Please stop lying to us!

gic-2.jpg

In the past year alone, the Singapore government – through its investment arms of Temasek and GIC – invested a whopping $34, 560, 000, 000.00 in various investments worldwide.

That’s $34.56 billion.

GIC:

UBS – $14 billion
British Land – $388 million
Citigroup – $9.8 billion
US Hedge Fund – $429 million

Temasek:
British Bank Barclays – $4.3 billion
Merrill Lynch – $5 billion
Standard Chartered – $643 million

And if you think the government is stretching itself too thin, no worries. GIC deputy chairman and executive director Tony Tan says the GIC has capacity to bail out another bank. (AFP)

Now, government investments are not a bad thing, to be sure. Of course there are questions of transparency and accountability which some people have brought up. Be that as it may, what is even more troubling is another issue.

This is the constant lament of the government about not having enough money or financial resources to deal with Singapore’s ageing population, helping the poor, providing subsidized healthcare and so on.

Thus, the government has introduced the GST hike to 7% (“to help the poor”), and is introducing the Compulsory Longevity Insurance (for our ageing population), and Means Testing (for healthcare).

All of these are paid for by Singaporeans, in some way or another.

In raising the GST to 7%, Channel NewsAsia reported PM Lee as saying:

“Mr Lee explained that the hike was necessary to finance the enhanced social safety nets, needed to help the lower income group..” (CNA)

The extra 2% will give the government a further $1.5 billion to finance “the enhanced social safety nets, needed to help the lower income group”.

Now, if the GIC and Temasek Holdings have $34 billion to bail out ailing foreign banks, why does the government not have the money ( a mere $1.5b) to help poorer Singaporeans, which it says it needs?

Why does the government not have enough money to spend more on the aged and healthcare?

Contrast the obscene spending by the GIC and Temasek with the pathetic excuse given by MCYS minister Vivian Balakrishnan about giving those on public assistance a further $23 increase, which some MPs have asked for:

“The government is reviewing the S$290 monthly public assistance (PA) allowance for needy Singaporeans to see if it should be increased. It is also conducting a separate review on the qualifying income limit for assistance, which currently stands at S$1,500 a month. The review is expected to be completed later this year.” (CNA) (TOC)

Why does the government need to have months of “review” to ascertain whether giving another $23 to those most in need is justified? If this is not the height of hilarity, then I don’t know what is. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad – that our government would not blink an eye in spending billions bailing out foreign banks in risky undertakings while being so hardfisted about giving a mere $23 to its most vulnerable and needy citizens.

Something is just not right.

How did the government suddenly make $34.5 billion appear out of thin air when they were just lamenting, not too long ago, that they didn’t even have $1.5 billion to help the poor?

Now, the next time I hear the government says it does not have enough money and need to raise this and raise that to fund certain “programmes” to “help the poor”, I will tell them:

“Please stop lying to us.”

 

Update:

Minister of State for Finance, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, said this in 2006:

“In the case of Temasek, since inception, Temasek has delivered 18% total shareholder return by market value and 16% total shareholder return based on shareholder’s funds….

As for the exact size and returns of our investments, we have explained on numerous occasions that the disclosure of such information is not in Singapore‘s national interest. Our financial reserves help to maintain confidence in the Singapore dollar and the Singapore economy. Any revelation would make it easier for currency speculators to target the Singapore dollar.

Mr Chia can take comfort in the fact that there is full accountability for GIC and Temasek’s overall performance and risk management.”

Now, even a fool will have to ask: Where has all that “18% total shareholder return” gone to? Gone to whom?

Read this from a fellow blogger: Does any one local benefit privately from Temasek’s huge foreign investments?

Where are the 84 MPs in Parliament? Why isn’t anyone asking such simple questions? Why do GIC and Temasek have so much to spend while our govt keep saying that they don’t even have enough to help the poor?

An interesting note: The total spent so far by GIC and Temasek ($34.56 billion) exceeds our 2007 National Budget of $33 billion.

Now, imagine that.

GIC and Temasek Holdings are spending more on their shopping sprees than the govt spends on the entire national budget.

So Mr Prime Minister, please stop lying to us that you don’t have enough money to help the poor.

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34 Responses

  1. The problem with liars is that they lack propriety and conscience.

    The bigger problem, however lies in the believers who blindly believed in whatever their leaders say.

    And now, the rich should be able to realise that their paying more taxes(income/consumption etc) and other contributions to the country will not get them immune from means testings. Are they fine with the testing means?

