I was saying publicly as long ago as the 2011 GE that PAP’s Asset Enhancement Scheme was a scam

Yesterday the Independent Singapore (an ironic title if ever there was one since the Independent posts prominent photos of its owner, Leon Perera, the WP NCMP, on its masthead) carried an article saying that Goh Meng Seng claimed to be the first to point out PAP’s Asset Enhancement Scheme is a scam.

While GMS claims to have brought it to Low Thia Kiang’s attention as early as 2006, there is no record of him going public with this and in fact he admits that due to Low’s inability to grasp the import of what he was told he decided to clam up and forget it. GMS puts LTK’s incomprehension down to an inability to understand any economics. I would disagree. I have known Low since the 1980s when he started out as my dad’s protege and he is a wily fox. Rather his unwillingness to raise the issue publicly reflects his desire not to do anything that would upset the PAP and lead them to do anything that could lead to him losing his seat and the income stream associated with it. This included keeping quiet in Parliament during most of his time as one of only two Opposition MPs (after LKY used his control over the AG and the judiciary to proffer fake charges against my dad and get him out of Parliament on a conviction the UK Privy Council said was a grievous miscarriage of justice). LTK and the whole of the WP continue to keep quiet and avoid even fielding enough candidates to run the risk of disturbing the PAP’s control of 2/3s of Parliament, but that is another story.

In fact the record shows I was the first to raise the scam that was being perpetrated on Singaporeans and to point out how illogical it was for older HDB flats to be trading at almost the same price as new flats with nearly 99 years before expiry.

Here is what I said in “The Problem with HDB or Deflating the Housing Bubble-Part 2” published in March 2013:

Naturally, the asset side of the government’s balance sheet has increased in value as land prices have risen due to inelastic supply and ever-increasing population pressure.  Because of this asset price rise HDB owners have been given the illusion of increasing prosperity.

However there has been a fundamental mispricing in the HDB market in which decreasing time to expiry of the lease has not been taken into account.  HDB properties can be taken back by a future government at the expiry of the lease for no compensation. Yet properties with sixty years or less to expiry trade at very similar prices to new flats with ninety-nine year leases in the resale market. This is completely different from how leaseholds on private property are valued in Singapore. This is also completely different to how leaseholds are valued in any other country in my experience.

The buyers have been sold the fiction that an asset that has to be handed back to the government in at most ninety-nine years, and in many cases much less, will somehow ignore the laws of economics and keep on appreciating forever. Let me repeat that there has been a fundamental mispricing in the HDB market.

Singaporeans have been told by PAP ministers and in particular LKY over and over again never to sell their HDB properties, as they can only go up in value. No government that I am aware of has made such an explicit promise and it can only be characterized as highly irresponsible.  If a financial investment had been promoted in this way by a broker or corporation without any mention of the risks and investors had subsequently lost money, the buyers would be entitled to compensation.

I wrote about this again the following year (2014) in “CPF and HDB: 10 Real Dirty Tricks“:

7.      I discussed above the mania that seemed to afflict Singaporeans because of irresponsible promises by LKY and the PAP that HDB was an asset that would constantly go up in value. I pointed out that the SERS scheme, in which Singaporean swap their old flats for new smaller ones with a fresh lease in much higher-density estates had encouraged this illusion. To quote again from my previous article, “The problem is that there is a fundamental conflict of interest between the government’s roles as provider of supposedly low-cost housing for the masses and as monopoly owner of at least 80% of the land in Singapore. This is why the PAP government has had a vested interest in pumping air into the housing bubble.  Until now they have been happy to maintain the fiction that the length of the leasehold does not affect HDB valuations. This is because with the deliberate creation of huge excess demand for housing the HDB finds it profitable to acquire existing HDB blocks from their owners and pay them compensation which is close to the price of new BTO flats. That is because they can vastly increase the density of housing on that area by doubling or tripling the size of blocks and building them closer together.

8.    However, as I explained above and Khaw Boon Wan admitted in his Parliamentary answer to Mr Giam’s question, the viability of the SERS scheme depends upon the redevelopment potential of the site. In other words, as long as redevelopment continues to be profitable for HDB which in turn is dependent upon other factors like continued population inflows and high economic growth rates.

9.    KBW stated for the record that if SERS does not make economic sense then the government will allow the leases to expire meaning that HDB owners will get nothing. At some point (certainly when the majority of estates have less than fifty years to run but probably much earlier) the factors that have inflated the HDB bubble will go into reverse. Singaporeans can expect a big fall in HDB prices particularly for older estates where the lease has fewer years to run.  This is a ticking time bomb which could have serious adverse consequences for all Singaporeans leaving the majority who are financially naïve or too trusting of the PAP government with negative equity.

