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HONEY, I SHRUNK THE NEWS
"TRANSFER OF RESERVES" NEWS FOUND IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH
GOH CHOK TONG'S LAST ACT?
The nation-builder press, April 20, 2004.
If you want
to read more, you can go to this site, but you must be able to read Chinese.
Goh Chok Tong will pass the Prime Ministership to his deputy, General Lee Hsien Loong, sometime in 2004.
CHUA MUI HOONG WASN'T WEARING HER GLASSES THAT DAY LAH
The nation-builder press, April 20, 2004.
the above commentary of the parliamentary sitting of April 19, 2004, nation-builder
Chua Mui Hoong [whose sister is Chua Lee Hoong] did not comment on the "transfer
of reserves" amendment.
- - - - -
On Apr 19, 2004, the $ingapore parliament passed an amendment to the constitution which allows for the transfer of government reserves to government companies and statutory boards. As far as we can tell, there was no debate inside parliament. The nation-builder press gave a one-paragraph report at the bottom of an unrelated story.* It is also unclear whether opposition MPs Chiam See Tong and Low Thia Khiang and NMP Steve Chia said anything that afternoon. Their websites are silent on this matter. To date, we have only found one comment, an open letter to Singaporeans, and we present it below.
TRANSFER OF RESERVES: SINGAPOREANS IN REAL TROUBLE
April 24, 2004
The SDP has learned that Parliament has amended the Constitution to allow the transfer of reserves from the Government to statutory boards and government-linked companies.
If true, this step has ominous implications for Singaporeans and our future. The Government must come clean and unambiguously explain to the people what it is trying to do with this latest change of the Constitution.
The fact that the ruling party continues to amend the Constitution at will (four other amendments were apparently passed at the sitting) to suit its own needs is troubling enough. But the present amendment to allow the transfer of our nation's reserves to government bodies and businesses is in a category all on its own, and signals a dangerous level into which the state-management of Singapore's economy has descended.
With a system that is as non-transparent and unaccountable as the PAP's, this opening up of the vault to our reserves may yet be the latest sign of the desperate financial situation the government organizations have found themselves in. Without proper accounting and a transparent system where the opposition, civil society, and media can probe the propriety of these financial transactions, how can the people be assured that the reserves, which include the life savings of Singaporeans, will not be misused and abused?
It is equally vexing, but unsurprising, that the issue has received so little publicity in the media. Apparently, news of this constitutional amendment was buried in the 15th paragraph of a report entitled "More foreign-born kids to get citizenship" in the Straits Times.
And yet questions abound: How much is allowed to be transferred to any one company? Who will determine/approve the transactions? Under what criteria will the transfers be deemed to be necessary? Will it be guaranteed that the money will not be lost through ventures, business or otherwise, conducted by the statutory boards and GLCs? Most important, do Singaporeans agree for the Government to make these transfers in the first place?
As usual, the PAP has manipulated politics to the point where it can do anything and everything it wants. Nothing and no one in Singapore can prevent the Government from abusing the system.
Some may say that, given the deteriorating political and economic situation in the country, Singaporeans will send a message to the PAP and vote for the opposition at the next elections. Singaporeans must realize that at the present rate we are going under the present system, hell will freeze over first before the PAP allows Singaporeans to hold it accountable through elections.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party
You can also read the full amendment in parliament-speak here.
$INGAPORE GOVT COMPANY MAY HAVE TO PUT UP EXTRA QUARTER BILLION U.S. DOLLARS
The nation-builder press, April 29, 2004.
Government company ST Telemedia may have to come up with US$252 million or about a quarter-BILLION US dollars. It may or may not be eligible under the new transfer of reserves constitutional amendment for funds. The constitutional amendment has been passed to allow for transfer of funds from $ingapore's reserves to government companies and statutory boards but to date there have been no public discussions of its implications. ST Telemedia is part of $ingapore Technologies, a government company.