Tag Archives: PAP

Bad idea to lower cost of land

Dear Mr Mah,

I refer to the 17 Apr 2011 Straits Times report of your comments on the Workers’ Party manifesto.

You said lowering cost of land is taking money from Singapore’s reserves. But in the first place, who paid for the high cost of land that fed government coffers? It is the people. The people ended up bearing the high cost of land. So the government has been taking lots of money from the people by charging a very high price for land. Since the people have been charged a very high price to begin with, lowering the cost of land is merely returning money that the government has overcharged to the people.

The cost lowering can be gradual so that its impact on resale flat price can be slow and gradual. Notice that the Workers’ Party did not advocate a sudden return of price back to normal. Contrast this with the PAP track record of allowing property prices to shoot up like a rocket in a matter of just two, three years. Shoot up like crazy can, go down slowly cannot. The reason is clear. You want the price to keep going up because that will allow the government to squeeze more money from the people to feed government coffers which end up being wasted by our state investment agencies anyway.

You said it would cost the government billions to lower the prices from current levels. Doesn’t that in turn tell us that the government has been making billions from the people by hiking prices to their current levels? You seem to be telling the people that government taking billions from the people is okay but government returning billions back to the people is not okay.

You said lowering prices means home owners’ assets cannot grow over time. Are you telling the people that asset values can miraculously grow over time without having anyone to pay for it? You are telling people that money can drop from the sky out of nowhere. Money cannot drop from out of nowhere. Growing asset values means growing asset prices that will be borne by our children and our children’s children. You are robbing our future generations to pay for the present and past generations. You are irresponsible.

You said money from land sales goes into our reserves and is therefore not money from left pocket to right pocket. But PM Lee has just dipped generously into the reserves during the recent crisis. So the reserve is another pocket that the government can slip its hands into. No doubt the government has to ask the President permission. But has the President ever said no?

You claim that the Workers’ Party’s plan of abolishing the elected presidency is a grand plan to ‘raid’ the reserves. But PM Lee has already ‘raided’ the reserves during the recent crisis. With such an accommodating president, why is there a need to abolish the elected presidency just to raid the reserves?

You want the opposition to make clear how they are going to get the money to reduce home prices. But you never seemed to see the need to make clear how the government is getting all that money from the people by jacking up home prices.

Thank you

Ng Kok Lim

Source : TheTemesakReview – 30 Apr 2011

The new PAP is building houses out of straw, says SDP’s Michelle Lee

The country will not fall apart if the Opposition is voted into Parliament, claimed Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Michelle Lee Juen pointing out: “PAP is not the Civil Service”.

“Our civil servants are Singaporeans too with families and homes too. They will not run away from their job and leave their duties just because there’s opposition in Parliament,” said Ms Lee, 35, a member of the SDP’s “A” team that is contesting in the Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency at their first rally.

Ms Lee, who was a financial analyst before switching to a career in education, likened the election to investing one’s money, where “diversification is the key to reducing risks”.

“Having only the PAP in government is like putting all your eggs in one basket. Will you put all your life savings in one investment product?” she asked the rally crowd at Commonwealth last night.

Echoing a point made by several other SDP speakers, Ms Lee said that while the “old” PAP had done good for Singapore, the “new” PAP’s track record has “blemishes”.

“We have been reminded not to rock Singapore’s foundation and we have absolutely no intention of rocking that. The new PAP, on the other hand, are building houses of straw on this strong foundation when they should be building houses of stone,” she said.

Such straw houses include the casinos, which have placed temptation in the way of “many husbands and fathers” and exacerbated problems with illegal moneylending; as well as the lack of accountability over billions lost in overseas investments by state-owned vehicles like Temasek Holdings.

Besides such national issues, the SDP speakers also zoomed in on constituency concerns. Candidate for the Bukit Panjang single-seat ward Alec Tok, for instance, said his recent chats with Bukit Panjang residents have highlighted three issues – one of which are the elderly’s healthcare expenses for chronic illnesses.

Mr Tok, 46, a theatre director who was the SDP’s surprise candidate against PAP incumbent Dr Teo Ho Pin, recounted asking one senior resident if he had enough to spend on medicine. The answer in Hokkien rougly translated as: “Save on eating, will be enough.”

“When have we become a society that has to stop eating so that we can buy our medicine?” asked Mr Tok, who spoke mostly in Mandarin.

Mr Tok also touched on the inconvenience of public transport as well as the emergence of gangsters and secret societies in Bukit Panjang – a problem he linked to the larger issue of the younger generation’s distancing from society.

Citing a Singapore Polytechnic survey done last year which showed that 60 per cent of youth below the age of 23 think of emigrating, Mr Tok said: “This shows that PAP, no matter how well they have performed, if it ultimately can’t make the younger generation stay, it means they have failed.”

Academic James Gomez, a member of the SDP team challenging Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan‘s Sembawang GRC, zoomed in again on Mr Khaw’s 2009 comments about how Singaporeans could save money by going to nursing homes for the elderly across the Causeway.

“If Mr Khaw wants to send the elderly overseas, we’ll send him to Johor Bahru,” said Mr Gomez. In an earlier riposte to the SDP criticism on this issue, Mr Khaw had said they would twist his words to suit their political purpose and reiterated that he had never suggested that people dump their parents in Johor.

Source : Today – 29 Apr 2011