My Tribute Message to Lee Kuan Yew

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Dear Lee Kuan Yew,

Saying my goodbyes to you is a healing experience. I grew up believing in the Singapore you spoke about but as I read about the lives of the hundreds of people imprisoned, tortured and sued under the government under your rule, I cannot but feel angry for the families and individuals who have lost their many years, and the many poor who continue to exist today. Yet, who am I to be self-righteous, an anguish only they and you can understand. Yet, is it not that many Singaporeans appreciate what you have helped built, to bring Singapore to what it is today. So, thank you, Mr Lee. I only hope that with your passing, forgiveness can take place and our country can have a new beginning, and a new togetherness and future. Now that you have left your physical body and are in a better place, I believe, I hope that you will continue to watch over the Singapore you fought so hard to turn into. May you bless Singapore and our people from where you are and may healing for our country finally take place.

Please rest in peace. Thank you.

Roy Ngerng

*****

My friends asked me to go with them for the memorial service of Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House two nights ago. We queued for 3 hours but had to leave when a friend started feeling unwell. I went to another memorial event today.

It took me a while to think about what to write. Truth is, I feel a sense of injustice for what has been happening for the past 50 years but as I thought through within, I realised that this could also be a time of forgiveness and letting go. He was a man of controversies, many are angry but many are as well grateful.

Rightly or not, Singapore did propel itself during the early years because of Lee Kuan Yew’s strongman leadership. But rights were also eroded.

After processing my thoughts within, this was what I wrote. They are my honest and sincere feelings.

I truly believe that at this time of his passing, we have a chance to renew our hope for Singapore and from where he is, I do believe that his freed soul can help us to start anew. I mean this with all my heart.

May all be well for our country. This is an opportunity for us as a nation to forgive and let go, and to reconcile with the truth, so that we can unite towards a new hope. I hope that we will be strong enough to move on from this together.

*****

(I will continue to be honest to speak up on what I believe were mistakes that were made in the past and present but during these few days of the family’s mourning, I will refrain from doing so. I do not know how long this sense of forgiveness can last for me but it is a process, and I hope that as the nation goes through this journey together in each of our own way, something good can come out from it.)

My Thoughts on Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s Future

Lee Kuan Yew Singapore Future

Photo credit for Lee Kuan Yew: Singapolitics

I was asked about my thoughts on Lee Kuan Yew’s “legacy”. This was my response. 

Lee Kuan Yew is respected by many Singaporeans, for what he has contributed to Singapore’s growth though I need to add that much of the development of Singapore in the early years has to also be attributed to a team of people, who have unfortunately been forgotten for their contributions. It might be more meaningful to talk of the contributions of them as a group – Goh Keng Swee, Toh Chin Chye, S. Rajaratnam etc – so that we can have a good sense of how Singapore’s success should be seen in perspective.

On the same note, Singapore’s economic development in the first 20 years of independence, from the mid-1960s to mid-1980s was actually on the right track, where wages were increasing, income inequality was decreasing and interest rates on the pension funds were increasing. In short, people’s lives were getting better. In the first 20 years of Singapore, the Singapore Model was working well because there was “balance”, where wages and the living standards were rising in tandem with growth.

However, from the mid-1980s, the new policies became decidedly less favourable towards Singaporeans, where the government reduced health subsidies and where public housing and education prices escalated by even several times over. From the mid-1990s, real wages for the low-income workers started stagnating and for the middle-income, this has been happening for the past 10 years. And some Singaporeans are today beginning to feel that Singapore is seeing a reversal of our fortunes in the last five to 10 years.

Rightfully or not, in the mid-1980s, when Lee Kuan Yew removed the “Old Guard” or first-generation leaders who has helped to build Singapore in the first 20 years and replaced it with the second-generation of leaders who were too eager to please, it caused the system to go out of balance, where we have reached a point today where wages are too low, prices are too high and where Singaporeans cannot save enough to retire, and poverty is estimated to have risen to even 30%.

As such, Lee Kuan Yew had a good team of people in place in the first 20 years of Singapore who worked with him to build Singapore but his team thereafter, from the 1980s, did not perhaps have the foresight and ethical beliefs as the “Old Guard” had, and because of that, the system could not be well-maintained.

As a result, this has contributed to the belief that the current PAP leaders are in the business of politics for money, also because they earn the highest salaries among politicians in the world, as well as because they have pegged their salaries to the richest in Singapore, who also earn the highest salaries among the developed countries.

Thus if you ask me, Lee Kuan Yew could have a much favourable legacy but his selection of people after the first-generation leaders, as well as their obedience in an effort not to offend him have resulted in a system which became lopsided, as they were too eager to get into his good books. Thus Lee Kuan Yew’s formidability and wrath became a double-edged sword. Some Singaporeans believe that Lee Kuan Yew’s dictatorial leadership in the earlier years of independence was necessary as it helped to fasten Singapore’s development but it is also this fear that has even stuck into the highest levels of governance that has caused an unquestioning principle towards his way of working which has also caused the policies to become skewed. At least the “Old Guards”dared to challenge him and maintain that stability and balance for Singapore.

I would say that Lee Kuan Yew’s temperament was a characteristic that moulded Singapore’s initial growth but it was also because of this unforgiving trait that has institutionalised fear into the system which has become an unhealthy impediment for the growth, and more importantly, sustainability of Singapore.

Thus moving forward, what does this mean for Singapore? I think Singapore has to go back to the basics. First, over the last 10 to 20 years (or even 30 years), policies that have been created have moved away from caring for the people. When the People’s Action Party (PAP) removed “equality” from their constitution and replaced it with “self-reliance” in 1982, that was when their policies became more selfish, if I may add. In a way, Lee Kuan Yew was instrumental to this as he was still the Secretary-General of the PAP when the constitution was changed and he was also the prime minister who retired the “Old Guards” in the 1980s and brought in the second-generation leaders who created the imbalanced policies.

What we need to do at this point is to undo some of these policies and their effects and to bring balance back to Singapore. Thus we need to increase wages to bring it parity, so that income inequality and poverty can be reduced. The government also needs to increase health and education subsidies so that all of Singaporeans can be uplifted, and not just the select few in the elites. Also, pension returns need to be returned to the people and transparently managed, so that Singaporeans will be protected for their retirement. In that sense, we have to remove or reduce a lot of the complications that have bogged down our system and which are making the system less efficient. We need to streamline the system and start making it more focused towards the people, and to protect the people.

In short, the government has to stop pursing a business/profit-motive and to start taking care of the people. The PAP over the past 30 years have steered away from the objective of governance – for the protection of the people, and so, either the PAP has to regain a sense of ethical responsibility or Singaporeans have to do what is right to for themselves and to vote in a new government that will take care of and protect them. I think the latter is a more viable alternative, seeing how the PAP has become rigid and entrenched in its ways and is resistant to change.

Singapore cannot continue on the current modus operandi that the PAP has taken for the past 30 years. We either have to go back to where Singapore was in the first 20 years, in terms of the balance that was attained, or to allow a renewal, where Singaporeans are engaged and empowered to make decisions for the country and partake in the country’s growth. The very reason why the first-generation leaders wanted to focus on educating the population was precisely because a more educated populace will be able to help the country grow.

The current development of Singapore is not sustainable if we continue on a model of self-inflicted price escalation and artificially-depressed wages where the growing inequality can tear the social fabric apart. We need to focus on bringing our country back to balance.

As such, is it to follow Lee Kuan Yew’s approach or is it to create a new approach? It really depends on which era and which team you are talking about. Where Lee Kuan Yew had a good team in the first-generation leaders, Singapore was progressing nicely. Where he later transited into a second-generation (and then third-generation) leaders who lack the gumption and who became submissive and less ethical in their approach, it has instead thwarted Singapore’s development path.

So, is it to follow Lee Kuan Yew’s approach or not? I would say it is about putting in a team which has the heart for Singapore and Singaporeans, as well as the other inhabitants on this island, and which have the foresight and belief to start re-investing back in Singaporeans, for our health and education, and retirement for the elderly, so that with the right commitment to the people, we can bring our country back on track. Where a dictatorial leadership might work in the earlier years of consolidation and growth, a more equitable and collaborative governance is needed now where the PAP does not monopolise or hold onto power stridently, but where governance becomes a shared and decentralised responsibility and distilled among the people.

Only with unity and equality, and justice and fairness, can we see Singapore move towards a brighter possibility, and this also requires Singaporeans to let go of the fear that the idea of Lee Kuan Yew has created, and to be willing to restart our engagement with our country.

What You Should Ask the PAP Government about Singaporeans’ CPF

By Kenneth Jeyaretnam and Roy Ngerng

The PAP has sent out its activists to give out flyers in the Aljunied GRC to ask residents to question the Worker’s Party on its finances.

WHAT YOU SHOULD ASK WP'S ALJUNIED HOUGANG PUNGGOL EAST TOWN COUNCIL

But even as the PAP claims that there are “serious problems” with the Worker’s Party financial management, the PAP government’s management of the CPF funds of Singaporeans is equally questionable. We wrote up some questions in the design of a flyer.

Please feel free to print out and distribute this flyer to ask Singaporeans to question the PAP government on its management of our CPF and why the PAP has not been transparent. 

WHAT YOU SHOULD ASK THE PAP GOVERNMENT

WHAT YOU SHOULD ASK THE PAP GOVERNMENT

Dear Singaporeans,

The PAP government has refused to come clean on some serious problems that will affect you.

