Tuesday, July 17, 2018

[ Defending the Lion City ] The heavy burden of NS

Pic source: The Singapore Army FB Page - Photo by: 2SG Ian Ng (10 C4I Bn)


NS, and missed opportunities. These are two extremely emotive issues as far as S’poreans are concerned. Every year, thousands of S’porean males will put pause to their life plans and enter National Service to the country for 2 years (previously 2.5 years).


Losing your hair is the first thing that you "sacrifice" in NS
Pic source: Cyberpioneer


Ben Davis, by all accounts a talented young soccer player, had signed a two-year professional contract in June 2018 with EPL club Fulham FC. Due to enter NS in Dec 2018, Ben had applied long-term NS deferment and was rejected by Mindef.

Mindef stated that Ben’s application does not meet the criteria.
 "Since the inception of National Service (NS), all male Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) are required to serve NS at the earliest opportunity after reaching 18 years of age.

Through the years, support for NS has been maintained because this requirement is applied strictly and fairly to all individuals. Each year, the Ministry of Defence does receive requests for long-term deferment from Full-time NS, often with reasons that NS will impede their development and ability to fulfil aspirations.

As all male Singaporeans liable for Full-time NS put aside personal pursuits to dutifully enlist and serve their NS, it would not be fair to approve applications for deferment for individuals to pursue their own careers and development. Very few applications have been approved over the years and based on criteria which are made known to the public.

In sports, deferments are granted only to those who represent Singapore in international competitions like the Olympic Games and are potential medal winners for Singapore. In the last 15 years, only three* have met this criteria.

Benjamin James Davis' application for deferment was not approved as he does not meet the criteria for long-term deferment from Full-time NS.

This decision was made in consultation with the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth and was communicated to Mr Davis and his parents on 11 June 2018. Mr Davis was also notified that he is due for enlistment and must dutifully serve NS along with others in his cohort."
 
Mindef's reply to media query, 16 July 2018

*Note: The three athletes who have been granted long-term NS deferments are: national swimmers Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen, and sailor Maximillian Soh.


============================

UpdateMindef released a following up media reply (18 Jul 2018)
"The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) recognises Mr. Benjamin Davis' achievement in securing a senior contract with Fulham Football Club (FC).  
However, deferment from National Service (NS) is granted for exceptional sportsmen to represent our national interest and not their own career development. When granted, deferment is given for a defined period after which these sportsmen must return to fulfil their NS duties. Mr Davis' application does not meet the deferment criteria and was therefore turned down. 
When asked during the deferment application process when Mr Davis intended to return and serve NS, Mr Davis' father would not commit to a date and expressed that he would put Mr Davis' professional career first. Mr Davis went on to sign the contract despite the rejection for deferment and his father has publicly stated that he would encourage Mr Davis to renounce his Singapore citizenship in order to pursue his career.  
Mr Davis' actions are meant to further his own professional career, not national interest. As his father openly admitted, he is looking out for his son's future, not Singapore's. They have no intention of returning to fulfil their son's NS duties, especially if Mr Davis is given a full professional contract after the two years of his senior contract. To allow deferment for this type of appeal, would severely undermine the ethos and sacrifice of Singaporeans who have all put aside their personal interests to complete their NS duties.   
Many talented sportsmen, including footballers, have completed their NS dutifully first before pursuing their professional careers. MINDEF has in place schemes during full-time NS to enable them to continue training to retain and improve their skills. We also provide additional training opportunities in the lead-up to major games such as the Southeast Asian and Olympic Games where our sportsmen represent Singapore and do us proud."
Mindef,  18 Jul 2018

============================


When Ben’s case made the news, it quickly gained widespread attention and attracted much support for his case for deferment, and naturally, harsh criticism of Mindef and its deferment policy.

But is the criticism of Mindef’s decision and the deferment policy justified?

Here is the crux of the issue as I see it.

Everyone who is liable for NS, will also be forgoing/postponing various opportunities for their two year service.

So what exactly is it then which makes Ben’s case for long term NS deferment to be exceptionally different/special?

