Thursday, 8 November 2012

Watz Buzzing - 8 Nov 2012

The Law In His Hands

To commemorate the retirement of the outgoing chief justice, the Singapore Academy of Law published a 828-page book entitled "The Law In His Hands: A Tribute To Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong". Chan, age 75, is reputed to be a prolific writer, having delivered 380 judgments in his 12 years on the Bench. One of his handiwork was produced in Parliament at the behest of then Law Minister S. Jayakumar:

21 July 1997 - Prof S JayakumarMinister for Law

PRESENCE OF UNAUTHORISED PERSONS INSIDE POLLING STATIONS

On 14 July l997, THE Workers' Party issued a press release expressing "amazement" that the public prosecutor had advised police that no offence was disclosed in the reports made by it leaders against the prime minister, the two deputy prime ministers and Dr S Vasoo that they had been present inside polling stations when they were not candidates for the relevant constituencies. The Workers' Party queried why such conduct was not an offence under paragraph (d) or (e) of section 82(1) of the Parliamentary Elections Act.

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Chief Justice and Cheng San GRC

Apart from Law Minister Shanmugum and others who sing praises of the Chief Justice, PM Lee's letter appeared in todayonline below [Link].

I do not know what the celebration is about of a guy retiring but I'm shocked that of all the songs and dances of praise given to CSK, nothing was mentioned of a groundbreaking incident that happened in 1997 at Cheng San GRC Polling Station [Link - AG's Letter to Law Minister 1997] 

To each his or her own perception and interpretation of English. To contend that being in a 200 metre radius is not within the 200 metres radius is a weird understanding and interpretation of the English Language. Reading deeper, could the implication mean that the golden rule is: He who has the gold rules!

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Finally, a Minimum Wage?


Prof Lim Chong Yah has suggested that compulsory min wage scheme may be necessary

Last week, these headlines were splashed across our mainstream media: “10,000 cleaners set to get pay increases” (Today); “Across the board pay increase for cleaners” (清洁工起薪全面提高, Lianhe Zaobao); “Proposed cleaners’ pay starts from $1,000” (Straits Times). Some even likened it to “a minimum wage in deed and not in name” which would then signify an about-turn for our government who, as recent as last year, was adamant that “a minimum-wage policy runs counter to the Singapore work ethic and culture of self-reliance” (source).

The plight of our poorly-paid cleaners (“My wife’s life as a cleaner”) has struck a chord in many Singaporeans and last week’s news must have brought some cheer to those of us who believe a pay raise for workers in the cleaning industry is long overdue.

But is it really as good as a statutory minimum wage? And are there any loopholes that may be exploited by unethical employers? Since these are only recommendations, what are the incentives for employers to implement the guidelines? Are there any penalties for errant accredited cleaning companies that have won tenders for government jobs? What measures are in place to prevent the exploitation of disadvantaged workers?

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In defence of Lim Chong Yah 

PROFESSOR Lim Chong Yah is one of Singapore's most distinguished economists. He was the professor of economics at the National University of Singapore (NUS), before moving on to the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to become the first Albert Winsemius Professor of Economics. 

He is currently Emeritus Professor of Economics of both NUS and NTU.

Prof Lim is both a scholar and practitioner. He was the founding chairman of the National Wages Council (NWC), a post which he held for more than 30 years. No one has contributed more to the success of this unique Singapore institution than he. In view of his credentials and track record, we should study carefully his three proposals for a more inclusive Singapore wage policy.

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Incestuous relationship and self gratification

The natives of Sin should stand up to applaud Prof Tommy Koh for his vocal support to the lonely voice of Prof Lim Chong Yah in his call for narrowing the income gap and inequality in our society. And thank the ST for publishing his view on this. One or two individuals, no matter how distinguished, could not make any ground against a pack of hyenas. There is an urgent need for the intellectuals with a conscience to stand together to make the voice heard.

In his article in the ST today, Tommy Koh was hitting hard by quoting British PM David Cameroon’s comment about incestuous relationship in high places, ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’ in the UK. Among the pseudo elite who are there to protect each other’s interest and pocket, there is a race to pay one another as much as they could. This kind of self gratification or in colloquial terminology, ‘pah chiu cheng’ is getting so serious and prevalent that it has become a norm. The elite thought nothing of it, that it is their right of passage to richness and instant gratification.

The pseudo elite are not blind or stupid. They knew exactly what they were doing, selective objectivity. Tommy Koh quoted the choice of using the flawed American model to pay themselves crazy instead of the more conservative Japanese model when the loot is much smaller. It is so glaring that the American model is running down the American and the world economy, but the pseudo elite are turning a blind eye to the dire consequences awaiting. 

