Why ministers should declare their assets

I give my views on why ministers should declare their assets.

Ministers have a lot of power and discretion to make decisions involving hundred of million dollars. Their decisions are hardly challenged by their subordinates. It is easy for corrupt ministers to collect millions of dollars in bribes to make decisions in favor of certain parties.

The need to make the declaration should also extend to top civil servants.

It does not need to go down to lower levels, because the discretion and spending authority of junior civil servants are limited. Furthermore, the senior civil servants are able to monitor these decisions.

How does the declaration help to reduce corruption?

The declaration requires the minister and top civil servants to explain their assets annually. If the assets have increased significantly, the declarer has to explain the source of the income.

It is possible for the declarer to lie about the assets. They can hide the assets or fail to declare them.

This failure to declare the assets is, by itself, an offence and can cause the declarer to be terminated from service.

Should the declaration be extended to assets owned by family members?

It should include the spouse and those assets owned by children which are purchased from the income of the declarer. It should not include the assets that are acquired by the earnings of the family members.

I have seen declaration forms that require the declarer to state all the assets owned by family members. This requirement is unreasonable. The declarer may not be aware about these assets.

My suggested form of declaration for family members is not water tight. But it is practical and is a reasonable compromise.

In most cases, the assets owned by the declarer will not change much from one year to another. They will increase due to the savings from legitimate and taxed source of income.

The exception is assets obtained from inheritance. This can be explained and is not likely to be frequent.

Should the declaration be made public? I suggest that it should be a public document. This will allow whistle blowers to point out non declaration.

However, if is likely to be detrimental, an alternative approach is for the declaration should be provided to a panel appointed by Parliament or elected by the people. The members is required to observe an oath of secrecy.

This panel should be independent of any minister or the prime minister. After all, the ministers are the subject of the scrutiny.

To make the declaration non-onerous, it should be a simple declaration giving a listing of large assets and a total value of investment portfolios. It should cover local and overseas assets. The assets do not need to be specified in great detail. It is not an audited financial statement.

This declaration should be accompanied by a parallel process of making major decisions public. There is no need to hide the expenditure of military hardware or infrastructure projects, as being state secrets. They are not. The governments of hostile countries will have a way of knowing these secrets. Why should the information be hidden from the people.

I support the requirement for ministers and top civil servants to declare their assets and for major expenditure to be made public.

 

Tan Kin Lian

 

 

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32 Responses to “Why ministers should declare their assets”

  • Just Look at 'Marlboro'!:

    How filthy rich he has become..

    Almost wanted the Singapore River for himself too but it was too obvious!

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Mr Tan are you JOKING???…ministers PROUDLY proclaim their humble beginnings from a WC night soil carrying kampong to a room shared between parents and six siblings in a rented shophouse…

    One went on to be PM with a Mansion fit for Billionaires and many more private HOMES all over the world and still clinging on for his monthly payout LEEching on the people

    The other has HOMES in the Best district 9-10-11 plus overseas…

    All these through Serving the People??? or Fleecing the people???

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  • Useless BS:

    A corrupt person will find a way no matter what. Only God can punish.

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  • LIONS:

    Well,they ought to.
    Integrity goes hand in hand with TRANSPARENCY.

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  • NotMyProblem:

    @Mr. Tan, for the health of Singaporeans, it is better that we don’t know their assets. Once we know, many would die of heart attack! Also to avoid answering embarrassing questions, the lesser we know the better for Ministers, MPs and top civil servants.

    One of the reasons why Ministers, MPs and top civil servants are with PAP is wealth!! There is no end to their greed, it doesn’t matter how the wealth come from!

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  • Mr Matsu Take (武 松):

    Declaration of assets by top public office bearers without the requirement to include assets belonging to members in his/her immediate family!!!?

    How much more incoherently stupig can you get, Miss Pan Kin Lian?l

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  • MarBowling:

    Mr Tan KL’s request for our World Class $millions Ministers to declare their Assets is like playing piano music to a Bull. Based on Woody past comments about the need to increase the salaries of our ministers or else SinKapore will be in deep shit when Very very few individuals esp the talented ones from both the public and private sectors will be WILLING to join the coverment to serve the cuntry! By his reasoning, it means the current salaries of ministers although most would consider to be obscene, is actually PEANUT$. Ex PeeM Lee Kayu had justified the paying of $millions salaries to his ministers to PREVENT CORRUPTION. SO Declare or don’t declare is ok. However, we esp the 30% are more INTERESTED in the SALARY of Holee Jinx, CEO of Tombmasek. She has been squatting there for umpteen years…..w/o giving way to fresh blood, whereas ministers and top guns come and go.

    Mr Tan KL should change the title to “Holee Jinx should declare her Asset(and Salary].

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  • Asking for the impossible:

    It will take 56 man years to collate all the info…
    Even if they do declare,..it wont be a complete one..
    Eg our ex president reqs to see the books on sg’s assets etc..
    If they can do that to the highest officer in the land, then …???
    In short, we’ll never know.

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  • If I remember correctly, Ministers DO DECLARE their assets to the Prime Minister but not sure if the PM declare or not.

