Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Money Down The Drain

When Lee Kuan Yew was asked in July 2010 if he thought the response from the various agencies to the recent spate of floods in Singapore was sufficient, he was quoted as saying,"whatever we do when we get extraordinary rains like we had recently, no amount of engineering can prevent flooding." Oops, looks like another "I stand corrected" statement is in order.

The Public Utilities Board (PUB) just announced that it will be spending about $750 million over the next 5 years to carry out 20 drainage improvement projects to achieve a higher level of flood protection. Presumably most of the money will be allocated for implementing the recommendations of the Expert Panel for Drainage Design and Flood Protection Measures, like introducing a polymer lining to smoothen the Stamford canal walls and speed up the water discharge. Longer-term solutions mooted include the construction of a diversion canal and detention ponds, items which Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan was so hesitant to commit on - "These are very expensive projects. We have to approach this methodically and carefully." (MyPaper, 3 Jan 2012)

Actually, that's the worrying part. This is the guy who was given $104 million to spend for YOG and ended up with a bloated $387 million expense. Of which $79.8 million was parked as "Other Costs", an accounting entry that was not even picked up for query by the Auditor General. Yet the then 50-year-old, who was heading the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), insisted that his team "did not overspend or waste or squander the $387 million budget" allocated to the project - note the sneaky sleight of hand here, actual $387m amount expended (per report card presented in parliament) equals exactly the revised $387m budget proposed (supposedly figure approved by PM Lee).

Which means the $750 million can easily balloon to $2.2++ billion. With pro-rated "Other Costs" to match. Instead of more CCTVs to monitor flood-prone areas, what we need is a closer watch of these profligates at the helm. Note only $2 million is needed to remove the sewer and NEWater pipelines from Stamford Canal and line it with polymer, leaving lots of room to fiddle with $748 million.


  1. Why stress on the need to monitor? Why put money down the drain when it is already a known fact that flood had occurred many times during past months.

    Enough of wayang. Just solve the problem.

  2. Either LKY is wrong about "no amount of engineering can prevent flooding..."
    PUB/flood control panel is wrong and the $750 million dollars is just another expensive wayang to win the next elections.

    Whatever the case, one thing I do know for sure;

    No amount of screw ups and idiotic oversights can ever convince Singaporeans that the Party Against People is just like a Chinese lantern.
    Big, beautiful and impressive when viewed from far away.
    But inspected up close, it is mostly hollow inside with a lot of hot air coming out from the top.

  3. Wow, I like the lantern analogy. Well said. Reading the issue regarding taxi today, I just wonder if the minister is so ignorant or just simply does not care. People already know that the best way to drive a car but do not need to pay so much up front is to be a taxi driver. You drive half a day, get enough money to pay the taxi company and use the car for private pleasure, be it sending family members to work, school or go shopping. That is why with so many taxi cabs registered, we Singaporeans still could not get one when you need to. Where are all the taxi cabs? Some parked at HDB car parks and some in shopping centres. Others will simply light up the busy sign and ferry friends and relatives around.

    Many of my friends actually think we should get a taxi licence and drive a Mercedes upon retirement. The rental will be paid for by commuters and you can drive around free after half a day of work. Best retirement plan ever and thanks to wonderful Minister of Transport for the opportunity to own a car without hurting our pockets and his recent fare adjustment so that we will need to work less.

  4. know i know why no corruption

  5. We can only pray and hope that this time round, he will spend the money wisely on the drainage project and learn from the mistakes he made in YOG.

    Hope For Miracles But Don't Rely On Them!

  6. Only Nature can help
    Singaporeans to have some political changes.
    750 million dollars may or may not solve
    the flood at Orchard Area.
    And what about other places that may get
    flooded due to Orchard is 'saved' from the
    We got to wait and see for a long time to


  7. Lately, a lot of Pro Alien Millionaires are opening their mouths without first engaging brain.

    1st idiot claims it's only a once in 50 years event.

    2nd idiot says no amount of engineering can solve the problem.

    3rd idiot says $750 million dollars and 5 years can solve the problem.

    Vote Opposition until problem gets solved.

    1. Please also note.
      None of the 3 idiots are trained engineers.