Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Accountabiliy, transparency and social justice

Mr. Goh Chok Tong gave the keynote address at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center's annual dinner. He listed four main attributes of a political system to enable a country to flourish:

1. accountability and transparency
2. long term planning and execution
3. social justice and harmony
4. a culture of identifying and glooming talent for public service.

Accountability and transparency
I wish to reflect on whether MAS has acted with accountability and transparency in the handling of the credit linked notes. I submitted three petitions to MAS signed by 2,300 people. I request for a meeting to discuss these petitions. They were declined.

MAS said that they cannot meet with representative groups. But I suspect that they must have met with the representatives of the financial institutions.

I do not know how MAS can find a solution without listening to the views of the many thousand of people who have lost their hard earned savings.

Social justice
10,000 people have lost their hard earned or lifetime savings. A small percentage of people identified as "vulnerable" are being compensated. The remainder are left to deal on their own, on a case by case basis, against the large financial institutions. These institutions have the moral support of our leaders who labelled the investors as "greedy" and invested "with their eyes open".

I wonder if this can be called social justice?

Your views
What are your views?


ym said...

gahmen's all over the world privatise profits and socialise losses...

ppl at the top protects their happy-hour buddies, tennis-partners, choir-singing-church friends...

thats why i kinda love this credit crisis because it has hit the political and banking class hard...

we need ppl to transform the financial industry.. to overturn the flawed order of the establishments..

Anonymous said...

Mr. Goh is right. For a country to flourish, we need to have the 4 main attributes as mentioned. Now we know why Singapore is such a sorry state, because Singapore political system failed in all 4 counts!

Anonymous said...

Would be useful to gain MM's insight on Temasek's $400 million investment in ABC Learning in Australia.

Legally, would it be case closed, like the unfortunate investors here with the banks and FIs. We should be angry if there is mis-selling to Temasek, but can we get back the $400 million ?

Anonymous said...

My view is that they are also under tremendous stress but everyone looks to his boss for direction. Playing safe is best in this climax - why risk losing their own jobs? The way this is being played out is to delay actions to see how other govts react first. There are lawsuits in US. There are also huge losses in Germany. If an election comes soon, as speculated in today's papers, then the old theme of "who is handling a recession better" will be main topic. 10,000 out of 700,000 HDB households is a small fraction?

Chew Boon Keng said...

I agree totally with Kin Lian and "anonymous - 11.17 AM".

My regret is that one is not willing to put his/her name to the comment.

If more people are willing to stand up openly, then we may stil have hope for a much needed change.

Chew Boon Keng

Anonymous said...

I am not an investor and I am in my twenties. From this saga, I realise that compared to the government from Hong Kong and USA, the MAS is not doing much but preach caveat emptor which I find very disturbing. It is obvious that there is mis-selling and it is unethical to sell these risky investments in the first place to retail investors.

Anonymous said...

While I have disagreed with some government policies, my impression in the past was that the many institutions that were set up were quite world class. I am afraid that I no longer believe that is the situation and likely MOH is the exception.

For MOF and MAS, sigh.....

Anonymous said...

for this debacle where got accountability. scapegoat has not been found or someone doesn't want to be a scapegoat.
Social justice is blood boils , no, my blood evaporates when they talk about it without batting an eyelid like insurance agents lie with straight face.
Transparency???? it depends who is involved

Anonymous said...

If you ask me, I have stopped listening to this man called Goh already. Many years ago, when he called Singaporeans to invest in Shares during the launching of Singtel shares, a captain of the SAF did just that, and before long, he was in trouble, from being a captain to being a jail bird. Of course, he is partly to be blamed, for listening to this man. Now everything he says, I take with a large pinch of salt. More good years.

Everlearning said...

I have no views but just one question for SM Goh: Define the main role of our Government to our countrymen and women.

Views are just views unless concerted actions are carried out truly by the Government to make Singapore systems work.

Anonymous said...

Glooming talents? We have a lot. Progammes alone we have GEP, RP & IP. We have RI, RGS, RIJC, NYHS, HCI, NUSH, ACS(I), DHS & FT.

Thinker, leader, ....whatever U name it, do they CARE and do they take these 4 attibutes at heart.

...At the moment, our backyard has already caught fire and instead of taking sufficient CARE to put out the fire, we are teaching our neighbour to take CARE his backyard with methodology so as not to have his backyard caught fire....

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mr Goh was thinking of something else when talking about social justice. Remember he also has no time to answer personally in Parliament recently about the issue, preferring to let his deputy Mr Lim HK do it.

I guess he has bigger issues to worry about. Of course he will not put it this way unlike his wife who used "peanuts" to describe $600k.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

U can get either of 2 replies

One. Thank you for your feedback.

Two. Thank you very mauch for your generous feedback once again.

2:46 PM"

C H Yak said...