1) Improper Governance

  • The PAP government has given $275 billion of our CPF pension funds to the GIC and Temasek Holdings to invest. The PAP government said that it does not interfere in the GIC’s investment decisions and the GIC up until last year said that it does not know if it uses our CPF because it said that this is not made explicit to them by the PAP government. However, the GIC is chaired by the Singapore prime minister and the board of directors are also made up of the two deputy prime ministers, several ministers and ex-ministers. Temasek Holdings is also managed by the prime minister’s wife. It is not known how much she is paid and how her salary is determined. The PAP government and GIC certify their own work and pay themselves, with little checks and would not release transparent and full reports.

2) Overcharging by the PAP Government

  • From 1974 to 1986, we were earning 6.5% on our CPF. The PAP government then said that it would peg the CPF interest rates to the banks’ interest rates to give us higher returns but since 1986, the CPF interest rates have instead been dropping and dropping until it has reached the lowest at 2.5% (on the Ordinary Account).
  • Compared to the other countries, the PAP government charges the highest investment costs to manage Singaporeans’ CPF and gives the lowest returns. This is our “lost money”. It means we have less money to retire on and to pay for our housing, healthcare and education.

WHAT YOU SHOULD ASK THE PAP GOVERNMENT Pension Fund Returns 2014

Sources: Sweden, Switzerland, India, AustraliaMalaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore

3) GIC and Temasek Lost More than $100 Billion in 2008

  • In 2008, GIC and Temasek Holdings lost $117 billion, which was nearly 80% of the value of our CPF at that time. In 2008, the PAP government then suddenly increased the CPF Minimum Sum. We do not know if our CPF has been used to paid for these losses because the PAP government has never submitted transparent and full reports.

The PAP government deliberately remained silent to important queries posed by Singaporeans.

You deserve immediate answers to the following questions:

  1. Why did the PAP government say that it does not interfere in the GIC when it sits on the board of directors of the GIC?
  2. How much did the PAP government, GIC and Temasek Holdings earn from our CPF and how much are Singaporeans losing?
  3. Why did the PAP government charge higher investment costs than other countries to manage our CPF?
  4. Why did the PAP government take our CPF to earn 6% to 16% in the GIC and Temasek Holdings but return only 2.5% to 4%?
  5. What is the latest financial situation at the CPF, GIC and Temasek Holdings and will the PAP submit full reports?

You can print out and distribute this flyer to ask Singaporeans to question the PAP on its management of our CPF and why the PAP has not been transparent. 

Tan Chuan-Jin Deleted My Comment to Ask the PAP Government to Be Transparent to Singaporeans on Our CPF

Tan Chuan-Jin Roy Ngerng

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin shared an article from Business Insider and talked about “how compounding helps us build up our savings”. He added that this is #‎NotMagicJustMaths‬.

Tan Chuan-Jin Facebook Young people who want to have a lot of money in retirement better understand this chart

I decided to leave a comment on his posting. You can read the text below.

(Unfortunately, my comment was deleted within an hour. :( I posted the comment on 14 March 2015 10.00pm but by 10.55pm, it was deleted by Tan Chuan-Jin and I have also been also blocked from commenting on his “public” profile. I am not sure why my comment was seen as being so threatening that it had to be deleted. :P I thought that I was only asking questions of public interest. You mean this is not allowed in Singapore?)

Maybe you should really read my comment and the links in the comment to see why the PAP finds it so frightening. Will answering the questions I posed affect good governance?

Tan Chuan-Jin Facebook Young people who want to have a lot of money in retirement better understand this chart Roy Ngerng reply edited

Hello Mr Tan Chuan-Jin,

Thank you for sharing this article.

(1) You said that the “Special Account … has interest rates ranging from 4-5% and up to 6% from 55 onwards”. For completeness, actually, the CPF interest rates for the Ordinary, Special and Medisave Account is 2.5% to 4%. Singaporeans only earn an additional 1% on the first $60,000 inside their CPF. The rest of their CPF earns only 2.5% to 4%. Also, only Singaporeans 55 and above are able to earn 6% and this is only on the first $30,000 and will only start in 2016.

(2) On the same note, what is the median CPF balance for ALL Singaporeans – do the majority of Singaporeans actually have more than $60,000 inside their CPF? My estimates show that about half of Singaporeans might actually have lesser than that amount inside our CPF. I recall that you said last year that you would be letting Singaporeans know this figure.

(3) You used the Business Insider’s article to highlight how “compounding helps us build up our savings” but the illustration of the article “assumes a 7% annual return”, for the WHOLE PERIOD of investment which gives very good returns. For Singaporeans, we only get 2.5% to 4% and the additional interest is only for specific amounts and age groups. And only Singaporeans aged 55 and above after 2016 will be able to see the “compounding” effect on only the first $30,000 of their CPF and ironically, based on the article that you shared, would mean that because of the short 10 years that Singaporeans will be able to earn 6% before 65, this means that the “compounding” effect will not be as significant. Would the government and/or the CPF Board consider also illustrating a chart that shows how much the low-income earner (of a cleaner earning a mandated minimum basic wage of $1,000), median-income earner and high-income earner would earn at retirement at 65, with the 2.5% to 4% interest, and the additional complications?

(4) Similarly, would the government and/or the CPF Board also consider illustrating a chart to show how the payouts are calculated and disbursed after 65?

(5) Also, the article that you shared assumes that a person invests the money without using it for other purposes. But this is not practical for the purposes of Singapore, where Singaporeans have to also use our CPF retirement funds for housing, healthcare and education. For example, last year, you talked about how Singaporeans have to spend an average of 55% of our CPF Ordinary Account to pay off the housing loans. This complicates the issue. Would the government and/or CPF Board consider illustrating how much Singaporeans would be able to save at 65 for the different income groups, after factoring in how much Singaporeans have to subtract from the CPF to pay for housing, healthcare and education? Also, is it possible to know how much Singaporeans are then losing from their CPF because of the the subtraction?

(6) In addition, Singaporeans also have to pay an accrued interest when we take out the CPF to pay for housing and education. This would mean an additional amount that we would have to pay into the CPF, which again complicates the issue. Is it possible to include the accrued interest into the illustration, if the government and/or CPF Board would be so kind as to do

http://thehearttruths.com/2014/04/02/truth-exposed-the-dirty-cpf-hdb-scheme-to-trick-singaporeans/

(7) Additionally, Singapore’s system is also complicated because our CPF is actually invested in government bonds, which are then invested in the reserves which are managed by the GIC (and where some of it was channelled into the Temasek Holdings). Today, the CPF earns a declared 2.5% to 4% while the GIC and Temasek Holdings earn an estimated 6% to 16%. Singaporeans are losing as much as half of our CPF to the government because of this. If the government and/or CPF Board were to illustrate how much Singaporeans would earn at 65, would the government and/or CPF Board also illustrate how much Singaporeans are also losing to the GIC and Temasek Holdings, and therefore the government?

http://thehearttruths.com/2014/08/13/how-much-cpf-are-singaporeans-losing-to-the-government/

(8) Also, the government has previously not admitted to how our CPF is actually invested in the GIC and Temasek Holdings but I was managed to trace how the CPF is invested in these two agencies. The government thereafter deleted the information from the websites where I had traced the information. Also, the government claims that it “does not interfere” in the GIC and the GIC also up until last year claimed that it does not know if it uses our CPF to invest because this is “not made explicit” to them by the government. However, the prime minister, two deputy prime ministers, several ministers and ex-ministers also sit on the GIC’s board of directors, so clearly there is a conflict of interest. Finally, the government denied that the CPF is invested in 2001, 2006 and 2007 and made an about turn last year and admitted to this. Would you like to comment on this as well?

http://thehearttruths.com/2014/08/07/50-truths-singaporeans-finally-know-about-our-cpf-on-singapores-50th-birthday/

(9) Finally, the CPF interest rates of 2.5% have been found to be the lowest among all retirement funds in the world. This means that Singaporeans are earning the lowest returns, which also explains why many of our elderly Singaporeans are unable to retire today, and so many foreigners who come to Singapore constantly ask Singaporeans why our elderly Singaporeans have to work in menial labour and and are unable to retire. It is quite embarrassing that as a developed country with one of the highest GDP per capita in the world, we cannot afford to take care of our elderly. Do Singaporeans have to tell foreigners that our elderly Singaporeans cannot retire because the government does not take care of them? Would the government consider increasing the CPF interest rates to 6% for all age groups and for all amounts, so that all Singaporeans will be able to save enough to retire, and the “compounding” that you highlighted here will actually come true? #‎NotMagicJustMaths‬ Or would the government consider allowing the management of the CPF to be transparent, similar to the Hong Kong’s system where their citizens are able to choose where their retirement funds are invested in, how much they can earn and really take responsibility for their own funds?

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/04/cpf-returns-are-the-lowest-in-the-world/

(10) Last but not least, the GIC and Temasek Holdings are today ranked the top 10 sovereign wealth funds in the world but the CPF has been ranked by the OECD as the least adequate among OECD and Asia-Pacific countries. May I know why there is this discrepancy, where the GIC and Temasek Holdings, which take the CPF retirement funds of Singaporeans to use, are able to earn so much, but where Singaporeans have to actually earn so little in our retirement funds? If the GIC and Temasek Holdings are able to earn so much, surely our CPF should also rank as one of the most adequate? May I know what happened along the line when the CPF was taken away to be given to the GIC and Temasek Holdings to use? Perhaps instead of investing the CPF in government bonds, then into the reserves and then into the GIC and Temasek Holdings, it would be more transparent and direct if the CPF of Singaporeans are directly invested in funds which Singaporeans have a direct say over and where Singaporeans are able to manage for ourselves. This way, even as the government wants to be secretive about the GIC, the government can do that for all they want and the CPF retirement funds of Singaporeans are still protected and where the management of the funds will then be transparent and accountable.