10.   We do not need to make unsubstantiated accusations of fraud , as Roy does, to demonstrate that Singaporeans are getting a bad deal from allowing the PAP to have control over housing and our savings.   Owning the freehold of our properties and the freedom to decide how to save are essential elements in creating a property-owning democracy.  A property owning class is the basis for a strong middle class and the government ownership of land and housing is the single biggest obstacle to the creation of a strong middle in Singapore.  That is why you see such a disparity between the 10% of plutocrats at the top and the 87% of the rest who have the pleasure of the government as their landlord. With a strong middle class HDB housing could return to its original function as social housing for the truly needy and provide a valuable safety net.

As I stated in my earlier articles the Government owns the freehold of your HDB and will be the one to profit should there be profitable redevelopment opportunities. When Singapore’s population was rising rapidly due to the PAP’s open door policy on foreign workers, there was growing demand for housing which meant it was profitable for the Government to compulsorily buy back your 10-or 20-storey block, demolish it and replace it with a 40-or 50-storey one. For a small fee HDB owners were allowed to “upgrade” to a smaller flat in a larger block often in a less central and therefore less valuable neighbourhood. Singaporeans were ecstatically happy because they thought this was a generous government swapping old flats for new while the Government made the real money and you lost out compared to private condo owners who sell en-bloc.

Obviously now the Government cannot grow the population as fast as it would like (though recent high economic growth rates may indicate that controls on employment of foreign labour are being eased) and inflate away its implicit promise to HDB owners. So the CEO of HDB, Cheong Koon Hean, and Lawrence Wong (Khaw Boon Wan’s successor at the Ministry of National Development) are now trying to let the air out of the balloon and deflate Singaporean’s expectations while also getting the PAP off the hook.

Wong said last year,  “As the leases run down, especially towards the tail-end, the flat prices will come down correspondingly. So buyers need to do their due diligence and be realistic when buying flats with short leases.”

 Recently Cheong, speaking at an Institute of Policy Studies Forum said:

“You should buy a flat, as you say it commensurate with the lease. The price you pay should commensurate with the lease. As you should buy a flat that would last you a lifetime.”

It has been part of the Reform Party‘s manifesto since 2011 to give Singaporeans the freehold of their HDB as the solution to this problem and in order to create a true property-owning democracy. We said this in our election rallies and press releases at the time. But of course this is never mentioned unless like everything else I have written it is stolen and attributed to someone else, usually a member of the majority race.

Since 2009 I have been writing about the PAP’s fake ways of generating economic growth, creating the illusion of prosperity for Western observers, while our productivity levels remain abysmal compared to other developed countries, let alone cities with which we should be properly compared. My ideas have entered the mainstream and gained widespread acceptance but I am never rightfully credited. The misnamed Independent, whose ownership is shadowy but definitely includes Leon Perera and other PAP-associated figures, is just one of the more egregious examples of this appropriation. The Independent has even blocked me and the Reform Party on Twitter. But all the misappropriation only serves to illustrate that imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery.

 

Kenneth Jeyaretnam

* The author blogs at https://kenjeyaretnam.com/.

 

 

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22 Responses to “I was saying publicly as long ago as the 2011 GE that PAP’s Asset Enhancement Scheme was a scam”

  • Flabbergasted:

    why are oppositions back-stabbing each other? You guys have a common enemy!

    How do you expect Singaporeans to trust you bunch of clowns?

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  • role of not to be 'fixed':

    //Rather his unwillingness to raise the issue publicly reflects his desire not to do anything that would upset the PAP and lead them to do anything that could lead to him losing his seat and the income stream associated with it.//

    aiyoh. you said it yourself lar KJ. for oppo, how to keep the seat and at the same time play a careful role of not to be ‘fixed’ (aka as being kicked out) by the wayang foxes in the white idiotic team (with many mediocre plp white biting dogs).

    not easy lar when white idiots have (or had) 151th media standard to brainwash daft sinkies and when white idiots can turn your 4 to 5 and your ‘selected’ into ‘elected’. you can raise many matters but how many daft sinkies would know (especially during pre social media era or an period when social media is not that hot) as you know, many daft sinkies have been brainwashed not to be too keen on what the oppo said (even important) but more of what the white idiots and gang said (even if it is wayang).

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  • Old habits die hard:

    Suicide squad coming around again!

