Friday, June 14, 2013

Money For Cars

With scant information about the Changi Motorsports Hub project, we'll never know why the $36 million successful bid by a Japanese-led consortium was finally scrapped by the Singapore Sports Council. Project delays and financial difficulties are typical of construction undertakings, but allegations of corruption were never really sufficiently aired.

As a commercial concept, similar plans for a motorsport facility championed by Singaporean billionaire investor Peter Lim at Iskandar in Johore should prove it must have had merits of viability. The strange bit is when proposals were solicited to salvage the doomed racetrack cum retail complex, all seven interested parties asked for government subsidies. Why would tycoons with expensive hobbies like Lamborghinis or Ferraris have need of a help out from taxpayers, some of whom are evicted from their simple abodes because they can't make the mortgage for their HDB flats?

Maybe those fast car aficionados had in mind the F1 Night Race, roaring round the corner again, in September. That particular extravaganza is heavily subsidised, to the tune of 60% of the total bill, or $90 million based on the estimate of $150 million for each mega event. 5 years after the first race was flagged off in 2007, not a single year's report card on the actual finances has been made available to the public. The true cost of the government subsidy is yet to be disclosed.

One of the chief complains about the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system is that the deep pocketed is unfairly favoured. The argument is that the present bidding system allows the rich to marginalise the not-so-rich by bidding a high price to ensure success, comfortable in the assurance that only the lowest successful bidding price would have to be paid. It's only a simple tweak to implement a pay as you bid system to address this ongoing nod to those with fat bank accounts.

One suspects the relevant minister responsible for the Sports Council, F1 Night Race and land transportation, each has his own perception of inequity. Perhaps the Changi Motorsports Hub would have a different fate if a more spendthrift cabinet minister was in charge. Asked if he had any regret about splurging $387 million dollars of taxpayers’ monies to host the most expensive “sports day” for children in the world, Vivian Balakrishnan made dubious claims about YOG “laying a strong foundation for Singapore’s sporting culture, especially in spectatorship, community involvement and volunteer engagement.” Racing fans holding multiple COEs for their private fleet would love that line about "Singapore’s sporting culture, especially in spectatorship, community involvement and volunteer engagement.” Just imagine, $387 million could pay for ten Motorsports Hubs, fully subsidised.
Across the causeway, Malaysia boleh


  1. "It's only a simple tweak to implement a pay as you bid system to address this ongoing nod to those with fat bank accounts."

    Hey Tattler, yes, it is so simple a tweak the PAP miss it every time they sort to wayang with a public consultation.

  2. "Just imagine, $387 million could pay for ten Motorsports Hubs, fully subsidised."

    The difficulty here may be that any subsidy to the Motorsports Hubs has to be fully accountable for, unlike the expenditures for “laying a strong foundation for Singapore’s sporting culture, especially in spectatorship, community involvement and volunteer engagement”.


    1. oh yeah, nice sounding words from then MCYS Minister Vivian.
      Had he not overspent that amount, we probably would have our kallang sports hub finished by now, instead of some lame 'delayed because of high interest rates' excuse.

    2. $37 million is just the "payment" to Ecclestone to get an F1 race.

      Only 10% out of the one-off YOG lah!

  3. Another one of those corruption allegations that has gone unanswered.

    So who were the few SSC staff identified and rumored to join the Consortium upon the successful bidding?

    We only read that the SSC deputy director Fan Chian Jen, who was in charge of the project, later left the body. Wasn't he the project director of Changi motor racetrack at the Prime Minister’s Office from the start?

    That poor japanese investor who dumped $50m of his personal funds and barely speak English and understood what he inherited seem destined to be set up for failure. Was this before or after the whistle blow? Plenty of distraction I would say...

  4. There are already so many race tracks in Thailand and Malaysia where they have plenty of lands and wide roads, plus cheaper holidays and cost of operation. Why bother to build it here? Just because the wheel ferris was so in vogue all over the world from london to new york to japan to dubai to china, so we must also have one just like everybody else. What so unique? Now bankrupt and who's left holding the bag? But thanks for adding to the beautiful skyline of singapore while it lasts.