In Deputy Teo Chee Hean’s words, “what do you think?” I look forward to receiving a response from you.

Just to add, I think young people in Singapore understand how “compounding” can help us to “have a lot of money”. I think on the contrary, Singaporeans believe that the PAP government does not understand this.

Thank you.

Roy Ngerng Yi Ling

Tan Chuan-Jin #‎NotMagicJustMaths‬

So, what do you think? Do you think the questions should have been answered?

Since Tan Chuan-Jin does not want to answer my question, he might answer yours.

You can share my blog post or better still, copy and paste the questions onto your blog, Facebook and/or Twitter and put the hashtag #‎NotMagicJustMaths right at the front. This is the hashtag that Tan Chuan-Jin used in his post so he is likely to also take note of your post.

If you think the questions asked are reasonable and fair, and that the government should answer to them, share the questions and get the government to answer to them.

*****

(My comment was deleted but you can see the full screenshot that I took of my reply, before it was deleted. :( )

Tan Chuan-Jin Facebook Young people who want to have a lot of money in retirement better understand this chart Roy Ngerng reply full edited

[Video] My Speech at the International Student Festival in Trondheim (ISFiT) in Norway on 13 February 2015

Roy Ngerng ISFiT

Last month, I was invited to the International Student Festival in Trondheim (ISFiT) in Norway to share on my activism work in Singapore. I was sued by the Singapore prime minister in May last year and was subsequently charged with two criminal charges, because I had spoken up about the lack of transparency and accountability on the Singapore PAP-run government’s management of the Central Provident Fund (CPF) pension funds of Singaporeans.

Below is the video of my speech:

  • You can watch my speech from 1:11:00.
  • You can also watch the Q&A from 1:58:30.

Below is the text of the prepared speech:

Dear friends at ISFiT,

It is my pleasure and honour to be able to with you here today, and to be part of your dynamism and enthusiasm to learn so that we can improve our countries.

My name is Roy Ngerng. I am a blogger and activist in Singapore. But in May last year, I was sued by the Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong for defamation.

He said that I had said that he had misappropriated the pension funds of Singaporeans.

But I have never said that. I have never defamed the prime minister.

The reason why the government wants to prosecute me is because I exposed how the Singapore government was siphoning off the pension funds of Singaporeans into the two investment firms that the government controls and does not want to return to Singaporeans.

After I was sued, the government also asked the hospital that I was working at to fire me. I have since been charged with two more crimes, for exercising my freedom of speech and expression, and for protesting to protect my own rights and the rights of Singaporeans.

The government has also used the government agencies, state-controlled media as well as online media affiliated to it to launch a campaign against me since May last year. And it has not stopped.

I started blogging 3 years ago and wrote on gay issues as well as on sociopolitical issues. I write on The Heart Truths.

In May last year, the prime minister then sued me for defamation for an article I wrote. But the reason why I sued was not because of the article that I was sued for.

Three weeks before I was sued, my supervisors at work already spoke to me about my blogging activities. That was when I knew that the government wanted to get me.

You see, two months before I was sued, I wrote two articles which exposed how the Singapore government has been taking our pension funds to use since the 1960s, for the past 50 years, to earn from it and not return it. When I wrote the articles, I knew that the government was going to get me.

Two months later, they found an excuse to do so.

After I was sued, the government asked my hospital to fire me. I was given a termination letter and was asked to leave within an hour. During that time, my colleagues were told to stay in their office. No one could come to my office to say goodbye and if they came near, they were asked to leave. I was treated like a criminal.

The hospital and the Ministry of Health then sent out press releases to support my firing.

The firing also came after I spoke at the first protest that we held after I was sued. I spoke at a protest to demand for the transparency and accountability of our pension funds. Three days later, I was fired.

When I submitted my affidavit and evidence for the defamation suit, the state-controlled media did not want to report on it. However, they would report on the prime minister’s affidavit.

Inside my affidavit, I outlined evidence of how I had managed to trace how the government has siphoned off Singaporeans’ pension funds into the two investment firms and how the government had covered their tracks and deleted the evidence that I had found.

I also exposed how the government had denied taking our pension funds to use in these investment firms in 2001, 2006 and 2007. And they only admitted to the truth for the very first time in May last year, after I was sued and they could not hide the information anymore.

In 2001 and 2006, it was the first prime minister of Singapore who denied having taken our retirement funds to invest in the investment firm GIC.

The Singapore government has also claimed that it does not interfere in the GIC’s operations. GIC, the investment firm, also claimed that it does not know if it uses the pension funds of Singaporeans to invest.

However, the Singapore prime minister, the two deputy prime ministers, several ministers, ex-ministers and members of parliament also sit on the board of directors of the GIC.

So it is impossible that the government does not interfere in the GIC. It is also impossible that the GIC does not know if it uses the pension fund of Singaporeans to invest.

However, when I detailed all of these evidence in my affidavit, the prime minister said that my affidavit is “inadmissible”, “irrelevant” and “an abuse of the (court) process”. He said that the evidence that I had brought up about the pension funds were not relevant to the defamation suit, even though he sued me because of what I wrote about the pension funds.

And even though he wanted to apply to court to stop me from revealing more about the pension funds.

But the prosecution did not end there. In September last year, I attended the fourth protest to demand for transparency and accountability.

The government then set us up.

Another event was being held where our protest was held. When we marched past that event, the organisers of the event pushed some children out and said we “heckled” the children.

If you do not know what “heckling” means, don’t worry, most Singaporeans at that time did not either. The government had purposefully chose that word to use.

“Heckle” means to disrupt an event. But the government chose the word, “heckle”, because it gave a more negative connotation.

Right after the protest, several ministers and members of parliament as well as supporters of the government, and state-controlled media and online media affiliated to the government launched a coordinated campaign to say that I had “heckled” the children.

But I did not. I used to teach children with autism and I love children. I couldn’t possibly want to “heckle” the children.

Eventually, an online news site wrote that I never did “heckle” the children. It asked the government to apologise. They never did.

Two weeks after the incident, the police called us up to be investigated. A month later, I was charged with two criminal charges for public nuisance, but for things like waving flags and chanting slogans, things which you pretty much do in a protest; and for holding an illegal demonstration.

The government’s aim was to pull down my reputation.

When I was first sued, I conducted a fund raising to pay for my legal fees and raised more than $100,000 Singapore dollars, or 65,000 Euros.

There was clear support for my cause because the government has siphoned off the pension funds of Singaporeans. Today, many Singaporeans are unable to retire and some have to work until their deaths. Many people are angry with the Singapore government. A survey showed that more than half of Singaporeans supported what I say.

However, Singaporeans wouldn’t stand up and speak up. They would help in the fund raising but they did not dare to come out to fight.

The fear in Singapore is strong.

When the government said I “heckled”, there was a clear withdrawal of support. People were willing to allow their fear to justify their withdrawal.

Soon after the government created this campaign to pull down my reputation, the judgment that I had defamed the prime minister was then passed.

Early this year, the prime minister took issue with 9 more of my articles again. He wanted to use these articles to ask me to pay more money to his lawyers.

But some of these articles were personal articles where I spoke about own personal life and what I wished for Singapore. But the prime minister said that I was trying to “attack” him.

Later, his press secretary issued a statement to say that I do not want to be cross-examined in court. She lied. I never said that. Again, the government wanted to pull my reputation down. I challenged her to sue me for saying that she had lied or to apologise. She never did either of them.

But you see, the press secretary is not allowed to speak up on this case. The prime minister is not allowed to sue me in his capacity as a public figure, as a prime minister. He is only allowed to sue me as an individual. However, as an individual, the prime minister is nobody. Still, the prime minister’s press secretary insisted that she has a right to speak up for the prime minister because the defamation suit is pertaining to the pension funds of Singaporeans.

But then, didn’t the prime minister said that my affidavit was “irrelevant” when I had talked about the pension funds?

Clearly, it was their word against my word. And they were using their words to oppress me.

The reason why I decided to fight the defamation suit was not because I had believed that I would win. I knew that I would lose, because it is a political case.

However, I was willing to fight because I had believed that at some point, Singaporeans would rise and fight as well. But it still has not come.

You know, I do not hate the prime minister for doing what he has done. In fact, I sympathise with his position. What do you when you are born into a rich family and you are the son of the first prime minister, and where you have everything given to you on a platter?

But the prime minister has the audacity to sue an ordinary citizen but he has never had the balls to face me in court or to even speak about the case at all. Instead, he has hid behind the laws all this while and kept silent.

Right now, I am waiting for the hearing in July on how much I have to pay the prime minister in damages. The prime minister has filed the defamation suit in the Supreme Court which oversees cases of more than $250,000 Singapore dollars, or 100,000 Euros, so this is at least how much I am expected to pay.

Singapore is ranked well on the Corruption Perception Index. We are ranked 7th last year. But we have been falling down the index for the past few years.

But the Corruption Perception Index is not a fully accurate measure of the corruption that exists in Singapore. This index is only a measure of how businesses perceive the level of corruption in Singapore. And quite obviously, Singapore is well-loved by capitalists who want to make money.

And where some estimates put the government as controlling more than 60% of the Singapore economy, so naturally, the majority of businesses would view the government quite favourably.

But if you look at the other relevant indicators, Singapore performs poorly.

When you look at the crony capitalism index that The Economist compiled, Singapore ranks 5th on the index, after Russia, Ukraine, Hong Kong and Malaysia. This means that it is the 5th easiest for the rich in Singapore to get rich if they are affiliated to the government.

