THE TEMASEK TIMES

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Archive for October, 2018

Split within WP? Chen Show Mao a “no show” at WP trio trial

Posted by temasektimes on October 8, 2018

In a sign of a possible internal rift within the Workers’ Party, Aljunied MP Chen Show Mao was conspicuous by his absence at the trial of three WP MPs Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim and Pritam Singh on Friday.

The trio were sued by Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) for mismanaging the Town Council funds. They were accompanied to the Supreme Court by fellow Aljunied MP Muhammad Faisal Manap as well as NCMPs Leon Perera, Daniel Goh and Dennis Tan.

While the other WP MPs and NCMPs have been most vocal in support of their three leaders put on trial, Mr Chen was noticeably silent when being an experienced lawyer, he is the best person to comment on the ongoing case.

His latest Facebook post was on 2 October 2018:

Source: Chen Show Mao’s Facebook

According to reliable sources from WP, Mr Chen does not agree with WP’s strategy of launching a PR offensive to gain public support by insisting that its MPs have done nothing “wrong” in the case and feels they should have remained silent till everything is concluded.

By distancing himself from the trio, Mr Chen appears to be sending a subtle message that he has been kept in the dark on how Aljunied-Hougang Town Council was being run and he was not involved in the fiasco which erupted subsequently.

Mr Chen did not respond to our requests for comment on his Facebook.

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Tan Kin Lian: Bringing in “Tongkat Ali” was a joke which never happened!

Posted by temasektimes on October 8, 2018

Former presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian has clarified on his Facebook page that his earlier post about being “busted” at Changi Airport by a customs officer who wanted to know if he was carrying any Tongkat Ali through Singapore checkpoint never happened.

Tongkat Ali is a famous herbal medicine from Malaysia commonly used as an aphrodisiac. The root is boiled in water, and the water is consumed as a health tonic for post-partum recovery, as an aphrodisiac, as well as the relief of fever, intestinal worms, dysentery, diarrhoea, indigestion, and jaundice.

His post was widely reported by online news sites and Facebook pages run by the PAP such as “Fabrications against the PAP”:

Source: Snapshot of The Independent

The earlier posts appeared to be taken down after Mr Tan issued a simple clarification:

Source: Tan Kin Lian’s Facebook

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Types of Land Ownership in Singapore

Posted by temasektimes on October 7, 2018

Freehold, 999 leasehold or 99 year leasehold? These are the common terms you may have heard of when buying a property in Singapore. So what do they mean exactly and what are the implications for you?

 

A Historical Perspective

Before we delve into the legal intricacies, let’s take a step back into the past and see how land in Singapore was acquired and passed on through the generations.

Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 when he negotiated with the  Sultan of  Johor and the Temenggong (governor) of Singapore to establish a permanent

On 7 June 1823, Raffles arranged for another agreement with the Sultan and Temenggong to buy out their judicial power and rights to the lands except for the areas reserved for the Sultan and Temenggong.  From then on, most of the land in Singapore was acquired by the British and belonged to the British Crown.

In order to raise funds for the fledgling settlement, the British colonial government started to sell the land to private developers and settlers. Some of the prized land in the Central Business District (CBD) today such as the strip along Boat Quay was sold to wealthy Chinese “towkays” on a 999 year lease where they were turned into warehouses and factories.

Other parcels of land further from the CBD were soon sold to settlers from other countries. For example, large tracts of eastern part of Singapore which comprises of the present Siglap and Frankel estate were sold to a Jewish family from Lithuania in the 1900s.

Read rest of article here.

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Two-faced WP making use of opposition to advance its own selfish interests

Posted by temasektimes on October 6, 2018

In July 2018, former PAP MP Dr Tan Cheng Bock met up with leaders from various opposition parties in Singapore to discuss the prospects of forming an united opposition coalition to challenge the PAP in the next General Election.

The Workers Party, with 6 MPs and 3 NCMPs in Parliament, was conspicuous by its absence though an invitation was sent to them.

How can the opposition in Singapore be united without the Workers Party? It can only be possible once the opposition face the brutal hard truth that WP is NOT part of the opposition, but part of the PAP whose sole purpose is to keep and entrench the PAP in power forever.

WP is shamelessly making use of the opposition to further its own selfish interests and political agenda. It refuses to work with other opposition parties and yet it demands other parties keep away from its “stronghold” in the eastern part of Singapore to avoid third party contests in the name of opposition “unity”.

