Thursday, 23 February 2017

Water price increase just to bring up awareness of importance of water


Channel NewsAsia Yesterday at 01:23

"I think the increase in water prices is just to bring up awareness of the importance of water”: MP Lee Bee Wah on the 30% hike in water prices announced in #SGBudget2017. "I'm sure there will be families who need help," she says. "It's a good gesture to help."

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An MP believes that price hike of water is done to raise awareness on its importance

Amidst all the snoozeworthy news coming in regarding Singapore Budget 2017, one development stands out as a pretty alarming one — water prices are set to increase by a whopping 30 percent over the next two years, starting this July.

We know that water is scarce in Singapore, etc, etc, but that’s a pretty frickin’ huge hike. Sure, it’s the first time since 2000 that water prices were revised, but still, it’s gonna be a proper shock to those on the unfortunate end of the poverty threshold.

While that was controversial enough as it is, in came another baffling moment. In a recorded interview by Channel NewsAsia, Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon GRC Dr Lee Bee Wah explained her thoughts on the water price hike. In which she believes that the increase was done “just to bring up the awareness of the importance of water”.

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Lee Bee Wah: Increase of water price, just to bring up the awareness of the importance of water

Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, Er Dr Lee Bee Wah said that the 30% increase of water price is to bring up awareness of the importance of water and that there will be families who need help for the increase in price.

She said that in her interview with Channel News Asia interview after the presentation of Budget 2017:
Happy to hear that there are more assistance given to companies, to the industries, to the SMEs and also heartened to see there is more help for those needy families, more GST, more S&CC rebates given and that there is a personal income tax rebate.
And I think on one hand, the increase of the water price, is just to bring up the awareness of the importance of water, but I am sure there will be families who need help so it is a good gesture to help.
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Lee Bee Wah’s “bring up awareness” is perfect case study on how media works in Singapore now

Then Lee Bee Wah happened. Enter People’s Action Party (PAP) MP Lee Bee Wah.

She has managed to single-handedly turn a non-issue into a pain point for people who usually don’t give two hoots about budget speeches.

Channel NewsAsia uploaded interviews with several MPs about their views on Heng’s budget speech, including Lee’s. Despite Lee praising the budget for offering help to companies and individuals, CNA helpfully highlighted Lee’s final point about water prices:

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LEE BEE WAH WANTS OT RAISE AWARENESS OF IMPORTANCE OF WATER BY RAISING WATER PRICES
Credit: SGAG

Lee Bee Wah opened her mouth, and guess what, nonsense came out of it! Why are we surprised anymore. Just to rub it in for Singaporeans who are already struggling with rising costs, now an MP is even laughing at us!

She said “I think the increase in water prices is just to bring up the awareness of the importance of water”. What? So you increase price just to make people aware that water is important? Just like you raise your own salary to remind people how important you are? Idiotic nonsense.

But the gem has got to be this “I’m sure there will be families who need help. It’s a good gesture to help” Just what planet is she even on? They needed help in the first place because you people increase price just to make people aware of importance. But salary never increase. And you pretend to give them a helping hand, and shout from the rooftop you helped.

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30% water price increase is only to bring up awareness

MP Lee Bee Wah altruistically defended the government’s move to increase water prices by 30%, claiming that the price increase is only to bring up awareness on the importance of water:
“I think the increase in water prices is just to bring up awareness of the importance of water.”
The PAP MP then praised the government for offering to offset the announced price increase:
“I’m sure there will be families who need help. It’s a good gesture to help.”
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MP Lee Bee Wah’s “Raise Awareness” Comments on Water Price Hike Leaves Netizens Cold
Strange Comment On Water Hike

It’s bad enough that we will soon be paying 30% more for water — one of the most essential things required to live.

But when a clueless politician makes a head-scratching comment about the issue, matters can come to a boil.

What Lee Bee Wah Said? Asked by Channel NewsAsia about the hike, Dr Lee Bee Wah, the member of parliament for Nee Soon GRC, produced this memorable chestnut:
And I think on one hand, the increase in the water price, is just to bring up the awareness of the importance of water.
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LEE BEE WAH WANTS OT RAISE AWARENESS OF IMPORTANCE OF WATER BY RAISING WATER PRICES

Lee Bee Wah opened her mouth, and guess what, nonsense came out of it! Why are we surprised anymore. Just to rub it in for Singaporeans who are already struggling with rising costs, now an MP is even laughing at us!

She said "I think the increase in water prices is just to bring up the awareness of the importance of water". What? So you increase price just to make people aware that water is important? Just like you raise your own salary to remind people how important you are? Idiotic nonsense.

But the gem has got to be this "I'm sure there will be families who need help. It's a good gesture to help" Just what planet is she even on? They needed help in the first place because you people increase price just to make people aware of importance. But salary never increase. And you pretend to give them a helping hand, and shout from the rooftop you helped.

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About Price Hikes, How Stupid do Ministers Think Singaporeans Are?
JING: I personally can’t believe that our ministers and MPS can think so lowly of Singaporeans. Do you think we will buy everything just because you say so?

Lee Bee Wah must be one of the worst salesmen in the world if she was in sales. About the 30 percent price hike for water, she says it’s because:
“I think the water price increase is to raise the awareness of importance of water.”
Seriously lah, since the culling of the sin ming chicken I don’t think anyone is ready for more cock.

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BREAK NECK NEWS: Electric prices to increase by 30% to bring up awareness of the importance of lightning

Authorities have begun enforcing a 30% price increase for electric use, after realising that Singaporeans do not cherish electricity enough. This controversial announcement comes after the Budget 2017 revealed that water prices will be increased by 30% in July, the first time that water prices have risen in 17 years, causing an uproar amongst Singaporeans.