Is it the fact that he has an opportunity to become a professional soccer player in the English Premier League, and in future perhaps improve the state of local soccer? 

Or is it because he has popular support (or at least so it seems to be on social media), including that of the Football Association of Singapore, for his deferment? 
(This raises another hard question – should “popular support” matter? Is it fair and proper for Mindef to even take “popular support” into consideration? After all, how does one define “popular support” and how does one objectively measure and compare it? But let’s put that aside for now.)

How is Ben’s case so compellingly different from another gifted S’porean who is accepted into a prominent medical school, and can become a brilliant doctor who saves countless lives or discovers a cure for some fatal disease?

What about a creative artist who could be the next Picasso? A talented musician that might be the next Michael Jackson? Or marvelous chef who could be a Michelin Star chef? All of whom have been given the opportunity to further develop their talents.

Are these S’poreans’ situations/aspirations deemed less worthy of deferment consideration than Ben’s? In addition, it is hard to argue that their pursuits will contribute any lesser towards Singapore than Ben's.

Perhaps more significantly, what about the rest of us ordinary, mundane S’poreans, who may not have any particularly special opportunity or situation?

If Mindef allows NS deferment based on “missing out rare golden opportunities”, does that imply that ordinary S’poreans are to be considered less important than these “talented” guys? Does it mean that our own sacrifices and missed opportunities, no matter how normal or mundane, are any lesser than that of Ben’s?

Would allowing for Ben’s, or any other person’s deferment on the basis of not missing out a “once in a lifetime opportunity” undermine or strengthen the very lynchpin of National Service - that NS is a social leveler and a necessary rite of passage for all S’porean males regardless of race, language, religion and social background?

Where and how should the line be drawn? Would such a change in NS policy be fair and equitable? These are very hard, soul-searching questions that are not quite so easily answered.

Ultimately, Mindef’s decision to reject Ben’s deferment and many other similar cases, will come across to many as seemingly cold, cruel, inflexible and devoid of any emotions and compassion.

But unfortunately, I believe such tough decisions have to necessarily be so in order to be unscrupulously fair to all who have served, will serve NS, and especially to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

The bar for long term NS deferments, including any change in deferment policy, must be placed so high such that if any deferments are granted, each case must be, and will be clearly seen by S’poreans as being dispassionately logical,  unbiasedly reasonable and indisputably justifiable to warrant granting deferment.

Mindef has the unenviable task and responsibility of ensuring that the heavy NS burden continues to be borne fairly and equitably by all generations of S'porean males, or risk NS becoming a divisive institution that will ferment resentment amongst S’poreans and ultimately tear apart our country’s military defense and nation-building efforts, instead of uniting us all as one Singapore.

To Ben, this would be what I would advise: Serve out your Full time NS commitment. Take it as a way of expanding your horizons/experiences and improving your overall toughness. 2 years will pass quickly. After that, you are free to do as you please. Deferments for reservist/ORD training are much easier to get.





Read more here:


CNA: Sport Singapore (SportSG) supports MINDEF's decision to reject Ben Davis' deferment application (18 Jul 2018)
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/sport-singapore-supports-mindef-decision-to-reject-ben-davis-10541308

Mindef Reply to Media Queries on the Rejection of Benjamin Davis' Deferment from Full-time NS (18 July 2018)
https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/portal/mindef/news-and-events/latest-releases/article-detail/2018/july/18jul18_mq

TODAY: Ben Davis won’t give up Fulham dream, may forgo S’pore citizenship if NS deferment appeal rejected (16 Jul 2018)

Mindef Reply to ST Query on Benjamin Davis' Request for Long-Term Deferment from Full-Time NS (16 July 2018)
https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/portal/mindef/news-and-events/latest-releases/article-detail/2018/july/16jul18_mq

Straits Times: No National Service deferment for Fulham teen Ben Davis, says Mindef (14 Jul 2018)

TODAY: High Court sets new sentencing benchmarks for NS dodgers (25 Jul 2017)
https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/high-court-sets-new-sentencing-benchmarks-ns-defaulters

Straits Times: Fairness, sense of purpose key to maintaining support for NS (6 Apr 2017)

Straits Times: 28-year-old jailed 16 weeks for evading NS (3 Feb 2017)

Senang Diri: 45 Years of National Service: NS defaulter's homecoming for National Museum concert (30 Dec 2011)






Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Mahathir the Riddler and The High Speed Rail Project





Updates:
And so the flip-floping continues on from M'sia...

