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NECESSARY REMINDERS for $3.8m PM Lee Hsien Loong

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  • David See
    [ Note for Readers: Reproduced below is original text of my Feedback Document as emailed to PM Lee Hsien Loong and others as indicated. All addressees were
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 29, 2008
      [ Note for Readers:  Reproduced below is original text of my Feedback   Document as emailed to PM Lee Hsien Loong and others as indicated.
      All addressees were accorded "right-of-reply" by a stated deadline.
      Judge for yourself why PM Lee did not or could not render his reply to my many rightful statements.]
      Date:    25 February 2008
      To:       OVERALL-in-charge  PM Lee Hsien Loong    
                  Chairman,REACH  Dr Amy Khor 
      cc:        MCYS Minister-In-Charge Vivian Balakrishnan        
                   Minister-In-Charge (Civil Service)  Teo Chee Hean
                   AVA Minister-In-Charge  Mah Bow Tan
                   MEWR Minister-In-Charge  Yaacob Ibrahim 
                   NEA Chairman  Simon Tay 
                   NEA Board Member  Halimah Yacob [Chairman,GPC Health]
                   MOH Minister-In-Charge  Khaw Boon Wan 
                   Other Ministers/Senior Bureaucrats
                   Members of Parliament:
                    New PAP MPs
                    MP  Chiam See Tong
                    MP  Low Thia Khiang
                    NCMP  Sylvia Lim
      From:  Mr See Leong Kit (60-year old tertiary-educated S'porean)  
      [ Right-of-reply accorded to all addressees. 
        To be exercised by this deadline:  5 pm Wednesday 27 Feb 2008
        (as per PS21 Civil Service 3-working day Response Directive).
        Thereafter, in keeping with PM Lee Hsien Loong's much-touted promise of  "an open and inclusive Singapore", this Feedback Document will be downloaded on the Internet to  "openly  include"  other fellow S'poreans.]
      S'poreans Say: =  the honest/uncensored comments of  mostly P65 young/educated S'poreans garnered from various Internet chat sites.]
      NECESSARY REMINDERS for World's Highest-Paid $3.8m PM Lee Hsien Loong
      1  Irrefutable Principles of Public Service
      2  Never-Ending PAP Fiasco after Fiasco
      3  The People's Final Say on Ministerial Pay Issue
      4  Lessons from NKF Disgraceful Scandal
      5  The Writing on the Wall (2006 GE Result)
      6  Your Cancer Illness & Mortality
      ANNEXURE  -- Tackling Disease Threats & Food Safety Issues
      1  Irrefutable Principles of Public Service
      1.1   Reminders for PAP Million-Dollar Ministers:
      ---  If you want to be respected by the People, you must jolly well first show respect for the People and their concerns/feedback, as well as earn such respect from the People through appropriate words and actions.
      ---  TALK IS CHEAP.  You must  WALK THE TALK  in order to  earn  the respect/trust/confidence of the People.
      ---   There is a definite distinction between a mere Politician and a true Political LEADER.
      ---   You may fool MOST (66.6%) people MOST of the time, but definitely not ALL the people  ALL the time.
      ---   Maintaing a Dead Silence to the People's concerns/feedback is a most deplorable act of  arrogant disrespect  to the very People who are paying for your million-dollar salaries/bonuses/other perks.
      ---   The People who are paying for your million-dollar salary have every right to comment/criticise  your  words/actions.
            If you cannot take the heat [i.e. answer to criticisms], then get out of the kitchen [i.e. step down from public office. No man is indispensable!].
      ---   Older S'poreans who have lent their  unquestioning support and blind loyalty to the PAP will soon depart for Heaven.
            Taking their place will be younger better-educated S'poreans who will resent being treated like 3-year old kids.  Neither are they that stupid/gullible to be easily cowed into fearful submission by arrogant threats, such as  "without the PAP and, of course, million-dollar salaries, Singapore will sink into nothingness and your women will become maids in foreign countries".
      1.2     Singapore and the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) are definitely NOT synonymous, PERIOD!
      Singapore is an island nation (with some 200 years of history) which belongs to ALL its 3.5 million citizens (not just The Lee Family or PAP members!).
      WHEREAS the PAP is a mere 50-year old political party belonging to its mere 15,000 members.
