Archive for July, 2013


July 25, 2013 Leave a comment

There, I’ve said it. The H-word. In view of the scandals involving high ranking officials, and the increasingly extremist methods in suppressing alternative voices in the virtual community, I felt a burning need for netizens to be more vociferous in their views. How is it that the government can never understand the meaning of 2-way dialogue? How is it that they can never be honest and fair (or even attempting to show case they are)? Every election, new pools of young, internet savvy citizens participate in their citizen right of voting while the older generation gives way. This group of citizens is most likely to be heavily influenced by online media with an almost guaranteed dislike for autocratic methods and unfairness. Instead of the great opportunity in showcasing their honest explanation that could have earn them some points, all they know is throwing legal suits while not doing much explanation. How do you expect people to be convinced? Has the PAP government been fair and honest? I leave it to you to decide on the following events:

1) The Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez was only let off with a ‘stern’ warning after many, many months of investigation (that really let me doubt the efficiency of our police force) for publishing a poll on the results of the General Election on Cooling Day, when it is by law unlawful to comment. However, a fellow netizen was criminalized for a similar act (and this time the police took a much, much shorter time to solve. Any reason for this?). If I am to do something similar to what Warren Fernandez had done, what do you think will happen to me? So my questions to the government are: What is the difference between the 2 cases? In view of the wider reach of audience the Straits Times has and the professionalism expected of a national and responsible newspaper, wouldn’t the act by Warren Fernandez warrant a greater offense? And why did the police force took such a long time to conclude their ‘investigation’ for Warren Fernandez? Is it that complicated? Is it due to the incompetence of the force? Or is it due to other reasons that the government has?

2) When we have more scandals of the public service involving hundreds of millions of tax payers money, why is the government attempting to undermine the crimes? The Straits Times reported that a report will be made public to show that the number of fraud cases by public servants are ‘consistent’ throughout the years. To me, if each scandal is to involve so much money, one fraud is one too many. Lee Kwan Yew said before that he has absolutely ZERO tolerance for corruption. As such, should we even tolerate a single case? Sure, there’s always the ‘human is prone to error and temptation’ reasoning but please don’t even bring this up. By bringing this up, it only goes to show the lack of sincerity and resoluteness in admitting to the incompetence of the government. As a citizen who pays taxes, I am not interested in the ‘consistency’ of fraud cases involving public service officials. I am more interested in how can this be solved, how can monetary control issues be tightened, and whether the money lost can be recovered.

If the number of fraud cases are ‘consistent’ over a number of years, it only meant one thing. There are loopholes in the system and the government had failed to tightened it throughout the years. This spells incompetence. I mean, what else can it imply? Why would any company or organization continue to allow such frauds to happen over and over again? Is it because the ministers don’t feel the pinch since they continue to collect their millions?

Don’t go around defending saying there is nothing the minister can do. If there are loopholes, only the ones at the ministerial level can tighten, especially when the recent cases involve the top officials of various agencies, including the supposedly upholder of justice CPIB. Unless of course, they can well benefit from these loopholes as well. As the ones overseeing the government, the ministers have the responsibility to look into this issue to ensure such cases do not happen again. Isn’t there supposed to be some kind of multiple approvals and controls when it comes to money? And most importantly, why isn’t such fraud uncovered during audits by the AGO?

3) Carry on to what the AGO has done, it is reported that there are multiple issues with money (again) concerning multiple agencies. So what if the report is published? Some, like the National Research Fund or NRF simply release a statement saying controls will be tightened. That’s all? Given the huge amount of money involve, shouldn’t a more detailed investigation be carried out and punishments executed accordingly? All these issues are obviously due to lax controls and irresponsibility of the personnel involve. This is especially important in light of the recent fraud cases.

One of the issues includes unauthorized payments from the Pension fund by MINDEF!! While it is stated the money is restored to the fund, where did that money came from then? Another point reads the Ministry of Foreign Affairs failing to check the reasonable of prices quoted for some security services, which resulted in over payment due to ‘tight timeline’. Such a reason is not a good explanation. Is this how taxpayer’s money shall be spent? Freely spending without a care in the world and no checks and balances? How many more fraud cases could there be uncovered? Mind you, the report states problems not with just one or two or even three agencies. The problems spread across multiple government agencies like virus in stage 4 cancer. To be fair, I applaud the AGO for publishing their findings.

Reading into the report only makes my blood boils. Overpayment of this, over valuation that. All these money wasted simply the government don’t care how they spend! I am not surprised how much money Vivian Balakrishnan had overspent for the YOG given the incompetence in procurement and spending. When you have a budget, you KEEP to the budget. What’s the use of a budget if you overblown it at such an astronomical rate? Has a detailed audit been done on the YOG?

All these examples involves a lot of public money (hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars) that could have been put to better use. As a citizen who pays tax (yet again), I demand more transparency in this issue. I also demand that the government take a serious look into their lax spending habits and lousy monetary controls. Or is it because the agencies are headed by multiple ministers and senior civil servants that made them immune to the rules of law? The silence of the government is unsettling. Before the PAP government/ AGO even wish to accuse netizens of wrongful accusation, maybe they should first be more forthcoming in their explanation. That is, if they even care to explain.

Categories: Uncategorized

Petty politics

July 10, 2013 1 comment

It’s been a good 5 months since I last post. For one, work is heavy. For two, age is catching up. There has been many issues for the past 5 months. Some issue like the monitoring of the internet I didn’t bother to write. Many has been written and if the PAP government thinks they can control the internet or control what the people is reading online, or if they think that their little laws can extend beyond our shores, I wish them good luck.

What is more amusing to me is how the little issue of spring cleaning erupted into a 90s comedy that is being played on youtube and facebook with Vivian Balakrishnan as our male lead. Watching the youtube video, I gathered poor Mr Vivian Balakrishnan must have suffered much from the recent haze. Much of his brain cells must have died. If not, how else is such an ‘elite’ incapable of stringing a coherent argument, or even the basic ability in replying what was being asked, something even my 2 year old niece is able to? What I deduce is confused, self-high moral, and simply pure stupidity. All I see is Vivian Balakrishnan throwing his own little show without showing any evidence to back his accusations and at the same time claiming he has evidence. A big question mark hangs on my head. Or maybe as an elite, his argument logic has proved too deep for understanding.

This episode, however, highlights the danger of a domineering old political party that has obviously lost touch and sense. It is no secret many of the MPs that the PAP roped in is incapable of decent public speaking. Now we have a full minister that is making a clown out of himself and the party. Many of my foreign friends had asked me “So what is your minister talking about? Is he even responding to the counter argument at all? And what is all that hoo-ha on cleaning issues in an eatery? Isn’t there bigger issues like the haze and that dengue epidemic?”. It’s embarrassing on so many levels. So much time and effort spent on discrediting the opposition party when bigger problems loomed. It’s a disgrace to the country and a disgrace to me as the citizen of this nation.

Once upon a time, the PAP stands for hope. Now, it has degraded to playing political ploys to save their own little skin. The very same political games the PAP had accused an increasing opposition party in parliament would flare up during the last election, the PAP themselves are the ones doing it. And the more they play it up, the more their insecurity and incapability are brought to public view. What a ‘petty’.

Categories: Uncategorized