Lawyer Lim Tean’s speech on Budget 2018

My Fellow Singaporeans.

A few moments ago the finance minister Heng Swee Keat finished delivering the government’s budget to Parliament.

Now it was a long budget speech and necessitated a 15 minute break in between.  I will be studying the details of the budget carefully, and I’m sure that I will have more to say in the coming days.  But this evening I want to share with you my initial impressions of this budget.

Now to me there are 2 words indelibly stamped in bold on this budget and those 2 words are “no substance”.  This budget is notable for what it did NOT say rather than what it said. When you take away all the fluff, when you strip away all the buzz words and the euphemisms; this budget did not give us a roadmap as to where our economy should be brought to in the coming decades.

It was a budget that shirked responsibility.  No Mr Heng spoke extensively about innovation, and why we should make innovation pervasive in our economy.  I agree with him on that.  Innovation and enterprise are the key engines to productivity and growth in our knowledge era. And these are the key engines which will determine our quality of life in the coming decades.

But, the fact of the matter is Mr Heng and this government have no idea how to make Singapore a truly innovative economy and society. A good indication of how innovative a country is, is the Global Innovation Index which is published every year around September.

It has been published for 10 years running now, and if you examine that index my friends, you will find that Singapore actually is not an innovative country.

We rank number 1 in terms of innovation input, which means how much money the government commits, it spends in making our society and our economy innovative.

But we are only mid-table, we rank 63 out of 127 countries in the innovation efficiency ratio league. We are second last in the whole of ASEAN in that league.  Only Brunei at 124 comes behind us, and we know the reason why; they are an oil dependent country.

But all our notable neighbours, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and even Indonesia rank higher than us.

Now, why is that you may ask, and I proffer a reason. It is because this government wants to control innovation like it controls every other thing.

You would have noticed from Mr Heng’s speech today when he touted all the government agencies and all the schemes that are laid out to help Singapore companies innovate; that the basic tenet at the end of the day is that the government still wants to have a hand in the direction of where the country innovates, where our companies innovate. And funds are allocated on that basis.

Now that cannot be how innovation works.  Innovation is about adventure, it is about exploration, it is about failing repeatedly sometimes before you reach success. But this government has not laid the groundwork, it has not laid the social infrastructure for an innovation landscape to emerge in our country.

Is that a surprise? I would say no, because you look at the way this government operates.  Look at our great national enterprises.  They want to put their own people, so-called scholars in charge of these various enterprises and agencies.

Look at NOL as a good example.  Singapore as a great maritime nation deserves a national shipping line. I was a practicing shipping lawyer for much of my lawyering days, and I thought it was disgraceful when NOL was sold to a French company.  Which in the 2000’s I may add, almost went into bankruptcy. Now within a year after buying NOL they turned it around.

I have seen shipping companies operated by other nationals, and I have seen how shipping companies work. I once did work for a Greek shipping company and in those days the owner had 60 vessels, large crew oil tankers.  He operated the company virtually through himself and one charter manager.  I once went into his office and there was a small anti room beside his office and there was a small cot there.  And he used to sleep in that room very often following the shipping markets and concluding fixtures. Today some 15, 16 years after I got to know him, he runs a company that has more than 120 vessels.

Now can we not find capable Singaporeans who can run a successful shipping company?  That cannot be the case. There are many successful shipping companies in Singapore.  So at the end of the day the family silver is sold because the government cannot find capable enough people to polish it and make it shine.  What a great shame.

For Singapore to be a truly innovative country, or to become a truly innovative country we need to get government out of business. The first business of government should be to get out of business.  Open up the space, allow the natural genius of Singaporeans to flower.

We cannot have an economy that is 50-60% controlled by the GLC’s and expect innovation to thrive in Singapore. And my fellow Singaporeans, the fact that Mr Heng declared a 2% rise in GST although he tells us that it will only take effect earliest from 2021, itself tells the story that he and this government is not confident that it can grow the economy sufficiently through innovation and enterprise.

Let me now come to some more substantive things that Mr Heng left out of the budget, but which I think concerned Singaporeans will be interested to know.

Mr Heng did not touch on the parlous situations regarding our senior citizens, about their standard of living, about their means to survive in old age. He did not touch on the disastrous situation facing our PMET’s, and the very bad situation facing our young graduates in terms of the job market.

