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Nomination Day

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Mr. Feedback

“Whoever steps into the job would probably find Dr Tan —fondly and simply known as “Doc” to many — a hard act to follow. In his four years as the Unit’s first and only chief so far, the MP for Ayer Rajah has so established his credibility that he has come to stand for Feedback with a capital F and to personify the Unit in the eyes of the public”

The Straits Times
4 February 1989

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Champion for the Underdogs

“He is indeed a very busy man, but he remains approachable. One of the most remarkable characteristics of his personality is his dauntless spirit of fighting for the underdogs.

His involvement with the disabled came at a time when accessibility to public places for the disabled was an issue of public attention.

While most people in public service would only pay lip-service in support of a barrier-free society, Dr Tan was prepared to put his money where his mouth is. He is an ardent believer that deeds speak louder than words.”


The Handicaps’ Digest
HANDICAP WELFARE ASSOCIATION

NO PEACE OF MIND………HEALTH CARE COST

Health care cost really worry Singaporeans and it is going to get worse. The MOH wants to bring down health care cost but can Health care cost really come down? My personal take is a likely no. The reason is because MOH is looking at health care management from the wrong end of the stick. MOH is just putting money to support a national health system which has evolved into a very, very expensive commodity. They have just got their priority wrong. MOH have created an expensive health care system that have changed patient behaviour towards health and illness and if MOH persist in looking at health management this way, then MOH will be forever CHASING health care cost and not CONTAINING high cost..

Continue reading NO PEACE OF MIND………HEALTH CARE COST

AIM deal begs questions: Tan Cheng Bock

SINGAPORE: Former long-time PAP backbencher Tan Cheng Bock has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the sale of computer systems used by town councils, raising several questions in a post on his Facebook page on Monday, including whether it was right and beneficial to give up ownership of software developed using public funds.
Dr Tan, who was chairman of West Coast-Ayer Rajah Town Council from 2001 to 2004, also questioned whether the town councils, as "public institutions" – a description that was disputed by Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng, who said they were "political organisations" – did the right thing selling the system to Action Information Management (AIM), "a company owned by a political party with its own agenda".

Continue reading AIM deal begs questions: Tan Cheng Bock

The Hougang By-Election

I recently had breakfast with friends at a hawker’s centre at West Coast. We exchanged views on many topics but one topic that crept up was the Hougang by-election. Why is PM still not calling for this by-election? Is he worried his chances are weak or is he planning something more than just a by-election at Hougang?
By-elections are called when a… single seat ward is vacant for whatever reason. However in a GRC there is no need to call for a by-election if one member of the group drops out for whatever reason unless the full GRC team quits. The timing of such an election is in the hands of PM.

Continue reading The Hougang By-Election

Budget 2012

As the budget debate draws near, amongst many topics discussed, the single most talked about issue is the government spending $1-1 billion to help listed public transport operators out. Many questions were raised. Why? How is this going to be done? How is this going to help the commuters better? Do we need more buses or better utilization of buses? Accountability and transparency on the proper use of this fund is important. Apart from buying buses, what other uses of this fund should be spelled out. Also how do we measure the outcomes of this exercise? Will the government do the same for the train operators?

Continue reading Budget 2012

Annual Reporting of Ministerial Salaries.

When I was in parliament (1980-2006) I was under the impression that Ministers did not get any Pension because all office holders were required to switch from pension to CPF in 1998. Imagine my surprise when I read in the newspaper (5 Jan 2012,ST) that in 2008, two years after l left parliament, the Pension component was re- introduced and this resulted in a further increase in salaries for Ministers. This Pension component, which caused a lot of anger, is now removed. I am glad that this is being done. However, such a trend of changing policies mid-stream is not good. Singaporeans want more transparency. To be transparent, an annual report of ministerial salaries must be published.

A Win Win Formula for Ministerial Pay.

While using the bench mark of the median income of the top 1000 Singapore earners is better than 48 high earners in the past -the formula has not changed, only the numbers. Every year, the median income of the top 1000 earners will be used to calculate Minister’s pay. Some of those 1000 would have fallen off the list the next year. But, because the current formula only takes in the best 1000 in the high earners cohort each year, those fallen ones in the first year will not be considered in the second year. They will be replaced by better performing ones. Thus it is a win win formula. Consider this; if we were to use the SAME 1000 cohort over the term of office of the Ministers in our calculations each year, we may have a clearer and truer reflection of the fortunes of our top earners. It will be a case of comparing apples to apples. This will be reflected in our minister’s pay.

Revised Ministerial Pay in Singapore

To Serve or Not to Serve. A consistent theme in the revised Ministerial Pay review is Pay high or loose Talent. We can buy administrative talent but political talent I am not sure. They are two different skill sets. One is working for Salary, one is working for a Cause.
One has obedience and self, the other is about passion and public service. In schools,we were taught Service before Self. This is an important ethos of character building. However this over emphasis on using money as an incentive goes against all that.

Continue reading Revised Ministerial Pay in Singapore

To Serve or Not to Serve.

A consistent theme in the revised Ministerial Pay review is Pay high or loose Talent. We can buy administrative talent but political talent I am not sure. They are two different skill sets. One is working for Salary; one is working for a Cause. One has obedience and self, the other is about passion and public service. In schools, we were taught Service before Self. …This is an important ethos of character building. However this over emphasis on using money as an incentive goes against all that. We must bring back the public spirit of serving as our First Call and not be constantly swayed that Money in Politics will attract talent. The review committee was tasked to review the former committee’s rational for the level of salaries for the President and office holders. The fact that the committee has not deviated from using the top private sector earners as a reference tells me the formula was only tweaked. Lets follow the debate in Parliament and I will share more comments.