An American visitor once commented that he was astounded to read in the press some of the quotes attributed to Singapore ministers. That was before he was told how much these carpetbaggers pay themselves.
In a Facebook post chockful of contradictions Lui Tuck Yew said a nationalised public transport won't run well because a Government funded entity "would have little incentive to keep costs down." That explains why most of the sources of inflation are traceable to local tariffs, fees, tolls, duties, taxes and the myriad of charges levied by the authorities. That explains why the fire exit staircase of the Traffic Police HQ is lined with faux marble.
"Nationalising the operators could result in a stagnation of service quality or efficiency over time." Problem is, we have already seen evidence of both declines. While under the charge of a duty free sales CEO installed at the recommendation of the PM's wife. Lest we forget - the MRT was originally built with Government funding, only the operating expenses (including said CEO's hefty paycheck) are recovered by commuter fares. The initial S$5 billion construction of the MRT network was Singapore's largest public works in 1983. Lui claims the Government has invested $20 billion, and another $60 billion will be drawn down by the end of the decade. That debunks the returns on investment argument, since the funds were not borrowed from open markets. Taxpayers are already paying for the infrastructure, must taxpayers also pay to ride on the train? That must sound like buying a house, and paying yourself rent to stay in it.
Cedric Foo, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, said the fare adjustment formula has been in place for 6 years and valid till next year. He's in no hurry to review or revise the suspicious computations - meaning, the fare hike is a done deal. It figures, thanks to that mathematical device, the transport companies have never experienced a single year of financial loss.
Meanwhile, over at Maplewoods, the residents' suggestion to relocate tunnelling machine launch shafts to the King Albert Park worksite was pooh-poohed by LTA. Balakrishnan said it was "very easy" for him to accede to the demand since the condo has more voters than those at the Sixth Avenue shop houses affected by the move. "But I couldn't in all conscience do that" because the MP needs to "stand up for the minority." Is he talking about the 60% or the 40%? Whatever. Looks like the guys in charge are still adamant about having their own way, pre- and post- GE 2011.