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The real data: 89% of new jobs went to foreigners and PRs, not citizens - ST (1 Aug 2007) - Record 61,900 jobs created in last quarter - Re: Why Singapore's ministers are not worth their million-dollar salaries - Re: Are PMO ministers worth their millions? - Today (16 Apr 2007) - On ministerial salary: Look at what kind of Government S'pore has, says Yaacob

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  • Kaye Poh
    1 Aug 2007 On the surface, the 61,900 new jobs figure makes the government and Manpower Minister Ng look good and competent - WOW, a record 61,900 jobs
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 31, 2007
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      1 Aug 2007
       
      On the surface, the "61,900 new jobs" figure makes the government and Manpower Minister Ng look good and competent - WOW, a record 61,900 jobs created in 2Q07.
       
      But wait a minute - what sort of new jobs were created?
       
      i. 33,600 service jobs: abt 90% are foreigners as bulk are cleaners, waiters, etc;
      ii. 11,400 construction jobs: probably 99% go to foreigners;
      iii. 16,600 manufacturing jobs: >80% go to foreigners/PRs (production operators etc)
       
      So, of the 61,900 new jobs created, some 54,806 jobs (or 89%) actually end up going to foreigners and PRs!
       
      Like I said, MOM's jobs data is meaningless as the real numbers are all camouflaged!
       
      Rgds

      ============================================================
       
      Aug 1, 2007
      Record 61,900 jobs created in last quarter
      Rise in all sectors, with construction leading the pack; unemployment dips to 6-year low
      By Sue-Ann Chia & Aaron Low
      THE booming Singapore economy created a spectacular 61,900 new jobs in the last three months.
      This record job growth between April and June led to the unemployment rate sliding to a six-year low of 2.4 per cent in June. It was 2.9 per cent in March.
      All sectors were sprinting ahead with new jobs, with construction leading the pack.
      It added 11,400 new jobs, reflecting the property market's scorching pace of expansion. The increase is more than double the gains of the previous quarter.
      The all-round rosy picture painted by the Manpower Ministry's latest figures yesterday took the breath of economists like Dr Chua Hak Bin of Citigroup away.
      'The job market is moving at a stunning pace. I was expecting good figures, but this is an incredible pace,' said Dr Chua.
      RELATED LINKS
      Another economist, Assistant Professor Choy Keen Meng from Nanyang Technological University, was also impressed with the second-quarter figures.
      'The economy is in for a period of stronger than projected growth...there should be no slowdown in the job market until late next year,' he said.
      Fuelling the job growth is the buoyant economy, which exceeded all predictions in the last quarter. It raced ahead at 8.2 per cent over the same period last year - the fastest rise in 15 months.
      At such a pace, Dr Chua sees at least 180,000 new jobs this year, beating last year's record of 176,000.
      He notes that the economy is sturdy enough to withstand even the weakening US economy and lower demand for electronics. 'I think the growth for Singapore is quite deep-rooted, helped by income tax cuts, the construction and tourism boom... so I don't see it slowing down,' he added.
      Sharing his optimism is Prof Choy, who foresees the unemployment rate continuing to hover between 2.5 per cent and 3 per cent in the next few quarters.
      He added: 'The services sector is a great absorber of job-seekers, such as those who were retrenched from the manufacturing sector.'
      Among them is Madam Sita Kooplan, 43. She lost her factory operator job two years ago, and after a year of fruitless search, she gave up. 'But I started looking again at the end of last year when I heard the job market was getting better,' she said.
      Two months ago, she landed a job as a retail assistant.
      Still, about 79,600 residents were jobless in June.
      Around 1,600 were laid off between March and June, a slide from the 1,964 reported in the previous quarter. More than two-thirds, or 1,100, of them were from manufacturing, reflecting the on-going restructuring in the electronics industry.
      The rest came from the services sector which, at the same time, continues to be the star performer: It creating the most jobs between April and June - 33,600, just a tad below the 33,700 recorded in the previous quarter.
      Close behind is manufacturing, with 16,600 new jobs, more than the 10,100 of the previous quarter.
      In the fastest-growing construction sector, the new jobs cover the whole spectrum, from engineers to site supervisors to construction workers, said Mr Simon Lee, executive director of Singapore Contractors Association.
      He attributed the big demand to the buildings rising on en-bloc sites as well as the integrated resorts.
      'Also, other developments like the commercial Marina downtown projects are kicking in too,' he said.
       
      ========================================================

      Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
      To: PM Lee Hsien Loong
      cc: MM Lee Kuan Yew
      cc: REACH
      cc: Straits Times/Today/TNP
      cc: International news agencies
      cc: Opposition MPs/NCMP/NMPs/JBJ
      cc: sg_review
       
      17 July 2007
       
      Given the numerous blunders in Singapore in recent months involving loss of precious lives and billions of taxpayers' money, it is timely to recap and ask, "Are our ministers really worth their millions in salaries?"
       
      1. Environment Minister Yaacob Ibrahim: The return of dengue - more loss of lives and productivity (lessons of 2005 dengue outbreak not learnt);
      2. Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan: Death of pregnant woman while giving birth due to blood shortage; overcrowding at public hospitals; long waiting time; rising health cost, etc
      3. MTI Lim Hng Kiang: UNSW debacle wasting taxpayers' millions by EDB;
      4. Finance Minister Lee Hsien Loong: EDB not audited for >40 years (how are the billions of taxpayers' money spent?)!; rising cost of living due to GST hikes, etc...; reports of Singapore being money laundering hub (via its Wealth Managment Hub) are not rebutted; billions of taxpayers' money lost from Shin Corp debacle & other Temasek loss-making invesments like Optus, Chartered Semicon, Global Crossing, Micropolis, etc...; inadequate citizens' CPF money for retirement due to miserable returns and over-investment in property; wasting taxpayers' billions (or failure to control such expenses as the country's CFO) in "extravagant" public buildings: Tan Soo Khoon's so-called "7 Wonders of Singapore" ;
      5. Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean: Deaths of servicemen in Taiwan (fighter jet crashing) and Singapore (commando dunking case, Navy ship collision, etc..); inadequate compensation (only $3000?) for permanently disabled servicemen while undergoing training; 2Lt Li Hongyi's whistle-blowing of poor quality control of OCS churning out SAF officers of poor quality;
      6. MCYS Minister Vivian Balakrishnan: Death of national triathlete due to absence of defilbrator; the poor receiving only $30 increase in monthly allowance to $290 per month (deemed adequate when ministers' million-dollar salaries are deemed inadequate);
      7. Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen: Hundreds of thousands of citizens (especially those above 40 years old and the lowly educated) remain unemployed despite figures showing job growth as these jobs went to foreigners and PRs (as job data classify "Jobs for Singaporeans" include both PRs and citizens with probably more than 80% of new jobs created yearly going to PRs and foreigners instead of citizens), accelerated immigration policy to reach 6.5m population target results in citizens losing jobs to foreigners/PRs, social problems (prostitution, crimes, etc..) from huge influx of foreigners, etc;
      8. National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan: Runaway private property price hikes benefiting the rich & elites, foreigners, PRs while citizens' (making the majority heartlanders) HDB flats have hardly increased (perhaps marginally) in value, and coupled with stagnation of salaries for these heartlanders - hence their inability to "upgrade" to private property which is slowly becoming out of reach to this majority group of citizens;
      9. Transport Minister Raymond Lim: Perpetual jams at major expressways (eg CTE) despite probihitive vehicle taxes like COE, ERP, ARF etc...; taxi problems, inefficient public transport system involving buses, MRT, etc..
      10. Law Minister Jayakumar: Case of extra caning error (lesson of 1988 error not learnt); reports (by ex-Solicitor-General Francis Seow in his latest book) of judiciary being partial to PAP ministers in civil cases not refuted;
      11. Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng: Extra caning error, inefficient police force (eg failure to respond in timely manner during Geylang gang attack on doctor), recent deaths of Coast Guards while pursuing illegal immigrants, ICA officers letting fugitive Richard Yong slip through Causeway, etc..
      12. Foreign Minister George Yeo: Defence Cooperation Agreement problems with Indonesia, sand ban by Indonesia leading to cost escalation, protracted extradiction treaty with Indonesia, etc..
      13. Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong/Ministers without portfolio Lim Boon Heng & Lim Swee Say: Value-add unknown despite millions in salary - this is a very expensive cost centre;
      14. MM Lee Kuan Yew: Failure to provide guidance and mentorship to ministers, resulting in their shortcomings; "Advisor" roles in US banks (is the country compensated for his time spent with these banks?) at the expense of time spent mentoring ministers?
      15. PM Lee Hsien Loong: Failure to provide leadership to the ministers, being ultimately responsible for these ministers' shortcomings; widening rich-poor divide where the rich (and the elites) are getting richer and the poor (with stagnating salaries, or worst no income) poorer.
      16. President Nathan: Failure to verify and confirm the true reserve holdings of the country in accordance with the widely reported value of > US$100 billion (does Singapore really have this amount in its reserve or is actual realisable value much much less than reported due to losses in investments like Shin Corp, etc...?); and as President (to whom the judiciary is accountable): the recent extra caning case, and accusations (by ex-Solicitor-General Francis Seow in his latest book) of judiciary being partial to PAP ministers in civil cases are not refuted.
       
