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The Role and Responsibility of a Government.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 13465
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Govt ‘has interests of citizens at heart’
‘Purely from the perspective of numbers, it makes sense to take in foreign labour and immigrants. But from an emotional standpoint, it is not easy for people to accept, to agree and support. We have explained the reasons many times. I think people may not necessarily want more explanations.
What I hope people will know, and I mean this from my heart, is that on immigration and population, we have Singaporeans’ interests at heatt.
We have this responsibility; we are the Govt , we need to lead the contry, we need to make the best possible decision for Singaporeans. Even on the most difficult issue, we need to make the best decision and be accountable to the people. There may be different views on how the policy should be, but I hope people understand that the Govt’s intent is good.
We are doing this for Singapore, and for Singaporeans.’ Lee Hsien Loong quoted in ST 22 Jul 15

In the above statement Hsien Loong’s position is that the people may disagree with govt policies and the decisions the govt is making, and that is fair. But he also said that the govt should do what it thinks is right, without quoting the example of the arrogant deaf frog, because it is the govt, and if it says it is for the good of the people it must be good for the people.
These two points deserved some discussions and disagreements. In the first instance, the govt must know that this is a democracy and the govt is elected to be the govt for only a 4 or 5 year term. It is not a life time govt. Any govt should take cognizance of this reality and when it makes decisions that have very long term impact on the people, with possible adverse effects, it must seek the consent of the people. The govt is there to represent the people’s interests and the people’s interests must be determined and decided by the people. A major decision like increasing the population to double its size, to turn the original Singaporeans into a minority cannot be taken lightly and not by a govt that is supposed to be there for a 4/5 term. When the people disagree, a democratically elected govt has no right to go ahead against the wishes of the people.
The second point is about Singaporean interests, for the good of Singaporeans. This is a very subjective statement. What is good for gander is not necessarily good for the geese. The govt may think it is good, the intent of the govt, which may be totally incongruent to what the people want, may be good in the govt’s own interpretation. But does the govt ask the people whether the people agree and think so? Many political decisions are not necessarily a matter of good or bad. The people may have different interests and views on what is good or bad for them. Can a govt of a few men and women, elected to be the govt for a few years, decide the fate of the people unilaterally and go against the wishes of the people just because it claims that it is good for the people, and they are the govt and must decide?
The power of the people vested on an elected govt is temporary and not a blank cheque to do anything the elected govt pleases and thinks it is the right thing to do. There are things and times for an elected govt to come down to the people and ask what the people want eg the people’s money in the CPF or the billions given to foreign students. This is not an autocracy or a totalitarian state, not a dictatorship or a monarchy where the leader holds absolute power, unquestionable power to do as it pleases as if they own this country.
How many of you think or agree that the govt can do anything it likes because it is the govt and because it thinks it is good for the people? Does the political leaders understand what is the meaning of democracy, a republic?
In the same article in the ST, Hsien Loong was also quoted to say this:
‘No matter how the system evolves, we hope that politicians admit that the task is to serve Singaporeans – not a party, or an interest group, but all Singaporeans.’
I am sure every one of you would have a view on this statement.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 13465
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is Singapore at war?
One Douglas Chua wrote to the ST forum on 10 Aug that we need to buy the anti missile iron dome system to protect the island from rocket attacks by terrorists from Batam? What about terrorists finding themselves in strategic locations across the causeway firing rockets at aircraft in and out of Changi or at any part of Singapore? In this kind of ground to air attacks against planes, the dome will be practically useless.
The terrorist warfare is affecting many western countries and our neighbours, like it or not, at war or not, we are at war without our choosing. There is no need to declare that we are at war in this kind of modern warfare that conventional weapons and armies are totally hapless. All the mean machines, the super expensive toys like F35s are only good for show. The tanks, the destroyers, submarines, fighter bombers and what else are but a misconnect, meaningless against a moving and solitary target that does not look like a target. But we must buy more expensive weapons, the more expensive the better, dunno for what, against who, against what kind of enemies when we should be deploying more people and resources in a real war that can hit us any moment.
Of course we are also at another war, a conventional one, In Iraq or Syria, and in Afghanistan and dunno where in the Middle East. We may not be sending our combatants to engage in direct warfare, but in supporting roles to protect our medical teams, and air to air refueling or operating drones for recce missions, the soldiers are in the theatre of war, in a war zone, can be killed. Singapore has been part of the American Coalition of the Willing in the American wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. This is modern day League of Nations invasion of China in the 1890s.
Some bloggers were asking, does the govt need to discuss this and get Parliamentary approval, or even a referendum to go to war. The question of are we at war is a denial of the reality. Can we really say that we are not at war when our soldiers are part of the American Coalition conducting warfare in the Middle East and Afghanistan?
Some may argue that we are not really at war. See, no casualties, and away from direct gunfire, maybe out of reach of enemy fire. And our boys and girls can always come back to have their char kway teow or chicken rice anytime in the comfort of our airconditioned restaurants and live life as normal.
