A crisis of leadership at the PAP

April 11, 2013 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
11 April 2013

There is a crisis of leadership at the People’s Action Party (PAP). For many years now, the PAP has suffered from the lack of ability to recruit candidates of ministerial or MP caliber. The PAP’s self-renewal is under threat, as can be seen by the declining quality of candidates offered at each succeeding general election. There is a crisis of confidence in the PAP, and the matter is not going to be resolved anytime soon.

It is not surprising that things have turned out this way for the PAP, given that the party’s image has taken a severe beating in recent years. It is increasingly recognized that PAP’s policies have resulted in a declining standard of living and quality of life for Singaporeans, for example, overcrowding, structural underemployment faced by PMETs over the age of 40, lost of jobs and wage depression caused by having too much foreign labour, frequent breakdowns in the public transport system, and a property market that has gone haywire.

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SDP only interested to make life better for Singaporeans

Singapore Democrats

Some have wondered if the SDP’s citing of Mr Fandi Ahmad’s and Mr Terry Pathmanathan’s cases was because they were well-known Singaporeans.

This is not so. The Singapore Democrats have, in the past, also highlighted cases of Singaporeans who were not prominent at all.

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PM Lee: Poor sense of humour

April 4, 2013 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

lhl

Written by Ng E-Jay
04 April 2013

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has a poor sense of humour. During his recent Washington visit, he cracked a couple of off-beat jokes about China during an after-dinner speech attended by corporate big-wigs.

Teasing China about its environmental issues, Mr Lee said, “Beijing residents joke that to get a free smoke, all they have to do is open their windows!”

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Home prices grew at slower pace? Please explain why HDB resale index hit all time high!

April 2, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

Written by Ng E-Jay
02 April 2013

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) said that prices for both HDB resale flats and private homes grew at a slower pace in the first quarter of the year, and that this is the lowest quarter-on-quarter growth in the resale prices of its flats since first quarter 2012.

Analysts have attributed the slowdown to various cooling measures implemented recently.

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Our creativity is stifled

March 26, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

Written by Ng E-Jay
26 March 2013

From day one in the educational system, the young Singaporean child is inundated with class tests, pressurizing examinations, and the emphasis on grades. At a young age, he or she is faced with streaming which separates the weak from the strong, the early bloomers from the late developers. At every stage, our kids in school are subjected to quantitative measurement and are told to absorb knowledge like a thumb drive.

When our kids grow up, the government treats them like economic digits, judges them by their economic output, and enacts policies that regards them as so many cogs in a machine. Our young couples are even treated like cattle, and told that if they do not reproduce, foreigners will be brought in to make up the numbers, even replace them in their jobs should they not perform up to the mark.

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Xenophobia and the national identity

March 24, 2013 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
24 March 2013

When a young man held up a placard that read “Singapore for Singaporeans” at last month’s protest against the population white paper at Hong Lim Park, some people denounced it as bordering on xenophobia, and others even compared it to right-wing nationalist punk subcultures in Europe.

More recently, questions about the national identity were also raised, with Jolovan Wham questioning whether the fear of an erosion of the national identity will lead to a cultural slippery slope, as identities and cultures are not stable or static entities but are always in the process of change.

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Asset appreciation policy is incompatible with housing affordability

March 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
22 March 2013

The government has lost control of the housing market because it allowed foreign demand to push prices up to unacceptably high levels, and because it failed to anticipate and build HDB flats ahead of demand. As the price of private property sky-rocketed, it pulled up the price of HDB resale property as well. As a result, singles, single parents, divorcees, and other marginalized groups who are not allowed to buy flats from HDB are left in a financial precarious and potentially devastating situation.

Fundamentally, the doctrine of asset appreciation is incompatible with the provision of affordable HDB housing. This is because government housing is an essential need that provides shelter and security. It is meant to provide one of the most basic needs of a human being. It is not a luxury product or an investment vehicle. It is most certainly not designed to be a financial asset which can be valued on cash-flow returns.

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Onus must be on insurers to carefully explain terms and conditions of policies and avoid exploiting the vulnerable

March 20, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

Written by Ng E-Jay
20 March 2013

The onus must fall on insurers to carefully explain the terms and conditions of their policies, so that policy-holders or their dependents do not suffer unnecessary financial hardship as a result of being misled or being misinformed.

This is especially so if the insurer is a state-run corporation like NTUC which essentially has a blank cheque from the government to implement nation-wide schemes like the Dependent Protection Scheme (DPS).

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Say No to the Concrete Jungle

March 15, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics, Dr Wong Wee Nam 

By Dr Wong Wee Nam
15 March 2013

In the recent Budget debate, the Government pledged to commit a tenth of Singapore’s land to nature reserves and parks. According to the Senior Minister of State for National Development, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, the pledge is “significant for a highly urbanised city-state”. He made it sound as if this is a great concession to the people of Singapore. Unfortunately, it is not. In fact, having only such a small plot of green is likely to be detrimental to the physical, mental and social well-being of Singaporeans.

If we look at the map of Singapore, 10% of Singapore would barely be enough to cover our nature reserves and the catchment areas. What then are the types of parks and recreational spaces that we are talking about?

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Govt needs to tackle the issue of housing affordability aggressively

March 12, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
12 March 2013

The Singapore government has delayed acting on the issue of housing affordability for far too long. In the past several years, they have allowed property prices to rise so fast that lower and middle income Singaporeans gradually found themselves priced out of the market. Married couples who had to purchase their first home from HDB found themselves saddled with expensive, lengthy mortgages that often stretched 25 to 30 years. It meant being in mortgage debt for virtually all of their productive years just to own a ninety-nine year lease PigeonHole.

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