    Even if the PM do declare, he declare to who? To Ms PM, President?

    Not likely I think.

    @MarBowling

    I agree we will all have a heart attack. I am tempted to believe that one year of Ms PM’s salary and bonuses will enable TRE buy its own Data Center and host only TRE in it for the next slew of General Elections, way way past PM Li Hongyi.

    WHat do you think?

    .

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  • 鸟龙的人:

    泰国,马国,上任卸任都要报告财产
    这里不用程报,只須程报总理
    哪总理和部长一起“吃” 哪谁知道??
    最终牠们一起”吃吃吃” 丢内老某个抄海

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  • Grow A Spine:

    Useless BS:
    A corrupt person will find a way no matter what. Only God can punish.

    If everyone were to wait for God to take action, then He will not have to create the head in every human kind.
    He gave the head for each sinkie to use, so use it often.
    Don’t be lazy and let others do the thinking for you.
    When change in government is needed, then change it, don’t bring in all the excuses.

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  • All In A Happy Familee:

    Useless BS:
    A corrupt person will find a way no matter what. Only God can punish.

    If everyone were to wait for God to take action, then He will not have to create the head in every human kind.
    He gave the head for each sinkie to use, so use it often.
    Don’t be lazy and let others do the thinking for you.
    When change in government is needed, then change it, don’t bring in all the excuses.

    TRE Techie:
    If I remember correctly, Ministers DO DECLARE their assets to the Prime Minister but not sure if the PM declare or not.

    Even if the PM do declare, he declare to who? To Ms PM, President?

    Not likely I think.

    @MarBowling

    I agree we will all have a heart attack. I am tempted to believe that one year of Ms PM’s salary and bonuses will enable TRE buy its own Data Center and host only TRE in it for the next slew of General Elections, way way past PM Li Hongyi.

    WHat do you think?

    .

    This is ludicrous, you scratch my back, I scratch your back.

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  • Half-boiled egg:

    Dammed naïve thinking, this golden lotus

    Mr Matsu Take (武 松):
    Declaration of assets by top public office bearers without the requirement to include assets belonging to members in his/her immediate family!!!?

    How much more incoherently stupig can you get, Miss Pan Kin Lian?l

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  • Bapak:

    First heart attack, then follow by riots. Bring in the Army, soldiers (most of them NS lagi low pay) also don’t want to fight.

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  • a PG:

    They should all declare their incomes, properties, overseas banks accounts, etc to SINGAPOREANS who are their paymasters and taxpayers. Rembr they the elites say that they are the servants elected/voted by the ppl to serve Sinkaporeans. But sadly, it turns out the opposite, we have to serve them.

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  • Nonsense rhymes:

    Some people said PM is already a billionaire: I can’t believe that’s not hot air!

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  • Long Long overdue:

    Yes Mr Tan Kim Lian. Correct. This is the practice in the UK parliament. Long overdue

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  • Useless BS:

    So you’re think you’re smart? and your head don’t go to waste?
    Agreed, a D*ck head.

    Grow A Spine: If everyone were to wait for God to take action, then He will not have to create the head in every human kind.
    He gave the head for each sinkie to use, so use it often.
    Don’t be lazy and let others do the thinking for you.
    When change in government is needed, then change it, don’t bring in all the excuses.

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  • Useless BS:

    @ Grow A Spine

    Now you know why I call you a D*ck head?

    Tan Kin Lian:
    I have seen declaration forms that require the declarer to state all the assets owned by family members. This requirement is unreasonable. The declarer may not be aware about these assets.

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    Ha-ha-ha-ha! The biggest Asset that you have is your mind & your ability to comprehend climate change. The ability to prepare for the worst. In today’s world, even the most proven hedge fund manager have not only lost his pants but also his shirt. And in the final stages of the bear market, you’ll see if he does wear any underwear at all.
    All the assets in the world are never safe from the increasingly earthquakes, tsunamis & weather extremeties that reduce them to rubble or unliveable. Man-made disaster like Sydney’s Opal Tower were just the tip of the iceberg. In a bear market coupled with receding liquidity, investments & assets are bear-traps with no means of extrication.
    Even financial assets are in danger of counterparty risk as no one knows how overleveraged & dangerously overcommitted are the counterparties. Once toppled, the whole mechanism becomes a stacked chain of toppling domino tiles.
    The ones who have the most to lose are the ones who have accumulated the most assets. Didn’t anyone tell you that in a Everything-is-a-bull-market eco-system, there is no safe haven from monetary losses from declining asset values, total losses from shares & bonds, collapsed of once-failsafe investments eg. the roller coaster ride of cryptocurrencies.
    A wiseman once said, “Be contented with what you have & need. The chase for more than you need leads to pain & suffering because you can’t control the things beyond a normal man. A man with nothing sleeps soundly at night whereas a man who has a lot at stake can’t sleep thinking about his assets.”

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    And NAJIB’S case, a politician can’t hide from his Kleptomaniac excesses no matter how influential is he. The crawback principles apply once he falls from political power. It is a hard lesson for all to heed!

