WP’s story hard to believe

WP’s story hard to believe

When I go onto the Straits Times’ website, news about the AHTC trial is not under “courts and crime” or even “Singapore”, but “politics”. This is weird but probably reflects what many Singaporeans think of the case. (Bearing in mind, the suit was started by an independent panel for the TC, appointed by the WP and headed by JBJ’s son Philip Jeyeretnam.)

The WP MPs exploit this perception in their defence.

Essentially they are saying that they appointed their supporters’ company FMSS without an open tender because the other players experienced in TC management all serve PAP Town Councils and are not to be trusted.

Whether that statement is correct or not, some Singaporeans do believe that these companies might be biased. But even assuming that, WP had choices other than to lie and flout procurement rules.

 

– Other companies approached WP

Low Thia Khiang admitted in court that other property management companies approached him after GE2011, eager to be his managing agent. Was WP too quick to assume they couldn’t be trusted? And while they may not have direct TC experience (like FMSS), they were experienced property managers. They could have hired staff experienced in HDB town management.

But Low never gave them a chance to tender for the contract.

 

–  CPG was contracted to stay on

The TC’s original managing agent CPG was contractually bound to serve at least two more years, at the same price (lower than FMSS’), regardless of boundary and political changes. Even if CPG was unwilling to serve WP, they wouldn’t have destroyed their own reputation by skimping on services to residents.CPG is and international firm, and their reputation would be important to them. They wouldn’t give that up just for this.\

The contract could only be terminated with the TC’s consent. This means WP could have made CPG stay on, at least for a few more months to give them more time to call an open tender.

 

-WP had 2-3 months to call a tender

From the election on 9 May 2011, to when WP had to take over AHTC on 1 Aug 2011, was nearly 3 months. Even without making CPG stay on, WP did have enough time to call a proper tender.

WP says that the withdrawal of the TCMS (TC management computer system) forced them to appoint FMSS as early as possible. But in fact, the deadline for withdrawal was extended twice, until after WP got its own system up and running. There’s no evidence that the TCMS was forcibly withdrawn.

 

– Their own Town Councillors should have been informed

WP appointed their own town councillors, mostly their long-time supporters. The councillors would have bought the explanation about CPG not being trustworthy. They probably preferred to work with FMSS, whom they knew from Hougang, even at a higher price. Why not be transparent, set out the facts before the town councillors and let them decide? Town Councillors after all, are empowered to participate in key decision making processes over town matters.

Instead, the WP dismissed CPG, gave FMSS a letter of intent, and even started paying FMSS before the Councillors met to discuss?

Why lie to the council that they needed to waive the tender because it was urgent?

Why hide from the council the fact that FMSS was solely owned by their supporters?

Why did they go to such lengths to ensure FMSS got the job- what did they have to gain?

 

WP’s case is essentially “woe are we, we were victims, we had no choice but to bend the rules”.  I find that story hard to believe. They admitted in court that they had plenty of choices.

What’s more, if everyone who feels they have the moral high ground to bend the rules, why even have rules in the first place?

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The House of Soros

The House of Soros

The House of Soros – that’s what they call the organisations funded by George Soros.

George Soros is, of course, the billionaire financier. He made his money from other people’s woes – for instance, financial turbulences, including the 1997 Asian financial crisis that destroyed so many lives. Poverty rose during such crises. Ironically, he has been found to be evading taxes while calling for governments to spend more.

His foundations are all over the world. Despite their claims of transparency, NGO Monitor found that a lot of the funding runs through a secretive Swiss organisation .

Most of the groups financed are left-wing. They have spent over US$14 BILLION on funding such causes, and that’s only the openly declared portion. He overthrows elected governments he doesn’t like. But who elects him?

Not surprisingly, many of the organisations that attack Singapore regularly, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Oxfam and New Naratif, fall into this shadowy group. New Naratif, set up by Kirsten Han and Thum PJ, even tried to register themselves in Singapore to run political workshops and websites.

Thum, if you remember, is that activist who attempted to change history to suit his own academic work. New Naratif is funded by Soros’ Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI), which is the secretive Swiss organisation identified by NGO Monitor. It’s not clear how much money it dispenses and where the money comes from. New Naratif admitted it received funding from many other unknown foreign entities.

