Friday, 20 July 2012

Watz Online - 20 Jul 2012

Former CNB chief to claim trial to 4 counts of corruption, say his lawyers

Former Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) chief Ng Boon Gay, who was charged with four counts of corruption earlier this year, will be claiming trial, said his lawyers in a press statement after a pre-trial conference yesterday.

Ng, 46, is alleged to have had sexual trysts with Ms Cecilia Sue Siew Nang, 36, in exchange for helping her former employers Hitachi Data Systems and, later, Oracle Corporation Singapore, win tenders for CNB

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Singapore Desperately Needs More Entrepreneurs


Singapore has produced an abundance of "wealth managers" and not enough "wealth creators."

So lamented Ngiam Tong Dow, former permanent secretary of the Singapore Ministry of Finance and the prime minister's Office of the Government of Singapore.

This is despite almost universal acclaim for the supportive business environment in Singapore. The World Bank has rated Singapore first out of 183 economies in its "ease of doing business" rankings and fourth for "starting a business" -- anyone can get a business going in just three days. 

Singapore's int'l tourist arrivals in Q1 up 15 pct

Singapore's international visitor arrivals in the first quarter rose by 15 percent year on year to close to 3.6 million, the Singapore Tourism Board said on Tuesday.

Tourism receipts rose by 8 percent year on year to 5.8 billion Singapore dollars (4.6 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter, with the biggest contributing component sightseeing and entertainment, including gaming, seeing a year-on-year growth of 11 percent.

Indonesia, China, India, Australia and Japan were the top five contributors to the tourism receipts of Singapore. 

Forecast for political protest at Yale-NUS College: unclear

Pericles Lewis, new president of Yale-NUS College (second from right), with Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong (right), at the college's groundbreaking this month.
Pericles Lewis, new president of Yale-NUS College (second from right), with Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong at the college's groundbreaking this month. Photo: Yale-NUS College

Will students and faculty at Yale’s Singaporean affiliate be allowed to hold political protests on campus?

That’s unclear, says Pericles Lewis, the literature professor who stepped down from the Yale faculty July 1 to become the first president of Yale-NUS College. A joint venture between Yale University and the National University of Singapore, Yale-NUS broke ground this month and will begin enrolling students in 2013.

As Asia’s first liberal arts college, the school—designed by Yale faculty and funded by the government of Singapore—may test the limits of free speech in a country that, for example, prosecutes bloggers and journalists. 

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ASEAN, neutral or neutered? 

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN failure to issue a communique at the end of the ministerial meeting hosted in Cambodia last week shocked many.

Reports indicate the drafting floundered on the issue of the South China Sea where the sovereignty of different islets is disputed.

The Philippines wished to record that the matter had been discussed whereas Cambodia which currently chairs the group felt that any mention would compromise ASEAN neutrality The claims in the South China Sea were never going to be resolved by a statement however worded As such the quite unprecedented failure shows up not so much the struggle to deal with a sensitive issue but rather what it may suggest are more systemic concerns about divisions within ASEAN. 

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Employee loyalty in Singapore firms falls to five-year low 

As employee loyalty to their company fell to a five-year low in every major region about 52 per cent of employees in Singapore intend to leave their current employers within the next five years and about one in three plan to do so within two years research has found.

These figures are higher than the global figures of 44 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

Global management consultancy Hay Group yesterday released its latest research which examined annual engagement and enablement levels in 1 610 establishments across 46 countries. 

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COE prices up sharply, breach S$90k again

COE prices up sharply, breach S$90k again for two categories (AFP photo)
COE prices up sharply, breach S$90k again for two categories (AFP photo)

Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices rose across the board in the bidding exercise on Wednesday from the previous round two weeks ago.

The premium for cars 1600cc and below closed at $68,656, a sharp increase of $9,235 from $59,421 in the previous bidding on 4 July.

Cars above 1600cc registered the second highest increase in premiums of this exercise to $90,501, a difference of $8,212 from the previous $82,289. 

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Minimum wage reduces reliance on foreign labour

I refer to the commentary "Minimum wage (still) doesn't work" (July 16). The situation here is different from that of the United States in 1938.

For a start, most of our lower-paid workers are foreigners working in construction and services. As is well known, this has created numerous social issues. A reduction of this labour force, which is already on the cards, would alleviate some of these problems.