I intend to address these.

Now Mr Heng used healthcare costs, the projected increase costs in healthcare costs as an excuse of the imposition of the GST.  You may think, well if an economy is doing well and we are growing why can the government not cover that healthcare cost, that cost of building hospitals, polyclinics and all that as he put it from the revenue it takes in?

But let me come to the parlous state of the situation for our elderlies, for our seniors, for the people who have retired.

Now it breaks our heart to see so many of them still working at jobs like clearing tables, cleaning plates, cleaning toilets when we go to the hawker centres and the coffee shops.  Their counterparts in advanced nations are not having to do all these jobs when they are 70 or 80 years old, because they have enough to survive on.

The sad truth in Singapore is that many of our seniors do not have enough to survive on in old age in their so-called retirement years.  They have been short-changed by the policies of this government.  For the last 40 years.

When they started working, they were told that at the end of their working career they would have this pot of savings known as the CPF to see them through comfortably in retirement.  But when they stopped working they realised that they could not touch these savings and these savings were actually inadequate for them to live on.

Many of them today get at most a few hundred monthly dollars in annuities from this fund known as the CPF.  And how do you survive on that in the world’s most costliest city? In the early days the CPF gave returns which were below the inflation rate. From 2000 onwards the CPF has given a fixed return of about 2.5% on the ordinary account and about 3-4% on the retirement account.

So it averages out to about 2.9%. That is not enough to survive on. And worse still, CPF money is given to GIC to invest.  GIC invest all of its money overseas. It does not invest a single cent in Singapore. It claims to earn a return of about 6% per year. If that is so, why are Singaporeans being paid only 2.9% returns on their CPF?

Now when you park money with a fund manager, he will take his management fees which for a return of 6% I cannot imagine can be more than 0.5%, And when we talk about the CPF and it being such a large pool of funds the management funds should really be negligible.  In fact I would say that they should be free as it is the government doing national service for its citizens to ensure that they have a decent standard of living in retirement.

So why is the government taking away 3% off the CPF returns for Singaporeans.  Resulting in that Singapore senior not having enough in old age to live on.

You compare our CPF with other comparable systems in the world and we fare very poorly.  You look at the Malaysian EPF which is an almost identical system.  Malaysians are allowed to withdraw their EPF at the age of 55 in full if they wish to.  Now the EPF returns on average

The EPF returns on average 6.45% per year. You take the Canadian pension plan, over a 5 year period it is able to return annualized returns of 11.8% and over a 10yr period 6.7%. Last year it returned 11.8%.  Take the Australian superannuation funds which are analogous to the CPF, although professionally run by private companies for their account holders.

Now in a good year Australians enjoyed up to 18% returns, and even in a bad year they enjoyed on average 7-8% returns.

So Singaporeans, over a 30-35 year period of their working life have on average 3% taken away from their CPF every year by their government.

Now my friends, compounded over 30-35 years, that is a huge sum of money. A huge sum of money. Is it any wonder why our seniors find themselves in this desperate situation today?
* Transcript of Lim Tean’s speech on Budget 2018 by TOC.


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20 Responses to “Lawyer Lim Tean’s speech on Budget 2018”

  • oxygen:

    LIM TEAN SPOKE THE HARD TRUTHS – PAPpys are the bottleneck and walking dead caterpillar of innovation change. That is why his rant had to be quickly snuffed out quickly by PAPpy IB using all means devious SHUTTING HIM DOWN, even momentarily.

    That BACKFIRED – PAPpys exposed their 1% truth, 99% lies, fantasy and propaganda – the budget 2018 statement is consistently flawed ( even Cynical Investor said so) and rubbish of hallucination full of internal windy happy contradictions ( GST urgency postponed to 2020 beyond but even levy 1% additional BSD on property price above $1 million but no targetted allocation to fund innovation agenda anywhere ???).

    The NET INVESTMENT INCOME is posied to rise rapidly – higher interest rate and tax cuts adding to corporate profit/dividend income – ALL CUNNINGLY SILENT – on top of golden harvest of 2017, PGP cash hoarding.

    It is hard to believe HSK’s claims of strategic forward looking planning horizon rhetorics for public mind consumption. Kee Chiu talked of much needed “sufficiency” (unspecified of quantification) of external reserves which Chris Kuan elaborated in his FB publishing of questioning – how much is sufficient?