A system with leaders / administrators whom do not acknowledge their own mistakes; will never see the need to answer for accountability. They could be transparent because everything is dumped to others to be accountable.

Social justice under such a system could mean you be accountable for your own actions, don't make any noise about the leadership, and that is perceived as harmony.

Such a system would then identify and gloom talents for the public service to do long term planning and execution to suit the system which need not be accountable for their own mistakes. Even laws are written to exempt accountability for wrong execution. So what is there to be accountable?

Anonymous said...

Since I went in with "my eyes open", I will also vote with "my eyes open" the next time. From this experience, I can see very clearly who cannot be trusted when I needed them. I believe the rest of the investors do as well. Some people have lost their sense for the people

Anonymous said...

Try this forumla

"acknowledge their own mistakes" = shoot own foot = no rice bowl

Hey suddenly that seems to add up nicely now

Dont you agree Mr YAK

Anonymous said...

(星島)11月12日 星期三 13:41
一批在星展銀行 購買了雷曼相關投資產品的巿民,去到星展中環 總行抗議。

他們試圖衝入銀行,但被保安員阻止,雙方發生推撞,他們又攔著停車場出入口,不準車輛出入。他們較早前曾由立法會 遊行去金鐘新加坡 駐港領事館,要求新加坡政府介入事件。他們向領事館職員遞交請願信之後離開。

Even the HK ppl went to the Singapore embassy in HK to request Sg gov to involve the misleading investigate. But our gov..

Anonymous said...

The accountability and transparency we get from our PAP run town councils is that they have lost only a few percent of the reserves. Now shut up, relax and let us take care of things.

Anonymous said...

"Vulnerability" is a term that is not really extended to a number of investors. I have a friend who is in his fifties. He is not working having been told during one of our country's periodic "restructurings" that he was old and not relevant to the economy. He is well educated and had enough funds to see him and his wife through their "golden" years. Unfortunately, he tried to maximize his savings, invested in minibonds and pinnacle notes because fd rates were paltry. Of course, one could blame him for not being careful. One can always blame someone else, expecially the helpless. Now, he is in living hell, depressed and shocked. What can he do to survive his old age? Turn to the government? Do people like that not need, no, deserve some answer?

Anonymous said...

"Accountability & transparency", "social justice".. Is SM Goh trying to teach Hong Kong government & other countries about these qualities? Comparing how our government & the MAS is handling the issue versus how the Hong Kong government is doing it, it is ironic that SM Goh is spouting this advice. It should be Hong Kong Government teaching Mr Goh, our government& MAS how to have "accountability, transparency & social justice" in handling the Minibond issue. Actions speak louder than words SM Goh!

Anonymous said...

i think here, gov is looking at (2) above the rest. Long term planning for the viability of banks and the financial system ove short term social justice to a small group of people.

We need (4) to support (2) and since (1) has the possibility of undermining (2), refer to previous MAS statements about not being too swift since their statements will affect the market, (1) has to subject to certain conditions so (2) can happen. so (1), (3) and (4) are all subjected to (2)

Anonymous said...

Actually i think we are all wrong to think the gahmen is uncaring about this debacle. The gahmen is very caring. Do u know why? We only have 3 banks in spore. DBS is in deep shit already. It lost so much money it has to sack 900 staff immediately. There could be mann many more inside details for which DBS itself lose very very heavily. Do you ever think if DBS admit liability, it could go bankrupt,, if it ever compensates singpaoreans say 100% of the people 80% of the investment, it also has to compensate hongkong people and so on. This could wipe out the banks reserves, cause a draw on the bank and collapse, an implosion like Iceland. It is disasterous for even more singaporeans, for more than 10000 people, and the credibality and standing of the nation. So the gahment die die must protect the sacred institution called DBS. Die die must blame the poor investors scapegoat. They are paid high salaries to do this things against their conscience.
We suffer together.


Anonymous said...

It is laudable to note that the chairman of DBS has found a need to ask 'tough questions' but he made a wrong assumption. He assumed people walked in to buy and not sold.
In fact majority of the investors were prospected by RMs working with the bank tellers who had confidential information of the cleints.
In the first place it was wrong of the tellers to divulge classified info to the RMs.In other words the victims were systematically targeted, ie those with money were singled out for selling. They wouldn't have become victims if they were left alone to make their decision whether to reinvest.They were conned and suitability was not considered. The RMs had only one aim and that was to make a sale like all insurance agents.
It is big joke if the interest of the clients was ever at the heart of the sales process. I don't think the RMs or insurance agents were concerned or cared whether the customers needed help when they prospected for their victims.
So Mr Koh of DBS, if you made the wrong assumptions your solutions will be wrong too.

Anonymous said...