When you look at the level of income inequality, Singapore is the most unequal country among the developed countries and one of the most unequal in the world.

When you look at Russia, Ukraine, Hong Kong and Malaysia, which rank high on the crony capitalism index and have very high inequalities, you realise that they have a high level of corruption as well.

Singapore ranks similarly on the crony capitalism index and income inequality.

On the surface, Singapore’s GDP per capita is one of the highest in the world, and is in fact on par with Norway. However, Norway is one of most equal countries in the world while Singapore is the most unequal among the developed countries.

In Norway, the minimum a person earns is about $5,000 Singapore dollars or 25,000 krones. But in Singapore, the lowest a person earns is only $1,000 Singapore dollars or 5,000 krones.

For healthcare, Norwegians pay a cap of about $400 Singapore dollars or 2,000 krones. But in Singapore, there is no cap and there have been many cases of Singaporeans who have to pay more than $10,000 for their hospital bills or more than 50,000 krones.

For childcare fees, Norwegians only need to pay a cap of about $400 Singapore dollars or 2,000 krones but in Singapore, the average a Singaporean has to pay is $960 or 5,500 krones. It can go even higher.

But this is when Singaporeans already earn one of the lowest wages among the developed countries and thus also have the lowest purchasing power among the developed countries which is on par with India and Malaysia.

Indeed, the Singapore government spends the lowest on health and education as a percentage of GDP, among the developed countries and one of the lowest in the world.

You would have seen the Hong Kong protests where the people in Hong Kong would fight for democracy because they want to see the inequality in their country reduced. However, on many levels, Singapore’s inequality is actually worse than Hong Kong, but Singaporeans wouldn’t fight back.

I read a news article where a father in Hong Kong would say that, for my family and my children, I will fight. However, in Singapore, a person would say, for my family and my children, I will not fight.

As I’ve also asked one speaker who heads an international organisation tells me that no one really knows what is going on in Singapore because so much is hidden.

And the ruling party, the People’s Action Party, have allowed themselves to be kept in power for the past 50 years now. While today, the opposition only makes up 7 out of 87 seats in parliament, and this is actually the highest number over the past 50 years.

Just yesterday, in the latest World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders ranked Singapore 153rd out of 180 countries. Not only is there no democracy, Singapore’s press freedom ranking has also dropped to the lowest levels and is on par with Russia, Iraq, Pakistan and Rwanda.

At the end of the day, it is up to Singaporeans to help ourselves and to save ourselves. If we want a change to better lives, then we have to stand up and fight. We have to understand the significance of our votes and vote to put in another government in place which will protect the people.

But I also appeal to the world to help us. Many people have told me over the past few days that they have always known Singapore to be a shining example but are shocked to find out what I have said. One person told me that if this is what the Singapore model is about, then he would not want his country to follow it.

So, help us. Help us raise awareness on what is happening in Singapore because this will affect your countries. For many developing countries, they look to learn from Singapore. But as I have heard from many people today, from Rwanda, Peru and Turkey, these governments are also using similar tools of oppression against their people.

I worry because I do not know if when the Singapore government meets with the leaders of other developing countries, do they share with those leaders that in order to have economic growth, you would need to oppress your people as well? But is this the kind of government that we want? Is this the kind of example we want other countries to follow?

Is the income inequality that is happening in Singapore what we want other countries to follow?

Because Singapore has the highest income inequality among the developed countries, today, we also have the lowest level of trust, one of the highest levels of prisoner rate and one of the lowest social mobilities. This is not what we want other countries to learn from.

What we should want is for Singapore and other countries to be more equal and for the lives of people across the world to be uplifted so that we do not have to run out of our country to have a better life but where we know that even in our country, we can fight for change and create an equality to better protect our people.

So help us, help us raise awareness about Singapore and fight for change. Even if Singapore is to be a shining example for the world to follow, it should be because we are one which is equal, fair and just, and one that truly cares for the people.

Thank you.

PAP has Not been Taking Care of Singaporeans and We Need a New Government

Over the last few weeks, I have written a few articles for The Real Singapore, also after I received unverified threats to my family and stopped writing on this blog for a while.

I have compiled some of the key articles in this article here.

These articles will outline how the policies that the PAP has created have not helped Singaporeans, and how the opposition parties do have credible policies that can take care of and protect Singaporeans.

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PM Lee: We are Paying Correct Salaries to Morally Upright and Trustworthy Ministers

“The income inequality in Singapore is also the highest among the developed countries. The rich-poor gap in Singapore is also the highest.

Even though Mr Lee earns $2.2 million in a year, a cleaner can still only earn $1,000 a month. It will take nearly 300 years for a cleaner to earn the total of what Mr Lee can earn.

In recent times, the Singapore government has also increased their own salaries in 1994, 2000, 2004 and 2007 and each time, the income inequality rose with it, followed by the rich getting richer as the share of income that goes to them also increased.

Mr Lee said that ministers should be treated “fairly and equally” but this comes at the expense of Singaporeans who are treated unequally.

However, the question has been often asked, if we need to pay office-holders such extravagant salaries to prevent them from being corrupt, then are they even “morally upright” and “trustworthy” people in the first place, as Mr Lee claimed?

Then, are they truly the “right people for the right jobs”?”

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Singapore’s Wages Stuck in Time: Still Not Enough to Survive

“The problem is compounded when the rich in Singapore, the government among them, earns the highest salaries among the developed countries and one of the highest in the world, while ordinary Singaporeans fall on the other end of the spectrum and earn one of the lowest.

This has caused the rich-poor gap in Singapore to be the widest among the developed countries. So is the income inequality and poverty rate the highest.

The situation has become very unhealthy in Singapore where the purchasing power in Singapore is now the lowest among the developed countries and on par with even India, even as Singapore has become the most expensive city in the world.

The government has shown bravado every time it wants to increase the salaries of the ministers but when it comes to increasing the wages of Singaporeans, the government has come out with every excuse, such as having to peg wage growth to productivity growth. But where productivity was zero last year and negative the year before, this means that the wages of Singaporeans are put at risk.

It is high time the government stops making excuses and take definitive and bold action to increase the wages of Singaporeans, especially for the low-income, by imposing a minimum wage.

Where the government controls an estimated 60 percent of the economy and where the government has been able to generate high profits in the companies they own at the expense of the wages of the workers, it is time to question the government’s role in these businesses. Where their priorities have swung towards protecting businesses and their profits, this has resulted in a conflict of interest where the government has reneged on its responsibility on workers and Singaporeans.”

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PAP Govt has Failed Its Promise to Increase the Wages of Singaporeans

“However, not only has the income inequality in Singapore grown to become the worst among the developed countries, it has also become one of the highest in the world.

Trickle-down economics never happened. In fact, the rich-poor gap in Singapore is now the widest among the developed countries. The rich in Singapore are the highest-paid among these countries while Singaporeans earn one of the lowest wages.

Meanwhile, the PAP ministers continue to pay themselves the highest salaries in the world and have fought consistently to raise their own salaries. However, they have never taken the effort to do the same for Singaporeans.
Today, Singaporeans are forced to accept one of the lowest wages among the developed countries in a country where the cost of living has become the highest in the world.

The PAP government has reneged on its promise to Singaporeans to increase wages and has failed Singaporeans.”

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PAP Govt has Broken Promise to Build More and Cheaper BTO Flats for Singaporeans

“However, all these promises have not been fulfilled.

Latest statistics show that BTO flats are still priced higher than four times the median salaries of Singaporeans.

For three room flats, prices are 4.57 times that of applicants’ annual salaries.

This is even higher for four- and five-room flats.

Prices of four-room flats are 5.26 times that of annual salaries and for five-room flats, this is 5.36 times.

But last year, the price ratio was already about 5.5 times that of annual salaries, which means that things have remained largely unchanged.

Also, Mr Khaw promised that flat prices will be reduced to four times that of annual salaries but the prices are still way above the mark.

Not only that, the government has also broken its other promise of increasing the number of flats available for Singaporeans.

In October, the government announced that it will be reducing the housing supply next year.

Mr Khaw said that the number of BTO flats to be launched next year will be reduced by 25 percent, from 22,400 units this year to 16,000 units next year.

But already, the 22,400 units launched this year is already lower than last year, by 10 percent.

This is very different from the promise that Mr Khaw had made last year.

He said that there would be 50,000 units launched this year, 54,000 next year and 63,000 in 2016.

This means that the government has launched less than half the number of flats that it had promised that they would launch this year, and for next year, it would launch less than 30 percent of what it promised.”

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OECD Study Shows Income Inequality Created by PAP is Killing S’pore Economic Growth

“However, in Singapore, the government continues to spend the lowest in education and healthcare, as a percentage of GDP, as compared to the other developed countries.

The Singapore government also spends the lowest, as a percentage of GDP, for social protection.

Not only that, the government has refused to define a poverty line and there is still no minimum wage in Singapore. A study by a National University of Singapore economist Tilak Abeysinghe also showed that the poorest 30 percent of Singaporean households have to spend 105 percent to 151 percent of their incomes.

In short, the PAP’s “trick-down” economics do not work.

Not only that, the richest 1 percent in Singapore have 14 percent of the share of income in Singapore while the richest 10 percent has 42 percent of the share of income, leaving the rest of the population to scramble for what is left.

The Singapore prime minister belongs to the top 0.1 percent in Singapore. It has also been shown that every time the People’s Action Party (PAP) increased their own ministerial salaries in Singapore, the income inequality exacerbates as well.

If so, it looks like the problem of income inequality in Singapore is directly created by the PAP?