We stopped them and they’ve now gone off to Malaysia to seek Mahathir’s interference in our politics. And some Singaporeans are too quick to jump on Soros bandwagon without thinking through how much they want to destroy this great country.

Oxfam is the latest to whack Singapore. In what is one of the most flawed rankings ever seen, Oxfam said Singapore comes in bottom 10 in the world for efforts to combat inequality. This is mostly not based on how poorer Singaporeans live, but because we’re classified as a “tax haven”. Any initiative to attract investment by giving tax breaks is “tax haven” behaviour in their books. They ignore how the bottom half of Singaporeans pay no income tax while benefiting from government-funded housing, transport, education, healthcare, utilites etc. It does not matter to them that Singapore’s public housing, healthcare and education are among the best in the world and most important, accessible to all strata of society.

So they would rather see people relying on handouts than people using good affordable public housing as a base to build their lives. Oxfam inequality index had been consistently dismissed by experts as flawed and politically motivated. Just think about it, Singapore is ranked below Palestine, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica.

That’s the line all their reports take. They routinely attack capitalism, while ignoring the fact that global poverty, disease and hunger are all on the retreat since capitalism spread all over the world. They call for irresponsible redistribution instead of wealth creation, which is precisely what led the Communist states to bankruptcy. Complete equality probably means everyone earns $1,000 a month.

It’s actually sad what has happened to Oxfam. It was a UK organisation focused on famine relief and much loved by people. But along the way it was “hijacked by the politicised left”, especially in the case of Soros-funded Oxfam International. According to recent exposés, Oxfam International covered up reports of their staff using underage prostitutes while on “relief” missions. (Well, someone’s getting relieved at least?)

The cheek of a billionaire who wrecked countries’ currencies and caused years of economic hardship and poverty to the ordinary folk and then positioned himself as champion of democracy and poverty reduction?

Oxfam never really cared for poverty reduction. Its role is to recklessly attack the rich and governments Soros doesn’t like even if pro-market policies have helped uplift the lives of billions in China, India, Southeast Asia, Europe. All over the world, the House of Soros has funded biased claims, violent demonstrations and political actors who hide their foreign influencers. Do we want to be the next victim?

 

 

(Featured image from Fabrications About the PAP)

Pritam and PJ Thum: The Patriot and the Traitor?

“To me, above all, in the Opposition, we must be good and patriotic Singaporeans. We must not go around the world denouncing Singapore.”
— Chiam See Tong.
Chiam was saying this about the man who wrested the SDP leadership from him, Chee Soon Juan. The younger generation may not know Chee’s character, but my generation will never forget how he betrayed his mentor Chiam, faked a hunger strike and repeatedly broadcast Singapore-bashing lies.

Everyone likes to talk about how kelian he is, his kids have no TV in the house, etc…. No one ever talks about the money Chee takes from foreign organisations, usually funded by Western powers, so that he can go overseas and badmouth Singapore at every turn. These are the actions of a man who doesn’t have Singapore’s interests at heart.

Which is all the more refreshing to see that Pritam Singh, leader of the WP, stood together with the other members of the Select Committee last week to back the findings of the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods. He agreed that we should take stronger measures against malicious fake news campaigns. He even agreed that PJ Thum’s submissions “cannot support (his) contention”.

Clearly he understands the clear and present threat that rogue nations and operators like Russia and China pose to Singaporeans and to our local politics. We have always been clear. Singaporean issues are for Singaporeans to decide. No one else. It was not too long ago that Russia managed to swing the US elections to Trump. Apparently, over 100,000 Fake News bots and accounts from Russia influenced the Brexit vote in the UK two years ago. Now Europe is in a mess, all sides are fighting each other. This is what Russia wants!

Let’s not forget China. They are pouring so much money into cyber warfare. It is even easier for them to influence how some Singaporeans might think, because we share the same language. They can target our Chinese community with anti-Malay Fake News, and turn both against each other. That’s why it’s so important that we recognise the danger of Fake News and legislate against it.

Well done, Pritam. Whatever our differences politically, we must always stand together against foreign threats. That is the hallmark of being a responsible politician.