 

Photo: WP Chief Pritam Singh

 

Based on results of previous elections, the eastern constituencies of Singapore generally enjoy higher opposition support compared to the east. Because WP has “booked” all the good winnable seats, the other opposition parties have no choice but to contest in seats which are more difficult to win. This explains why WP appears to garner more votes compared to SDP and other parties.

Why not WP contest in Jurong GRC led by popular DPM Tharman and see how many votes it can win? If SDP fields an “A” team in East Coast GRC, it will stand a much higher chance of winning it compared to Bukit Timah GRC.

By giving way to WP to allow it contest as and where it wanted to while staying out of a united opposition front, the real opposition parties are restricting their own development and indirectly furthering the narrow political interests of WP instead.

Since Low Thia Khiang took over WP in 2001, WP has never expressed any interest to work with other opposition parties. Low himself admitted as much by saying that WP will “forge its own path.” The present WP Chief Pritam Singh has scoffed at the idea of “opposition unity” too. In fact, he appears more interested to work with the PAP.

During a forum held at the Institute of Policy Studies in the aftermath of the 2011 General Election, Pritam Singh shocked the audience by proclaiming that WP will form a coalition government with the PAP if the latter fails to win a majority in future elections.

The opposition should not regard WP as part of the opposition any more and “give face” to it. The real opposition parties led by SDP should considering contesting in ALL the WP seats in the eastern part of Singapore and gives voters more choice.

Do Singaporeans want a weak, feeble and useless opposition which dare not voice their concerns in Parliament or do they want brave, selfless and principled opposition MPs who dare to speak up and hold the PAP to its words and actions?

WP is now the single biggest stumbling block to real political progress and reform in Singapore. Do we want to continue with the status quo with 10, 20 or even 30 useless WP MPs “wayanging” in Parliament or do we want ONE SINGLE real opposition leader like SDP’s Dr Chee Soon Juan to challenge the PAP?

It is time we wipe the slate clean and start afresh in the next General Election. With 12 NCMPs guaranteed to enter Parliament, Singaporeans should not be afraid to vote out the fake opposition WP and replaced them with real opposition leaders in Parliament. Let us give them five years to see how they perform in Parliament and we can decide whether to continue lending support to them in the next General Election.

After witnessing so many cringe-worthy performance by WP MPs who are worse off even than the PAP backbenchers themselves, we can safely conclude that they are largely ineffectual and make no difference at all in Parliament.

Time is running short. A vote for WP is a vote for PAP! As the late opposition scion Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam said at the inauguration of the Reform Party: Singaporeans should vote for WP and Low Thia Khiang if they want to maintain the status quo. The question for you is: Do you still want the status quo for the next decade?

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SGH to foreign patients: Your needs are our TOP priority!

Posted by temasektimes on October 5, 2018

While Singaporeans have to wait for hours and sometimes days at SGH’s Emergency Department for a bed to be admitted, international patients face no such constraints when they seek treatment at SGH provided they pay the right price.

According to the information section for international patients on the SGH website before it was taken down lately, SGH promised international patients that it will provide a “one stop service” totally “committed” to their healthcare needs.

“As your comfort and needs are our top priority, our total healthcare management concept will assure you that your customized healthcare needs are promptly attended to,” it added.

The state media reported recently that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has told public hospitals to terminate all contracts with foreign agents who refer patients from overseas. The hospitals include NUH, CGH and SGH.

With so much money from international patients entering the coffers of Singapore’s public hospitals, it is no surprise that they prioritize the needs of foreigners over Singaporeans.

 

 

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Dr Mahathir: Singapore is more powerful than Malaysia

Posted by temasektimes on October 5, 2018

Speaking at a forum in London, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir said Singapore is more “powerful” than Malaysia though it may be small in size.

 

Dr Mahathir was speaking on dealing with outstanding issues involving Singapore. He added that although negotiations may not be so successful, Malaysia has no intention of going to war with Singapore.

“I don’t see war as a way to settle (issues). We will continue to negotiate although there may be no results,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also suggested that claimants refer cases to the International Court of Justice, commonly referred to as the World Court, but added that both sides must, before that, agree to abide by the decision made by the court.

“Sometimes we gain some, sometimes we lose some,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience, and added that “when you go to the World Court, you will be at the mercy of the judge”.

