Saturday, 30 March 2013

PAP’s Alignment and Sustainability Challenges under Capability Analysis

Using the strategy tool of capability analysis, the PAP is facing challenges in alignment and sustainability.  In the capability value chain, there is little value created by Design and Innovation. The PAP has lost its monopoly status in the ’election’ market. An open competition environment will threaten the economic profits that the PAP has been enjoying in the past 50 years.

Capability value chain

Political parties do have value chain. This is very true for the PAP as it runs the government likes a business corporation.  Singapore government agencies and departments are required to achieve business excellence for their performance. ( )

For the case of politics, the only different is that the PAP wants to gain more votes (rather than money) from the quality performance of its public administration.   Hence, the usual value chain of ‘Supplier - Manufacture – Distribution – Buyer’ can be described as follows:

PAP associates and grass roots organizations are playing the support and supply role.  The directly involved organizations are People’s Association (, NTUC (trade union,, election department (, etc. And the indirect supporting bodies include chambers of commerce, business associations, racial and cultural groups, and even some NGOs etc.

Political parties need candidates to stand for election.  People with potential will be invited to attend tea sessions for their suitability.  Potential candidates will be assigned to grass roots for training and understudy under current members of parliament. Candidates will also undergo internal selection, background checks, interviews, promotion, training, etc.   

Before a general election is called, there are many distribution works including media coverage for the potential candidates; detailed study of electoral districts based on population and feedback (sometimes even external survey); re-drawing of constituency boundary to gain economic profits; election budget to please voters; moods of voters; key issues; finalize list of candidates and group them into different teams, etc.

Parliament is dissolved and a new general election is called. It is time to convince voters to buy the PAP candidates. The new or re-drawn constituencies (single and group) will be announced in short notice which will give oppositions little time to prepare for election (another economic profits possibility).   The government control media will then give friendly and co-operative coverage for the PAP candidates, development plans in their contested seats, and team leaders for the group constituency (GRCs). The campaign period is short and is only lasted for 9 days plus 1 more cooling-off day.   

Capabilities and Economic Profits

If we use the 3 economic profits elements for the capability analysis of the PAP, besides monopoly, the design and innovation elements need urgent improvement.  

Table below shows the relationship of the various capabilities.






The value chain

It is either lack of Design or Innovation that lead to less value (economic profits) being created.  The PAP can still use the (less effective) monopoly power to control the value chain of Supply – Manufacturer – Distribution – Buyer.  But there are alignment problems and sustainable issues.

These alignments and sustainable issues are appearing in primary and secondary activities.

Primary activities: 
The PAP still uses the same design and innovative process and procedures in the primary activities. From logistics (organization of visits, rally), production (selection of candidates), marketing and sales (through main stream media, endorsement), to services (rally gifts, campaign walks and slogan), there is no different from the past practice.

Secondary activities:
As for secondary activities, there are also no new design and innovations for value creation. From Infrastructure (organization structure), HR (deployment of candidates, PR assistance), R&D (use of new media, people engagement), to procurement (new assistance or additional resources), design and innovation have failed to create new or even maintain the economic profits.

Since there is no control of entry, oppositions can now compete and participate in the elections with less fear factors. The use of monopoly (state) control through tangible and intangible means has failed and it can no longer protect the economic profits or keep all the economic profits under PAP pocket. Due to the ineffective entry control, the hope is on design and innovation to maintain the level of economic profits.  However, it is a challenge for the PAP to come out with useful and workable design and innovation solutions.   


Design and Innovation do not help in maintaining an efficient alignment for the PAP. Internal and external alignments do not paint an economic profit capability picture.

The PAP is using a top-down approach for election campaign. The party central committee decides the direction, action plans and rules to follow.  PAP associates and organizations will follow the instructions.  Grass roots are not happy about this arrangement and they have voiced out their concerns but their views are not being taken seriously.

Supporting organizations are rather passive and wait for instruction.  Some may not even be willing to co-operate but they just have to do it for fear of offending the PAP.

