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Gems of Parliament
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 14260
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's happened, what to do?

This is about what sum up the proceedings on tackling rising cost of living. Lim Hng Kiang said, "we 'cannot completely insulate ourselves' from the global price hikes." The govt is looking at other measures, no cutting of GST or petrol taxes or that sort of things. Anyway our petrol tax is 'modest,' only 44c a litre.

And the govt's policy is to maintain price stability etc. Have prices been stable? Many have reached a point when every cent counts, when every little increases are no longer affordable. Can understand this or not?

Oh, the high inflation rate will cool off later in the year. It is only temporary. Really, are we expecting the prices to go back to where they were before after the cooling off period? Obviously not and they will stay at current level. So how would temporary once off handouts going to help in the long term?

And workers are not going to expect pay rise or substantial pay rise to offset the high inflation cost. The solution, please tighten your belt.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Subsidies to instal seatbelts

This is a hot issue among the mothers in parliament and they fought with gusto. They wanted to protect the safety of children and wanted seatbelts to be installed immediately. Who pays?

The most sensible MP coming from this discussion is Sin Boon Ann. It is only $25, not a big cost to the govt and subsidy is needed. It is so easy to demand that the bus operators pay for it. Huh, how much are they making to ferry the school children? And this is an essential service, a national service. Why must the govt be so careful over issues of $25 or $30 and then talked about million dollar salary not enough?

No subsidy. It will distort the market. Come on lah. Just because LKY said so and it becomes an edict? Everything must be read in its proper context. Must as well cut off all subsidies to HDB flats and medical bills. These are the greatest subsidies that distort the market price mechanism.

Anyway, what's the big issue?
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More gems coming our way

Parliament sitting today and we can expect more gems to come out from it. And with topics like organ transplant and ERPs to wet the appetite, I think we can expect a glorious time. Let's wait and see if some will argue on high moral grounds and invite their gods or religions to sit on the high pedestals in Parliament. Would not that be a forceful way to get their points across?

With such uppertance, sectoral views can easily be used to influence or be shafted into the throats of people who don't believe in the same virtues, gods, religions or cultural smugness. This is normal in a small society like ours when the gods are already in place and know that they can command order and respect.

Relax and wait for the fun to start. I don't think we will be disappointed.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No gems in Parliament

The brevity in the reports on TV last night did not disclosed any gems worthy of posting here. The closes that one can get is a gleam of a shiny and beautiful head of Siew Kum Hong. I was so distracted by the glare that I totally missed out on what he was saying.

I will now have to refresh myself from the factual reports in TOM.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Signs of decline or complacency?

In one of my earlier posts I did mentioned about the unusually high standards set by the first generation leaders and their intolerance for mistakes. Basically the message coming down from them was that 'Don't fool around and no slipshod work.' No mistake was tolerable. Zero defects was the standard.

What we are hearing from Parliament yesterday would make our first generation leaders cringe or turn in their graves. We are not perfect. So mistakes must happened. Fatigue, too much work, different facts, different circumstances, so mistakes happened. We are only humans!

Yes we are only humans. We all made mistakes every now and then. But to use such arguments as justifications is simply bad. A mistake is a mistake, is a mistake. Period. Deal with it. No amount of excuses is good enough and the more one tries to explain them away, the more ludicrous it will sound. Just simply said, yes, it is a mistake and unacceptable and inexcusable.

How to react to all the finger pointings? Just listen quietly and show some shame and remorse. Nod the head in acknowledgement that the criticisms and unhappiness are justified and deserving. Eat the humble pie.
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Grunt



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 373

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cannot lah !

That would tantamount to admitting fault and with that how to
justify their more than 1st world salaries and the responsibilites it
entails of being our Leaders.

Only the lower rungs can and be held responsible, that is what they
are paid for.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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Location: singapore

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not innocence after acquittal

Our legal system is built on the foundation that a man is innocence until proven guilty. Now we are hearing in Parliament that a person having been acquitted in court can still be presumed to be guilty or not innocence. On this ground, an acquitted person cannot claim compensation from the state. It is too high a burden on the state, but not too high on the acquitted accused.

This issue was raised in Parliament to compensate people who were charged by the govt and acquitted in court. Shanmugam, the Law Minister, dismissed this and was reported over the news that Singaporeans would not agree to it.