Stupid strategic error by PJ Thum and company

Stupid strategic error by PJ Thum and company

A Malaysian patient walked into our medical centre the other day and made a joke. “My Prime Minister wants to charge you 10 times more for water. Will you charge us more for treatment since you use our water?’’ My colleague cheekily answered “We shall see.’’

Singapore now faces enormous challenges from up north. In fact, Singapore faces a formidable opponent from up north – our wily old nemesis Dr Mahathir. Our honeymoon period with Malaysia under Badawi and Najib is over. For all his domestic problems, Najib had been reasonable and fair to Singapore. As a Singaporean, I fear for our future. We need to stand together, united.

Within weeks after taking office, Dr Mahathir has made three very hostile moves towards us. First, he blatantly wants the government here overthrown. At a press conference, he made it clear that it is time for our elected government to be out. “The people of Singapore must be tired of having the same government since independence,’’ he declared. It doesn’t occur to him such irresponsible comments have serious impact on our citizens and bilateral relations. Imagine if Singapore leaders had said we want Malaysians to remove their Government! But at 93 and with his mortality staring down at him, he probably doesn’t care.

Second, he wants to raise the price of water by 10 times. Again, he doesn’t really care if that price adjustment breaks the international agreement between the two countries. And it may ultimately translate into higher water prices, not just for Singaporeans but also for Malaysians. Worse, Dr Mahathir doesn’t care if disputes in the water agreement and ultimately any threats to water supply will inadvertently lead to war. How long can we survive in our island without water- one week?

Third, Dr Mahathir immediately cancelled the high speed railway. And then he backpedalled and said he would delay and asked for less penalty. Singapore taxpayers had spent millions in good faith to prepare for the project that will bring the two countries closer together. Trade, tourism, social links. All up the smoke because this fellow didn’t like us. And he wants another crooked bridge to link us instead!

We need to get this straight. Dr Mahathir is not our friend. Worse, he wants to bring down Singapore whenever he can. He joked about bombing us with his fighter planes. He repeatedly talks about cutting our water supply. His army official talked about poisoning our water. He never got over his personal humiliation as a student in Singapore.

Malaysians and some Singaporeans alike (namely PJ Thum and his business associates) are being deceived into thinking reformasi has arrived in Malaysia. Full democracy and freedom is taking place. No more race-based, read Malay-dominance politics and economic policies. All men are equal. We all would like to believe such ideals. To grab power, Dr Mahathir is willing to backtrack, break from his principles to team up with people he locked up – Anwar Ibrahim after saying he was not fit to be PM and giving him a punch in the eye, his long-time nemesis Lim Kit Siang and Lim’s son. Even his former ISD detainee is now his defence minister. Surely it would be stupid to think that the man who wrote the anti-Chinese “The Malay Dilemma’’ is suddenly a great fan of equal rights and democracy. I can only wish our Malaysian friends well. Alas, things are beginning to show. Suddenly, laws are disregarded and his AG dismissed corruption charges against Lim Guan Eng. More of the same?

Now this is where our liberal activist friends don’t get it. It is in such a hostile context and background that they decided to travel up north to grab some cheap soundbites and publicity to promote their cause. Or was it to promote their George Soros-funded business?

But are they in touch with the real political grounds back home? Have they seen how Chee Soon Juan, after two decades of Western style civil disobedience and liberal democratic antics, never got near any parliamentary seats? If they are looking for more support from fellow Singaporeans like me, is this the way to go? Going up north to hold up an anti-Government book and take picture with our chief nemesis? What would the Americans think if one of their activists went across to North Korea and invited the Kims to come and influence their local politics and bring down their government?

When they found public opinion against them, they tried their usual tricks- confusing people with big words, playing victim, saying they are not traitors. But they forgot to scrub their Facebook pages. Apparently Thum has made statements like he wishes Singapore will “return to our rightful place alongside our brothers and sisters in Malaya”. (That was before the change of guard in Malaysia- so perhaps he’s not as pro-democracy as he claims!) Only Sonny Liew was self-reflective enough to say they were naïve. Even so, naïve is an understatement.

