Friday, 27 October 2017

公积金局被动式债务重组 - 寻求会员延后提款。


0 公积金流程图.png


债务重组的意思就是原本到期的应付债务,需要延后支付,不能如期兑现。这不像公积金局的作风,因为,公积金局的钱,都是以借款的方式购买新加坡政府的债券,只要政府如期还款,公积金局就不需要向会员寻求债务重组。

因此,公积金局最近发信给,即将领取每月存款的会员,要求他们考虑延后提款,甚至可以延后到70岁才开始提款的做法,就像是一种要求债务重组的请求。表面上,这是一种善意,那些还在工作的老龄雇员,不需要在65岁提取存款,延后之后,将来70岁的时候就可以获得更加高,更加多回报的提款,不正是一件美事吗?

曾几何时,人民行动党政府会为人民提供这样好的“好康” - 为了乐龄人士提供每月提款到90多岁。Pay and pay 不就是行动党的金子招牌吗?

【债务重组】

公司,个人,甚至国家,如欧洲笨猪五国,就出现活生生的债务重组例子。当然,他们是欠银行的钱。债务重组就是重新谈判,把时间拉长,利率拉高,条件更加苛刻等。那些做生意周转不灵的公司,或者房地产价格下跌的个人,都会面对债务重组的问题。

反过来看公积金局,公积金局是主动,会员是被动要求债务重组。当然,会员也可以选择不要重组。不管怎样,如果同意,会员和公积金局当初订立的(利用最低存款)提款条件,在时间和提款数目上就会发生变化 - 重组。

当然,这不是公积金局第一次要求会员债务重组。在以前,他们还硬性规定把提款年限从55岁提高到65岁。现在的做法,似乎文明多了,还可以自由选择。

【为何债务重组】

我们从公积金流程图里,可以看到从借钱到还钱的流程。
借钱流程: 会员-公积金局-政府债券-淡马锡/政府投资公司
还钱流程: 淡马锡/政府投资公司-政府债券-公积金局-会员

其中,淡马锡/政府投资公司,国家基建/发展的投资和回报是关键。

这些投资和回报如果没有达到预期的效果,如2.5%以上的回报,那么,我们想一想,淡马锡和政府投资公司如何支付本金和利息给政府。而政府又如何还钱给公积金局。因为,公积金局需要付给会员的存款利息是介于2.5-4%。当然,还要考虑55岁扣了最低存款,65岁需要发放每月存款的准备。

难道,行动党政府已经看到回报会出现问题。投资回报无法达到预期,因此,需要提前准备,把每月提款年龄从65岁提高到70岁,在流动资金方面的压力就会减少。

【政府债券利率介于2.5-6%】

公积金局是一个被动的投资者。它收到会员的钱,依法就是通过购买政府债券来进行投资。在公积金局的常年报告书里 (第7项 投资),公积金局几乎把所有会员的存款投资在政府债券上,利率分为浮动和固定两种, 介于2.5%到6%。
公积金局借钱给政府.jpg
政府借到钱后,当然不可能放着不用,因此,就把这些钱交给淡马锡和政府投资公司,也可以作为国家发展和基建。但是,这些钱不是免费午餐,政府需要在债券到期的时候,连本带利还给公积金局。

问题是,万一投资回报没有达到目标,低于2.5%,那么行动党政府就连利息也还不起了。因为,债券利息最少2.5%,回报却低于2.5%。这种情形一旦出现,就是本金也还不了。

淡马锡,政府投资公司是在国内外进行金融和金融项目的投资。就像一般的企业,公司和个人投资,也要面对风险。当然,也正如政府说的,作为长期投资,我们不能拿一年,两年的回报作为标准,要看长期。事实上,65岁提取每月存款,一直到90岁以上,就是一项长期的投资风险评估。

【总统的责任】

公积金局和会员之间的流程在一定程度上是透明的,因为这是个人的钱,但是,也会出现一问三不知的情形。接着,政府和公积金局的流程就比较复杂,而政府和淡马锡/政府投资公司之间的流程,就是人们普遍上认为透明度不够,信任度最低的流程。

政府发行债券获得的钱,自然和政府的盈余(过去和现在)进行一篮子管理。而其中,外汇管理也是工作之一。除了淡马锡/政府投资公司外,金融管理局也负责新加坡外汇管理。为了让人民了解政府没有不适当管理外汇,在gov.sg上,还有一份2012年的说明:
gov.sg   Is there something wrong with our Reserves (1).pnggov.sg   Is there something wrong with our Reserves .png
在说明中,政府也承认,有人不时的对外汇管理产生怀疑,因此,对此作出说明解释。