I don't know what Singaporean he was referring to? The Singaporeans he spoke to, the 66.6% or the 33.3%? I for sure will agree that acquitted Singaporeans should be compensated. Today, going to court is no masak masak. The charge must be serious enough and the accused must definitely want to fight for his innocence. And how much will it cost to prove his innocence? Many will be backrupted for life. It is thus important that wrongfully charged and acquitted Singaporeans must be compensated. If not, it will be another case of guilty for not being able to afford legal fees to defend.

We all know how expensive fighting a legal battle here. And we have seen how the rich people threatened people in court and the poor buggers, though innocent, ended having to pay to get out of the legal tangle just to save some money. Engaging a legal counsel to fight for the truth would be too costly for many average Singaporeans.

I think our system will be more just if people are not handicapped or disadvantaged by the exorbitant legal fees and ended up being wronged for money not enough. The other alternative is for the govt to provide a defence counsel and the fee be waived on acquittal.

How else can the poor losers find justice when they got no money? After rejecting the provision of compensation, Shanmugam added that 'if one can prove that prosecution was "malicious or vexatious", there are provisions in our laws for compensation.' That will incur more legal fees to prove maliciousness or vexation. Who got that kind of money to pay for legal fees to get himself acquitted and then pay for more legal fees to prove such things to get compensated? If the charge was an honest mistake, just too bad.

Singaporeans will just have to accept this system as it is.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

30%, 40% or 50%?

How much do you want to cover, 30%, 40% or 50%? This was the response from Foo Yee Shoon when Lily Neo when the later asked for more assistance for the poor. This reminds me of the same kind of response in the last Parliament sitting. You want to eat in hawker centre, foodcourt or restaurant. And both reponses came from the MCYS. That must be their style of discussions.

Lily Neo was right to reply that that was not what she was asking. And I think she deserves a more appropriate reply than a challenge to her request for more help for those who need it. What she did not expect was a retort when all she did was to ask for more help.

But some people may disagree with me that the response was a challenge or a retort. Fair enough. It is all a matter of interpretation.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unbecoming to mean test lawyers

A bill was tabled in Parliament to put lawyers to a medical test to determine their mental soundness. This iss necessary as some may be quite advanced in age or may be having psychiatric problems that may render them unfit to handle legal matters anymore.

Ellen Lee spoke against this motion on the ground that it would put undue pressure on these lawyers and also embarrass them. There will also be a stigma against them and very difficult for them to face the world again. I think I can support this as learned lawyers should be treated with due respect and should not be put under the microscope. It is very humiliating.

Mean testing the ordinary people should be ok. They have lesser feelings, lesser pride and will not be embarrassed, and neither will they protest. And definitely no social stigma. And they would not have MPs to speak for them in Parliament.

It is regrettable that the bill was passed and the dignified lawyers will be subject to such humiliating test. Shanmugam argued that the interest of the clients that must be protected from medically or mentally unsound lawyers. I can also agree with this.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Protect lawyers from foreign competition

A bill was passed to allow foreign lawyers to practise in Singapore. This will encourage more competition and raise the standard of local lawyers. But some lawyers and MPs were against this even if foreign lawyers were limited to commercial and international arbitration. Domestic legal matters will still be protected from foreign competitors.

My reaction is that why should our legal profession be protected when other professions are not? Liberalisation and allowing better talented foreigners to practise here will be good for everyone. The standard of legal practice and the legal profession will have everything to gain.

This is a laudable move. The next phase of our liberalisation should be allowing foreigners to stand for election to Parliament. This must be good for the country and people too as better foreign talents would be able to serve the people better. I fully support such liberalisation.

Before we go ahead with all these great liberalisations, I would like to propose selling the whole country to the highest bidder. Then the money be shared equally by all Singapore citizens. Subsequently these ex Singaporeans can choose to stay or leave this island since it is no longer their country.

Yes we are moving into a borderless world and country, nation or citizenship has no meaning and no relevance anymore. There is no need to protect the interest of citizens. This is a boring and tedious thing for any govt to do. By selling this island, everyone will have to take care of himself and be self reliance. It is meritocracy at its best. Survival of the fittest. The weak and poor will no longer be a burden to anyone or the govt. Just give them a fair share of the sale and everyone can do anything they want.