      The list above is by no means exhaustive but it gives a good idea of how far short the ministers are, hence are they really worth their millions?
       
      From the above, while the majority of the citizens are bearing the brunt of the hardships, the rich, elites, foreigners and PRs are having the cakes and eating them too!
       
      So, is Singapore for "Singaporeans" (here, I mean citizens only unlike the government's definition of citizens and PRs) or is it just for foreigners, PRs, the rich and elites?
       
      Why then do male citizens waste 2 years of precious time to ensure the security of the country which ends up benefiting foreigners and PRs and not fellow citizens?
       
      Do you and your fellow ministers have the conscience to sleep peacefully every night with your million-dollar salaries while the majority of Singaporeans struggle to make ends meet?
       
      Rgds
       
      =========================================================

      Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
      To: PM Lee Hsien Loong
      cc: MM Lee Kuan Yew
      cc: REACH
      cc: Straits Times/Today/TNP
      cc: International news agencies
      cc: Opposition MPs/NCMP/NMPs/JBJ
      cc: sg_review
       
      22 May 2007
       
      Further to my April 24th email attached, I would next like to touch on the ministers in the Prime Ministers' Office (PMO).
       
      Currently, there are 5 ministers in the PMO (including youself). The other 4 ministers without any portfolio are:
       
      1. MM Lee Kuan Yew
      2. SM Goh Chok Tong
      3. Lim Boon Heng
      4. Lim Swee Say
       
      With your multi-million dollar salaries, don't you think the PMO is too top-heavy with so many ministers without any portfolio to manage?
       
      (I note both MM and SM have been travelling a lot lately, so I presume that must make up a big chunk of their "deliverables" or KPIs - as "Travelling Ministers Without Portfolio").
       
      The question is: Why is taxpayers' money paying for these ministers without any portfolio?
       
      It is one thing to justify paying ministers millions to handle a ministry, but quite another to pay them millions "not to manage" any portfolio, but only given tasks on ad-hoc "special projects" like the "Aging" issue for Lim Boon Heng?
       
      Justifiably so, the citizens have a right to know what these PMO ministers' deliverables (KPIs) are. Travelling? Sure, I can do it. Or for that matter, any Tom, Dick or Harry (pun intended).

      Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
      To: Original addressees
       
      24 April 2007
       
      Further to my 19 April 2007 email below, I would like to follow up on another minister, DPM and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng - is he worth his millions in yearly salary?
       
      1. For a start, why did his police take more than 17 months to investigate and charge an errant motorist for a straight forward case? (see today's Straits Times, 24 Arpil 2007, "Driver charged with causing death of car saleswoman").
       
      2. Unnecessary loss of 2 precious lives of our elite coast guard officers (CNA, 15 April 2007, "2 Police Coast Guard officers killed in sea collision"). These are our so-called commandos of the sea, and yet, precious lives were lost when dealing with unarmed intruders, not armed enemies. Why? Should more be spent on hardware (better crafts?) than software (million-dollar salaries for ministers and Permanent Secretaries, senior civil servants, judges, etc.)
       
      3. Why did the police not take action (after it took a very long time to reach crime scene) in assault case, resulting in a doctor needing hospitalisation (Straits Times, 8 August 2006, "Assault 'a civil case', so no police action").
       
      Could it be because of "wrong priorities" on cases with political links, like:
       
      1. Deploying police to the infamous "White Elephant" case involving Buangkok MRT station?
      (Straits Times, 6 Sept 2005, "No need for police to act in Buangkok's white elephants").
       
      2. The police deployed more than 16 officers to "surround" (both inner circle and outer circle)
      just one Opposition member, Miss Chee Siok Chin during last September's IMF meet here in Singapore - see attached file or photos below or link, http://forums.delphiforums.com/sammyboymod/messages?msg=136080.3 .
       
       
       


      Edited 28/03/2007 11:35 ET by MCMLXXXIV
        Options Reply 
        


      Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
      To: PM Lee Hsien Loong
      cc: MM Lee Kuan Yew
      cc: Dr Yaacob Ibrahim - MEWR Minister
      cc: REACH
      cc: Straits Times/Today/TNP
      cc: International news agencies
      cc: Opposition MPs/NCMP/NMPs
      cc: sg_review
       
      18 April 2007
       
      Well, now that the Singapore ministerial salary increase is a done deal (although most citizens are still against it), we shall try not to look back but instead look forward as to how your justification for the salary hike can turn into deliverables for your respective ministers and yourself.
       
      I should expect you to set out in no uncertain terms what each of your ministers (including yourself and Minister Mentor) is expected to deliver within the next 4 years or so, before the next General Election. These deliverables should result in improvements in the lives of all Singapore citizens (not just the rich, elites, foreigners, businessmen, PRs, etc...).
       
      I hope the opposition MPs will vigilantly follow up with the government for such a list of deliverables for all citizens to keep track of.
       
      For a start, let's start with Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, the ex-academic whose potential to draw such multi-million dollar salary (as the MEWR minister now) would have been doubtful had he remained in academia.
       
      What are his deliverables? These deliverables must result in outcomes that can be easily quantifiable (eg develop Singapore's alternative clean energy source that reduces households' energy/utility bills by __%).
       
      If you look at his past track record, it is less than flattering - remember the 2005 dengue outbreak where he ran out of ideas on how to address it? By the time he took real action, it was too little too late, resulting in loss of lives and productivity.  What eventually happened was that thanks to largely civic-minded grounds-up initiatives by the citizenry (way before he stepped in), the outbreak was eventually contained - not by him or his NEA staff alone but the citizens at large.
       
      Is he really the best you can find? I doubt so. He may be good at teaching but is he good at problem solving? We shall see how he measures up, provided you list down all his deliverables for the next 4 years for all to see and judge.
       
      Now that you and your ministers have your salary raised (I must emphasize again - against the citizens' wishes), it is time to deliver. Show us what your team is capable of - not the standard "GDP growing 5% for next 5 years" blah blah blah. Show us you are man enough to tell us what each of your minister's deliverables are. 
       
      ==================================================================
      Look at what kind of Government S'pore has, says Yaacob
       
      Tan Hui Leng
      huileng@...
       
      THINK not of the ministerial pay hike in terms of dollars and cents, but about the kind of Singapore that you want, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim yesterday.
      .
      Echoing the sentiments of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Yaacob said that the unique case scenario that is Singapore does not allow for a wide margin of error.
      .
      "Really it's not about me, it's not about the Cabinet, but I think the best question for you to ask is the first question asked in Parliament: What kind of a country are we? What is Singapore?" he said.
      .
      Dr Yaacob was responding to a resident's question on the link between the Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike and the ministerial pay increment at a dialogue session with residents during his ministerial visit to Tampines Central.
      .
      "I always explain this to visitors. I say you go to the US, if you have a riot in New York, you can go and stay in Los Angeles. In Singapore if you get a riot in Bedok, you cannot stay in Jurong," he said.
      .
      "The smallness of Singapore gives us a certain flexibility but ... our room for making mistakes is very, very narrow and ... if we get our policy wrong, I think that will be disastrous."
      .
      Because of that, he said, continuity in leadership is required in governing the country. He cited the Government's ability to overcome Singapore's water issues as an example.
      .
      "Supposing the Government changes every five years, different policy, I don't think we could have a sustainable water supply for Singaporeans," he said. "Only because the Government has been on it for the last 40 years, the same Government, committed to the same outcome, we have been able to achieve resilience in our water supply."
      .
      Explaining the GST increase, Dr Yaacob said it is needed "primarily because we have some long-term problems emerging".
      .
      "In order to fund projects for low-income families, we need to be able to raise some revenue," he said
      .
      Dr Yaacob also defended the civil service, saying the good performers deserve the pay.
      .
      "Frankly speaking, you cannot find another civil service quite like it. It's an ecosystem. ... Look at other countries — how the civil service is corrupt, inept, inefficient. Ours is on the ball. They get the job done." 



