Saturday, September 08, 2018

Voting in the Wisdom of the Crowd

I have implemented some changes in the voting in the Wisdom of the Crowd. The response is now quite fast, compared to the past.

I also allow the user to login with the email and password, if they have trouble with the Facebook and Google login.

Try it.

You will win prizes by submitting 10 votes or more.

http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/login2.aspx

Reduce the wasted time at the checkpoints

I have traveled to Johore on several occasions during the past two years by car and public transport and using the causeway and the second link.

I like to share my observations.

If we travel during the off-peak hours, the travel time is acceptable by car. During the peak hours, we can be caught by two hours or longer.

It does not matter if you are travelling by bus or car. If you are caught in the congestion, the same time is wasted.

The bus traveler has to endure the additional inconvenience of entering two separate buildings on the Singapore and Malaysian side to check the passports and luggage. The car traveler does not have to endure this hardship.

On one occasion, the queuing time at the Singapore customs took more than one hour. The computer system was slow. The backup process was poor.

On many occasions, the queue time seemed to be longer on the Singapore side than the Malaysian side, even when leaving Singapore. We cannot blame the longer time on stricter security measures.

I suspect that the computer system on the Singapore side can be quite slow on some days. The processing time on the Johore side seems faster, and they have to handle the same traffic.

There is some discussion on building a third link on the eastern side of Singapore. This is useful, but it does not solve the underlying problem of long processing time at the checkpoints.

I suggest that there should be joint clearance for bus travelers. This can be done in three ways:

a) Locate the two checkpoints for the two governments in the same building. The traveler passes through one checkpoint to leave the country and joins another queue to pass through the checkpoint of the other country. It saves the time of alighting and boarding the bus.

b) Integrate the computer system. The checkpoint of the country of entry can also pass information to the computer system of the other country to check that the traveler is allowed to leave the country.

c) Have a separate bio-metric card for workers who have to pass the checkpoint every day. This checkpoint serves two countries.

The arrangement described in (a) is used at the KTM train checkpoint in Woodlands. The train traveler passes through two checkpoints in the same building.

The arrangement described in (b) can be considered for car travelers. But it does not solve the underlying problem of too many cars during peak hours that cause congestion at the causeway and the second link.

We may have to set aside a separate lane for buses during the peak hours. This will bad for car travelers but they should avoid the peak hours.

We can increase the frequency of the train shuttle service. It should be possible to run the train at 15 minutes intervals on the single track. If there is space for double track, the frequency can be increased.

We have this problem of wasted time at the checkpoint for more than a decade.It is wasting time for workers and travelers. It is time for the people in charge to look for a solution.

Starhub, change your SOP

Let me start by saying that the service provided by the call center and technical staff of Starhub is good.

However their operating process is terrible. I hope that the new CEO can get someone to contact me.

I called Starhub 1633 yesterday because the internet is very slow.

It was painful to get through to the call center. I have to hear all kinds of irrelevant messages and promotions. They do not apply to me. I just needed to talk to a technical person.

After wasting a lot of time listening to the irrelevant messages, I have to enter my 7 digit NRIC (which was no problem) and to authenticate it with my date of birth in DDMMYY format. I got the date of birth wrong and by my mistake, I was thrown out of the automated conversation.

Why is it necessary for me to enter my NRIC and my date of birth for authentication? I am not asking to make any transaction. I am only reporting a problem.

I called again, and after wasting a lot of time, I manage to speak to someone. They arranged for a technical staff to call me back a hour later.

The technical staff assumed that my devices were not working. I had to turn off the modem and three routers for a few minutes and restart them again. My devices are located on three floors.

Why do they assume that my devices were not working? Could they check if there was some problem with their network? Is the traffic slow due to the rain or some faulty device in their network?

After going through the resetting, my internet speed is still slow, less than 10 Mbps. Fortunately, I have by now learned about the speed test to have a sensible conversation with the technical person.

The technical person said that he would send someone to my house the following morning. Another staff would call me to confirm the appointment.