However, where the OECD and even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have called for redistributive policies to reduce income inequality but where the PAP is concerned about increasing their own salaries and thereby increasing income inequality, will they be interested in reducing income inequality in Singapore and protecting Singaporeans?

Moreover, the PAP has stridently refused to increase public spending for social protection and for education and healthcare.”

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PAP Continues to Depress Wages and Insists that S’poreans Who Earn $1,000 can Buy a Flat

“But where it is clear that the PAP government is the one which has “failed” and which is not in touch with the “realities” of Singaporeans, then does the PAP government has the right to criticise its opponents when it is the PAP government which is more deserving of shame?

Indeed, for a government and political party – PAP – which continues to turn a blind eye to the needs of Singaporeans and continues to resist truly helping Singaporeans, while all the time criticising Singaporeans for being ungrateful, it is the PAP government which has to reflect and “repent”.

“Buy within your means,” Mr Tan said of Singaporeans looking to buy a flat.

But perhaps it is more apt to tell the PAP to live within their means and stop extorting money from Singaporeans to pay their own unjustified high salaries, when they cannot even solve the most basic of problems in Singapore.”

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PM Lee: S’poreans Must Work Longer and Retire Later or have Less in Retirement

“The irony is that even as Singaporeans contribute the highest proportion of their wages into the CPF, the CPF only makes up, up to 7 percent of the main sources of retirement income of the elderly in Singapore.

As such, Singaporeans are already living on very little in retirement.

What else does Mr Lee want Singaporeans to do? To live on nothing?

Essentially, Mr Lee leaves Singaporeans with no choice but to work longer and for many, for the rest of their lives.

The basic solutions to enhancing the adequacy of Singaporeans’ retirement is to increase wages and the CPF interest rates but it is clear that the government does not want to do these because these will entail the government having to spend to give the money back to Singaporeans.

Instead, the government has chosen options that would place the burden on Singaporeans instead, such as forcing Singaporeans to work longer and to carve out more of their wages into the CPF.

If so, the government is reneging on its responsibility by making Singaporeans deal with a problem the government created in the first place. By depressing the wages of Singaporeans and taking away the CPF interest rates of Singaporeans, the government is the one which is shortchanging Singaporeans of their retirement funds.”

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10 Years under Lee Hsien Loong: Have Things Gone Bad?

“Where the PAP of the past has brought Singapore from Third World to First World in the first thirty years of Singapore, the same can no longer be said of Singapore over the past 10 to 20 years which has since lost its bearings.

On the contrary, under Mr Lee Hsien Loong’s rule, Singapore might just very well see the end of its economic miracle, as it goes back from First World to the Third World, where the lives of the majority of Singaporeans become hard while only a few at the top are rich enough to live lavishly, similar to how India is.

But then, even in India, where the poor is taken care of free healthcare, free education and even free housing, the poor in Singapore pales in comparison where if the poor cannot make ends meet, they will have to shoulder the blame by themselves, this where Singapore has supposedly become a rich enough country which can take care of its own citizens.

The future of Singapore under Mr Lee does not seem bright but the effects of poor governance has not yet take root and until it has or until the realisation that the side effects might soon come, Singaporeans might continue to hold on dearly to a First World image until it starts tearing at the seams.”

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Can the Opposition become the Government at the Next General Election?

“Indeed, the next general election has been considered as the make-or-break election by many Singaporeans.

At the last election, the constituencies which did not seen their electoral boundaries change due to gerrymandering by the PAP, saw their vote share increase by an average of 10 percent. The same increase of 10 percent was seen in the election prior.

If this momentum is kept up, it is expected that the opposition parties would be able to see another 10 percent swing in favour of them at the next election.

If so, the next general election will indeed be a very tight race, with a 50-50 chance that the PAP could be unseated or that the opposition could stand a real chance to form the next government, to bring a new hope to Singapore and Singaporeans.”

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Opposition Parties in Singapore have Credible Policies to Improve Singaporeans’ Lives

“The other political parties present themselves as formidable opponents to the PAP and it is obvious that the PAP sees them as threats, with Mr Lee bellowing against them so blatantly.

Indeed, the next GE is seen by many observers as a make a break situation for Singapore, which also explains why the PAP is now kept on its toes – it knows that it has postponed the much needed changes for Singapore and is finally worried that its delay in resolving the issues in Singapore is now going to cost it votes.

Even in the likely situation that this might happen, Singaporeans can take heart that the other parties have already armed themselves with analysis to improve the lives of Singaporeans when they take over.”

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2015: The Rise of the Opposition Parties against the PAP

“Mr Lee had said, “The Opposition does not see any duty to bring people together, solve problems and plan for the future.

“And there’s no vision because, because they say they cannot form the government, so no need for vision!”

“This is untrue,” the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) said.

“The SDP published Dare To Change: An Alternative Vision for Singapore in 1994,” it said.

“Dr Chee had also recently described a new vision for Singapore in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal.

“(But) Mr Lee ignores these and claims that the opposition has not articulated one.”

This view is echoed by the NSP.

“NSP is of the view that it has a public duty to call out discrepancies and unevenness in the application of ministerial powers and discretions. 

“It is in the interest of citizens for political appointment holders to be always mindful of not exceeding the boundaries of their authority and powers.”

Reform therefore concluded: “This could only lead any reasonable person to ask why Lee Hsien Loong is so scared of accountability?

“Is it because he and his team do not want Singaporeans to know what has happened to their reserves? Is it because he wants us to continue to accept the sham of a national Budget in which year after year apparently $30 billion of surpluses are concealed from the people?”

Finally, in a response to the Minister for Culture Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, the Worker’s Party Chairman Sylvia Lim said, “I thank the PAP ministers for repeatedly reminding Singaporeans of the issues that are close to our heart.”

WP also said that it is aboveboard and avails itself to checks from Singaporeans.

“The public can expect that the PAP will be the first to hold WP to account.”

So, “yes the next GE is deadly serious for true blue Singaporeans,” SingFirst said.

And “until we see the end of a dominant party Parliament, the prospect of ministerial powers being mis-applied to serve the longevity of the incumbent, remains,” NSP’s Ms Chong-Aruldoss restated.

Otherwise, “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied,” Ms Chong-Aruldoss said.

And the same can be said for Singapore and Singaporeans.”

Budget 2015: Which Policies for CPF, Education and Healthcare Would You Choose?

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced the Budget 2015 on Monday.

I took a look at the key items in CPF, education and healthcare and came out with alternative policies for them.

Take a look at the PAP’s policies and the alternatives and choose which policies you would prefer more.

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How Many Singaporeans are Willing to Acknowledge that There are Poor People in Singapore Who Need Help?

Singapore's Poor

Photo credit: The Borgen Project

I had a discussion on a Facebook thread and thought to share the commentary here:

How Many Rich Singaporeans are Willing to Acknowledge that There are Poor People in Singapore Who Need Help

I think at the end of the day, how many of us who have the opportunity to visit other countries and who have the luxury to come online to lavish praise on the PAP government actually earns $800 or $1,000 a month? How many of us can actually understand their plight and know how tough life it is for them?

Or how many of us know families who have to survive on a household income of less than $2,000?

Of course for many of us who are in the (ad)vantage point of earning high incomes, or being born into families with high incomes, who can then travel widely and talk about how we still think the PAP is good, but what about the 30% of the poor who cannot even earn enough to spend, or the next 30% who cannot earn enough to save and for the majority of Singaporeans who thus can never retire?

Of course it’s very easy for us who earn enough to shower praise on the PAP and think that Singapore is great, but what about the rest of us who cannot earn enough to have a decent living?

I used to earn $4,000 for just a while, even then I would have difficulty understanding the lives of those who are poor. But I’ve heard many, many stories, I’ve spoken to some of them and I know people who work with them. When I was working at the hospital, there were many who simply cannot afford to pay for their healthcare and choose to drop out of the system. Even if they were to apply for Medifund, they have to climb through so many hoops to get it and on top of that, when they are poor, they also have to apply for many other financial assistance. It is very demeaning and demoralising. It is not that they do not want to work. I know some of them work several jobs just to try to make ends meet, and they still don’t get paid enough.

For these people, do we blame them? Do we blame them for not getting a job that pays enough, when they have tried so hard but cannot find one? The government doesn’t want to define a poverty line or implement a minimum wage. The poor and lower middle income in Singapore simply do not have a chance. But how many of us are willing, or able to understand that?

It’s very easy for us to say things are good but of course, it is, if we earn enough and belong to the richer tier. But how many of us are willing to actually try to understand the lives of the poor around us, and how many us are willing to acknowledge their plight and not pretend that they don’t exist?

They are many of them in Singapore, many who cannot pay for their healthcare bills, their homes and some who have to sell their homes to pay for their healthcare bills?

I am in Norway now and even in Norway, they are of course things to critique. But in Singapore, we don’t have the luxury to critique the way Norwegians have. Also, we do not have the luxury of critiquing things which are of a more sophisticated level. Now, we are still fighting over survival, whereas in Norway, they have gone into deeper issues such as equality.

But didn’t we say that Singapore is a developed country? Then why do we still have to talk about the so many of the poor who cannot earn a decent living?

No, really, search our souls and ask ourselves – how many of us are willing to look at the lives of the poor in Singapore to understand them, to acknowledge that they exist and to reach out to them? How many of have the conscience to do that?

How many of us are willing to look beyond ourselves to realise the existence of the poor and their difficult lives and to the advocate to the government for change.

Yes, Singapore (could) have many things going for us but when the government cannot do the simple thing of taking care of the health, education and housing of the poorest in Singapore, I am very embarrassed.

