Looking Back, Taking Stock, Moving Forward at PAP Convention 2011- by MP Denise Phua

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000963371365#!/note.php?note_id=315327298480344

 

Comrades, this is the second time I speak at our Party Convention. I remember having a culture shock when I first spoke in November 2005. I had never seen so many people gathered in one venue, all donned in white; shouting ‘Majulah Singapura’ and ‘Majulah PAP’, addressing each other as ‘comrades’.

 

6 years and 2 elections later, I feel more comfortable addressing you as comrades. And today I wish to humbly share my political journey and observations with you, my comrades.

I will touch on 3 key areas:

  1. Looking Back – the lessons I learnt as a PAP MP;
  2. Taking Stock – the observations I made of the last General Elections; and
  3. Moving Forward – some suggested steps on how we can together shape our Party for the future.

LOOKING BACK – LESSONS I LEARNT AS A PAP MP

Amongst the many lessons I learnt, there are 2 key lessons which stood out. They are to do with (1) Perception; and (2) Pushing the Boundary.

 

PERCEPTION

First, on perception. I learnt that what I see or read may not tell the full story; and I owe it to myself to find out the truth. I also learnt that whether a perception is true or not, perception is reality. If it is to do with something important, I need to address it – correct the perception if it is untrue; and do something to improve things if there is an element of truth.

 

Perception is especially important when it comes to the General Elections. Some politicians (and both the PAP and the opposition have their share) enjoy what I call the halo effect. To many Singaporeans, they can do no wrong.

 

Other politicians eg Ms Tin Pei Ling, may not be as fortunate. I am not here to defend Pei Ling. I only had a few personal encounters with her. I saw how she respects and treats her elderly parents behind the scene. I also heard from comrades like Satwant Singh who had the opportunity to serve with her and have positive things to say of Pei Ling.

 

My point about Pei Ling is related to this first lesson I learnt in politics – which is to pay attention to the ‘perception’ syndrome – to gather more data points before I assume that perceptions are truths; and to respond to perceptions appropriately so that I can be better guided and become more effective in my decisions and judgments.

 

Comrades, I encourage you to do the same.

 

PUSHING THE BOUNDARY WHEREVER I AM IN THE PARTY PECKING ORDER

Another lesson I learnt in politics is to do with having the courage to push the boundary wherever I am placed in the party’s pecking order – top, bottom or in-between.

 

I learnt that it pays to take the time to build the arguments for the causes we believe in and take the courage to address them, even if we are not ministers or CEC members. I found that there are good people in PAP and in the public sector who are willing to look objectively at the merits of issues I put forward; and change precedent practices to do the right thing.  

 

This happened in Kampong Glam where I served and where many legacy problems arise due to the negative aspects of city living. Several ‘firsts’ were achieved resulting in a better quality of life for the residents.

 

The traffic congestion at Bencoolen Link which serves some of Singapore’s biggest Buddhist and Hindu temples has been there for more than 20 years. My team and I held many long meetings and HDB and LTA officers worked with me patiently – reversed the directions of that road and others around; installed an EPS gantry; persuaded all the stakeholders; changed all the roadsigns – and the 20-year-old legacy problem was solved!

 

Another example. For many years at Rochor, residents who drove waited for hours behind non-resident drivers before they can enter their car parks and return to their families. After much negotiation, HDB worked with me to install the first double-entrance to carparks, giving priority to residents to enter the car parks. They now go home earlier to their families.

 

Those were 2 local examples with payoffs when boundaries were pushed.

 

At national level, where my co-volunteers and I tried hard to push for Singapore to include the special-needs community – many significant changes also occurred. Political leaders who head the ministries listened and several important milestones were achieved.

 

The Ministry of Education has now taken a much more active leadership in the education of special needs students in mainstream and special schools. The MCYS under then Minister Vivian accepted one of my bolder recommendations to provide a flat grant of $300/- per Singaporean special-needs toddler first before kicking in means-testing to further help the poor. This is a significant departure from the tradition of a purely means-testing mode of subisiding expensive early intervention.