Would that be nice?
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redbean



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why we need GRCs?

Does anyone know why we need GRCs? Just give a guess even if you don't know. Don't be shy.

Ok, you. Yes? GRCs were introduced so that we have several MPs serving the citizens. More MPs serving the citizens means better service.

Good. Next. Mmmm...I think more MPs in one GRC means economy of scale. Resources can be pooled and can do bigger things together, like producing records for the Guinness Book of Records.

Good answer. Yes? GRC means you vote only for the party. No need to worry about the quality of the candidates. The party is the brand that guarantees quality.

Nice answer. Oh yes, you at the back. GRC means if one candidate dies or cannot serve the people, no need to worry. Got many other MPs to help to stand in. Service to the people is guaranteed.

OK, sounds logical. Wait, wait, I think GRC also means no need by election if one MP is not around. Save money and save time. No need to trouble the citizens to go and vote.

What about you? My answer is all the above.

Excellent. I give you a F grade.

It's ok if you people do not know the answer. Most of you probably were not born yet when GRC was introduced. Some of the older ones may have dementia and forgot why too. Never mind, I will conduct a refresher course on the Development of the Singapore Political System and the importance of GRCs. Course fee is $500.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The official definition of what is political

What is political and what is not political were clearly spelt out by Ho Peng Kee in Parliament. He also explained what can cause people to debate with politicians in public events and cause security concerns and what cannot. The definitions were the most explicit that one can get and I don't think any political scientist or lawyer will be able to dispute it.

The gem was not about what he said. I didn't pay any attention to them. What was impressionable was the seriousness in the way Ho Peng Keng explained his position. His face muscles were all taut and tense. And I think Parliament must be very silent with all the Parliamentarians listening intensely to what he had to say. He passed with flying colours for his no nonsense approach to an issue that is becoming a talking point in every gossip corner. It was a very brave delivery.

The best gem was a little clip in the news that I caught a glimpse of. It was on Sylvia Lim listening to Ho Peng Kee's discourse on what is political and what is not. You should see the smile on her face. It was all lighten up. That was the most exquisite smile that I have ever seen. And it told so many things without her saying a single word. It would be good if the full clip can be made available in Youtube. I will call it the smile that says everything.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Need to be more proactive in asking questions

MPs will raise questions in Parliament on the recent financial turmoil. But most of the questions will be on the selling of risky bonds by banks and how these were done and the need for closer supervision. Isn't it a bit too late? Why wait until the coffin is about to be lowered into the grave to ask questions?

I am hoping that some MPs will raise the issues of the stock market and the relevance of its mechanism. The amount of money wiped out from the stock market is much much more than the money lost in the risky bonds. Caveat emptor is no longer acceptable. The stock market must provide a level playing field for all investors and some of the processes that are anti investment or inherently negative to the healthy growth of a stock market must be reviewed and put right. The MPs should also look into the values that have been wiped out, the number of penny stocks in the market which is now a laugh stock, and how companies and investors are going to be affected by falling stock values.

It is better to ask question before people start falling from the flats or jumping onto MRT tracks.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You want to be rich?

You want to have big house, big pay, world class transportation? Sure, who will say no to such offers? Saying yes is a natural response. But be careful, be very careful. Read the fine prints.

This was exactly what happened to the retirees who converted their FDs to minibonds. You want higher interest? How can anyone resist such an offer. But they did not hear the whole story. There is a price for everything. There are consequences.

You want growth, pay your price. More foreign workers to compete for facilities and fresh air. They need all the living space as much as we do. Growth also means higher cost for everything and many more.

Don't just simply accept a statement at face value.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Preventing supernormal profits

Ho Geok Choo wanted to know why the govt did not set up an independent body to regulate electricity tariffs after the 21% hike. Iswaran's reply is that too much regulations mean that there will be regulatory risk. And 'If there's more regulatory risk, you must expect that electricity generating companies here will expect a higher rate of return than what they currently have.' And because we don't have independent regulatory body, 'Singapore Power...does not earned a "supernormal rate of return".'

SP only earned $1 billion in profit last year. With independent regulatory body, they could probably earn $2 billion or more and the tariff hike could be more than 21%.

Whew, Singaporeans are so lucky.
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