新加坡在80年代设立总统选举制度以来,总统的功能就是要确保外汇管理适当,以人民的利益出发,监督政府和高级公务员,把外汇和公共行政做到最好。

很不幸的,由于总统本身没有把这项任务做好,人民不得不有所怀疑。从陈庆炎(一个懂得财务的人)到哈利吗(一个不懂财务的人)担任总统,这不是加深加大人们对于政府管理外汇储备的怀疑吗?甚至,也怀疑高级公务员的任命具有政治色彩。当然,更加不用说那些政府关联公司的利益输送问题。

新加坡辛辛苦苦建立起来的廉政?李光耀精神?公务员体系?行政效率?在一再修改宪法,一再变更游戏规则、法规的背景下,是否还能维持以往的建国精神?

为什么以前没有人很大的怀疑李光耀那一辈的领导,在外汇管理和行政任命上有所偏差;而到了李显龙这一代领导,人们却不停的产生怀疑?一种简单的解释为,以前钱很少、很小,现在,国民所得高,钱多了,因此,怀疑就多了。

这么说,就是钱多就作怪。高薪养廉行吗?

Friday, 20 October 2017

Reducing Importance of Print Media, PAP turns to Social Media for a bigger catch.

gear shifting.jpg


    We need to see the recent events in print media as a total package. Singapore Press Holdings, Mediacorp and the People’s Action Party are three in one. When there are changes, we cannot view them as business decisions. These are propaganda shift and the new strategy is to occupy and control the social media.     

    It is easy to make SPH profitable by just given them a piece of good land or good deal. It is even easier to make Mediacorp cash rich by just providing more funds in the Budget.  

    However, the PAP has to consider the return on investment. The same money spent on print media can also be spent in social media, even with a lower budget. But the print media has reached its peak while social media has greater and faster influence with less demanding quality control.

Some of the retrenched journalists can be sponsored into social media activities. Just take 20% or 30% of the cost saving in SPH and Today and invest in social media, the impact will be bigger than continuing their employment. These social media sites can be a one-man show or a group of individuals and work alongside with the 50 Cent Party.  

This is a strategy shift, from a once successful propaganda print media to possible Fake News makers.      

    Print media always claim they have quality control, especially the Straits Times. They are proud of themselves but to the PAP, they are just tools. However, we have to admit from time to time they do provide useful information. They can write their reports 20% right 80% misleading; 80% good news 20% bad news; good news first bad news last. You can see these examples in their MRT reports or parliament reports or poverty/inequality level.

    However, for social media reporting, Fake news reporting can totally on the 80% misleading, ignores the 80% bad news and only report on good news. The public, without further check and consideration, will believe all the PAP good news. Alternatively, they can also concentrate reporting on bad news about the oppositions. The easier one is suspected sex affairs, suspected corruption, suspected mismanagement of town councils.   

    The PAP’s strategy is actively moving into social media which with careful observations, you can see they already achieved some successes.   

    This is why even making profit, SPH still wants to fire journalists. Having easy money from the government, Today still wants to go digital without print version.

    The PAP does do their homework. They consider tradeoff and cost-benefit analysis. Today’s last day of print is the last day of September. Why? It can still be useful if there is no walkover in PE2017.   

    From the strategic point of the PAP or Lee Hsien Loong, print media carries negative return or less importance as compared to the past.  They have less influence over the younger generation.

    The same money can be best spent on sponsoring social media in Singapore. These sponsored sites not only can attract younger voters, they can also create fake news as independent news to either confuse the public or create the image of open society. Of course, with the standard decline of our foreign and diplomatic judgement, we certainly need more foreign correspondents to have more foreign feedback.

If you look at SPH as a part of the PAP government machinery, it is better to refocus efforts on productive areas. Print media has lost its usefulness, except perhaps, for the older generation.  For example, there is no intention to close down or merge the two evening Chinese papers.

The treatment of retrenched journalists is less important. The PAP government, since the day of Lee Kuan Yew, has only considered them as a political tool. The PAP can turn them left, right or center as their wish. And, Singapore journalists never say NO.

Being a tool, you have no control over yourself. You have to accept the treatments the Master gives them to you.  

Journalism in Singapore is a job, an occupation not a duty. Like what the PAP is promoting, you can be rich in every field, provided you do your job right - right politics, right economics.   