Spokesperson Mr.Yao Shen Dian of the Singapore Electrifying Council (SEC) justifies the ruling by saying, “I feel the price increase will help Singaporeans be more aware in cherishing lightning. I’ve seen lightning strikes just go to waste by hitting the ground and disappearing, it’s unacceptable!” When a local man, Mr.Lei was asked for his thoughts on the issue, he had this to say. “Actually I don’t mind, I was trying to figure out how to cope with the 30% increase in water price, but now if I go and get hit by lightning, I won’t have to worry about anything anymore!”

Some Singaporeans have started to carry metal rods and standing under trees during thunderstorms in order to increase the chances of getting struck by lightning. Experts have said that they expect to see appreciation for lightning increase, but mostly because the only ones left alive appreciate it for not hitting them.

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Businesses might pass on the water costs

Pass it on to you, the buyer, that is. The price of water is increasing by 30 per cent, starting in July 2017. It’s estimated that this will come to less less than $25 a month, for 75 per cent of businesses; although I’d contend we don’t know how many businesses there are, and 25 per cent of all businesses in the country is still a huge number of businesses.

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to guess that certain businesses – such as laundromats or restaurants – will be hit much harder by rising water costs than others. Now the purpose of the hike is to “raise awareness” of the importance of water, because without the government doing that none of us would know we’d die without it. But businesses tend to react to price hikes in two ways:

One, the G could have “raised awareness” of the importance of water, and businesses take steps to cut back. Or two, businesses could just factor the costs into their pricing. So we may see more places charging for water, higher prices at laundromats and car washes, higher costs on canned drinks, and so forth.

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Budget 2017: Water prices to rise by 30% over 2 years

Water prices will increase by 30% in 2 phases over the next 2 years, starting from Jul 1 this year. This is the 1st time in almost 20 years that the Government is revising water prices.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced this in his Budget address on Monday (Feb 20), almost two weeks after Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli indicated the Government’s intention to do so.

In his speech, Mr Heng said prices need to reflect the rising costs associated with supplying water. He said the cost of producing water has increased with the Government building more desalination and NEWater plants, as well as laying deeper pipes amid an urbanised environment.

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Water price hike ‘absolutely necessary’ but should been explained better: PM Lee
“(Water is) crucial to Singapore’s safety (and) existence. It’s fundamental to our survival,”

He reiterated that water is a strategic issue & a matter of national security – right from the beginning when the nation came into existence, & even until today.

“It’s one of the things which (Singapore’s founding Prime Minister) Mr Lee Kuan Yew used to be obsessed with right from the beginning & right to the end of his life,” said PM Lee.  “And as a nation, we have to maintain his attitude towards water - the attitude that has brought us here. We got water security now because of our obsession. And by keeping this focus, we can stay secure into the future.”

Even though Singapore has developed the 4 “national taps” - local water catchments, water from Johor Baru, NEWater and desalinated water – Singapore “will never have ‘more than enough’ water”, Mr Lee stressed.

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PM Lee invokes his dad, Lee Kuan Yew, in justifying water price hike

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong invoked his late father Lee Kuan Yew in justifying why raising the price of water was “absolutely necessary”. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the completion of the makeover of the Pang Sua Pond in Bukit Panjang, PM Lee pointed out how his dad was obsessed with water security for Singapore throughout his political life.
“It’s one of the things which (Singapore’s founding Prime Minister) Mr Lee Kuan Yew used to be obsessed with right from the beginning and right to the end of his life. And as a nation, we have to maintain his attitude towards water – the attitude that has brought us here. We got water security now because of our obsession. And by keeping this focus, we can stay secure into the future.”
Last month, the Government announced a 30 percent increase in the water price – to be phased in over two years. A huge public outcry followed the government announcement. PM Lee acknowledged that the Government should have spent more time explaining the rationale for the hike and what it would be doing to help households cope with it.

The Government’s Feedback Unit, REACH, said recently that a minority disagreed with the Government’s decision to increase water prices. The Government explained that the increase in water prices was to fund the higher costs of water production and to encourage water conservation.

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Lee Hsien Loong on 30% raise in water price

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong brought out his deceased father’s name to garner support:
“It’s one of the things which (Singapore’s founding Prime Minister) Mr Lee Kuan Yew used to be obsessed with right from the beginning and right to the end of his life. And as a nation, we have to maintain his attitude towards water – the attitude that has brought us here. We got water security now because of our obsession. And by keeping this focus, we can stay secure into the future.”
Lee Hsien Loong then blamed the unpopularity of the 30% water price hike to Singaporeans being ignorant. The Prime Minister said that he should have spent more time “explaining” to Singaporeans, otherwise Singaporeans would not have been so “surprised”:
“Before announcing the water tariff hike last month, the Government perhaps should have spent more time explaining the rationale and what it would be doing to help households cope. By doing so, people would not have been so surprised.”
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Looking at water price increase in perspective

Water prices will be revised from 1 July 2017. Tariffs will go up in two steps, in July 2017 and in July 2018. Water prices have remained unchanged since 2000.

Heavy investments in water infrastructure, coupled with rising operational costs, have made the increase in water prices necessary. We are upgrading our water system to make it more resilient, especially to face the challenges posed by climate change. The revised water prices will enable PUB, the National Water Agency, to cater to future demand, strengthen Singapore's water security, and continue to deliver a high-quality and reliable supply of water.

The water price goes towards meeting the cost of water treatment, reservoir operations, NEWater production, desalination, used water collection and treatment, and the maintenance and expansion of the island-wide network of water pipelines.

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