    Will Kee Chiu keep silent or respond to that?

    Peasants are waiting for Kee Chiu next endeavor of efforts to either admit or refute Chris Kuan quantification and financial calculus formulation.

    THESE DAYS THE ARISTOCRATS WON’T FIND IT TOO EASY TO TALK-COCK-SING-SONG in the public arena – plenty of knowledgeable and informed minds will probe and invite substantiation of claims.

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  • MarBowling:

    Insightful comments by Mr Pao Lim Tean. Hopefully, all DAFTS Singaporean are able to wake up from their slumberland after they have read his comments!

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  • Rachel:

    Hold a protest then we can see is it still the same that most singaporeans have no issue with the policies and hikes.

    My gut feeling is Singaporeans accept everything thrown at them in the last 53 years.

    We Trust our G.

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  • Selfish Sinkie Syndrome:

    The LEEgime does not want innovation at all, especially with regards to innovations which will bring economic independence for majority.

    In fact, they FEAR innovation which they cannot control or subvert it to control the mass of sheep from which they can tax from cradle to grave.

    What LEEgime wants is a compliant mass of working poor slaves (i.e. employees with no self-determination, is subject to financial control and hence fearful of authority). Even, if you are earning a high salary, you are still technically a working poor slave once you take on the high debts of your house purchase, car purchase or simply earning your living here because of CPF “taxes”. CPF is fundamentally a TAX on your income if you cannot get it back into your own pockets/control regardless of how they sugar-coat it. When you include CPF deductions, S’pore becomes one of the countries with the highest income taxes in the world.

    Bear in mind that Foreigners and PRs are not affected they are allowed to withdraw ALL of it if and when they renounce their PRs and/or retire back home. Hence, CPF for them is really their own money/earnings eventually. NOT so for S’pore citizens. Thus, many foreigners and PRs stand to benefit with this added flexibility and they are more than happy to come here to work and earn the strong sing dollar.

    LEEgime wants a domesticated voter base, so that these (majority) voters are highly dependent, fearful and hence easy to manipulate with cheap trick or treats. In other words, they really do NOT want entrpreneurs here with an independent mind and if successful with lots of financial strength to oppose them.

    If you have a high % of successful entrepreneurs with financial resources, do you think their trick or treats or threats will work on them?

    Instead, if you a high % of employees dependent on brittle rice bowls, subject to LEEgime influence directly via business legislation or indirectly via govt. share ownership of companies. Then it means you employees do not dare to overturn their apple cart. Thus, we have 69.9% compliance even though they might earn high salaries. They have equally high debts, and that is how you become their debt slave.

    A high salary is NOT financial independence. If you earn $3000/mth, you will buy a $300k HDB and then take say 30 years to repay your debts.

    Similarly, if you earn a high salary of say $30,000/mth, you will buy a bigger house, maybe a luxury condo and pay $3,000,000 and still end up with 30 years to repay your debts.

    In the end , BOTH person earning $3000 or $30k end up still a debt slave for 30 years and both are fearful employees, and hence no overturn of apple cart for LEEGime. It is all simple logic.

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  • rukidding:

    P.ap. talk about New Citizens and Foreign talents….but P.a.p. DID NOT and DARE NOT talk about how they themselves have screwed up this country when they imlemented the “two is enough” policy !

    Everybody body has been “lead” to believe that “it was our fault” ???

    In reality,…the “Tow is enough” policy was probably being designed by oldfart for his own “ease” and “probablility” to succeed for themselves !

    I wonder how the dafts 70% can continue to be “conned” by P.ap. ???

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  • One key employment issue:

    One of the key issue affecting many Singaporean here is that they are not getting suitable jobs that are been filled by foreigners here when such jobs can be done easily by local Singaporean.
    Many of our employers have taken advantage of the quota ratio to employed foreigners when such positions have no real shortage of local talent.The quota should only be used for FT talent that Singapore is really short of.

    Case in point, you can see Clinics employing foreign receptionist and clinic assistant who can’t even communicate to our Seniors seeking treatment.
    We need to make a stop to such practices and ensure that such simple jobs go to our locals especially the older ones.. There is no need for such Foreigners…

    Our local should be given the chance to do those jobs that do not need foreign talent..Stop the misuse of Quota Scheme by Employers to get Foreigner instead of local.

