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24 Jun 2018
Parliament
Members of Parliament should do their job properly

 There are some who may want to become MPs, especially as PAP MPs, not only for the good $$ allowance, but also for the prestige and credentials that the position adds to their resume and career. Serving the constituents may be of secondary importance to them. Just look at the poor attendance at Parliament sessions and this already gave one the hint on their commitment to the job. And companies also like to invite PAP MPs to become their directors for obvious reasons.

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24 Jun 2018
Parliament
Develop depth and experience in political leadership


At the general election in Malaysia, the voters elect their leaders for the state and for the country.

Many politicians gain their experience at the state level before they compete at the national level.

Most of the candidates for the national level, i.e. Parliament, have many years of experience at the state level.

The political leaders in Malaysia at the national level are usually seasoned politicians. They know how to connect to the people and to understand their needs and aspirations. They make better leaders.

We need to strengthen the depth of our political leadership in Singapore.

We can have direct election into the the town councils. To avoid duplication, these councils should also take care of the work of the community development councils.

We need to have town councils that represent a town. It could comprise of six to 10 constituencies.

The people elected into the town council can come from several parties.

Ideally, we should get rid of the group representative constituencies (GRC) and have the MPs elected individually and directly for each constituency.

This is the structure that is followed in most countries. They have election at more than one level and have people elected from several parties. This gives the chance for the elected leaders to gain political experience and the local level before moving to the national level.

It is time for Singapore to develop depth and experience in the political leadership.

Tan Kin Lian


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23 Jun 2018
Finance
Means testing

The government adopts different methods of means testing for various types of benefits. Some  are based on individual income and others are based on family income. Some are based on type of housing.It is difficult to use family income. 
Can we simplify the system and Jyst use individual income? 


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23 Jun 2018
Health
Nursing homes in Johore

In 2009, the health minister Khaw Boon Wan suggested that Singaporeans should considering the option to send their aging parents to a nursing home in Johore, where the cost is much lower than in Singapore.

He received heavy criticism online for this suggestion. He was considered to be insensitive and inhumane for making this suggestion. Singaporeans then wanted the government to make nursing care more affordable in Singapore. 

What Singaporeans did not realize is that the government was already giving heavy subsidy for nursing home care. But the cost is still high due to high rental and cost of foreign workers to take care of the aged residents. It will be difficult to reduce the high cost which is inherent in the system.

The strong negative reaction to this suggestion is largely emotional. It is not rational.

RATIONAL APPROACH
We should approach it rationally. What are the advantages and negative points about staying in nursing homes in Johore?

The advantages are:

a) Low cost of nursing home - due to lower rental and wages of nurses and other staff.

The possible negatives are:

a) Quality of care
b) Difficulty of visiting parents, due to the delays in the checkpoint clearance.
c) Not able to use Medisave

ADDRESS THE NEGATIVES
The negatives can be addressed.

The government can approve the nursing homes that have an adequate quality of care. Medisave can be used to pay the fees for these nursing homes. The government can provide a subsidy.

These approved facilities should also have facilities for families to see and talk to their aged parents remotely using Internet technology and also be assured that the parents are properly cared for.

Families can visit their parents during the off peak hours when the checkpoints are not busy. Over the longer term, the authorities on both sides should improve the clearance system to remove the delays.

JOHORE IS SAFE
This is a perception that Johore is not safe. It is largely exaggerated.

Many Singaporeans travel to Johore regularly. Some are now living in Johore. They said that Johore is quite safe in most areas. There are places to avoid, but this also applies to Singapore.

OTHER COUNTRIES
This situation is not unique to Singapore. In many high cost countries, the aged opt to stay in a nursing home in a nearby country where the cost is lower.

CONCLUSION
We should encourage our government to help develop this option by approving nursing homes in Johore that meet the standard of care, provide subsidy and allow the use of Medisave to pay for the fees. 

Tan Kin Lian
 


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23 Jun 2018
Smart Nation
Should NRIC be kept confidential?

Is there a need for the NRIC to be kept confidential?

The NRIC is a means of identifying a person. There is no need to keep it confidential.

A person cannot misuse the NRIC of another person just by quoting the number. 

I do not see how the NRIC can be used misused. For example, a person cannot make a transaction just by quoting the NRIC of another person. The other party to the transaction will adopt an appropriate way to verify that person's identity.