      1.3     For the past few decades, Singapore was fortunate to ride on the coat-tails of a rosy U.S. and global economy. 
      Thus, the ruling PAP Government can only claim  some  of   the credit for  Singapore's progress  so far.
             Our hard-working people,  favourable geographical location and time-zone advantage have  also contributed  to Singapore's achievements as a financial centre and air/sea travel hub.
             It would thus be entirely shameless of the PAP to steal  all  the credit for its own political agenda!
      [ Put simply, had the PAP governed Timbuktu in Africa, would the outcome be similar to that of Singapore ??? ]
      1.4   Two Very Pertinent Questions:
             (i)    Should PAP Politicians be  Truly Respected (through their words/actions) by the People, or Impatiently Tolerated, or  Abjectly Feared (eg Hitler, Pol Pot and the recently-hanged Saddam Hussein) ?
            (ii)    If the PAP is really held in such high regard by S'poreans, why are there no long queues of people wanting to join the PAP?
      Even PM Lee has publicly admitted he has to "drink a lot of tea" to persuade/cajole people to stand as PAP election candidates!
      The answer is provided by a fiesty female S'porean (Mdm Tng Kok Khim) in her
      7.4.07  ST Forum letter "Why Singapore women won't have to be maids" as follows:
            "The main reason Singaporeans do not want to step into politics is the negative culture and image created by the many lawsuits  as well as  obstacles put in the way of opposition parties.
            Without a truly creative and competitive environment,  the PAP will have to use other ways and means to persuade quality people to join the GovernmentThat may be a problem created by the Government itself."
      [ Note:  Mdm Tng is amongst the growing numbers of educated/thinking Concerned S'poreans who can  quickly "see through"  the  PAP's numerous   shameless/unbecoming/unprofessional political ploys to entrench itself at all costs  --- even at the long-term detriment to Singapore (the nation) and Singaporeans (the people).]
      2  Never-Ending PAP Fiasco after Fiasco [ name of Minister-in-charge ]
      Listed below is just a few of the more recent incidents taken from a long list!
      2.1   DISGUSTING ENOUGH:  Fiascos involving the hard-earned monies of the People:
      --  2002  IDA  "Honest Mistake" Fiasco resulting in non-recovery by a statutory  board of an erroneous over-payment to SingTel of  $388 million of public funds 
                   [ Ex-Minister David Lim ]
      --  2002  LTA Proposed $500 million Office Building Fiasco 
                   [ Ex-Minister Yeo Cheow Tong ]
      --  2003  HDB Overly-Generous $220 million Retrenchment Payout Fiasco, with no 25-year cap
                   [ $2m Minister Mah Bow Tan ]
      --  2005  URA  $400,000 Spending Fiasco to "re-brand" Marina Bay as.....Marina Bay !!!  WHAT THE HECK !!!
                   [ $2m Minister Mah Bow Tan ]
      --  2006  Temasek Hldgs S$6.5 BILLION  Shin Corp Monumental Blunder
                   [ $3.8m PM/Finance Minister Lee Hsien Loong ]
            In January 2006, Singapore's Temasek Hldgs had spent  S$6.5 BILLION (of the Singapore People's hard-earned monies) in its controversy-riddled 96% takeover of Thailand's telecom giant Shin Corp --- with 50% purchased from now deposed/exiled Thai PM Thaksin.
            Thaksin had sold his family's 50% stake at a very high price to Temasek --- raking in hugh profits, which he evaded paying taxes on.
      This then triggered angry demonstrations by Thai protestors at Singapore's Bangkok Embassy and burning of photos of  Temasek CEO Ho Ching and Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong. 
      The once-warm Thai-Singapore ties immediately plunged to its lowest ebb!
      What transpired:
            (i)   Almost Total News Blackout by our PAP-controlled Press/TV Media.
      S'poreans in this self-proclaimed "First-World" nation had to access the Internet websites of Thai newspapers (The Nation/Bangkok Post)  to read all the  "juicy details" of this monumental debacle.
            (ii)  As usual, DEAD SILENCE maintained by Temasek CEO Ho Ching (a mere Civil Servant, not even Politician).