How far do we have to go before announcing to the people that we are at war, engage in a war, and our soldier boys and girls are in the war zones? Up to what extent before there is a need to discuss this in Parliament and to tell the people that we are at war and since when were we at war?
Or would someone want to start another academic exercise to define what is at war and whether we are technically, literally, or legally at war?
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 13465
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Medishield Life and CPF Life, profit making schemes?
I have raised this point many times and if I am not mistaken, no one thinks this is important enough to be raised in Parliament. I have read Leong Sze Hian post in TRE where he quoted the data from the media that since 2002, $90m was paid out under the Eldershield scheme. And his estimate on the premium collected was $3 billion. No need to think too hard to see the billions collected in excess. Where do these billions go to? Why are the billions not returned to the contributors to reduce their premiums?
Now we also have Medishield Life and CPF Life and the sum of premiums collected is mind boggling. And how much is being paid out and how much is the excess, the equivalent of profits being kept by the govt from these schemes? Why is so much money kept as profit, making profit from the people when the two schemes are basically for protection and not meant to be profit making? I am saying, that these are not profit making schemes as the people do not expect the govt to turn these compulsory schemes into profit making schemes. It is morally not right, ethically not right for the govt to implement compulsory insurance schemes with profit making in mind.
Would the govt want to clarify on these schemes, whether they are profit making schemes and if not, explain to the people how the excess billions are being used to benefit the people, to reduce the premiums paid, not to be used for some other things unrelated.
The MPs, forget about the PAP MPs, but the opposition MPs should ask this simple question, are the Medishield Life and CPF Life insurance schemes meant to be profit making and if yes, they must oppose this motive. Asking question and getting an answer is not the end. When the answer tells a bad story, they must demand that the moral of the story be changed to be morally and ethically right, not legally right.
How many of you think there is nothing wrong for the Medishield Life and CPF Life Schemes to be profit making schemes? Is profit making the main objective, and acceptable even if it is incidental? How could the govt make profits from such insurance schemes? I stand corrected if the govt clarifies that these are not profit making schemes and the excess billions collected will be returned to the people to lower the premiums paid like what similar schemes in mature countries are doing.
PS. If these two schemes become profit making schemes, the people's life savings in the CPF will be in jeopardy.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 13465
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Indians have it
India was and is never a great financial centre. When one talks about financial centres, it is often about New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and even Singapore. It is never about Mumbai or some other Indian cities. Singapore is a financial centre in SE Asia and with great ambition to be a world financial centre to overtake Hong Kong or constantly in competition with Hong Kong for the prestigious position. This did not happen yesterday but for several decades even before 1965.
What has happened today is that there is a dearth of Singaporeans in top banking and finance positions. The handful that are still hanging around would soon be passé and with no worthy successors. Very likely some foreigners would replace them in UOB or OCBC. And very likely the foreigners replacing them would be foreign Indian talents.
Never without fail, daily, the media would have the faces of top Indian bankers in the news employed by banks in Singapore, both local and foreign banks. This is solid proof that the Indians are great bankers and prized catch for the banking industry. They must be very good. Long gone were the days when Singaporeans were in top positions in local and foreign banks in Singapore. Somehow, somewhere, sometime, there was an eclipse, and all the Singaporean brains were eclipsed and no longer good enough to be top bankers. At the way things are moving, in another decade at most there would be no Singaporeans helming banks in Singapore, not even local banks. This is if the daft continues with their foolish and blind meritocracy regardless of nationalities. Pure unabridged meritocracy will ruin Singapore in this case. The best from the world would simply be too good for Singaporeans. And the Indian best are already well too good to outshine every Singaporeans not only in banking and finance, but in IT, in law, in medicine and in the academia and many other industries.
During the time of Goh Keng Swee, there was a deliberate and conscious effort to put Singaporeans in top positions in banks operating here. Unless such an affirmative policy is implemented again, Singapore as a top financial centre will be a financial centre without Singaporeans except newly printed Singaporeans.
Would the govt think there is a need to act on this trend? Would the govt think it is a strategic interest to want to have Singaporeans to helm local banks and even foreign banks setting up business here? If this is important, strategic, then the govt must act now and quickly. Oops, I remember someone in govt once said, the process has been set in place and in 50 years time we would have our top bankers, top Singaporean bankers in charge. In 50 years time you know what would happen to the banking and finance industry?
Let’s not con ourselves. If the govt is serious, it must go back to the policies of Goh Keng Swee and do something positive. For a start, Singaporeans must be assigned to be trained under the Indians running the banks in Singapore and with an open and declared official policy to have Singaporeans as top bankers and running banks operating here. If not, more and more top foreign Indian bankers would find themselves taking over the top positions of banks here simply because they are the best banking talents. Daft Singaporeans have no answer to this and Singapore will bankrupt its pool of Singaporean talent in the banking and finance industry just like in the IT industry and soon the academia. Then it will be a case of by default all top banking positions would be filled by foreigners as there are no Singaporeans with the talent and experience to fill them.
Is this a serious problem? It depends on who you are and what you think is important and not important. If the top are only thinking about water taxes and sugar taxes and who is a Malay, you can bet this is not a strategic problem to be worth spending time on.
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