To all my readers;
I will be away for holiday from 16 Nov – 30 Nov..
I will not be posting during these 2 weeks..
To all my readers;
I will be away for holiday from 16 Nov – 30 Nov..
I will not be posting during these 2 weeks..
Rejected ST letter written by Mr David See Leong Kit
HDB’s reply “Market-based pricing of flats fairer to all” (ST Nov 11) is a good example of the frequent exasperating “half-answer” replies from our public bodies that Forum writers have impatiently tolerated for years.
It did not address various points I raised in my letters nor Forum writer Tan Kim Chuan’s contention that “the HDB is either over-pricing its flats or is profiteering from the property boom”.
Our private property market is now facing a downturn. But the HDB resale flat market is still firm due to Permanent Resident buyers pushing up prices.
Under such a scenario, HDB’s pegging the price of its new flats to the prevailing market price of similar resale flats will result in prices of new flats and resale flats chasing each other in an upward spiral that is detrimental to buyers of both new and resale flats.
The Total Breakeven Cost of a new flat comprises Construction Cost (CC), Land Cost (LC) and Other Related Cost (ORC).
Its Pinnacle@Duxton project comprise 1,848 units in 50-storey blocks occupying a very small plot of land.
From available public tender information, the CC component of each unit is known to be $150,000. It now remains for the HDB to be transparent in disclosing the remaining LC and ORC components so that HDB buyers will know the actual Total Breakeven Cost
A quick estimate of the LC plus ORC is about $70,000, leading to an estimated Total Breakeven Cost of each new flat to be around $220,000.
When launched in 2004, average Selling Price was $370,000 (actual range: $288,000 to $450,000), which translates to an average profit to the HDB of $150,000 per unit sold.
428 unsold units were recently relaunched at average Selling Price of $550,000 (actual range: $450,000 to $645,000), which is $180,000 higher than initial launch prices. This arose from the HDB market-based pricing approach as the prevailing market prices of similar resale flats in the vicinity was in the $593,000 to $670,000 range.
Applicants of HDB new flats are mostly young Singaporeans wanting to get married, move into their own homes and start a family by producing babies.
Why then is the HDB not living up to its role as a not-for-profit low-cost public housing developer by passing on to such citizens the economy-of-scale cost savings in its hugh developments through pricing new flats on a cost-based breakeven basis?
A recent Trade and Industry Ministry reply on the huge electricity price hike had stated that “the Government’s approach is to price goods and services at their full cost”. Why then the double standards in the HDB statement that “the prices of new HDB flats are based on the market prices of resale HDB flats, and not their costs of construction”?
For the average Singaporean, his HDB flat is the single most expensive purchase item in his lifetime. Thus, it is of utmost urgency for the HDB to clear the air once-and-for-all through providing transparent direct replies to the above two simple questions, and to disclose actual cost figures for its Pinnacle project.
I know my girlfriend – Gela as I affectionately called her, since our secondary school days.
We always meet up for manicure, pedicure, spa, shopping spree and teas..
During one of my recent meet up with her, I casually asked her how is her dad, “oh, didn’t I tell you he passed away liao” was her reply. No sense of sadness, no sense of loss..
Shocked I probe her further as to what happen, why so sudden. Was told that he died of liver cancer, and when he was send to the hospital, it was the last stage of his liver cancer. Her mum, younger brother and herself, did not visit him during his 2 months stay in the hospital. When the hospital called to says that he has passed on, the 3 made their way down to the hospital to claim his body and send straight to Mandai Crematorium for cremation, without a funeral service for him.
He wanted very badly to see the 3 of them but he died without having his last wish fulfilled even though initially when he was able to talk, he called them up personally, and during the later stage, the social worker took over the calling. Still the 3 of them remain unmoved.
When Gela’s dad finally passed away, many unkind remarks were passed by her dad’s relatives about the 3 of them being heartless and etc…
Well, though I do feel a certain sadness for the dad not having his last wish fulfilled, I fully understand their actions.
Gela’s dad left them when her mum was pregnant with her younger brother who is 6 years our junior. Gela’s mum was 5 years older than her dad and he left the mom for another younger woman. With 1 kid and another on the way, the dad shirk himself of his responsibilities as a father, a husband.
