Friday, 30 January 2015

A CPF for those who need it most

The CPF scheme was set-up to
... enable Singaporeans to have a secure retirement, through lifelong income, healthcare financing and home financing. (CPF Mission statement)

But those in the lowest 10th percentile cannot rely on the CPF alone to provide for their retirement. The current rates are too low and if the contribution rates were raised, they would have little to take home for daily expenses.

So... the recent brilliant idea to have different minimum sums for different groups of people, was... kinda silly, really.

To be fair, I think the idea is just an idea. But then again, this is a government that doesn't broach ideas unless they are reasonably enamoured by the idea. So...

This idea is still paternalistic, and prescriptive. It would require categorising people according perceived needs and it would not be able to make fine distinctions, or address special considerations or circumstances.

The net effect is that there will still be complains and resentment.

My issue with the Minimum Sum is that it is mandatory, prescriptive, and paternalistic. And that it takes away personal responsibility from those who have it least (which may be a pretty good definition of paternalism.)

The best thing to do with the minimum sum is to do away with it.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Let's Talk about Tax, baby.

Let's talk about Tax, cos it's that time of the year (I got my "love letter" from IRAS).

Unless you are one of those who earn less than $20,000 (or just a little more) and do not need to worry about tax at this time of the year.

At Singapore Perspectives 2015, Minister Chan Chun Sing made a comment about how only the top 30% of Singaporeans pay taxes.

I had my doubts about that fact and did a check.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Singapore Perspectives 2015: Audacious choices Opening Address by Janadas Devan

Janadas Devan's opening address at Singapore Perspective 2015. A look back to history.

Jan 28, 2015

The months leading to Singapore’s separation from Malaysia on 9 August 1965 were the founding generation’s finest hour, not just for the leaders of the time but the electorate that coalesced around them.

By Janadas Devan

Fifty years ago today, our future was uncertain. We didn’t know it then, but on January 26, 1965, the Singapore Cabinet debated a paper that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had written on possible constitutional rearrangements in Malaysia.

1964 had been tense: the People’s Action Party (PAP) had decided to contest the Malaysian General Election in April 1964, but won only one seat among the nine it contested in Peninsula Malaysia. In July 1964, and again in September, Singapore exploded in race riots, with a total of 36 people killed and 560 injured. Singapore and Kuala Lumpur clashed repeatedly, in the Federal Parliament, in the media and on the ground. Singapore saw no economic advantage in merger — the reason why we joined Malaysia in the first place, believing a small island state could not survive without a hinterland. For example, the Economic Development Board had to seek permission from Kuala Lumpur to award pioneer certificates to prospective investors here, entitling them to tax-free status for five to 10 years. In the two years we were in Malaysia, only two out of 69 such applications were approved, and one came with so many restrictions it amounted to a rejection.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Reactions to Singapore Perspective 2015: Choices

I had two objectives.

Firstly, to listen to the "Three Wise Men" of Singapore: Janadas Devan, Bilahari Kausikan, and Kishore Mahbubani.

Secondly, to get a little bit of History of Singapore. I am a history buff, after all.

I was not (too) disappointed then by Singapore Perspective 2015.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

To Be or Not to AirBnB

So URA is asking for feedback on short-term rental for residential properties as facilitated (and popularised) by apps like AirBnB.

Link to URA Feedback site (until 23 Feb 2015):

I value my privacy and I would not let out my home or a room for visitors. But that's me.

I think if my neighbours want to and need to (for the money), I think they should be allowed to.

I do not anticipate a parade of visitors trooping through my neighbourhood if short-term rental (hotel room rental) were allowed. If HDB allows, then ALL HDB flats would be allowed, and if there is sufficient supply, the visitors would be spread out throughout Singapore. And each room or flat would only be occupied by these visitors once in a while.

Unless the HDB flat is iconic like the Pinnacle@Duxton.

I would stay there at least once. Just for the experience of living in a million dollar flat.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

What Drives Us?

The govt is setting up a committee to look into applications and ideas for driverless cars.

In the committee will be experts, academics, and the LTA and A*STAR.


Those people are going to be whizzes at marketing new technology.

That said (sarcastically), what would be some of the possible uses of the Autonomous Car/ Driverless Car (AC/DC)?

Friday, 16 January 2015

Thoughts on Investment on a Friday

Apparently, some people want their CPF out in one lump sum in order to be able to invest at age 55. They think they can do better than CPF.

You are thinking of investing?

Here are the usual investment advice you will get:

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Update: Deployment of the KRI U.H.

Previously, I had speculated as to Indonesia's possible deployment of the KRI Usman Harun, and SG's possible options in terms of responding to what one may see as provocation.

Well, the TNI did deploy the KRI U.H., the official reason being that the ship has capabilities for searching for the QZ8501.

Mindef issued a statement on KRI Usman Harun’s deployment:
"Singapore offered its help for this humanitarian effort arising from a tragic accident of AirAsia flight QZ8501 which has befallen our Indonesian neighbour. We offer our deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the passengers and crew. The SAF will continue to assist in this search effort professionally.”
MINDEF studiously avoided mentioning the KRI U.H. name. Merely stated our continued participation professionally. Perhaps implying the Indonesians are lacking?