Our country faces a difficult time with our recalcitrant neighbour. He has drawn a hostile line in the sand – one that is dangerous and can cost us dearly. Existential issues, yes, water and our security. At 93, he would be making even more Trump-like risky moves. Do we stand on our side or with the other fellow? We need to manoeuvre very carefully from here on with our Malaysian friends. We need to stand united. What we don’t need is one of our own going in to stir more shit, being used and inadvertently helping that old fox.

Any way you look at it, it was a stupid strategic error.

Opposition linking up with anti-Singapore Dr M

Opposition linking up with anti-Singapore Dr M

Read in the news this morning that Dr Thum Ping Tjin met our not-so-friendly neighbour Dr. Mahathir in KL to ask him to open a conference on democracy. Dr Thum actually said he asked the Malaysian leader “to take leadership in South-east Asia for the promotion of democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and freedom of information”.

I almost fell off my chair. Mahathir, democracy and human rights? Seriously?

Is Thum, the historian, even aware of Dr M’s reign of terror? During his 22 years as Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir locked up hundreds of people including oppposition members using their Internal Security Act. He even arrested his current DPM’s husband, as well as his current Finance Minister and Defence Minister without trial.

Then there was the famous Memali Incident. While trying to arrest someone under the Internal Security Act, security forces used excessive force. 14 civilians died and 159 were arrested, including women and children. Official statements subsequently released said that the ‘criminals’ tried to spread “deviationist teachings and disrupt public order”. Well, the only public disorder took place when the villagers were attacked! So much for human rights and freedom of expression.

And how about Mahathir’s statement to get security forces to shoot Vietnamnese boat people if they stepped into Malaysia? Or how he allowed his police chief to physically attack a helpless, handcuffed Anwar Ibrahim. His judges locked Anwar up. Then a ruthless campaign to smear Anwar emerged. 20 years later, when it suited Mahathir, he used his new powers to release Anwar.

Many will also be aware of Mahathir’s reign of discriminatory policies along the lines of race, religon and money politics. Mahathir’s children became billionaires during his reign. No investigations have ever been carried out. So the whole idea of Mahathir as the champion of democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and freedom of information is a joke.

What is more infuriating is Dr M’s attacks on Singapore. He wants Singaporeans to suffer at every opportunity he has. He’s repeatedly wanted to break our water agreement with Malaysia. If not, raise our water prices by 10 times. He tells Malaysians that he wants to bomb Singapore. He instigated supporters to call for our water supply to be cut. His senior army officer even threatened to poison our water. How about the stupid suggestion to build a crooked bridge just to spite us? The withdrawal from the high-speed rail project after we’ve spent hundreds of millions?

So this is the leader that Thum decides to join hands with?

Thum clearly doesn’t have Singapore’s interests at heart. He’s willing to sacrifice values and sacrifice Singaporeans to get publicity for himself and his conference. Remember? Thum is the very same ungrateful fellow who takes money from George Soros to stir shit in Singapore. It would be ironic if Mahathir finds out that Thum’s billionaire financier is his old nemesis George Soros!

Linking up with foreigners to bring down our own. Putting personal interest above country. That’s what I call a traitor.

What the critics would have said if Singapore had rejected Summit because of cost

What the critics would have said if Singapore had rejected Summit because of cost

The last few days, I saw some people bitching on social media and Whatsapp about the Trump- Kim Summit. Why did Singapore go waste money on such a stupid event, they say.

They said Singapore shouldn’t have paid $20 million to host the Summit. Instead the money could have bought World Cup broadcast rights, reduced GST or cured poverty. (Spoiler: It’s not enough to do any of those things.) By the same argument, we should also close down foreign ministries or any ministries handling arts, sports, recreation, education etc since money should be spent on the poor? Are Singaporeans becoming petty? Dumb?

How blind can these people get? Our country plays a part in world peace, gets publicity that money can’t buy, and they’re still bitching? Are they against PAP or against Singapore?

I decided to have some fun and imagine what they would have said if we rejected the offer and the Summit had gone to second choice Mongolia. 

4G leadership isn’t strategic- got beaten by underdeveloped Mongolia!

Lee Kuan Yew would have taken up the Summit without a second thought! But our current leadership would rather leave a despot with nuclear warheads at our doorstep.

What’re more if North Korea opens up after this, it’ll be a trillion-dollar business opportunity. And we’ll lose out on it because we refused to spend $20 million.

