Saturday, July 07, 2018

WOTC - Higher price for water from Malaysia

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Should Singapore agree to pay a higher price for our water from Malaysia?

Here are the responses:

40% - We should adjust the price to allow for inflation.
38% - We should stick to the price of 3 sen set out in the separation agreement.
13% - We should adjust the price to the level reflected by alternative sources
9% - If we agree to a higher price, Malaysia will keep coming back for more.

Yes. 53%. No 47%

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Flexible approach towards Malaysia

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Should our leaders adopt a more flexible approach towards Malaysia?

Here are the responses:

53% - We need to be flexible to build trust and friendship
20% - The Singapore leaders are too inflexible.
16% - It is better to adopt a principled approach
10% - It is difficult to trust the Malaysia leaders

Yes - 73%. No 27%

See the breakdown of the votes in

Friday, July 06, 2018

Cessation of bike sharing operations

Three bike sharing operations have ceased operation as they are not able to meet the onerous licensing requirements imposed by the Land Transport Authority.

It is wasteful for these operators to spend a few million dollars to set up an operation only to have to close it due due to these requirements. Their customers, who have placed deposits, will also suffer the loss of their deposits, if they are not able to get a full refund.

I understand that one of the requirement is a fine of $500 if the operator is not able to retrieve the shared bike that is left outside of the designated place. I find this fine to be excessive.

I suggest that the focus of the penalty should be on the customers who were responsible for the bad behavior. There is very little that the operator can do, except to spend a lot of money to employ workers to retrieve these bikes.

I suggest that each customer should be required to place a deposit of $50 and that the deposit will be forfeited if they leave the bike outside the authorised zone. These customers would not be able to book the shared bike in the future.

If customers are aware of the penalty, and it is allowed under the licensing regime, they are likely to play their part and observe the rules. The operators will then be able to run a viable operation.

The Land Transport Authority can authorise a company to retrieve the mis-parked bikes and return it to a designated compound for a finder fee of $30. I am sure that these finders will find it an attractive proposition.

Let us avoid a situation where the operator and their thousands of customers lose out due to onerous and impractical regulations. Let these operators continue to provide a service that benefit the public at large.

Tan Kin Lian

Price of water in Singapore

Some people are worried that water price will increase if we have to pay more for water from Johore.

Let me present some figures so that people get the facts before they make wild statements.

Currently, we pay 3 sens per 1,000 gallons. The Johore statement government ask for 50 sen, or S$0.17. It is an increase of $0.16.

Do you know how much we are paying for water in Singapore now?

From 1 July 2018, we pay $3.69 per cubic meter, or $13.65 per 1,000 gallon (for the second tier after 40 cubic meter).

The cost of treating water is probably less than $2 per 1,000 gallon.

Don't worry. The price of $13.65 is very high already.

The government does not need to increase the water price, even if they have to pay $0.16 more to the Johore government.

But, who knows. We do have a greedy government, right?

Additional property cooling measure - July 2018

I hold the view that there is no need for the additional property cooling measure that was introduced yesterday.

I suspect that most of the buyers for the private properties come from the 8,000 owners who pocked their huge profits from the recent collective sales and have to replace their property. I do not think that there are many new buyers who have the money to afford the ridiculous high prices.

The additional cooling measure will dampen the property market considerably. There will be a big oversupply of new appartments, from the government land sales, collective sales and the unsold units from past projects.

I expect a big over-supply of properties.

If I am correct, it is another sign of an incompetent government which is not in touch with the market.

If I am wrong, okay. I have the right to be worng.

Tan Kin Lian

Vote in a more competent government

Some people describe my postings as "ranting" or "complaining".

I wish to tell these idiots to be respectful.

I do not rant or complain. I do not bother about losing a few dollars. They do not affect me.

I bring out these posts because there are so many practices that are wasteful and unnecessary and add to the stress for people and increase the cost of living and the cost of doing business.

We have a government that wants to increase their revenue, but are not aware of the cost to the country.

My posts are to bring these issues to the attention of the public. We need to vote in a more competent government.