 

These achievements had not been highlighted before because none of us were politically attuned to perceive them as political achievements. We just served. From hindsight, I learnt that many of these achievements are indeed achievements of the PAP Government.

 

But these positive experiences reaffirmed my hunch that there is merit to joining the ruling party and changing things from within, and we should encourage others to join our party as change can be influenced from within.

 

I learnt from my political journey that if I truly care, I must be willing to do the home work and hard work to push the boundary. It does not matter where I am in party hierarchy.  

 

Comrades, I encourage you to do the same.

 

TAKING STOCK: OBSERVATIONS OF THE 2011 GENERAL ELECTIONS AND OTHERS

I want to move next to my observations of the 2011 General Elections and offer a brief analysis.

 

First, I want to be honest to say that some of us backbencher MPs who had diligently walked the ground had expected better results at the poll for ourselves. For instance, residents I know who live in the Canberra constituency had been sharing with me Comrade Lim Wee Kiak’s newsletter and about the good work he has done there. During the last GE campaign, Wee Kiak told me about a resident who apologized to him for voting for the opposition instead of for him. The appetite for more opposition voices was too strong in the last GE. I am glad that good MPs like Wee Kiak and my other colleagues are still in Parliament despite this voting pattern.

 

These observations have led me to developing the following simple formula. I believe that:

Success at the Poll is a function of 3 key components:

  1. Appeal and Track Record of the CANDIDATES
  2. Appeal and Track Record of the PAP
  3. Appeal and Track Record of the CONTESTING OPPOSITION PARTY

There is little we can do to impact the 3rd factor – the appeal and track record of the contesting opposition party. But we can work hard to raise the appeal of our candidates and our party and to improve and highlight the positive track record of our candidates and party.

 

More than 60% voted for the PAP in the last GE. We have been given a great opportunity to serve in the many constituencies we won and we should do our best to ensure that each “Touch Point” – the moments at which we make contacts with our voters and other Singaporeans – is as positive as possible.

 

MOVING FORWARD

Moving forward, I believe that the best way to predict the future is to create it. To do this, I would like to suggest a 4-D process to go about creating our future together, both at our own branches and at party HQ. The 4 Ds are to (1) Discover (2) Dream (3) Design (4) Deliver.

 

DISCOVER

First, discover. Much work has been done by Party HQ to discover what could be done better at the last GE. Although I too contributed to the ideas, I wish to add one more perspective to this soul-searching exercise. And that is, besides discovering what the gaps are, let us also rediscover what the PAP’s strengths are.

 

You see, comrades, every organization and that includes the PAP has something that works right ; something that pulls people to serve, some for so long and so hard; something that stops most of us from abandoning the ship and walking away when there is a setback.

 

I think of Moulmein’s Comrade Chua Lai Teck who walked with his then-MP candidate Lui Tuck Yew, 50 kilometres a day, around the private estates of Bukit Timah; who got bitten by the dog in a rich neighbourhood; and who today still serve so diligently and passionately at the Moulmein.

 

I am deeply grateful to my branch activists at Kampong Glam, week after week, writing appeals till midnight; organizing fundraising for the PCF kindergartens we operate at way-below-market rate. I appreciate our young comrades who took the path less travelled and less comfortable, and graciously worked with our elderly veteran comrades, forging partnerships using their less than proficient Mandarin or dialect.

 

This is a photo of my fellow comrades after midnight, in good spirit even after the evening MPS. The clock in the photo shows the time.

 

They say the activist is not the person who says the river is dirty; but he is the one who joins in cleaning the river. Our many sincere, loyal and diligent activists form an important component of the PAP’s DNA and strength.

