Monday, 2 February 2015

Medishield Life - Truth Vs Hype

“Universal and basic coverage for all”, “reducing out-of-pocket payment”, “look at ways to help the elderly”. These are some of the buzzwords that the Government has used to sell its Medishield Life Bill. Now let's take a look at the reality.

Essentially, what Medishield Life has done is to take a portion of funds from your Medisave to pay for bills of patients who end up with catastrophic or chronic illnesses which require expensive treatments.

Many of these patients cannot afford to pay these bills and the hospitals end up having to write these debts off. In 2011, Singaporeans owed $110 million to public hospitals.

This presents the PAP with two problems: One, the Government is unable to collect the money because many of these patients genuinely cannot afford to pay the bills and, two, it makes the Government look heartless by making Singaporeans go into debt because of medical expenses.

The introduction of Medishield Life will allow the Government to take the Medisave funds from Singaporeans through Medishield Life premiums to pay for these debts. It will top up the shortfall of funds by about $800 million a year.

In principle, this is a step in the right direction. It is what the SDP proposes – everyone shares in the stake of the health of our fellow citizens by pooling the risks in a national healthcare insurance scheme.

The difference between the SDP's plan and the PAP's Medishield Life – and it's an important one – is that the PAP continues to place the burden of paying for healthcare on the people.

While the SDP proposes that Medisave be scrapped and the funds of $43,500 be returned to our CPF, the PAP insists that the Government retains this amount to pay for our healthcare expenses.

On top of this, Medisave payments are restricted, making the people pay even more from out of our pockets.

Also, the deductibles – the portion of the hospital bill that must be paid out of pocket before Medishield Life will pay the remaining expense – remains unchanged between $2,000-$3,000. Most routine hospitalisations fall into this category.

What's more, the Government claims that it subdises medical expenses. The SDP has questioned the Government's prices because subsidy of inflated prices is a gimmick (see here). By doing this, the Government not only makes the people pay more but also inflates its subsidy levels.

Such practices has allowed the PAP Government to shirk its responsibility and use public funds to do business all over the world through Temasek Holdings instead of focusing on  the people's health.

The chart on the right says it all. While governments in most industrialised economies pay about 70% of the country's total healthcare expenditure, our Government pays only 30%.

Even with the added $800 million a year, its portion comes up to only 40%. The Government collects this amount in road tax alone.

Stop profiting from the people

Another point that Singaporeans must remember is that our public healthcare system is still a profit-making one. The PAP euphemistically calls this approach “cost recovery”.

This is consistent with its philosophy that nothing in Singapore is free, meaning that this Government considers itself more like a corporate entity than a steward of public interests and monies; it treats the people more like customers rather than citizens.

And because it thinks like a business, it will recoup whatever costs it lays out. This can easily be done by raising taxes or levies at some later stage.

The end result is that Singaporeans still end up paying the bulk of their healthcare expenses through their Medisave and out-of-pocket payment, leaving little in their CPF savings for retirement. This is not the right thing to do.

The SDP's National Healthcare Plan proposes that the Government increases its portion of the country's total healthcare expenditure. This can be paid for through a combination of paring down the Ministry of Defence's budget, levying a tax of luxury goods, abolishing GST for medical expenses, etc.

Only when the PAP stops trying to make money from Singaporeans in healthcare can it truly say that the Medishield Life is “universal and inclusive”. Until then, it will just be buzzwords that Singaporeans will see through.

For this reason, the SDP would have voted against the Medishield Life Bill in Parliament and tabled our alternative.

Article from:

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

City Harvest Church "scam" case - latest update

In the continuing trial of the 6 City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders, Chew Eng Han (left), the former investment manager for CHC, took the stand today (26 Jan).

Pastor Kong Hee, Chew Eng Han and 4 other CHC leaders are accused of allegedly channelling $24 million of the church’s funds into sham bond investments to further the career of Pastor Kong’s wife, pop singer Sun Ho, between 2007 and 2008. 4 of them are also accused of later allegedly covering their tracks by devising transactions worth $26.6 million, known as “round-tripping”, to “redeem” the sham bonds.

