Saturday, January 12, 2013

Opposition politics in Punggol East

Here is Lucky Tan's analysis of the contest in Punggol East.

One landmine after another

Seah Cheang Nee writes about the problem with the sale of the town council software to a PAP owned company.

Interest rate and property prices

The Government is now introducing strong measures to cool the property market. This is the latest of many measures in recent months, and showed that the previous measures were not working. 

The underlying problem is the low interest rate in Singapore. It is convenient to blame the low interest rate globally for our problem, but there are ways to counter-act it. 

Australia has interest rate that are higher than inflation. Their economy seemed to be working well. They achieved a balance between the interest of retirees, who depend on interest rate to give them a decent return, and borrowers who buy property and shares. Perhaps, we should follow their example.

We can have another convenient excuse, that Singapore has an open economy, so we are not able to block the inflow of funds. I wonder if this is true. It may be possible for us to impose a tax on money deposited in Singapore, like was done in Switzerland.

I do not have the answers, but I think we need an open mind to explore the options.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Risk of buying a deferred annuity

Be aware of the risk of buying a deferred annuity. Your savings may be locked up for a long period and if you have to terminate it for any reason, you may suffer a large loss.

Need to change the status quo

Lucky Tan said that Dr. Koh is humble and comes from a poor family background. However, he is among the small percentage of people who benefited from the Singapore system and does not reflect the situation of the majority of the people. This is a point that seems to have been forgotten by the PAP.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Land banking fraud - sent to jail

Comment posted in my blog,

The UK has just prosecuted the first case for Land Banking. The people involved got 6 years in prison. 
The maths made the fraud hugely ­lucrative - one field they bought near Folkestone in Kent for £42,000 was divided into 106 house-sized plots which they sold for £10,000 each. 
But the land had no chance of being developed - some was in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, some was on a hill so steep that it was suitable only as a ski slope and some wasn't even theirs to sell. 
But the Judge was scathing about the authorities for allowing such frauds to flourish, calling on the Government to "look with some urgency at regulating these sorts of businesses", which the National Fraud Authority says costs victims £1.2billion annually. 

Coaching session for SGX Online Test

I will be conducting two additional coaching sessions to help investors to pass the SGX Online Test to invest in STI ETF. You can choose any slot, subject to your convenience.

Date   : Friday, 11 Jan, 5 to 6 pm
Date:    Saturday 12 Jan, 12 to 1 pm

Venue:  24 Sin Ming Lane  #02-107, Midview City,
Singapore 573970  (Office of TKL Associates)

The fee for this coaching session is  $50(FISCA members)
and $70 (non-member), payable on the spot.
Please note that the fee will increase for future coaching lessons.

If you are keen, please call  66599611 (ask for Zhen Khan) or email ( to indicate your time slot .

The next round of coaching sessions are on Wed, Thurs, Fri, 16 to 18 Jan, from 4 to 6 pm.
After that, the fee will be increased to $80 for FISCA members and $100 for non-members.
It is quite troublesome and time consuming to make these arrangements.

Optimize bus services

Sent to Today Paper on 2 January 2013

Editor, Voices
Today Paper

I took a bus SBS 163 from my home in Yio Chu Kang Road to 
my office in Upper Thomson Road a few times during the past two weeks.

I had to wait more than 15 minutes for the bus to arrive. During this time, I saw
an average of 5 buses under SMRT 857 and SMRT 854 pass
by and they were virtually empty. When SBS 163 arrive, it was packed.

It appeared to me that SBS is trying to maximize its profits while SMRT is 
rather lax in managing its operating costs.

As the Government is now shouldering a large part of the cost of operating
the bus services, through the budget of $1.1 billion to purchase new buses,
it should be their duty to ensure that the resources are well used.

The Land Transport Authority has data on the number of passengers that
go up each bus. Surely, they should be able to tell, by looking at the data, if
the buses are optimally utilized across the various bus services?

I like to ask the Authority to comment on whether they do look at the data of
the bus usage regularly and work with the bus operators to ensure that
the resources are used optimally. Commuters should not have to wait
too long for a bus to arrive or to enter into a packed bus, when other buses
go by almost empty.

Tan Kin Lian

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Threat of defamation suit

About three years ago, I posted in my blog a posting quoting a few paragraphs from the Guardian newspaper of the UK. It referred to the activities of a company in Singapore, which I shall refer to as X, selling land banks at 16 times of the actual cost of land. and pointed out several misrepresentations contained in their marketing material. My posting contained a link to the UK website.

It attracted many angry comments from investors in Singapore who voiced their anger at X for "cheating" them; based on their actual experience prior to reading my posting.

A week later, I received a letter from the lawyer acting from X. The legal firm is one of the big names in Singapore. The lawyer letter, which was marked "Private & Confidential" alleged that certain statements in my postings were "baseless and false" and asked me to show proof to back up my statements.

It was followed with a demand to remove the postings, issue a letter of apology using their wordings, and to spend two full days in the office of X to be "educated" about their value of their operations. YES, TWO FULL DAYS " just like being in jail. If I do not respond within 14 days, they will file a suit in court against me for defamation.

If I fight this matter in court, I estimate that it will cost me $500,000 - with money to be paid to two sets of lawyers, if I lose.

I pointed out that if the allegations were false, could X send the facts for me to post in my blog? This was rejected by the lawyer. I pointed out that the allegations were in the UK website - would they reply there and copy to me. It was rejected by the lawyer. The demand to act within 14 days was repeated.

I acted first to remove the blog. Each time I received an e-mail to demand compliance, I replied immediately. The lawyer took a few days to reply to me. In the course of the exchange, several weeks passed. The director of X became impatient and posted a statement in their corporate website stating "Tan Kin Lian is a liar". It contained the details of the letters that their lawyer had sent to me, but not the terms of their unconscionable demands.

I wrote to the lawyer and asked for their agreement for me to publish the full content of their letters sent to me under "Private & Confidential" cover. I wanted the public at large to know what kind of "bullying" demands were contained in their letter.

The lawyer did not reply for three weeks. I sent them a reminder. No reply. Suddenly, all their demands on me stopped. No further news. No need to publish a letter of apology and to spend two full days at the office in X.

They do not even have the courtesy to tell me that their client's demand have been withdrawn. They do not even reply to my e-mail after sending several "bullying" letters (in e-mail to me). This is how despicable a reputable lawyer can behave.

I decided to drop this matter, as I have more useful matters to attend to. More than two years have since passed, with full silence. Each time I read the name of the lawyer and the firm, I cursed. (God forgive me).

One year after this episode, company X was raided by the Commercial Affairs Department over alleged fraudulent practices.

I want to share this perspective with people who do are not circumspect or sympathetic with people who were being threatened with defamation suit.

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