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    • Kaye Poh
      16 May 2008 While the internet has been abuzz with LKY s wife being in ICU (14 May 2008 - attached)), it took a whole 2 days before the mainstream media (MSM)
      Message 2 of 10 , May 15, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        16 May 2008

        While the internet has been abuzz with LKY's wife being in ICU (14 May 2008 - attached)), it took a whole 2 days before the mainstream media (MSM) to finally come out with the report on 16 May 2008 (refer Straits Times report below), some 2 days later.

        In internet age, that's almost like eternity.

        If one day old is stale news, then it will definitely be rotten in 2 days.

        Now you iknow why the MSM has less relevance in Singapore today, compared to the internet forums, blogs, etc?
        Rgds
        ==================================================
        http://forums.delphiforums.com/sammyboymod/messages?msg=177157.1
        Coffee Shop Talk
         -  LKY's Wife in ICU
         
        From: DamnBore  14-May 11:01 
        To: ALL 1 of 220 
         177157.1 

         

        ========================================================

        http://www.straitstimes.com/Free/Story/STIStory_237824.html
        May 16, 2008
        MM's wife in serious condition after stroke
        She can speak and recognise family members but remains in hospital after Monday's stroke
        By Li Xueying & Kor Kian Beng
        MORE ALERT NOW: Mrs Lee's daughter said her intelligence is not affected but physical movements may be frustrating. -- ST FILE PHOTO
        MRS Lee Kuan Yew, wife of the Minister Mentor, is in hospital after suffering a stroke on Monday.
        However, her haemorrhage has since stabilised and, while she remains in 'a serious condition', she is able to recognise immediate family members, said a statement from the Minister Mentor's office yesterday.
        Mrs Lee, 87, experienced sudden weakness in the left side of her body and slurring of speech at 12.20pm on Monday.
        She was taken to the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) for an urgent brain scan, which revealed bleeding in the right side of the brain, and was subsequently admitted to the Neurointensive Care Unit in Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
        'The haemorrhage stabilised after two days of close monitoring and treatment, before she was transferred to the general ward on Wednesday,' said the statement.
        'Currently, she remains in a serious condition although she is able to recognise immediate family members.'
        What is a stroke?
        ACCORDING to Dr Alvin Hong, consultant neurosurgeon at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre and Gleneagles Medical Centre, there are two types of stroke.

        'One is caused by blockage in a blood vessel, so that blood cannot flow to the part of the brain that the vessel supplies.
        The Lees' daughter, Associate Professor Lee Wei Ling, who is director of the NNI, told The Straits Times that Mrs Lee was 'more alert' yesterday compared to earlier in the week.
        'Her intelligence is not affected, but physical movements may be frustrating,' she said, adding that Mrs Lee's left arm is not moving well.
        'But what we said, she understood. She can also speak. She is in good spirits given the circumstances.'
        Mrs Lee suffered a stroke in 2003 when she and Mr Lee were in London on a European tour. The bleeding was also in the right side of the brain then.
        She recovered soon after and was well enough to continue accompanying Mr Lee on official trips.
        Their last official trip was in March when they visited Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Bahrain in the Middle East.


        Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
        TRANSCRIPT OF PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG’S NATIONAL DAY RALLY ENGLISH SPEECH ON SUNDAY, 20 AUGUST 2006 AT UNIVERSITY CULTURAL CENTRE
         
        "....So they have to adapt but they have to remain objective, maintain a high quality newspaper and if you read something in the Straits Times or on CNA, you must know that it’s real, it’s quite different from reading this say on Talkingcock.com.  You know which is the serious place and which one is for fun.  Inform, educate, entertain, but play a constructive role in a new way in Singapore."
         
        23 July 2007
         
        Loong,
         
        I extract a portion of your speech (above) at last year's National Day Rally that relates to your praise for The Straits Times about it being "serious", "real" (meaning reliable and credible), as against blogs and "less serious" sites like Talkingcock.com etc.. (meaning less reliable and less credible).
         
        However, a prominent local blogger (Yawning Bread) recently pointed out a possible jarring error in The Straits Times of 21 July 2007, "HDB rents at 10-year high" (he apparently visited the flat concerned - Blk 253, Jurong East St 24 - to verify for himself (as a "credible" journalist would) if such "irrational" facts and figures were in fact true. (You can read his blog and view his photos taken at this Block 253 (apparently showing vacant flats in this block, so how did one of these flats justify the record-breaking rent of $2,500 per month in this "ulu" (far-flung) part of Singapore?) via his "$2,500 to rent a 3-room flat?", link http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2007/yax-762.htm ).
         
        Therefore, I can only conclude 2 possibilities if the blogger has his facts correct while our first-class Straits Times got it all wrong:
         
        1. The journalist & Editor failed to verify the facts and figures (as a credible journalist/editor would and should); or
         
        2. The Straits Times knew of the "error" but published it anyway - for reasons best known to itself and/or the Editor.
         
        So, if it is point 2 above, why did The Straits Times do it?
         
        Rgds
         
        ===========================================================
        http://www.straitstimes.com/Free/Story/STIStory_141099.html?vgnmr=1  

        July 21, 2007
        HDB rents at 10-year high
        Some flats are fetching monthly rates of above $2,000 Growing demand a spillover from private rental market
        By Jessica Cheam
        ST PHOTO: TERENCE TAN
        PUBLIC housing rents have hit a 10-year high as sizzling demand for private property rentals spills over to Housing Board flats.
        For the first time in recent memory, monthly rents for some HDB flats have pushed northwards of $2,000 in leases signed in the last couple of months.
        These flats are located near the city or MRT stations, but rents for flats in less sought-after areas are rising too, say property consultants.
        This growing demand to rent HDB flats is a spillover from the red-hot private rental market, where supply is declining and rents have been escalating, say property experts.
        This is partly because of an influx of foreigners on the back of Singapore's booming economy, they say. Also, there is a squeeze on rental units, given the number of private properties that have been sold in en bloc sales.
        Recent transactions released to The Straits Times by several property agencies included one four-room HDB flat at Crawford Lane, not far from Lavender MRT station, renting at an eye-popping $2,800 a month.
        Rentals above $2,000
        RECENT transactions released to The Straits Times by property agencies ERA Singapore, PropNex and C&H Realty show some flats fetching monthly rentals of above $2,000. Some of them are:

        5-room HDB flat at Blk 83, Redhill Lane: $2,400
        Even on Singapore's outskirts, leases were signed for $2,400 a month for a Bedok North four-room flat and $2,500 for a three-room flat in Jurong East.
        Rentals like these have been unheard of since the last property peak in 1996, said Mr Andy Low, marketing director of property agency EM Services, an HDB subsidiary. Rents slid as the Asian financial crisis took hold in 1997.
        But flats fetching these high rents are still in the minority. 'The whole HDB market has not reached that level yet,' said Mr Low.
        Flats in good locations, with good views, or those which have been recently refurbished, will command higher prices, he added.
        Average rents islandwide are still below $2,000, but they are climbing steadily, said Mr Eric Cheng, senior division director of PropNex.
        If private sector rents keep soaring, more tenants will turn to HDB flats - and this will cause a further supply crunch and lead to higher rents.
        Mr Cheng said current HDB rents still have a buffer of 10 per cent to 15 per cent before hitting 1996 peak prices. Back then, a five-room flat averaged $2,200. The present average is about $2,000, he said.
        The figure cited by Mr Cheng is above HDB's average rental rates for each estate published quarterly on its website. For the second quarter, the average monthly rent for five-room flats ranged from $1,100 to $1,700.
        Managing director of C&H Realty, Mr Albert Lu, said the rise in rents, coupled with the HDB's recent relaxation of sub-letting rules, has pushed up rental yields - the annual rent expressed as a percentage of the flat's value.
        Yields for many HDB flats are now 5 per cent to 8 per cent - a return considered by property experts to be strong.
        In March, HDB announced that flat owners may rent out their entire unit after living in them for just three or five years, depending on how they bought the unit. This means over two-thirds of all flats may be sub-let.
        Rental yields for HDB flats have typically been lower than those of private properties - usually 4.5 per cent to 5 per cent.
        For example, an executive flat in Woodlands which cost $330,000 can now fetch a monthly rent of $2,200. This gives it a rental yield of 8 per cent, said Mr Lu.
        But buying up large numbers of HDB flats to make a fast buck is not an option, said ERA Singapore's assistant vice-president Eugene Lim.
        Nobody can own more than one flat, and owners are still required to stay for a minimum period of time.
        Mr Lim said public housing is still an attractive alternative for tenants to the rising rents in the private sector.
        'In the long run, prices will start to come down when more units come online.'
        Rentals above $2,000
        RECENT transactions released to The Straits Times by property agencies ERA Singapore, PropNex and C&H Realty show some flats fetching monthly rentals of above $2,000. Some of them are:
        5-room HDB flat at Blk 83, Redhill Lane: $2,400 4-room HDB flat at Blk 422, Bedok North Road: $2,400 3-room flat at Blk 253, Jurong East St 24: $2,500 4-room flat at Blk 114, Bukit Merah View: $2,200 4-room flat at Blk 462 Crawford Lane: $2,800 5-room flat at Blk 210 Pasir Ris St 21: $2,000 Executive flat at Blk 510 Woodlands Drive: $2,200 5-room flat at Blk 700A, Ang Mo Kio Ave 6: $2,200

        ==========================================================
        Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
        To: PM Lee Hsien Loong
        cc: MM Lee Kuan Yew
        cc: REACH
        cc: Straits Times/Today/TNP
        cc: International news agencies
        cc: Opposition MPs/NCMP/NMPs/JBJ
        cc: sg_review
         
        17 July 2007
         
        Given the numerous blunders in Singapore in recent months involving loss of precious lives and billions of taxpayers' money, it is timely to recap and ask, "Are our ministers really worth their millions in salaries?"
         
        1. Environment Minister Yaacob Ibrahim: The return of dengue - more loss of lives and productivity (lessons of 2005 dengue outbreak not learnt);
        2. Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan: Death of pregnant woman while giving birth due to blood shortage; overcrowding at public hospitals; long waiting time; rising health cost, etc
        3. MTI Lim Hng Kiang: UNSW debacle wasting taxpayers' millions by EDB;
        4. Finance Minister Lee Hsien Loong: EDB not audited for >40 years (how are the billions of taxpayers' money spent?)!; rising cost of living due to GST hikes, etc...; reports of Singapore being money laundering hub (via its Wealth Managment Hub) are not rebutted; billions of taxpayers' money lost from Shin Corp debacle & other Temasek loss-making invesments like Optus, Chartered Semicon, Global Crossing, Micropolis, etc...; inadequate citizens' CPF money for retirement due to miserable returns and over-investment in property; wasting taxpayers' billions (or failure to control such expenses as the country's CFO) in "extravagant" public buildings: Tan Soo Khoon's so-called "7 Wonders of Singapore" ;
        5. Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean: Deaths of servicemen in Taiwan (fighter jet crashing) and Singapore (commando dunking case, Navy ship collision, etc..); inadequate compensation (only $3000?) for permanently disabled servicemen while undergoing training; 2Lt Li Hongyi's whistle-blowing of poor quality control of OCS churning out SAF officers of poor quality;
        6. MCYS Minister Vivian Balakrishnan: Death of national triathlete due to absence of defilbrator; the poor receiving only $30 increase in monthly allowance to $290 per month (deemed adequate when ministers' million-dollar salaries are deemed inadequate);
        7. Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen: Hundreds of thousands of citizens (especially those above 40 years old and the lowly educated) remain unemployed despite figures showing job growth as these jobs went to foreigners and PRs (as job data classify "Jobs for Singaporeans" include both PRs and citizens with probably more than 80% of new jobs created yearly going to PRs and foreigners instead of citizens), accelerated immigration policy to reach 6.5m population target results in citizens losing jobs to foreigners/PRs, social problems (prostitution, crimes, etc..) from huge influx of foreigners, etc;
        8. National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan: Runaway private property price hikes benefiting the rich & elites, foreigners, PRs while citizens' (making the majority heartlanders) HDB flats have hardly increased (perhaps marginally) in value, and coupled with stagnation of salaries for these heartlanders - hence their inability to "upgrade" to private property which is slowly becoming out of reach to this majority group of citizens;
        9. Transport Minister Raymond Lim: Perpetual jams at major expressways (eg CTE) despite probihitive vehicle taxes like COE, ERP, ARF etc...; taxi problems, inefficient public transport system involving buses, MRT, etc..
        10. Law Minister Jayakumar: Case of extra caning error (lesson of 1988 error not learnt); reports (by ex-Solicitor-General Francis Seow in his latest book) of judiciary being partial to PAP ministers in civil cases not refuted;
        11. Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng: Extra caning error, inefficient police force (eg failure to respond in timely manner during Geylang gang attack on doctor), recent deaths of Coast Guards while pursuing illegal immigrants, ICA officers letting fugitive Richard Yong slip through Causeway, etc..
        12. Foreign Minister George Yeo: Defence Cooperation Agreement problems with Indonesia, sand ban by Indonesia leading to cost escalation, protracted extradiction treaty with Indonesia, etc..
        13. Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong/Ministers without portfolio Lim Boon Heng & Lim Swee Say: Value-add unknown despite millions in salary - this is a very expensive cost centre;
        14. MM Lee Kuan Yew: Failure to provide guidance and mentorship to ministers, resulting in their shortcomings; "Advisor" roles in US banks (is the country compensated for his time spent with these banks?) at the expense of time spent mentoring ministers?
        15. PM Lee Hsien Loong: Failure to provide leadership to the ministers, being ultimately responsible for these ministers' shortcomings; widening rich-poor divide where the rich (and the elites) are getting richer and the poor (with stagnating salaries, or worst no income) poorer.
        16. President Nathan: Failure to verify and confirm the true reserve holdings of the country in accordance with the widely reported value of > US$100 billion (does Singapore really have this amount in its reserve or is actual realisable value much much less than reported due to losses in investments like Shin Corp, etc...?); and as President (to whom the judiciary is accountable): the recent extra caning case, and accusations (by ex-Solicitor-General Francis Seow in his latest book) of judiciary being partial to PAP ministers in civil cases are not refuted.
         
        The list above is by no means exhaustive but it gives a good idea of how far short the ministers are, hence are they really worth their millions?
         
        From the above, while the majority of the citizens are bearing the brunt of the hardships, the rich, elites, foreigners and PRs are having the cakes and eating them too!
         
        So, is Singapore for "Singaporeans" (here, I mean citizens only unlike the government's definition of citizens and PRs) or is it just for foreigners, PRs, the rich and elites?
         
        Why then do male citizens waste 2 years of precious time to ensure the security of the country which ends up benefiting foreigners and PRs and not fellow citizens?
         
        Do you and your fellow ministers have the conscience to sleep peacefully every night with your million-dollar salaries while the majority of Singaporeans struggle to make ends meet?
         
        Rgds
         
        =========================================================

        Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
        To: PM Lee Hsien Loong
        cc: MM Lee Kuan Yew
        cc: REACH
        cc: Straits Times/Today/TNP
        cc: International news agencies
        cc: Opposition MPs/NCMP/NMPs/JBJ
        cc: sg_review
         
        22 May 2007
         
        Further to my April 24th email attached, I would next like to touch on the ministers in the Prime Ministers' Office (PMO).
         
        Currently, there are 5 ministers in the PMO (including youself). The other 4 ministers without any portfolio are:
         
        1. MM Lee Kuan Yew
        2. SM Goh Chok Tong
        3. Lim Boon Heng
        4. Lim Swee Say
         
        With your multi-million dollar salaries, don't you think the PMO is too top-heavy with so many ministers without any portfolio to manage?
         
