Monday, May 23, 2011

Mother Of All Screw Ups

You want 8.5% GST izzit?
In America, they are called "talking heads." Like mushrooms feasting on a rotting tree trunk, transport analysts are coming out of the woodwork to salvage the collateral damage that is outgoing Transport Minister Raymond Lim. Singapore's public transport system failed because planners took their eyes off the ball, pronounced the experts. For good measure, the surge in foreigner influx also took the blame.

According to them the problem started way before Lim took over the ministry on 30 May 2006. He only began to screw up royally after that fateful day.

The screw up began in 1996, when Mah Bow Tan was Communications Minister and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) released a White Paper entitled A World Class Land Transport System which aimed to create a denser rail network and committed to launching one major rail project a year.

In 1999, Yeo Cheow Tong screwed up by tweaking development goals, such as extending rail line targets. "He didn't follow Mr Mah's plan very well, " claimed Associate Professor Lee Der Horng of NUS. Transport economist Michael Li of the Nanyang Business School said Yeo focused more on developing the air transport sector. He was gazing skywards instead of paying attention to the ground. SIA business class has to be more sexy than MRT train rides.

In 2000, Mah screwed up as the National Development Minister by projecting that the population would rise from 3.9 million in 2000 to 5.5 million by 2040 or 2050. He must have been gazing elsewhere too when the population surpassed 5.0 million last year. Someone in charge of immigration at ICA also screwed up by issuing citizenships like it was going out of style (Foo Mee Har got hers "within days", remember?) - that had be to the the Home Affairs Minister, a.k.a."population czar".

"My feeling is that the current spike caught the Government off guard," said Associate Professor Gopinathan Menon of NTU, stopping just short of laying the blame for the humongous screw up at the feet of the guy in overall charge of the Government.

All this theorizing is just too heavy for the common man, crammed daily into over crowded buses and trains. All they remember is Raymond Lim threatening to raise the GST if they even dare suggest a lower tariff in transportation charges.


  1. The best thing is that nothing can happened to the "Mother of All Screw Ups" if one is prepared to swallow their own ego and says sorry.

    Sorry must be the cheapest form of compensation that one has to pay, unlike the millions that they demand from others in defamation suits.

  2. If I can remember correctly. MBT was against the building of the NEL (which runs through Hougang n Potong Pasir). When it did open, commtuers were charged more. Buangkok stn was closed despite petitions, citing low passenger loads. When MBT assumed Nat Dev post, he did not speed up building more HDB flats in NE region to justify the NEL. It's a simple case of him shotting his own feet, that guy is a DUD and always will be.

  3. The funny thing is that all these "srewups" have been observed by the man in the street and no amount of hollering and hand waving could ever alert the higher ups that their direction is the wrong one. Their reaction, post election almost seems pitiful. Its like they were on auto mode, raising the President's pay just before the election only now to change it. If this is their way to mitigate their loss of one GRC, let them lose a few more and maybe they will have to release our CPF.

  4. Why are the Academics coming out to proffer their knowledge and wisdom now, why not when plans were been made and announced before any actual work had been carried out?????? Was it because they did not have to travel on public transport or were/are affordable no matter the cost of living due to their own incomes??? Hence their inability to empathize with the Masses and are now coming out to make some noises before someone question their Academic Purposes.

    Before national policies are formulated and implemented, were the many experts, specialist and educated ones at THE LEE KUAN YEW SCHOOL OF POLICY STUDIES tasked to do feasibility and attributable effects(consequences) of their implementations???
    What is the function and purpose of the so-called SCHOOL OF POLICY STUDIES? To have Its' Staff handsomely paid to talk cock to the people to justify every cock-up caused by POLICY IMPLEMENTATIONS?

    I see the LEE KUAN YEW SCHOOL OF POLICY STUDIES AS NOT JUST A WHITE ELEPHANT WASTING STATE MONEY. THOSE FOLKS WORKING IN THE ORGANIZATION were/are not even in the class of the many socio-political bloggers who had and are contributing ideas freely(pro bono) to make Singapore a better place for the Local as well as visitors to live and play. Why do we need the no better than layman calibres in the School???
    Disband the School and put the money to better use.


    any changes to the Cabinet by replacing Its' Members with those responsible for poor Policy implementations retired with lifelong rewards(pension, personal and family member benefits etc) with no slightest penalty and or have to make amend. AND WHY IS THE CEO OF THE STATE, THE PRIME MINISTER IMMUNE FROM THE BLAME THAT CAUSED THE SITUATION??? IS HE NOT JUST AS IF NOT MORE RESPONSIBLE???