Gela’s mom painstaking bring up these 2 kids herself. During school days, I will accompany Gela every monday to Serangoon, her paternal grand father house to collect a measly $100. It wasn’t a pleasant visit and each time, Gela would quickly take and go. At times, some of the relatives who were there, would eye us, it makes me feel like we are beggars coming to beg for money. Much as she dread going there, they have no choice as they need the money to survive. $400 per month for 3 of them plus a elderly grandmother (maternal) who is staying with them!
DAD, came from a rather well to do family who is related to one of the property magnate. He squander away all his money with his mistress. The mistress left him when he has no money left. Her dad at that time wanted to go back to the family, but none is willing to accept him.
I remember once Gela mentioned to me, at times when her dad relatives came over to their place to visit them, Ah Bin seeing their shoes outside his house, will wait downstairs for them to leave before going back. Even Gela mentioned that till now, she hates to pass by Serangoon area as that will always bring back all the unpleasant memories.
Gela added that, if not for what the dad has done to them, he would have a good life. They were once poor, but now, Ah Bin is a scholar working at MOF, Gela herself is doing well in GSK. Both of them are very filial to their mom, they could have been filial too to their dad, if only he didn’t abandon them when they were young.
Given what her dad has done, who can blame them for being heartless to a dying man. I know I can’t bring myself to do what they did, afterall I feel no matter what, he is still your dad, but that because I did not grow up without a stranger who later in life told me he was my dad and he want to see me before he die.
Somehow, I am sadden by the passing of Gela’s dad, not because he died (I don’t know him), but sad that it was only when he was near to his death, that he regretted what he has done to his family and wanted so badly to see them and perhaps seek forgiveness from them but he never get to. He died a lonely man with no family by his side.
I missed out one point.
The prosecution maintains that there are only 3 “material facts” that needs to be established in this trial and nothing else matters. That is “whether we ought to have reasonably know” that it is an offence to participate in the protest. Kai Xiong commented that this can be directly investigated by questioning the TBT 18 during our police investigation. Our presence is a given, so ultimately there are only 2 witness the prosecution needs to call.
Yet as everyone knows the story by now, there are 27 witnesses, most of whom are arresting officers.
A friend of ours from Taiwan who has been following TBT 18 trial was intrigue by this, he commented that in Taiwan, the judge would throw out all the witnesses irrelevant to the case to save time. The longer the trial drags on, the more unfair it is to the defendant(s).
The DPP never gave any answer to this.
Our trial was nearly stood down again because AGC for the Kangaroo trial wanted to arrange a last min PTC for John and Shafie at 9am in Supreme Court today. Finally at about 6.45pm on Thursday, John manage to postpone the Kangaroo PTC to next week.
The TBT trial continue with Dr Chee cross examination with PW 2. Through Dr Chee’s cross examination, the following has been established ;
1) On the SPF website where Dr Chee applied for the protest permit, there was no indication to input his DOB.
2) On the evidence submitted by the Prosecutor, Dr Chee’s DOB was stated.
3) PW 2 has absolutely no idea how this could happen.
4) The court rules all the above irrelevant as they are not interested to know how the evidence came about because the fact still remain that no police permit was granted, irregardless of whether the evidence was manufactured or fabricated or tampered.
5) It is stated clearly in SPF website that the NORMAL processing time is about 7 working days from the receipt of the application but SPF took 28 days to respond instead.
6) When trying to probe further if Dr Chee’s application was normal or not normal, Dr Chee was told that it was irrelevant again with the same reasoning that Dr Chee should take up Judiciary Review for such line of questioning.
At one point of time, TBT 18 stood up in unity (less the 3 of us who were represented by counsels) in support of Dr Chee and urge the Judge to disallow further objection from the DPP. Though seated in my seat (with due respect to my counsels), I am in total support of the TBT 18.
Kai Xiong later pointed out to the Judge that if this trial is based on the fact that there was no police permit and that a illegal assembly and procession did took place, then the Prosecutor need not have 27 witnesses on the stand and instead just need 2 which is the Licensing Officer, to testify no police permit was issue and the video taken on that day to prove our participation. He is baffled as to why then the need to submit 27 witnesses to waste everybody time!
It seem to me that if the court take such stand as that of the DPP, they might as well ask TBT 18 to show cause, instead of wasting time to stand trial since it is establish that no police permit was issue, PERIOD!
As to why the police permit was not granted, who makes the final decision to reject Dr Chee’s application, is there biasness when SDP protest is not allow but CASE protest is allowed, why it took 4x the NORMAL time for them to process Dr Chee’s application, why the application form printed from Dr Chee’s online application and that produced by the Prosecutor is different, why the DOB appears on the Prosecutor evidence when Dr Chee’s did not input his DOB in his application can only bring it up for Judiciary Review.