        (I note both MM and SM have been travelling a lot lately, so I presume that must make up a big chunk of their "deliverables" or KPIs - as "Travelling Ministers Without Portfolio").
         
        The question is: Why is taxpayers' money paying for these ministers without any portfolio?
         
        It is one thing to justify paying ministers millions to handle a ministry, but quite another to pay them millions "not to manage" any portfolio, but only given tasks on ad-hoc "special projects" like the "Aging" issue for Lim Boon Heng?
         
        Justifiably so, the citizens have a right to know what these PMO ministers' deliverables (KPIs) are. Travelling? Sure, I can do it. Or for that matter, any Tom, Dick or Harry (pun intended).

        Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
        To: Original addressees
         
        24 April 2007
         
        Further to my 19 April 2007 email below, I would like to follow up on another minister, DPM and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng - is he worth his millions in yearly salary?
         
        1. For a start, why did his police take more than 17 months to investigate and charge an errant motorist for a straight forward case? (see today's Straits Times, 24 Arpil 2007, "Driver charged with causing death of car saleswoman").
         
        2. Unnecessary loss of 2 precious lives of our elite coast guard officers (CNA, 15 April 2007, "2 Police Coast Guard officers killed in sea collision"). These are our so-called commandos of the sea, and yet, precious lives were lost when dealing with unarmed intruders, not armed enemies. Why? Should more be spent on hardware (better crafts?) than software (million-dollar salaries for ministers and Permanent Secretaries, senior civil servants, judges, etc.)
         
        3. Why did the police not take action (after it took a very long time to reach crime scene) in assault case, resulting in a doctor needing hospitalisation (Straits Times, 8 August 2006, "Assault 'a civil case', so no police action").
         
        Could it be because of "wrong priorities" on cases with political links, like:
         
        1. Deploying police to the infamous "White Elephant" case involving Buangkok MRT station?
        (Straits Times, 6 Sept 2005, "No need for police to act in Buangkok's white elephants").
         
        2. The police deployed more than 16 officers to "surround" (both inner circle and outer circle)
        just one Opposition member, Miss Chee Siok Chin during last September's IMF meet here in Singapore - see attached file or photos below or link, http://forums.delphiforums.com/sammyboymod/messages?msg=136080.3 .
         
         


        Edited 28/03/2007 11:35 ET by MCMLXXXIV
         
          Options Reply 
          


        Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
        To: PM Lee Hsien Loong
        cc: MM Lee Kuan Yew
        cc: Dr Yaacob Ibrahim - MEWR Minister
        cc: REACH
        cc: Straits Times/Today/TNP
        cc: International news agencies
        cc: Opposition MPs/NCMP/NMPs
        cc: sg_review
         
        18 April 2007
         
        Well, now that the Singapore ministerial salary increase is a done deal (although most citizens are still against it), we shall try not to look back but instead look forward as to how your justification for the salary hike can turn into deliverables for your respective ministers and yourself.
         
        I should expect you to set out in no uncertain terms what each of your ministers (including yourself and Minister Mentor) is expected to deliver within the next 4 years or so, before the next General Election. These deliverables should result in improvements in the lives of all Singapore citizens (not just the rich, elites, foreigners, businessmen, PRs, etc...).
         
        I hope the opposition MPs will vigilantly follow up with the government for such a list of deliverables for all citizens to keep track of.
         
        For a start, let's start with Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, the ex-academic whose potential to draw such multi-million dollar salary (as the MEWR minister now) would have been doubtful had he remained in academia.
         
        What are his deliverables? These deliverables must result in outcomes that can be easily quantifiable (eg develop Singapore's alternative clean energy source that reduces households' energy/utility bills by __%).
         
        If you look at his past track record, it is less than flattering - remember the 2005 dengue outbreak where he ran out of ideas on how to address it? By the time he took real action, it was too little too late, resulting in loss of lives and productivity.  What eventually happened was that thanks to largely civic-minded grounds-up initiatives by the citizenry (way before he stepped in), the outbreak was eventually contained - not by him or his NEA staff alone but the citizens at large.
         
        Is he really the best you can find? I doubt so. He may be good at teaching but is he good at problem solving? We shall see how he measures up, provided you list down all his deliverables for the next 4 years for all to see and judge.
         
        Now that you and your ministers have your salary raised (I must emphasize again - against the citizens' wishes), it is time to deliver. Show us what your team is capable of - not the standard "GDP growing 5% for next 5 years" blah blah blah. Show us you are man enough to tell us what each of your minister's deliverables are. 
         
        ==================================================================
        Look at what kind of Government S'pore has, says Yaacob
         
        Tan Hui Leng
        huileng@...
         
        THINK not of the ministerial pay hike in terms of dollars and cents, but about the kind of Singapore that you want, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim yesterday.
        .
        Echoing the sentiments of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Yaacob said that the unique case scenario that is Singapore does not allow for a wide margin of error.
        .
        "Really it's not about me, it's not about the Cabinet, but I think the best question for you to ask is the first question asked in Parliament: What kind of a country are we? What is Singapore?" he said.
        .
        Dr Yaacob was responding to a resident's question on the link between the Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike and the ministerial pay increment at a dialogue session with residents during his ministerial visit to Tampines Central.
        .
        "I always explain this to visitors. I say you go to the US, if you have a riot in New York, you can go and stay in Los Angeles. In Singapore if you get a riot in Bedok, you cannot stay in Jurong," he said.
        .
        "The smallness of Singapore gives us a certain flexibility but ... our room for making mistakes is very, very narrow and ... if we get our policy wrong, I think that will be disastrous."
        .
        Because of that, he said, continuity in leadership is required in governing the country. He cited the Government's ability to overcome Singapore's water issues as an example.
        .
        "Supposing the Government changes every five years, different policy, I don't think we could have a sustainable water supply for Singaporeans," he said. "Only because the Government has been on it for the last 40 years, the same Government, committed to the same outcome, we have been able to achieve resilience in our water supply."
        .
        Explaining the GST increase, Dr Yaacob said it is needed "primarily because we have some long-term problems emerging".
        .
        "In order to fund projects for low-income families, we need to be able to raise some revenue," he said
        .
        Dr Yaacob also defended the civil service, saying the good performers deserve the pay.
        .
        "Frankly speaking, you cannot find another civil service quite like it. It's an ecosystem. ... Look at other countries — how the civil service is corrupt, inept, inefficient. Ours is on the ball. They get the job done." 



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      • Kaye Poh
          In the biggest case to date, two men have been charged with 101 counts each, for allegedly falsely declaring the number of local workers employed so as to
        Message 3 of 10 , Feb 27, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
           
          "In the biggest case to date, two men have been charged with 101 counts each, for allegedly falsely declaring the number of local workers employed so as to be able to hire more foreign workers." ("2 charged for biggest case of hiring phantom workers", 938live - 27 Feb 2009 - article below)
           
          27 Feb 2009
           
          So, the Credit Suisse figure of 300,000 job losses (see attached article below) is not so far fetched when compared to DBS' 99,000 only (or NTUC's miserly 29,000? Maybe not
          apple-to-apple comparison as NTUC's 29,000 is for 2009 while DBS and Credit Suisse's figures are for the years 2009-2010?).
           
          But with these "phantom workers" (who are Singaporeans - probably parents, uncles, grandparents, cousins, friends (or even strangers who are friends' friends) of company officials who only make use of their names to justify hiring foreign workers - remember the 5-Singaporeans-for-every-foreign-worker rule or something like that?) suddenly "jobless", the spike in the unemployment numbers is inevitable.
           
          Are the authorities tightening up the "loopholes" because of the Job Credit Scheme which involves some S$5 billion of taxpayers' money (the first draw on the reserves) being given to these companies employing Singaporeans - as an inventive they will not have to retrench them?
           
          But because of this tightening, many of these Singaporeans will end up being "jobless" suddenly! What a joke - the skeletons are now coming out of the closet!
           
          But you'll probably not see these figures in the local newspapers - too embarrassing.
           
          Rgds
            
          ===========================================================
           

          2 charged for biggest case of hiring phantom workers
          By 938LIVE | Posted: 27 February 2009 1305 hrs

           
           
          Photos1 of 1

            
           
          SINGAPORE: In the biggest case to date, two men have been charged with 101 counts each, for allegedly falsely declaring the number of local workers employed so as to be able to hire more foreign workers. 