Mr Chew is the 4th accused person to give evidence, and is the only one defending himself without a lawyer. Speaking in court, he said he broke away from the church in 2013 as he believed that his co-accused had chosen the “most convenient way” of defending themselves. He said that the 5 co-accused, including Pastor Kong, claimed they did not know about the legalities concerning the bonds, and had pointed to him as the brains behind these bonds instead.

“The only reason I broke away was that the story being cooked up was not the truth. Why is so much responsibility being placed on the investment manager?” he asked. “I’m not going to be united with a team that chooses the most convenient way to defend themselves.”
Mr Chew said that the “first wake-up call” came in May 2010, after the Commercial Affairs Department had questioned the 6 accused.

“When the fire broke out, I didn’t see any leadership, I didn’t see any shepherds. All I saw was fear,” he said. Mr Chew said that contrary to what his co-accused had testified earlier, Xtron Productions which is the artist management company for Sun Ho, was indeed controlled by the church, and that Pastor Kong and Deputy Senior Pastor Tan Ye Peng controlled the decisions made at Xtron. “Why would anyone divest so much money into a vehicle (Xtron) and not control it?” he asked. He added that such an arrangement was common in the financial world.

Xtron Productions had issued $24 million worth of alleged sham bonds to CHC to “invest” in. When Xtron could not redeem the bonds, another $26.6 million from CHC was allegedly injected into Xtron in a roundabout way to enable it to redeem the first $24 million bonds issued to CHC earlier. In fact, CHC was using its own money to “pay back” itself, the prosecution charged.

Kong claims Xtron is independent from CHC

Last year, during the trial in August, Pastor Kong claimed that Xtron Productions was independent from CHC. Pastor Kong then argued that as CHC’s founder and senior pastor, he was an “invisible patron” to many organisations and Xtron could be another instance. He added that he was not aware of the details inside Xtron. However, Pastor Kong admitted that he had kept CHC’s investment in Xtron from church members during a 2008 general meeting of the executive members. But he said this was to “protect the church”, since information given to the members “very quickly goes into the public domain”. If the public had known that Ms Ho’s career was being financed by the church, Pastor Kong said, she would be labelled as a gospel singer. This would affect the church’s mission work – which used her secular music career to evangelise (or so he claimed) – in countries like China that frowned on public preaching, he said. “I’m sure if I had told the members (earlier) they would gladly support it,” Kong said.

The trial continues.

Are PAP grassroot leaders above the law?

A video posted on the Internet is currently gaining momentum and starting to go viral:
It shows a member of the public angrily asking an LTA officer why he refused to “summon” or fine a number of cars that were parked illegally outside the Siglap South Community Centre along Palm Road at East Coast. Apparently, there was, at the time, an event held inside the community centre attended by a PAP MP.

The LTA enforcement officer told the member of the public that his superior had instructed him not to issue any summons for those illegally parked cars which purportedly belonged to PAP grassroots leaders.

Whether or not the illegally parked cars belonged to PAP grassroots leaders, from the video, the fact that they were illegally parked was obvious. There are double yellow lines along the side of Palm Road and the cars were parked smack on them.
Despite the LTA officer sheepishly admitting to the angry citizen that the cars were illegally parked, he did not issue any summonses because he said he was instructed not to.