    1. If the ferris wheel is bankrupt;
      will the creditors dismantle the ferris wheel and sell it for scrap metal?

  5. Right from the start if they had to forge a banker guarantee, it can only meant that it was not a bona fide bid but was somehow a scam with intent to cheat.

    But how come nobody seems to be jailed for that type of offence ? The authorities not too interested to uncover the scam ?

    1. Didn't it take SSC 3 years for the entire bidding & vetting process before the final consortium was selected. So 3 years is not thorough enough?

  6. What would you do if you were part of the civil service and read headlines like the following, courtesy of CNA"? Its "free for all", on top does it with blessings, why can;t I also cari makan? The worse is these top civil servants are paid some of the highest salaries in Singapore and among their peers worldwide! But "feather your beds" while in Admin Service, then jump from already big boat to a cruise ship lor! After all, the papgs see it as a way to demonstrate that their ministers and Admin service oppicers have "market value", and the PM is proud too!

    Proudly brought to you courtesy by CNA:
    "A former senior civil servant, who was instrumental in bringing the integrated resorts and Formula One racing to Singapore, has been appointed a senior executive at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).

    Mr Goh Chye Boon, 43, is slated to take over as chief executive officer of RWS, according to sources. Current CEO Tan Hee Teck, 57, is expected to move to another post in the Genting Group, which owns RWS.

    A former member of the elite Administrative Service, Mr Goh brings with him extensive experience dealing with tourism-related issues.

    He chaired the Government's Integrated Resort Working Group in 2007. He also oversaw the rolling out of the first Formula One night race in 2008, when he was deputy secretary for special projects in the Ministry of Trade and Industry."

  7. F1 is on the way out because Bernie spent the last 20 years pimping it out like a whore for money. F1 is just swag that a "country" gets to show off like it is somekind of high end fashion statement. He won't stop trying to wring every last cent he can out of the Brand. You have to put up big $$$$$ for bragging that you have an F1 race. It makes little men, running little countries, think they swing big ones like the A-list nations. In Europe, now that no one really has a pot to piddle in, the allure of hosting is waning. Just look across to Germany's legendary Nürburgring, the home of autobahn car racing that has been forced into bankruptcy. Good luck to the taxpayers bailing them out so they can repeat the same mistake in Greece.
    Far better the German TV pay to broadcast Greek goat races. But as they say, can't give em the bread, give em the circus.

    1. Argh, so the red dot is the big sucker around the table and still bragging about it. Yet again, the "innocent money" that octogenarian "sage" of omaha speak about turned out to be the last sucker holding the bucket. If I were not among the taxpayers footing the bill and paying the dumb asses' bonuses. it would be really funny. This really sucks!

  8. Wait... You mean driving cars in a circle where the only benchmark is who can do it faster has a ceiling on ROI?? Sounds like a good training ground and future-proofed job for taxi drivers too. Can this cut down my taxi waiting time from 1 hour to say 10 mins perhaps?

  9. WE have set aside land and money for

    1) F1 race
    2) Private Champagne Club
    3) luxury houses on island
    4) jet quay at changi
    5) marinas for Yachts
    6) international schools for their children
    7) garden by the bay
    8) two casinos

    All the flashy and high class toys and fun just for that top 10% millionaires & billionaire FTs & PRs. Their greed knows no bounds and the government can't seem to satisfy their greed, and many choose to be co-opted too. What else is next? Do we need to carve out some ceilings for their helipad landings? More bays for their submarines parking? More gurkha soldiers or bodyguards for their priority protection? Do they have money to save their souls too?

    You just can't make this shit up!

    1. Don't forget to add the millions splurged for the national day parades:
      2006 $6,995,765
      2007 $13,750,911
      2008 $14,213,314
      2009 $15,398,516
      2010 $20,597,693
      2011 $17,174,501

    2. gold vaults
      air and defence shows no one visits anymore (all moved to HK and China)

  10. The taxi driver I spoke to last night had a few words for our Pap leaders "Damn Greedy".

    He said until this day he still don't understand why taxis need COEs meaning taxi drivers become slaves to pay for the rental of taxis but it is not as if they own the taxis themselves. In other words they are make to pay for something to pay for the salaries of our Ministers first before they make something for themselves. He had a point there.