But how many of us are willing to see that? You know, I don’t have to do this. There are much better things to do in life, like get a job I love and spend time with someone I love, I want to do that. But I don’t have a choice – I was thrust into the spotlight because the prime minister sued me. If he drops the suit, if I can get a job, do you think it’s so fun to do this?

Moreover, if none of us bother to speak up, then who will help the poor who have become so powerless?

No, really, you can critique me. You can even tear my reputation or character to bits. That is all fine.

But where there are many poor people in Singapore who are living difficult lives, how many of us are willing to see it? Only Singaporeans can help Singaporeans, but if even we turn a blind eye to it, then who will speak up for them? Who will acknowledge them and help them?

At the end of the day, for some of us, maybe a few of us, our lives are good, sure. But for the many whose lives are not, dare we acknowledge that they exist? Dare we speak up for them? Would we sympathise with them, empathise with them and do something about it?

This is not about me. If every Singaporean would speak up about it and do something about it, and ask the government to do something, I wouldn’t have to do this. I will be more than happy to stop doing what I am doing.

The question is – how many people are willing to look beyond ourselves? How many of us who are well-to-do would do so, and empathise with the poor and lower middle income in Singapore?

How many?

PAP Says WP’s Actions are Unlawful and Dishonest but the PAP’s Management of the CPF is Worse

The People’s Action Party (PAP) government has launched an attack on the Worker’s Party over the management of its funds at the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

The Today newspaper drew a chart and said that “AHPETC’s key officers had ownership interests in two companies engaged by the town council for estate services — FM Solutions & Integrated Services (FMSI) and FM Solutions & Services (FMSS)” and that there was no “proper disclosures of the interests of the related parties” and that there were “conflicts of interest”. It also said that there were “Lapses in governance of related party transactions”. AHPETC was also criticised for “Inadequacies in record management and accounting system”.

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However, when you look at the PAP’s government fund management of Singaporeans’  Central Provident Fund (CPF) pension funds and “ownership interests”, you see a somewhat similar structure.

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Below, I replaced what the PAP ministers and members of parliament had said about the AHPETC with what can also be said about the PAP’s management of our CPF. The hypocrisy of what the PAP has said will then be revealed. (The change of words are in italics.)

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan:

Khaw Boon Wan

GIC and Temasek Holding receive large sums of CPF monies from Singaporeans. These are all public monies. As stewards of public funds, GIC and Temasek Holdings must keep proper accounts and records, and maintain adequate control over their assets. Who has paid and who has not? How is the money spent? Is it properly used? Is anybody doing anything wrong? … These and many other questions directly affect the interests and safety of the Singaporeans. They are not trivial technical issues raised merely to satisfy the accountants or the auditors, or to meet financial regulations. Unfortunately, … (there are) serious questions about the reliability and accuracy of their financial and accounting systems.

There is always the temptation, when the GIC and Temasek Holdings are financially strapped, to postpone saving, and say it will make up the shortfall later, or worse, to put its hand into the cookie jar, to draw from the savings to satisfy immediate needs. Just spend, use the savings first. Sounds appealing, but the GIC and Temasek Holdings will then be simply running down the reserves and mortgaging the future of Singaporeans away.

GIC and Temasek Holdings did not adequately manage the conflicts of interests of related parties arising from ownership interests of their key officers”.”

The related parties were two companies, GIC and Temasek Holdings, engaged by the PAP government to invest Singaporeans’ CPF. GIC and Temasek Holdings are owned by the PAP government. The chairman and directors of the GIC are the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, ex-Ministers and members of parliament of the PAP government. The Chairman of GIC and CEO of Temasek Holdings are, by the way, husband and wife.

The key officers of the PAP government (i.e. Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, ex-Ministers and members of parliament) who have ownership interests in the GIC and at the same time performed a role (for the PAP government) in approving transfer of the CPF to GIC were in clear conflicts of interests.

“Taken in totality, the PAP government cannot possibly adequately manage the conflicts of interest involved in related party transactions”. This means that the PAP government may not have obtained the best value for the moneys paid to these related parties. Or worse, there could be opportunities of wrong-doing or unethical practices which the PAP government may not be able to detect or prevent.

Singaporeans and taxpayers need to know that their monies are properly spent and they are getting best value for money. When these contracts are awarded to parties related to the PAP government, the PAP government needs to be upfront with Singaporeans as well as with taxpayers at large, so that there is transparency and proper scrutiny.

Each year, the PAP government collects about $30 billion in CPF contributions from Singaporeans. The PAP government also manages a reserve of about $1 trillion, accumulated from Singaporeans’ CPF monies and government grants… There is also no assurance that the CPF monies, which are taxpayers’ monies disbursed to the GIC and Temasek Holdings, are being safeguarded and channelled to the purpose for which they are given. And most fundamental of all, there is no safeguard against potential mischief and loss of public monies.

The PAP government has no proper system to safeguard important documents, and had weak accounting procedures. It did not provide key information requested by President Ong Teng Cheong on the reserves. Without access to proper records, President Ong was unable to make a proper assessment of the GIC and Temasek Holding’s financial situation.

We do not know the exact state of the GIC and Temasek Holding’s financial position.

Something is seriously wrong with the PAP government. They paint a picture of financial mismanagement, incompetence and negligence in corporate governance.

If an auditor makes such a finding on a listed company, it will immediately cause consternation among the shareholders, and a call for the removal of the CEO and the Board of Directors. In Japan, the president or CEO will call a press conference and take a deep bow; in the good old days, they may even commit hara-kiri. Where there are breaches of the Companies Act, both the company as well as the individuals responsible could be charged, and if found guilty, punished with fines and/or jail terms for the individuals.

Even for charities, if their auditor makes such a damning finding, the Commissioner of Charities will haul up the Governing Board and key officers for a full inquiry. They will be suspended and eventually removed from their duties. If the findings are borne out, they can also be charged and punished for any breaches of the Charities Act.

Unfortunately, throughout this saga, we have found the PAP MPs running the PAP government to be evasive, unresponsive and misleading. In response to legitimate queries from Singaporeans, they stone-walled, deflected the queries, made false or dishonest claims, raised irrelevant excuses and sought to confuse the public with a flurry of red-herrings.

First, their lack of transparency – they failed to disclose things on time; they failed to submit reports they should be submitting. Every time we reminded them, again and again, they came up with yet another excuse.

The government need competent, honest people and proper systems to serve Singaporeans well. Good intentions and bland assurances alone are not sufficient. Elected MPs need to supervise the work of the government, GIC and Temasek Holdings. While they enjoy wide autonomy, they also have huge responsibility. And they are accountable to Singaporeans. They have statutory duties but they are also subject to national laws.

Running a government requires elected MPs to govern, not just politick. Compared to the sound and fury of politicking, governing is long, tedious and unglamorous work. But good government is what secures a good life for Singaporeans, on a long-term, sustainable basis. Conversely, neglect of government ultimately compromises Singaporeans’ well-being. It may not show up immediately, but it will eventually.

Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam:

Shanmugam

What concerns me is that the PAP government’s actions are clearly unlawful.

The rhetoric from the PAP is always about helping the poor man, the reality is that the PAP took CPF money from the man in the street to give to their friends in the GIC and Temasek Holdings.

The PAP keep saying there’s been no loss (of CPF monies from the more than $100 billion that the GIC and Temasek Holdings lost in 2008). Maybe there was no one taking money through the back door in the dark of the night, there was no need because the money was taken from the front door in broad daylight through all this overcharging.

The second major problem arising from the facts is lack of transparency, lack of disclosure. First, the facts do not seem to have been fully disclosed to all Singaporeans. And second, there seems to have been no proper discussion of the conflicts at all.

Active, persistent non-disclosure. Obviously, deliberate. And the consequence of all of this? Of the billions that were paid to the GIC and Temasek Holdings, who knows how much was justifiable?

The PAP have been quick to say that despite all the problems, no CPF monies have been lost. Can the PAP honestly say that no CPF monies have been lost? When the PAP ministers and members of parliament act in breach of their fiduciary duties; and pay the GIC and Temasek Holdings billions of dollars? Overpayment to a related party is not a loss?

It is a really strange statement from the PAP. The House is burning – and they are standing in front of it and says – you know, there has been no “loss”. Is it possible that the PAP does not recognise loss even when it is staring before their face?

Let us put this in layman terms: You have a business, with cash, valuables belonging to other people. You don’t know exactly what you have. You put a friend in charge. They take what they want of the cash. You overpay them several billion dollars. You don’t check. Auditors say your accounts are in a mess, the accounts are unreliable. In fact you say yourself that you can’t produce the accounts. Auditors say you have no clear idea of what has happened to the cash.

And you come and you say: no money is lost. One can only wonder at such a statement.

And the money was lost not through accident. The structure was approved by at least some in the PAP government for your party to form a company and do all of this.

This is not just a question of negligence, or inexperience. You don’t need many years of experience to know that you shouldn’t let your friends do what they like with public funds.

The big questions remain unanswered. Why did you hide information from your own President, Ong Teng Cheong? What are you going to do to recover monies that have been lost? Those are questions, because these are people’s monies. There will have to be consequences; we have to see what they do to recover lost money.

So why set up the GIC and Temasek Holdings? It was a convenient vehicle to which billions of dollars went from the Town Council. And another obvious question: money that went to the GIC and Temasek Holdings – where did it actually go? What happened to it?

This process is unacceptable. It is also unlawful. In all these 25 years, in no other government except the PAP government are the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, ex-Ministers and members of parliament of the PAP government not just part of the GIC, but also directors of the GIC. Their ownership interest and control of the GIC is what distinguishes the PAP government from all other governments.

