Sunday, April 23, 2006

PAP come out same pattern again!!

Wah lan eh, PAP chut pattern liao! Old Lee and little Lee want to sue SDP wor.. for simi defamation bullshit! I want to go buy the SDP newsletter and read leh.. see what is so scandalous that make father and son so hot under the collar. But someone posted on the internet liao, so i fast fast copy and paste here for keepsake hehehe.

Govt’s role in the NKF scandal

Ministers went out their way to defend NKF even as people were unhappy over the organisation’s operations

In all the hand-wringing and breast-beating by the Government over the NKF issue, Singaporeans must not lose sight of one thing: Such a scandal is inevitable given the kind of secretive and non-accountable system, bred by the PAP.

The Government now tries to exonerate itself by playing the innocent and gullible party duped by greedy NKF officials.

It forgets that in April 2004, Minister Khaw Boon Wan had, in reaction to public unease about the NKF, sought to appease Singaporeans by telling them that the Ministry of Finance “would have reacted many years ago” if there was any breach of rules by the NKF. (See Channel News Asia report on right.)

At the same time the Second Minister for Finance, Mr Lim Hng Kiang, said that the NKF had “quite a sound record” because it spends “ore than 80 percent of its funds on its beneficiaries” (See Straits Times report on right) whom we now know are not kidney patients.

Clearly, alarm bells were raised. People could see that something was wrong and they had expressed their unhappiness over the years.

And yet, the Government which had the power to do something, chose not to.

Not only did it choose not to rein in NKF but it also continued to praise the charity and encouraged people to donate to it.

With assurances from not one but two Ministers, the charity went on its merry way.

The question that is on everyone’s lips is: If Mr TT Durai had not taken out the legal suit, would the Government have bothered to look into the NKF records? NKF would in all likelihood have continued to operate with the Government’s blessings.

The NKF fiasco is not about bad practices. It is not even about negligence on the Government’s part.

It is about greed and power.

It is about the idea that the political elite must be paid top dollar, no matter how obscene those amounts are and regardless of who suffers as a result of it.

It is about a system engineered over the decades by the PAP that ensures that it and only it has access to public information and by fiat decides what is allowed and what is not.

It is about what a “democratic society, based on justice and equality” should not be.

Singaporeans must note that the NKF is not an aberration of the PAP system. It is, instead, a product of it.

To ensure that there is transparency and that Singaporeans are kept informed of matters directly affecting them and their future, the Government must:

One, disclose the breakdown of the cost of building HDB flats and the profits HDB makes.

Two, reveal where and how GIC uses our savings.

Three, disclose the salaries of the top executives of Temasek Holdings and other GLCs.

Four, declare the assets and incomes of its Ministers.

Five, reform the election system to ensure that it is free and fair.

It goes without saying that someone must be held accountable over the sordid NKF affair. However, real accountability starts much higher up.

The second contentious article in the newsletter.

If you think the running of NKF was bad, read this...

It is impossible not to notice the striking resemblance between how the NKF operated and how the PAP runs Singapore. It would take someone foolishly blind not to be concerned with how our financial reserves and CPF savings are dealt with. Here are the similarities.

Mind Boggling salaries

Mr Durai was paid $50,000 a month. He charged an average of almost $33,000 a month to his corporate credit card.

He was paid overtime and given backdated salary increments. His leave that was not taken were converted to cash.

And yet, Mrs Goh Chok Tong, in all her wisdom, brushed these aside and defended Mr Durai saying that his salary of $600,000 is “peanuts”.

Compare this to what her husband, Mr Goh, said when the prime minister wanted to pay himself $160,000 a month and the ministers $120,000 a month: “You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”

Peanuts seem to be a rather popular plant in PAP circles.

Mr Durai had apparently forgotten that his job was to help people stricken with kidney disease, not to enrich himself.

If he wanted to earn the kind of salaries that corporate managers earned he should join a business enterprise whose mission is to maximize profit, not a charitable organization like the NKF whose mission is to provide medical assistance to those who unfortunate enough to need it.

Again, how is this different from the ministers who claim that without the high salaries, they would not have the incentive to serve in the cabinet?

The simple answer is: There will be others who are no less capable, and even more dedicated, willing to serve this country.

Like Mr Durai, the ministers cannot claim that they deserve to get the mind-boggling salaries because of the work they do, especially when their performances have been questionable given the hardships that Singaporeans continue to have to face in today’s high cost Singapore.