Anecdotal evidence also suggests that cheap foreign labour prices out locals, if not for hiring quotas. I have observed, for example, that with the recent tightening of quotas, more locals are being employed as cleaners at food courts. 

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For Thai billionaire, Singapore deal fits quest for beer empire

(Reuters) - For rags-to-riches Thai magnate Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, Wednesday's $3 billion deal for large stakes in two Singapore firms is just the next step in furthering a beer and property empire that stretches from Southeast Asia to the United States.

The son of a Bangkok street vendor, Charoen is Thailand's second-richest man. His TCC Group controls, among other companies, Thai Beverage Pcl (TBEV.SI) and privately held TCC Land, the owner of shopping malls and hotels including the Hotel Plaza Athenee in New York.

In his latest deal, companies linked to Chareon bought 22 percent of Singapore drinks and property group Fraser and Neave (F&N) (FRNM.SI) and 8.5 percent of associated company Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd (APBB.SI) from Singapore's Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC.SI), its insurance unit and the Lee family that controls the bank. 

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Singapore achieves 'watershed' online ad revenue in 2011

Country's total online ad spend last year surpasses S$100 million mark for first time to hit S$135.9 million with financial services leading way, IAB reveals.

Total online advertising spend in Singapore reached S$135.9 million (US$107 million) last year, which marks a "watershed moment", although gap still remains between the country and other more mature digital markets, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

In a statement released on Tuesday, the IAB Southeast Asia's Singapore Chapter said a strong close to 2011, which saw the second half advertising revenue grow by 25 percent, helped push the year's performance beyond double digits and into the S$100 million (US$79.5 million) territory since it started measuring online advertising spend three years ago. 

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Beautician seeks compensation from SMRT

Beautician seeks compensation from SMRT  
(Photo / Screen grab from

A beautician is seeking compensation from SMRT to fix her burnt skin after she sat on corrosive substance on a train.
She intends to use the money to pay for laser surgery and restore her former ‘beauty’.

The 27 year-old woman, known only as Ms Liu, said that on 24 March, she sat on a seat that had been splashed with a corrosive substance and suffered third degree burns to her buttocks as a result. 

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MRT worksite accident: why scaffolding collapsed

MRT worksite accident: why scaffolding collapsed 
MRT worksite accident: why scaffolding...

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has issued findings of preliminary investigations into the Downtown Line's Bugis MRT worksite accident on Wednesday morning that left two workers dead and eight others injured.

MOM said workers were pouring wet concrete into a mould - believed to be for the roof of a linkway joining the new station to the existing Bugis station - when the four-metre high structure they were working on collapsed.

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Property owners aware of trade-offs living in red-light district

Residents there put up with the noisy night life - prostitutes and pimps plying their trade and kerb-crawlers buying into what is on offer - for a highly affordable home near the city centre. 

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13-year-old girl arrested for setting fire to Singapore flag

A teenage girl was arrested for allegedly setting fire to a Singapore flag at a pavilion in Ang Mo Kio on July 19.

According to The Straits Times, the girl, 13, was with four of her friends at Block 208, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 when the act was said to have occurred.

The teen was questioned by the police over a case of mischief by fire. The police told The Straits Times that as of last night, she was still in custody.

Three girls and a male teenager were also taken in by the police for questioning but were released at about 1am on July 18. 

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Indonesian maid falls to her death at foot of block at Marine Drive block
A 32-year-old Indonesian maid fell to her death from the 14th floor of her employer’s home at Block 63 Marine Drive in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

According to The Straits Times, the maid – who goes by the name Ami – was found at the foot of the block and was pronounced dead at the scene.

This incident comes after an Indonesian maid was found dead at the foot of a flat in Sembawang in May, and also marks the 11th case reported this year of a maid falling from a high-rise flat. 

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Intellectually disabled teenage girl raped by half-brother

An intellectually disabled teenage girl endured a two-day ordeal of rape and violence at the hands of her older half-brother.

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Man jailed 3 months for filming stepdaughter showering

A technician hid his cell phone in a recording mode under the sink to film his 11-year-old stepdaughter showering in October 2010. He then downloaded the clip onto a thumbdrive. -- PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

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