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SDP proposes dual property market system



The Singapore Democratic Party has proposed the creation of two separate housing markets to keep property prices in check while increasing the supply of cheaper flats.

During a press conference at the Quality Hotel at Balestier on Sunday, SDP secretary-general Dr Chee Soon Juan launched the party’s 37-page housing manifesto, the result of “months of intense study and debate”. Criticising the current housing policy as a “huge profit-making enterprise”, he said the party’s newly proposed plan hopes to “fix the mess” created by previous housing ministers.

Key to the plan is the introduction of a “Non-Open Market” (NOM) – which will see new public housing being built and sold by the HDB at far lower prices than the status quo. Homes built under this scheme can only be sold back to the HDB, preventing profiteering and thus keeping prices affordable. Full story

Related:
  1. The plan was to give everybody a home AT COST OR BELOW COST: ex-MM Lee Kuan Yew
  2. Housing Minister Khaw remains nonchalant as public housing prices record new high in Q3

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Instant citizen, instant wealth

This must be the best slogan to attract PRs and foreigners to take up Sinkie citizenship. It is not only a very attractive choice, to live in the world’s riches country with jobs aplenty, there are also many advantages to being a citizen.

Education subsidy, medical subsidy, govt hongbaos, priority for children education etc etc all comes attached to instant citizenship. But all this pales in comparison to the instant cash to be made in housing subsidy. But that is not all. Getting a flat directly from the HDB and selling in the resale market after 5 years is as good as being guaranteed a return of at least 50% to 100% of the purchase price, more likely to be more as prices of HDB flats have proven to go up in 5x, 10x, 15x and 20x.

The new citizens got the govt to thank for for this great opportunity to become a Sinkie and with instant monetary rewards in the hundreds of thousands, not $300 or $400. The govt has made it so easy for them to buy a flat at market subsidized price. The govt also ensures that there will be demands for these flats at market prices which often are several hundred thousands more. The PRs have no choice but to buy from the resale market. Then the silly Sinkies who were too hurried to sell for a small profit, and after two bites of the cherry would now have to buy from the resale market.

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Is Sinkieland a cheap third world joint?


Cheap Third World Joint

Is Sinkieland a first world city or a third world joint? Are people and companies coming here because they see value in this island that could make their investments worthwhile as a package or just a cheap joint for low cost industries?

The picture painted is that this is a first world city where the talents of the world would like to be. And from the statistics on the huge influx of foreigners into the city to work, to become PR or citizens, this must be a choice place to be in. Surveys by international agencies also supported this view that Sinkieland is top choice for expats living and working.

If the finding is real, the city need not worry about companies setting up operations here and threatening to leave if foreign labour or half baked talents are not available. The city should be able to pick and choose and tell those companies that think low cost labour consisting of foreigners is the comparative advantage to set up operations elsewhere. But if we are being deceived and the reality is that this is another shit hole that no companies would want to locate here unless they can bring in third world cheap talents, then we have a serious problem to think about.

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HDB has to 'keep up with aspirations of Singaporeans' 

While the transformation and changes have been "remarkable", the country's public housing has to keep pace with the rising aspirations of Singaporeans.

This, former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew says, will ensure that Singapore's older estates and flats do not fall behind newer ones, in both facilities and design.



Speaking yesterday at a community event to celebrate the completion of seven new blocks of replacement flats at Havelock View, Mr Lee noted how Tanjong Pagar residents have benefitted from a wide range of estate renewal programmes, even though the constituency is one of the oldest public housing estates in Singapore.

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Ex-MM Lee: I’ve seen property values going up 5x, 10x, 15x, 20x



Ex-Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said public housing has to keep up with the rising aspirations of Singaporeans and that the facilities and design of older estates should also not fall behind newer ones.

Mr Lee was speaking at a tree planting event at Havelock View yesterday (4 Nov). He said the standard of living has improved and public housing must keep up with rising aspirations.

Older estates have benefited from a range of programmes such as the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) and the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) 

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SDP invites Minister Khaw to discuss housing policy



The Singapore Democrats have sent an invitation to Minister for National Development, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, to discuss the future of public housing in Singapore.

The SDP launched its housing policy on Sunday in which we proposed a new Non-Open Market (NOM) scheme where flats are sold at cost to Singaporeans. Read the paper here.

Public housing in Singapore has become a major issue as prices have risen beyond the means of the average Singaporean.

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