POST GE2015 REVIEW


The General Election on 11 Sept had drawn to a closed and a new chapter of Singapore beings. PAP and won a surprise landslide victory with a vote swing of around 10%. It’s surprises many, even from the PAP camp. Let look at the factors that causes this landslide victory.

1. Too Many Opposition Parties

A total of nine opposition parties took part in the GE 2015 against PAP. The general feeling is for the opposition to claim victory which was not happening. A lot of people are afraid that PAP will be toppled and the future is uncertain if Opposition won the election. The considerations mainly is, if opposition was to win the election, with so many parties involved, who will be the Prime Minister, who will be the Minister. With each party want the best for their party, this might cause a turmoil for Singapore. This is the major fear factor Singaporeans had when they go to the polling station.

2. Election Strategies

PAP had been using the town council as their firing tools while the opposition parties are using mainly: 6.9 million population white paper, asking Government to return the CPF to citizens at age 55, alternative policy paper, medishield life.

So what went wrong for the opposition parties on election strategies?

On the ground, is majority of citizens really against 6.9 million population white paper? Maybe, what citizens are looking forward to, what are the solution to be offered if they vote against the white paper! Apparently, non of the parties really offer ideal solutions as citizen are afraid of economy downturn which will affect their rice bowl.

Next, return of CPF at age 55! Are majority of the citizens wanting to withdraw their CPF money when they turn 55? The citizens are more concerned about their retirement than taking their money out. The majority of the money in OA account is being used for Housing and Education for their children which left little for them to retire with sufficient money. The opposition parties had not touch on this at all!

Alternative policy – while this is a good initiatives, but do citizens concerned about what you are going to offer? No! the reason is very simple, your party are not big enough to form the government even all your members are elected into the parliament. At most, citizens will treat it as alternative solutions for the government to consider.

Medishield Life – A good initiatives by the government but the drawback is the cost of insurance is rather high. Wanting the citizens to reject it without any ideal solution is crazy especially the high cost of medical in Singapore which the citizens are more worried about.

Do the parties engage people to do survey on what is the real concerned they have? Using parties member to engage the citizens will not enable you to get the true picture.

All these issues raised by the opposition parties compare to PAP firing at Town Council, Citizens would rather choose the latter as they are the government before election.

3. Internal and Inter-parties Issues

Internal fighting within the party itself, and disagreement between parties which usually happened when the election is near. This is very damaging to the parties involved and it will serve any help to the opposition cause.

4. Parties Supporters

Opposition Supporters should support and encourage whichever party to contest in their constituency. Instead, they went about smearing, laughing at the parties and worst wanting a specific party to go and contest there. In the opposition unity, it actually create chaos within the party contesting there as they had to do firefighting first and derailed their preparation. It also gives swing voters more doubts about the party.

It’s nothing wrong in supporting whichever party you like. But contesting an election requires lots of financial and logistic support which the party might not able to support them.

5. Swing Voters

This election saw a huge increase of swing voters, swing voters are the strong forces behind each election. In order to win the election, the party must convinced them before they were to vote for you. Sadly, opposition parties are fighting gorilla warfare against PAP which they are not interested in. They want what kind of benefit, security for them and their family.

The election results never lie, it’s clearly that the opposition parties had played their cards wrongly in this election. It might be a wakeup call for all the parties to rethink and prepare for their next election!

Fallen cases of Ministry denying help to the needy


Yesterday, I was at the HLP to attend a speech by Vivian Pan to pledge for Mercy for the 31 year old women who had killed her son.

What keeps me thinking after the speech by Leong Sze Hian. In his speech, he had met with countless of single parent, be it unwed, divorced or the other partner run off with other party. What strike me the most when he shared, is the policy in Singapore are so rigid to sometime that these category of people falls into the trap.

Like Mr Leong had share, when the a couple divorced, in his case study, a single Mum had the option to buy over the HDB used to share with her ex-husband. But the HDB rules stated that she had to pay back the amount that her ex-husband had paid using his CPF. Thus she was forced to sell her flat.

She couldn’t afford to buy another new HDB flat as she had to wait for 30 months before she can apply for one again. If she want to buy a resale flat, given the current high COV, she couldn’t afford to buy it. Even if she wants to get a rental flat from HDB, she have to wait for another 30 months.