This ‘Process, People and System’ alignment problems make the reinforcement and building up the PAP capability unsustainable.

If we consider VRIN (Valuable, Rare, Inimitable, and Non-Substitutable), there are problems in value alignment. The PAP value proposition is weak. It cannot offer or propose Valuable future to convince voters.  It is no more a Rare option for Singaporeans.  It is easy to be copied and Inimitable is not on the PAP side. Finally, the PAP is certainly not a Non-substitutable product.  Voters are willing to buy alternative products and options.   


The past practices of winning elections easily with out of proportion economic profits are no more sustainable.   Other political parties can copy the same tactics or improve the old practices to attract more voters.  Imitability is no more a problem for competitors. On the other hand, the PAP is facing durability problems.  Some old practices or past success models are at the stage of ‘degrade and obsolete’.  They cannot hold the economic profits as before.  

Yes. Alternative parties and oppositions can easily do the same.  They have better turnout for their political rallies, more positive responses during house visits, more voters are willing to take picture together with the oppositions or showing opposition flags etc. VRIN is on the opposition side, especially in the social media.

Sustainability means the PAP has to maintain its capabilities in the value chain. But there are out of date practices, or some are already degraded and obsoleted.  For example, People’s Association, as a front line support organization, does not bring in valuable feedbacks.  Voters are suspicious about the open support given by union, chambers of commerce or associations.  They even dislike the good education background and outstanding credential of the PAP candidates.

Building capabilities:

The PAP is facing great challenges in building up its capabilities.  For a business organization, it can acquire the required technology or other capabilities through merger and acquisitions or develop the capabilities internally overtime by own investment and R & D.

It is not possible for the PAP to do so, for instance, buying over opposition parties or merger with them.  The best the PAP can do is to promote less creditable oppositions, painting bad pictures of oppositions or even planting moles into the oppositions.   

The PAP is less successful in developing capabilities internally.  Overtime, it has proved that the quality of their candidates, the commitment of party members, the alignment between PAP and support organizations, the process-people-system alignment relationship and even the media support  have deteriorated.   Internal capability building is less effective as before not to mention its culture and value upbringing internally.  

Tuesday, 26 March 2013



组屋出租和部长出租有啥不同? 包租公包租婆不能理解,政府让他们把组屋出租,赚取租金,为何跟部长职位出租给非选区议员有什么关系?难道,这些出租部长还会把议员津贴分给包租公包租婆吗?不是的。他们的共同点是行动党的变色龙政策,政策改变后的结果。

50年来,行动党的变色龙本色一直都没有改变。为了目的,什么原则,什么基本的理念,都是可以改变的。因此,组屋从居者有其屋,发展到今天组屋出租,这里面就可以创造不少经济利益。包租公包租婆赚的是租金,政府赚的可就大了- 组屋涨价。



政府多推出新组屋单位未必是件坏事,因为这能让组屋转售价格更稳定。 建屋发展局前局长刘太格博士,昨天应宜居城市研发中心(Centre for Liveable Cities)邀请,就新加坡公共住屋政策的成功之道发表。他之后接受记者访问时说:我们以前也有这么做过,推出比市场需求还多出一些的新组屋数量。若多推出几百个新组屋(单位)能为市场降温,何乐而不为。 
新加坡每年只有15000对新人结婚,但政府今年却会推出25000个新组屋单位,有人担心新组屋日后将供过于求,导致大批组屋滞销。 刘太格也曾担任市区重建局局长。问及应该如何确保组屋价格是国人可负担的起时,他认为政府决定将新组屋与组屋转售价脱钩是个好的举动 
刘太格认为,若要把组屋价格维持在可负担得起的水平,建造新组屋时应避免效仿公寓,因为使用昂贵的材料将推高组屋价格。谈到建屋局的主要宗旨,刘太格认为应该回到最初的定义,即为公众提供可负担得起的住房、利用现有的预算为居民建造最大空间的住房,减少过多装饰、即时提供足够的组屋供应,以及确保居住环境宜居。(早报, 322日)