I am deeply disturb by the on-going of our TBT trial. Disturbed by the fact that as long as evidence is being produced in court by the DPP, the Judge has no interest to know if the evidence might have been tamper, manufacture or fabricated.
This is the first time in my entire life that I was standing as a accused person in court, it is also the first time I have come so up close with the court, the Judge, the Prosecutor, and somehow, I feel that I am already convicted even before the trial ends.
I always remember my first visit to SDP office some time back.
It was my first time stepping into a political party office. I have never been to any other political party office before.
As I walked up the stairs to the 2nd floor where SDP office was, I could smell popcorns Dr Chee and Mrs Chee greeted me warmly. As that was my first time setting foot there, Mrs Chee was fussing over me, serving me with hot milo (it was raining heavily and I was a little wet from the rain) and pop corns from the kitchen.
I took a little tour of their humble office. Humble as it is, it was rather cosy., I could feel the warmth around. Friends were happily chatting, words of greeting can be heard whenever a friend pops in. It was a casual gathering and the Chees were very hospitable, preparing pop corns for us, serving us drinks. Francis even bought Roti Prata for us.
Now I am a frequent visitor to their humble office. My kids loves to play with Dr Chee’s 3 kids and they will always bug me to bring them over for a play date with them. Mrs Chee no longer fuss over me as she did on my first visit, now I have learn to make myself at home instead. Knowing where to get my own drinks, where the Mama Shop is (Siok Chin’s room is a mama shop stock up with lots of tibits..haha)..
As I looked back, I realise I have come so far with SDP, from being critical to becoming friends . From being distant to being more involved. The once reserved and quiet Jaslyn is now a more open up and chatty Jaslyn to them.
I wanted to write more updates about the court..but end up I am always so tired after court each day..
Tired not because of the action in court, but tired of the wait in court.
Judge stand down of 10 mins usually end up 1 hour instead and 30 mins ended up 2hrs+..
It doesn’t help when the presiding Judge is one who is rather indecisive. He allows argument to escalate, letting DPP time to address him on issues raised by Dr Chee when we thought after court dismiss for the day, he would come to a decision in the morning when the court adjourned.
Due to this, DPP ask for 30 mins break to do research and that 30 mins ended up took 2 hours and 10 mins with the court officials coming out to inform us that the DPP will be late..That aside, DPP return with research and presented his arguments.
As it was almost lunch time and John and Shafie need to be at High Court to answer their “kangaroo tees” charge at 1430, the court was dismissed for the day without counter arguments from TBT 18.
When the court adjourn the next morning, TBT18 ask for more time to do research to counter DPP arguments, most of the TBT18 are not legally trained and given the fact that 2 of the TBT 18 are over at the High Court for a different matters yesterday afternoon.
Judge then rule that Dr Chee could not continue his line of questioning to PW 2. (without hearing the defense of the TBT 18) That line of questioning is that who makes the decision to reject SDP’s application for a police permit for the March 15 protest..
It is final – The police rejected Dr Chee application for a police permit for the protest, as to who, why and on what basis the permit was rejected he is not allowed to ask.
hmm..I suddenly get reminded of my mummy..
When I was a kid, mummy always disallow us this and that, when me and my siblings challenge my mummy as to why are we not allow to say, play with our neighbourhood friends, mummy will always replied us “because Mummy SAID SO”..that it..no reason given..mummy words will be final. That is always the best answer mummy could give when she had NO answer for us.
As a mother myself now, I will always make conscious effort to explain to my kids as to why mummy forbid them to do certain things, it takes alot of patience and yes at times it can be frustrating when my kids refused to listen and find 1001 ways to convince me otherwise. Through it all, my kids have been able to hone their negotiation skills and at times able to convince and assure me of my concerns (sometimes unfounded) and thus allowing them to do what I initially set out to forbid.
Well..our SPF doesn’t work this way!
Looking at how things are going, I am expecting more objection and more irrelevant from DPP and Judge will still continue to allow the arguements to go on and on before making his decision.
27 witnesses from the Prosecution side, we coming to the end of our 2 weeks trial yet we are only into the 2nd PW, Dr Chee being the 1st to cross examine, and he is perhaps halfway through his questioning, there are 13 more to go..
Looks like this trial will take a very looooong time..