Competition Commission

I disagree with the decision of the Competition Commission regarding the Grab Uber merger.

My common sense tells me that the merger does not affect the ordinary commuters.

As a regular user of public transport, including taxis, I have the following choices:

a) Call Grab
b) Hail a taxi on the road or at a taxi stand
c) Call a taxi company to pick me up
d) Take public transport

The merger does not affect me. I have enough choices to avoid any predatory pricing.

I also disagree with several past decision of the Competition Commission, including their hefty fines on bus operators travelling to Malaysia and the removal of the guidelines on medical fees.

I find the Competition Commission to be harmful for consumers, instead of looking after the interest of consumers.

Why do we need this commision anyway? They seem to behave like a headless chicken running amok.

I was once told that this is a requirement under the Free Trade Agreement signed with America. Well, this is just one of the many harmful effects of this FTA. (Of course, there are some benefits as well).

I wish the Competition Commission to be headed by someone who can exercise common sense.

Tan Kin Lian

Guidelines on wages and working conditions

Some people still hold to the idea that wages and working conditions should be negotiated between the employer and individual employee.

This has been the practiced in Singapore and most countries around the world.

What is the outcome of this practice?

Wages are suppressed, often below the living wage. Many workers have to do two jobs to earn enough to raise a family.

Most families need two people to be working to earn enough.

This is harmful to the society, to families and to the future generations.

Why is this so?

The individual employees have weak bargaining power. They also have inadequate information about what is a fair wage for the job.

The problem is exaberated when the government allows a relatively free inflow of foreign workers who are willing to work for low wages, due to the poverty in their countries.

Many countries impose a minimum wage. This is a good approach. (Sadly, Singapore still does not have this prctice).

But a minimum wage is just the starting point. Surely, there are occupations which require skills and experience, and should pay above the minimum wage?

It is relatively easy for the government to provide the guideline on a "fair wage" for each occupation. They have data on the earnings of people in each category of job. They also have data of salaries based on contribution to the Central Provident Fund.

If the government analyze the data, they can provide guidelines on the wage for each category of job.

This information can be published as a guideline for employers and individual workers. The two parties can still negotiate for the actual wage, but they are guided by the guidelines.

Under this system, there is no need to have trade unions to carry out collective bargaining for the wages and to resort to costly and harmful worker strikes to settle the issue.

The guidelines can also cover the other terms of employment.

Trade unions still have a role to help their members to deal with individual disputes on their working conditions or perceived harassment in the workplace.

We need a new framework for wages and working conditions to promote the welfare of workers and businesses.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Better wages and working conditions

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Should trade unions go on strike to get better wages and working conditions for workers?

Here are the responses:
38% - They should go on strike as the last resort.
34% - The government can provide guidelines and working conditions for each category of workers
22% - The dispute should be settled in the industrial arbitration court.
6% - The strike can be large scale and harmful to the economy.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - How should salaries be determined?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - How should salaries be determined?

Here are the responses:
44% - The salary should be a living wage, adequate to meet the cost of living.
25% - The salary should be negotiated between the employer and individual employee.
17% - The salary should meet a guideline for each occupation provided by the government.
14% - The salary should be negotiated through collective bargaining between the employer and the trade union.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Lack of foresight and will

Rachel Ash commented on my post about cashless payment:

Mr Tan There is no will on the part of our authorities. In the earlier days we can attribute it to lack of foresight but a late stage like as now, they are grabbing in the dark, hoping a vendor would come out with an integrated solution, just like Silverlake did for banks.

We lack innovators, visionaries, doers among our authorities, instead we have followers, glory grabbers, copiers, several bag of gases.

Even though I don't know you personally but do see your work and I can safely say you can easily replace several of our authorities all at once.

While you were away on a cruise, several caught your brown rabbit designing election pamphlets while the other rabbit was frantically printing them. We wondered who your rabbits are working for.

I agree that we have lack of foresight and lack of will in the top levels of our government. And the lower levels wait for instructions.

My two rabbits were designing and printing brochures for the Carrot Party. They said that voters like carrots, so this party is sure to win.