 

In this first step of Discovering, the PAP has no shortage of inputs on how it is not good enough (pages of them I saw) and we must never ignore these inputs. But the process of soul-searching must also uncover our areas of strengths such as our activists. And the outcome of our discovering must highlight the strengths we have and build them into our change efforts.

 

DREAM

Next, dream. American poet Carl Sandburg said, “Nothing happens unless it is first a dream”.

The new narrative Chairman Khaw spoke about is essential to the PAP but it must be crafted not by just a few appointed members. Just as our Party is going to respond to its voters’ desire for greater involvement and engagement, so must our Party involve and engage our own Party members to formulate that dream and narrative.

 

For myself, I aspire for the PAP to help build a country of people who would care and be involved not only for their own survival and success; but also those of others. I aspire for the PAP to help Singapore become a significant and respected global player that does well economically but also do good and make an impact on peoples of other nations who are not as blessed and especially those who are living below survival level.

 

DESIGN AND DELIVER

The final 2 steps of the 4-D Change process concern Designing and Delivering. Comrades, unless we follow through with the Design and Delivery after we Discover and Dream, the exercise would be just a “feel good” experience and we will return to our old habits.

 

Someone once said, there are 3 types of people in this world: (a) those who make things happen; (b) those who watch things happen; and (c) those who wonder what happened.  Designing and especially Delivering are the stuff that people who make things happen do. Let us not be team members who watch things happen or who are so blur and only wonder what happened.

 

The 4-Ds of discovering, dreaming, designing and delivering for change can happen not just at PAP party level; it can happen too at the Branch level. And that is what I intend to do at my constituency.

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, comrades, I want to leave you with a quote by ex-American President, Theodore Roosevelt. He said this,

 

It is not the critic who counts:

not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles

not the man who points out where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena;

whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;

who strives valiantly;

…..the man who does actually try to do the deed;

who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion

and spends himself in a worthy cause;

who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

 

Comrades, credit goes to those of us who stayed on to fight; who actually do the deed; and who walk the extra mile even when the person you are trying to help curses you.

 

Singapore would not be the success it is today if PAP stalwarts like Mr Lee Kwan Yew and Mr S Rajaratnam were content to just criticize the ruling government of the day.

 

Comrades, at least 60% of Singaporeans voted for us. Let us not disappoint them. Let us serve in dignity. Let us dream, design and deliver a First World Country, not just a First World Parliament, together with our fellow Singaporeans.

 

May we all find Delight in both days of disappointment and victory, as we build a First World Country for and with all Singaporeans, whether they voted for us or not.

 

Majulah Singapura. Majulah PAP.

 

Denise Phua

27 November 2011

(FINAL DELIVERED VERSION)

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With more opposition MPs coming into the picture, PM realises he need to transform; … really ?

 

Your voice :

  • every good thing that PAP comes out with, the credit will be given to the those who did nothing ?
  • our government has always been doing a good job quietly behind the scenes. Otherwise how did our country come so far since independence.The opposition is like couch critics of a sports game. sitting on their couches and telling the sportsmen what to do. Put them on the field and they can’t play the game.Can we allow our country to be run by a group of inexperienced “sportsmen” wannabe who are better shooting with their mouths?
  • I like MOS Tan Chuan-Jin’s retort to YJJ in the parliament opening.“‘I fail to understand how, as a result of your entry into Parliament, we’ve suddenly started responding on that front. We have been providing good public housing for our people for many years. Perhaps imitation is the best form of flattery, and if you feel that it’s important to take credit, then it must be something good.”– BG(Res) Tan Chuan Jin to Yee Jenn JongIf the opposition is trying to take credit for what the PAP is doing, then PAP must be doing something good.
  • It’s common knowledge that those who can’t perform, teach. Those who can’t teach, consult… so it is a given that the opposition roles are there by default as they are consultants!
  • While the perception could be that with more opposition MPs, the PAP is forced to change BUT the Opposition still needs to prove that they can be/form an alternative govt.Merely raising checks here and there but with no concrete ‘Original’ solutions still leaves them where they are, i.e. “Your voice in a PAP government”
  • With more opposition in parliament,PAP will become better politician, not better government!
  • I believe that our govt has been doing lots b4 / after GE, with or without oppositions, I can’t really be 100% sure that the govt will be doing ALL the things they are doing today without them oppositions in sight. (one obvious thing is being more active in the social media)
  •   I am sure having an opposition is a good thing. But the problem is what does an opposition do when a government seems to be doing all the right things.
  • When it comes to policy formation, I’m sure our govt under PM Lee is smart & sincere enough not to make populist ones cause doing so will only have negative effects on Sgp.But what about changing their “connection” with the people? Perhaps that have changed coz of more displeasure of the govt losing the ground?
  • For I think, there is defnitely much better communication between us “layman’ and our govt reps, at least over the social media, no?
  • And it only show that our govt is willing to make chnges for the better instead of being arrogant and insist that there is no need for any change? 