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  • N.Jungne:

    Surely there is someone at it, “lang kow, sio ka”, who could he be arh?

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  • Bapak:

    What KJ said does make sense. Just look at how they fixed his dad. NEVER, NEVER forget HISTORY.

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  • C'est la vie:

    *****
    Another iconic statement which I have previously posted, lauded at SG’s “home ownership” rate, the ratio of owner-occupied units to total residential units in a specified area, which in this case is listed at 90.80% (date of info – 2015), which places it as 2nd in the world to Romania.

    This piece of “misinformation” has been used by the “asset enhancing” PAP team for decades, to promote, price and sell “homes” to its people.

    Most of that 90.80% represents HDB leaseholds, which, never in a month of Sunday’s, ever relate or translate to “ownership”.

    Not only have Singaporeans been duped, but the world too, just by appearing on that world listing !!!

    Gotta hand it to the PAP !!!
    ***
    *****

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  • Mainstreet Citizens:

    Hello, everyone knows G.M.S has been consistently assisting the ruling party’s controlled media to attack W.P. and L.T.K. And most people knows he spend much more time doing such attacks than walking the ground and visiting residents.
    Even during the P.E. , he simply takes flight to H.K. , after agreeing to campaign for T.K.L.
    I’m saying this even as you (K.J.) are among those I hope to see in parliament and whom I believe can contribute in matters of Singapore’s sovereign funds. And I’m saying this as someone who respect the late J.B. and am very grateful for his contributions.
    And I’m saying this as someone who’s not affiliated to any political party (a believer of multi-party parliament).
    I do remember clearly W.P. spoke constantly about the high costs of living including the high prices of public flats. One simply need to refer to past parliamentary recordings and manifestos of W.P. to know who is the double-agent.

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  • cb:

    ArseEnlargementSteam to $0 @99

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  • Samuel S:

    KJ should know his dad fought LKY in his days, as a result he lost his seat and hence cant contribute. There is a saying: if you can’t win them, join them. At least you are inside and can fight your own course. If you are behind the scene you never able to contribute.

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  • LIONS:

    seriously,the PAPie$ know who are the FAKE ONE$.

    THANKS KJ,SON OF JBJ,FOR COMING OUT SO STRONGLY.

    INDEED,LTK has yet to do his stuff for sgs as promised.
    yet,he is ‘RETIRING’ at such tender age when DR M is trying to UNITE ALL MALAYSIAN OPPO to effect CHANGE?

    PS:AND,I THINK THE TOWN COUNCIL BULLCRAP BETWEEN PAP N WP IS A WAYANG THAT WASTES ALOT OF TAXPAYERS MONEY N TIME.

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  • No respect for Low:

    You may put Low down as a wily fox but personally he was too conservative and over deferential to LKY and PAP.

    He might have taken a jab here and there but that was about all.

    As the leader of the opposition he was a failure. Economics was a blur to him.

    He was scared stiff of raising very sensitive issues even in Parliament.

    Good thing he stepped down.

    Let’s see if his successor is made of different mettle.

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  • 知少少,做代表:

    You talk and talk, proclaimed you know this and that, but achieve ZERO Effect and nothing whatsoever since 2013, not even a single seat.

    But, its not fare to say you gain nothing, alright, you gain more Dislikes, hatred and foes.

    I would suggest you zip up until you gotten one seat to be comparing with the like of LTK. You should be asking why he is in Parliament and you are not.

    Do you understand what the Chinese say “Borrow Strength”? :-(

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  • HarderTruths:

    This is why people think the oppo is shit.
    First they say vote for us – then they start arguing among themselves.
    Really – would any of you want these oppo CLOWNS to run parliament?

    There is an old saying – Better the devil you know.
    In our case that might be true after all.