从经济学原理来看,赚大钱是要靠经济利润或者租金economic profits/rents. 而要达到这个目的,最简单的方法就是垄断,不让市场竞争。不然,难一点的就要靠设计独特,不容易模仿,再难一点就是要不断创新,领先他人。


在一党独大下, 行动党为何需要不断的更改条例呢?组屋如此,公积金是如此,当然选举制度也是如此。因为,只有在不断地改变中,市场出现变化,新的经济利润才会出现。



这种情形,最好的例子就是选举制度。如果说组屋,公积金,部分新加坡人还有分到一些一小部分经济利润,那么,选举制度的改变,选民就连一点经济利润都分不到。就以我们认为有突破性的 2011年大选来说,行动党得票60%,议席却超过90%。这不是一个垄断经济利润的结局吗?因此,当我们回头望一望过去,这么多次大选,次次大选的经济利润都归行动党所有。我们自己是否应该反省一下,组屋公积金多多少少都分到一些经济利润,为何单单选举没有。


  “行动党非选区议员也有受委为部长的资格。这使吸引才俊加入国会和政府的工作,不如以往般困难。如果采纳这样的一个制度,优秀的候选人不会失去服务人民的议席。” 】
(早报, 3月24日)


对于人民的基本需求,应该是回到原点,回到正常利润去,回到最初的定义 (刘太格语)。经济利润的发生,在分配上,就会让行动党有机可趁。行动党就是要继续垄断这个经济利润,不让正常利润出现。因此,它只有继续依靠垄断手段来维持下去。因为,行动党不想模仿他国的开放,也不想创新公平的选举制度。所以,说到底,行动党是为自己着想,而不是为人民着想。

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Lessons from Dreamliner PAP is playing with fire

The dream of 787 Dreamliners does not appear sweet despite having the best aircraft engineers in the world and long experience in plane making.  Why?  It fails to anticipate the fire problem – the li-ion battery.

The burned auxiliary power unit battery from a JAL Boeing 787 that caught fire on Jan. 7 at Boston's Logan International Airport soruce:
The way the PAP runs the economy is like the 787 Dreamliner without considering the fire problem. In order to save cost and boost the economy, we allow the population to increase with no control. In order to be the new Switzerland, we allow our financial and legal system to be used by foreigners for their secret missions.

Boeing is not an ordinary company and its management, technology and many other aspects are all world class.  And yet, they fail to notice the fire problem.  Or is it because of competition and cost savings (fuels, efficiency), they rush to produce a Dreamliner with safety problem? 
[The first thing to know about lithium-ion batteries (li-ion batteries, for short) is that lithium is extremely flammable. The other thing to know is that li-ion batteries carry much more energy per weight than any other battery; in technical parlance, they have a higher energy density. That’s why they’re the battery of choice in everything from iPhones to laptops to electric cars, whose designers want to get the greatest potential power out of the smallest, lightest power source. In the Dreamliner, the use of li-ion batteries was part of what made the plane so much lighter—and therefore more fuel-efficient than its predecessors.] 
If we look at the PAP policies, we will see some familiar things here: to save labour cost, we just import foreign labour; to increase price of HDB flats, we cut down supply and add more premium features (really?);   no baby, import foreigners; …

The worst things are to be more efficient like the Dreamliner, the PAP government encourages old and sick to move out of Singapore; refuses to reduce class size and to increase university places;  crowded public hospitals, clinics and transport system…..

These are to make Singapore lighter and so like the Dreamliner Singapore under the PAP administration can fly longer and higher with lesser fuel consumptions (caring of the needy).  Yes, without the poor, sick, old, less educated and low income Singaporeans, the PAP piloted Dreamliner can fly to another higher level of richness.

Unfortunately, in the commercial world, even Boeing must place the safety of passengers first.  No airports will allow a Dreamliner to land and take-off with a known firing problem. No matter how smart you are or how much risk you want to take, you cannot ignore the people’s safety or voters’ demand.