Looking at history, we don’t need an Opposition. Lee Kuan Yew  brought Singapore from 3rd World to First from 1967 – 1981 when there was not a single opposition in Parliament. Go figure.

 

  • As much as i feel sad, my respect for our Mr Lee Kuan Yew is even greater with his steppin down from cabinet coz he knows that that is probably the best option for Sgp now. He has no qualms in giving up power as long as it is for the betterment of Sgp.The people should be shameful for not being able to see & acknowledge that.
  •  I know for a fact that Lee Kuan Yew is far from the arrogant, dictatorial and high handed individual so often portrayed. He consult with foreign experts and even bring them in to train our govt on the running of the country with efficiency. … Lee Kuan Yew is still unyeilding in searching for a better tomorrow for us! My support for him is a given, not for myself but for what he did and is still doing for the country. As a self employed person, I have had my share of difficulties with changing governmental policies all these years, but that is another story.
  • Lee Kuan Yew is always thinking for his subjects but what did some of his subjects did to him. All the negative about him. How sad??? But he never ever think of himself first but his country Singapore first.
  • Lee Kuan Yew  is a hard core realist and flattery cannot get past him. He shuns High Horse Mentality and it is my uncolored and unbiased observation that made me stand on the right side all these years. I accepted all the hard decisions thru the years and can say that I stood unflinchingly on the right side . Time has not changed my stance at all.

Student Rate for All Polytechnic Student – by Edison Lim

https://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/lim-kun-yun-edison/student-rate-for-all-polytechnic-student/10150427529044074

Speech 26 November 2011

Let me start by asking you a question

 “Is our Transportation system affordable to everyone?” Yes or No?

How many of you take public transport to reach here at Hong Lim Park?

Well, thanks for your response.

A very good day to all, my name is Edison Lim Kun Yun I am 18 years old, a Year 2 student studying in Nanyang Polytechnic, School of Information Technology.

Today’s event, Wear white for fairer fare, from my view I can see that (many) are not wearing white top.  This is perfectly fine. This is because we are come forward to support the motion on a early Saturday morning, who cares what colour you wear, to me, as long as you are here, I salute you all!

Why u choose white? A short and sweet answer will be, White  symbolize pure and fairness.

As such today we step forward with the support of our friends, standing right in front of everyone, representing the voices of the students, hoping to achieve the goal we have all been fighting for – the more fairer transportation fare for us!

Throughout the one year in school, I had seen much opinion and frustration among my friends on why Polytechnic students need to pay more than JC students. Are we not in the same age range?

Is it because the Government wants to encourage more people to study in JC and put this so called “blockage” to discourage people from entering polytechnic? hmm..It was only recent that I realized it PTOs who is in control of the prices thru Minister Lui’s speech in response to Mr Baey’s question in Paliarment.You see, now we know that PTOs have the right to regulate fares, if we do not voice our concern to PTOs, who will raised? Me? You? If it is a one man show, i guess we have to wait long long, thus we need to unite as one.