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  • LIONS:

    I salute you,LIM TEAN.
    you are a genuine SG TALENT.
    How many of the NEXT GEN LEEders can think n speak with authorithy like you do?

    Think if they go one-on-one with you in SMC,they will kena knock down like buah luku.

    Indeed,not just seniors,even middle-age jobless sgs are facing gloom from the DAFT PAP POLICIES.


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  • Tua Pow Hsien:

    Lee Hsien Tau is the reason why I cannot retire peacefully after the age of 55.

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  • Hong Yi:

    If you all elect me as supreme leader, I will give each of you $1million dollars to cover your life expenses and cover all tax hikes and new taxes.

    I will only collect from you $500k a year for the first year and 800k in the second year and then 900k in the third year.

    Remember tax is forever.

    Once it goes up, dun expect it to cum down on you.

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  • KNN:

    I juz talked to my guys from NUS. He told me there are TOO MANY FOREIGNERS in NUS. Worst, lots are travelling across causeway.
    U know how much they earn and HOW MUCH we are PAYING?!

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  • Kim Jong un:

    That Kim John un look alike sold NOL
    He claimed NOL did not change with times
    He was helming NOL
    Who is to be blame
    The bullock cart or the cow ulling the cart

    The truth of the matter is pap need to have it sold as it is running out of cash
    Now Kim helms sph
    Sph is treading the path of NOL
    Dwindling subscription and profits
    Desperate measure of offfering free gifts like cookers and silly stuffs to entice new subscribers
    Subscription of only 99 cents per month is being offered to new subscribers
    Desperate time called for desperate measure
    So much about those moronic scholars

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  • karma:

    That not cPeeF fund,that our blood & sweat savings promised to return @55 with accrued interest…..till one chee bye total paKar:”cPeeF not pupils $$$$”
    WTF…karma….robbery in broad day light now HamKaCang said Pigs hv 100yrs plan….wake up this bast**d idea….55yrs cannot return our $$$… talk 100yrs….knnbccb

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  • The fascist state by fiat:

    ” Because a fiat currency can be printed on paper, it makes it easy for the government to spend more than they tax, thus inflating the money supply. Printing fiat money is the favorite means for politicians to buy votes. Since most people are ignorant about inflation, voters are misled to believe they are receiving more money from the government compared to what they pay in taxes. The truth is government cannot create any wealth. All the government can do is confiscating wealth from one group and give it to another group, in exchange for a few votes. Ironically, the inflation tax affects the poorest in society, usually the very ones voting for more government. …….”

    next Quote,
    ” In another words, Heng was printing monies and creating bubbles, out in the midst of the greatest recession of Singapore, inflating asset prices when Singaporean were losing jobs. And also, that means without these ponzi bubbles, our GDP numbers is going to be much more ugly than it appears. …
    The bubble gets bigger each day, and it is going to inflict more pain for Singapore’s economy thereafter. ”

    The link,
    Fiat Currency – iGolder

    Veritas: Singapore asset inflation 1: PAP the wizards of bubbleland

    I came, I saw, I solved it.: Stupidest govt of all time

    The 5 stage life cycle of a fiat currency –

    How to Survive an Economic Crash Depression: Money Needs During …

    Fiat currency the cause for our economic miseries – The Final Wakeup …

    The Age Of Fiat Currency: A 38-Year Experiment In Inflation – Business …

    ps, if the links failed, use the Title header to ” Search instead for ” Title header to access link.

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  • pap selected INDIAN president:

    Look at NOL as a good example. Singapore as a great maritime nation deserves a national shipping line. I was a practicing shipping lawyer for much of my lawyering days, and I thought it was disgraceful when NOL was sold to a French company. Which in the 2000’s I may add, almost went into bankruptcy. Now within a year after buying NOL they turned it around.

    which accountable organization puts into position a CEO unless that CEO qualifies for the position?

    only with non accountable pap abusing citizens’s CPF money does that. ffff. no brainer. a ffff saf general is after all FAKE. all he ever did was to do well in exams one time in his younger life. BUT like any non accountable organizations pap places such untested in key positions.

    that is why Singapore is rotting today. look at pap itself. look at the clown. is he qualified? maybe one time in his ffffing privileged life he was good in exams. BUT that is long time ago. if he so liked to do business why be in politics and ruin a once great country? if he is so good, in academics, why not just be a school teacher, if indeed he can teach. WE don’t beleive he can even be a good teacher. probably a good exam scorer one time in his ffffing clownish life.

    which is worse? lack of talent or full of lies?

