New COE rules: Putting the noose at the wrong group

In order to control the overcrowding traffic situation, the PAP government introduced a new COE ruling what car dealers called a “death penalty” – prospective car buyers can no longer borrow more than 60% from their financiers. The latest ruling was effected immediately right after the announcement in Parliament and it has drastic impact on several stakeholders.

1) Car dealers
The second hand dealers are the most affected. Most were not able to stop in time from taking used cars on the day itself. A few car dealer I spoke to said it’s worse than a death penalty because inmates on the death row have at least some time to prepare. After being in the trade for so many years, they don’t know what to do next. Many whom they have spoke to also said if the ruling were to stay longer than a year, they may close down their businesses because their main market are people in their late 20s who often have to approach financiers for more credit. And with no new directions to help those in the car trading industry, that indirectly mean of course that their livelihood has never been a concern of the PAP…at all.

2) Needy Singaporeans
The PAP’s logic goes:”If you have a car, you are rich”, and that’s the typical bullshit churned out by the PAP government like “Singapore have no natural resources”(another bullshit…Singapore was the crown colony and a thriving trading port with the busiest sea route in the world before Lee Kuan Yew was even born). The fact remains that there are people whose dependents need a car – the newborn, the school-going children, the handicapped, the elderly parents and etc. How are the working parents/children going to bring their dependents to the hospitals, schools or even the nearest clinic?

COE Cat A(small cars) prices is higher than CAT B and below

COE Cat A(small cars) prices is higher than CAT B and below

3) The rich(mostly foreigners)
With the new ruling, the rich must be more than happy to the PAP for bringing down the COE prices. In fact, the COE price for large vehicles is some $20,000 cheaper than the small vehicles(wow how balanced). The rich are cash-loaded, they need no financiers or loans. They can buy more cars for the same COE price and contribute further to the traffic congestion.

The new ruling was initiated on a key foundation of “Equality”, by preventing people who couldn’t afford a car from landing themselves in debts. But we all know equality is not fairness. This is one instance where Equality, like Meritocracy, are perverted. The rich gets richer and the poor are totally excluded from car ownership – no matter who needs it most. Before PAP nincompoops from the Fabrications About the PAP start lambasting me for blindly criticizing without solutions, here’s a few.

1) Progressive COE on a household basis. The same way how was the Utility Rebate was implemented – for each household who already own a car, they will have to pay 30% more COE for the next car.

2) Discount for Singaporean citizens. Contrary to the PAP’s perverted beliefs, Singaporeans are not responsible for the rise in cars, housing and everything else. The additional demand that spiked up the prices are the foreigners(I can hear some idiots from both the PAP side and theonlinecitizen screaming XENOPHOBIC). When roads and land are a limited resources, it is only natural car ownership be nationalized and offering discounts only to Singaporeans. Why am I paying the same COE price as that Ah Tiong? Serve NS for fuck right? In other countries, they give their citizens subsidized petrol price, but hey we are not asking for that. The PAP should count their blessings Singaporeans are a giving and unreasonably reasonable lot, or they could have been voted out a long time ago.

3) Nationalize the public transport
The public transport is hopeless – we all now how inefficient privatized systems are when they put profits above people. I cringed everytime SMRT called us “customers” instead of passengers during their announcements. If the public transport is at least decent – without having our girlfriends getting molested everytime they board the train -, we wouldn’t need private transport at all. I notice the PAP is starting to re-nationalize the trains, with the new Downtown Line fully owned by the LTA instead of SMRT or SBS. The PAP know that “more competition” did not work when they gave North East Line to SBS.

4) Reduce the population
The PAP blamed the heaven for flooding, the people for complaining, the investors for housing price increase and everyone except themselves. When are we going to get an honest admission that we are overcrowded? The number is unsustainable, the facts are laid out for all to see. The real confession from the PAP is the word: Overcrowding.

Alex Tan
Co-editor of WikiTemasek.org

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PAP Minister Lim Swee Say is confused at himself sometimes

“If this transition we progress too slowly, we could actually end up losing our competitiveness. And not only the economy growth will slow down, job growth will slow down as well. So therefore if we get it wrong, it could end up with higher unemployment. We could end up with wage stagnation. That’s what we are worried about. “If we try to move too fast, faster than what the businesses can cope with, we are going to see many businesses closing down, relocating and as a result, workers who are released, if they are released in big numbers, we may not be able to retrain them, upscale them, and match them to new jobs fast enough, then we could end up with structural unemployment.” – PAP Millionaire Minister cum union chief Lim Swee Say

The yes-man has spoken and this time he is even confused at himself. In the recently Budget, businesses in Singapore are given lesser foreign worker quota – much to their dismay of course. At least two employer-interest lobbyist groups, the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises(ASME) and the Singapore National Employers Federation(SNEF), have expressed disapproval at the move to curb foreign worker intake. Minister Lim Swee Say, the chief of Singapore’s only official workers union, somehow drew two equally bleak conclusions regarding his own party’s move to reduce businesses’ reliance on cheap foreign labor.

Going by Lim Swee Say’s logic,
1) if companies are resistent and prefers to rely on cheap foreign labor for profits, these businesses will be uncompetitive, leading to slower economic growth, a higher unemployment and wage stagnation
2) if companies accept the changes and begin restructuring, some of them will close down, relocate and Singapore workers will be under-employed in jobs they do not specialize in.

So which is which? This also highlighted an interesting U-turn in economical strategies. For the past decade, the PAP have been trumpeting their record GDP growth and justifying the need for more foreign labor. Just in 2008, Lim Swee Say boasted the foreign worker policy is needed to maintain GDP growth [Link]. Why would the same lax foreign worker policy today result in a slower economic growth?

Companies have been profiting off savings made from cheap foreign labor, and since corporate taxes and GDP is based on net profits, the PAP have been more than happy to supply them with foreign labor. The notable change in foreign worker policy is largely due to Singaporeans’ vocal dissent against an increasing population.

Under Lim Swee Say’s watch, the salaries of the bottom 10% sees their salaries stagnant and structural unemployment rises over the past 13 years. Unlike a workers’ union chief, the millionaire minister never once spoke out against his government over the lax foreign worker policy. The salary of a taxi driver today is even higher than that of a fresh grad or an experienced junior-middle executive position. The Minister without portfolio in the Prime Minister’s Office is one of those yes-men around the Prime Minister feeding the cluttered-mind public with inconsistent messages. The really worrying part is if he’s feeding the wrong information about the state of the workers to the Prime Minister in his capacity as a union chief. In his vigor to impress his bosses, he change his stance at an instance and parrot the party line. For all we know, Lim Swee Say could be where he is today because of his blind loyalty to the party. Perhaps Lee Hsien Loong doesn’t need to pay them millions, anyone with K9 training would suffice.