The follow up staff called me at 9.30 am. At that time, the internet speed was very fast 40 Mbps. I did nothing with my router and devices since last night.

I had suspected that the slow speed was due to the Starhub network and not to my devices. After all, the speed was quite fast all along. The devices did not fail.

Here are some suggestions for the new CEO:

a) Change your call center automation. There is no need to give irrelevant messages and advertisements to the customers. Let the customer get to the relevant staff quickly.

b) Do not ask the customer to enter the NRIC and the authentication. Most times, it is not needed. If it is needed, your technical staff can ask for them. They did anyway ask for my address and account information.

c) If there are internet speed issues, have a simple way to identify if the problem is with the Starhub network. Do not assume that it is caused by the devices of the customer. If Starhub is able to confirm that the speed to the location is good, then you can assume that the problem is with the internal devices.

Why am I asking the new CEO to look into this matter? I have raised this kind of feedback to Starhub over the past 10 years. They still keep to their unnecessary and troublesome process.

I end this feedback with the same remark that I made at the start. The customer service and technical staff of Starhub are helpful and patient. It is the SOP (standard operating procedure) that need to be changed.









WOTC - Should NRIC be kept confidential

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should the NRIC be kept confidential?

Here are the responses: (63 Votes)
51 % - The NRIC should be shown, but should not be retained by a third party.
25 % - The NRIC should be kept private and confidential
19 % - It is confusing to keep the NRIC private when it is required to identify a person.
5 % - It is a means of identifying a person and should be public information.

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=856

WOTC - Third link to Johore

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Do you like a third link to Johore from the eastern side?

Here are the responses: (68 Votes)
34 % - The government should take the opportunity to have joint checkpoint clearance on the same location.
32 % - It will reduce the congestion in the current two links.
24 % - We should avoid having too many points of entry, for security reasons.
10 % - It will be costly to build the additional link.

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=855

Friday, September 07, 2018

Make better use of KTM Trebau shuttle

There are 14 departures from Woodland to JB Sentral each day on the KTM Trebau shuttle.

https://www.easybook.com/en-sg/news/malaysia/ktm-shuttle-tebrau-new-timetable

If we make the best use of this facility, we should be able to pack 64 services from 7 am to midnight. This will increase the capacity by 4.5 times and reduce the congestion on the causeway.

KTM charges $5 from Woodlands to JB Sentral and RM 5 from JB Sentral to Woodlands. If they wish to have more people to use the train, they should reduce the fare to $2 for the Woodlands to JB Sentral.

The advantage of this service is the joint checkpoint clearance in Woodlands for departure to JB Sentral and at JB Sentral for departure to Woodlands. This joint clearance is convenient for passengers.

The MRT link to JB is expected to be ready by 2026. Prior to this date, we should make the best use of the KTM train service.






Do you own or lease a HDB flat?

There is heated argument over the question - do you own or lease the HDB flat?

The govt said that you own the flat. The buyers said that they are lessees.

Both are right.

The buyer own the lease of the flat. The lease comes with all kinds of restrictions that do not normally apply to private leasehold properties.

The only argument in favor of the govt's position is that the owner is allowed to sell the remaining lease and make a profit.

As the buyer now has to pay a high price for the HDB flat, it will become more difficult to make a profit in the future.

If they sell the flat after the "minimum occupation period", and buy a new flat, they will probably find the new flat to be quite costly.

They have to pay a levy on the new flat and get a "step up" grant on the second flat, but the terms are quite complicated.

I wish that we had a simpler approach to buying and selling a HDB flat. Why can't our life be made simpler?












WOTC - Two categories of HDB flats

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Do you agree with SDP proposal to offer the OM and NOM category of HDB flats?

Here are the responses: (52 Votes)
48 % - It offers options to suit the two different types of owners.
25 % - I like the option to convert from the OM (open market) to NOM (non open market category) and get a refund of the difference in price.
15 % - I like the NOM (non open market flat) as the price is lower.
12 % - It is better to keep to the current pricing structure.