When the PAP decides to use ‘li-ion battery’ type of policies into Singapore economy, like Boeing they only look at the efficiency, cost savings, productivity and sad to say, they fail to see the fire in the money making process of a high GNP growth.

Like Boeing, the PAP-run Singapore Inc. is a world class institution.  If Boeing fails to see the battery fire, so do the PAP fails to see the rich-poor problem in Singapore.  

In another follow-up article on Dreamliners, there is another consideration that Singaporeans need to pay attention to. We certainly have to avoid the situation like ANA and JAL:   

[NEARLY a decade ago All Nippon Airways (ANA) brushed aside doubts about Boeing’s as-yet unbuilt 787 “Dreamliner” and placed the biggest launch order for a new jet in the planemaker’s history: 50 aircraft. Today, Japan is the world’s largest market for the 787. ANA and its domestic rival Japan Airlines (JAL) between them fly half of the 49 Dreamliners in service. As they have now discovered, that makes them the guinea-pigs in a complex aviation experiment.] 
ANA and JAL are both the victims of the troubled Dreamliners. We, too, can be the guinea-pigs of the PAP Dreamliner. We are putting all our hopes and confidence in the PAP policies and institutions.  And at the end of the day, we may then find out it is due to the certification process (see below).  Voters in Singapore like FAA and others finally realize we have failed to examine properly the safety of an aircraft:  

[There is some risk that the detailed review of the 787’s safety launched by America’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) turns into an examination of the way the FAA and its equivalents worldwide go about certifying new planes. If so, and if there is any suggestion that the regulators should have required more tests before letting the 787 fly, then all the other new airliners now being worked on—Japanese, Canadian, Chinese, Russian and Brazilian as well as American and French ones—may take longer to get airborne.]

In the past 50 years, we have failed to examine the PAP policies and institutions. We just give them the safety certificate as they wish.  Only perhaps until GE2011 and PE2011, Singaporeans begin to take a closer look at the fire problem of the PAP policies, like the Population White Paper.

The PAP is not so stupid.  A further safety examination of PAP Dreamliner by voters will result to less PAP MPs being elected. So, you see the call of ‘PAP NCMPs being appointed as ministers’.  They know they will lose more GRCs, and more sitting ministers like the case of Aljunied GRC, so they come out anther safety procedure for themselves.  In case they do not have enough elected MPs for minister positions, they can co-opt NCMPs as ones!

This is really kiasu plus kiasi!

Voters in Singapore must look at the real danger – the battery fire of the PAP Dreamliner, and give a thorough check before issuing them a certificate to run the country again.  If they fail the safety test, we must have the courage to ground the PAP Dreamliner and let another plane to take off. 

Friday, 22 March 2013






行动党到底要给我们的下一代留下什么价值观?一方面叫孩子要努力学习,大家的 起跑点都一样,只要用功读书,大家都有机会进步,生活条件也会跟着改善。政府会照顾弱小,病老,本国人的福利。但是,我们看到的行动党却是:只学习瑞士坏东西,不学习瑞士好东西,不想提高人文素质,不想改进生活条件和起居,无心无力拉近贫富差距,。。。


Saying he was not worried about emerging economies in South-east Asia surpassing Singapore, Mr Lee said he was confident the Republic would stay ahead “for the next 20 years”. Reiterating Singapore’s advantage of having “quality” immigrants, he said: “They will make progress, but if you look at the per capita they have got, the differences are so wide. We have the advantage of quality control of the people who come in ... so the increase in population means an increase in talent.”



“Contrary to what was claimed in the video, Singapore has, to date, provided fully the information requested by Malaysia for tax purposes. The two countries have had a good working relationship on tax matters, and continue to build on this relationship to strengthen cooperation. In addition, Singapore has designated a wide range of crimes as predicate offences to money laundering — including corruption, bribery and fraud. This is in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force.”




Thursday, 21 March 2013

Switching Cost and Confidence in PAP Policies and Institutions

There are two ways for a firm to keep its monopoly status, restricting entry and exit. For the PAP, it is getting more and more difficult to prevent people from joining opposition politics.  Hence, the limited entry of the past has become an open entry for everyone.  In addition, the PAP has its own problem of finding suitable candidates.