      How ironic --- when her beloved husband (Singapore PM & Finance Minister Lee Hsien Loong) had, in promoting Singapore as a Financial/Business Hub,   constantly preached on the importance of  Good CORPORATE Governance and the need for "checks and balances";  "transparency and accountability"; "level playing field";  encouraging  "whistle-blowers"; etc,etc....
      Many Other Questionable/Controversial  Mega-Deals by Temasek Hldgs & GIC
           Every now and then, we read about Temasek Hldgs/GIC spending millions/BILLIONS (of the People's hard-earned monies)  buying this and that  bank/company/property  in this and that country.
      Yet, these two entities (intentionally registered as private limited companies, wholly-owned by Ministry of Finance) are notorious both locally/internationally  for their "Corporate Opaqueness".
      [ "There is no policy too sensitive to question, and no subject so taboo that you cannot even mention it." ---  DPM Lee Hsien Loong  (ST 17 Jan 2000) ]
      [ "DPM Lee promises a more open Singapore"; "I don't make promises I can't keep: DPM Lee" (ST 7 Jan 2004) ]
      [ TODAY 13 Aug 04 headline:  "The PM for all Singaporeans.  Newly-sworn-in PM Lee pledges an  'open and inclusive'  Singapore".
        TODAY 25 Aug 04 headline:  "An Open Society?  We'll See.  Young Singaporeans sceptical about promised changes." ]
      [ " Singaporean voters are not fools" --- PM Lee Hsien Loong (TODAY 20 Jun 06) ]
      [ "We've decided to be openupfronttransparent."
        ---  PM Lee Hsien Loong in Parliament (ST 12 Apr 07) ]
      [ ".....we can always do BETTER if we try HARDER.  We ALWAYS MUST try HARDER.  Don't just do  NATO (No Action,Talk Only)....." 
       --- PM Lee Hsien Loong  (5 May 05 CNA "Up Close" programme) ]
      2.2   EVEN MORE DISGUSTING:  Fiascos affecting the precious health/lives of the People:
      --  2003  MINDEF "Dunking Death" of 19-year old NSman (eldest son). 
                   [ $2m Minister Teo Chee Hean ]
          2005  MINDEF "Drowning Death" of 24-year old Regular (only son). 
                   [ $2m Minister Teo Chee Hean ]
      Note:  To die during wartime defending Singapore is heroic bravery.
                 But to die during peacetime training is SENSELESS STUPIDITY !!!
      During the last 10 years(1994 - 2003) --- 37 training deaths/ over 3,000 NSmen injured.
      Similar figures not disclosed for first 20 years of NS (most likely higher!)
      --  Jun 2007  MCYS  17-year old Triathlete Sudden Death Fiasco (no medical personnel, no ambulance, no CPR, no defibrillator, NO NOTHING !!!) 
                         [ $2m Minister Vivian Balakrishnan ]
          Nov 2007 (barely 5 months later!)  MCYS Five Dragon Boat Paddlers Drowning Fiasco (paddlers were not wearing life-jackets) 
                         [ $2m Minister Vivian Balakrishnan ]
      Note:   Winning at all costs --- even at the cost of the lives of competitors?
                 THIS is not SPORTS --- but SHEER STUPIDITY !!!
      --  2005  NEA First Dengue Epidemic Fiasco ( 14,210 infected, with 25 deaths, including a 10-year old student
                   [ $2m Minister Yaacob Ibrahim ]
      --  2004  MOE Vietnam School Trip Fiasco (when Vietnam was having a major Bird Flu outbreak !!!) 
                   [ $2m Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam ]
      2.3   The ROOT CAUSES behind all the above-stated  Fiasco after Fiasco (despite the humongous million-dollar salaries!)  point to:
            (i)   a pathetic lack of  LEADERSHIP (at the political level)
            (ii)  a deplorable lack of  hands-on MANAGERIAL COMPETENCE (at the bureaucratic level)
      In short, THE BLIND leading THE BLIND !!!
      3  The People's Final Say on Ministerial Pay Issue
      [   As publicly acknowledged by PM Lee Hsien Loong (ST 28 Dec 03):
      "....but really, it's the judgement of the Singaporeans that's the most important." ]
      3.1    President's pay:  $3.9m(2008)  $3.2m(2007)  $2.6m(2006) 
      This much for a largely ceremonial post (shaking hands, kissing babies, cutting ribbons, opening Keppel Bay bridge, attending charity functions, hosting state dinners ....) ???