 


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22 Jun 2018
CPF
Increase Dependants' Protection Scheme payout

Dependants' Protection Scheme (DPS) is an Insurance Scheme for Singaporeans/PRs that covers them for a maximum sum assured of $46,000 up to 60 years old. The premiums are drawn from our CPF Accounts.

The DPS benefit will be paid out to insured members and their families should the insured members pass away or suffer from Terminal Illness or Total Permanent Disability.

Currently, DPS is administered by two insurers, Great Easter​n Life and NTUC ​Income.

i suggest the payout for DPS to be increased to $100,000. The sum of $46,000 is too small in event of a tragedy. (Yes, obviously the premiums have to be increased as well).



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21 Jun 2018
Infrastructure
Improve signage

We have poor signage at our MRT stations, bus interchange and public buildings.

We need to improve the signage and make them useful from the perspective of members of the public. 

Often, the signs are not properly designed from the perspective of the public. 

We need someone in the government who is responsible to look after this matter and to get feedback from the public. This person should have the authority to contact the manager of the specific facility to improve the signs.


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21 Jun 2018
Smart Nation
Profileration of e-payment platforms

I think this minister is out of touch with reality. The variety of e-payment option is producing confusion, high cost and impracticality.

https://www.todayonline.com/…/variety-e-payment-options-all…

If we want e-payment to be successful, we need a e-payment clearing house, just like a cheque clearing house. We cannot expect e-payment to be successful if there are many platforms not talking to each other.

Imagine what would happen if there is no clearing house for cheque payments. Each customer has to open an account with many banks to be able to transact with parties from that bank.



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20 Jun 2018
SME
SME loan

Why is it very difficult to get SME loan.

Banks will check the directors credit rating  

if our G is serious about the SME loan to SME, look at company P&L, business plan etc.

Afterall these loans are given by the banks abd if our G is prepared to write off due to business failure thus shoulc be factored in.


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19 Jun 2018
Transport
A better system of naming roads

I like the system of naming roads in Malaysia. For example, a road named as Setia 3/12 wil indicate Setia as the area, 3 as the main road and 12 as a small road connecting to main road 3.

I find the system of naming roads in Singapore to be chaotic. For example, we have Sin Ming Avenue, Sin Ming Drive, Sin Ming Lane, Sin Ming Road - all of which are of similar width.

I would refer the roads to be name Sin Ming 1, Sin Ming 2, Sin Ming 3 and the small roads that connect to the main road to be Sin Ming 1/1, Sin Ming 1/2, etc.

 


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19 Jun 2018
Smart Nation
Excessive security measures

Extensive and excessive security procedures that cause inconvenience is a disease afflicting many areas in this kiasu land.

Let me give two example I have faced recently.
1) To indicate a polyclinic visit online (its not even an advance appointment or registration), you have to provide not only personal particulars, but it will require SMS one time password similar as 2FA.

2) When you call a bank to enquire on something general that does not even involve money, the call center will still go through a whole series of verification questions.

 


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19 Jun 2018
Smart Nation
Verifying a customer

I find this practice to be quite idiotic and harmful.

Company X call a customer on his mobile phone and said - We are from company X. Are you Mr. Y? Please give me your NRIC for verification.

Is it really necessary to verify the customer by asking the NRIC?

After all, company X is calling the customer on his mobile phone. Surely, the chance that someone else is holding the mobile phone is very low?

Even if the mobile phone is being held by an unauthorized person, that person is not likely to answer the phone?

Quite often, the information is not likely to be secret. So this verification is not necessary.

To make matters worse, company may ask additional questions for verification, such as the types of accounts being held by the customer.

There is another risk - How does the customer really know that the caller is really from company X?

Many organizations in Singapore adopt this practice. They seem unable to see this matter from the perspective of the customer.

Worse, they must be following a standard practice that is prescribed by some "higher authority" or they are just copying the practice of other organization mindlessly.

Tan Kin Lian


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19 Jun 2018
Housing
Town council

Town council outsourced the cleaning job to a cleaning company. The worker who is in charge only spray water on all the pavement in the estate. They do not scrub or mop the floor. Hence, when left to dry , the floor is still dirty from dirt left behind on the wet floor when residents walk within the estate. And it is also quite slippery and dangerous to walk during this period when floor is wet.

