Monday, 11 December 2017

Risk Up? Too Big To Fail? Temasek’s Fullerton Managing NTUC Income S$23 billion Assets.


As reported, Temasek Holdings owned Fullerton Fund Management is to manage S$23 billion of NTUC Income’s assets. From a policy holder’s point of view, the applicable rule of ‘high risk high returns’ will result to higher risk factor for NTUC insurance products.

Fullerton is a specialist in Asian emerging markets and NTUC Income is an insurance company.  Insurance has to be risk aversion to protect policyholders and so adopts ‘conservative and dividend’ portfolio strategy. While Fullerton is looking for growth and aggressive higher risk/return.  By appointing Fullerton as fund manager, NTUC Income is expecting higher returns but also higher risk.


Will this partnership affect the relevant benefit of Income policyholders? Statements and press report have not mentioned the risk factor but only the positive win-win outcome for both companies minus policyholders.

[CPF Board and Temasek Holdings]

In a similar situation, it is like CPF Board indirectly (through government bonds) appointing Temasek Holdings/GIC as fund manager.  

CPF Board and NTUC Income respectively have duty to protect the interest of CPF members and policyholders.

Could this appointment match the Chinese proverb of ‘keeping the goodies within the family’? (肥水不流外人田) NTUC Income’s S$23 billion assets are two times bigger than Fullerton’s assets. However, with the strategic partnership, Fullerton will now manager S$40 billion assets and become a major regional fund manager.




[POSB and DBS]

During Asian Financial Crisis, in July 1998, the government announced the selling of POSB to DBS.  The Ministry of Finance statement said:

[The acquisition will enhance DBS Bank’s position in global banking. DBS Bank is already Southeast Asia’s largest bank and the 90th largest bank in the world. DBS Bank’s acquisition of POSBank will result in a combined asset base of $93 billion and shareholders’ funds of $9.4 billion, making the enlarged DBS Bank the 65th largest bank in the world.]

The acquisition of POSB helped DBS jumped instantly from 90th to 65th largest bank in the world bank in 1998. Not only that, it also provides a strong deposit base (and reserve ratio) for DBS.    

By injecting S$23 billion of Income assets into Fullerton, besides fund management expertise issue, could there be other reasons?

[Too big to fail]

A bigger Fullerton means a bigger Temasek.

9 years ago, there was a World Financial Crisis, several ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions were bailed out by the US government. One of them is AIG - an international insurance giant.

U.S. Says A.I.G. Is No Longer ‘Too Big to Fail’ 9 Years After Bailout

A group of federal regulators voted Friday to no longer classify the American International Group as “too big to fail,” freeing the giant insurer from years of tough government oversight.

The vote came nine years after the government rescued A.I.G. in a significant bailout at the height of the financial crisis, making the insurance company a symbol of the financial industry’s recklessness.

Since nearly collapsing in September 2008, A.I.G. has sold off numerous business lines and significantly revamped its operations. It also repaid the $182 billion in bailout money it received from the government.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/29/business/dealbook/aig-too-big-to-fail.html

Falling Giant: a Case Study of AIG

-On September 16, 2008, in exchange of the money it pumped into the company, the U.S. government received nearly 80% of the firm's equity. For decades, AIG was the world's biggest insurer, a company known around the world for providing protection for individuals, companies, and others. But in September, the company would have gone under if it were not for government assistance.

-Simply put, AIG was considered too big to fail. An incredible amount of institutional investors — mutual funds, pension funds and hedge funds — both invested in and also were insured by the company. In particular, many investment banks that had CDOs insured by AIG were at risk of losing billions of dollars.

Read more: Falling Giant: A Case Study Of AIG https://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/09/american-investment-group-aig-bailout.asp#ixzz50oXZMDAH

Singapore is using citizens’ money to build up Temasek and GIC. By injecting Income’s S$23 billion into Temasek’s Fullerton, Temasek will become even bigger. One important consideration is NTUC Income is a union based insurance company and many Singaporeans are policyholders.

There are commercial risks by moving investment strategy from conservative (Income) to aggressive (Fullerton). Based on the recent performance of Temasek, one will wonder whether it is a safe move.   

Our ex-President Tony Tan has reminded us not to make judgement on face value:

He urged people to question what they read, exercise judgement, and not to take information at face value

Is moving from conservative to aggressive investment strategy similar to a cultural change in SMRT - from engineering service identity to profit orientation company?  Who will bear the consequence?