      Prime Minister's pay:  $3.8m(2008)  $3m(2007)  $2.5m(2006)
      Minister's pay:  $1.9m(2008)  $1.6m(2007)  $1.2m(2006) 
            These are not just humongous but obscenely-humongous salaries, going by both local/international  public sector standards !!!
            How could tiny Singapore's PM [confirmed by The Economist magazine as the World's Highest-Paid Politician]  be earning six times the pay of the American President and ten times that of the Japanese PM and the Australian PM???
      [ All the latter three Heads of State are governing very big countries with large populations, and very complex  political/economic/social issues.]
            If Singapore's PM screw up, only S'poreans will suffer.
      But if the American President screw up (and presses the wrong buttons), the whole world (incl tiny red dot island Singapore and the entire Lee Family) could go up in nuclear smoke !!!
            With such obscenely-humongous public sector salaries, how can these PAP politicians ever earn the  "moral authority" [much less the respect of S'poreans] to govern this tiny island nation ???
      3.2     When S'poreans are  "arm-twisted"  to pay out million-dollar salaries to Politicians/Bureaucrats,  they rightly expect  "good value for their money" and, at the very least, these Public SERVANTS  to  DELIVER  the following:
            (i)   million-dollars worth of  HUMILITY ( not Arrogance! )  and  LONG- OVERDUE RESPECT  for the People and their concerns/feedback.
            (ii)  million-dollars worth of TRUTHFUL ANSWERS ( not Dead Silence! )  and COMPETENT SOLUTIONS (not screw-ups/fiascos/blunders) in tackling various issues of national/public concern.
      Lessons from NKF Disgraceful Scandal
      [ Empty Political Rhetoric: 
        "Obviously the checks and balances didn't work." 
         --- PM Lee's first comments on the NKF Scandal (CNA 15 Jul 05) ]
      S'poreans Say:
            Temasek CEO Ho Ching had made public her letter singing the lavish praises of former NKF CEO T T Durai.
            But when Durai's dirty linen were all finally hung out, she (and her husband PM Lee too) chose to maintain an embarrassing Dead Silence --- having to eat her own words and eat humble pie.
            At least, SM Goh had apologised for his wife's dim-witted "peanuts" remark to describe Durai's humongous $600,000 salary.
      4.1   Invaluable lessons for PAP Politicians:
             Former NKF CEO T T Durai was clearly in the wrong in abusing his CEO position and mis-using donated charity monies:
             (i)  to pay himself the humongous annual basic salary of $600,000, not to mention super-generous bonuses and other perks.
             (ii)  to sinfully squander such monies on $900 gold taps and $1100 toilet bowls for his private office toilet.
             His arrogance got the better of him when he decided to sue The Straits Times to prevent its journalists from revealing his many deep dark dirty little secrets.  The dumb move back-fired on him, and he was then subjected to maximum public humiliation.
             Moral of the Story:  Arrogance & Defamation Threats Can Back-fire !!!
      4.2   What Singaporeans have learned from the NKF Disgraceful Debacle-cum-Shameful Scandal:
             (i)   People with INTEGRITY counter accusations with the TRUTH, not lawsuits!
             (ii)   What the NKF saga has proved is that people who win defamation lawsuits may not be innocent and those who lose may not be guilty.
             (iii)   What many Singaporeans think about defamation legal threats:
      ---  a most unbecoming/unprofessional as well as distasteful/disgraceful habit (especially coming from  Public Officials).
      ---  a cunningly-clever way to strike fear and prevent charity-donors [or taxpayer-citizens]  from asking rightful questions and seeking rightful answers on how their donated monies [or public funds]  are being spent.
      5  The Writing on the Wall (2006 GE Result)
      Results of PM Lee's first General Elections (May 2006 GE):
      The PAP's pathetic/dismal showing at the 2006 General Elections was 66.6% --- against its own euphoric expectation of initially 100% ("clean sweep") and subsequently  "at least 80% in Ang Mo Kio GRC".