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    Ha-ha-ha-ha! Long ago I’ve already said that the defacto Opposition in S’pore Parliament was more like a PAP Lite version. The WP whose main objective was to thread carefully [in order not to get 'fixed'] while collecting their MP allowances every month till the next election. They’re not True Opposition in Parliament. Rather the WP were basically economic realists while fulfilling a “Political” role which they have no stomach to really engage in it ie. real opposition activities. They often defer to the PAP in matters of policy making thus creating the obvious observation of ‘NO OPPOSITION’.
    I’ve got lots of “Thumbs down” for making that controversial statement because I’ve stated the obvious ‘fact’. Many in TRE blindly supported the WP but I saw through WP’s hidden agenda of “Speak Softly while Collect on every turn” much like the game of Monopoly. S’poreans have no sensible opposition in Parliament who could enunciate their takedown of ‘idiotic’ PAP policies as well as come up with better policies because of the ‘FEAR FACTOR’. The late LKY had neutered S’poreans’ ‘Right to Free Speech’ with his intimidating tactics & ‘Come Down Hard’ methods [...Shades of Kempeitai War Atrocities & Brutal Methods] to exact an obedient, a compliant & basically, a timid society afraid of even their own shadow. And in the process, he created his own version of a S’pore society which he could mould & put forward to the world. But what he created it was a creation with a Golden Head but made with feet of clay ie. UNSUSTAINABLE! And which is why no nation in the world had adopted his model despite the face value notion of ‘success’ ie. GDP Growth, GDP per capita & vast impressive landscape of Brick ‘N Mortar structures!
    The whole basic problem in LKY’s S’pore Model is that the whole nation is conditioned under Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning Methods. Everything from speech to emotional responses was simply patterns of stimulus and response. The late LKY had simply denied the Population completely of their existence of the mind or consciousness. He had totally emasculate the population by displacing those who had the mind or consciousness to ‘object’ with those who were more bendable & easy to convince.
    - Cont’d -

    : Rather his unwillingness to raise the issue publicly reflects his desire not to do anything that would upset the PAP and lead them to do anything that could lead to him losing his seat and the income stream associated with it

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  • INDIAN malay INDIAN president:

    there are only two groups in Singapore.

    on the one side, the pap MFs, those S$m pap Ljs and S$m pap CBs currently ruining once great Singapore.

    on the other side, the non pap fellow Singaporeans, currently working very hard to turn a dying Singapore into a great Singapore.

    UNITED we stand.

    okay. maybe Mr Low TK did do harm to KJ’s dad. maybe he didn’t. but Mr Low TK is not pap. anything not pap in the bigger picture cannot be worse than pap. moreover Mr Low TK is already out of office, well almost. so let us be UNITED against that one harmful group ruining once great Singapore.

    continuing to attack Mr Low TK actually is unwise. we can do this after Ms Sylvia Lim or Mr Lim Tean or Mr Leon Perara is Prime Miniser.

    until then, UNITED we stand.

    BTW we believe we are actually the first ones in Singapore to say pap asset enhancement of HDB is a scam, is pap FAKE news. BUT we not Internet savvy so our position was not broadcast to other Singaporeans outside Aljunied. BUT ask around our coffee shop group in Aljunied. They tell you we are the first ones to tell a pig is a pig.

    BUT does it matter since pap still won GE2015?

    we think our energy our focus needs to be on converting one 70% sheep a day. if the 30% can each turn ONE 70% sheep, New Government forms. Singapore becomes a better place for our future generations.

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    - Cont’d -
    BRUTAL METHODS OF CLASSICAL CONDITIONING
    And KJ’s father was made an example of LKY’s brutal methods of Classical Conditioning. In reality, he was of no obvious threat to PAP’s hegemony over the political landscape. But yet, he was brutally taken down, stripped of his economic means of earning a living & made into a Pauper when he was capable of giving much more value to S’pore society.
    S’PORE – A MUSHROOM ECONOMY!
    In the process, if one’s smart enough to realize & acknowledge the “TRUTH” – the S’pore Economy (under LKY) is a Mushroom Economy – one could only grow through devious means eg. sycophants, crony capitalists & with the “balls-carrier” type of personality & mentality. As one knows, Mushroom only grows in the dark, fed with ‘shit’ as fertilizer & once harvested, they were discarded [Jiak-Ka-Kee] like a used condom because they’re of no more use to the farmer (re: LKY).
    CLASSICAL CONDITIONING METHODS IN PLAY
    Asset Enhancement Policy [of HDB flats] is a Classical Conditioning method of simple patterns of stimulus [HDB flat value goes up] and response [HDB dwellers vote PAP]. But once that stimulus failed to trigger, the response factor could be an unknown factor in future elections for the PAP. Beware! Look at the ongoing property bubble building in S’pore! Many of the Global property asset bubbles have burst in investor-attractive property markets like Vancouver, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland & in the prime markets of NYC & London. Yet in S’pore, the property bubble mania is ongoing driven up by favourable 2018 economic forecast by the State Mainstream media & by media statements from property players like CapitaLand’s CEO, the En Bloc bubble mania & recent high take-up rate of condo launches. It’s all so surreal given the bleak global background factor of rising interest rates, a global trade war between USA/China & the real issue of a war in Syria escalating into a Global conflict.
    MIND & CONSCIOUSNESS DO MATTER!
    An economy that is stripped of the mind & it’s consciousness will be a weak economy after all. Indeed, the PAP Classical Conditioning Methods is also grounded in their Economic Policies – the constant Cycle of Remaking/ Recovery/Stagnation/Restructuring & then repeat cycle again. But going forward, PAP’s Economic Policies using Classical Conditioning patterns isn’t working any longer. S’poreans had been well-conditioned [by the PAP] into a rigid cycle of good education/well-paid office job/ CPF/ Housing/ Car/ Comfortable Lifestyle, etc but this Classical Conditioning pattern is unraveling fast! IT NO LONGER WORKS BUT PEOPLE ARE STILL CONDITIONED IN THIS MINDSET!