We now blame SMRT has a culture issue but who was making such a cultural shift then? Temasek or the government? Can we consider NTUC Income is also making a cultural change now?

Friday, 8 December 2017

汽车总数零增长。老年人多过年轻人。经济如何持续成长。


2018年2月开始,新的汽车(和摩托车)数目政策是零增长。这意味汽车总数将达到饱和状态。与此同时,有关汽车的税收也不可能从量上着眼,而只能从素质上着手。如果要保持同样的汽车税收,每一辆汽车所交的税收 —— 服务费、手续费、注册费等,就要相对比以前多一些。

汽车的销售在工业化时代,象征一个国家和城市的经济力量。堵车也代表一种势力、活力,如果没有车水马龙,那么,这个地区的经济实力一定不怎么好,税收也不会理想。到了后工业化时代,我们讲环保,控制污染,因此,处处限制汽车的使用,燃料的使用,但是,越是如此,越能显现拥有汽车的身份。

零成长就把汽车变得珍贵,消费的等次也就进一步提高。

这是我们可以预见的贫富差距的一个场景。人民行动党政府现在把汽车政策摆出来,只是基于新加坡土地面积的局限,因此,不得不出此对策。贫富问题不是行动党要解决的问题,因为,没有能力拥有汽车和摩托车的人们,可以考虑公共交通 - 地铁巴士德士。不然,就是拥有一辆日渐兴起的电动自行车。这种自行车目前并不需要拥车证。说不定,将来也要交税,也要拥车证。

【老年人比年轻人多】

大华银行的一份报告显示,2018年,新加坡65岁老年人口将和年轻人的数目一样多。这归功于本地人的低生育率。

虽然,表面看来这和汽车零成长没有关系。但是,从侧面看,喜欢汽车的人之中,当然以年轻人居多。人口老化,年轻人减少,希望拥有汽车的人也会减少,这自然会影响税收。

为什么一直要提税收,因为,这是行动党政府最关心的大事。没有钱,什么事都做不了,连部长、高官、政府关联公司的领导都找不到所谓的人才、社会精英来担任。

老年人多了,年轻人少了,交税的人少了,这还得了!50、60年来行动党通过低薪、低工资推动的新加坡经济,现在面临真正的挑战。

当然,这也不是只有新加坡才会面对人口老化,低经济成长的问题。日经中文网最近有一篇文章,或许可以间接解释汽车需求减少的原因:


出门次数,20多岁年轻人比70多岁老人更少?
【随着互联网的普及,年轻人变得不爱外出,这种现象不仅限于日本。虽然原因各不相同,但这种现象却是全球都相同的。但是,老年人频繁外出,甚至超过年轻人,这却是日本特有的现象。那么,日本的老年人到底都去哪些地方呢?
     调查老年人的外出目的发现,多为工作、就医、购物、度过业余时间,而业余时间的外出包括与朋友见面、旅行、徒步、去健身房、学习技艺、上成人大学等,非常丰富。】

https://cn.nikkei.com/columnviewpoint/tearoom/28179-2017-12-04-05-00-42.html

老年人数目增加,年轻人减少,在加上年轻人由于互联网、电子经济的关系,出门消费也减少了,对于汽车的向往也将自然下降。这直接影响到政府的税收。当然,消费减少,也和年轻人收入减少有关。相对来说,年轻人的购买力、消费能力过去几年也的确下降了。

年轻人收入、购买力不如前辈,已经是资本主义社会的一个大问题,而这个问题和财富分配有密切关系。西方如此,日本,韩国,台湾,香港,和新加坡也都是如此。

这是行动党政府不愿面对的事实,年轻人购买力不足,影响税收,甚至影响公积金的存款、外汇储备。但是,对于缺乏创意的行动党政府来说,似乎唯一的选项就是增加人口。

【1000万人口】

虽然限制汽车的成长数目,但是行动党无时无刻一直梦想1000万人口。最近,这个1000万的大梦,又被提出来。一位权威的设计师认为,在技术上、在设计上,我们的领先的设计、技术,是完全可以让新加坡住上1000万人的。
   