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=854

WOTC - Streaming at PSLE

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is it good to stream students at PSLE?

Here are the responses: (58 Votes)
41 % - It creates stress for the students and their parents
24 % - It is useful to place students in a stream that is appropriate to their pace of learning.
19 % - It creates a stigma for students going to the normal stream.
16 % - It is better to hold back a student for one year if they are not able to pass the examination.

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=853

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Authenticate a person through the telephone

We should use the NRIC widely to identify a person. This is an advantage of the Singapore system that should be kept.

The NRIC should not be used to authenticate a person. The authentication should be using a password and, if needed, a 2FA (two factor authentication).

We need a way to authenticate a customer of a bank or other commercial entity.

The NRIC can be used to identify the customer. What is a convenient way to authenticate the customer?

The banks use a cumbersome way. They ask several questions, including some troublesome one. One such question is - how many accounts do you have?

What can be done to simplify it?

It depends on the type of inquiry or transaction that the customer wants to make.

If the customer is making a general inquiry, such as the interest rate on fixed deposit, there is no need to authenticate the customer.

If the customer is asking about some account information, such as the maturity date or amount of a fixed deposit, a low level authentication should suffice. A good way is for the bank staff to call back the customer on the mobile phone.

There is the risk that the mobile phone may be stolen by a thief who is making the inquiry. But the information is not really critical.

Another way is for the customer to register a 6 digit PIN. This is a separate PIN from the PIN used in the ATM. This PIN is available for the bank staff to view to authenticate the customer.

For example, if I call the bank and quote my NRIC number (to identify the customer) and the PIN, it should be quite safe.

If a higher level of authentication is needed, the bank staff can call back the customer.

I hope that the people in charge of the Smart Nation can recommend some practical measures for banks and commercial companies to adopt in authenticating their customers over the telephone.

WOTC - High Speed Rail

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

If it is proceeded later, where should the High Speed Rail terminate?

Here are the responses: (51 Votes)
51 % - Jurong East
25 % - Woodlands
14 % - Johor Bahru
10 % - Iskandar

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=852

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Will you vote for this candidate as your MP?

I asked the question - will you vote for this candidate if he stands for election in your constituency.

Please note that this poll is biased and has a high proportion of non PAP supporters.

Sylvia Lim, WP 92%
Tan Cheng Bock, ex PAP, 90%
Chee Soon Juan, SPD 85%
Chen Show Mao, WP 84%
Pritam Singh, WP 84%
Paul Thambyah, SDP 83%
Ang Yong Guan, SF 76%
Chiam See Tong, SPP 75%
Tan Jee Say, SF 74%
Kenneth Jeyaratnam, RP 64%
Benjamin Pwee, DPP 56%
Goh Meng Seng, PPP 53%
Tharman Shanmugaratnam, PAP 42%
Chan Chun Sing, PAP 21%
Lee Hsien Loong, PAP 12%

WOTC - Your vote needed

Click here to vote on the active issues, including the PAP ministers, 4G ministers, WP MPs and non PAP leaders that you respect most.

http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/active_issue.aspx




WOTC - Depreciating value of HDB flat

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Did PM Lee address your concern about the depreciating value of the HDB flat?

Here are the responses: (39 Votes)
46 % - He does not address the concern.
36 % - If it has no value, why are I paying so much for a HDB flat?
8 % - Yes, I like the VERS scheme
8 % - I accept that the HDB flat will have no value at the end of the lease.
3 % - Yes, I like the HIP scheme

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=851

WOTC - Voluntary Enbloc Redevelopment scheme

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What are your views about VERS (voluntary enbloc redevelopment scheme)?

Here are the responses: (40 Votes)
55 % - It is a way to hoodwink the HDB owners from the reality of a bad investment.
28 % - It will not help much as HDB values will drop with shorter lease
8 % - It gives HDB owners hope for the future.
5 % - It is a good scheme and will help to preserve the values of HDB flats.
5 % - It is too far away to have any impact.