          The duo are 52-year-old Lim Chye Cheng, and 59-year-old Steven Lee Kong. They are both from the SME group of companies comprising 14 firms that provide cleaning services. 

          Steven Lee is the director of the SME group and Lim is believed to be the key player in the scam. 

          The Manpower Ministry said it has been monitoring the SME group since late last year. 

          Amid ongoing investigations, a group of foreign workers working for some of the companies under the group lodged complaints regarding salary arrears. 

          Lee and Lim are only two out of 10 people to be charged in the Subordinate Courts on Friday. 

          The other eight are from companies spanning fields like marine, construction, F&B and manufacturing. 

          These include Toh Eng Hock Construction, TNS Logistics, and Restu Muslim Seafood Restaurant. 

          Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, falsely declaring the number of local workers hired is punishable with a fine of up to S$15,000, or twelve months' jail, or both. 

          The local phantom worker also faces prosecution for abetting the offence. 

          The 10 cases are due to be heard again in another three to four weeks' time. 

          Last November, the Manpower Ministry also prosecuted the owner of Spize the Makanplace for making false declarations in 15 workpass applications. - 938LIVE 
           
          ========================================================
           
           

          Jan 21, 2009

          300,000 Job Losses is a Scary Thought

          I've mentioned a couple of times that I've been house-hunting. In the past two days, one of the property agents that I had met has been repeatedly calling me. Why? Because the developer has cut prices (again), for one of the residential projects that I'm interested in. However, I told the agent that I'm not buying .... yet.

          The residential property market has been sinking, and I think it will sink some more. The patient house-hunter will be rewarded. I had previously written about the implications of the DPS, the effect of which should really start to show in a big way, around June 2009. In addition, today the media also has other news to suggest that the property market is in for a huge dive:
          Grim forecast of 300,000 job losses
          Most expected to be foreigners hired in past 5 years
          Wednesday, January 21, 2009
          Ansley Ng, TODAY

          IN what an expert called a “doomsday prediction”, two economists say Singapore may lose 300,000 jobs by next year, of which two-thirds would belong to foreigners.

          As the Republic grapples with what is likely to be its worst recession, “recent surveys all point to many more firms planning to fire than hire, a finding backed by anecdotal reports of job cuts by leading firms in their sectors,” said economists Cem Karacadag and Kun Lung Wu of Credit Suisse Group in a report that has raised many eyebrows with its alarming forecast.

          Credit Suisse had similarly drew attention last May when it issued a deeply bearish outlook for the Singapore property sector and while there was some initial scepticism, subsequent data have largely borne out the accuracy of its call.

          But analysts Today spoke to — though agreeing that a higher-than-before number of jobs will be lost this year on the back of the increasingly grim economic outlook — felt that the Credit Suisse jobs report was too pessimistic. Barclays Capital economist Leong Wai Ho said: “I think we have already seen the nature of the severity, I don’t think we will get much worse than that.”

          Mr Leong predicted retrenchments to reach around 35,000, with the unemployment rate to peak at the second-quarter of this year at just over 5 per cent.

          The Credit Suisse report gave a sectoral breakdown of its headline 300,000 number: About 160,000 positions will be shed in the services industry; 100,000 in manufacturing; and another 40,000 in the construction industry. “As harsh as our assumptions may seem, they only imply that the economy gives up all of the jobs it created in 2008 and a portion of the new jobs in 2007,” the Credit Suisse economists wrote.

          Two out of three of the jobs lost would be held by foreigners and permanent residents. With the exodus of these foreigners, Singapore’s population will shrink 3.3 per cent to 4.68 million next year from 4.84 million now, said Credit Suisse.

          Real estate experts say the property market — which has already been hit by the fallout of the global financial crisis — will be further buffeted by the repatriation of expatriates as companies downsize.

          “The first market to be affected would be your residential and your prime residential market, because an immense source of leasing activity comes from foreigners,” said Mr Donald Han, managing director of property consulting firm Cushman and Wakefield ....
          I kinda foresaw this coming. Three months ago, I wrote on this blog:
          According to my crystal ball, residential rentals must fall sharply this year. A host of new, big residential projects (all of which were launched in the recent bubbly years), will get completed soon. What happens next? The market will be flooded. At the same time, due to the economic slowdown, many expats might predictably pack their bags and go home. This would lead to a further collapse in residential rentals.

          The stock market has also crashed very badly. Many Singaporeans would have lost serious money. Bonuses will shrink. Thus many potential property buyers would be eliminated. Furthermore, a real recession is very likely to be on the way (the technical one is already here). Some people will lose their jobs. And among them, the highly-leveraged home-buyers of the past few years will be blown apart.
          Of course, none of the above was particularly difficult to foresee, even three months ago. What's staggering about the Today report is the size of the figure - 300,000 jobs - predicted by Credit Suisse.

          How quickly the residential property market will collapse will actually depend on the proportions of expats in Singapore who are on an Employment Pass, and on a Special Employment Pass. What's the difference?

          Both passes enable the expat to reside legally in Singapore. However, an Employment Pass is tied to a specific employer. If the expat loses his job, the EP becomes invalid and the expat has to leave Singapore more or less immediately (7 days, to be precise). His family has to leave with him too.

          A Personalised Employer Pass affords more flexibility. The PEP is not tied to a specific employer. If the expat loses his job, he can stay for up to another six months in Singapore to look for another job.

          PEP was introduced only in January 2007. It was one of those "we embrace foreign talent" schemes. Most expats who had come to Singapore prior to January 2007 are probably on the EP, not the PEP, unless they had had the foresight to effect a conversion of their EP to a PEP earlier on (I'm assuming that there's some procedure to do this).

          Of course this is precisely the kind of precautionary step that most human beings don't bother to take, when times are still good. An EP is as good as a PEP, when job security is not in doubt. But now, when times are bad and unemployment is rearing its ugly head, the government will not be so free and easy with EP-to-PEP conversions.

          As for myself, I am being prudent by deferring my property purchase. After all, I work in a bank, not exactly the safest place to be, nowadays. I have fairly substantial back-up funds, but still ....
          ====================================================

          --- On Tue, 7/31/07, Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
          From: Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...>
          Subject: The real data: 89% of new jobs went to foreigners and PRs, not citizens - ST (1 Aug 2007) - Record 61,900 jobs created in last quarter - Re: Why Singapore's ministers are not worth their million-dollar salaries - Re: Are PMO ministers worth their millions? - Today (16 Apr 2007) - On ministerial salary: Look at what kind of Government S'pore has, says Yaacob
          To: "Hsien Loong Lee" <lee_hsien_loong@...>
          Cc: "Kuan Yew Lee" <lee_kuan_yew@...>, "REACH" <reach@...>, "Amy@MEWR Khor" <amy_khor@...>, "Amy@PA Khor" <amy_khor@...>, "Straits Times - Letters" <stforum@...>, "Today" <news@...>, "TNP" <tnp@...>, letters@..., "Asia Times - Letters" <letters@...>, "IHT- International Herald Tribune" <letters@...>, "BBC - News" <newsonline@...>, "BBC" <worldservice@...>, "Letters@ New Straits Times" <mailed@...>, "News Corp" <mregan@...>, "scmp" <scmplet@...>, "Sunanda@ Datta-Ray@Rediff News" <sunanda.dattaray@...>, help@..., "Thia Kiang Low" <ltk@...>, "See Tong Chiam" <chiamst@...>, "Sylvia Lim" <sylvia_sl_lim@...>, "NMP Siew Kum Hong" <siewkumhong@...>, "NMP Thio Li-Ann" <lawtla@...>, "sg_review@yahoogroups.com" <sg_review@yahoogroups.com>, "JBJ" <jbjeya@...>, cnseah05@..., shpeh@..., chinlian@..., aaronl@..., "Sue-Ann@ST Chia" <sueann@...>, "Soon Juan CHEE Dr" <sdp2000@...>
          Date: Tuesday, July 31, 2007, 7:40 PM

          1 Aug 2007
           
          On the surface, the "61,900 new jobs" figure makes the government and Manpower Minister Ng look good and competent - WOW, a record 61,900 jobs created in 2Q07.
           