    的确,我们需要1000万人,才可以创造更多的税收。行动党政府才可以投入更多资金在基础设施上,建设一个1000万人口的城市国家。因此,行动党政府需要更多的钱,来预先投资于未来。考虑到本土年轻人少于本土老年人,这多出四百到五百万人口,就一定要从国外引进。而这个政策也配合行动党过去50、60年的经济政策。

从这样的人口政策中,我们可以看出李显龙的创意高度,也可以看到行动党政府第四代领导人的素质。他们除了要钱——增加税收,要人——增加人口,已经没有其他创意来确保新加坡的持续性经济增长。

而所谓的经济转型,1000万人口的设计,都是建立在限制(汽车增长),垄断(国营企业),引进(增加人口),隐秘(不公开不透明)和制裁(反对意见)等基础上。这就是行动党的未来新加坡,在缺乏监督,行动党我行我素下的未来新加坡。

Monday, 4 December 2017

Lessons from Mugabe. Reminder from Tony Tan.

Image result for Mugabe and wife in singapore

[Lessons from Mugabe]

The downfall of Robert Mugabe was a major international news recently. Robert Mugabe resigned under pressure from his own (ruling) party and possible impeachment from parliament.    

[The apparent relief of many Zimbabweans caps six days of uncertainty in the country, in which Mugabe heard — and largely ignored — calls for his resignation from his own ruling ZANU-PF party and demonstrators in the streets.
Then, the capper: On Sunday, even Mugabe's own ZANU-PF party voted to remove him and his wife, Grace, and appoint the recently ousted vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as the head of the party in his stead. That's when the party issued its ultimatum: Step down, or you will be impeached. (NDP (US))



[In his resignation letter, Mugabe tried to depict his decision to step down as voluntary, a generous gesture to allow for a smooth transfer of power. The announcement halted impeachment proceedings that had already been launched against him by parliament. It’s a huge moment for Zimbabweans who have yearned for change. It’s also significant news to Africans who are hungry for democracy.] (The Washington Post)

The downfall of a dictator like Mugabe really teaches us at least two lessons:

  1. The self-consciousness of the People’s Action Party. Will the PAP remove her people mistrusted leader at a critical moment for the benefit of Singaporeans? Does PAP really “ownself check ownself”?  

  1. The misconception of the usefulness of Parliament. Due to the absolute parliamentary majority of the PAP, we only know the Parliament can easily remove an elected President. We fail to see that Parliament can also remove the Prime Minister and her government under Singapore Constitutions.

In the absence of “ownself check ownself” , we can only check the PAP through voting more oppositions into the Parliament.   To ‘kiasi’ Singaporeans, Mugabe’s resignation is rather peaceful without bloodshed.  If Zimbabweans can do it, why can’t Singaporeans?

[Reminder from Tony Tan]

Tony Tan is very active after serving 6 years as President. He is now back with GIC as advisor. He reminds Singaporeans to stand firm to protect our interest against foreign influences.

[“It is imperative that Singapore remains vigilant against those who seek to mount insidious information campaigns to influence segments of our population for their own ends," he said.
"Singapore cannot tolerate attempts by foreign countries or entities to manipulate our people’s sentiments."
He urged people to question what they read, exercise judgement, and not to take information at face value.]
(channelnewsasia.com)

He certainly never learned from Mugabe. When he reminds us to preserve our interest, he seems to forget what is "our interest"? Our interest is to know more about CPF money, reserve, investment of Temasek and GIC.

When he reminds us to question our reading and judgement, he pretends all information released by the PAP government are correct and we should take their face value. Accordingly, we should suspect information from other sources, whether locally or internationally.

Zimbabweans have listened to Mugabe for nearly 40 years. But they finally say no to Mugabe and Mrs Mugabe.

Robert Mugabe: Is Zimbabwe's ex-president a hero or villain?

[For some, he will always remain a hero who brought independence and an end to white-minority rule. Even those who forced him out blamed his wife and "criminals" around him.
But to his growing number of critics, this highly educated, wily politician became the caricature of an African dictator, who destroyed an entire country in order to keep his job.]
(BBC)    

In Singapore, we have been listening to the PAP since 1959. Can we pretend and accept PAP information at face value without any questioning as suggest by Tony Tan?

PAP, like other local or foreign sources, can manipulate our people’s sentiments (LKY passing, national unity, world number one MRT, …).

Tony Tan is telling one side of the story. We need to know the other side of the story and demand the self- consciousness PAP members, including the 200 potential candidates, to stand at the right side of history.

