Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why Low Thia Khiang was wrong. Now, nobody has any clue what LUP is about.

This is really for archival purposes only. The response by the Ministry of National Development to Mr. Low Thia Khiang's quip about LUP does not square with anything previously discussed within the public domain:

"Ministry: MP Low wrong on lift upgrading" (Straits Times Forum, Oct 13, 2009).

Once I find some time, I'll try to dig up all prior discussion on the topic to attempt to properly make sense of this. Right now, this letter seems to contradict everything that has been said before ... why we have town councils, why town councils are required to maintain reserves, what are CDCs for, the suggestion that Potong Pasir's S$4.5M sinking fund cannot handle LUP for a few blocks etc ...

Meanwhile, the contents of the article are found below.

I REFER to last Saturday's letter by Member of Parliament for Hougang Low Thia Khiang, 'No basis for MP not to announce lift upgrading'.

The joint letter last Friday by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and the People's Association ('Why grassroots advisers announce lift upgrading') should be read in conjunction with Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan's explanation to the media last Wednesday.

As Mr Mah highlighted, HDB's upgrading programmes are carried out and funded by the Government. This is no different from other government programmes such as the building of roads and schools.

These programmes have to be implemented through government channels. In the case of HDB upgrading, this channel is the advisers to grassroots organisations, who are appointed by the Government. Opposition MPs are not answerable to the Government, nor are they obliged to carry out and explain the Government's policies.

The Government pays up to 90 per cent of the cost of the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP), with the rest shared between the residents (5 per cent) and the town councils (5 per cent). Funding for LUP is possible only because of the Government and the Budget surpluses it has generated through prudent policies.

Opposition MPs are not responsible for generating budget surpluses. There is therefore no basis for opposition MPs to lead the LUP - a national programme funded mainly by the Government. Mr Low is mistaken when he cites the 'will of the people' expressed in general elections to justify why he should play a leading role in the LUP in Hougang. The will of the people expressed in general elections is to elect a government for the country as a whole; and not to elect separate local governments for each constituency.

Singapore has a one-level system of government. MPs, whether People's Action Party or opposition, do not constitute a local government in their constituency.

However, MPs do have a role in running town councils. Their role in town management and maintenance is clearly defined in the Town Councils Act, and does not extend to implementing government programmes such as the LUP.

Lim Yuin Chien
Press Secretary to the
Minister for National Development


Kaffein said...

Let's be serious. Does anything in the letter make any sense to anyone?

It's not as if the people in the opposition ward aren't paying tax. So I don't know what the Press Secretary is talking about.

Sheesh. Gets weirder as talks of Election Day draw near.


Chee Wai Lee said...


Exactly. I was left scratching my head because nothing the press secretary said seemed to add up, even when I tried looking at things from a PAP perspective.

Almost felt like a "I'll say the opposite of whatever I do not agree with" kind of letter :P.

Still, I think it is possible to try to find the exact contradictions or inconsistencies. Just needs time and some research effort.

PS: How are things going for you in Australia? I've not seen you update your blog a lot recently. Been busy?

Kaffein said...

Yeah, extremely. Actually I'm clocking more hours here than I was back in Singapore. Perhaps it's in the MNC that I'm working in. But I'm very very surprised people say that Aussies are laid back, or slacker.

The truth is many do work hard and play hard. And not many eat snake. And they are more productive than I thought in Singapore. Maybe it's the company I work in.

I have been meaning to update my blog. I have so much to share, so many stories to tell and pictures to post. Just came back from 1-week Sydney holiday. It has changed. And you won't miss the Asian food if you are there. It's authentic and fantastically good.

Over the past 2 years, I have seen so many Singaporean families here. And quite a fair number have decided to give up their citizenship, especially those who have young boys. They don't want to get caught in the NS mess.

And I have read an article about many Singgies moving to China. So basically, Singapore is left with the lower-skilled (who brings down cost as the government wanted) and the 3rd-rung people. No offense to them, but that's basically what's happening. And it shows in the Chinese girl's pride when she proclaimed she wanted to give back to what China had given her.

How many of us can say that? Not me, for sure. I sure don't feel the government cares for me and my family.

Heard you were doing your Masters, or was it PhD? Hope all is well with you, and your loved ones.


Chee Wai Lee said...

Well, in a way, busy is good. As long as you don't feel driven like a slave to a system.

Good to know Chinese food has improved in Sydney. The last time I visited Sydney more than 10 years ago, I had the misfortune of visiting a Chinese wannabe restaurant where everything was so heavily salted.

I'll be attempting to defend my Phd thesis Nov 10, so I've been crazy busy recently.

Best wishes to you and your family!