          But wait a minute - what sort of new jobs were created?
           
          i. 33,600 service jobs: abt 90% are foreigners as bulk are cleaners, waiters, etc;
          ii. 11,400 construction jobs: probably 99% go to foreigners;
          iii. 16,600 manufacturing jobs: >80% go to foreigners/PRs (production operators etc)
           
          So, of the 61,900 new jobs created, some 54,806 jobs (or 89%) actually end up going to foreigners and PRs!
           
          Like I said, MOM's jobs data is meaningless as the real numbers are all camouflaged!
           
          Rgds

          ============================================================
           
          Aug 1, 2007
          Record 61,900 jobs created in last quarter
          Rise in all sectors, with construction leading the pack; unemployment dips to 6-year low
          By Sue-Ann Chia & Aaron Low
          THE booming Singapore economy created a spectacular 61,900 new jobs in the last three months.
          This record job growth between April and June led to the unemployment rate sliding to a six-year low of 2.4 per cent in June. It was 2.9 per cent in March.
          All sectors were sprinting ahead with new jobs, with construction leading the pack.
          It added 11,400 new jobs, reflecting the property market's scorching pace of expansion. The increase is more than double the gains of the previous quarter.
          The all-round rosy picture painted by the Manpower Ministry's latest figures yesterday took the breath of economists like Dr Chua Hak Bin of Citigroup away.
          'The job market is moving at a stunning pace. I was expecting good figures, but this is an incredible pace,' said Dr Chua.
          RELATED LINKS
          Another economist, Assistant Professor Choy Keen Meng from Nanyang Technological University, was also impressed with the second-quarter figures.
          'The economy is in for a period of stronger than projected growth...there should be no slowdown in the job market until late next year,' he said.
          Fuelling the job growth is the buoyant economy, which exceeded all predictions in the last quarter. It raced ahead at 8.2 per cent over the same period last year - the fastest rise in 15 months.
          At such a pace, Dr Chua sees at least 180,000 new jobs this year, beating last year's record of 176,000.
          He notes that the economy is sturdy enough to withstand even the weakening US economy and lower demand for electronics. 'I think the growth for Singapore is quite deep-rooted, helped by income tax cuts, the construction and tourism boom... so I don't see it slowing down,' he added.
          Sharing his optimism is Prof Choy, who foresees the unemployment rate continuing to hover between 2.5 per cent and 3 per cent in the next few quarters.
          He added: 'The services sector is a great absorber of job-seekers, such as those who were retrenched from the manufacturing sector.'
          Among them is Madam Sita Kooplan, 43. She lost her factory operator job two years ago, and after a year of fruitless search, she gave up. 'But I started looking again at the end of last year when I heard the job market was getting better,' she said.
          Two months ago, she landed a job as a retail assistant.
          Still, about 79,600 residents were jobless in June.
          Around 1,600 were laid off between March and June, a slide from the 1,964 reported in the previous quarter. More than two-thirds, or 1,100, of them were from manufacturing, reflecting the on-going restructuring in the electronics industry.
          The rest came from the services sector which, at the same time, continues to be the star performer: It creating the most jobs between April and June - 33,600, just a tad below the 33,700 recorded in the previous quarter.
          Close behind is manufacturing, with 16,600 new jobs, more than the 10,100 of the previous quarter.
          In the fastest-growing construction sector, the new jobs cover the whole spectrum, from engineers to site supervisors to construction workers, said Mr Simon Lee, executive director of Singapore Contractors Association.
          He attributed the big demand to the buildings rising on en-bloc sites as well as the integrated resorts.
          'Also, other developments like the commercial Marina downtown projects are kicking in too,' he said.
           
          ========================================================

          Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
          To: PM Lee Hsien Loong
          cc: MM Lee Kuan Yew
          cc: REACH
          cc: Straits Times/Today/TNP
          cc: International news agencies
          cc: Opposition MPs/NCMP/NMPs/JBJ
          cc: sg_review
           
          17 July 2007
           
          Given the numerous blunders in Singapore in recent months involving loss of precious lives and billions of taxpayers' money, it is timely to recap and ask, "Are our ministers really worth their millions in salaries?"
           
          1. Environment Minister Yaacob Ibrahim: The return of dengue - more loss of lives and productivity (lessons of 2005 dengue outbreak not learnt);
          2. Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan: Death of pregnant woman while giving birth due to blood shortage; overcrowding at public hospitals; long waiting time; rising health cost, etc
          3. MTI Lim Hng Kiang: UNSW debacle wasting taxpayers' millions by EDB;
          4. Finance Minister Lee Hsien Loong: EDB not audited for >40 years (how are the billions of taxpayers' money spent?)!; rising cost of living due to GST hikes, etc...; reports of Singapore being money laundering hub (via its Wealth Managment Hub) are not rebutted; billions of taxpayers' money lost from Shin Corp debacle & other Temasek loss-making invesments like Optus, Chartered Semicon, Global Crossing, Micropolis, etc...; inadequate citizens' CPF money for retirement due to miserable returns and over-investment in property; wasting taxpayers' billions (or failure to control such expenses as the country's CFO) in "extravagant" public buildings: Tan Soo Khoon's so-called "7 Wonders of Singapore" ;
          5. Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean: Deaths of servicemen in Taiwan (fighter jet crashing) and Singapore (commando dunking case, Navy ship collision, etc..); inadequate compensation (only $3000?) for permanently disabled servicemen while undergoing training; 2Lt Li Hongyi's whistle-blowing of poor quality control of OCS churning out SAF officers of poor quality;
          6. MCYS Minister Vivian Balakrishnan: Death of national triathlete due to absence of defilbrator; the poor receiving only $30 increase in monthly allowance to $290 per month (deemed adequate when ministers' million-dollar salaries are deemed inadequate);
          7. Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen: Hundreds of thousands of citizens (especially those above 40 years old and the lowly educated) remain unemployed despite figures showing job growth as these jobs went to foreigners and PRs (as job data classify "Jobs for Singaporeans" include both PRs and citizens with probably more than 80% of new jobs created yearly going to PRs and foreigners instead of citizens), accelerated immigration policy to reach 6.5m population target results in citizens losing jobs to foreigners/PRs, social problems (prostitution, crimes, etc..) from huge influx of foreigners, etc;
          8. National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan: Runaway private property price hikes benefiting the rich & elites, foreigners, PRs while citizens' (making the majority heartlanders) HDB flats have hardly increased (perhaps marginally) in value, and coupled with stagnation of salaries for these heartlanders - hence their inability to "upgrade" to private property which is slowly becoming out of reach to this majority group of citizens;
          9. Transport Minister Raymond Lim: Perpetual jams at major expressways (eg CTE) despite probihitive vehicle taxes like COE, ERP, ARF etc...; taxi problems, inefficient public transport system involving buses, MRT, etc..
          10. Law Minister Jayakumar: Case of extra caning error (lesson of 1988 error not learnt); reports (by ex-Solicitor-General Francis Seow in his latest book) of judiciary being partial to PAP ministers in civil cases not refuted;
          11. Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng: Extra caning error, inefficient police force (eg failure to respond in timely manner during Geylang gang attack on doctor), recent deaths of Coast Guards while pursuing illegal immigrants, ICA officers letting fugitive Richard Yong slip through Causeway, etc..
          12. Foreign Minister George Yeo: Defence Cooperation Agreement problems with Indonesia, sand ban by Indonesia leading to cost escalation, protracted extradiction treaty with Indonesia, etc..
          13. Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong/Ministers without portfolio Lim Boon Heng & Lim Swee Say: Value-add unknown despite millions in salary - this is a very expensive cost centre;
          14. MM Lee Kuan Yew: Failure to provide guidance and mentorship to ministers, resulting in their shortcomings; "Advisor" roles in US banks (is the country compensated for his time spent with these banks?) at the expense of time spent mentoring ministers?
          15. PM Lee Hsien Loong: Failure to provide leadership to the ministers, being ultimately responsible for these ministers' shortcomings; widening rich-poor divide where the rich (and the elites) are getting richer and the poor (with stagnating salaries, or worst no income) poorer.
          16. President Nathan: Failure to verify and confirm the true reserve holdings of the country in accordance with the widely reported value of > US$100 billion (does Singapore really have this amount in its reserve or is actual realisable value much much less than reported due to losses in investments like Shin Corp, etc...?); and as President (to whom the judiciary is accountable): the recent extra caning case, and accusations (by ex-Solicitor-General Francis Seow in his latest book) of judiciary being partial to PAP ministers in civil cases are not refuted.
           