Now it’s going to Ulan Bataar. We’re losing out to a country of horses and yurts. Critics would surely say, ah 4G leaders cannot make it, always about money only. Give up strategic world branding event because of a small price. This batch of useless leaders have no political acumen to understand geopolitics! If only LKY was around!

 

Singapore has dollars but no sense

Do they know how much a TV commercial break on a global basis of 30 seconds cost? US’s Super Bowl charges over US$5 million for 30 sec slot! And that is only America!

3-5 days of primetime and front page coverage, over 3,000 media outlets? Our skylines and landmark buildings and icons like MBS, Esplanade all over the world for 3-5 days. Marketing website Mumbrella has estimated it to be $150 million- for now. What is $20 million, man. And what about diplomatic goodwill? Safety from nuclear obliteration? Contributing to world peace?

What’s $20 million against all this? And all the tourist dollars. And how much would 2,500 media representatives spend here over the last one week? These PAP leaders are pennywise, pound foolish!

 

Singapore doesn’t care about starving children

If North Korea moves towards openness, it will have to at least tone down its human rights abuses. Its labour camps, starving its own people, and monitoring its citizens. Like Myanmar, once they start doing business with the world, state control could crumble surprisingly fast. But does Singapore want to play its part in this? No! Singapore doesn’t care about dissidents and starving children!

 

Singapore is scared of offending China

North Korea is sidelining China by meeting Trump. After screwing up relations with China, Lee Hsien Loong is scared of offending China again by hosting this Summit.

Why did Singapore host Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou, but not Trump and Kim? Does the leadership define itself only as part of Greater China? In case they forgot, we’re not a Chinese country!

 

Paper generals don’t dare to be challenged

The Summit would be a good chance to test our security forces and civil service. Can they mobilise in a short time and offer world-class protection? Will our paper generals match up against generals who have really bombed people? It seems Singapore doesn’t dare to take up the challenge. 

They say they don’t want to inconvenience citizens and pay it out of the public purse. That’s such an insult to Singaporeans. We can look beyond temporary inconvenience and less than half a percent of GDP, to play our part in advancing world peace. These 4G leaders have no confidence in our people’s ability!

 

Our global stature as a neutral country.

These leaders don’t understand how much this Summit would put us on the world diplomatic map.

Why didn’t they ask Malaysia, Indonesia, UK, China, Russia, Vienna or Geneva? The most free country in the world meeting the most oppressed nation and they both agreed on Singapore. What does that say about us? We are trusted, reliable, safe, efficient. But most important, idiots, we can play a major global role in world affairs. Hey, what did they say about punching above our weight, small little red dot. Why go reject it, silly PAP!

 

Phew, I’m glad we accepted it. And delivered!

Select Committee: Hypocrites vs Experts

Select Committee: Hypocrites vs Experts
  1. Facebook’s representative doesn’t want to answer questions on his firm’s behaviour

Simon Milner from Facebook didn’t want to answer questions about Facebook’s conduct outside of Singapore. After the Cambridge Analytica privacy breach, Facebook kept it quiet from users for years. Even recently, they did not answer the UK Parliament truthfully about this.

Milner had the cheek to ask why he needed to answer such questions. Does he expect Singaporeans to just believe his proclamations about protecting users’ data, despite evidence that Facebook hasn’t done so? OK, actually most of us still use Facebook despite all that, myself included. But that’s why we need Parliamentarians to represent our interests and hold them to account.

  1. Foreign activists talked big but refused to debate their views openly

Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch said Singapore is authoritarian, the same stuff they’ve been spouting for years, quoting only opposition supporters and disregarding what Singaporeans express at the ballot box. But when invited to appear before the Committee, they refused. Maybe because they would be asked about their sources and the flaws in their reports?

  1. Kirsten Han won’t take down news that attacks Muslims

Kirsten Han was asked about several pieces of fake news that caused attacks on Muslims. A fake rape claim that led to anti-Muslim riots and Muslim deaths, a cartoon that portrayed Muslims raping and stabbing babies, a fake video that claimed Muslims celebrate terrorist attacks.

She said she wouldn’t take down such news, even if it’s spreading further hatred and violence. Guess it is not her problem or her job to talk to families of the dead victims.