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Singapore’s PAP has little to fear from Malaysia’s political transition

Posted by temasektimes on October 4, 2018

By: Kai Ostwald and Steven Oliver

Pakatan Harapan’s recent defeat of Malaysia’s long-dominant UMNO-led coalition came as a near universal surprise, not least to the coalitions’ respective leaders Mahathir Mohamad and Najib Razak themselves. While the popularity of UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) had been in a decade-long decline, massive advantages in access to resources and a deeply biased electoral process seemed a sufficient guarantee of continuity.

UMNO’s defeat raises questions about the prospects of a similar transition in neighbouring Singapore, as the two systems bear extensive similarities. In the words of Dan Slater, ‘Malaysia and Singapore have long had authoritarian regimes that looked like no others in the world — except for each other’.

While Singapore’s dominant People’s Action Party (PAP) is free of the major scandals that have plagued UMNO, it has had a series of smaller missteps and is not projecting regime-typical efficiency in its internal leadership transition. UMNO’s unexpected defeat at the hands of an opposition coalition headed by a former UMNO prime minister also appears to have inspired renewed efforts by a number of Singapore’s fragmented and fractious opposition parties to organise a similar coalition.

What does Malaysia’s surprise election mean for Singapore, which must hold an election of its own by early 2021? The answer is relatively little, as despite regime similarities, the PAP relies on substantially different political foundations to build mass support.

The PAP has fostered a political environment in which Singaporean voters focus primarily on valence considerations — in other words, on party trustworthiness, competence and professional qualifications —  rather than on ideology or policy positions. This provides the PAP with several fundamental advantages. Its penetration of Singapore’s high capacity state, for instance, gives it access to a pool of talent for recruitment that is largely unavailable to the opposition. Meanwhile, its position at the helm during Singapore’s half-century of developmental successes allows it to refer to a concrete record that the opposition can counter only with hypotheticals.

Simultaneously, the overwhelming focus on valence politics crowds out discussions of ideological alternatives that are incompatible with the PAP’s platform. The centrality of valence politics, in short, allows the PAP to leverage its comparative advantages over the opposition while limiting its vulnerability to ideational challenges. This presents the opposition with a fundamental dilemma: it is exceedingly difficult to effectively challenge the PAP on valence considerations given the structural advantages held by the dominant party. At the same time, campaigning on ideological or policy-oriented appeals does not resonate with a sufficiently large proportion of the electorate to secure victory at the ballot box.

By contrast, UMNO made ideological and policy issues — primarily in the form of bumiputera (indigenous Malay) privileges — a central part of its platform. This left it vulnerable to parties like the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) and Bersatu, which were able to occupy similar policy spaces and disrupt UMNO’s exclusive linkage to relevant voters. The growing irrelevance of UMNO’s peninsular coalition partners undermined efforts to appeal on other policy positions, allowing the former opposition to capture most of the non-bumiputera vote in West Malaysia.

This does not mean that the emphasis on policy stances was absolute. Valence considerations also came into play. The scandals around Najib Razak clearly hurt UMNO’s credibility and pushed many former Barisan Nasional voters away.

But unlike in Singapore, Malaysia’s former opposition also had sufficient credibility to pull voters towards it on valence considerations. This results in part from their considerable governing experience at the state level, as well as the history of significant opposition presence in parliament. The central position of Bersatu — essentially an UMNO-splinter party — in the Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition also ensured that a post-transition government would be led by a figure that many Malay voters viewed as trustworthy and competent, as well as likely to maintain some degree of policy continuity.

Predicting elections is an inherently risky endeavour, as Trump, Brexit, and now Malaysia so clearly exemplify. But those political contestations involved relatively thin margins. That is not the case in Singapore, where the PAP maintains a substantial buffer that should remain robust for the foreseeable future. The timeframe for a transformation of political culture sufficient to open space for meaningful competition on positional issues is likely well more than the next election or two, as is the timeframe for building a credible opposition on a scale that could unseat the PAP on valence considerations.

The only clear danger to the PAP’s grasp on power is the erosion of its own credibility. With its fate in its own hands and only its own missteps to fear, it is perhaps not surprising that the PAP has been rather reticent in addressing a range of contentious issues from inequality to housing and social change, as well as in passing the baton to its fourth generation of leaders.

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This article was first published on the East Asia Forum.

Kai Ostwald is an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy & Global Affairs and the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is also the director of UBC’s Centre for Southeast Asia Research.

Steven Oliver is an assistant professor of political science at Yale-NUS College in Singapore.

This article was based on the authors’ journal article ‘Explaining Elections in Singapore: Dominant Party Resilience and Valence Politics’ published here.