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=850

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Recording of NRIC

I am disappointed to see what is happening. The change in the law regarding the recording of NRIC will cause additional costs, and all of these are unnecessary. We are spending money for no purpose.

Why?

There is no need for public buildings to record the NRIC of visitors. I cannot see any purpose. It is best to dispense with this requirement.

Even if we have to record the NRIC, the NRIC number is not confidential. It is a means of identifying a person, just like the name. The name is not unique, but the NRIC is.

What is wrong about the NRIC being known? It is just an identification. It should not be used as the key to a person's identity.

Anyway, here is the additional cost that many companies are now going to incur. Some of the additional costs will be financed by our wasteful government, in the hope of helping the SMEs.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/…/collection-of-nric-detail…

Overcome the climate of fear

I wish to talk about the climate of fear in Singapore. What is this climate of fear? It is the fear of criticizing the policies of the government.

Many people are worried that they might lose their jobs or their business might be badly affected, if they speak against these policies. They even worry that it might affect other members of their family. Their family members also ask them to tone down their views.

It is bad if we do not have a healthy discussion how the policies affect the ordinary people. We can have bad policies and practices that are not corrected for a long time, causing a lot of damage.

What are some of the bad policies and practices? Some of them could be:

a) Policies that lead to high cost of living, such as GST
b) Policies that lead to uncertainty of jobs or depressed wages.
c) Abuse of power and corrupt practices.

Why are people afraid to speak out?

They saw what happened to some of the people that spoke out and how many of them were sued and made bankrupt or have to run away from Singapore. The statements were not extremely bad but they were sued anyway.

It was rather sad that the judges found the statements to be defamatory, and awarded huge and financially crippling damages.

These legal cases create a climate of fear. Many people are not sure if their statements could lead them to be sued for defamatory or charged for scandalizing the judiciary. It is better to keep quiet.

I have personally been threatened with defamation by a land banking company. Their demands were excessive and bullying. I agreed to the reasonable demands but did not comply with the excessive demands. The matter was dropped after a few months. The company was later found to be cheating the public and the directors were jailed.

The government can remove this climate of fear and encourage people to think rationally and express their views freely. This will be good for our future.

The government should refrain from taking harsh action against people who might have gone overboard in expressing their views. They can point out the mistake and make it easy for people to retract them. People will understand and learn from the experience.

If people made unfounded allegations about the actions of the government, it is better for the government to be transparent and give the facts. There is no need to use harsh measures against these allegations.

By being transparent and accountable, they will gain the trust of the people.

WOTC - Appropriate salary for ministers

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What is an appropriate salary for a minister under the clean wage system?

Here are the responses: (42 Votes)
36 % - $500,000
33 % - $250,000
29 % - $400,000 plus housing and car
2 % - Work for free
0 % - $1 million

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=849

WOTC - Streaming the students

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should we change the streaming system in our education system?

Here are the responses: (45 Votes)
56 % - Return to the single stream system in the past and allow the weaker students to repeat the current year.
33 % - Allow the parent make the choice of the stream, i.e. science, arts, technical, that they want their child to go to.
11 % - Keep the current system which has worked well.

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=848

WOTC - Improve the birth rate

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What incentive will help to increase the birth rate?

Here are the responses: (42 Votes)
36 % - A monthly allowance to the mother
36 % - Free medical care to the child 
21 % - More subsidy for child care 
5 % - Early allocation of HDB flat
2 % - Exemption from reservist training

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=847

Monday, September 03, 2018

Hub and spoke for the bus services

I wish to propose a new bus structure, based on the hub and spoke concept.

We can have 10 bus hubs which are located at the major towns and next to MRT stations. Examples of the hubs are Ang Mo Kio, Tampines, Jurong East, Woodlands, etc.

There will be feeder buses that take passengers from their home to a hub. These buses run at intervals of 2 or 3 minutes. The travel time to the hub should be less than 15 minutes.


