THE TEMASEK TIMES

News and views from an unique perspective

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.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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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Australia the country of choice for Singaporeans seeking to emigrate

Posted by temasektimes on October 2, 2018

Australia is the most desired country for migration among young Singaporeans followed by New Zealand, US, UK and Canada.

In a survey conducted by the Institute of Policy studies in 2016, nearly one in five Singaporeans between the ages of 19 and 30 wish to migrate with another one third seriously considering the possibility of doing so in the next five years.

On the whole, the survey findings mirrored that of the IPS’ previous study on emigration attitudes of young Singaporeans conducted in 2010.

In a census conducted by the Australian government Department of Immigration and Citizenship in 2011, there are 48 646 Singapore-born people in Australia, an increase of 21.7 per cent from the 2006 Census. The 2011 distribution by state and territory showed Western Australia had the largest number with 13 973 followed by Victoria (13 697), New South Wales (11 227) and Queensland (5984).

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DPM Teo: WP supports PAP ministers’ salary structure

Posted by temasektimes on October 2, 2018

Faced with a massive public backlash over its ministers’ astronomical salaries, the PAP has enlisted the help of its loyal sidekick, the Workers’ Party to lend to veneer of legitimacy to its so-called transparent “salary structure” in order to soothe the anger of Singaporeans.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean proclaimed that the Workers Party had endorsed the White Paper’s principles of salary determination in 2012.

“The WP and government proposals are “very close” to each other in principle and quantum…Indeed if, if there were a WP government in power today, by their own formula, a WP minister would be paid essentially the same as what a minister today is paid,” he added.

Source: Public Service Division

WP Chief Pritam Singh was quick to lend support to DPM Teo, reaffirming WP’s position beyond any reasonable doubt that “it was the same as in 2012 and agreed that the total amounts as presented in the table were accurate and correct.”

Pritam had earlier attacked WP critics on his Facebook saying that WP will not oppose for the sake of opposition and will support the PAP in the interests of Singaporeans. It is not befuddling how supporting the PAP ministers’ exorbitant salaries is actually in the interest of ordinary Singaporeans whose monthly median pay is a pathetic $4,000.

Though WP has six MPs in Parliament, it hardly offers any real opposition to the ruling PAP and instead supports its policies most of the time thereby giving the PAP the legitimacy it craves to portray Singapore as a “democracy” to the international community.

Former PAP Supreme Leader Lee Kuan Yew once lavished generous praises on former WP Chief Low Thia Kiang as an “agreeable” and “approved” opposition MP and upheld him as a “gold standard” for other opposition leaders to follow.

WP has constantly refused to work with other opposition parties to challenge the PAP. In 2011, WP Chief Pritam Singh let a Freudian slip when he told a shocked audience at a forum that WP will be keen to form a coalition government with the PAP if the latter fails to win a clear cut majority of seats in future General Elections.

With the fake opposition WP being planted in the opposition camp to confuse, weaken and divide the opposition, the PAP is expected to continue its political hegemony for the next 100 years.

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Agents earn 8% commission for referring foreign patients to Singapore’s public hospitals

Posted by temasektimes on October 1, 2018

Agents can earn as much as 8 percent commission for referring foreign patients to Singapore’s already crowded public hospitals!

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.

 

 

According to the same report, the agents earn a lucrative commission as a percentage of the patient’s hospital bills. Their duties include assisting potential patients with information they require before making a suitable recommendation as well as helping them to arrange specialist appointments.

In an interview with the media, Dr Keith Goh, a consultant neurosurgeon in private private said he was surprised when he heard about such practices by public hospitals:

“This practice of giving a ‘referral fee’ to ‘medical agents’ is unethical…..The 8 per cent commission on a hospital bill of $500,000 would be $40,000 which is more than the annual salary of a staff nurse,” he added.

In a post on his Facebook, former PAP MP Inderjit Singh said:

“Medical Tourism should be left to private hospitals only and government hospitals should serve only our resident population.”

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SMU: We are only leasing premise to Repeal 377A event

Posted by temasektimes on October 1, 2018

The Singapore Management University (SMU) has issued a clarification stating that it is not connected to the organizers of the “Ready4Repeal” event on Sunday and is merely leasing out its premises on a commercial basis.

The event which was organized by gay rights activists to repeal Section 377A, a law criminalizing gay sex, was initially hosted at Suntec Singapore Convention center, but the booking was cancelled by Suntec on Wednesday due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

Source: Facebook

Speaking to queries form the state media, a SMU spokesperson said:

“SMU has leased out a convention hall for a private, by-invitation only event organised by Ready4Repeal this Sunday. This is a purely commercial transaction between a leasee (i.e. Ready4Repeal) and a leasor (i.e. SMU). SMU is not connected to the organiser in any way, and does not contribute to the content of their event. As a university, we are neutral on the matter. Any support for the repeal of 377A from members of the SMU community is done in their personal capacity and does not represent the University.”

The movement to repeal Section 377A has polarized Singapore society, with roughly half the number of Singaporeans supporting the repeal and the other half opposing it.

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