19 July 2018: TODAY - In U-turn, Dr Mahathir says Malaysia to negotiate deferment of HSR with Singapore 
When asked by reporters on whether there are options to defer the project or reduce the cost, he replied: “At the moment when we look at the financial situation of the country, we thought that we couldn’t go ahead with that.”
"The problem is that if we just unilaterally discard the agreement, we have to pay a very high compensation." 
Having studied the contract, it was decided that “we will have to do it at a later date or we may have to reduce the price”, Dr Mahathir added. Read more here.


18 July 2018: New Straits Times - HSR not entirely off the table, fate lies in upcoming discussion between Malaysia and Singapore 
 "We have not excluded the possibility of the project going on, but are not making any suggestions unless there is a consensus from both countries.” Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin told reporters at the Dewan Rakyat lobby. Read more here.


========================================================


Here’s a summary of the HSR headlines from a Malaysian News/Media portal – The Star Online, from 24 Jan 2017 to 9 July 2018. (Latest news at bottom)

Read them and see for yourself if you can decide what Mahathir/Malaysia really, really wants to do with the HSR project.


24 Jan 2017: The Star Online - Mahathir opposes HSR project
Citing financial constraints, the former prime minister (Mahathir), who is chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, said the HSR contract signed between Malaysia and Singapore may not be a done deal if the Opposition comes to power. We need to do a study whether it is feasible or not because we don’t have the money and we have to borrow money, and that is not something the Government can bear at this moment. We have to know whether we really need this HSR or not,” he told The Sunday Times in an interview. Read more here


28 May 2018: The Star Online - Mahathir to drop high-speed rail project with Singapore: FT
"We need to do away with some of the unnecessary projects, for example the high-speed rail, which is going to cost us RM110bn ($28bn) and will not earn us a single cent. That will be dropped," Mahathir told the Financial Times. "We have an agreement with Singapore. We have to talk with Singapore about dropping that project," he said, according to Reuters. Read more here


2 Jun 2018: The Star Online - Guan Eng on HSR: 'You can get something... for half the price.'
Asked if the economic benefits outweighed the cost of the rail link, Lim replied: “Is it worth it? You can get something for cheaper, for half the price.” Read more here.


12 Jun 2018: The Star Online - HSR project postponed, not scrapped, Dr M tells Japanese media“We cannot say we will never have high-speed rail (HSR) in Malaysia. What we can do is we can postpone the project because it is far too costly at this moment.” After being sworn in as prime minister, he had announced on May 28 that Malaysia will be dropping the HSR project with Singapore, citing it as an “unnecessary project. However, in his interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Dr Mahathir commented that the Singapore HSR project is merely postponed. “We actually postponed the implementation of that project.Read more here.


15 Jun 2018: The Star Online - Govt will consider reviving HSR project in the future
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng: “As far as the HSR is concerned, it's scrapped for now as announced by the Prime Minister but in the future, that is something that we want to discuss with the Government” Read more here.


9 Jul 2018: The Star Online - Singapore not told of HSR status but knows what Malaysia wants
Mahathir: "We have not given them full notice yet but they know what we want to do."Watch the interview on YouTube here


Video source: The Star Online






Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Mahathir doing what he does best - Being vague




Video source: The Star Online


Here are some unbelievable quotes from the media interview.

"Decisions are not so easily made. When we make a decision and announce it, the market reacts negatively. The market apparently likes to be told lies about how good everything is so they will give you good marks. But if we tell them we have discovered a lot of wrongdoings, they react by running away with the money, they stop investing and all that. But in fact what we are doing now is to ensure that this country is financially run properly."


"So when we make an announcement, we have people who react negatively. So that's why we have to be very careful about what we say."