      Even more telling is  the AMK GRC  actual margin of 66.1 (way below their own expectation and also lower than their national average) achieved against the Workers Party  P65 newbie team.
      The PAP's self-delusional post-mortem analysis --- "a strong mandate" !!!
      S'poreans Say:
      On elections won through pork-barrel politics, clever political ploys and with no level playing field  --- such victories are  "both hollow and without honour" in the eyes of  educated/thinking  Singaporeans!
      6  Your Cancer Illness & Mortality
      6.1   PM Lee, I have file records to attest that when offering feedback/suggestions to our Top Civil Servants & Ministers (copied to you), I have always started out with business-like temperate language.
            HOWEVER, when stone-walled by a deplorable "Conspiracy of DEAD SILENCE", I will of course have to exercise my right as a taxpayer-citizen to give these high-handed Public Officials a taste of the world-infamous "PAP robust reply" medicine.
      [ "...The Government cannot know everything...So if you see something is not right, put it right! ..."
      --- PM Lee Hsien Loong  (3 Dec 06 PAP Party Conference) ]
      6.2   PM Lee, unlike you (who was born/raised with a silver spoon), I was born/raised in the poorer quarters of Geylang.
             At age 60 (four years your senior), I would thus have "eaten more (unbranded cheap) salt than you have eaten  (branded fragrant) rice" [popular Cantonese saying].
            And having studied at the same alma mater (Raffles Institution) as SM Goh and your Famous Father, could I be such a stupid Singaporean?
            It does not really matter whether you had directly authorised or quietly condoned the DEAD SILENCE I had encountered in my feedback efforts --- because EITHER WAY will speak volumes to  S'poreans (and Foreigners,too) on your true political calibre/leadership as Prime Minister.
            So, PM Lee, you want to play games of Dead Silence with me --- especially when I am writing about Public Health & Public Safety (important issues that affect the precious health/lives of S'poreans and their loved ones) ???
            Do you honestly believe that the following news headlines are "totally impossible"?
            >  "PM Lee's daughter in critical condition following E-Coli food poisoning"
            >  "PM Lee's mother suffering from Dengue Shock Syndrome"
            >  "MM Lee has Chikungunya Fever and severe joint pains"
      And have you so soon forgotten how your very own mother and one precious daughter both had  "close encounters with the SARS virus"  during our 2003 SARS Outbreak?
      [ Check out last Friday's 22 Feb 08 ST report  "Next big pandemic could come from ASIA, study warns.  Region is a breeding ground for diseases that cross over from animals to humans." ]
            Just like your Famous Father, you may be an Agnostic (non-believer in the Almighty).  But you will be wise to at least acknowledge the widespread Asian belief of  "Just Retribution" (in English)  and  "Heaven Has Eyes" (in Mandarin).
            Over the Internet, many bloggers have commented that your cancer encounter is  "just retribution"  for the widespread  "PAP-induced  Political Cancer" (commonly known as "Fear of Speaking Up") that has afflicted the vast majority of S'poreans.
            Presumably, you should also know why Cancer Specialists (Oncologists) never say the cancer is "cured" but rather it is "in remission"  --- because no one can be 100% sure whether there are still some rogue cancer cells left  circulating in the bloodstream.
            Now that your are reminded of your mortality, should the not-impossible scenario of a "cancer relapse" arise and you have to move on to  "the happy hunting grounds" (you know where), have you ever ask yourself:  "How would I like to be remembered by S'poreans?"
            Surely, as a  "hands-on, competent and people-centred Political Leader", right?  If so, please start living up to this not-unrealistic expectation of the People --- especially when they are paying you by the millions!
            As a lawyer would say, I REST MY CASE.
      ANNEXURE  --  Tackling Disease Threats & Food Safety Issues
      [ Empty Political Rhetoric:  
        "Our model is paranoid government --- a government which worries all the time, is pro-active, looks ahead over the horizon.  Whenever people tell you not to worry, you start getting concerned."
       --- PM Lee Hsien Loong  (In Parliament. ST 11 Apr 07) ]
      1   Tackling Disease Threats  (eg Dengue, Chikungunya, SARS, Bird Flu, AIDS, Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, etc.....)