Friday, 1 December 2017

陈庆炎的有用和无用 - 看选民如何被玩弄 被忽悠


对于大多数选民来说,陈庆炎是无用的。首先,他只获得三分一的支持票。而六年总统任期走来,也的确是无用至极。说也奇怪,就是因为无用,对于李显龙和人民行动党来说,陈庆炎就变得非常有用。他的无用之处,他的无所作为,真正是行动党和李显龙看中,认为有用的地方。换成另外一个人,如何能够完善做到沉默是金的六年?

要做到行动党的有用,相对于选民的无用,如何拿捏的准,陈庆炎还是有一定的功力的。

退下来没有几个月,李显龙和行动党就注意他的有用之处。真是一鸣惊人。一下子就和钱打交道,担任投资顾问,一开金口就是评论内政外交。

¥陈庆炎博士受委 担任新加坡政府投资公司董事兼特别顾问

    陈庆炎:新加坡不能容忍 外国或外国机构尝试操纵人民情感

    但是,对于大多数选民来说,他还是一无是处。新加坡政府投资公司,不会因为陈庆炎的顾问地位,而公开、透明向人民的交代、解释外汇的管理。反而会继续以往的保密工作。可见,陈庆炎担任总统前和担任总统后,他一路走来,并没有改变,他始终如一,继续行动党和李显龙那一套不公开政策。对于行动党来说,陈庆炎真的是一个很有用的人。虽然,大多数选民已经看到这点,但是为时已晚,祸害已经造成。唯一的方法就是在下次大选,明白有用和无用的道理,明智的投票。

    李显龙还可以借用陈庆炎无“官”一身轻的特殊身份,来说些外国,甚至本国人不喜欢听的话。陈庆炎突然变得一身侠气,变成爱国勇士。

    就算面对巨大压力,甚至意味着双边关系会暂时走下坡,新加坡也必须坚定地维护国家的基本利益。
刚在今年8月底卸下总统职务的陈庆炎博士昨天在拉惹勒南讲座上强调,新加坡的外交政策以一个宗旨为基础,那就是在广交朋友的同时,行使主权国家的权利,不让国家利益
附庸于他国。
他也敦促新加坡人时刻保持警觉性,不让居心不良者有机会发动宣传运动,挑起人民的情绪以达到自身(?)的目的。】- 联合早报

    为何在担任总统期间,陈庆炎没有一股正气,成为一个有用的新加坡人?而在退下后,却变得如此爱国,勇气可嘉?一方面为大家管好外汇,一方面要仗义执言,不要动摇。陈庆炎完全变身,要做一个有担纲的人?

    李显龙和行动党对于有用和无用的判断,是基于他们本身的利益,而不是建立在大多数选民的基础上。陈庆炎就是一个火活生生的例子,当然,陈庆炎的继任者,也不会有所意外。

    这么看来,陈庆炎,这个不懂中文的人,似乎懂得庄子的有用无用之道。他作为一个被动者,行动党认为他有用,选民认为他无用。因此,他似乎处于有用和无用之间,不倒翁的地位。



    真的如此这般吗?陈庆炎因为“大才”而保住不被砍伐的命运。同时,陈庆炎也会面对,因为不出声,像沉默的“鹅”那样,被杀掉。陈庆炎忘记,他需要出声,才得以保命,保住自己的名声。这点他和王鼎昌很不一样。王鼎昌因为“大才”的部长职位,而保住生命。同时,跑道换了,做了总统,为民发声,而保住自己的良好的名誉。

    陈庆炎是一正一负,保住命而失去名声,留下臭名。王鼎昌却是两个正数 - 完成部长任命,做总统不负选民期待。

    不单陈庆炎看不懂庄子的有用无用,李显龙和行动党的领导,也一样看不出所以然。他们看到的只是自己的利益,和行动党一党独大的好处。他们看不到有用无用的互换,有用无用的变,这种变有时有用,有时无用,而陈庆炎作为总统,应该变得时候不变,应该有所担纲的时候,却躲起来。现在,应该养老保命的时候,却不干寂寞,出来发声,一副献身报国的虚伪嘴脸,让人不胜唏嘘!