Why doesn’t the PAP government give proper answers instead of playing hide and seek? What are you hiding? This is not negligence. It is an active decision to suppress information. It raises the issue of integrity.

Any honest PAP member of parliament will admit that all this is unacceptable, and will want to set right what has gone wrong, which means coming clean on the facts, relooking at all the contracts and payments, and recovering all the excesses, the overpayments, and the payments made in breach of fiduciary duties. Which means taking legal action where necessary. Will the PAP members of parliament do that?

What concerns me is that the actions are clearly unlawful, … we were inundated with minutiae about how the safekeeping is going to be made better, how there are going to be two locks and so on. The big questions remain unanswered: Why did you hide info from Singaporeans? …What are you going to do to recover monies that have been lost?

If you were a listed company, by now your shareholders would have sued you. Because you collect public funds every month, and you have a duty to account to Singaporeans. Basically, the PAP government is in shambles. It is quite amazing to hear you stand up and say everything is okay. If you were a listed company, by now your shareholders would have sued you because you collect public funds every month and you have a duty to account to Singaporeans.

There has been a complete dereliction of duties and this is in addition to the gross breach of fiduciary duties, in relation to the GIC and Temasek Holdings. You made a conscious decision to appoint your ministers to run the GIC… What does this say of your integrity? In conclusion, I say this to the PAP government: Each of you appear to have seriously breached your fiduciary duties.

On behalf of the residents of Singaporeans, more than 3.5 million of them, hard-working, honest people, we have to ask the PAP to come clean and explain yourselves to the public. Singaporeans deserve some real, honest answers.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat:

Heng Swee Keat

I am concerned about the well-being and interests of all Singaporeans. Elected MPs are expected to be clean, honest and to act with integrity.

So I am sad to observe that the elected members of parliament of the PAP have betrayed the people’s trust. They betrayed the people’s trust in three ways:

  • One, they betrayed the people’s trust by failing to act in the best interests of the Singaporeans.
  • Two, they betrayed the people’s with a consistent pattern of evasive behaviour.
  • Third, they betrayed the people’s trust by promising one thing and doing another.

First, the PAP government have betrayed the trust of Singaporeans.

Singaporeans cannot trust the PAP on several counts.

For a start, Singaporeans cannot trust the PAP to get them a good deal – in fact, the PAP has gotten them a raw deal.

The GIC and Temasek Holdings charge the highest rate in the world for their services.

Till now, after all the debate…, the public doesn’t know, none of us knows, the reasons why the GIC and Temasek Holdings’s rates are higher than everywhere else.

And sadly, this is precisely what we are seeing – short-term, opportunistic behaviour.

What we have is a structure (of how the CPF is channelled into the GIC and Temasek Holdings) that is quite convoluted. There were other options that could have been pursued.

Singaporeans cannot trust the elected PAP members of parliament to account honestly for where their CPF money is.

I’m also very concerned about the second way in which the PAP has betrayed the people’s trust. The pattern of behaviour. A consistent pattern of denial, deflection and protection of their managing agent, which suggests a serious rot is happening.

Why did the elected PAP members of parliament allow such a deeply flawed structure to be set up in the very first place? We have not heard any good answer.

But the PAP government told us in this House that they are professional and experienced! So who is telling us the accurate version? And you are talking about experience. How much experience do you need to know that you cannot be handing money to the GIC and Temasek Holdings, at the expense of overcharging Singaporeans? How much experience do you need to truthfully disclose information to your President?

The elected PAP members of parliament have acted in the best interests of the GIC and Temasek Holdings. They have neglected the interests of Singaporeans. Can Singaporeans trust that the PAP is acting in their interests? Why are they so protective of the GIC and Temasek Holdings that messed up the CPF Board’s work?

The PAP rejected the suggestion that the arrangement was to benefit the GIC and Temasek Holdings. So may I ask: … Did they benefit? Yes, richly so. The structure that the PAP set up allowed this to happen – you awarded the contracts at these exorbitant rates and allowed them to get away with it. What other conclusions can be drawn?

All the PAP MPs have said that they would take collective responsibility… One would have expected:

  • That they will conduct a forensic audit;
  • That they will take legal action against the GIC and Temasek Holdings;
  • That they will file accounts immediately, on time, as required by the law, and any administrative action;
  • That they will put in the checks and balances where there is a severe conflict of interest.

And Singaporeans deserve to know what had happened. Is the PAP prepared to come clean, and explain, and answer all the questions that have been raised in this House? How exactly will you safeguard the interests of Singaporeans?

The third way that the PAP had betrayed the trust of our people is they promise one thing, and do another, quite the opposite. They said something in one forum, and in another forum, they said something else.

We have seen clearly how they have created a system where there is no check, no balance. You can’t even check yourselves! Or you are not willing to check yourself.

They have been entrusted with running a government. Where is the First World government that they should be delivering? Instead, we have a government which cannot account where the resources go to.

The PAP also spoke vigorously about accountability – but surely you would agree that the most basic aspect of accountability is to be able to keep proper accounts of the money that have been entrusted to you. I can understand if you are keeping accounts for the first time, but you are not – you have told Singaporeans of your experience in running Singapore. So till today, we do not know the true state of the accounts of the GIC and Temasek Holdings.

We saw a big wayang in this house. Ordinarily, such a wayang would have seemed comical. But in the context of how important integrity and trust is in how we govern our little red dot, I am so disappointed and so saddened by this entire sorry saga.

What we are seeing are not isolated lapses or behaviours. What we are seeing is a troubling pattern of dishonest and misleading behaviour – to say one thing but to do the opposite, to say one thing that suits them to Singaporeans, but to say a different thing in Parliament or elsewhere when it suits them better.

And these are very serious lapses. What has been troubling is the pattern of denial and the pattern of deflection of these very serious lapses. And therefore, it was necessary to have this debate in Parliament. So it is not about partisan politics. It is really about how we must work as elected Members of Parliament to serve Singaporeans and to serve Singaporeans sincerely, wholeheartedly.

Won’t answer President Ong Teng Cheong. Won’t answer Parliament. Won’t answer Singaporeans. Who is left in Singapore that the PAP think is worthy of an answer?

This is wrong. This is a serious problem of integrity.

It costs the PAP nothing to promise the world. But there is a real cost to Singaporeans – real lives are affected – when they break their promises.

We have seen how, in many countries, when elected officials engage in self-serving practices, when they put their own interests ahead of the public interest, when they do not act with integrity and when they put the interests of their cronies first, the country fails. And it is the man in the street, the young, and the future generation who suffer the most.

As a little red dot, good governance is critical to Singapore’s future. Elected public officials must act with integrity and a deep sense of responsibility, and serve our people whole-heartedly. In the many decisions we take, there may be errors – human or system, but what matters most is that elected officials act with integrity and do our very best to serve the public interest.

A government requires elected MPs to govern, and not just politick. It is easy to shout campaign slogans and make all sorts of promises. But do you really believe in what you say wholeheartedly, and walk the talk? Running a government in a clean, competent and accountable way is a test of the integrity of the MP and his sense of responsibility and accountability. In other words, can we trust him or her?

This is not about partisan politics – I have no joy pointing out the many failings and questionable practices of the PAP. This is important for all Singaporeans because it is about our long-term future. Unless elected MPs act with integrity and a deep sense of responsibility, and take the trust of the people seriously, we will not be able to maintain a system of good governance – clean, honest, accountable, competent, and pass this on to our future generations. We must not betray the trust of Singaporeans. Singaporean deserve better. Let us all honour the trust that Singaporeans have placed in us.

It is about integrity, trust, our conviction that as elected MPs, we are here to serve the people of Singapore, not our friends.

It is a broader issue of how elected MPs must act with integrity and act to serve the interests of Singaporeans so it is of greater interest than just a CPF issue.

Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Hri Kumar Nair:

Hri Kumar Nair

That would not be a satisfactory solution or outcome because that means the CPF is deprived of funds and ultimately the people who suffer will be Singaporeans because their CPF would not have sufficient funds to allow them to retire.

So why should the PAP be let off easy just because they are the government? And why should Singaporeans be forced to accept anything less than full accountability? This cannot be the right way forward.

By any standard – any standard – of corporate governance, the engagement of GIC and Temasek Holdings involves a conflict of interest.

The PAP team should also procure an undertaking from the GIC and Temasek Holdings that they will make all their papers and staff available for investigation. That is the only way to put this matter to rest. And I really hope for the sake of Singaporeans, that the GIC and Temasek Holdings has suffered no loss or will be able to recover the loss. That is good for Singaporeans. But we need to do that investigation to find out. But if the PAP is not willing to do it, then that says everything.

The PAP has not answered all the questions that have been posed to them, and they are certainly not answering the questions they don’t want to answer.

That CPF money is not going to come back. This is something we still have not heard any explanation for.

Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office and for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth Sam Tan:

Sam Tan

The PAP MPs and candidates sounded very eloquent and righteous over this matter.

Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa:

Liang Eng Hwa

These are practices that would not even find their place in a Third-World Parliament.

We must not let any errant practices erode the public confidence, trust and integrity of the finances of town councils.

Our politics must not be about accepting mediocre performance and substandard practices. Singaporeans deserve better.

What we are concerned about is public money and that the PAP is bullying Singaporeans.

Later, Mr Khaw concluded:

Institutions that collect and spend public money must always ensure a high standard of transparency and accountability. Institutions are not perfect and there is always scope to improve and occasionally, they may even make mistakes. Where there is criminal intent, the law will take its course. When mistakes are made, we expect the leaders in charge to take ownership and admit them and to promptly institute changes to avoid any repeat.

