30 August 2013

Saying No To Higher Taxes To Fund NDR 2013 Plans

After listening to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech 2013, many people would have come to the uneasy conclusion that a tax increase in on the cards, and it would most likely be an increase in the GST rate, given the PAP Government's aversion to increasing personal or corporate income tax rates.

However, some of the planned programmes need not be funded by taxation.

21 August 2013

MediShield Life — Painting Roses Without Thorns

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced changes to MediShield, which will be renamed MediShield Life, at the National Day Rally:

▪ Coverage will be for life, instead of up to 90 years now.

▪ Coverage will be universal and will include those who have dropped out and those with pre-existing illnesses.

▪ Coverage will be higher for large hospital bills.

▪ Coverage will be compulsory.

All these are nice. But, as PM Lee warned, "It may cost you a bit more, but it can be done."

Isn't it rather premature to announce the proposed changes without having already looked into the most important aspect — cost?

20 August 2013

PSLE — Does Blurring the Difference Make Any Difference?

Instead of getting T-scores in the future, PSLE students will receive grades in bands, such as those used in the O and A level examinations.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted the issue of how a one-point difference in T-score may make a difference to a student's secondary school posting.  It is a distinction which is meaningless, too fine to make.

The change will reduce excessive competition to chase that last point — an A* is still an A*, whether one scores 91 marks or 99 marks, he said.
 
PM Lee's reasoning is flawed.
 

01 August 2013

Quotes of the Month — July 2013

Integrity in Politics
Good politics is first and foremost about integrity... people who can be trusted to uphold the public interest, to speak the truth even when it is inconvenient, and to admit mistakes when things go wrong...  [Otherwise] we cannot trust him or her to safeguard public funds, to put public interest ahead of personal gain, or to make decisions affecting the well-being and security of Singaporeans.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
 
Politics is a contest for power.  But you know the key principle when you have power is: don't take advantage of people under your charge and always be honest and upfront with your people.  When a mistake is made, just come clean and say so.  But don't cover up.  That's why I have not let this go, because... it is about clean politics and I appeal to you [Member of Parliament Low Thia Khiang] do a thorough investigation of what's gone on and what's gone wrong in your town council and put it right, set it right.
 
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan