Challenge completed. Will Alex Tan shut down States Times Review as he promised?

Alex Tan declared that he would shut down States Times Review if a list of news he published is rebutted.

So here goes!

1. STR Alex Tan: 30% in water price despite (PUB) posting $166 million in profit in 2016.

The truth is that PUB posted $166 million in profit only after receiving a massive $270.4 million in government grants which, by the way, is taxpayers’ money.

States Times Review
PUB Annual Report 2016 shows that PUB operated on a loss and only posted a net income of $166.8 after receiving $270.4 million in government grants.

 

2. STR Alex Tan: Housing prices become worthless after the lease is up.

‘Leasehold property’ is not unique to HDB. Nor is it a Singapore’s invention. Many properties in the world are leasehold ones.  They can be found in UK, US, New Zealand and Germany, just to name a few. In China the lease is 70 years.

When you sign an agreement with HDB to buy a flat, you agree to a 99-year lease. When the lease is up, you surrender your right to the property. It’s the same elsewhere in the world. It cannot be that you have the right to continue to live indefinitely in the flat after the lease has expired. If this is the case, then it would make no sense for HDB or anyone else in the world to specify a lease period.

But what happens after you surrender your right to the property is not known since such a situation has never occurred in Singapore where even the oldest HDB flats still have about 50 years of lease left.

There are several possibilities that I can hypothesize. If the flats are still in good condition for more years, maybe HDB will offer an extension of the lease which of course will involve some payment, as is the case in some countries. Or HDB will formally repossess the flats if they are in bad condition due to the passage of time and you wouldn’t want to live in unsafe flats anyway.

There is an option available to you. Why wait for your flat to run out of lease? Monetize it. Sell the tail end of the lease back to HDB and get every cent for what it is worth. Old flats are unlikely to find buyers anyway. So take advantage of the lease buyback scheme and release the money to use for your old age.

 

3. STR Alex Tan: Temasek Holdings lost $24 billion in a year while GIC posts undisclosed losses amounting to tens of billions.

If GIC and Temasek were making huge losses like Alex Tan claim, how did they contribute a whopping $14 billion to this year’s budget to spend on Singaporeans?

States Times Review
If GIC and Temasek were making losses like Alex Tan claimed, how did both GIC and Temasek together contribute $14 billion from their Net Investment Returns to this year’s budget?

Temasek did not suffer a $24 billion loss as Alex claimed. The $24 billion represents a drop in Temasek’s portfolio. This drop in portfolio is the result of Temasek reshaping and rebalancing their portfolio in response to long-term trends in the financial  and life sciences sectors and digital space. In reshaping their portfolio, Temasek divested a record $28 billion last year. When you divest, you get rid of some of your investments. Of course the size of your portfolio will drop. 

 

4. STR Alex Tan: Lee Hsien Loong claiming Singaporeans are racist and hence there is a need to reserve the Presidential Election for Malays. 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong did not claim Singaporeans are racist. He was quoting the result of a survey conducted by IPS (Institute of Policy Studies) which said that race matters when it comes to Singaporeans’ preferences for prime minister or president.

5. STR Alex Tan: Over 1000 turned up for a job fair for 300 vacancies… job seekers outnumber job vacancies by 130 to 100. 

What an erroneous way to come up with statistics. LOL. There isn’t just one job fair. There are many job fairs.

 

6. STR Alex Tan: Lee Hsien Loong control [sic] the MAS, …. his wife is CEO of Temasek Holdings – simply pointing to the fact that CPF is just a crowdfund for Lee Hsien Loong and his wife to have free access.

Right from its inception, Temasek Holdings did not and does not handle CPF monies. Zero, zilch, zip. Temasek is a private investment company.

Its initial portfolio of S$354 million comprised shares in companies, start-ups and joint ventures previously held by the Singapore Government. They included a bird park, a hotel, a shoe maker, a detergent producer, naval yards converted into a ship repair business, a start-up airline, and an iron and steel mill. Nothing to do with CPF.

Temasek investments are financed using dividends and other cash distributions it receives from its portfolio companies and other investments, divestment proceeds from sale of its investments, and borrowings and debt financing sources such as the Temasek Bonds and Euro-commercial Paper Programme.

Before you cry “Oh I don’t believe”, Temasek Holdings has a perfect score on the Linaburg-Maduell Transparency Index for sovereign wealth funds.

 

7. STR Alex Tan: MRT break down as frequent as once every week for the year of 2016 ….

Based on statistics from LTA, it will doesn’t look like a breakdown once every week. Time for Alex Tan to keep his word and shut down States Times Review. LOL

States Times Review
Number of train delays > 30 minutes.

 

8. STR Alex Tan: China detained Terrex vehicles in response to Lee Hsien Loong’s comment on South China Sea…

Blatantly fake news. The company and the captain of the vessel that transported the vehicles have been charged by the Hong Kong immigration authorities for violation of rules.

 

9. STR Alex Tan: Singapore is most expensive country in the world, so is the Ministers’ salaries.

In perspective, Singapore is the most expensive country in the world for expatriates. This is because expatriates do not enjoy any subsidies. They do not enjoy housing subsidies. They do not enjoy healthcare subsidies. Their children have to go to private schools.

Our ministers are not the highest paid like most would like to think. In Singapore, we have a transparent wage system in which the salary of a minister has only one component and that is the cash component. Our ministers and their families do not enjoy any hidden benefits. They don’t have paid holidays like Donald Trump. Our ministers are not on any pension scheme. They do not get any benefits when they retire from office. Their retirement fund, like you and I, comes from their CPF which they contribute monthly subject to the same income ceiling for contribution.

But look how much former presidents of US get in this table below. The large amount of money is to help them ‘maintain the dignity’ of the office of the president.

States Times Review
Retirement money for former presidents of USA. Source: Congressional Research Service.

 

10. STR Alex Tan: Straits Times is Singapore’s only credible news and States Times Review is fake news. 

Indeed, States Times Review IS fake news. Singaporeans have a wide choice of news sources: ST, TODAY, CNA, TNP, Berita Harian, etc etc

Challenge completed.

When will Alex Tan shut down States Times Review?

States Times Review
Alex Tan, formerly from Reform Party, and former editor of The Real Singapore, owns and runs States Time Review.

Audrey

A rambling homemaker dreaming of a better world and sharing her 2-cents worth.

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