For some reason, at times there is no workers to clean the estates maybe because they are facing shortage if workers, but residents still have to pay. Flowers turn yellow, litters are everywhere. On top of that , scc fees continue to increase despite all the poor quality or in consistencies of work done.

Does the town council and MP walk the talk? What can be done?


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19 Jun 2018
Education
Eductation-moe

Close to 50 years ago , the class size ratio was 40 plus to a teacher. Now it is still about 40 pupils to a teacher. Only the slower class has a size of 30 to a teacher. After such a long time we are still unable to improve the class size to teacher ratio. With a smaller class , a teacher is able to spend quality time teaching and marking and a better overall focus as well as interaction with students and ther parents alike. I hope MOE and the school will improve this asap as currently it is stressful for teachers with do much workload and students who are in class size 40 will have little time to ask questions. Thanks.

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18 Jun 2018
CPF
Allow withdrawal of CPF savings, except ...

I strongly agree with all of TKL's suggestions except 

1) For those who are using their OA to service their housing loans, maintain their OA status quo until they no longer do so. 

2) In view of an aging population, keep the required minimum sum in the Medisave account.

As for the rest who are not servicing any housing loans and are 65 and above as suggested by TKL, let them withdraw all their CPF savings less the required Medisave minimum sums.

The pap government has to understand never, never to abuse its power even with an absolute majority in parliament under whatever pretext and especially so when dealing with citizens' lifelong savings.

People only live once and they have hopes and dreams that they wish to fulfill in their lifetime.


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18 Jun 2018
Sports
How to develop football in Singapore

Actually the solution is easy.
But it takes time and patience, with the willingness to plant the seeds, to grow the players.
It also takes, to a larger part, money and commitment to a goal that may not materialise.
You cannot ask for immediate results.
You can only ask for continuous improvements.
Study and follow the Germany and Spain academy system, start grooming players from primary school, start school leagues.
If we put in the money, time and energy, there is no reason why we cannot succeed in the region.
What we lack now, is vision, system and commitment to a long term goal.


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18 Jun 2018
Sports
Lessons from the World Cup 2018


I am following the World Cup 2018 with some interest.

Around the year 2000, the prime minister Goh Chok Tong set Goal 2010 - to qualify for the finals of the World Cup 2010.

We did not achieve the goal in spite of great efforts made to promote football. We organized the S League and imported many football "talents".

This goal has since been dropped. I thought that a country with a small population, like Singapore, would not make it.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that three of the teams who qualifed for the world cup have a population smaller than Singapore - Croatia, Serbia and Iceland. Iceland has a population less than 10% of Singapore.

These teams also performed well in the first round of the World Cup. the beat or drew with teams from bigger countries.

To do well in the World Cup does not depend on the size of the country. Although bigger countries have an advantage, the small countries could also perform well through a better system of developing their footballers.

So, it must be something else that cause Singapore to fail in this goal.

It could be some of the following factors:

a) No passion and time for sports - for most of the young people
b) National service disruption for promising players
c) Lack of innovation in identifying and dealing with other problems.
d) Insufficient recognition for sportsmen?

Tan Kin Lian


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18 Jun 2018
CPF
Allow CPF members to invest in a CPF index fu

Many CPF members complain about the low rate of interest paid on their accounts - 2.5% for the ordinary account and 4% for the other accounts.

They have the option to invest in shares using the CPF Investment scheme. However, some members had bad experience with this scheme the past or are not familiar with how they can make the investment. 

I suggest that CPF should set up one fund, which is well diversified in shares, as an option for members. This fund can be invested in the top 30, 50 or 100 blue chip shares in Singapore. It should have low management fees, e.g. 0.2% per annum.

CPF members can apply to transfer some savings from their ordinary or special accounts to be invested in this index fund.

The top 30 shares in Singapore, covered by the Straits Times Index, earned an average return of 9% per annum (or maybe slight lower) during the past 20 years. While the return may be volatile from year to year, the long term average is quite attractive. Investors can be educated to take a long term view. 

At present, the CPF members can invest in the STI ETF using the CPF Investment Scheme. But it is too troublesome for most people. 