The express buses will connect one hub to another and will run on expressways. For example, it will take 30 minutes for an express bus to travel from Jurong East to Tampines, compared to 120 minutes for a normal bus that has to stop at every bus stop.

The travel time from Ang Mo Kio hub to Woodlands hub will be 17 mins by express bus, compared to 70 mins for a normal bus.

Someone from Jurong West can travel to Pasir Ris as follows:

a) Take the feeder bus to Jurong East hub.
b) Take the express bus to Tampines hub.
c) Take the feeder bus to Pasir Ris.

Apart from a reduction in travel time, the new structure will make it easier for people to travel and can also be an alternative when the train breaks down.

The hub and spoke concept is adopted for air travel. The smaller planes take passengers to a hub and a long distance plane take the traveler to another hub. Container ships also operate on a similar concept.

Lost of trust in PAP

This post explains why the PAP has lost the trust of the people.

Kindly Read. Well crafted letter on what many citizens are feeling about the present government leaders and their policies.

The present government must understand that Singaporeans of our fathers’ generation lived through a tumultuous time pre-independence. LKY dispensed bitter medicine and they accepted it. Why because our leaders went through the same hardship as them.

These were political leaders who did not come in on the merits of others. They fought in the hustings and came out tops. They worked the ground and knew the people’s sentiments and hardships. Look at how LKY punched the air when he shouted “Merdeka” in his rallies and you will know why the people followed him and the PAP.
I still remember Dr Goh Keng Swee going about in Mindef in 1973 dressed like any other civil servant. He was like one of us. Besides he loved mess games and an occasional tipple with his military officers.

I once watched E W Barker playing billiards in the SRC when I was schoolboy and saw how his friends clapped as pals of his (they were definitely not apple-polishers) when he landed a good shot. He played billiards like one of us.

I saw S Rajaratnam stand up and light his cigarette (yes you could smoke at banquets in those days) after LKY had left the banquet hall - a signal for the smokers to light up. These were people who fought in the trenches with our parents and grandparents’ generation. My generation caught them at the tail end when we hit the workforce.

LKY started the ball rolling when he emphasised placing scholars in the civil service and statutory boards. He wanted the best brains to head the various government ministries and agencies. There is nothing wrong with that but perhaps he did not realise that the road to heaven is not always filled with good intentions.

This is because graduating scholars had their careers mapped out for them and promotions came fast and easy for many. In the SAF, many did not have to go through the tough rigours like the rest of us. Although some of them were worth their weight in gold quite a few did not live up to expectations.

The standing joke was there were three classes of officers in the SAF – Farmers (non-graduates), Educated farmers (graduates) and Scholars (scholarship holders).
The sad part was many in the government only viewed scholars as the answer to right the wrongs in government organisations.

Many “Farmers” viewed ourselves as people who were necessary cogs to keep the wheels churning. In the SAF, worse was to come when we had some very mediocre Defence ministers who knew little about how to lead military organisations in a civilian capacity and who intensified the scholar progamme with great vigour.

The majority of SAF scholars were on a dual-track career and went on to head government boards and later became ministers. There is no doubt they are extremely bright. But sadly, many lacked the aptitude, EQ and spirit of our first-generation leaders, some of whom were also scholars in their own right.

They “progressed” into government leadership positions simply because they were anointed as the chosen few by some of their elders who also happen to be scholars. They did not come in by working the ground or a passion to serve but on the coattails of others.
People find it hard to stomach lectures from young untried and untested ministers who have not earned their spurs like our first-generation leaders.

Many in my generation took umbrage when despite the sentiments on the ground, through a quirk in the election process it was ordained that the only suitable President was the one that the ruling party found suitable. Many feel a political sleight of hand made the PAP favoured President a shoo-in for the post.

More hard knocks were in store when two ministers (one a relative newbie at that) started talking down to participants during the Select Committee Hearings on the government’s stand on what constituted fake news. The high-handed attitude of ministers during the hearings left a bitter taste in us as it showed an intolerance for dissenting or dissimilar views.