Transcript of video:
Member of public: Ok, u call ur boss?
LTA officer: Yes called already.
Member of public: What did they say?
LTA officer: He said take picture to send to LTA.
Member of public: Ok so are you authorized to give them fine?
LTA officer: Yes, but now I inform to my boss already.
Member of public: No, are you authorized to give them fine?
LTA officer: Yes.
Member of public: Ok, you are authorized to give them fine right, is this illegal?
LTA officer: Yes.
Member of public: Are you going to give them fine?
LTA officer: Yes.
Member of public: Ok fine, go ahead.
LTA officer: But I follow my instruction lah, sir.
2nd member of public: You don’t mind I record this on video
Member of public: There is no instruction, there is no instruction, this is very simple, we gonna take this in record.
2nd member of public: We gonna send this to STOMP.
Member of public: I want to know what’s your job?
LTA officer: My job is issue summons lah, sir, but I informed already, this one MP.
Member of public: No no, no need to inform anybody, outside you see you all give fine?
LTA officer: Yes.
Member of public: Fine, carry on give the fine, please.
LTA officer: I inform already.
Member of public: What is there to inform? You mean outside you see illegal parking you inform your boss?
(Video shows a silver colored Nissan MPV illegally parked along double yellow lines.)
LTA officer: Yes I ask first, the situation I ask first, can issue or not.
Member of public: How come I park double yellow lines nobody ask, anything just fine, you know?
LTA officer: See the serious of the obstruction lah, sir.
Member of public: No, is not serious or not serious, what does the…
(Video ends.)
Do you think the owners of these cars, whoever they may be, are above the law?
When was the last time you were able to park on double yellow lines with impunity and were not summoned? And yet protected by LTA officers further?

We certainly need to learn from these privileged and powerful car owners how to infringe the law without being summoned.
What do you think?

Is Singapore really a democratic country?

Dinesh Dayani wrote an article in TRE about a comment made by Leung Chun Ying, Chief Executive of HongKong, ‘Democracy would see poorer people dominate Hong Kong vote.’
In his concluding paragraphs he wrote:
Did the last 10 years benefit all Singaporeans even though we collectively built or accepted the MBS & IR, saw our asset prices balloon and built a whole other financial district during the time? I’m not so sure.
What I am sure of however is that we are a democracy. It is in our power if we do not like the direction of where our country is headed.
Dinesh is sure that we are a democracy and we are in control of our own future unlike HongKong and the reason for the students’ street demonstration. In a way we are, but sometimes we wonder if we are a demoncracy. ‘It is in our power if we do not the direction of where our country is headed.’ Really?

Do we like the influx of foreigners that made Singaporeans a minority and can we do anything about it? And it is going to be worse with the 6.9m PWP. Can we do anything about it?
Can we do anything about the huge number of PMEs being replaced by foreigners? Yes, no, are we a democracy?
Can we do anything about our savings in the CPF? Do we have the power to do anything about it? Can we stop and rescind the CECA now that we know what it is?
There are many things that the people did not like, did not like the direction that they are heading. So? Can we do anything within our power to change them as a democracy? Or has our democracy been hijacked? Or we are not really a democracy and have no say in the direction our country is heading?
Can politicians democratically elected to serve the people, to listen to the people and represent their interest, turnaround and proudly declared they chose to be deaf frog, refused to listen to the people and did what they thought best? Can the politicians ignore the people that elected them to power and expect to be elected? Yes, in Singapore always re-elected. What kind of democracy is that?
Is our democracy a farce and everyone pretending that we are a democracy?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean

* The writer blogs at

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Poor Singapore
Gini Ratio from 1980s to now.
Pap Finance Minister, Mr Tharman noted that the Gini Ratio was 0.44 in the 1980s and escalating until 0.48 in the 2007 [link]. In other words, the problem is not new. Yet, there was never a deliberate attempt by pap to correct or even mention the problem until the 2011 elections. I am unsure how the the Gini Ratio is done, but the website Heart Truths has done an outstanding analysis of the Gini Ratio [link].

Good Governance Vs Bad Governance

An outstanding government is one who is able to recognize imminent issue and prevent it from become full blown. It is like the head of the household noting that a flame in the kitchen is a fire hazard. A good governance will noted that there is an oncoming issue, attempt to solve it, but is only able to reduce the damage. An average government fails to notice the upcoming issue, but is able to solve to quickly when the issues become full blown. A bad governance is one when the issue is presented, is unable to deal with the issue. A terrible one is one that fails to solve the issue and blames it on everyone else. This is akin to blaming the household members for not noting the flame when it eventually becomes a fire that engulf the whole house (and it is worse when the household members are already making feedback on the flame in the 2000s, but was ignored!)

Leadership of current pap government?