    BOTH are equally bad if 70% sheep lives are impacted.

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  • FullOfHolesBudget:

    Dun need to be an economist or a learned mind to realise that the budget 2018 is ‘full of holes’.

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  • The fascist state by fiat:

    ” 1. Inflating the big guy, deflating the small guy

    The system operates in a way where it has a “split” strategy regarding “the rich” and “the average person”. Most analyses you will hear pretend that there is either “inflation” or “deflation” (…or “stagflation”) yet there is no uniform effect over the total economy……………………………….

    Tampering statistics

    This is probably one of the establishment’s favorite activity: Manipulating the perception of inflation by under-reporting it. This is done through a constant shifting of what are perceived to be the needs of the consumer, always rearranged in a way that inflation
    is under-reported.

    Under-reporting inflation has a “nice” side-effect too. A nation’s economic growth is measured by the rise of GDP minus inflation on an annual basis. If a nation under-reports the inflation, they can then overestimate the numbers for “growth”. GDP is always an estimate, and the rise of GDP is also an estimate. So it is easy to produce convenient “estimates”. False growth and false GDP numbers are then used to make debts and deficits appear smaller (relative to the GDP).


    The establishment uses a multi-tiered approach to counter the effect of inflation that would be caused by extreme money issuance. They channel the money carefully in order to prevent the consumer index from rising too fast, they make the average citizen suffer with deflation-like effects, they debase global currencies in sync, they suppress precious metal markets to increase perception around monetary stability and they are also vigilant to suppress emerging threats like cryptocurrencies.”

    The link,
    If the government is printing trillions why is there no hyperinflation …

    The truth is out: money is just an IOU, and the banks … – The Guardian

    What Actually Happens When a Government “Prints Money …

    Why Do We Print Money? – Whistling In The Wind

    ps, if the links failed, use the Title header to ” Search instead for ” Title header to access link.

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  • LIONS:

    if you think LIM TEAN is anytime better than ‘KEE-CHIU’,pls kee chiu.

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  • The fascist state by fiat:

    ” To conclude in the words of Dombusch and Fischer, “Inflation acts just like a tax because people are forced to spend less than their income and pay the difference to the government in exchange for extra money.” The government thus can spend more resources, and the public less just as if the government had raised taxes to finance extra spending. When the government finances its deficit by issuing new printed money which the public adds to its holdings of nominal balances to maintain the real value of money balances constant we say the government is financing itself through the inflation tax…..”

    The link,
    Financing of Budget Deficit through Printing Money

    Why We Pay Taxes When They Can Just Print Money … – LinkedIn

    If you think we’re done with neoliberalism, think again … – The Guardian

    The psychology of the powerful – BBC News –

    Increasing Money Supply | Economics Help

    Printing Money – and Its Price – The New York Times

    Printing more money isn’t the answer to all economic ills

    Increasing Money Supply | Economics Help

    ps, if the links failed, use the Title header to ” Search instead for ” Title header to access link.

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  • Rot in hands of one person:

    10% of caps commercial properties in China were sold and raised 600+++ million … this took place during a period when another darling did a bribery case with bra and petrol kana fined usd 422 million..
    This is no how yu tax payer money get churned around.. to bail out a fine so hefty , Ching ho say go find the money to pay…if the revenue stream from China is so good, would yu liquidate? If liquidate mean to raise money from a money producing cow… shows the no brained at work .shows how bail out are done … show money are shifted around without any responsibilities whatsoever … .this why control in the hands of one person who sleep so closely .. meant the country can go rot and rotting away .. at same time all the clowns in the rooms have to act like a happy bunch … the rot will grow bigger …till One day the girls are empty then to .impeach cannot reserve the empty tills.

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  • The fascist state by fiat:

    “Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.”

    –Adolf Hitler

    The link,
    Controlling The Minds Of The Masses: How It Is Done … – NWO Observer

    The Great Depression and the Role of Government Intervention

    Hegelian Dialectic – The No. 1 Tool of the Illuminati -with … – HubPages

    ps, if the links failed, use the Title header to ” Search instead for ” Title header to access link.

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