【陈庆炎的境界只停留在功利上】

表面上看,陈庆炎做到有用和无用的境界。事实上,在应该有用的时候,总统任期内,国家需要他出声的时候,他却沉默是金。当他退下总统职位时,应该养老养生的时候,他却变得十分活跃。

这不是庄子的身处有用无用之间。陈庆炎的出发点,完全是建立在功利主义上。他只是被行动党和李显龙所用,不为人们所用。对于个人来说,退下总统职位,陈庆炎就应该裸退保身养命,但是,他却出起风头来。
   
    可见,陈庆炎虽然贵为数学博士,曾经担任大学校长,但是,功利主义一直在他骨子里成长,一刻都没有停下来。当然,在他背后,自然有一个更大的功利主义者和团伙在支持他、利用他。

    陈庆炎的有用无用数学思想,和行动党、李显龙的有用无用功利主义是一致的。功和利是一致,有用一致,无用也一致。陈庆炎只是配合演出。相对来说,这些‘有用无用’走的是人民的对立面。2011年的总统大选,选民已经看到这点。可惜,2015年大选,行动党把‘无用’的李光耀神化,变成‘有用’的造神运动,成功获得高票。接下来的国会大选,选民必须再看清楚,行动党如何忽悠、玩弄‘有用无用’的伎俩、把戏。

Monday, 27 November 2017

While China is transferring money to pension fund, our PAP wants to increase taxes.




The Ministry of Finance in China is to start transferring shares in State-Owned-Enterprises to pension fund for social security.  According to Caixin,

[A (China) Ministry of Finance document said that the move "demonstrates that state-owned companies are owned by all people and should benefit all people."]

China Daily adds that “the move will ensure the sustainable development of the country’s basic pension insurance system.” It can also improve the efficiency of SOEs.
Currently, there are more than 200 million people aged above 60 in China. And there is a shortfall in pension fund, especially in poor provinces and bankrupted state companies..

[Taxes as solutions in Singapore]

While in Singapore, the People’s Action Party government is going to increase taxes. Here are some the headlines:

Singapore to raise taxes as govt spending increases

No contradiction between PM Lee and DPM Tharman on taxes: MOF

As Singapore’s spending needs grow, raising taxes is inevitable: PM Lee


The PAP government says infrastructure investment and social spending are to increase, so do the taxes. Of course, they know how to divide social spending and Central Provident Fund which is the responsibility of individual members or family members. And so, the PAP is only helping citizens indirectly.

[Top up and transfer]

Many CPF members, especially senior citizens (they have low wages when the economy is booming), are not able to meet CPF minimum sum for retirement. Occasionally, the PAP will help to top up the MMS and Medisave.  However, most of time, they want family members to help to top-up CPF savings.

Indirectly, in case of need, mean testing is used to assess whether social welfare can be extended.

This means the country’s wealth is distributed according to PAP’s wish list.

While in China, the new policy will put money directly into the pension fund. This extra funding or top-up will provide additional money to pensioners.   
(state-owned companies are owned by all people and should benefit all people.)

[Temasek, GIC - doing right politically or financially?]

As a start, China will transfer un-listed SOE shares into pension fund. On average, the shares can generate 5% dividend which can then support the pension fund payouts.

This means if the PAP government is kind enough, some percentage of Temasek and GIC shares will go into CPF Board. These shares will generate dividends to support all, especially poor CPF members.

While we going doing the opposite. We are changing the phrase from:

(state-owned companies are owned by all people and should benefit all people.)


To:

(state-owned companies are owned by PAP all people and should benefit PAP all people.)


[Efficiency and transparency]

In an interesting and strange Financial Times report:

China rejects Singapore model for state-owned enterprise reform



FT seems to suggest Temasek model is for efficiency rather than politics: Singapore’s Temasek holds stakes in domestic and foreign companies and is known for making decisions based purely on financial considerations.

While FT claims that “Use of holding companies, a model based on that of Singaporean wealth fund Temasek, had been seen as a middle way between the privatisation of SOEs and the current system, in which top managers are approved by the Communist party and often put politics ahead of commercial considerations.”

As a Singaporean, FT is either too kind to the PAP or does not fully understand the transparency and accountability issue surrounding Temasek, GIC and Singapore reserve.

If Temasek is efficient as FT claimed, then she should report all financial information in a transparent and accountable way.

While we may laughing at Chinese SOEs which are always politics first. However, when the government is transferring SOE shares to pension fund, it means all Chinese pensioners are watching the operations of their shares in related SOEs. These “hungry” Chinese senior citizens are very different from our CPF members.