    In olden days, even in Singapore, some Chinese folks bought themselves verrry expensive coffins before they died instead of giving that money to living kins. Superstitiously these people prepared for their afterlive. Laughable and ridiculous though, they care only for themselves while many of his kins and compatriots would have benefitted tremendously with the money(costs of the coffins).

    The afore-mentioned example is now ludicrously happenning at national level. The selfish, wasteful uses of State Funds to make more money with the complete total sum of capitals and profits lumped for further investments for eternity make the State Funds bigger and whiter elephants as time passes. Of course not all are wasted, many who manage the Funds are well well rewarded, don,t you think so?

  2. We need a law that says exactly where and how those profits made by Temasek and GIC are to be channelled for the public good, together with a schedule of these areas and priority.

  3. I *think* the idea is for the reserves to grow and grow and grow, so that staff in GIC and Temasek Holdings can keep getting fatter and fatter bonuses. It was never meant for Singaporeans, especially the weak, poor, aged, retired, handicapped. For this, you need to use the annual surplus generated, not the old surpluses. The supluses should only benefit the GIC / Temasek Holding staff. While Malaysia and Indonesia government controls the prices of key foodstuff, do you see Singapore Government doing such stuff, although the GST was supposed to help them? Just remember this – if the inflation was 5% this year, it could have been 3% if our PM and current cabinet had not tried to raise GST by 2%. Meanwhile, for their great insight, they will be greatly rewarded with performance bonuses for obtaining such a high revenue from the GST. Marvellous!

  4. Not to mention that foreigners employed by GIC and Temasek enjoy fat bonuses paid from returns made with OUR money. And yet Vivian Balakrishnan finds it hard to increase the monthly public assistance allowance for the very people that contributed in one way or another to the existence of those very surpluses in the first place.
    I hope to see the day true justice is mett out to those criminals that call themselves Ministers.
    We’re second class citizens in our own country.

  5. What is laughable is the fact in the midst of so much abundance leading to such obscene salary increases for our Cabinet Ministers, one particular foreign imported Minister even had the guts to implement means testing for every Singaporean before he or she can enjoy any form of health subsidy which should rightfully be extended to everyone of us for the very fact that the majority of us (whether rich or poor) had contributed to the improved economy in one way or another.

    The Gahmen’s excuse arguing that “those who can afford it should not deny those who are less privileged” can be exposed as a TOTAL LIE because they doesn’t seem to apply this very same principle when awarding the Gahmen’s scholarships and bursaries to those offsprings of our Ministers’ or those who are rich and well connected. Maybe our PM to explain how come his son is awarded a scholarship which should go to those less privileged who deserve it more.

    As to the introduction of means testing, I strongly believe our Gahmen just did not want to foot the bill even though it had the means. It’s just a convenient excuse to say that the shortage of hospital beds in our structured hospitals is being abused by better paying patients. I rather believe it is due to the eagerness of our structured hospitals to admit private paying patients thus causing longer waiting periods for those less privileged.

    Isn’t this just another lie ?

  6. There should be means testing for bus and MRT as well. All rich people should buy their own cars so that the MRT and buses will not be too crowded. It will lower the standard of service in public transport which should cater only to the poorest citizen.

    If what I suggested is bollocks to you, then I believe means testing for medical services is also bollocks.

  7. garment is always right with whatever they do and silly singaporean always believe in whatever they say. hope all is as good as what garment promise if not hope they and their croonies all get burn in hell and on earth and all get killed in tragic accident.

  8. Our government is unique…

    I always think that people in power normally do it for the love of the country and the people…

    Not saying that they should do it for free but ours seems to be in power for the money than anything else…

  9. Yes, it is the unfortunate truth…

    that public monies funneled into investments to bail out overseas markets takes precedence over citizens’ welfare.

    They could of course counter argue that prudent overseas investment could in the long run generate returns that would be redirected back to Singaporeans…. but how many more will have to needlessly suffer till that happens…if it happens.

  10. Simply put: Bailing out the financial institutes benefits the whole country, bailing out the poor and destitute (who presumeably do not exists if some quotes are to be taken literally) does not benefit the country. Cold and heartless truth.

  11. Just remember… 66.6% mandate.

  12. Which one’s better for the long run? Financial Investment or Helping the poor?

  13. $_$

    This is how our gahmen looks at things…

    Investments reap returns…welfare leh?

    In any case, it will be difficult to get rid of the 66.6% mandate – can you imagine how many fat cats would be affected?

  14. ‘In the final analysis, what we need to do is to decide what is it that we’re doing…’

    -a certain ingenious minister.