Promote cashless payment

PM Lee's call to promote cashless payment is making slow progress after nearly a year. It reflects badly on his leadership and on Singapore.

I wish to suggest this step to speed up the transformation.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore should required all banks to provide an easy way for customers to top up their e-wallet or smart card (such as EZ Link). A mobile number can be entered into the smart card to facilitate the topup.

This service should be provided for the same fee as withdrawing cash from ATM machines, which is currently free.

The topup can be done at an ATM machine or online.

If the public is able to top up their e-wallet or smart card easily, they are more inclined to use e-wallet or smart card payment.

We still have to deal with the problem of many platforms. It is likely that most customers will gravitate to a platform that has the most vendors. If several platforms are to be viable, just like having many banks, we will need a clearing house to allow the payments to pass from one platform to another.

I hope that the people in MAS or Smart Nation project will pay attention to this matter. We need a structural change to achieve the goal of cashless payment.

Tan Kin Lian

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Johore wants to increase price of water by 1600%

The Johore State Government wants to increase the price of water by 1600%. This sounds a very big increase. Actually, it is 16 times.

Under the 1962 water agreement, Singapore draws 250 million gallons of water a day from the rivers in Johore and pays 3 cents (RM) per 1,000 gallons.

The cost is RM 7,500 per day or RM 2,737,500 a year or S$ 925,000 a year. OK, say $1 million a year.

If Johore wants to increase the price by 16 times, we will be paying $16 million a year.

Does this sound like a lot of money? We spend $16 million to host the Trump Kim Summit for 2 days. This is the same amount as the water that we take from Johore for on year.

Did I get the calculation correct?

Can someone check my calculation?

Tan Kin Lian

Cashless payments using EZ Link card

PM Lee set a goal for Singapore to adopt cashless payment at the food courts and retail outlets.

He was told about the widespread use of mobile payments using QR code. He thought that this was the correct approach, as it was adopted successfully in China.

A lot of effort had been invested by many parties during the past year. The progress has been disappointing. We have a fragmentation of platforms.

I wish to suggest a new approach towards cashless payments.

We should use the EZ Link card that is now widely used for public transport.

EZ Link had also signed up a small number of retail outlets, but the adoption had been dismal.

One stumbling block is the difficulty of retail outlets to install a EZ Link terminal to accept payment through this source. This terminal cost $50 to $100 a month. The transction fee is 3 to 5% of the amount collected.

I wish to propose a solution.

We can design a mobile app that allows the retailer to accept payment through EZ Link. This will replace the expensive terminal.

As mobile phones are cheap, it can be a low cost terminal. The retailer enters the amount and the customer taps the EZ Link card. The amount is transferred.

The EZ Link fee should be 5 cents per transaction (instead of 3% to 5% of the amount.

Retailers will be happy to adopt this method as they will save a lot of time by not handling cash. The fee is also much lower than the fee payable to the banks for NETS and credit card payments.

Almost every adult and child have an EZ Link card. It is easy to top up the card at the MRT stations.

If this approach is adopted, we can have cashless payments introduced very quickly in Singapore.

Do you agree?

Tan Kin Lian

Enrol in CareShield Life?

Dear Mr. Tan

I’m 48 years old single man who is currently unemployed taking care of my 73 years old mum who has recently diagnosed of dementia. She is also a diabetic patient for more than 20 years. As I am her only child and my dad has passed away many years ago , I naturally become the main care giver. My mum has no insurance coverage except she is under the PG scheme and medishield life. I’m staying in a 3 room flat at Toa Payoh for many years.

Few years I opted out the Eldershield as I found this scheme impractical and ridiculous. As the government is going to roll in the Careshield Life in a few years time, I would like to seek your kind opinion whether I should enrol into it and what I should look out for before signing up. Also, do you have any recommended insurance where I can consider as I’m worry that if I remain single till old age, who would take care of me when I am sick and financially I may not able to sustain for future medical expenses and/or nursing home care and so on and so for.


WOTC - Biggest worry for Singapore

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - What is the biggest worry for Singaporeans?

