Saturday, July 23, 2011

MAS records net loss of $10.9 billion

This report said that MAS recorded a net loss of $10.9 billion due to the strong Singapore dollar. We need to study if this is only part of the truth or the whole truth. How much of the loss is attributable to the strong Singapore dollar? How much of the loss is caused by excessive speculation or trading (if any)?  .

It is important for the President to ask these questions, get the answers from MAS and be able to interpret these answers. This will improve accountability and engender trust in our institutions. In an earlier statement, I said that our reserves should be invested prudently, to achieve a reasonable return over the long term and avoid speculation.

Friday, July 22, 2011

TKL Media Statement - Dr Tan Cheng Bock apply for Certificate of Eligibility

I am glad that Dr Tan Cheng Bock is submitting his application for the Certificate of Eligibility and wish him all the best in getting approval from the Presidential Election Committee. I have high regard for Dr. Tan Cheng Bock and look forward to a dignified contest with him and other candidate(s) in the election.

With more candidates standing for election, the voters of Singapore will have a wider choice of selecting the next President of Singapore. The contest will make more citizens aware of the importance of this position and educate more people on the need to make a wise choice.

I will be standing for election to offer to the people the following choice of electing me to:

  • Be a VOICE of the PEOPLE to carry their views, concerns and aspirations to the Government.
  • Be INDEPENDENT of the PAP government but to work with it to find solutions that are best for the people
  • Apply my knowledge and expertise to SAFEGUARD their CPF savings and the RESERVES of Singapore.
I also reiterate my pledge to donate at least half of the President's salary towards charity and other causes. I am encouraged by the feedback I have received to date (see

I invite the people of Singapore to read more about my campaign statements and activities in

With restrictions on the campaign activities as advised by the Prime Minister's Office, I call on the mainstream media to give equal coverage to all the candidates, so that the people can have the relevant information to make a wise choice in voting for their President.

Ivy Singh endorses the values of Tan Kin Lian

Do we need a President?
When you are in absolute despair, you need someone to give you hope!
The people form the constitution.
Singapore should be the paradise that it should be.

Statement from Tan Kin Lian - Public Transport Fares

Many Singaporeans have expressed their unhappiness in the Internet and other channels over the requests by the public transport operators, namely the SMRT and SBS Transit,  to increase their train and bus fares.

The public argued that the public transport operators are already making big profits for their shareholders, paying high salaries for their chief executives (as reported in their annual reports) and are operating in an near monopolistic situation with little competition in their respective market segments.

They also complained about the crowded buses and trains, unreliable service, poor level of customer service (due to insufficient or poorly trained workers) and over-charging of fares (due to system fault).

I echo the views of the public and wish to ask the Public Transport Council to delay any fare increase until the public transport operators can provide more capacity and improve the standard of service, namely to provide a more comfortable ride with shorter waiting and travelling time.

I also ask the public transport operators to consider their responsibility to the public and keep the fares at a reasonable level. The operators should try to reduce their operating costs, especially in the high salaries paid to top managers, and reduce other expenses, for example in the adoption of expensive systems, that do not directly improve the quality of service provided to commuters.

I recognise the duty of the public transport operators to provide a return on investment to shareholders, but wish to point out that the return should be fair and not excessive, and should not be at the expense of the commuting public, especially those at the low income levels who have no choice but to take public transport.

If the Public Transport Council agrees to increase the fares, to offset the uncontrollable increase in  operating costs, I ask the Council to request that more concessions be given to senior citizens, low income families and students to offset the increases.

I also ask the Minister of Transport and the Land Transport Authority to take urgent steps to revamp the public transport system in Singapore by increasing the capacity and encouraging more effective competition among the public transport operators. 

This can be achieved by allowing more private bus operators to run express bus services between the towns to increase competition and provide more choice to commuters. The express bus services should be supplemented by efficient feeder services. We can study the popular and successful system adopted in Hong Kong, where small light buses are used to ferry commuters between the homes and the bus and train stations. We should be open to change our system and adapt the successful models from overseas to suit our own circumstances

I have published my proposals on the improvement of the public transport system over the past two years. I have also written to the Transport Minister on these proposals. I urge the Minister for Transport and the Land Transport Authority to give urgent consideration to these proposals.

Public transport is an issue that is of high concern to the people of Singapore. I wish to voice their concerns and urge the Public Transport Council, the Land Transport Authority and the Minister for Transport to find solutions that are best for the people.

Tan Kin Lian

Razor TV - TKL Media Conference

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Talk by TKL - Leadership, guided by values

I am giving this talk to the members of the Marketing Institute of Singapore. It is also open to the public. You can register directly with the organiser. Brochure of talk.

There will be an active Question & Answer session. It will be extended to issues of interest to the audience, including the Presidential Election. The media has been invited, so it will be an exciting session.

Tan Kin Lian meets the people of Singapore

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Grow 600 times in 30 years

I joined NTUC Income in 1977 as the general manager (later re-designated as  chief executive officer).  During a period of 30 years, the total assets increased by 600 times from $28 million to $17 billion. 