If the CPF set up its "index fund" option, it would be much easier. More people will choose this option and get a better long term return. They will not complain about the low rate of interest on the default CPF savings, because they have the option to take some risk and get a higher return.

Tan Kin Lian


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18 Jun 2018
CPF
Allow CPF savings to be withdrawn in full at


Many CPF members ask for the right to withdraw their CPF in full at age 55. This was the provision prior to 1987. In 1987, the mininum sum scheme was introduced to hold back a portion of the CPF savings.

The minimum sum started at $30,000 in 1987 and had been increased over the years. It is now at $181,000 and will continue to be adjusted upwards every year.

A large percentage of CPF members (maybe more than half) is not able to meet the minimum sum. In effect, they are not allowed to withdraw their CPF savings except for a small sum of $5,000 at age 55.

Many of these CPF members are aggrieved. They want to withdraw their CPF savings at 55 as originally promised.

I like to give my view on this matter.

Life expectancy has improved. It will be too early for the CPF savings to be withdrawn at 55. But I suggest that the CPF savings should be allowed to be withdrawn in full at 65.

This means that the minimum sum scheme should be scrapped.

CPF members can continue to keep their savings in the CPF after age 65 or invest in CPF Life. This should be made voluntary.

My approach is - do not make CPF Life compulsory, make it attractive.

CPF can offer attractive terms to encourge members to invest in its CPF Life scheme (which is a life annuity). This can be achieved by operating the scheme on a not-for-profit basis and keeping the administrative expenses low and investing the funds in government bonds yielding 4% p.a.

Some people may opt to withdraw their CPF savings fully at 65. They have their reasons. Let them make the decision that suit their own financial planning.

There is a risk that some of the retirees will squander away their savings. We have to accept this risk. We can only reduce it through financial counselling.

We can simplify the CPF scheme by removing the minimum sum scheme. Currently, there are too many confusing regulations involve in managing the minimum sum scheme.

Tan Kin Lian



 


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17 Jun 2018
Housing
Allow young couples to rent flats for 5 years

What young couples need for housing is a starter home with a shorter term lease that will not count against the HDB first timer subsidies. They need a HDB with 2 bedrooms. One room for nursery, one room for the young couple. Short term lease of 4-5 years while they wait for the BTO. Affordable enough so no mortgage is required. 

They also need to learn to live independently. If young couples cannot even take care of themselves, they will not want to take care of a baby. Build up their self confidence instead of forcing them to be so dependent on their parents. 

Enhance our public infrastructures to be more stroller friendly. Encourage all fathers to be more involved with raising and caring of their own young instead of relying on foreign maids.

Jean Woo
 



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17 Jun 2018
Education
Goals of education

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - What is the most important goal of education

Here are the responses:

63% - teach children on character and values
32% - prepare children for the working world
5% - teach children to read and write
0% - select the best students to be scholars

See the breakdown of the votes and pie chart in 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=693

Tan Kin Lian


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16 Jun 2018
CPF
Monthly payout under CPF Life

l refer to the article "Promised CPF LIFE monthly payouts not automatic at 65 – you must remember to apply" in The Online Citizen.

The system is such that CPF Life payouts starts only at 70 Years Old. Currently, Singaporeans or PRs will have to inform CPF Board manually that they want the payout from 65 Years Old.

l suggest the default CPF Life Payout Age be changed to 65 Years Old instead of 70 Years Old. The reasons are:

1. Not all Singaporeans/PRs will live to a ripe old age. Some have medical conditions. Some may even pass away before 70 Years Old.

2. Not all Singaporeans/PRs want to work until 70 Years Old before retiring. Some want to retire at 62 Years Old. In order to retire, they need the CPF Life Payout.

3. Not all Singaporeans/PRs want to wait until 70 Years old to get a bigger payout.

Thank You For Reading.


 


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16 Jun 2018
CareShield
Integrate Careshield into MediShield

"ElderShield" is a Disability Insurance scheme which pays out a small sum of money each month to Disabled Singaporeans and PRs. It has recently been renamed as "CareShield Life". 

i agree with Mr Tan's suggestion that "CareShield Life" should be integrated into "MediShield Life". Why should Singaporeans and PRs pay premiums for 2 separate insurance plans? 

Just integrate them together under "MediShield Life", increase the premiums if necessary, and then Singaporeans and PRs will just pay premiums for this 1 plan.