Here are the responses:

33% - Incompetent government
31% - High cost of living
23% - Insecurity of jobs
13% - Oppressive government.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Improve relations with Malaysia

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - How can we improve relations with Malaysia?

Here are the responses:

72% - Adopt give and take
18% - Negotiate terms clearly with them
5% - They cannot be trusted
5% - Forget about improving relations.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Toggle and World Cup 2018

My son subscribed to Mediacorp Toggle to watch World Cup 2018. This subscription allows two concurrent users. He passed one privilege to me.

I installed Toggle and can watch the old matches. When I came to a live match, I received a message that there was a connection error that needed to be fixed.

I followed the detailed instruction to make the setting but it failed. I had to change the time on my desktop to synchronize with FIFA. But the operation failed. I tried many times but it still failed.

I sent a detailed feedback to Mediacorp. They asked for a lot of technical information, such as the version number of the browser, Windows software, etc. It took quite a while to get the information.

After submitting the feedback, I did not get any reply from Mediacorp by email or mobile (both were provided).

i sent a reminder after a few days. I still did not get any reply.

The matches are now more than have over. The semi finals and finals are broadcast free anyway.

I have watched videos on NetFlix and YouTube and also live webinars. I did not get the kind of trouble similar to Toggle.

Why is it that our organizations in Singapore create complicated processes that require a lot of work to set up, and still fail? Why do they create a feedback form that is so troublesome to fill in, and ask for so much technical details? Why do they not respond promptly to feedback, even from paying customers?

Welcome to Singapore.

Bank Transfer to businesses

I suggest that a directory of companies and their bank accounts be published. This will allow the public to pay these companies by bank transfer to their bank account, instead of writing a cheque.

Most companies do not provide the bank account in their invoices. They can register their bank account is this directory.

For example, if I receive an invoice from a company called ABC Ltd, I can search the directory for their bank account and make a bank transfer to that account - instead of writing a cheque.

Should I move from ElderShield to CareShield?

My wife read the newspaper and asked me - should I buy CareShield?

I told her - you are already covered under Eldershield. When CareShield is launched in 2021, you should move to CareShield. It is better than ElderShield.

Well - she does not understand what the difference is. It is very confusing to her.

I am sure that it is also very confusing to 90% of the people in Singapore.

I don't know why it has to be so complicated.

Like someone said - if it is not convoluted, it is not Singapore.

Welcome to Singapore.

Penalize the party responsible for the bad behavior

I checked in the Internet for the penalty that the shared bike operator has to pay to the government for indiscriminate parking.

I was shocked to read that the penalty is $500 for each bike that is not removed within the time frame.

Why so much?

No wonder three operators have decided to cease operations.

Why allow these operators to start and then kill the business with such draconian measures?

I like to suggest a different approach. Each customer should place a deposit of $50 with the governmen to get a licence to use the shared bike. This deposit is forfeited if they park the shared bike indiscriminately. The customer will then be banned from using the shared bike - as he does not have a license.

We should penalize the party that is responsible for the bad behavior, i.e. the customer.

Tan Kin Lian

Welcome to Singapore

If you see me sign off a post with the phrase "Welcome to Singapore", it means that here ia nother example of the stupid things that are being practised in Singapore, and some of them are for years and decades.

It is very sad that in an advanced country, we have so many stupid practices. Why do people accept these stupid practices and requirements? Why don't they complain? Why does the people in charge continue to operate their processes mindlessly?

It is an indication of failure of the Singapore system. Failure of the education system that does not teach people to think. They just follow orders.

Welcome to Singapore.

Tariffs and GST

Most people say that tariffs are bad. They increase cost for the consumers.

I agree. It does increase cost for consumers. So does GST.

I prefer tariff to GST. The government can decide on which items to impose a tariff to help to protect manufacturing jobs.

I am talking about big countries, not Singapore. Singapore is too small to matter.

In the case of Singapore, we need protection for our jobs. We cannot allow the free entry of foreign workers.

Actually, we are already imposing a "tariff" on foreign workers. The employer has to pay a levy for each foreign worker.