"As far as the Singapore Government is concerned, we have not given them full notice yet, but they know what we want to do"

"I think you should read your own press...(when asked what M'sia wanted to do about the HSR) 


This is all bullshit and blatant political showmanship to publicly pressure S'pore as well as seek out nationalist political support by making S'pore the common evil enemy of all M'sians.

There is no big mystery or some genius strategy of Mahathir at work.

This is exactly what he did  during the 1998 to 2003 "package deal" negotiations when he was last PM. When he did not get what he wanted, he tried to apply public pressure on S'pore by making misleading public statements. S'pore then had no choice but to set the record straight by releasing the official correspondences between the two PMs. (See here for a summary of the 1998-2003 negotiations)


The most plausible explanation for Mahathir's apparent reluctance to officially communicate to the SG Govt about M'sia's decision to cancel the HSR project, is Mahathir knows very well that once he does that, S'pore will have indisputable proof that M'sia was the one who first initiated to officially cancel the HSR project, and hence M'sia becomes liable not just for S'pore's losses but potentially for all other involved parties' losses.

If M'sia's coffers are really as empty as Mahathir says, do you think he would dare to risk incurring the cancellation's potentially huge liabilities?

For all we know, just the very notion of officially canceling the HSR project and becoming liable for losses may well push M'sia right into the realm of national bankruptcy.

This is just "wayang kulit" (shadow shadow puppet play) put up by Mahathir to see if S'pore will blink and cave in first on officially canceling the HSR project.

If S'pore does so, and falls into Mahathir's trap, then M'sia would have a plausible reason/excuse to deny any liabilities for the cancellation, citing that S'pore was actually the party who first officially communicated the project's cancellation whereas all M'sia did was merely do media interviews, press releases only.

Unfortunately for Mahathir, and M'sia, there is no happy ending to this wayang kulit. He must be senile to hope S'pore would fall into his clumsy trap.

The crux of the Water issue for S'pore has NEVER been the price of raw water






Extract of Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament on Monday (9 Jul 2018) on the SG-Msia Water Agreement, and why it is NOT the price of water that is the problem, BUT the manner in which the price change takes place. Edited video: Shut Down TRS FB page


Just think about it lah.

How would you feel if your mobile phone service provider suddenly increases your mobile service by $X, or decrease the amount of mobile data you have while you are still under Contract. Will you be happy about it? Can you accept it that the phone company can simply change contract terms without your consent?

Fair or not?

How about your domestic helper’s salary? What if your helper just said to you today that she wants her salary to be increased by $x, or maybe from now, cleaning the bathroom will not be part of her job scope; even though the salary and job scope is what was agreed upon when you employed her and she is still under contract. Can you accept these demands and changes from your helper without any discussion?

Reasonable or not?

Similarly, Singapore is being intentionally put in the similar situation by the current M'sian govt.

Singapore has emphasised it time and time again - the issue has NEVER been about the price of raw water. It is the HOW the changes to the agreement are being made by one party only - that is M'sia.

What Singapore is unable, and will never accept, is that the current Malaysian Govt is trying to change the terms of the agreement by themselves (ie: “unilaterally changing the terms of the agreement.”) without having discussed the matter with, or asked if Singapore would sit down to discuss it and come to a new agreement.

To put it simply, BOTH parties must come together to agree to change the terms of any agreement.

And remember, the agreement cuts both ways.

M’sia cannot just anyhow increase the price of RAW, UNTREATED water (which is 3 Sen per thousand gallons) as and when they like.


Note: The raw untreated river water, that S’pore pays 3 sen for, would have flowed into the sea in any case. Plus S’pore also pays for, and maintains all of the necessary infrastructure. (See here for more facts about the water agreement)


Likewise, S’pore also cannot just anyhow increase the price of CLEAN, TREATED water (which is 50 Sen per thousand gallons) that is being sold back to M’sia too.