I have seen many petition initiatives online, one of them which called: “National Petition for Fairer Transportation Fares for Polytechnic/ Tertiary Students” from The Online Citizen website dated November 2, 2008. As such, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Benard Chen for sparking off this in 2008 to sound the islandwide cry. Unfortunately, things has changed from the past as the standard of living had increased due to the  advancement of Technology, as such there’s a need to call for student rate for all polytechnic’s student, be it part-time or full time.

First, Polytechnics are no longer viewed as a terminal education endpoint. As compared to the past, Polytechnic students mostly come from A level then, but nowadays, most poly students came directly from O levels. Hence, they should be placed in the same tier as their peers in JCs and ITEs, rather than with undergraduates. I believe MOT can reclassify this. Polytechnic students should be regarded as future talents. I agree to the fact that in the past between it was then regarded as the Terminal Education Endpoint in Polytechnic where Polytechnic graduates are expected to enter workforce once they leave school. Unfortunately, this is all in the past. We cannot compare the situation now to the past. Now Polytechnic graduates are losing advantages compared to higher education degree holder which are much favored by the employers, government etcs.

Because of the above reason, many Polytechnic students are saving up for University School fees and not forgetting that they are not working fulltime, some even have no income at all. By having to pay more than average, it increases the burden of the students as well as the working adults. As such, the Mindset and education values have to change and perhaps the first step in fulfilling this change would be a policy change in the concession for Polytechnic students be it part time or full time.

Secondly, I want to touch on the distance prices. Singapore is made up of islands which have a total area of 700 square kilometres, as justified by World Bank5. W e cannot expect 10 Polytechnics to be built on this tiny little red dot, and thus based on our current 5 Polytechnics’ location, the distance travelled by most students are longer and more expensive.

With the comparison of MRT concession pass between JCs and Polytechnics, JC student pay about $25 while Polytechnic student pay about $45 per month for the same service! This isn’t right! Singapore often has this misconception of money for value. If we analyze this based on this misconception, does it means by paying $45, Polytechnic students get better treatment? The answer is no! We still see the massive human jam in MRT/Buses at every peak hour of the day.

Even MBA/adults with student passes are enjoying perks from other merchants, regardless of age.

As such, I don’t see there’s no reason why Polytechnic students cannot enjoy the current concession rate as JCs, unless SMRT/SBS have a special product bundle package only for Polytechnic students, or else the current Polytechnic transport fare should be the same as the current JCs to promote fairness since the treatment is the square.

Third, Based on my verbal discussion with many people, I am well aware of a certain analogy called Robbing Peter to pay Paul” In simple terms, it means that Someone has to take money from Person A to allow Person B to have a cheap fair transportation rate in order to sustain their profit. One Question, Why not the PTOs be the Peter?

An extract from their mission; SBS, “To this end, we are committed to delivering safe and reliable services at affordable prices” and SMRT “To be the Customer’s Choice”. Do you think it is affordable now? What’s SBS’s definition of affordable?  SMRT have $ 895.1m of Revenue last year with $22.5m earns from advertising, SBS Transit have total revenue of $720.80m, with $50.1m comes from advertising.

From a customer relationship Management acquire perspective, companies are bound to lose their field of customer each year. As such, companies have to look for mass media to keep and to get new customer.

This explains why SMRT mention Stable advertising business despite economic downturn in their annual report which means there are to be a stable potential growth. SBS Transit pointed out about helping the Community in 2010, when they contributed some $100,000 in cash to various charitable causes and community projects.

Given a wide range of income sources and a kindness heart which I perceived from their Annual Report 2010 (Unless they are just writing for the investor to see only), Why not they cross subsidized themselves? Using other profits to cover the welfare? Because the main priorities of PTOs should be focusing on commuter benefits and Coporate Social Responsbilities (CSR), not about profits. Given the number of commuters who walk pass the MRT station or buses, the advertising media guarantee an earning. As such, I propose PTOs extend your reach to B2B model and do the necessary arrangement to provide an affordable price for polytechnic students. This not only give the world an impression that you care for the future talent and will strongly uphold your values that is written in the annual report.