        2005 NEA First Dengue Epidemic Fiasco.
           [ 14,209 infected/ 25 deaths (incl a 10-year old student) ]
      >   2007 NEA Second Dengue Epidemic Fiasco.
           [ 8,826 infected/ 20 deaths ]
           NEA Minister-in-charge  Yaacob Ibrahim, NEA CEO Lee Yuen Hee  and NEA Public Health Director-General Khoo Seow Poh and other complacent NEA officials were caught napping and slow to react in both outbreaks.
      [ Note:
            Way back in 2004, it was this writer who had written to Minister Yaacob with this simple feedback/suggestion ---  Make use of TELEVISION to  EDUCATE as MANY people as possible (to QUICKLY  "prepare" the people to handle a possible large-scale Dengue Outbreak).
            But Minister Yaacob chose to maintain an arrogant/disrespectful DEAD SILENCE to this public suggestion not once but three times!
            Had my suggestion been seriously-taken/adopted  MUCH EARLIER  by Minister Yaacob and NEA officials, the number of infections would have been less  (and the death of the 10-year old student could have been avoided). ]
        After Dengue Fever, next big worry is Chikungunya Fever.
      Both viral diseases are spread by the same Aedes mosquito.
      Chikungunya is endemic in Africa, India, Sri Lanka. [ "Chikungunya" is from Tanzanian language]
      Chikungunya resemble Dengue Fever, but can cause severe/persistent joint pain. Though usually not fatal, Chikungunya could lead to health complications resulting in death.
      June 2007 Chikungunya major outbreak in India --- one million people infected, with 177 reported deaths.]
      S'poreans Say:     
            This $2m Minister Yaacob is at the helm of not just one but the two 2005 & 2007 Dengue Epidemic Fiascos here.
            How is he and his NEA officials ever going to  "earn"  the "trust and confidence" of S'poreans when it comes to tackling the new Chikungunya disease threat?
            If he and his civil servants screw up yet again, We The People will "hang them all"  on the flag pole at the Environment Building!
      2   Pre-Empting Major Food Poisoning Outbreaks (eg Prima-Deli outbreak)
      (a)   Growing & Worrying  large-scale food-poisoning outbreaks in Singapore:
            In 2007 alone, some 1,088 Singaporeans were hit by food poisoning. 
            In the Nov/Dec 2007 Prima-Deli salmonella food-poisoning outbreak, 204 people fell ill with 15 hospitalised (including 3 children, one of whom was an 11-month old toddler who was hospitalised twice). 
      One very sick victim was an undergrad about to sit for an important varsity examination --- with her exam performance naturally affected by her ordeal.
            In 2006 & 2007, two major norovirus food poisoning outbreaks here  affected a total of 315 secondary students and 380 primary students (one of whom had to sit for his important PSLE examination in hospital).
            In January 2008, 118 NSman came down with a gastrointestinal illness.
      (b)     In July 2007, a 3-year old toddler in Japan died from multiple organ failure after eating kindergarten-served food contaminated by the e-coli 0157 bacteria.
             In February 2007, some 600 Americans  fell ill after consuming a certain batch of salmonella-tainted Peter Pan peanut butter manufactured in America.
      One victim, an 11-year old American girl, suffered severe food poisoning and was hospitalised with kidney failure. She had to undergo transplant of a kidney donated by her father.
      [ Note:
            That particular batch of Peter Pan peanut butter was concurrently sold in Singapore.
            After reading the US Food & Drug Adminstration Public Alert, it was this writer who sent an email alert to our AVA --- which then issued its own Consumer Advisory some ten days after the FDA Alert. 
            Over this ten-day period, imagine the numbers of Singaporeans (young and old) who could have eaten from that possibly salmonella-tainted batch of peanut butter (a common/popular food here).
            Nine months later, our November 2007 Prima-Deli salmonella food-poisoning outbreak has thus completely vindicated this writer's feedback concerns! ]
      S'poreans Say:
            $2m AVA Minister-in-charge Mah Bow Tan and his laid-back complacent AVA officials were damn lucky no one had died or needed a kidney transplant in the Prima-Deli incident.
            If Minister Mah and his officials screw-up another time in not being vigilant and in not strictly enforcing food hygiene and food safety regulations, We The People will definitely want to  "skin them all alive"!

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