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2 ST editors “disciplined” for having sex with SPH scholar!

Posted by temasektimes on October 3, 2018

Two senior editors of Singapore’s mainstream English newspaper The Straits Times were “disciplined” for having SEX with a SPH scholar!!!

According to Yahoo Singapore, a female scholar in her 20s who had affairs with the duo over separate periods attempted suicide and was admitted to hospital last week. The intern had purportedly to have attempted suicide after her boyfriend confronted her on the affair.

In a statement on Wednesday (Oct 3), SPH said:

“Our top priority is to ensure she receives all medical attention and assistance she needs as well as to provide help to her family at this difficult time.”

SPH conducted an emergency town hall evening on Wednesday evening following a report by The Online Citizen which named one of the editors as Marc Lim who is married with two kids.

 

A committee of inquiry had been convened and found sufficient grounds to conclude that the two editors had breached the company’s code of conduct.

One editor will be removed from his post, demoted and redeployed; the other will be given a written warning, have his salary docked, and redeployed.

When asked on why the two editors were not sacked, ST Chief Editor Warren Fernandez replied:

“We decided that we wouldn’t do an immediate termination….largely because of the good work they have done.”

The identity of the female scholar remains unknown as of now.

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Kenneth Jeyaretnam attacks WP for disrespecting JBJ

Posted by temasektimes on October 3, 2018

Kenneth Jeyaretnam, Secretary-General of the Reform Party and eldest son of the late opposition scion Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, fondly known as “JBJ” has launched a scathing attack on the Workers Party on the 10th anniversary of his passing.

Source: Kenneth Jeyaretnam’s Facebook page

 

In a post on his Facebook page, Kenneth lamented the fact that the PAP is more strongly entrenched than they were when his father was alive.

“Most Singaporeans have no idea what democracy means and, like the Native Americans who sold New York to the first white settlers for a handful of beads, have eagerly sold their democratic rights for a few hundred dollars credited to their CPF account.”

He also accused the Workers Party of showing disrespect to JBJ:

“The party my father all but founded has also proven itself incapable of standing up for democracy and regularly speaks of JBJ as a disreputable force in the party and that they were better off after he left. It makes me sad that they would never have said this or dared to whitewash him out of his important place in our history when he was alive.”

In 2001, JBJ left the Workers Party after Low Thia Khiang and other CEC members refused to help him pay off his debts arising from a defamatory article written in Tamil in the Hammer (party newsletter of the Workers Party) though he did not write the article at all. In fact, JBJ did not even read Tamil!

For some strange reasons, Low Thia Khiang and the rest of the CEC escaped liability altogether and JBJ was made to bear the burden on his own, leading to his eventual bankruptcy thereby paving the way for Low Thia Kiang to take over WP.

Seven years later, JBJ would form the Reform Party and during its inauguration speech, he said “people who are happy with the status quo to stick with Low Thia Khiang.

JBJ would be dismayed to have learn that the present WP is nothing more than a cheap apologist for the PAP, rising up to defend even the PAP ministers’ astronomical salaries instead of fighting for the rights of ordinary Singaporeans.

 

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KK Women and Children hospital prescribed EXPIRED medicines to one month old baby!!

Posted by temasektimes on October 2, 2018

In a shocking medication error, a one month old baby was prescribed EXPIRED medicines by Singapore’s Kandang Kerbau Women and Children Hospital (KKH)!

The stunning news was posted by Ms Judy Teo on Facebook in which she accused KK Hospital of prescribing an expired medication to her daughter:

“My daughter was prescribed with expired medication. Medication is meant to be dripped into baby’s nostrils. We were wondering why is it so that she did not get better despite using the medication for 1month plus(from date of being issued till date, resting in btw as instructed.) Upon checking, I was horrified to find out that the medication expired on 04/18 even when the medication was prescribed on 25/08/18. She was barely one month when she was prescribed with this expired medication.”

Source: Judy Teo’s Facebook

She also posted a photo of the expired medicine:

This is not the first time such a serious medication error was made by the hospital. In May this year, another child was given the wrong medication by KKH, forcing a rare public apology by KKH Head and Senior Consultant of the department of paediatrics Associate Professor Ng Yong Hong.

In an interview with the state media, she said:

“Investigations are being conducted and internal processes are being reviewed.”

Judging from the latest medication error, it appears that more reviews need to be done about KKH’s “internal processes.”

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