Note: S’pore’s cost of treating the RAW water (in 2003) is actually RM2.40 per thousand gallons. Contrast the cost of producing CLEAN TREATED water at RM2.40 to the 50 sen price that M’sia pays for clean, treated water from Singapore. And what’s more, the M’sia govt simply re-sells this same clean treated water to Johore citizens at RM3.95! (as of 2003). Who’s the one that is benefiting the most now? (See here for more facts about the water agreement)




Bear in mind, Singapore has also never said that it would not budge on the water price issue.

All Singapore wants is to have matter properly discussed, and perhaps to have a new agreement that is acceptable and agreed to by BOTH countries.

In fact, what the current M’sian Govt fails to mention or seems to conveniently forget, is that S’pore and M’sia had began negotiations from 1998 to 2003 to discuss the price of raw water as well as several other bilaterial issues which were important to both countries.

And while Singapore tried to settle on terms which were acceptable to both countries, it was Malaysia that kept changing its position on the water price – increasing from 45 sen per thousand gallons in August 2000, to 60 sen in Feb 2001, and then again to RM6.25 in September 2002. The water talks ended in 2002 without any conclusion when then PM Mahathir informed Singapore that Malaysia wanted to “decouple the water issue” from the other items in the negotiations.
(See here for a summary of these negotiations)

So Malaysia, let’s sit down together and talk properly over tek tarik and work out a agreement that acceptable to, and benefits BOTH countries, and not just anyhow talk cock through the media.




Read more here:

Gov.sg YouTube Channel: Speech by Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament (9 July 2018) on Singapore-Malaysia relations
CNA: Singapore-Malaysia relations: Both countries must fully respect sanctity of international agreements, says Dr Balakrishnan (9 Jul 2018)

CNA: Price of water sold to Singapore 'ridiculous'; Malaysia to renegotiate deal, says Mahathir (25 Jun 2018)

SG Ministry of Foreign Affairs publication: Water Talks? – If Only It Could.
A succinct account of the 1998-2003 SG-Msia negotiations on several bilateral issues, including the price of raw water.  (Back up copy)

SG Ministry of Foreign Affairs publication: Singapore-Malaysia Water Talks: What are the Facts?
(Back up copy)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release - WATER ISSUE IS ABOUT SANCTITY OF AGREEMENTS, NOT ABOUT PRICE ALONE, SAYS SINGAPORE FOREIGN MINISTER PROF S JAYAKUMAR (Back up copy)

Lee Kuan Yew: The architect of Singapore's water story By Eco-Business (25 March 2015)
(Back up copy)

Read previous posts about Singapore and Water








Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Strengthening S'pore's support for Long-Term Care




Faced with falling birth rates, Singapore’s population is now aging (ie: more elderly folks than young kids), and there will be more of us that are likely to need long-term healthcare and support as we age into our golden years.

In addition to your own savings, health insurance plans and family support for your retirement, the Govt has announced that it is introducing 3 new schemes to further strengthen its framework to support S’poreans long-term care needs and expenses.


CareShield Life
This is a new long-term care insurance scheme which has lifetime cash payouts for S’poreans who become severely disabled. Premiums can be fully paid out from your CPF’s medisave account and there will be incentives and subsidies to make the premiums affordable.






MediSave Cash Withdrawals for Long-term Care
S’poreans who are severely disabled will be able to withdraw up to $200 per month from their MediSave accounts to support their long-term care needs and expenses.



ElderFund
This is a new assistance scheme for lower-income, severely disabled S'poreans who are not able to join CareShield Life, or have low MediSave balances and inadequate personal savings to meet their long-term care needs. They will be able to receive up to $250 per month.






  
These new Schemes will be implemented from 2020 and are part of the Govt’s key social policies to strengthen social risk-pooling, facilitate the use of personal and family savings and provide an additional safety net for long-term care expenses.

Taken together, and combined with other Government schemes and personal and family savings, the measures will give Singaporeans better assurance and peace of mind that they will be protected and supported for their long-term care needs, for life.

Click here for the MOH Press Release on these new Schemes. 

