Thursday, July 26, 2012

Land Of Hikes And More Hikes

Last night the managing director of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was on tv, painting a bleak picture of the apocalypse to come. With a worst case scenario of a US slump, China crash landing or European melt-down, Singapore won't be meeting the current economic growth forecast of between 1 and 3 percent.

MAS narrowed its inflation forecast to between 4.0 and 4.5 percent range, lower than current peak of 5.3 percent. Core inflation, which excludes accommodation and private road transport, remained at 2.7 percent in June, unchanged from a month earlier. Inflation was most punitive for the lowest 20 per cent of income earners (who don't drive), hitting them by as much as 6.3 per cent, compared to 4.6 per cent for the top 20 percent, and 5.2 percent for the 60 percent of middle income earners.

MAS's usual policy is to maintain a strong Singapore dollar to fight imported inflation. But accommodation (housing rentals) and private road transport (COE premiums) are not imported items, they are created locally. So are service and conservancy charges (S&CC).

Grassroots leaders are sounding the ground for another hike, citing "spiralling maintenance costs". Apparently town councils currently have reserves of about three years. Based on East Coast operating expenses of $20.5 million in  2011, they are sitting on as much as $60 million. What do they need such a big buffer for, investing in toxic instruments they way Holland-Bukit Panjang and Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Councils blew $12 million of their sinking funds? Money is supposed to be saved for a rainy day. Given the dark clouds predicted by MAS, shouldn't the sums be utilised to weather the storm instead of adding to the inflationary pressures?

Political analyst Lam Peng Er is pretty defeatist about the issue, saying complaints will fall on deaf ears, and most people will eventually get used to it. "How many of the past increases in municipal fees do you remember?" he asked. Indeed, who can keep track of the transport hikes, utility hikes, educational fee hikes, medishield hikes, .......


  1. It explains why Singapore has one of the highest emigration rates and one of the lowest birth rates in the world!

  2. Take a real hike.7/26/2012 1:05 PM

    Apocalypse? What Apocalypse?
    The President is happily joining the entourage to a game of Olympics in London.
    IMF trial? Who gives a shit?
    Even rats don't like to called rats.
    After 20 years of ratdom a single mea-culpa does not a non-rat make. It's repackaged as "one of few salty people".

    So yeah, they need to start collecting more toll now, because in a few short years, shit will hit the fan and they will use whatever they have squeezed out from you, guess what, to bail you out again!! Ta-da, all done in time for 2016, and you'll view MIW as MIBatman suits again. And the white-knight rises from the ash all over again.

    Playbook - Repeat, Rinse, Lather.

  3. //Holland-Bukit Panjang and Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Councils blew $12 million of their sinking funds? //

    So was anyone fired from the job? Made accountable to the loss?
    Clawed-back the bonuses and salaries?
    Can anyone rejog my memory?
    Too many hikes and losses, it passed by with a blur.

    1. The people of HBP & PRP town councils must be the dead-silent-or-sleeping-majority or have collective amnesia.

      A $12m Lehman loss in a first world nation would have called for an Investment Inquiry or demanded a $12m offset from their monthly conservancy. Did anything like this happen?

    2. Won't happen.
      The one who pockets the commission selling the toxic investments is a MIW? What do you think?

  4. HDB flats belong to HDB.
    We are just leasing the HDB flats for 99 years from HDB.

    HDB is the landlord.
    Singaporeans are the tenants in the HDB flats.

    Surely, it's the landlord (HDB)'s job to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of their own HDB flats.

    Private condo.
    The landlord pays for the conservancy and car park fees.
    Not the tenant.

    Also lift upgrading in private property/condo.
    This is paid for by the landlord.
    Not the tenant.

    Are Singaporeans subsidizing the government?
    Is the government receiving handouts from Singaporeans?

    1. You are partially right.
      Remember, a tenant cannot sell his/her landlord's property. In HDB case, you can sell/buy/resell all and pocket profits.
      Isn't this what some PRs and many locales are doing?
      In reality, you have hybrid model.
      The tiger is not a cat, but a type of cat.

    2. Actually he is right. Strictly speaking, a seller does not sell his flat, he is only transferring the lease to another person. The buyer is buying over the lease, not the flat. You can view HDB as a landlord who would only lease his unit if a tenant is willing to pay 99 years rent in advance.

    3. Agree with anon 1:40, as HDB are 99 years hold, we do not own that increasingly expensive flat.

      What to do?
      Someone sold us that wonderful idea of Asset Enhancement decades ago and even COV become legal.

  5. Dark clouds loom over global economy, inflation is at all time high and real wage is seeing a drop this year. Yet, some clowns actually find it fit to raise S&C charges at this point in time, nothwithstanding the fact they are sitting on huge amount of reserves. Good for them to do the "right things" and be voted out.

    I have witnessed all the "money-saving measures" and "right things" those clowns have done. Old tiles were smashed off only to be replaced by new tiles which don't look any better. Table and stools on the void deck were torn down only to be replaced by another similar set of table and stools. And you are wondering what have they been spending on.

    1. Ya, at my estate they replaced the tiles on every floor, the walkpath and reconstructed the playground when these were in satisfactory condition. Instead they should have spent money on better maintenance of the lifts to enhance their operational efficiency. Lifts are always in use and subject to the most wear and tear.

    2. My block had two working lifts, excellent condition, never broke down once since they were installed. Then they upgraded with one that stops at very floor. Next they walled off one of the working ones, complete with working machinery. Why? Rule says only two lifts per block! They should have kept one as standby! Just lock it up, for emergency use only, as if maintaining it would cost an arm and a leg.

    3. I would like to see all contractors working on HDB enhancements.
      Declare their political party membership if any.

  6. By "promising" no increase in gst was afterall a ploy to win some votes. Anything else, goes up and up. Transport fare for example.

    So in the end, the people still get poorer. Kena fooled jialat jialat. Heard of the saying once bitten twice shy? In Singapore it is twice bitten still not shy.

  7. if MND can spend on luxury bikes and chairs, why begrudge TC's .. they need to keep supporters happy la..increase TC charges to benefit cleaners?..fat hope...bottom of food chain feeds on shit...

  8. Since HDB is the owner of the HDB flat.
    That means HDB has all the records of the HDB dwellers in its computer database.

    So how much does it cost HDB to update the records whenever we 'sell" or "buy" an HDB flat?

    Is it really so difficult and expensive to update the records in its own computers?

    See HDB website below for all the charges.
    - resale application fees
    - legal fees
    - valuation fees

  9. The news came as a shock to many people after the GST voucher was given. I would rather reject the voucher in exchange for hike freeze because the GST voucher will not be able to offset all the hikes I have to pay. End of the day, I pay more than what I received. In this time of the day when the govt are telling the people to tighten belt, they are pushing us to pay more. I can't stand the PAP shits kept hitting on us over the last 40 years. 60% population, what was on your mind?

  10. You want a hike freeze?
    Only chance and hope.
    Vote Opposition.

  11. Why we must subsidize the rich to help the poor.
    Pro Alien Party's policies explained.
    Very funny video.

  12. All our central bankers have fulfilled Einstein's definition of insabity ie keep doing the same thing hoping for a different result one day.

    Ravi Menon, his predecessor Heng Swee Keat and Koh Yong Guan are all boys learning how to suck eggs by reading the cookbook written by Goh keng Swee in the 1970s. By now even the chicken rice seller understands that a strong Sing dollar does zilt to lower inflation, makes it worse by attracting more and more hot money betting on "pau chia" strengthening of Sing dollar as promised by MAS for last donkey years. I am not joking, chicken rice seller and the pork meat seller too.

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