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  • Another Harder IB Truths:

    How did the trolling work?

    You got a list of topics to write about. Every piece of news was taken care of by three trolls each, and the three of us would make up an act.

    We had to make it look like we were not trolls but real people.

    One of the three trolls would write something negative about the news, the other two would respond, “You are wrong,” and post links and such. And the negative one would eventually act convinced. Those are the kinds of plays we had to act out.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/02/17/a-former-russian-troll-speaks-it-was-like-being-in-orwells-world/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6a9478f184c3

    HarderTruths:
    This is why people think the oppo is shit.
    First they say vote for us – then they start arguing among themselves.
    Really – would any of you want these oppo CLOWNS to run parliament?

    There is an old saying – Better the devil you know.
    In our case that might be true after all.

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  • Chanmalichan:

    Kenneth J talk cock as usual. A failure, a shameless shade of the old man. The more nonsense he spews the more comic he is. Clown!

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  • Who Raise First, Unimportant!:

    Whoever can solve the problem is the real champion!

    Talking alone won’t help Singaporeans!

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  • LTK the SAGE:

    LTK stepped down in Grace and became “Deity” Like;

    No matter how the mobilized double Agents and PAP-IB tried to discredit him and wash him down, it had gotten no Effect and no success. People simply see through the tricks and ignored them. The double agents were exposed.

    A cursory glance at WP website review the amount of great works they have done, especially considering their tiny work force led by LTK.

    LTK the SAGE. Hurrah!

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  • Haigen-diaz:

    @Rabble-rouser

    As usual, excellent incisive analysis. I fear our oppositions, as a whole, has too little imagination to think outside of the [political box] it has been placed in. Three dangerous years lie ahead and we have much work to do. The last thing we need is to capitulate to that resentment. All opposition parties must stop dividing and start uniting (which I doubt will happen) to find the right balance between their ideology and policy… There is no time for ideological purity. WP’s ‘co-driver’ ideologues that have played the litmus test on voters instead of representing the public is exactly the culture that is killing off society. .. Our trade and immigration policies have been deliberately designed to loosen our labour market, to lower wages, and to add to the government-guaranteed fortunes (GDP), while our banking & finance, marine & shipping, retail & wholesale, manufacturing industries are wallowing….We are small, diverse yet the nation as a whole loses that common vision. Democracy alone is also insufficient to the task – the top 1 percent control that too. Instead, it will take some sort of societal catastrophe for the cockroaches to scurry back into their woodwork before they get stepped on. Its decline and fall will be similar to that of the Roman ancient regime, slow but sure yet cataclysmic all at once.

    Rabble-rouser:
    Ha-ha-ha-ha! Long ago I’ve already said that the defacto Opposition in S’pore Parliament was more like a PAP Lite version. The WP whose main objective was to thread carefully [in order not to get 'fixed'] while collecting their MP allowances every month till the next election. They’re not True Opposition in Parliament. Rather the WP were basically economic realists while fulfilling a “Political” role which they have no stomach to really engage in it ie. real opposition activities. They often defer to the PAP in matters of policy making thus creating the obvious observation of ‘NO OPPOSITION’.

    - Cont’d -

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  • Anyhow say:

    Indian can become Malay?, of course its easy to suck the honey and pocket full of money and stay on the sweet side THAN doing all the hard and dangerous works as an OPPO, where many idiots lesser appreciate.

    If all the Hammers abandon and think like the above, WE ARE DEAD. SURELY DEAD.

    Its not easy while you are small and limited in funds. You don’t like someone has $1B set aside for him to use whatever. With money, you can buy a lot of people to research speech for you. Being small, you thread until you grow somewhat bigger in size, first.

    For those ZERO seaters where the ikan bilis also don’t have, please quite lah. You can talk big, should do this do that. Where are the resources to research and interrogate the information? Anyhow say like the bankrupted old man ganna sued until pants drop meh?

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