There is no tariff for the higher level of foreign workers that come in through an E Pass. This is a bad policy that needs to be changed. We should require the employer to pay a levy on E Pass holders as well.

I welcome the return to a system of tariffs. Apart from protecting jobs of their citizens, they also provide revenue to the government.

The government does need revenue to run the country and provide the social services that are needed by the people, such as education, health care, security, etc.

I find GST to be the worst kind of revenue for a government. It is imposed on every item that is purchased. The administrative cost is horrendous. The retailer also marks up the prices to have a margin to cover their administrative cost and to increase their profit margin.

Under a system of tariffs, the workers will be able to enjoy better wages. This will lead to a reduction of inequality that has plagued many countries around the world.

With tariffs, the flow of trade will reduce. However, the reduction will be small. There will still be a lot of trade as some countries are more efficient in producing certain products than other countries.

As Singapore has a large logistic base, it will be affected. However, there will still be trade around the world, so the impact is not serious. We can adjust.

Furthermore, the government does not need to impose tariffs on every item. They on need to impose the tariffs to get the tax revenue and also to protect certain local jobs.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Najib Razak

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - What will happen to Najib, former PM of Malaysia?

Here are the responses:

81% - He will stand trial and defend himself vigorously.
19% - He will run away from Malaysia
0% - He will admit his crime.
0% - He will return the money to reduce the penalty.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - World Cup 2018

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Who will win World Cup 2018?

Here are the responses:

37% - Russia
37% - Another country
9% - Spain
9% - Portugal
7% Brazil.

Spain and Portugal are out now.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Dinner for Social Media Friends

I wish to organize a dinner for regular visitors to my Facebook Page and Blogspot for us to get to know each other better. We can talk about what is happening in Singapore and how to put things right, OK?

Two technology for cashless payments

There are two technologies to operate a cashless payment system:

a) Using mobile phone and QR code
b) Using a smart card, like EZ Link.

The QR code method requires the payer and payee to have a mobile phone. While most adults have a mobile phone, many young children do not have a mobile phone with data. So, this method excludes children and some old people who are not familiar with mobile phone.

The smart card method has a low cost to the customer (payer). It requires the merchant (payee) to have a device that can read the smart card and also handle the transaction. This device needs to be connected to the server.

It is possible to develop a mobile app that can act as the capturing device. The payee enter the amount and the payer taps the card on the device to complete the transaction.

The mobile phone may need to have a NFC reader. Only certain models have this capability.

The smart card method seems to be easier to use and has a lower operating cost. The disadvantage is that the payers are not able to transfer money from one person to another, e.g. if they wish to split the bill for a meal.

Which technology is better? Which is more likely to be used?

I will go for the smart card method. It can be EZ Link (if they are interested to market this service actively to retail outlets) or another company that issues a stored value card similar to EZ Link.

Tan Kin Lian

Financial viability for shared bike operations

I held the view earlier that bike sharing will not be viable in Singapore.

I wish to explain my reason.

Singapore has a good network of trains and buses that brings people close to their homes. We also have an integrated fare system. The passenger can take a bus, change to a train, and another bus - and pay an integrated fare.

Most people will prefer to take a feeder bus, rather than ride a bicycle. They do not have to pay extra for the bus ride. If they take a shared bike, they have to pay $0.50 or whatever is the actual fare.

The fare may be free during the promotion period, but after the promotion, the operator needs to collect revenue to pay the expenses.

For the shared bike to be viable, it has to be provided by the Land Transport Authority and be integrated into the public fare. Althernative, the operators should get some financing from the government.

OBike has decided that they cannot continue to operate the shared bike. They has ceased operation rather abruptly. I suspect that the other operators will face the same challenge.

It is useful to have shared bikes but the financial viability of the operations should be addressed.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Vote for non-PAP

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Will you vote for non-PAP at the next general election.

Here are the responses:

69% - Definitely. I will vote against the PAP.
22% - Only if I can accept the manifesto of the non-PAP candidates.
6% - Yes. If the non-PAP candidates contest under a common banner.
3% - No. I prefer to vote PAP.