What can the PAP do? Control the exit, create confidence issues.  There is a price for Singaporeans to pay if the PAP is no more in government.  And because the PAP government is a show of confidence, the exit of the PAP means the loss of confidence in policies and institutions.  The result will be a less successful Singapore.

Is this logically correct?  We need to get the priority right first. Who can decide the loss of confidence in Singapore policies and institutions? The local people must be the first to decide, especially citizens, then foreigners.     

When asked about Singapore’s success and whether it can continue to thrive, Mr Lee said that for the Republic to remain successful, it needs to “retain the confidence” of investors and the people in the Government’s policies and institutions.  
“It will be very stupid of us to shake that confidence. The confidence rests on several pillars: Institutions, sound policies by the Government and an open trading area,” said Mr Lee.  
Singapore has had the chance to build up its institutions and rule of law, which requires “stable governments” that do not change policies when the next ruler shows up, he added.
The former prime minister seems to suggest there is a switching cost from a PAP government to a non-PAP government. The cost is the loss of confidence in policies and institutions.

So, the quick analogy is if there is a switch of government, it will lead to a loss of confidence and as a result Singapore will be less successful.

The question is who are to decide the confidence in policies and institutions. The citizens and the voters of course.  If they have no confidence in PAP policies and the institutions (taking instructions from the PAP), they will be willing to pay the switching cost.

However, every citizen will have his or her own calculation of the switching cost.  It cannot be the same.

The confidence has to come from the people, not investors, especially foreign investors who have no right to build the local confidence.

The PAP is warning Singaporeans there is a price to pay.   The switching cost is very high and “It will be very stupid of us to shake that confidence.”

After the famous story of “would you send in the army”#1, now we have another message, a soft approach.  There is a change of strategy perhaps due to GE2011. The PAP now uses civilian word rather than the military language.

How true is the threat of switching cost? If it is like a switching from Singtel to M1 or Starhub, then the cost is bearable and affordable.  If the switching is like from MSM to social media, then there is no cost at all. Of course, the PAP will tell you it is not so simple.  Investors and some people will lose their confidence and so we will have a less successful Singapore.  

Why are we letting other people, especially foreign investors to decide the confidence of Singapore?  Singaporeans and Singapore voters must decide how confidence they have in PAP policies and its operating institutions.

There are checks and balances, transparency and accountability issues in many PAP policies and administrations. The AIM investigation, the reserve, the ISA, the police investigations and the population white paper are policies and institutions affecting public confidence.

There is certainly a switching cost and the PAP can always uses it to prevent voters leaving them and supporting the oppositions. They have been doing so for the past 50 years using different methods. However, public confidence has also changed, especially after GE2011.  

How low the switching cost is will depend on how confidence you have in the PAP. If the public confidence is low, voters will be willing to pay for the switching cost.

The PAP has lost their control on the entry - setting game play, restrictions, and obstacles for people joining oppositions. If the PAP once again loses the control of exit – switching cost and confidence, then it is the end of the monopoly of the PAP in Singapore politics.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013






1991年的补选策略,行动党提名日当选政府,只给在野党获得四个议席。2011年行动党提名日, 没有当选政府,在野党却获得六席,这是否意味着选民已经开始有心理准备了呢?行动党不能再玩行动党会倒台的心理压力,威胁恐吓选民,行动党下台后新加坡何去何从的拉票动作。


那么到底有多少选民,一定要行动党下台? 在《从意大利‘五星运动’,看鸡肋预算案能否带来真改变?》一文中,意大利在最近的大选中有高达25%的选民,支持五星运动,他们就是要换政府,否定过去执政过的政党的贡献,这还包括过渡的非民选的技术官僚政府。











但是,其他的在野党,情形就不一样。行动党和在野党的距离是35:25. 而中间选民则是35%。他们是否能够胜出,就要靠这35%的中间选民了。当然,个别政党的声誉,候选人的背景,就会影响中间选民的选择。