    Finally, anyone believes the NEW Ministers will be able to reverse the bad implementations of the past??? If they fail and make it more messy, how?

  5. This particular eugene professor is already working his mouthpiece for pap and talking abt managing expectations" offs"..blah blah blah. Does it sound like this "old wine in new bottle govt" is bend on real reform and new style & approach?
    The biggest failure abt our transport is beautifully "mis-managed" by a glossy brochure here by this guy who has the balls to say otherwise
    See page 16 and the figures, and I can tell you it's a load of crab!!
    I challenge them to give the figures of transport in SG vs HK! Again another ivory-tower living MP who doesn't know the shit that's coming out of his mouth. Enough said, he's a good riddance.
    If they ever come up with glossy shit like this without backing it up with reality and real numbers, you can bet we'll boot their asses out before they can count their pensions.

  6. Don't forget that SMRT's profits increased by more than 50% in the 4th quarter of last year. How else can one have such phenomenal profits apart from squeezing as many commuters as possible into the trains. That woman heading SMRT is running a monopoly with minimal capital expenditure at commuters' expense!!

  7. "That woman heading SMRT" is a friend of Ho Ching. How else do you think a Duty Free Sales (DFS) executive could end up being in charge of our highly technical transport system?

  8. Just when the basic premise of public transport is that it was meant to be "public" and hence, by definition, affordable, the CEO of MRT stated that people can choose not to take public transit if they do not want to. The argument does not convince more astute people, because I doubt that people would want to opt for an even more impossibly expensive COE.

  9. I don't care who is personally responsible.

    They all wear the same white uniform.

    They all collect the same high pay.

    They are all responsible.

  10. Allow me to share on the woodlands screw-up:

    I live in another pap controlled GRC and for years, I have been telling the town council staff that I often see all sorts of "workers" going up to the roof top at all times of the day and even at night, I can hear the sound of footsteps on top. It was realy worrying, so I called the TC. I suggested that only the TC should have the keys to the rooftop and not the contractors who then duplicate keys for the subcontractors, so you end up with all sorts of people having access to the rooftop. but the reply was typical pap standard :"this is the way things are done".
    This is how a typical pap TC works - they don't listen to good advice. Now, this body in the tank is a wakeup call, an incident waiting to happen.
    If the TC had acted responsibly and professionally with the resdients' welfare & safety in mind, the woodlands sham wouldn't have happened.
    For the people of the woodlands block, my sympathies go to you. I have tried my best to warn the TCs about this issue but it all fell on deaf ears. At least I did my part.

  11. An city state like HKG can be as open and transparent about their civil service and payscale/pensions, why can't SG? What's there to hide?
    Unless they're not prepared to account to its people once again..then let's make sure by 2016 we vote in for more check-balance. I would say the same goes to our reserves..time they come clean with singaporeans' hard earned reserves. Again, the money belongs to the taxpayer. Not the Party, or any family dynasty. They need to get that into their heads!

  12. It think we should devise the MP's salary based on the size of the constituency residents they managed. So for example MP: 20k vs MP:60k GRC/SMC would have a heavier scope and demand than an MP from an SMC possibly. And this will balance out those $15k salary that are paid to a rookie MP that is an "understudy" (like TPL!) vs someone with senior experience. It makes sense.

    And by talking to alot of people around me, my sense is that most think unless it's 50% minimal cut, it'll be seen as a PR wayang only. So I hazard a guess that 50-70% cut or it'll be hard to find people are satisfied with it. If Gerard Ee says comparing US : SG is not a a apple/apple , then let's take from european & asia examples. But for the record, I do NOT believe in the benchmarking against private sector. It's to be against public sector from around the world (take some fair representation) or it would also not be an apple/apple comparison.