Non-PAP: 69%. Maybe - 28%. PAP 3%

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - High pay for ministers

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Should we pay high salaries to ministers?

Here are the responses:

65% - No. We are not getting the right people to be ministers.
32% - No. The salary should be set at half of the current level.
3% - Yes. This will prevent corruption.

No - 97%. Yes - 3%.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Monday, July 02, 2018

Workforce on free lance work

Someone asked me - the world is charging towards freelance work and entrepreneurship to earn a fast buck, is the government relooking at a whole new concept or trend of supporting such a new global change?

I wish to point out the following:

a) There is already a large proportion of the workforce on freelance work for many years - insurance agents, property agents, taxi drivers, contractors, self employed, etc.

b) In Australia, and I suspect many other countries, the workers are paid on a rate per hour, rather than a monthly salary. It reflects the need to have more flexibility for employers and employees.

Singapore has been slow to respond to the changing environment. We are still paying people on monthly salaries. Overtime time is being ignored by many employers, with workers not being able to complain.

It is time for us to move to pay by the hour with a certain guaranteed minimum number of hours each week. Full time workers have a higher guarantee, part time workers a lower guarantee.

The big challenge facing Singapore is the high cost of living and the high commitment towards mortgage payment. It will be difficult for workers to meet the heavy commitments when they do not earn enough and the pay is uncertain.

We need to address this situation. I think that the government should revamp the Central Provident Fund and allow greater flexibility on the withdrawal of the savings to tide over periods of unemployment or under-employment.

They should also allow members to have negative balances, i.e. CPF to provide financing, for up to $50,000 and charge the same rate of interest, i.e. 2.5%. This will reduce the burden of workers who are in financial distress, from relying on banks that charge 24% interest.

I agree that we need to rethink the current practices and change them to meet the changing environment.

Tan Kin Lian

Subsidy for child care

The government provides a subsidy for child care of between $300 to $740 a month, depending on the the household income and per capital income

A higher subsidy is given for full day care for infants below 18 months.

It is a complicated formula

I cannot understand why it has to be so complicated. But it is typical of the approach that is adopted for many subsidies in Singapore.

I also do not understand why there is no allowance for home care.

This subsidy is now under review. It will continue to be a complicated formula.

WOTC - Lower property prices

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Is it good to have lower property prices in Singapore?

Here are the responses:
50% - Lower property prices will lower rental and the cost of living.
28% - High property prices will only benefit people who own more than one property.
19% - Lower property prices will be affordable for the young.
3% - Keep property prices high to enhance the value of our assets.

Yes - 97%. No-3%.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Nursing homes in Johor Bahru

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Should our elderly sick be sent to nursing homes in Johore Bahru?

Here are the responses:

79% - The state should provide more subsidy to nursing homes in Singapore to keep the cost low.
12% - It is acceptable provided that the quality of care can be kept to a high standard.
6% - The cost can be reduced considerable due to cost of land and labor.
3% - It is acceptable provided that the jams at the causeway can be reduced.

No - 79%. Yes - 21%.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Octopus card in Hong Kong

The Octopus card (Chinese: 八達通) is a reusable contactless stored value smart card for making electronic payments in online or offline systems in Hong Kong. Launched in September 1997 to collect fares for the territory's mass transit system, the Octopus card system is the second contactless smart card system in the world, after the Korean Upass, and has since grown into a widely used payment system for all public transport in Hong Kong, leading to the development of Oyster Card in London and Opal Card in New South Wales.

The Octopus card has also grown to be used for payment in many retail shops in Hong Kong, including most convenience stores, supermarkets, and fast food restaurants. Other common Octopus payment applications include parking meters, car parks, petrol stations, vending machines, fee payment at public libraries and swimming pools, and more. The cards are also commonly used for non-payment purposes, such as school attendance and access control for office buildings and housing estates.