As MPs, we set the tone and the standard of corporate governance in Singapore. As the Chinese saying goes: “上梁不正下梁歪” (if the top beam is not straight, the lower beams are bound to be crooked). If the leader sets a bad example, or condones bad behaviour by his senior staff, the other subordinates will likely follow suit.

This consistent pattern of evasive behaviour gives us cause to doubt the sincerity of the PAP MPs.

I would urge that the PAP come out of denial and see the gravity of the situation for what it is… The lapses are symptomatic of a systemic failure: the failure to have proper controls and a reliable record and accounting system. This is the staple that every government must have in order to operate. How else can you safeguard public monies? The PAP government cannot safeguard public monies; its accounts are inaccurate and unreliable.

All political parties, we assume, must aspire to eventually run the Singapore Government. Now, if they cannot even run the GIC and Temasek Holdings well, how can they be entrusted with the even more critical responsibility of running the whole country?

At the core of this tragic saga is the incompetence of the GIC and Temasek Holdings, and the PAP government.

The PAP government, GIC and Temasek Holdings are very highly paid. It cannot even deliver a competent reliable system and administration of accounts and records. Without a reliable accounting and financial management system, there will be financial and accounting lapses, and opportunities for fraud, abuse and wrong-doing. And in such a setting, when wrong-doers dip their fingers into the pie, the acts may not be discovered for a long time. If I may quote another Chinese saying: “混水摸鱼” (when the water is murky, it is easier to fish). In other words, opacity creates opportunities for crooks to make money. Eventually the financial health of the government will be placed at risk. This can only be at the expense of Singaporeans.

I bet the GIC and Temasek Holdings are one of those rare companies which is profitable from year one. If my guess is correct, we can safely assume where the husband-and-wife team places their priority.

The structure is downright unlawful, and that it is a serious breach of fiduciary duties for any PAP member of parliament to have approved such a process. Inflated fees were paid to the GIC and Temasek Holdings, in return for gross incompetence, placing the government’s financial health at risk… In short, the GIC and Temasek Holdings and their board who de facto run the CPF have milked it, and Singaporeans’ money and public funds have in this manner been abused.

The systemic failure at the PAP government resides in the arrangement that they have allowed – the de facto management of the PAP government being also the board of the GIC, resulting in the adverse outcome of over-charging and the obvious ineffectiveness of any oversight by them. The result is the deteriorating financial health of the CPF, with all signs suggesting it is only going to get worse this year and the next.

If a listed company has such an auditor’s report, the Chairman of the company will be duty bound to investigate and to satisfy himself and his shareholders whether fraud or criminal conduct was involved. In this instance, the ball is in the PAP’s court.

Regardless, we must not allow the PAP to profiteer from their incompetence, all the more when it is at the expense of Singaporeans and public monies. Even if it was not illegal, it is morally wrong. The Prime Minister should not condone this. He should hold his government accountable. I expect him to take action against the GIC and Temasek Holdings for their monumental incompetence. That would be the right thing to do.

It cannot be just lip service, a convenient way of sliding past this debacle, to live and fight another day. Demonstrate your sincerity through real actions. There is another Chinese saying for this: “听其言,观其行” (watch his actions, even as you are listening to his words). How to show sincerity?

It is not about PAP versus the opposition. It is about Singaporeans. Let us do our very best to uphold high standards of governance, transparency and accountability so that we can protect their interests. Let us do our best to protect, safeguard all the public monies that have been entrusted to the government.

Mr Khaw said that the Ministry of National Development will censure the AHPETC in the following ways: 

Clearly, this state of affairs is unacceptable. MND will follow up in three ways.

  1. But MND expects them to submit an unqualified set of their FY2013 financial statements to MND by 30 Jun this year, and FY2014 financial reports by 31 Aug this year. These must be tabled to Parliament, just like the financial reports from all the other TCs.
  2. Second, because of these serious problems, MND has withheld this year, FY2014 S&CC grant from the AHPETC. The money has been put aside in a separate deposit account, and will be paid out after the problems are fixed… Anyway, the earlier the AHPETC cleans up the mess, the earlier we could resume payment of the S&CC grants. So the ball is in the TC’s court.
  3. Regardless of which party is running the TC, there is a need to ensure proper systems, accountability and governance, to safeguard residents’ interests… We will strengthen TCs’ corporate governance and financial accountability, to ensure that TCs plan and use their finances in a sustainable way. This will take reference from best practices in companies and other organisations, and include spelling out the duties and responsibilities of the town councillors and elected MPs, and the penalties if they fail to perform those duties.

If so, should Singaporeans also censure the PAP government on the use of our CPF funds in the following ways?

  1. The CPF Board, GIC and Temasek Holdings have to submit their full financial reports.
  2. Singaporeans should withhold their CPF monies from the CPF Board, GIC and Temasek Holdings until after the problems are fixed.
  3. We should ensure proper systems, accountability and government from the CPF Board, GIC and Temasek Holdings, and spell out penalties if they fail to perform their duties.

What the PAP is playing against the WP is severely hypocritical. As Mr Heng had said to the WP, will the PAP then take legal action against the GIC and Temasek Holdings? The PAP would attack the WP for the relatively minor lapses but which the WP has no choice of – if it trusts someone else who might be affiliated to the PAP to do the job for them, this might place them in a worse situation. 

However, the PAP has every opportunity to be transparent and accountable to Singaporeans on our CPF. Yet, the PAP has refused to provide full reports and would drag its feet instead of answer to Singaporeans on how the CPF monies have been used. The PAP would then attack the WP for the very lapses and dishonesty that it has done with our CPF.

If the PAP is to be as brazen as this to accuse the WP of wrongdoings, then isn’t what the PAP has done to our CPF of graver deeds? If so, should Singaporeans not take legal action against the PAP? Should the whole PAP government not be removed? And should the PAP not be charged, sentenced and jailed? 

Singaporeans, you know what to do. This is no joking matter. If the PAP has the awareness to understand what wrongdoing is but has continued to act in dishonest ways, then it is time we eradicate the PAP from government. It’s time to stand up and fight, to safeguard our own future. 

PAP Continues to Use State-Controlled Media to Paint Me Black Again

Hello everyone,

You would have read how I underwent the ordeal yesterday to pay the $29,000 to the Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong’s lawyers yesterday. I have written about it here and here.

Yesterday, I went to the prime minister’s lawyers, Drew and Napier, after I was threatened that if the $29,000 was not paid, they would file an application to court to ask me to pay additional costs.

The $29,000 is what the court has asked me to pay to the lawyers of the prime minister for the summary judgment last year. Please note that this is different from the damages that I would have to pay the prime minister. The hearing for this will be held in June. The prime minister has filed for the defamation suit in the high court, which oversees cases of more than $250,000, which means that this is the least the prime minister wants me to pay him.

Yesterday, I went down to Drew and Napier but their lawyers refused to see me. I had to sit at their reception for 3 hours and their lawyers would rather speak to me through their receptionist. At one point, I even had to write down notes on pieces of paper just to convey the message. Eventually, when I made a call to an Angela Cheng, she put down my call halfway through.

Eventually, I was able to pay the payment at 8pm in the evening, after having to wait 3 hours.

After all that, the PAP continued to use state-controlled media to change the version of the story.

Both Channel NewsAsia and Today reported that I only paid after missing two deadlines. When I received the letter from Drew and Napier to pay on 22 January 2015, I had given the money to my lawyer to make the payment on the same day. Later, I even called Drew and Napier on 3 February to tell them that I could go down to pay them directly. But for 3 days, Drew and Napier never got back to me and later threatened to ask me to pay additional costs.

Blogger Roy Ngerng pays PM Lee S$29,000 in legal costs after missing 2 deadlines

Blogger Roy Ngerng pays S$29,000 in costs to PM Lee after missing 2 deadlines

All this while, I acted quickly to try to hand the money over. However, the state-controlled media contorted the truth and make it look like I intentionally missed the deadlines.

The Straits Times also said that I tried to pin the blame. This is not true.

In my clarifications to the media, I had outlined clearly the steps that I had taken to try to get the money to to be paid to Drew and Napier. However, The Straits Times tried to twist the story.

Blogger pays PM suit costs after stand-off with lawyer

Singaporeans, I hope that you can see for yourself how the PAP is trying to use state-controlled media to twist the story around.

I have always maintained a righteous and upright position. I am disappointed with the PAP’s antics and behaviour. I have been writing about the CPF since 2012. However, after I made several exposes about the CPF (you can read it here, here and here), the PAP decided to come down on me.

My stance has always been clear – a government’s responsibility is to take care of the people and protect the people.

If the PAP does not want to do that, then get out of government. If the PAP cannot stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen.

If the PAP is willing to take care of Singaporeans, would there be so many grouses among Singaporeans today? Yet, the PAP would instead clamp down on what I say so that they can protect their own power and themselves.

I am sorely disappointed. I have always written because I want to see a fair, just and more equal Singapore. But as it is, Singapore’s income inequality and poverty is the worst among the developed countries and every time the PAP increased their own salaries in 1984, 1994, 2000 and 2007, income inequality was also increased.

Look, Singaporeans, at the end of the day, it is up to us to decide what kind of future we want and how we want to protect ourselves.

You and I know that the PAP are just businessmen who have taken over control of government to further their business interests. Of course we can keep pretending that we don’t see this and deny this, but at the end of the day, it is your lives and your children’s lives which will suffer.

So, we either decide to face up to it and fight or we give up on our lives. It’s really up to you now.