  15. Let’s suppose that investments invariably reap profits, however if the profits and capital are never put to other uses, including benefitting citizens in times of needs, what purpose do the profits serve?

    I content that if a man bought lots of good stuffs and kept accumulating them without utilizing them, what are their uses?

    Please read la la lands latest blog.

  16. “Please stop lying to us”. Said la la lands!

  17. Ermm…. 66% mandate of those who voted. Many didnt….

  18. Basically now the Gahment had forgot about taking care of we people . It had become another way that the great local corporates source of income for expansion .

    I pity my countrymen who now earn not enough to take care of themselves now and when they retire.

    Wish those greedy people who think about raising tax to solve their greed in expanding to get their retribution

  19. […] Citizen: Uniquely Singapore, F1 or F9 – helping the poor? [Recommended] – Looking For LaLaLand..: Please stop lying to us! […]

  20. The fact is I don’t ask for much. I know what this piece of shit gov thinks:

    “We” made these money. So it is “ours”.

    In that case I only ask them to return the principle sum to us, for the inception of the GIC and Temasek, plus an annual interest of 6% from then till now. Compounded.

    After that they can do whatever they want with the money they made and we’ll manage ours on our own and “get out of their elite uncaring face”.

  21. Oh.. sorry I am too kind. The Interest should be 24% p.a. Even Credit Card companies charges that much, and GIC and Temasek is lending money to banks which probably has a credit card branch also.

    So I think that’s fair.

  22. Er… which part of “He is THE King” that u guys dun understand. singapore dun belong to us… it is HIS. for all guys out there, let ur heart decide that when there is any aggression on this piece of land, do u still have the obligation to protect it. udunown this land always rem that

  23. http://www.sott.net/articles/show/148141-The-Trick-of-the-Psychopath-s-Trade-Make-Us-Believe-that-Evil-Comes-from-Others

    Click on the link above and read what the “non-humans” are doing to us. More specifically Prof.Andrzej Łobaczewski calls them “not quite conspecific.” You can’t get clearer than that.

    Regards from fellow Singaporean, a “quitter” by the way.

  24. it is amazing. In the blink of an eye, we just bought Westin Tokyo. Billions spent on a hotel purchase and we are still mulling over increase for the Public assistance! How is it that we take weeks to debate the $33 bil budget, but all the 80 MPS allow these purchases by GIC and Temasek without any accountability to parliament????

  25. Just wondering ah. If government not PAP after the next election, GIC money is who money ah?
    Do not mix up the 2 and lose sight of the facts during your ongoing debates. If you stray, open a new thread please.

  26. I guess we have nothing to complain about. After all, 66.6% of Singaporeans voted for them when they had the chance to make a difference. I hope we have all learned our lesson and open our eyes!

  27. Are you sure they voted? It’s not who votes that counts but who counts the votes that matters..

  28. the people of singapore deserves the government they voted and get.

  29. No point talking , lamenting, cos’ in 3 yrs time when it will be crucial, we forget again after being given some “sweets”

  30. True …..government of Singapore hoards alot of monies. We try (although it is very difficult) to do same in relation to our own financial position. If a nation especially like ours (tiny, no resources, no friends, etc) is poor ….what would be the consequences ?

  31. None of us or our present 2 Oppo’s in Parl can do anything to ask for accountability because it is presently under sole proprietorship. Therefore, inorder to convert it to a PTE LTD we need to elect credible directors…say about 40 to 45% of seats in the future that will have enough strength to call for transparency reports. We need a constructive set of directors not objectors to the managing team. The future of the country lies in the hands of the younger generation….that is a credible 4th generation team to compete in the arena……

  32. […] reserves…UNLESS it’s used to invest in high-risk overseas banks and credit-houses (see https://lalaland9.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/please-stop-lying-to-us/, who calculated that such recent investments dipped into our reserves to the tune of S$35 BILLION […]

  33. I certainly agreed with myirah, we always lament and forget easliy when the time comes for us to act. We lack the gut to put in more opposition members to guard the interest of the general population. Therefore we reaped what we sowed………..

  34. Hasn’t this been laid to rest? It was revealed last year that:

    Gahmen loans the money to Temasek/GIC and they pay us the 2.5/3.5% that we get from CPF.

    Rest of the 18% gains, belongs to them “because they bore the risk of the investment”

    So even if Shittybank or these other investments do pay off in the long run, we won’t get any more than the mandated 2.5/3.5%.

    I am feeling so much gratitude.

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