She said as long as the people accused have a right to rebut, it’s OK to keep fake news online. But when she thought the summary of the proceedings misrepresented her, she didn’t just rebut. She wants the summary to be corrected.

  1. Jolovan Wham threw a “hissy fit”

Jolovan Wham whined that he had waited for hours and had even worn a suit, but was only given a 7-minute hearing. He himself called it a “hissy fit”. He said he had other views to share. Why hadn’t he put it in the written submission then? He thinks the Committee exists as a forum for him to get publicity?

  1. PJ Thum wants to falsely accuse others but doesn’t want to be questioned

PJ Thum submitted a paper saying that anti-Communist arrests were the only time fake news affected Singapore. Firstly, why did he submit this to a committee on ONLINE falsehoods?

Secondly, when questioned on his views, he turned around and said, “I wonder what his (Shanmugam’s) motivation was in grilling me about my academic work”. Eh hello, you submit a paper and expect not to be questioned on it? If Shanmugam had not questioned you, you would have said “the Government has no rebuttal on my views”.

By the way, he admitted that his views don’t take into account the first-hand accounts of the Communists, or even the full views of the British Special Branch that he quotes. He hasn’t even read some of the accounts, especially if they’re in Chinese. Even Bertha Henson said “his reputation as a historian looks like washed down the tubes” after the exchange.

 

Aiyoh, enough about these people. Claim that they believe in free debate, but refuse to be actually debated. Let’s move on to some actual experts. 

  1. Cherian George agrees to using law against fake news

Dr Cherian George, darling of the liberals, was quite fair in his assessment. He has actually studied fake news and how it pits races against each other, and concluded that there needs to be laws against it.

He said, “In cases of incitement, some have referred to the law as maybe the last resort. I would go further. I would say that if today a politician or a preacher stands up and says our country has no room for this other community, I don’t think that’s the time to distribute media literacy leaflets… The law is sometimes the first resort…”

  1. Fake news ruptures societies irreparably

Representatives from Ukraine, Indonesia, Czech Republic, etc. talked about their countries’ disastrous experiences with fake news. Fake news has started mobs that kill innocent people. They’ve split society irreparably along ethnic lines, and in the case of Ukraine, enabled foreign powers to invade easily.

People have started grassroots attempts to stop fake news, but the effectiveness is limited. Technology companies often do not agree to take down fake news. As a result, a quarter or more of people still believe fake news.

  1. Foreign powers are probably already using it to divide Singapore

Dr Shashi Jayakumar, head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security, said fake news aggressors will try to divide Singapore along racial lines. Other common tactics are to infiltrate local NGOs and bribe politicians to sing a certain tune.

Such tactics are already used in Malaysia and Indonesia, so they will probably try to use it against Singapore. Such power is typically built up before any conflict happens. Singapore is more vulnerable to such tactics because we are an open multi-cultural society. Thus, “it would be a mistake to assume this is not already happening in Singapore”. And even if it’s already happening, we wouldn’t be able to detect it.

  1. All experts think action is needed to fight fake news

Experts in law, media, technology and national security, both local and foreign, agreed we need more action to fight fake news. These include media literacy, technological solutions, legislation, etc.

We can’t just rely on the “marketplace of ideas” that people like Kirsten Han talk about. Because of social media algorithms and information overload, people are fed only news that they’re likely to agree with, or ignore other sources.

  1. Current legislation is not enough

Dean of SMU Law Dr Goh Yihan said current legislation is not enough to tackle fake news. Most of the existing laws don’t require the fake content to be taken down. Otherwise they have limitations, e.g. the Sedition Act only covers certain types of speech and the Prevention of Harassment Act requires the people affected to sue.

As for the freedom of speech, multiple experts said it doesn’t extend to falsehoods, in fact falsehoods undermine the public discourse. Thio Li-ann said it’s like “crying fire in a theatre”— not worth protecting because it’s fake and causes so much harm.

 

The people who oppose further action are basically technology companies who obviously don’t want to be regulated, and a small group of activists who put their faith in “free speech” despite what has happened to the “free societies” they talk about so much, the US and UK. Those who support further action are internationally renowned academics and people who saw fake news flood their countries. Who would you rather believe?