Growing up as a criminal

Here is a letter from a Singaporean who migrated and became a Canadian citizen. But he is treated as a criminal for not doing national service.  A few years ago, I met the parent of a boy in a similar situation. The parents migrated to Australia, but the father had to accompany the son back to Singapore to serve national service - otherwise the son would be treated as a criminal.

International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation

I was the chairman of ICMIF from 1992 to 1997. According to its website (, ICMIF now has 210 members from 70 countries These members employ a total of 260,000 people and manage assets of USD 1.5 trillion. The official foreign reserves of Singapore today is USD 225 billion, according to the MAS website. These figures are not strictly comparable, but gives an idea of the size of ICMIF.  I was the first and only Asian to be elected into the position of chairman of ICMIF.

Pay and Pay

Read this good article written by Dr. Wong Wee Nam.

Videos - Tan Kin Lian answers questions from supporters

Opening address to supporters (16 July)

Question 1: What prompted you to stand as a candidate for the Elected President (EP)?

Question 3: If you are elected, how do you envisage your working relationship is going to be with the government of the day?

Question 4: If I were to compare you to the past presidents and the current nominees you have starkly no international relation experience. Don't you feel that such background is important in carrying out the primary duties of the president?

Question 5: You have a lot of talk on charity work and helping others. What kind of charity work have you actually undertaken in your personal capacity to date?

Affordability of housing

I have made some changes to the paper. The revised paper can be found here.

It is important to keep to the benchmark of 5 years of family income for the property that you buy. If you pay too much, it will eat into your retirement savings - and should be avoided. If property prices are too high, wait for it to fall, or buy a smaller property!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Videos - TKL answers journalists and supporters

CNA - Railway Track

TKL, TCB and TJS walk the railway track.

TKL Campaign Strategy - with entry of 4th contestant

Tan Kin Lian speaks to supporters about the campaign strategy, with the entry of a 4th contestant. Watch this video. More videos can be found at

Affordabily of housing

A home buyer should not pay more than 5 years of the family income for a property. This article explains the key issues in your financial planning.

A bad investment linked policy

This policy introduces high charges after 18 months. If the policyholder terminates the policy, there is a big penalty. After 18 months, the policy has sunk in a lot of savings and was stuck with a bad investment. Be careful when you buy an investment linked policy (from any company). Read the charges and penalties. Look at the cash value after 3, 5 and 10 years and make sure that you get a decent return for your savings. More details in this article.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A suggestion - affordable HDB flats

Hi Mr Tan,
I wish to offer my view to make the HDB flat more affordable to Singaporean.

1) Mass building of new HDB

2) Lower the selling price of new HDB price without affecting the price of the resale market. I humbly suggest using the following ways:

i) Giving more grants to SingaporeFor example: Current market price for 4-room flat: $350,000
Selling to resident: $250,000
Loan: 50%
Cash: 5%
HDB Grant: 45%
Note: HDB to collect back the 45% or lower (if the amount is lower than the purchase price) upon owner selling the flat.
ii) Increase the minimum period of stay to 10 years or 15 years. If the owner sells the flat within the minimum occupation period, it can only sell back to HDB at the purchase price with inflation.

Hi Mr Tan,
If based on the suggestion that I had given earlier, the grant question will not be raised as HDB will take back the grant upon people selling the HDB flat if they sell it before the minimum occupation time.

If they persist and they object, the answer will be as follows:
1) The grant is too high --- The grant is ultimate be taken back by HDB if they sell the flat. It is as good as not grant at all. But the main cost is the interest rate which is taken up nearly 90% for a 30 years loan (That means Singaporean are paying 1.9 times of the loan amount). Thus is help Singaporean owner a flat less pressurise. All let scrap the grant all together, and HDB can have a cavent over the house and the money to be return to HDB upon selling the flat.
2) If the price is too low --- Let open the books. All cost (including Land Cost) + another percentage for margin (let say 20%). That way it will show government is more transparent and it will definitely keep the price low. Some may argue based on what for that the land price, let it had a panel of independent valuer under the president control to access that.

William Lim

Manage your own life annuity

Instead of buying a life annuity, it may be more advantageous for a retiree to manage his own savings to provide a better payout. Read this article.

Adequate savings for retirement

Here are some tips for all Singaporeans on how to get adequate savings for retirement. It is especially suitable for young people - as they should start their financial planning of a proper footing. Parents should tell their children about these tips. It is also suitable for older people, although many of them may already be stuck with their existing investments that offer a low yield. Read this article.

Public transport - public corporation or competitive model?

Should public transport be operated through a nationalized public corporation, as proposed by the Workers Party, or through a competitive model? The current model, involving two large publicly listed corporations operating the trains and the buses, does not seem to fit into either model.

What are your views? Discuss them with your friends and come with ideas that are endorsed by them. Send them to

Affordable HDB flats

The Minister for National Development faced the challenge of bringing down the price of new HDB flats to an affordable level, without causing a crash of the property market that can bring dire consequence to the economy. Here are some issues to be considered:

  • How to determine the affordability and size of the flat?
  • How to allocate the new flats and avoid a mad rush?
  • Does the BTO scheme meet these objectives?
  • How to prevent a crash of the property market?
I hope to get the views of knowledgeable people who have studied this matter in the past. Please send your suggestions to

Blog Archive