Budget 2011: $800 for us, millions for themselves

By the Singapore Democrats
16 March 2011

There has been much publicity in the media about the so called “growth dividend” in the recent Budget presented which hands out up to $800 to every voter. This handout amounts to $1.5 billion in total.

What followed was a torrent of propaganda to convince the people that the giveaways were generous and, to quote by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, “more than what is required for lower- and middle-income households to tide over this temporary period of high inflation.”

But while the handouts are for us to tide over the high inflation we are facing (which are in fact inadequate), the Ministers are more than generous when it comes to their own handouts.

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Keep electoral horse-trading a private affair

March 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

(This article originally appeared on The Online Citizen.)

Written by Ng E-Jay
16 March 2011

It was announced on 24 March that the Prime Minister has accepted the recommendations of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee with regards to changes to the electoral boundaries for the next general election and the new configuration of GRCs and SMCs.

Since then, opposition parties have locked horns in vying for the constituencies they wish to contest. All parties have publicly agreed that 3 corner fights should be avoided and a consensus should be reached as soon as possible as to where each party will eventually contest. However, some constituencies remain unresolved.

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Japan, the Persian Gulf and Energy

March 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Media articles 

By George Friedman
Source: STRATFOR, 15 March 2011

Over the past week, everything seemed to converge on energy. The unrest in the Persian Gulf raised the specter of the disruption of oil supplies to the rest of the world, and an earthquake in Japan knocked out a string of nuclear reactors with potentially devastating effect. Japan depends on nuclear energy and it depends on the Persian Gulf, which is where it gets most of its oil. It was, therefore, a profoundly bad week for Japan, not only because of the extensive damage and human suffering but also because Japan was being shown that it can’t readily escape the realities of geography.

Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, a bit behind China now. It is also the third-largest industrial economy, behind only the United States and China. Japan’s problem is that its enormous industrial plant is built in a country almost totally devoid of mineral resources. It must import virtually all of the metals and energy that it uses to manufacture industrial products. It maintains stockpiles, but should those stockpiles be depleted and no new imports arrive, Japan stops being an industrial power.

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Radiation Rising and Heading South in Japan

March 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Media articles 

Source: STRATFOR, 15 March 2011

The nuclear reactor situation in Japan has deteriorated significantly. Two more explosions occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 15.

The first occurred at 6:10 a.m. local time at reactor No. 2, which had seen nuclear fuel rods exposed for several hours after dropping water levels due to mishaps in the emergency cooling efforts. Within three hours the amount of radiation at the plant rose to 163 times the previously recorded level, according to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

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Excuse me, SM Goh, Japan has a plural Parliament unlike Singapore

March 15, 2011 by · 13 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

Written by Ng E-Jay
15 March 2011

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong seriously needs to get matters in perspective. At the REACH forum held last week, he lashed out at Singaporeans for being soft and for complaining too much.

SM Goh was attempting to use the tragic events in Japan arising from the earthquake and the subsequent Tsunami to bring home a domestic political point — a pretty insensitive act in itself. This is what he said, as quoted by Channel News Asia:

“How many of you followed the latest tragic events in Japan with the tsunami … and then put into context our floods in Singapore against that kind of disaster.”

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Singapore eases rulings on Internet election advertising

March 15, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Media articles 

Source: CNA, 14 March 2011

SINGAPORE: Political parties, candidates and their election agents will now be able to use a broader range of new media platforms to conduct election advertising on the Internet.

The changes follow amendments to the Constitution as well as the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act introduced last year.

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Nuclear energy will always be too dangerous for Singapore

March 14, 2011 by · 11 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

Written by Ng E-Jay
14 March 2011

At a keynote address during the Singapore International Energy Week in 2010, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke about the challenges that Singapore will face in the coming years in dealing with scarce global energy resources. [1]

PM Lee also briefly mentioned the prospect of building a nuclear power plant in Singapore. This was what he said:

Globally, nuclear energy would be an important part of the solution to mankind’s energy problems and to tackle global warming. It is clean, it gives off low carbon emissions, in fact no carbon emissions, but of course harnessing nuclear energy is a complex and long term enterprise. There are significant issues relating to safety and the nuclear fuel cycle and disposal of nuclear waste. And there is often strong resistance in countries, from the Green movement, from populations who have witnessed accidents like Chernobyl and are fearful and anxious about their safety. But if we look at this rationally, without nuclear energy, the world cannot make sufficient progress in dealing with global warming.

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Lending the Poor a Helping Hand

March 11, 2011 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics, Dr Wong Wee Nam 

By Dr Wong Wee Nam
10 March 2011

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan disappoints me. In a recent debate in Parliament with Dr Lily Neo he could have done much better. But he didn’t.

The MP for Jalan Besar GRC, Dr Lily Neo, had urged the minister to provide a permanent and constructive safety net so as to improve the plight of the children from the lowest income families. The request was not unreasonable. She was not asking for much, just help for the neediest of families; the children of those in the bottom 5 percent of earners.

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Good governance, transparency and accountability? Time bombs of PAP rule (Part II)

March 11, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

EDITOR’S NOTE: These are excerpts of a Facebook article penned by Ms Angela Faye Oon, a Worker’s Party member. The full article can be accessed here.

By Angela Faye Oon
10 March 2011

Transparency and accountability

The notion of accountability is inextricably tied up with that of transparency. Without transparency, there can be no knowledge of what the government is doing, and without that knowledge, there is no way to hold the government accountable for its actions. In Singapore, there is little to no transparency in the workings of key government ministries; statistics on everything from immigration to marriage trends [1] are sparse and sparingly released. Where transparency is most lacking is in information relating to the government’s financial activities.

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LTK: I didn’t fall into NCMP Trap

March 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Media articles 

Translated by Donaldson Tan, 10 March 2011
Source: New Asia Republic

Last night, Workers’ Party (WP) Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang rejected the conspiracy theory that the reason why WP had refused to compromise with other opposition political parties is that it intended to enter Parliament via the NCMP route.

He stressed that he had already said in Parliament that he would never accept the NCMP seat. On the other hand, if other WP members were to be offered NCMP seats, the party would convene a meeting to make the decision to accept or reject the NCMP offer.

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