Friday, 21 September 2007

Comments on Parliamentary Debate on Amendment Bill

I've been torn between ploughing through the videos tonight of the debates in Parliament on the enbloc sale, and churning out 2 papers that are due, VERY soon. So as a compromise, I watched some of them, and Prof Jayakumar's closing responses to all who raised concerns.

A couple of interesting observations. Each of the MPs raised extremely valid concerns and suggested ways to tweak and improve the amendment bill. Why were these raised at this stage and not earlier, right after the amendment bill was made public? I ask this because their concerns, ranging from collective exchange models, concerns for the elderly owners, method of apportionment, clearer standardisation of CSAs, duties and responsibilities of SCs etc, would have gone much further into improving the mess that enbloc sales are currently in. While admitting that the amendment bill is a major step forward, it could have been a GIGANTIC leap forward if such considerations were seriously taken on board. But it seems, when raised in Parliament, (a) they don't seem to have an impact on any possibility of tweaking the amendment bill (someone correct me if I'm wrong here), (b) the major arbiter is Prof Jayakumar (listen to how often counter-responses to the suggestions or concerns raised by (N)MPs are preceded by first person reference "I think", "I wish to point out", "I would not favour", "I'm reluctant to" etc). The latter point seems to suggest that rather than a careful consideration of some of the suggestions (many of which were raised during the public consultation, some by me LOL) by a group of experts/researchers/lawyers, the buck seems to stop at Prof Jayakumar. If he agrees with it (eg NMP Siew's suggestion that SISV look into clearer stipulation of guidelines for method of apportionment) it goes through the gate and MinLaw will consider following up on it (in this case, working with SISV).

For me, this is the first time I've witnessed Singapore's Parliamentary debates on a specific topic and watched/listened to it carefully with my analytic cap on. Having seen British Parliament in action (they have a dedicated TV channel broadcasting it even), and how lively (and intelligent in some cases) the exchanges can be, this is quite... monologic, let's put it this way :) I saw a post on condosingapore that seems to capture the sentiment well:-

I watched the Parliament news this evening, and seems that all MPs have some very brilliant idea about how the enbloc legislation can be further improved. E.g. banning SPs who have bought a unit < 2 years from being in the sales committee, etc
But it is a matter of "too much but too late". This is Singapore. Any proposed bill, surely will be passed without amendments. If only, instead of engaging in meaningless "for-show only" debate in the parliament, prior to the drafting of any new laws or revision, each MP can drop an e-mail to the Highly Paid Superscale Admin Service staff to have his/her view considered.
This is probably much more effective, and save the Minister from being bombarded in the Parliament. We will also be happier citizens, knowing that our dear MPs have been looking after our interests....via e-mails at least.

I'd strongly suggest watching the videos of MP Alvin Yeo, NMP Siew Kum Hong, NMP Mehta, MP Irene Ng, and of course Prof Jayakumar's closing responses.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for an insight into the latest parliamentary session in regard to this issue. The fact that such a socially provocative legislation gets through the rounds and reaches this late stage is very simple, a parliament made up of a one party band , means everyone is just busy hanging onto that wagon and no one has the gumption nor the wherewithal to raise any objection with passion. Keep your head down and you will get peace seems to be the order of the day.

Here in UK , it is the other extreme where a public issue e.g. the banning of fox-hunting, would take forever to get pass first round because those affected, besides opposition parties, will take the initiative to march through the streets against such an act.

Democracy courses through the blood stream of every citizen here and I would not want to be a politician for all the money in the world , it is probably the hardest job to take on here.

At every level there is a shadow opposition party docking the ruling party minister , no minister could ever rest easy on his job knowing full well that he has a shadowy opposite lurking behind his back .

Yet the UK ministers are only paid a fraction of the pay that top civil servants and ministers get in tiny Singapore !

In politics, transparency is only lip service. Men of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds, and when the weeds begin to grow hence the garden overgrow.

ONly fools would trust a politician to protect the roof over our head. Hence, politicians like nappies ought to be changed regularly for the same reason.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

1. After watching the video and reading the Today online, I still find the Sales Committee is the main culprit of the Enbloc Collective Sales eventhough as mentioned by Pro. Jayakumar that the SCs will need to be elected in AGM as most of the estate do but still the loophole is these bunch of property speculators were still able to nominate one and the other can secondary to nominate the other members which I don't see any transparency especially for SP whom hardly attend the AGM. 2. Therefore, my suggestion will be once the selected SC are formed, the SPs of the whole estate should endorse and acknowledge this group as their representatives for the Enbloc Collective Sales and update with circulars and minutes on the progress when appointing of marketing agent and lawyer and how was they selection procedure should be communicate across to all SPs or tenants of the estate before any action can be taken to force in the enbloc sales and allowing the Protem SC to buy up units which were not informed of the details as when the protem select the MA and the lawyers to kickstart the enbloc exercise.

Anonymous said...

We have a monopolistic gahment.Therefore we have monopolystic answer.When Taiwanese politicians fight in paliament it is for all to see.Same here.When MPs debate it is also for show.

Anonymous said...

Looks like someone is selling foreign properties on this site for our benefit and his.

There are two most reviled professions in the world , lawyers and estate

Costa Rica is the other side of the world, easier to sell us Bali, Perth, least the food is great at these locations and an easy flight away. Cheap food, cheap domestic help, cheap shopping ,secure political infrastructure, tax haven, no lingo problems, easy access..good health system...those are the 'must haves' for all pragmatic Singaporeans when considering alternative first or second homes.
Hope Heaven is like that

Dr Minority said...

With apologies, I have removed the spam comments. That happens unfortunately :(

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