### How news has changed.

 copyright: coursera@Michigan

Friday, 13 October 2017

李显龙鼓励不劳而获。别人的忧不如自己的乐。


    原来这个世界上真的有不劳而获这回事。不需要出钱,不需要出力,大把赞助人等着排队津贴圈定的候选人,这就是新加坡今年总统选举的戏码。

李光耀所谓没有免费的午餐,原来不是那一回事。在李显龙的导演下,免费午餐,不单可能可行,更是活生生在新加坡上演。

只要政治正确,站在人民行动党的预订方向,所谓的总统选举,真的是不劳而获。所有可以预见的风险,困难,阻力,行动党都可以一一替候选人解决。甚至,候选人还可以预先购买好屋子,演一回坚持住在组屋的闹剧。

Untitled drawing(4).jpg

李显龙塑造的新加坡,竟然是这幅光景: 选举可以随意炒作,赞助费的津贴高过开支,草草了事的就完成总统选举的程序。对于选举造成的族群分裂,社会不和谐,只是懂得呼吁人民团结。

不过,真正威胁新加坡生存的大问题是国会辩论,竟然沦落到是非黑白不分,论据前后矛盾,说过的话,可以否认。并且,以另一种论据来推翻之前说过的话。这意味着在行动党的严格控制下,不单没有制衡这回事,还可以自由变更游戏规则,只要是自己人,免费午餐到处有,不是自己人,出头的机会难上加难。

【有识之士,应该作何打算?】

新加坡每一年放弃公民权人数有1200人。这个数目和想成为新加坡公民和永久居民的人数相比,少了很多。因此,很多人要进来,出去的很少。这是物以稀为贵的现象。

作为一个有识之士,看到行动党政府过去50年来的记录,政治正确和不正确之间,代价很高。甚至,政治正确,如果不为所用,那么,就算才高八斗,表现的机会也是有限的。因此,有办法的人,就会想到出走。因为,在新加坡,如果对手有免费午餐,又有津贴,竞争当然就是不公平,反而,在西方民主国家,在相对民主的机制下,本身又掌握英文,机会反而多些。

看到这幅光景,社会精英会作何打算?先天下之忧而忧,后天下之乐而乐?还是刚好相反。既然斗不过人民行动党,又考虑到新加坡的前途,捞了一笔后,选择离开,很可能是最好的选择。资深律师,明明最懂新加坡法律,却要让孩子逃兵役。这代表了什么?难道,他不知道出走的代价吗?

一个专业人士在新加坡,生活的好好,事业也好,为何会让孩子知法犯法?难道只是身体不适,这么简单的原因吗?还是看到新加坡的前途,这种津贴式的政治,这种免费午餐式的竞争,如果孩子(在体力,智力上)斗不过其他孩子,倒不如到国外享受人生,更加写意。反正,老子赚的新元,到国外还是坚挺,受到欢迎的。

免费午餐,津贴式竞争的政治,就是造就一批不劳而获的人。这些人并不一定局限在政治圈,在社会上,在商场,在非政府组织,在宗教团体里,都会出现一大批不劳而获的人。

李光耀或许能够控制不劳而获的人数,只是针对少数有利用价值的人开放。但是,李显龙在能力不如老子的背景下,就只有开放和扩大不劳而获人群,来稳定政局。

这种结果,当然就不会出现: 先天下之忧而忧,后天下之乐而乐。既然以不劳而获为前提,当然就是乐先于忧。从直通车总统,早早就买好房子,考虑的不是人民的忧,而是自己的乐。所谓的选举,根本就不需要担心钱的问题,有心人会站出来作为赞助人。这就是为何开支22万元,收到的捐款却有80万元。

资深律师的情形也是如此。孩子出走,他根本没有考虑对国家社会的义务,即使他懂得国家的法律,他还是乐见孩子前往他国,寻求乐园。他没有考虑到这个国家让他有机会发财,而他有机会让孩子快乐出走的基础,其实是建立在新加坡其他的人身上的。

李显龙倡导的“不劳而获”精神,的确无法考虑“先天下之忧而忧,后天下之乐而乐”。李显龙鼓励的是政治正确,就能够不劳而获,人民的忧虑排在个人利益之后。

上面的两个例子,时间上有先后。逃兵役在先,而玩弄、操弄总统选举在后。这意味着新加坡的高级知识分子,在很早之前,已经看到行动党治理下的新加坡的前途。如果能够选择离开,最好在服兵役前就离开,这样就可以先两年完成大学教育。而不用服兵役的女孩,就更加没有这个顾虑了。

李光耀辛苦建立起来的刻苦耐劳的美德,能者多劳的精神,在李显龙鼓励不劳而获的破坏下,还能维持多久?事实上,李显龙弟妹在控诉李显龙不光彩的一面时,就清楚的点出这一点。他们认为李显龙干涉政府的运作太多,破坏了李光耀精神。我们从李显龙鼓励不劳而获的实际例子,也应证也这个不光彩的事实。

Friday, 6 October 2017

Counting presidential term is not a ‘chicken or egg’ question.