This single mum is one of the person that had fallen into the crack of the government policy. There are many more cases that are happening everyday in Singapore. So what can the Government do to help those cases that had fallen through the policy crack?

Here are my humble view towards all fallen cases:

1) Policies are in place to safe guard others from gaining unfair advantage while trying to help Singaporean.

2) In exercising the policy, the policy maker should be flexible enough to see special case like the one mentioned above on the case by case basis. They shouldn’t outright reject the cases when it doesn’t falls into the category.

3) In the above mentioned case, the HDB should apply the human touch and let the single mum keep the HDB while letting her to work out the installment plan to pay back her ex-husband CPF contribution to the flat.

The policies had both side of the situation they faced and I don’t deny that to safe guard the policy, standard rules must be strictly follow. But in the light of the fallen case, I feel human touch should be applicable as well.

Civil Servant who carry out the policy should not be so rigged not to help the fallen case. If civil servant can’t help those fallen cases should help to expedite up to the ministry for review and see how best the ministry can help. So do not stop those fallen cases at the front desk of the ministry. Help each other as we are Singaporean!!!

Common myth about HDB Resale


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With the recent news reported on discussion on the scrapping of the cash over valuation (COV) as reported in CNA,  I would like to share a few personal view of the HDB Resale Myth.

1) Sometime we would hear this in the news or the property agent saying: “COV is dropping, it’s a good time to buy HDB resale flat now”.

Yes, COV drops is a good thing as many of Singaporean or PR would consider before purchasing a resale flat. A drop in COV means that they would fork out less cash to purchase the resale flat.

But in the other hand, we tend to ignore the total purchase price of the flat. The purchase price of the resale flat is add up of valuation + COV (let’s ignore the smaller components like stamp duty, lawyer fee etc as this is just one time payment).

Now let see how is the valuation of the flat is done.

Market value is described as the projected amount for a property which should be exchanged on the date of valuation between two willing parties, namely the buyer and the seller, in an arm’s length transaction after proper marketing, with proficient, cautious action and not under pressure. In this transaction, both parties do not have a special relationship with each other, which might affect the determination of the property’s price.

There are many different methods to evaluate one’s property namely:

  • Comparison Method – Comparing recent transactions or similar property
  • Income Method – Comparing through Rental yields of similar properties
  • Cost Method – Often use to evaluate properties with little or no market transactions like Churches, School Etc.

So far, the valuation is being done using the comparison method.

The valuation of the HDB resale flat will continue to rise so long there is always COV involved.

For example, a 4rm flat valuation is $300K, now it is selling $300K + $25K COV (total purchase price is $325K).

The next to be valued at around $325K using comparison method. With a COV $20K, the purchase price will be $345K.

Based on above example, the resale price will continue to raise so long there is COV is involved. This raise in valuation will not be immediately seen as the transaction will take about three to four months to be completed.

2) The interest rate is at all time low (for bank loan)

The bank will usually tied you with a 3 year fixed interest rate after which it will become floating rate. Many buyers will use the current loan repayment as the cue to service the loan which can be as long as 30 to 35 years. An increase of 0.1% in interest rate, there is an increase of about $8 per $100K outstanding loan per month. If there is an increase of 1%, it is to say, the monthly installment will increase by about $80.

These increase amount will be paid via CPF. But if your monthly contribution is less than the monthly installment, then the balance you have to pay with cash (assuming that you have zero balance in your CPF OA).

3) You can still service your loan even when there is a property downturn.

There is always a financial trap called “Margin Call”. It applies to property too. In http://www.moneysmart.sg/housing-property/on-margin-call-for-home-loans-what-is-it-and-how-do-we-avoid-it/, it explained how margin call is activated and how can it be avoided.

Knowing some of the myth in purchasing of the resale flat, careful consideration is needed as below:

1) How much are you willing to purchase the resale flat?

2) How much loan are you going to service?

3) What is the loan period you are going to service?

Do not rush into a transaction when someone tells you that you are getting a good deal. Do your homework first before committing to it. If you want to know more about financial planning, you can attend Mr Tan Kin Lian’s talk on financial planning .

Other myth I had not notice or known HDB Resale Flat, feel free to drop me a comment and I will update it accordingly.