For more information, please visit www.careshieldlife.sg






With You, For You, For Singapore



While some bodoh idiotic people side with belligerent foreign powers acting against S’pore’s interests, and attempt to re-interpret history to their whims and fancies, the PAP Govt continues on with its work of preparing S’pore for future challenges and making life better for ALL S’poreans.

No one is saying that the PAP Govt is perfect, and yes, there will be times when there are cock-ups (eg: MRT breakdown woes). But at least they learn from their mistakes, fix the problem responsibly and transparently and carry on with the work of building up Singapore for all Singaporeans.

Just have a look at what the PAP Govt is doing for Singaporeans recently. These are not some airy-fairy motherhood statements or plans. These are concrete actions which will have a direct impact on improving the lives of S'poreans.


Sembawang Integrated Hub to be called Bukit Canberra (1 July 2018)

SINGAPORE: The upcoming Sembawang sport and community hub set to open progressively from 2020 will be called Bukit Canberra, announced Sport Singapore on Sunday (Jul 1) at the groundbreaking ceremony. 

The 12 hectare space - first announced in 2016 - will provide amenities such as a hawker centre, indoor and outdoor sport facilities, a polyclinic, a senior care centre, green spaces for community farming and lifestyle related amenities for the community. It is located about five minutes from Sembawang MRT station.

Bukit Canberra will also see the largest ActiveSG gym with indoor and outdoor pools. There will also be 3km of running trails as well as a fruit orchard and healthcare options such as a polyclinic and senior care centre.




Bigger, better Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic officially opens (1 Jul 2018)

The new Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic was given its official opening yesterday, offering greater accessibility to elderly and disabled patients as well as an expanded team-based healthcare system.

The $44 million polyclinic began operations in January after moving from Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 to a facility in Ang Mo Kio Central 2, which at 8,752 sq m is three times bigger. It sees a total of 1,500 patients every day - 200 more than at its previous site - and more than a third are over 65 years old.

The new polyclinic is designed to cater to this group, with more lifts, handrails, non-slip flooring and wider passageways. It is also fitted with a $70,000 wheelchair tilter, to eliminate the inconvenience of transferring patients who are wheelchair users to a dental chair.

The polyclinic has also expanded its team-based care model, which was introduced at National Healthcare Group polyclinics three years ago. In an effort to avoid disruption to treatment, each patient with a chronic ailment is assigned a specific healthcare team which will manage his or her case.

Each team is made up of two family physicians, a care manager and care coordinator.

Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic initially had four teams helping 20,000 patients but this has now been expanded to six teams looking after 30,000 patients.

The polyclinic is also the first to have a senior care centre located within its premises.




Childcare subsidies to be reviewed (1 Jul 2018)

SINGAPORE: The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will be reviewing its preschool subsidy framework, announced Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee on Sunday (Jul 1).

Currently, eligible households can receive up to S$740 in childcare subsidies per month. The amount a family receives depends on their household income. When last reviewed in 2013, the framework saw an increase of at least S$100 in childcare subsidies.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a visit to a community health and developmental screening event at Boon Lay, Mr Lee said the review will help to ensure that quality preschools remain accessible and affordable to families with young children.




SkillsFuture course ratings to be displayed for all govt-funded courses by 2019 (30 Jun 2018)

SINGAPORE - Users of the MySkillsFuture platforms can now make more informed course selections, as both the web portal and phone app are displaying user ratings for selected courses for the first time.

These ratings are based on two surveys: one on the satisfaction of trainees at the end of each course, and another that measures, six months later, how much trainees have applied what they learned in their work.

The survey findings are translated into a ratings system, which all users can see, said SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), which operates the portal and app. Qualitative comments by trainees will also be on display.

In his speech, Mr Chee noted that technology is impacting the way Singaporeans live. Resisting it is not an option and new jobs will require workers here to learn new skills and adopt new approaches at work, he said.

"We need to equip our workers with the knowledge to use technology effectively, like how a craftsman is able to use his tools skillfully to get the job done," he said.

This upskilling must be part of a "national culture" which encourages lifelong learning from young, with strong support from employers, unions, and educational institutions.