The Octopus card won the Chairman's Award of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance's 2006 Global IT Excellence Award for, among other things, being the world's leading complex automatic fare collection and contactless smartcard payment system. According to Octopus Cards Limited, operator of the Octopus card system, there are more than 33 million cards in circulation, nearly five times the population of Hong Kong. The cards are used by 99 per cent of the population of Hong Kong aged 16 to 65.[1] The system handles more than 14 million transactions, worth over HK$180 million, on a daily basis.[2]

Octopus Card Limited's and the cards' slogan is Making Everyday Life Easier.

Use EZ Link card for cashless payment

I suggest that EZ Link be used for cashless payment.

We need to develop a low cost device that can be installed at the point of sale. The sales staff enter the amount and the customer taps the EZ Link card.

Maybe the device can be an app on a mobile phone, and is operated by the merchant.

EZ Link can have a fee for each transaction, say $0.10.

This will be better than the QR code payment that is used in AliPay and WeChat Pay in China.

If EZ Link does not want to be involved, or if the infrastructure cost is too high, we can set up a separate company to run this operation. It will use a contactless card like EzLink.

I understand that the Octopus card in Hong Kong is widely used in this manner.

Make employer prefer local workers

Most people consider $3,000 a month to be an "adequate" wage. A wage below this level is considered to be inadequate.

More than half of the work force, I suspect, earn below this wage. They cannot command a higher wage because of the influx of foreign workers who are wiling to accept a lower wage.

The government should set the example by paying a wage of at least $3,000 in the private sector. It should also stop the bad practice of outsourcing of private sector jobs, e.g. cleaning and security guards.

It is a shameful practice for the government to reduce its cost by exploiting the workers through outsourcing.

What about the private sector? They are not able to afford this wage. They have to pay high rentals and do not have enough business.

The solution is for the government to provide a monthly subsidy of $500 to employ a local worker. They can charge a levy of $500 to $1,000 to employ a foreign worker.

The system of subsidy and levy will help to balance the market for local and foreign workers. It will make employers opt to employ local workers, as the cost is equalized.

How to reduce cheque payments

The government has set a goal to reduce cheque payment by 2025. They seem to think that introducing immediate payment using FAST for businesses is the solution.

If this is the case, then our planners are badly mistaken.

Businesses do not need to receive immediate payment. When they receive payment by cheque, they have to wait 1 week or longer for the payment to be mailed and cleared.

The problem is the lack of a standardized facility to make payment.

This is how I envisage a portal operated by the association of banks (ABS) can operate:

a) They payer (individual or business) logs into his bank account
b) He selects a registered payee (a business). Each business need to register only once in the portal.
c) He enters the amount and the invoice number.
d) On submission, the portal will debit the payer and credit the payee and send an email notification to the payee.

I have submitted this suggestion to the Pro Enterprise Panel more than 5 years ago. They did not take it up.

At that time, the FAST facility was not available. But the clearance through GIRO may take a few days to be completed, but the delay is not critical. The ease to the payer and payee is more important. This remains the key challenge.

It does not need 7 years for the portal to be set up, It can be done in six months.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Salary of nurse

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - What monthly salary will be sufficient to attract local to be a nurse?

Here are the responses:

48% - $3,000
43% - $3,500
10% - $2,500
0% - $2,000

The average is slightly higher than $3,000, i.e. about $3,200.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Salary of bus driver

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - What monthly salary will be sufficient to attract a local to be a bus driver

Here are the responses:

57% - $3,000
34% - $3,500
20% - $2,500
0% - $2,000

The average is slightly more than $3,000, i.e about 3.150.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Limitation of the free market

Many people believe that it is best for prices to be determined by the free market.

I agree with this thinking provided that the market is really free and there are many suppliers and customers.

But some markets are not suitable to be left to the free market because the supplier has a stronger market power or the customers lack do not have the information.

Examples of the unbalanced market include the following:

a) Property market - where the main suppliers are the government or a few big developers.

b) Health care market where the doctors have the knowledge and the customers have to rely on the doctors.

If the government fails to carry out its duty or they have a conflict of interest (being a key supplier with a profit motive), the prices can get out of control. This is what has happened in Singapore.

An example where the free market works well is the restaurant and food business. The customers are able to decide on where to eat and there are adequate choices.

Tan Kin Lian

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