Thank You For Reading.


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16 Jun 2018
Housing
Build Flats in Advance

There is currently a problem of low Birth Rate in Singapore due to couples having to apply for a BTO Flat and then they have to wait 4 Years for these BTO Flats to be built.

My Suggestion is for HDB to Build In Advance (BIA), instead of Build To Order (BTO). By building many new HDB Flats in advance, when couples book a Flat they no longer need to wait 4 Years but move into the new 99-Year HDB Flats straightaway. 

This will save them time and will also thus, increase the Birth Rate of Singaporeans.

 


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16 Jun 2018
Housing
Expiring HDB Leases

I have some suggestions on the issue of the expiring leases of 40 year old flats.

Suggestion 1: 
Since 4% of entire Singapore HDB Flats have already undergone SERS (Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme), I suggest to treat ALL Singaporeans and PRs fairly and give all HDB Flats ONE guaranteed opportunity for SERS.

Suggestion 2:
If Suggestion 1 is not possible and HDB Flats are to be taken back by the government at the end of 99 year lease with Zero Value, I suggest HDB, which is a Public Housing scheme, to be made very very affordable. It should not be priced at prices like 1 Million or Half a Million. 

A Committee of Experience Valuators should be set up to value all HDB Flats at the Cost Price of building them, plus, if HDB wants to earn a profit margin from the sale of flats, add this profit to the Cost Price and re-value all the HDB Flats in Singapore to really low and affordable prices.

Finally, all Singaporeans's flats should be re-valued by the professional valuers to the Cost Price + Profit, and then reimburse those Singaporeans who have bought old properties for very high prices (like Half a Million Dollars).

After all, HDB is just a 99 Year-lease (rental), not true ownership.
 


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16 Jun 2018
MEDISAVE
Allow Medisave to be used widely

I think the govt should not restrict Medisave to paying for certain medicines, medical expenses and insurance. The govt should allow us to use it to buy oats, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, fruits, nuts, legumes, herbs and spices and gym memberships and sports shoes. This way, we will get healthier and have less need for the much costlier and unpleasant medicines and medical treatments.

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16 Jun 2018
Employment
People want to retire early

I dunno wat the hooha is over helping old pepple find jobs. Several young people (undergraduates, new graduates) have told me they hope to retire early. They seem to like the number 45, if u ask em what age they want to retire at. Are they not keeping their promises? Cuz if  they are and they do retire at 45, then shouldnt there be many decent vacant posts for old people to move into? Not just lousy cleaning jobs?

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16 Jun 2018
Employment
Greate jobs, not training - reply

I agree that jobs, not training, for old people should be offered. (You forgot to mention cleaning toilets in your list of jobs). I havent bothered to lookup the skills future catalog bcos i know its a waste of my money and time taking a course, if my aim in training is to find a job. The courses likely wont do any good. I find if i stay at home, i actually spend less than if i were to go out and attend a course, which is likely to lead to no job.
 


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14 Jun 2018
Employment
Create jobs, not training

Many retrenched or older people go for retraining but are still not able to get jobs.

The jobs created are for the training schools and teachers.

I suggest that the public sector should create jobs for the retrenched workers - e.g. to take care of the public spaces, cleaning the space, give guide to tourists and visitors, help to man the bus terminals and MRT stations, help the teachers in schools, provide guide in hospitals.

These are useful jobs that help to improve the public service and make life more pleasant in Singapore.

These jobs do not need to be full time or to pay a large sum. It can pay a modest sum, such as $10 an hour. 

These people can still go for training to improve their skills and get a higher pay rate. But, it is better to get them to work, rather than just to attend class. They learn better from "learn on the job" than attending schools.

Tan Kin Lian


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14 Jun 2018
Social & Family


Help the poor and destitute

I suggest that the poor and destitute, who do not qualify for public assistance, should be offered simple jobs that will give them an income to live on.

These simple jobs should be within their means, e.g. to keep the park and public places clean. 

It will help to distinguish the real needy from those who want to take advantage of the system,

They may not be able to get the job from a contractor who wishes to keep the cost low and may offer poor wages to the workers.

Those on this jobs program can be identified and trained to do better jobs. This allows them to be upgraded into the job market and move out of the public program.

 


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