Nevertheless, my main objective is not to merely criticize the current public policies, neither am I going to oppose the government or so, as I am going to provide reasons  that I have collected thru verbal discussion as well as social network comments to fight for the rights of having fairer transport fare for Polytechnic students. 

In conclusion, I hope that I have put a clear message across to everyone. I sincerely hope that relevant policymakers can consider the reason raised and come out and support the polytechnic students in term of transportation and make today’s event count rather than a no action talk only events. I hereby sincerely request a reply from SBS and SMRT on their stance of Polytechnic transport fare. When can we have our concession? how long more do u want us to wait?? If lets say PTOs refused to respond, then i will make my current virtual facebook group “Student Association” into reality, and use that to organize and create a platform for you and me to fight for what we believe in. This is not confirm, now at the moment, lets wait.

I will now end my speech with a quotation from our Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong

“I hope to bring all Singaporeans together , so that even though we may not all agree on this issue, we understand and respect each other’s reasons and concerns, and can close ranks and move ahead.”

As such I hope Singaporeans can understand and respect the concern of us, the polytechnic students.

—-Everyone to take note, 

I am sure we are aware of a letter posted by The Online Citizen last night from  the Citizen of Singapore with Disabilities in regards to have the same level of transport subsidy that is given to our senior citizens be extended to the disabled. This mail had been recieved by MrTeo Ser Luck. I, myself and a few of my friends with the support of Young PAP feels for your cause and will explore ways to champion it with you in the near future.

Thank You

 

New PAP for a new era – by Lawrence Wong

 

https://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/lawrence-wong/new-pap-for-a-new-era/279322392109111

 

The Party Convention has highlighted the recommendations of the GE Review committee, and the new directions for the PAP.  

 

As PM Lee puts it, we need a new PAP for a new era. 

 

I was in the GE review committee, and as part of the review process, participated in many branch visits to engage the activists. 

 

I found the process very useful, because we were able to better understand the concerns on the ground, and to get useful feedback and suggestions from the activists.  

 

Our key task now is to translate the recommendations into actions.  

 

On the ground, I believe all PAP activists recognise that the political environment has changed. Competition will become more intense.  Even the branches which won by significant margins in GE2011 know that they cannot be complacent, because they may face a stronger opposition the next round. 

 

So we have a major agenda ahead of us – to galvanize our activists to change and improve the way the party works, and to serve all Singaporeans better. 

 

In this regard, I am glad that the PM has highlighted that the new PAP will be less centralised and more interactive, with more initiatives from the ground-up.  

 

We have many activists with the commitment and passion to serve, especially for causes they feel strongly about.  

 

We must harness and unleash their energies to transform the party, to improve government policies, and to strengthen the bond of trust with the people. 

 

In the process, I hope that even more Singaporeans will stand up and join our political cause.  

 

The PAP strives to be more than just a political party – we were founded with the aim of being a national movement for the people!

 

So work with us to make things happen, to bring about real change, and to deliver tangible benefits for Singaporeans.  

 

Ultimately, we want to make a difference, not just to re-invent the PAP, but to secure the future and success of Singapore.

 

 

Bilingual Education Given a Boost with Setting up of Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism – MOE

 

http://www.moe.gov.sg/media/press/2011/11/bilingual-education-given-a-boost.php 

Bilingual Education Given a Boost with Setting up of Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism

 

1      Mr Lee Kuan Yew has proposed to raise money for a Bilingualism Fund at the launch of his new book, “My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore’s Bilingual Journey” today.

 

2      The Ministry of Education (MOE) thanks Mr Lee for his generous contribution towards promoting bilingualism and for raising funds for this cause. The fund will be named the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism. The government will provide a 1:1 matching grant for donations to the Fund, up to a cap of $50 million.

 

3      Bilingual education in English and the Mother Tongue Languages is a cornerstone of our education system. Learning two languages helps Singaporeans plug into a globalised world while strengthening links to our Asian heritage.

 

4      The Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism will supplement efforts by MOE in the teaching and learning of English and the Mother Tongue Languages, amidst changes in the home language environment.

 

5      For a start, the Fund will focus on initiatives for Mother Tongue Languages and English learning at the pre-school level1 by developing age-appropriate English (EL) and Mother Tongue Language (MTL) teaching and learning resources; and enhancing teacher capability in the teaching and learning of EL and the MTLs. Strengthening efforts to encourage bilingualism in pre-school will enable our children to build a strong foundation for language learning when they enter primary school.

 

6      MOE will release more details on the Fund later. Details for those interested in donating are in the Annex.

 

 

Thanks to Mr Lee Kuan Yew for the contributions towards promoting bilingualism in our pre-schools! Indeed the best time to learn a language is in the initial years of a child’s life. It is also important how the learning is done, e.g. through sensory stimulation and play. The more fun it is to learn a language, the more a child will want to stay with it.

 

Should PRs allowed to rent out their flats under any circumstances ?


Based on :

“MR xxx : ‘National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan stated that 1,967 flats owned by permanent residents (PRs) were sublet with HDB’s approval as they had met their minimum occupation period (‘HDB flats owned by PRs’; Tuesday). While it is understandable to let PRs who contribute to Singapore have the privilege of owning HDB flats, we should not allow public flats to be turned into financial instruments of profit by them. If PRs cannot live in their HDB flats, they should be required to sell them. PRs should not be allowed to rent out their flats under any circumstances. While I have no issues with PRs being owner-occupants of HDB flats, allowing them to be landlords is a different matter.”

 

Your Voice  :

  • HDB flats should be an investment for Singaporean, but should remain purely as housing to PR.
  • The very first objective for HDB flat should be to provide an affordable and comfortable living space for Singaporean. Treating it as a form of investment should be secondary. Whereas for PR, it should be solely for housing only and not to generate any revenue.
  • there is a fine balancing act between affordable and investment.Does owner wants their flat to depreciate over time? remain the same value over time? or appreciate over time?Given that the flat is financed by loan that charges an interest, in order for the flat to remain break even, the value of the flat must rise overtime to just keep up with the interest paid.
  • Singaporeans cry and demand a ‘Singaporeans FIRST’ focus. When I read this letter, my reaction is that the witch-hunting has started.If 1,967 flats is a significant figure to arouse discontent, I would like to ask the figure for Singaporeans who have a 2nd or 3rd property and choose to rent out or keep their HDB flat as investment (note that new rules introduced this year disallow this).Just like the reluctance of blue blood Singaporeans to embrace our new sporting heroes, does this writer really feel cheated by the 1,967 PRs or is this simply part of a convert operation to sow further discord.Next up will be to limit PRs and foreigners to ONE car per household.
  •  Wealthy Singaporeans should also be deterred to rent out HDB units for profits. I believe there are loopholes in this regard.
  • HDB flats should never be an investment in the first place, it should be a basic roof over our heads. Unfortunately, most Singaporeans and PRs alike, are using this basic housing scheme for profit – hence the high prices.
  • should motivate them to become citizen if they want to rent out their flats .
  • As long as an owner of a HDB flat can rent out the flat and/or sell off the flat, a HDB flat IS an investment. The only way for a HDB flat NOT to be an investment would be to totally prohibit the renting out of the flat AND selling of the flat.
  • I think the Singaporean First sentiment can be carried too far, yes there will be some PRs that exploit what Singapore offers who would have a net benefit from their stay in Singapore before they leave. This group of PRs would not make good citizens anyway.On the other hand, there would also be PRs who would ‘fall in love’ with Singapore enough to sink roots here and make it a home for themselves and their children. These are the ones that make good citizens to me.The way we view and treat non-citizens say a lot about what we are as a people.
  • SINGAPORE First. Country before people. Singaporean First is as good as putting the interests of individuals first before the country’s interests.
  • I believe there are different rules for PRs and Citizens in regard LUP, PRs had to pay $30K and above whereas citizens only pay $3K and below. Hence some of PR decided to become citizens.