Lack of transparency

Right up till Mr Durai’s ill-fated court room appearance, few people knew about the shenanigans that were going on within NKF.

Everything was shrouded in secrecy until the jaw-dropping revelations recorded in the KPMG audit.

How does this compare to the PAP? The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) is a business entity set up, and chaired by Mr Lee Kuan Yew to manage and invest our national reserves.

Incredibly, the GIC will not give an account of its investments (how and where our money is invested, and the profit/losses they record) to the people. Even Parliament is not privy to the information. The GIC operates in secrecy.

The HDB is no better. It continues to stonewall longstanding questions about the actual cost of building the flats and the profits it makes when it sells these flats to the people.

What about the CPF? Many Singaporeans are still concerned that the Fund is broke and that is the reason why the Government comes up with all these schemes to retain our CPF savings even when we retire.

Defamation suits

Singaporeans have know this for a long time but it needed the NKF scandal to drive home the point: The use, or rather abuse, of defamation laws in this country has led to a situation where wrong-doings cannot be exposed.

Two Singaporeans, Mr Archie Ong and Ms Tan Kiat Noi, had raised the alarm on the abuses of NKF funds, accusing NKF officials of paying themselves obscenely high salaries and bonuses, and flying first class on business trips.

Mr TT Durai promptly smacked them with lawsuits.

Unable to fight the huge sums of money involved in a defamation suit, Mr Ong and Ms Tan capitulated and settled the case out-of-court, both having to pay damages and costs amounting to tens of thousands of dollars. This happened in 1997 and 1998.

This had the effect of silencing all critics of NKF.

It wasn’t until 2005 that Mr TT Durai decided to sue the Straits Times for making similar accusations against the NKF.

The difference was that this time, the Straits Times had deeper pockets than the NKF and could contest the suit all the way.

The truth spilled out and we now know that NKF officials had not only flown first class and paid themselves bonuses of up to 14 months, (not to mention Mr Durai’s $600,000 slalary) but had also installed gold-plated taps, bought a fleet of luxury cars, and took trips to Las Vegas!

In other words, Mr Ong and Ms Tan were right. The only thing they were guilty of was that they were not rich enough to fight Mr Durai in court.

Does this remind you of the PAP?

Its officials, strarting from Mr Lee Kuan Yew on down, regularly sue their political opponents.

The cases of Mr J B Jeyaretnam, Mr Tang Liang Hong, and Dr Chee Soon Juan are just a few examples.

Authoritarian control

It is obvious now that the NKF was run in an autocratic manner. The KPMG report said: “Power was centred around one man, and was exercised in an ad-hoc manner through Mr Durai and his coterie of long serving assistants.”

Is not power in Singapore centred around one party, if not one individual?

With the PAP monopolizing power and making sure that no one has the means to challenge that hold on power (by banning protests, introducing GRCs, suing political opponents, making legitimate democratic actions criminal offences, etc.) are we not witnessing the NKF but on a larger and national scale?

If there is a lesson that the NKF fiasco has taught us, it is that good governance cannot do without democratic practices which include openness, transparency and accountability.

The use of the media

It would have been impossible for the NKF to raise the kind of money they did if it weren’t for the use of MediaCorp to stage all the charity shows and using teary-eyed artistes to pull at the heart-strings of donors.

With control of the media, the PAP Government has likewise been able to present good news to the people and take credit for them (justified or not), hide the bad news, and portray the opposition in the most undesirable light possible.

Again, without a free media to expose the excesses of the Government, Singaporeans will never know what is going behind the scenes and officials like Mr Durai and the PAP will continue to use their “victorious” lawsuits as a measure of competence and absence of wrongdoing.

wah lao eh... simi defame?? Commentary only wat! Cannot comment meh? Lidat opposition might as well diam diam. All sporeans already know this anyway since last yr. The two Lee are really jialat man. Most likely is the old man's idea, whole life same pattern wont change liao.


Anonymous said...

I suggest you take down the SDP newsletter.

It is alright for your own reading but it is against the law to share with someone else, even your spouse, your family.

You shall have 1 week to take this down. If not, further actions will be taken :- You will be charged under defamation and spreading falsely accusations article.

Please check your lawyer for legal advice.

simi lan said...

fuck off lah, you lawyer meh? got anonymous lawyer one ah?

Stephen Yeo said...

The parallel between NKF and PAP is indeed uncanny. Check out my post on NKF = PAP.