There are 3 generations of pap leaders [see link for definitions]. From the 1980s till 2010s, pap failed to recognize the polarization of the rich-poor gap. Instead, pap was concerned with the economy and importing more FTs to sustain the economy. At a recent survey, 50% of the respondents wanted less FTs even if it meant a slower growth compared to 28% wanting the opposite[link]. As the rich-poor gap is now causing issues in our daily life, all the current pap leadership seemed to do is blame the past leaders for not identifying the Gini ratio problem earlier.  It is like the head of the household blaming the grandparents for not noting the flame which eventually become a fire! Likewise, they have mentioned once again that Singaporeans have been living in such problems since the 1980s! Once again, this is like the head of the household telling Singaporeans that the flame that burnt down the house is our fault as we have been living with the flame for a long time.

Top dollars for such Leadership?

The pap ministers are the highest paid ministers in the world [link], even after the so called pay cut. Was the pay cut a wayang just like Prince William visit [link] or their own crowd at the election rallies [link]? Eventually, it is undeniable that they are the highest paid. As such, it is inevitable that with such a pay, an acceptable quality of service and solutions are required. Otherwise, why pay top money for poor leadership and a lack of therefore?


Has pap identified the social impact of the rich-poor divide? What other issues have they missed? Are they concerned about the living conditions of the Singaporeans or rather their votes in 2016? Will you trust a government who will only look into existing issues only when Singaporeans threaten with their votes? Will you prefer alternative parties who are already raising the issues before elections and coming with plausible solutions?  Who is more sincere and genuine in wanting to solve the rich-poor gap? With our highly paid pap ministers, and claiming that they are the chosen from the best, will they be looking after Singaporeans or their votes?
Do you still trust pap?

I leave it to Singaporeans to decide. Please vote wisely in 2016 or it may be Singaporeans last chance to do so as the 6.9 million- population will change the demographics of the voting citizens.

Time for a regime change in 2016?

Source: Anson Be


We have read and experiences all sorts of problems besetting Singapore. It is not a matter of if but when Singapore will fail.
All previous PAP policies have lead us to the state we are in now. And the present PAP leaders are coming up with hare-brain stop gap solutions to plug up these policy failures; These failed policies which has in fact been ingrained and inculcated in all of us true-breed Singaporeans, especially the baby-boomers and those who are now in their 50s and 60s.

The notable doomed to failure major policies unilaterally imposed on us by PAP’s LKY are;
1) The stop at two policy – this needs no further discussion, except to add that our fertility rate is a mess now because of this hare-brain policy.

2) The Graduate Mother Policy – Another hare-brain policy by LKY – who does he thinks he is – GOD! Perhaps he can make his son marry whom he chooses but marriage is Made (or broken) in Heaven. It was a failed policy from the word go by an atheist.

3) Meritocracy – The first question we need to ask is – ON whose merit? Of course by PAP’s definition its – on PAP Merit. Every dumb hare-brain soul knows that for a certain job the person chosen is based on the merits required by the job. The PAP merit is anyone who can score straight As in the exams is merited to be able to do anything and everything in high office -BULL SHIT!

4) Meritocracy has lead to Autocracy – When the Study smart (merited) person is placed at the top of the pyramid. He automatically thinks he is the best brain to run the show, the people below him will perpetuate this believe. And so only top knows what to do and what is best. And because he doesn’t really know what everyone believes he knows; he uses wayang and cronies to show him to be what he is not. In the end the company or department he runs is doomed to be inefficient and ineffective – what we are all seeing now.

5) Creativity will never bloom in an autocratic organization because anything out of the box makes the boss uncomfortable because they become more insecure. It not in the rules and regulation. Its not possible. Its a stupid idea. This is the reason Singapore’s Economy is not able to ride the creative bandwagon like South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, even Malaysia ..I dare say.

6) Controlling the ability of Singaporean to upgrade to Degree level and making it very hard for capable Singaporean to upgrade their educational qualification within Singapore. Yet we know for a fact that Singapore needs to capitalise on its human capital to the maximum.