Senior Minister Goh flung cake in our face when he made a public statement that our Ministers should be paid more in salaries rather than less as we can’t afford to have mediocre people in government. His point of reference – people who earn more than S$1 million annually will probably not be mediocre. Which side of the moon did this man come from?

Our PM did not make matters any better when he tried his hand at being a financial advisor when with good intentions he dispensed advice on how to save your pennies at the National Day Rally..

I guess he missed the point on what the grumbles are about on the ground – the high cost of living and the fear of insufficient savings to see us through to our retirement years. The public consensus is many of our ministers with their humongous salaries cannot possibly understand the trials and tribulations of the ordinary man on the street.

The rumblings of the status of HDB public housing units also does not look like it is going to go away soon. Many who own HDB apartments are not convinced that they are true blue owners of the units unlike owners of private condominiums and apartments.

The jury is still out there on the legal entity of HDB units. The government can explain all it wants but could it be we are just arguing about semantics? After all isn’t the HDB a statutory Board who has the right to confiscate your unit if you don’t play by the rules even if it is a fully paid up unit?

Han Fook Kwang is right on the money when he asked if the ground is sour? You bet it is Fook Kwang and it is getting vinegary sour by the day. If the PAP keeps this up, it will spoil everything that the first-generation leaders have built up over more than four score and ten years ago.

By GĂ©rard Ong
29 August 2018

KTM shuttle to Johor Bahru

Malaysia wanted to increase the KTM shuttle to Johor Bahru but Singapore is taking a long time to consider.

Why are we making matters difficult for the people and for our partners?
https://www.straitstimes.com/…/malaysia-in-talks-with-singa…

Reduce long queue at the causeway

Tan Wah Piow suggested to Dr. M how to reduce the daily long queuing at the Causeway.

Quote
Our secondary mission was about improving the the CIQ checkpoints on the Johor side so that foot and bus passengers need not endure hours of queueing. This proposal is backed by a written schematic advice prepared by one of the top traffic planners from Malaysia, and was given to Dr Mahathir. This proposal will soon be pursued by our collaborators in Johor, and when implemented, would benefit several hundred thousand Malaysians working in Singapore, as well as Singaporeans travelling to Malaysia for work or pleasure. This is a tangible People to People Initiative which we hope could come to fruition.

WOTC - Social Democratic party (SDP)

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What are your views about the Social Democratic Party.

Here are the responses: (39 Votes)
41 % - I will give them my support.
26 % - They have become a strong and credible party.
13 % - They will not make any headway.
10 % - I (they) offer an attractive manifesto for the future of Singapore.
10 % - I still have a negative opinion of SDP.

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=846

WOTC - Change to National Service

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should the conscription (National Service) be changed? 

Here are the responses: (38 Votes)
37 % - Follow the Swiss system - 4 months full time and 5 months reservist over 10 years.
29 % - Stop conscription and create a professional army.
13 % - Keep to the current system which served us well.
13 % - Pay an allowance of $1,500 a month for full time conscripts.
8 % - Reduce the duration of conscription gradually.

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=845

Sunday, September 02, 2018

WOTC - Coalition platform

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What item is most important for coalition (non PAP) platform?

Here are the responses: (53 Votes)
26 % - Abolish GST
21 % - Reduce minister's salary
19 % - Return CPF at 55
19 % - Abolish GRC
9 % - Extend HDB lease on expiry at nominal fee
6 % - Reduce price of HDB flat

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=844

WOTC - Leader who caused most harm

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Which PAP leader did the most harm to Singapore

Here are the responses: (57 Votes)
79 % - Lee Hsien Loong
11 % - Lee Kuan Yew
5 % - Goh Chok Tong
4 % - None of them
2 % - Tony Tan

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=843

WOTC - Harmful policies

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Which PAP policy caused the most harm to Singapore?

