Thursday, 13 September 2012

Watz Buzzing - 13 Sep 2012

Singapore barred Sabahans and Sarawakians below 35 from working in the city-state

Malaysia Star, 10 Sep 2012
JOHOR BARU: Malaysians above the age of 18 are allowed to work in Singapore except for male natives from Sabah and Sarawak whose age limit has been raised to 35.

The new ruling was imposed as an “administrative punishment” after a series of crimes and fights involving rowdy native Sabahans and Sarawakians in the republic.

It is learnt that several high profile murders involving Sarawakians and Sabahans in Ang Mo Kio Avenue, Kallang, and also Geylang in recent years have contributed towards the stricter regulations. Full story

  1. Affected workers unhappy with Singapore's blanket punishment - Malaysia Star
  2. Singapore bars employment for young east Malaysians - The Malaysian Insider
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Malaysian Minister Wants Singapore To Withdraw Ban On Male Native Workers From Sabah, Sarawak, 10 Sep 2012
KOTA KINABALU, Sept 10 (Bernama) -- Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili has appealed for Singapore to withdraw or review its decision to ban male natives from Sabah and Sarawak below 35 from working in the island republic.

Ongkili, who is also Parti Bersatu Sabah deputy president, said the new ruling imposed as an administrative punishment after alleged series of crime and fights involving natives from the two states was unfair as "it punishes everyone for the fault of a few".

"I believe the crimes and fights involving natives from Sabah and Sarawak are isolated cases or small in number. There could be factors why the fights involved those from Sabah and Sarawak including being provoked by others. Full story

  1. Singapore urged to review decision to ban Sabah and Sarawak male natives below 35 from working in republic - Borneo Post Online
  2. Malaysian Labour Attache In Singapore To Discuss Age Limit Issues -
  3. Singapore tightens labour rule on Sarawakian males - Malaysia Star
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Keep The Questions Coming

The simple question raised by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Gerald Giam illustrates why more alternate voices are needed to represent the people's interest. For decades, nobody raised a single query about the large sums expended for a birthday party, money which is much needed for social welfare and healthcare requirements, among others.

Amidst the doldrums of worldwide financial meltdown in 2008, $14 million was still splurged (record high in that year), not a single cent was trimmed to entertain the VVIPs who were hosted to exclusive cocktail parties while the common folk make their way home in the over crowded trains and buses. Only VIPs are allotted parking privileges.

The most expensive undertaking was the extravaganza in 2010, costing a mind blowing $20.6 million.

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Question time

News media should alert readers when questions are NOT answered by newsmakers. ST did so with three stories I thought.

Page 1: Far fewer PRs admitted from 2010.
That 30 per cent of applications of Employment and Special passes were turned down in the first six months for this year, up from 26 per cent for the whole of last year. ST added that the minister did not give absolute numbers of applications for both years. Yup, I think people would be more interested in absolute numbers who get in, rather than a percentage of a total that is not made public. In any case, why six months compared to a year? Shouldn’t it be compared over a similar time frame?

Page 2: On what parents want to know about primary education and the ministry’s replies.
It noted that MOE did not “directly’’ answer the question of whether teachers teach curriculum that most of the children already know. I wish though that readers were given the MOE’s answer, to judge how “indirectly’’ this was answered.
Home Page B5: Bill to protect personal data tabled

Today had the fuller story on the penalties etc for someone passing on your personal information, but ST had one line which stuck out: The Bill will not cover government agencies. Eh? So is the Bill to prevent the private sector hounding you with promos and sales only? And the G can willy nilly pass on data? The G is too big a presence in this country. I hope when the Bill comes up for debate, some MPs will ask about how the G uses personal information of citizens.

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Only the PAP is fit to lead?

"Even if 8 out of the 26 members of this PAP Government's initiative are PAP members, The Minister in-charge of National Conversation, Mr Heng Swee Keat, reportedly said that this 'is not a partisan exercise'.

I was a little surprised to read it because this new Government seems to have taken two-steps backward in attempting to take one-step forward; because before the last General Election, the former Foreign Minister, George Yeo, in answering a question I posed to him said, "if the Minister dislikes or rejects good ideas, he will do himself harm. Of course if the person who offers the ideas has other objectives, than you have to parry-off the other objectives. But the ideas themselves, may have good elements in them which one should incorporate. The objective must be to make the best decisions by Singaporeans as a whole, and for individual Singaporeans affected in particular."

As the blogosphere was being set abuzz by this comment of Mr Heng's and by another Committee member Sim Ann's comment about slaughtering 'cow-peh, cow-bu', which seemed to indicate that crtiics were just a lot of noise, another member of the Committee, Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin, came in to give more clarity to what Mr Heng had actually said.

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What is PAP MP Sim Ann trying to insinuate with her "joke" on Facebook?

TR Emeritus, 9 Sep 2012

Ms Sim Ann posted the following joke on her Facebook page,, after the media conference for the launch of 'Our Singapore Committee' yesterday (8 Sep)]:
After attending the media conference for the launch of Our Singapore Committee this morning, I met a friend.

Friend: Media conference huh? So what did you say?

Me: I said that I look forward to conversing with fellow Singaporeans, especially on the things we could all do with a little more of – kindness, love, humour.

Friend: Humour got what use? You all better spend time doing something more useful.

Me: Ok, such as…?

Friend: Such as slaying sacred cows.