 

Respecting the Dignity of our needy residents – by MP Irene Ng

https://www.facebook.com/#!/irenengph 

  • agrees fully with Halimah on respecting the dignity of our needy residents who refuse social welfare handouts and prefer to manage on their own. Sometimes, residents see the elderly selling tissues at the MRT or selling karang guni and ask us to approach them to help them. We do so, but not all want to be helped in this way. I remember one resident asking me to help a granny who has been rummaging… rubbish bins looking for food – we waited for her, spoke to her several times, even trailed her to her flat, and spoke to her family: but neither she nor her family wanted financial aid; they live in a five-room flat and have sufficient financial means. Unfortunately, her family can’t stop her from rummaging the rubbish bins a she has mental problems. It is not always easy to help such cases esp when they do not want help. It is not that the Govt don’t care or don’t want to help. Hope residents understand.
  • Certainly, we all can do with more human kindness around us and more helping hands. Like many, I too had gone through hard times and remember the many people who have helped in their own ways without making me feel bad or small. The hawker in a three-room flat who rented me a room for $150 when I was a student as that was all I could afford, and didn’t chase me out like another much richer person in a 5-room flat who wanted a student who could pay more. My class mates who occasionally bought me necessities during the exam period. And the kind people who gave me the opportunity to earn some extra pocket money, like telling stories at the toy dept of a shopping centre. Each kind of compasssionate help – be it through personal or officials channels – plays an important part in easing one’s burden, depending on one’s circumstances and needs. Anyone who needs financial assistance from the government can see his or her MP at the weekly Meet-the-People session. We can also help in other ways, like helping to look for a better job, if one is able to work. If not able to work, there are other long-term help schemes. The point made by Halimah is that we shld respect the decision of those who do not want to seek social welfare; we should not self-righteously force them to accept our charity against their will, although our intentions are good. That said, there are different ways of helping our needy, from mentoring to providing groceries and free textbooks, and all of us can play a part in our own neighourhoods.
Based on : 
  

Most low-income families will not ask for help: Halimah

SINGAPORE – She lost her father when she was just eight. And although her family’s income level was in the bottom 10 per cent of the population, Madam Halimah Yacob’s mother never considered getting social assistance.
 
“Very often, when I was in school, my teacher always told me: ‘Why don’t you go and ask your mother to get social welfare, social assistance?'” the Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports shared with the House, in response to a question by Ms Irene Ng (Tampines GRC) about the number of needy families who choose to fend for themselves instead of getting financial aid.
 
Mdm Halimah had shared the findings from a survey of 2,000 low-income families that showed that 60 per cent of them preferred to be self-sufficient.
 
“But my mother would be terribly horrified with any suggestion that she should go and get social welfare or social assistance. Because when my father died … my mother said that so long as she has two hands and two legs, we will all survive,” Mdm Halimah said, blinking back tears.
 
Mdm Halimah made the point that we have to respect people’s desires “to say that they have ownership of their lives”.“We cannot say that just because you are in the bottom 20 per cent, I must therefore extend my help to you whether you want it or not. I think that should not be the philosophy that we should adopt,” she said.
 

“Rather, we should adopt a philosophy where we provide them with the dignity and support, and the level of assistance and the kind of assistance that they need.”

 

Still, Mdm Halimah noted that there is room for improvement in terms of coordinating help for needy families from various agencies so that no one falls through the cracks.She added that the ministry is working with its partners to find ways to adopt “an even more client-centric approach in the delivery of social assistance and services to the needy”.