Here are the responses: (55 Votes)
33 % - Higher cost of living due to GST
25 % - Increase in minister's salary
18 % - Change in political structure with GRC
11 % - Elitism through graduate mother policy
9 % - Asset enhancement in late 1980s
4 % - Over expenditure on defense

See the pie chart at: 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=842

Goals for the next government

The next general election in Singapore is expected to be held in 2020. At that time, the citizens have the chance to choose the next government that will address the concerns of the people and offer a better future for us and our children.

In the past, the voters vote for the party that they want to be the government. In 2020, we should look at the goals of the political parties, as stated in their election manifesto.

What should be the goals to look out for?

Goals for the future
I suggest the top five goals to be as follows:

a) Reduce cost of living
b) Ensure that jobs are available at adequate wages.
c) Give better value for the HDB flat
d) Improve the CPF system
e) Ensure that the elected leaders work for the people

I like to explain these goals and, more importantly, how they can be achieved.

Reduce cost of living
The cost of living can be reduced by abolishing GST. This will reduce prices by more than 7%, because business has to incur cost to collect GST.

The prices charged by the public sector for rental, transport, health care, utilities and other services should be based on cost, without the profit margin.

If these measures are adopted, the cost of living can be reduced significantly.

We need to adjust the pensions of civil servants who retired many years ago with frozen pensions that are inadequate for today's cost of living.

Better Jobs 
We have to reduce the inflow of foreigners that compete with citizens for jobs and depress wages.

We also have to ensure that all jobs in the public sector are reserved for citizens and the practice of outsourcing of work in this sector should be abolished. These jobs are for teachers, police officers, nurses, public transport workers.

We should adjust the wages in these sectors to a level that will be adequate for citizens. Our people are prepared to take these jobs if they pay is adequate.

In the private sector, we have to implement measures that make it attractive for employers to prefer citizens, instead of foreigners. This can be done through wage subsidies and levies.

Value of HDB flat
The citizens pay a high price for their HDB flat. They are concerned that these flats will have no value at the end of the 99 year lease.

We should allow the lease to be extended by paying a nominal premium, provided that the flat is still in satisfactory condition. If they are taken back, the owner should be given a grant towards the purchase of the next flat.

We should allow CPF savings to be used for purchase of old flats, so that the values are not depressed.

For younger people, we should offer them the choice of buying a HDB flat priced at cost and has to be resold back to HDB.

Improve CPF
We should pay a higher interest rate on CPF savings, higher than 2.5%. It should reflect the return that can be earned on the long term investment of these savings.

Members should be allowed to take out all of their CPF savings on reaching age 55. They may need the savings to pay off debts and other urgent needs.

The CPF should offer an attractive schemes to encourage members to keep their savings beyond 55, but it should be voluntary. The annuity scheme can be improved.

Work for the people
We want the elected leader to work for the people, and not for themselves.

The GRC system should be abolished, so that the voters can elect their member of parliament directly.

The MP should spend more time to understand the problems of the people and to discuss them more fully in Parliament, so that better solutions can be found. This requires the MP to be a full time job.

We have to reduce the salary of ministers to a more sensible level, say less than $500,000 and attract people who are interested to serve the country.

Finances
Can the country afford to implement these measures, especially the abolishing of GST and reduction of government fees?

The government has adequate revenue from land sales that can be used to replace GST.

We can also be more prudent in our spending on infrastructure, military hardware and expensive buildings. We should spend an adequate sum, but avoid the overspending on unnecessary or expensive items.

We can increase the income tax on high income earnings, e.g. those earning income above $500,000, i.e the so called "non-mediocre" people.

We need a capable finance minister, someone like our first finance minister, Dr. Goh Keng Swee. I am sure that a capable person can be found in Singapore, perhaps outside of the current establishment.

I am not suggesting populist measures. I am suggested the right measures that will be popular with the people, because they will address their needs and are financially sound.

Conclusion
At the next general election, we have to vote for the goals that we want for our future and for our children, and for the new government that is able to achieve them.

Majulah Singapura.

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