Tuas Desalination Plant opens, another milestone in Singapore’s water quest (28 Jun 2018)

SINGAPORE — Singapore's first desalination plant owned and operated by the Government officially opened on Thursday (June 28). The Tuas Desalination Plant is the Republic's third and has a capacity of 30 million gallons per day (mgd).

Singapore’s water sustainability came under the spotlight earlier this week when Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad revived a dispute with Singapore over the terms agreed in a 1962 pact.

At the opening ceremony, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli reiterated that this latest milestone in Singapore's water story "did not come easy". He did not make any reference to Dr Mahathir’s latest remarks.

Mr Masagos said: "Gradually but surely, we will continue to build up the capacity of our desalination and NEWater capacities, so that by 2060, NEWater and desalination can supply a combined 85 per cent of our water needs then."



  
1.6 million Singaporeans to receive S$1 billion GST Vouchers, Medisave top-ups (28 Jun 2018)

SINGAPORE — By next Friday (July 6), 1.6 million citizens will receive notifications about their 2018 Goods and Services Tax (GST) Vouchers and Medisave top-ups, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on Thursday (June 28).

Adult citizens who qualify for the one-off SG Bonus of up to S$300 for adult citizens, announced at Budget 2018,will also be notified about their SG Bonus benefits by October.

In total, lower-income Singaporeans will each receive up to S$600 in cash benefits this year, comprising S$300 in GST Voucher to be paid out into their bank accounts on Aug 1, and S$300 in SG Bonus to be paid out by year-end.

Apart from cash, Singaporeans will receive top-ups to their Medisave as well as U-Save rebates under the GST Voucher scheme.

Homeowners of a three-room flat can expect to receive a total U-Save rebate of S$350 per household this year.

On top of this, as announced at Budget 2018, eligible Housing and Development Board (HDB) households will also receive an additional rebate of S$20 a year from 2019 to 2021.

These quarterly rebates are aimed at helping lower- and middle-income HDB to offset their utilities bills.

To help elderly Singaporeans pay for their medical needs, Medisave top-ups will be given.

Some 485,000 Singaporeans aged 65 years and above in 2018 will receive up to S$450 in Medisave top-ups in August under the GST Voucher scheme.

Citizens who are aged 59 and above, who do not receive Pioneer Generation benefits, will also receive a Medisave top-up of up to S$200 between this year and the next.

Pioneers, on the other hand, will receive Medisave top-ups of between S$200 and S$800 in July.



Monday, July 2, 2018

Historian(?) turned Professional liar fails in latest attempt to alter history



The notoriously incompetent historian (?) turned Professional Liar Thum Ping Tjin, was called out for attempting to alter history ... yet again. 

Liar Thum had attempted to make people believe that Lee Kuan Yew’s 1985 address to the US Congress was not well received by posting a cartoon that cast doubt on how the event went.




Liar Thum then went on to implied that Lee Kuan Yew’s stellar international reputation was just made-up by “the government-controlled media”. 





However, due to his sheer incompetence and failure to fact-check (a trait that should be second-nature for historians), Liar Thum did not realize that there was a YouTube video (with over 90k views) of that very same speech by Lee Kuan Yew. Thus adding yet another dismal attempt to his resume of misleading people and attempting to revise history with his own brand of interpretation.







Here's the link to that YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6CZ3C0niPg
See 3:15, 4:11, 5:26 and for Standing ovation at 9:47.



However, even when caught pants-down-and-on-fire, Liar Thum still tried to play dumb in hopes of pushing away the responsibility for his failed lie onto the International Herald Tribune.

Liar Thum must think people are stupid enough not to see through his ploy. Don’t you think you should have fact-checked before posting this, Liar Thum? In the age of Google search, there is simply no reason not to. Got more stupidly cock person or not?

Liar Thum, no one is stopping you from criticizing Lee Kuan Yew.

But using lies, half-truths and ignoring inconvenient facts to shape your “new narrative” of history is just a dick move. And it shows the severe lack of integrity and honor in your character, and how lowly you think of S'poreans that they would simply believe the rubbish you sprout.









See Thum's previous attempt to revise History here.