HDB has reneged on its duty of housing all citizens affordably

August 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
30 August 2013

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has reneged on its duty of providing affordable housing to all Singapore citizens by failing to increase supply ahead of demand in recent years, and by allowing prices to escalate so sharply that prices greatly outpaced the growth in wages.

The government is now devising piece-meal measures to cool down the overheated property market. A few days ago, HDB implemented a new policy that requires that new permanent residents (PRs) wait three years from the time their residency is confirmed before they can buy a resale flat.

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Congratulations to Dr Vincent Wijeysingha for a new chapter in his activist career

August 28, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
28 August 2013

I would like to congratulate Dr Vincent Wijeysingha for opening up a new chapter in his career as a social activist. Dr Wijeysingha resigned from the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) on Wednesday in order to afford himself a much greater opportunity to be involved in human rights issues, civil liberties, and LGBT rights in particular.

Some have mentioned that Dr Wijeysingha’s departure is a loss for SDP and a gain for civil society. While I agree on the latter part, I don’t see why the former should be true.

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Will the PAP raise GST again?

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

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Written by Ng E-Jay
26 August 2013

In the run-up to the 2011 general elections, the Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that there would be no reason to increase the GST for at least the next five years, because the previous increase from 5% to 7% made in 2007 was sufficient to cover future expenditures. These were his exact words:

At least for five years, there’s absolutely no reason to raise the GST, because this (the previous raising of the GST from 5% to 7% in 2007) was the whole idea: We strengthened our revenue base in time, in fact in the good years before the crisis (the crisis of 2008), it came in very handy in the crisis, but it’s also going to come in handy in the next five years, when we build up our expenditures on health, on infrastructure, and we increase our support for the poor.

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NDR 2013: Housing grants alone will not solve the public housing problem

August 19, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
19 August 2013

The problem with rising cost of home ownership cannot be solved by merely giving more grants. In the 2013 national day rally speech, PM Lee said that families who opt for two-room flats and wish to upgrade to a three-room flat later on in life can qualify for a Step-Up Housing Grant. The Special CPF Housing grant will also be extended to those who wish to purchase four-room flats, and the income ceiling will also be raised to include middle-income households.

However, these measures by themselves will not solve the underlying problem. The cost of public housing in Singapore has risen much faster than the rate of inflation as well as the rate of wage growth. HDB flat prices have become more and more unaffordable despite all these grants. Increasing the grants alone will not help much if prices continue to increase at the current rate.

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NDR 2013: A move toward universal healthcare?

August 19, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
19 August 2013

This year’s National Day Rally speech was noted for steering clear of politically controversial topics such as immigration, foreign influx, overcrowding, and frequent train breakdowns, and completely ignoring criticisms made by alternative media. This was probably a calculated move to get Singaporeans to focus their attention squarely on new initiatives such as a revamped healthcare system, a revised approach to education and grades, and expanding our aerospace infrastructure.

The new healthcare system is the topic that concerns me most deeply. The key changes include the introduction of a new Medishield Life plan that will cover the person for life. The new plan will be universal, in the sense that it will include everyone without the possibility of opting out. It will also take in people with pre-existing conditions. In exchange for enhanced benefits, insurance premiums will be higher. To keep up with rising medical costs, medisave contribution rates will also be increased.

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Disingenuous of Tan Chuan-Jin to accuse others of running down Singapore

August 8, 2013 by · 6 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
08 August 2013

In a stroke of utter disingenuity, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said on Monday that Singaporeans who are not happy with the country should try to improve things instead of running down the country.

In his own words, “there may be things we are unhappy about, things can always be better, but that is very different from running down our own people, our own society“. This attitude coming from him is both adversarial and twisted.

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Reasons why PAP may call for an early 2014 or 2015 election

August 7, 2013 by · 2 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
07 August 2013

There are reasons, solely my opinion of course, why the People’s Action Party (PAP) may call for an early general election in 2014 or 2015, rather than in 2016.

First, the previous general election in 2011 and the coming one which constitutionally must be held no later than 2016 (within five years after the first sitting of Parliament), are about preparing the PAP to operate in the post-Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) era.

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The Family Pledge discriminates against single parents

August 1, 2013 by · 1 Comment
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Written by Ng E-Jay
01 August 2013

The recently unveiled Family Pledge by the National Family Council intones: “We affirm the commitment of marriage between husband and wife.” In so doing, the Pledge marginalizes the courageous community of single parents who raise their children in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Already, in an effort at anchoring the traditional concept of Family as the foundation of Singapore society, the government has needlessly and cruelly institutionalized discrimination against Singles and against Single Parents. The Family Pledge by a supposedly politically and religiously neutral organization further drives a crucifix into the hearts of those brave mothers and fathers who have chosen to shoulder the responsibility of raising a child on their own, with sheer bravery.

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