Untitled drawing(2).jpg

    The counting of presidential term is a serious business as it is so difficult to get it debated in the Parliament.  However, it can also become a ‘chicken or egg’  question as reported by Lianhe Zaobao:

    This is not a fake news, perhaps the most it is only 50% right.

[林瑞莲问了“先有鸡还是先有蛋”的问题]

http://www.zaobao.com.sg/znews/singapore/story20171004-800189

    By naming the debate as a ‘chicken or egg’ question, Zaobao is directly admitting that the whole issue can go either way - policy decision or legal advice.  It means Lee Hsien Loong and the People’s Action Party government is 50% right in misleading the Parliament and so the people of Singapore.    

    However, as the way the mainstream media reports, it is clearly we should give the benefit of doubt to Lee Hsien Loong and the PAP government.  They have 50% chance of not misleading the Parliament, like the ‘chicken or egg’ question.,  

    The ‘chicken or egg’ can be a good excuse for Lee Hsien Loong and his government not directly answering the question. Terry Xu of The Online Citizens has clearly pointed out: Did Minister K Shanmugam deflect responsibility for PM Lee, DPM Teo and Minister Chan? https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2017/10/04/did-minister-k-shanmugam-deflect-responsibility-for-pm-lee-dpm-teo-and-minister-chan/

    Judge for yourself whether it is a ‘chicken or egg’ debate?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KxkMD7QzFA

[50% Malay]

    By the same ‘chicken or egg’ analogy, it is nothing right or wrong to classify an Indian-Malay mixed blood as a Malay candidate. It can go either way. If someone decides to be a Malay, so be it.

Yes. Even the identity card states clearly the race is Indian, one can still legally choose to be a Malay under the amended Singapore Constitutions.

 

 
[50% dishonorable son]

    In the ‘Dishonorable son’ debate in Parliament, Lee Hsien Loong was given the benefit of doubt - another ‘chicken or egg’ question where 50% right or 50% wrong.

    Like the ‘chicken or egg’ debate of presidential term, many documents or references are clearly not presented, for example the secret behind the legal advice from Attorney-General’s Chamber, the secret behind the setting up of ministerial committee on 38 Oxley Road.    

    When there is doubt, ‘chicken or egg’, Lee Hsien Loong and the PAP government can, the best, claim 50% accuracy. They may be 50% wrong by not providing additional supporting proofs to get the fact right.

[50% Fake news]

    The ‘chicken or egg’ headline shows Zaobao is not sure about its reporting. By giving the confusing headline, it is producing fake
news. It misled readers to believe Lee Hsien Loong and the PAP government is 50% right.  At the same time, it also admits Lee and the government is 50% wrong.  By manipulating news report, Zaobao and other mainstream media can easily omit the 50% wrong.

    The Yahoo news gives the following headline:

    Government used ‘distraction’ of AGC’s advice on Elected Presidency: Sylvia Lim

    Even the Straits Times dares not give a ‘chicken or egg’ fake headline: Parliament: Shanmugam, Sylvia Lim debate reason for Govt's decision on counting of presidential terms

    However, they all focus on the 50% right and ignoring the 50% wrong. So, an incomplete reporting is even worst than a fake news.

[0% Court decision]

    The only state institution that does not give a ‘chicken or egg’ answer is the Court of Appeal. The Courts can not give 50% right 50% wrong answer. So, the Courts make no decision and let the Parliament decides.  

{“It was evident from reading Art 19B together with Art 164 that it was open to Parliament, for the purpose of determining when the reserved election scheme would take effect, to select as the first of the five most recent terms, a term of office that predated the coming into force of the recent amendments to the Constitution,” }
https://sg.news.yahoo.com/presidential-election-2017-tan-cheng-bocks-appeal-dismissed-061418908.html

Ultimately, the Courts believes this is a people’s decision and the Parliament, representing the citizens of Singapore, is the agent of change.

Have we learned something from the ‘chicken or egg’ wayang? How can we expose and inform citizens about the 50% wrong fake news or misleading reporting?  

The ‘chicken or egg’ drama provides ‘50% right 50% wrong’ confusion.  The real purpose is to provide a playing field for an institutionalised One-Party Rule, with or without AG advice, with or without Courts. Hence, even the Parliament cannot really check and balance the wrong doing of the PAP government.


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For those who like Chinese dramas, here is a video to enlighten your understanding of historical facts and wayang.