous said...

Take the land of people & sell it back at many times the price . Co-op the banks & developers . Sell the idea of scarcity of everything eg land , water , peace , racial harmony.
Load up & max out all kinds of loans . Enslave the minds & pockets of people. Shock the economy & then buy them back again on discount.
The lab rats just love the rat race. The mind is foggy and drugged .

HGH therapy said...

I think this would be a bold leadership if took some bold steps to bring some positive change in favour of singaporeans.

Adriana

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:23 is an enlightened man. Governments are now the new dictators in the world. Bankers top the list. And the religious heads and the governments in the world have been in cahoots with one another to subjugate the masses' minds. And the "sleep" is kept going with lots of cheap pussies at Geylang, internet porn and all kinds of jingles in the music scene.

Welcome to the new world order. If you're struggling with getting a hdb flat these days, let it be known it was ochestrated to be that way to keep you financially enslavened for your life. If that wasn't bad enough, they seek to raise your retirement age so that the state does not need to be responsible for civic welfare of its people and it's citizens' well-being. We have a money-minded government who is not working for the people but for their own pockets. The sooner we are conscious of this, the better our childrens' future will be.

Please spread the message. This presidential elections, let us vote out the fear psychology that is still lingering in the Singapore air once and for all.

Vote Tony Tan out.

Anonymous said...

The election is just another distraction. The dice is loaded , the game is rigged. You will get your "democratic freedom & right to vote " when the circus comes to town once every 4 to 5 years here or in America or anywhere for that matter.....
Why so ? you might ask

1) gives you what you want ...an outlet to make some of you think you own the politician....no they own you & in turn someone owns them

2) To be cont...

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 11: 29,

To solve the HDB problems is easy. For the new Singaporean couples who need a flat as they have no place to stay and can't wait for 4-5 years for Mah to speak to the truth, they should get a resale flat.

What singaporeans can do for other singaporeans is not to sell their resale flats to foreigners. DOn't sell your resale flats to a china couple or an india indian couple. Sell it to singaporeans. Do your part for singaporeans who are young and want to start family. Since the PAP government is down right money minded and doesnt care for the people, then singaporeans should care for one another and sell their resale flats only to singaporeans. Tell your housing agent this.

This is the best way to do your national service. Don't sell your resale flat to foreigners. They will make life difficult for your singaporean neighbours' children and your childrens' future.

Think Singaporean, please.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans love

Money
Cars
Maid
Malls

As soon as they sell their flats/homes they will buy a car and drive to a mall with their maids and spend their money.

Anonymous said...

Honestly ...we can be impassioned in our pleading to put singaporean first, but in the first place we are & never will be united .
The Powers That Be (PTB) ie not just here on our " island in the sun", but the Global Elites , the puppeteers that owns all the puppet politician the world over & even the commie ones ....( yes that possibly was also staged...if not how to justify the budget for the arms race & star wars programme and thus the ridiculous amounts set aside by every complicit nation) ....., they have used the insights of Freud & his nephew to design propaganda campaigns.
They understand human nature even more than we understand ourselves to run think tanks / institute & other policy making bodies to instill fear through the war on communism , drugs , guns ( and maybe that includes invasion on our civil liberties but guess who sells most of it to the rest of the world....the UN Security council , to divide and keep africa in darkness & poverty.. Read Cecil Rhodes & what he really represents), & now the war or terror....the new bogeyman !
We becos of our selfish nature will only come together under very extreme conditions, so they will not push us to the egde but just enough to keep society humming along... After all , like we know.. Our threshold for pain knows little boundaries...we get prodded taxed , coed, gstd, erpd & our heroes run out of town ...yet we sit on our hands and just bite our lips or worse say " got no good opposition lah....."
So maybe we all deserve what we get.....
They are too well organised & many chess moves ahead.
Even the USA...THE worlds first true republic is losing its fight against the oligarchs....the one world government.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucky and fellow readers, i read with interest recent report that increasingly it's the foreigners owning sg property and at spiralling prices.

Land in Sg is scare Yet the govt is so liberal in allowing foreign ownership??!??

Please like this page a facebook page :

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Land-Scarce-Sg-Yet-Govt-allows-foreigners-to-own-properties-liberally/202515206475772?sk=wall

i hope more people will "like" this page and maybe, the govt will pay attention to this.

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