1. (accountable) - yah, except for vulnerable investors, all others are held accountable for their own investments; (transparent) - OK, so we report the losses in ABC learning, some $$$ spent on Suzhou, quite some more from CLOB, but we all make mistakes, it is part of the learning curve.
2. (long term planning) - yes, we do plan to govern long term; (execution) - this means it takes years to act from MAS, and some investments to bear fruits, just like what Warren Buffet says, don't worry.
3. (social justice) - don't know about this; (harmony) - true, we all mind our own businesses and not willing to speak out, therefore never offend others and avoid lawsuits;
4. (grooming) - we can help pay for the grooming, but they must also perform and help us when we need them most, ok, they always say a lot of countries worse off, but i see my relatives and neighbours all very stressed up, and I am unhappy about life too.


Anonymous said...

It's of no use having regulations but failed the due diligence to enforce it. MAS must also admit that they have failed miserably in understanding the risks of CDL products and therefore did not set parameters to ensure that the FIs knew how & who to sell to. If it had been they would have discovered the profound risks and complexities of such products. Requirements of proof of training and certification of RMs would have been insisted and profiling of suitable investors wouldn't have been a laisser fare routine.
MAS had literally let elephants walk pass their open eyes without spotting them, only awakened by the stampede they have caused later on. The ones who suffered are those pinned under the huge legs screaming for help in vain...only to be greeted by unkind remarks, "greedy, went in with open eyes, buyers beware catch all caveat emptor, etc....." It's really a sad state of affair if respectable powers have so little regards for the helpless investors. Elephants don't diffrentiate who to step on in a it professors, doctors, engineers, ah peh or ah soh. They're all at the mercy of the authority who let them pass through with eyes wide open to lend them a helping hand!

Anonymous said...

Many here will forget what they went through and continue to support PAP despite what they said now. That's just the typical Singaporean. In Hong kong, the people there are different and their government have no choice but to stand on their side and fight the banks. They deserve to have their money back, but Singaporeans are just too timid so they deserve what they get --- caveat emptor.

Nicholas Loh

Daniel Ling said...

Hi, my views. A link so as not to clutter.

PS: dun mind the title =D

Anonymous said...

Mr Tan, whenever u say something against the Govt, u will get 1001 voices supporting u. But just how useful or sound are those views? U want S'pore to be run like that, with MAS listening to a 1000 voices abt how they shouldn't bear the consequences of their investment decisions when things go sour and craft policies/regulations accordingly? That's one good reason to leave S'pore in my view. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

The gahmen just have to act this way to protect DBS from collapse, don't you get it? Ask yourself do you want to see DBS collapse or 10000 dead ducks. Hongkong is different, if hongkong govt pro-investor and get DBS to pay, it means nothing to them, who cares if DBS collapse. But, singapore will be in shit if DBS collapse.

Anonymous said...

firstly, how can investors be viewed as greedy over a 5 % interest, shouldn't the banks be the ones who are greedy selling any darn thing to customers just to earn some kind of commission.

may i suggest that DBS take the long term view by taking care of its customers.
differed compensation to investors spread over a certain period number of years may be helpful to the bank.

Anonymous said...

Let me put it as nicely as i could.

Bank DONT stick around long by taking CARE of its customers. It takes OTHER THINGS.

There, i hope i sound as nice as the Bank could have.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Goh Chok Tong listed the four main attributes.

Dear Mr Goh,
Please practice what you preach. Infact, HK are the ones doing it not you.

Anonymous said...

Actually if you count those HDB dwellers who are forced to pay more then needed for the monthly conservancy charges which were channelled into these products... the number should be more then 10,000.
I have written to a TC I belong to to ask but without any reply or acknowledgement of my question.
So much for the wayang speech.

Anonymous said...

GCT, put your house in order first before others'

Anonymous said...

Mr Tan,
I can confirmed that MAS has met all the FIs for 2 hours long meeting. Someone within that circle and who was there at the meeting told me this.
You are right to point out the bias of MAS. They only want to listen to one side of the story and then draw their conclusions with the eyes closed, ear closed, and they hope that everything will close. This is our system of democracy. There is no justice to all the small and ordinary people like us. We are just a piece of meat on the dinner plate.

Anonymous said...

1. accountability and transparency
Get MAS and all the FIs to compensate all investors.
Show all the insider informations to all investors and not use info to their advantage.
2. long term planning and execution
We planned and executed for over 43years already. And look at the shit that we are in. Failed planning?
3. social justice and harmony
Where got justice in this saga, it belongs to the big, rich and powerful only...impression of the man in the streets.
4. a culture of identifying and glooming talent for public service.
Have we not identify and gloom the talent that there is such a big public outcry in the history of S'pore? The "glooming fee" comes from the citizens who worked hard and paid taxes faithfully for the last 43 years.
Plse walk the talk else people lose their respect for you lah. Donald was probably laughing inside when you talk..look who's talking. Cut all the craps of high risks high return, walk in with eyes open, etc. Before those comments, plse organise a public forum, invite all the affected to tell you their stories and listen with your ears open and mouth shut before drawing conclusions that deepen the hurt.

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