          The list above is by no means exhaustive but it gives a good idea of how far short the ministers are, hence are they really worth their millions?
           
          From the above, while the majority of the citizens are bearing the brunt of the hardships, the rich, elites, foreigners and PRs are having the cakes and eating them too!
           
          So, is Singapore for "Singaporeans" (here, I mean citizens only unlike the government's definition of citizens and PRs) or is it just for foreigners, PRs, the rich and elites?
           
          Why then do male citizens waste 2 years of precious time to ensure the security of the country which ends up benefiting foreigners and PRs and not fellow citizens?
           
          Do you and your fellow ministers have the conscience to sleep peacefully every night with your million-dollar salaries while the majority of Singaporeans struggle to make ends meet?
           
          Rgds
           
          =========================================================

          Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
          To: PM Lee Hsien Loong
          cc: MM Lee Kuan Yew
          cc: REACH
          cc: Straits Times/Today/TNP
          cc: International news agencies
          cc: Opposition MPs/NCMP/NMPs/JBJ
          cc: sg_review
           
          22 May 2007
           
          Further to my April 24th email attached, I would next like to touch on the ministers in the Prime Ministers' Office (PMO).
           
          Currently, there are 5 ministers in the PMO (including youself). The other 4 ministers without any portfolio are:
           
          1. MM Lee Kuan Yew
          2. SM Goh Chok Tong
          3. Lim Boon Heng
          4. Lim Swee Say
           
          With your multi-million dollar salaries, don't you think the PMO is too top-heavy with so many ministers without any portfolio to manage?
           
          (I note both MM and SM have been travelling a lot lately, so I presume that must make up a big chunk of their "deliverables" or KPIs - as "Travelling Ministers Without Portfolio").
           
          The question is: Why is taxpayers' money paying for these ministers without any portfolio?
           
          It is one thing to justify paying ministers millions to handle a ministry, but quite another to pay them millions "not to manage" any portfolio, but only given tasks on ad-hoc "special projects" like the "Aging" issue for Lim Boon Heng?
           
          Justifiably so, the citizens have a right to know what these PMO ministers' deliverables (KPIs) are. Travelling? Sure, I can do it. Or for that matter, any Tom, Dick or Harry (pun intended).

          Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
          To: Original addressees
           
          24 April 2007
           
          Further to my 19 April 2007 email below, I would like to follow up on another minister, DPM and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng - is he worth his millions in yearly salary?
           
          1. For a start, why did his police take more than 17 months to investigate and charge an errant motorist for a straight forward case? (see today's Straits Times, 24 Arpil 2007, "Driver charged with causing death of car saleswoman").
           
          2. Unnecessary loss of 2 precious lives of our elite coast guard officers (CNA, 15 April 2007, "2 Police Coast Guard officers killed in sea collision"). These are our so-called commandos of the sea, and yet, precious lives were lost when dealing with unarmed intruders, not armed enemies. Why? Should more be spent on hardware (better crafts?) than software (million-dollar salaries for ministers and Permanent Secretaries, senior civil servants, judges, etc.)
           
          3. Why did the police not take action (after it took a very long time to reach crime scene) in assault case, resulting in a doctor needing hospitalisation (Straits Times, 8 August 2006, "Assault 'a civil case', so no police action").
           
          Could it be because of "wrong priorities" on cases with political links, like:
           
          1. Deploying police to the infamous "White Elephant" case involving Buangkok MRT station?
          (Straits Times, 6 Sept 2005, "No need for police to act in Buangkok's white elephants").
           
          2. The police deployed more than 16 officers to "surround" (both inner circle and outer circle)
          just one Opposition member, Miss Chee Siok Chin during last September's IMF meet here in Singapore - see attached file or photos below or link, http://forums.delphiforums.com/sammyboymod/messages?msg=136080.3 .
           
           
           


          Edited 28/03/2007 11:35 ET by MCMLXXXIV
            Options Reply 
            


          Kaye Poh <kayepoh@...> wrote:
          To: PM Lee Hsien Loong
          cc: MM Lee Kuan Yew
          cc: Dr Yaacob Ibrahim - MEWR Minister
          cc: REACH
          cc: Straits Times/Today/TNP
          cc: International news agencies
          cc: Opposition MPs/NCMP/NMPs
          cc: sg_review
           
          18 April 2007
           
          Well, now that the Singapore ministerial salary increase is a done deal (although most citizens are still against it), we shall try not to look back but instead look forward as to how your justification for the salary hike can turn into deliverables for your respective ministers and yourself.
           
          I should expect you to set out in no uncertain terms what each of your ministers (including yourself and Minister Mentor) is expected to deliver within the next 4 years or so, before the next General Election. These deliverables should result in improvements in the lives of all Singapore citizens (not just the rich, elites, foreigners, businessmen, PRs, etc...).
           
          I hope the opposition MPs will vigilantly follow up with the government for such a list of deliverables for all citizens to keep track of.
           
          For a start, let's start with Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, the ex-academic whose potential to draw such multi-million dollar salary (as the MEWR minister now) would have been doubtful had he remained in academia.
           
          What are his deliverables? These deliverables must result in outcomes that can be easily quantifiable (eg develop Singapore's alternative clean energy source that reduces households' energy/utility bills by __%).
           
          If you look at his past track record, it is less than flattering - remember the 2005 dengue outbreak where he ran out of ideas on how to address it? By the time he took real action, it was too little too late, resulting in loss of lives and productivity.  What eventually happened was that thanks to largely civic-minded grounds-up initiatives by the citizenry (way before he stepped in), the outbreak was eventually contained - not by him or his NEA staff alone but the citizens at large.
           
          Is he really the best you can find? I doubt so. He may be good at teaching but is he good at problem solving? We shall see how he measures up, provided you list down all his deliverables for the next 4 years for all to see and judge.
           
          Now that you and your ministers have your salary raised (I must emphasize again - against the citizens' wishes), it is time to deliver. Show us what your team is capable of - not the standard "GDP growing 5% for next 5 years" blah blah blah. Show us you are man enough to tell us what each of your minister's deliverables are. 
           
          ==================================================================
          Look at what kind of Government S'pore has, says Yaacob
           
          Tan Hui Leng
          huileng@...
           
          THINK not of the ministerial pay hike in terms of dollars and cents, but about the kind of Singapore that you want, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim yesterday.
          .
          Echoing the sentiments of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Yaacob said that the unique case scenario that is Singapore does not allow for a wide margin of error.
          .
          "Really it's not about me, it's not about the Cabinet, but I think the best question for you to ask is the first question asked in Parliament: What kind of a country are we? What is Singapore?" he said.
          .
          Dr Yaacob was responding to a resident's question on the link between the Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike and the ministerial pay increment at a dialogue session with residents during his ministerial visit to Tampines Central.
          .
          "I always explain this to visitors. I say you go to the US, if you have a riot in New York, you can go and stay in Los Angeles. In Singapore if you get a riot in Bedok, you cannot stay in Jurong," he said.
          .
          "The smallness of Singapore gives us a certain flexibility but ... our room for making mistakes is very, very narrow and ... if we get our policy wrong, I think that will be disastrous."
          .
          Because of that, he said, continuity in leadership is required in governing the country. He cited the Government's ability to overcome Singapore's water issues as an example.
          .
          "Supposing the Government changes every five years, different policy, I don't think we could have a sustainable water supply for Singaporeans," he said. "Only because the Government has been on it for the last 40 years, the same Government, committed to the same outcome, we have been able to achieve resilience in our water supply."
          .
          Explaining the GST increase, Dr Yaacob said it is needed "primarily because we have some long-term problems emerging".
          .
          "In order to fund projects for low-income families, we need to be able to raise some revenue," he said
          .
          Dr Yaacob also defended the civil service, saying the good performers deserve the pay.
          .
          "Frankly speaking, you cannot find another civil service quite like it. It's an ecosystem. ... Look at other countries — how the civil service is corrupt, inept, inefficient. Ours is on the ball. They get the job done." 



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