Me: Sacred cows?

Friend: Yah. Start with slaying these two. Cow-peh and Cow-bu.

  1. Another PAP MP insults us again..WTF!! - Hardwarezone Forum
  2. PAP MP Sim Ann takes a dig at Singaporeans: Slay the ‘cow peh cow bu’ - The Temasek Times
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PAP MP Sim Ann attacks netizens for making ‘hate speech’ against foreigners

When NUS PRC scholar Sun Xu scolds Singaporeans ‘dogs’ online, not a single minister or MP stepped forward to condemn him. Instead, Singaporeans were asked to ‘reflect’ on their own actions by PAP MP Baey Yam Keng.

However, when Singaporeans complain about foreigners online, they are labeled as being ‘xenophobic’ in a desperate attempt to deflect public attention and criticisms from the government’s failed immigration policies.

In a lengthy editorial published in a propaganda paper owned by the state, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Law Sim Ann lashed out at online comments that “spew hate and prejudice against individuals or groups,” describing them as ‘hate speech’

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Online buzz over lack of alternative voices on SG Conversation committee, 10 Sep 2012
Seven People's Action Party members are among the 26-member committee, such as Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, and Senior Minister of State for Education Lawrence Wong.

Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Lina Chiam, who spoke to Today newspaper, said the Singapore People's Party (SPP) was "deeply disappointed" that the committee only included PAP politicians. She is the chairman of the party.

She also noted that there is a need for alternative voices on the committee, such as those from bloggers. "Otherwise, Singaporeans will regard this as yet another publicity stunt by the Government (and) not regard it as a sincere or genuine conversation, let alone a national one. Given these circumstances, the SPP will be deliberating whether we even have a role to play in this or not.”

On its website, the Singapore Democratic Party told Channel NewsAsia in an unpublished interview that the government is “using this exercise to manage their discontent instead of making a sincere effort of reforming the political system and allowing Singaporeans a genuine say in how the country is run”. It added that “the biggest challenge for this dialogue is how to pretend to have a conversation with only one side talking”. Full story

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PM Lee: National conversation is not an exercise to cull sacred cows

Malaysia Star, 10 Sep 2012
PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the national conversation should be balanced and to improve Singapore prudently.

He said that it is not an exercise in culling sacred cows, although managing the expectations of Singaporeans will be a challenge.“As I used to say, we leave no stone unturned.

“But some stones, after we look at them, the original place was quite nice, and we put them back,” he said in an interview with Singapore media on the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders’ summit. Full story

Give and take spirit in the Singapore National Conversation -

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PRC scholars and students promised jobs at NTU forum

Despite the recent promises made by the government to limit the inflow of foreign workers, PRC scholars currently studying in Singapore at the expense of taxpayers need not be worried about not being able to find jobs in Singapore.

A forum ‘Immigration policy and career development’ (移民政策与职业发展) was organized by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to reassure its PRC scholars and students that they will not be discriminated in the local job market.

According to a Chinese paper, the forum attracted over 700 participants, most of whom are PRC students who will be graduating next year.

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Where have our reserves gone?

“Let me tell you the  truth, as spending increases significantly sooner or later taxes must go up too.”

Thus spake the PM in his National Day Rally Speech. Apart from that so-called truism, the NDR speech was totally without interest being the usual PAP message of austerity for Singaporeans ( what the PM calls being tough as individuals) but largesse for everyone else.

Let me tell you, the PM’s truth  is actually just one opinion and I believe it is far from the truth. Firstly, we should have enough money in savings to pay for all conceivable heath care needs even with an ageing population. After all in Singapore all health care and the cost of an ageing population is on a pay as you go basis where costs are almost entirely borne by the individual. In fact our population is not increasing, native-born Singaporeans are declining and the New Immigrants are all young.  So spending should not be increasing on a scale to make a tax hike necessary.

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China again the Sick Man of Asia

Despite its new status as the second super power, China is behaving like the Sick Man of Asia once again. And Japan is treating China as such and telling the Chinese it is ok. They are going to proceed with a scam to buy Chinese islands they looted from China during the days of gunboat diplomacy and Unequal Treaties. And they even said the Chinese would not feel hurt.

The whole episode tells two things. The Japanese are back to their militaristic past and will gang bang China and think they can get away with it. On the part of China, it is behaving like the Sick Man of Asia of the past, allowing the Japanese to kick it around at will.

Though it is China’s policy of not bullying a smaller nation, and trying to use diplomacy to solve international problems, Japan is no small power but a military power in its own right. It is bullying China and not the other way. Japan is not the Philippines or Vietnam. It is necessary to stand up to this militaristic nation that is bent to assume its imperial past as a military power. 

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Khaw Boon Wan on $1 million dollar HDB flat: ‘Fantastic’ views will always fetch ‘fantastic’ prices

The shocking news of a HDB flat fetching a record high $1 million dollars has left many Singaporeans dumb-founded, but National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan seemed to think otherwise and urged Singaporeans not to be ‘traumatized’.

Speaking to queries from the state media, Mr Khaw remarked in a nonchalant manner: ‘There will always be units with fantastic views that fetch fantastic prices….More important is the larger picture.’

Mr Khaw was commentong on the sale of the executive maisonette in Queenstown which was sold to a PRC new citizen for $1 million dollars including a cash over valuation (COV) of $195,000.

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