7) Last bit not least, the hare-brain mass importation of FT to boost the economy, a very myopic stop gap solution that will cause massive non-repairable and irreversible damage to this beloved country of ours Singapore. Damage will make this Nation of ours FAIL BIG TIME.

For that good citizens of Singapore – Singapore will be Doomed to failure…unless we collectively do something by 2016.

I implore all Voting Singaporeans to think hard for the sake of out future collectively to DO THE RIGHT THING FOR OUR BELOVED HOMELAND – MAJU LAH SINAGPURA!

Source: VJ Kumar

Saturday, 24 August 2013


Singapore Beautiful
Books about Singapore usually praise its achievements or criticise its authoritarian rule. But few ever probe its widely publicized claims that it is a brilliant success that other countries should follow.
Singapore’s workforce productivity is often mediocre and well below that of the West and Asian economies such as Hong Kong.

The so called Singapore miracle was not due to creativity and innovation but based on manpower mobilization and brilliant marketing to attract foreign investment during the early days. As any detailed economist can see, this is no miracle, but basically it was about “getting the house in order”. Unlike elsewhere in Europe or any Nordic countries, creativity and innovation is not found in Singapore
The city state also displays endemic inefficiencies and mediocre performance at both macro and micro economic levels. The performance of  financial, research, education construction and service sectors is second-rate compared to the west.

The entire Singapore economy is “run like a casino”. A “Gambler’s Economy” where price inflation, manipulation of demand and supply, low wage labor exploitation money laundering and socio economic ponzi schemes fueling profits rather than innovation and creativity. With such setup, unscrupulous or mediocre enterprises have crept their way into Singapore’s economy further fueling socio economic problems.

Singaporean workers work the longest and are most stressed in the world. In Singapore, the cost of living which is a expensive as some western countries is not proportional to one’s income and working hours. In other developed countries, one can easily afford a car and home even if she or she is a cleaner.

Singaporeans students one again come up top as the most stressed students in the world according to certain indicators but. The education system puts emphasis on rote learning and paper qualifications rather than critical thinking. It also does help one realize their own dreams and aspirations but follow the state economical ideals. Many Singaporeans even though hardworking are unable to secure a place in university due to overwhelming completion and limited places. Moreover, Singapore’s educated are unfit for employment any creative or innovation driven enterprises.

Singapore’s Economy as one may call is a “freak” economy. It does not have natural resource input and depends on the tide of world economy. Singapore has gone through various economic recessions in the past years. Lack of laws regarding employment results in unfair termination and wage payments by companies resulting in grief even for competent workers.

Today’s problems have their roots in PAP decisions made decades ago. These decisions were made on the run with Yes-men with group-hugs under an illusion that it is one solution that fits all problems
Scholars and highly paid mandarins prized their pride and status above nation progress. Any criticism by commoners about their failures are constantly downplayed, and polticial critics  of the government are sued for defamation or locked up in prison.

A closer look as Singapore is a country, one may notice the  city state has 2 systems.

1) The leadership work under a system that are designed to protect themselves and in the process, deadwood and weeds gather and clot the oxygen needed for advancements.
2) The masses work in an exploitative system that keep the leadership fat and bloated.
As one can see this system is based on stone age medieval or dynasty rule where peasants serve the rulers, elites and kings.

However in recent years the two systems had been marred with problems like corruption, inefficiency, social problems and unfairness. The effect of this is far reaching often reaching the capability to completely screw the whole setup. Everyone is seeing the clear effects of this in today’s Singapore.

There are other countries, committed to open, democratic processes that have been spectacularly successful in creating economics that are both dynamic and fair — with far less inequality and far greater equality of opportunity than in the United States.

The economic achievements of the Nordic countries are in large measure a result of the strongly democratic nature of these societies. There is a positive nexus not just between growth and equality, but between these two and democracy (the flip side is that greater inequality not only weakens our economy, it also weakens our social stability). Many countries that have such problems have fallen into social anarchism where the system has failed and skewed towards a favoring single side.

Singapore is still living in the past and would slowly fade into oblivion as the developing countries progress and overtake it. Its best days are over and certainly not a miracle as they would want you to believe.

Source: Wee from Down under