Comparing to Singapore, CPF members have no say in the operation of Temasek, GIC and our reserve. Which is the better offer?   

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

PAP的新加坡特产:义务政治人物、自愿行政高管



    【人民行动党的一项创举就是培养了一大批义务自愿的政治和行政精英。这批所谓的新加坡特产,往往以责任为前提,挂着为民服务的口号;事实上,在衡量责任和权益时,却把个人的权益收益、事业前途、和金钱收入,放在责任之上。权益高于、大于责任,才是他们真正的本色。】


人人皆知,李光耀推崇儒学、孔子的思想,希望新加坡的从政者,尤其是人民行动党的领袖,都有天下为己任的高尚情操。这基本上也是新加坡的成功之道。然而,李光耀过世才两年,我们现在才体会到李光耀提倡儒家思想的结果,竟然是一批批的新加坡特产:

【他们一边打着义务工作者的形象,自愿的为国为民服务,没有计较个人的得失,从事最没有人想要工作,忍辱偷生,默默的工作。另一边,却是考量事业前途光明,高薪照领,没有一点脸红。】

『或许,李光耀当初推崇的就是虚伪的儒家思想,只是表面功夫。李光耀只是要达到政治目的,而不是想要培养一股浩然正气。因此,他一走,什么气也跟着没有了。

    新加坡上至总统,下至部长,可以说都是义务的政治工作者。因此,与之互相辉映的政联公司主管、董事,当然,也是自愿的CEO和董事局成员。这可以说是新加坡人民行动党掌政50多年来,建立的政治官商文化。表面上,似乎,他们都是义务自愿的为国为民服务,担负重任,不计较个人的得失,一心一意把一生贡献给新加坡。真实面,在地铁事件,淡马锡,政府投资公司上,已经看得清清楚楚了。

    义务自愿的名堂,这是多么伟大的政治工作者和行政管理人员。他们几乎可以和张载、范仲淹比美:



    因为,只有在义务和自愿的高尚人格推动下,才可能把做到孟子的浩然正气,把天下当成己任。在这里,把天下缩小到新加坡,这些行动党的自愿义务的政治工作者,就是把个人的得失放一边,只争把新加坡带向新的高峰。

【责任和权益的衡量】

我们看看这些新加坡特产如何衡量他们的责任和权益:

¥2015年大选后,许文远接任吕德耀出任交通部长,因为地铁故障频频,这个部门已经是一个烫手芋头,吕德耀为此而不寻求连任。因此,许文远毅然扛下这个没有人要的部门。可以说,有‘以新加坡为己任’的勇气。身为人民行动党主席,许文远以身作则,把责任扛下,当然,他应该获得的权益自然没有少给,还应该多拿一些‘献身’花红,作为奖励。反过来看,人才济济的行动党,为何竟然没有一个勇于担当的部长,愿意冒政治风险,担任交通部长。这说明,行动党第四代领导都是一群权益高于责任的人。

¥郭木财五年前就出任SMRT总裁,勇气可嘉。许文远形容他是自愿出任这个艰难的工作。一个挂牌公司的总裁,五年内没有改善地铁的维修,还引用文化问题作为挡箭牌,这才是新加坡政联公司的特产。做不到改善,还有分红,这才是权益大于责任的铁证。

¥陈川仁放下部长职位,出任国会议长,权益收入当然减少。因此,他说议长的时间比较自由,有多余时间可以做一些其他工作,增加收入。他似乎忘记国会的重要性,议长的责任有多大。他考虑的是部长是全职工作,而议长是部分时间的工作。部分时间工作的人当然有权利去争取外快。

¥哈利吗还没有当上总统,已经买了豪宅。因为,她已经算计了责任和权益这笔帐。总统的权益当然高于国会议长。她还没有十拿九稳一定担任总统,就已经考虑到担任总统后的权益,自己的经济能力,完全可以买豪宅。至于总统的责任问题,在衡量责任权益的过程中,根本就不需要考虑。

¥有这么一个行动党白痴议员,曾经说过,如果部长的薪水太低,外面企业界的人会看不起部长,他完全没有考虑到‘以天下为己任’有多重。这充分说明,行动党上至总统,总理,部长,下至议员和基层领袖,如何衡量责任和权益。

【责任和权益在李显龙领导的行动党中失衡】

责任(responsibilities)和权益(rights)在李显龙的高薪政策下,已经失去了平衡。老一代的行动党领袖,把责任放在第一位。他们在建设新加坡的时候,没有把个人的权益,利益放在第一位。他们没有考虑扛下责任后,自己应该分到多少权益,应该为自己争取多少回报才是合理的。因此,建国一代把责任放在权益之上。

相反的,李显龙调教出来的行动党特产,不论是政治人物,还是行政人员,他们都沦为政客,商人。他们假借义务自愿的名义,事实上是斤斤计较。你要他们负起责任,他们就要跟你讲权益。责任是要有代价的,而且,这个价码,这个权益要高于责任很多,不然,行动党就告诉你,没有人才加入政府,找不到人负责人担任政联公司的领导,行动党就无法治理新加坡了。

难怪,李显龙已经事先声明,政府要加税了,表面上是为了建设,投资,社会开支。事实上,就是要安抚一批批的行动党特产,他们衡量的不是以新加坡为己任,而是个人的权益,个人的前途。当他们离李光耀倡导的(虚伪)儒家思想越来越远的时候,没有把新加坡当成第一选择的时候,他们如何取信于民?这样的政客,值得投他们一票吗?

Thursday, 16 November 2017

UOB, Wong Kan Seng and the Singapore’s sad story.



Wong Kan Seng is to be Chairman of United Overseas Bank after being appointed as a Board Director.

It is a sad story. It is not meritocracy.

It is a sad story. It shows the limit of entrepreneurship in Singapore.

It is a sad story.  It is a political decision.

In his political career, Wong Kan Seng had no financial or commerce experience.  


[A former member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP), Wong was a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency. Wong served as the country's Deputy Prime Minister from 2005 to 2011. He also held the Cabinet portfolios of Minister for Community Development (1987–91), Minister for Foreign Affairs (1988–94), Minister for Home Affairs (1994–2010) and Co-ordinating Minister for National Security (2010–11).]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wong_Kan_Seng

One can easily claim that being a minister one is qualified for all management jobs, including banking and finance, as he/she is looking after the ministry’s finance too. So a minister is like a chief executive of a corporation. And we should have no doubt about his ability to discharge his duty as a banker.

While meritocracy may not be applicable here, we can give the benefit of doubt to him. However, Wong is certainly not an entrepreneur before entering politics. His so-called business experience, after retiring from government, is only heading state-owned enterprises under Temasek.  

UOB is an established bank in Singapore. Through merger and acquisitions, it has become one of the Big-Three here.  It is a private bank dating back to 1935.Whether we like or dislike the way UOB grows from a small bank to a big bank, it certainly represents some kind of entrepreneurship. It is able to make decisions on their own and making compromises along the way.    

However, Wong is not known to obtain business acumen.

It is sad that a successful Singapore business still needs a non-businessman to guide its future. Does it mean UOB can only outgrow her present form with some political connections, even though Wong is an ‘old wine’?

It is a sad and bad example.

The only asset that Wong has is his position of former PAP Deputy Prime Minister.

Since 1935, UOB has always appointed a non-politician as Chairman. And UOB in many ways is a family controlled business. In one way, it is good to bring in new blood to reduce family colors. But it is also good to get external expertise to expand knowledge base.

Does it mean the inclusion of Wong indicating a shift where political connection is critical factor for future growth and expansion? Or Wong can be a stabilizer for lesser government’s intervention.   

It seems to suggest political consideration is more important than entrepreneurship. And businessmen must know how to make use of their political assets.

UOB may gain something. Wong is certainly a winner. As UOB chairman, he will enjoy and be entitled to perks accorded to his position.    

This is so different from Lee Hsien Loong’s statement on ministers’ pay in 2011/2012.  

Source: (AFP) – Jan 17, 2012

The above report means PAP ministers has to be paid high salary as they have low or no income after retiring from politics.

On the contrary, it is a sad story and bad example as Wong, a former DPM, still has value to a bank. Lee Hsien Loong had not predicted a full picture in 2012.

Wong is certainly not the case, so do many other ministers and even former and current PAP members of parliament.  Many of them hold directorships in listed companies on a “voluntary” basis.   

Being a volunteer as CEO or director is not a bad option but a sad story to Singapore indeed.