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  • Went to Japan:

    Singapore wants to bluff Singaporeans that politics are separate from politics. But in reality, it is no different from China, the Chinese leaders paid a few k a month but own all sort of businesses from golf courses to conglomerate.

    We believe the late old man and his wife are major share holders of a number of GLCs and many other companies, remember he went to fire the Malaysysian pilot? And uncle Thorny banking etc…

    Remember inheritance law suddenly changed when old man passed away? Why? Pinky son is Li not Lee, why? You really think these are coincidence?

    Declare to public how many zeros in the bank accounts? Are you nutz? Would they ever? This is why they are desperate to be in power forever. What if they lost election? Suddenly everything becomes transparent and naked, wont they be scared shit?

    Singaporeans sort of know but they like to have an excuse to defend them. As long as there is no real report, they can pretend nothing has happened and continue to daft and naive.

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  • MarBowling:

    TRE Techie:
    January 13, 2019 at 6:02 pm (Quote)
    If I remember correctly, Ministers DO DECLARE their assets to the Prime Minister but not sure if the PM declare or not.
    Even if the PM do declare, he declare to who? To Ms PM, President?
    Not likely I think.
    @MarBowling
    I agree we will all have a heart attack. I am tempted to believe that one year of Ms PM’s salary and bonuses will enable TRE buy its own Data Center and host only TRE in it for the next slew of General Elections, way way past PM Li Hongyi.
    WHat do you think?

    Response: think our Ms PeeM has PORTRAITED herself NICELY to be a very very HUM-BLE and SIMPLE person alto a lot of people considered her Holee action as a camouflage! She isn’t like Ahjib’s wifey Rosemary who likes to flaunt her massive wealth by wearing a ring as big as a walnut and sporting her hairdo like Lioness King. And On important function and occasion, she only wears cheapskate Bengali slipper and colorful pajamas. Anyway, Only Heaven and she ALONE knows the REAL Hard Truth!

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  • Ministers' Accountability:

    Accountability of the Govt in a democratic nation is a Consitutional and an significant n interal part of democracy. The resistance to transparency aka accountability imply that there r unconstitutional activities which if exposed would discredit the govt n its personnels. Judiciary system with hall its institutions r independent as dictated by the Constitution n any form of bias towards condoning failure of accountability or unwilling to disclose non security matter is acting against the Constitution. This independent status stretch over all public institution including the President.
    On this matter citizens have a right to know the detail account sheet of Kim Trump Meeting in Singapore which pap so desperately wanting to host as this as the citizens see ot as pap self glorification n bring no benefits at all to the nation n her citizens but costing Singaporeans $28m which can be better use to alleviate citizens pressing issues of high costs n threatening further big increase in taxes n fees incl GST.

    $28m spent on a day meeting appeared to be very extravagant n the details must be fully disclose with justification n billing support. Were there any cash given to whom n why? If this isn’t disclosed, all sorts of speculations will continue thru the whole citizenry. If any such speculation incurs legal suit taken by the establishment against citizenry, the legal question will be accountability aka transparency in regards to Constitution rights of the citizens n not the speculator should be the one be accountable to what he/she speculates. President is entrusted by the Constitution to defend the Constitution n the rights bestowed on the citizens. Failing to enforce the power n independence status of these public institution imply what LHY/LWL claim of compliancy stands n President should take the appropriate action with the support n independent decision n advice of the Presidential Council.

    Are our men maning the ultra important public institutions not men of integrity n honour to rise to the patrotic call to right what the Constitution demand in a Democratic Nation. SIN is democracy based not nepotism nor dynasty nor tyranny. Citizens have the right to dissent peacefully. To treat public dissent as public enemies is in itself anti constitutional n anti national interests or simply traitorous!.

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  • rukidding:

    Frankly, I doubt PAP members and our Ministers “dares” or “would be leased” to “reveal” this kind of details ???

    You should know “better” !

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  • Doomocracy for sgs:

    Yes they should declare , but they will not. Who’s gonna make them huh?
    Remember this is Leejiapor…not some real 1st world democracy.
    Here the ones in charge think and do what they like.
    they feel they own our country & Its citizens..
    We shd all have digested this fact by now.

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  • Useless BS:

    @ Went to Japan.

    Well said! Glad to have Singaporeans like you, around.
    That’s why I say people like @TKL and @Grow A Spine are not only naïve but also D*ick heads who’re too stupid to know they’re stupid.

    Went to Japan:
    Singapore wants to bluff Singaporeans that politics are separate from politics. But in reality, it is no different from China, the Chinese leaders paid a few k a month but own all sort of businesses from golf courses to conglomerate.

    We believe the late old man and his wife are major share holders of a number of GLCs and many other companies, remember he went to fire the Malaysysian pilot? And uncle Thorny banking etc…

    Remember inheritance law suddenly changed when old man passed away? Why? Pinky son is Li not Lee, why? You really think these are coincidence?

    Declare to public how many zeros in the bank accounts? Are you nutz? Would they ever? This is why they are desperate to be in power forever. What if they lost election? Suddenly everything becomes transparent and naked, wont they be scared shit?

    Singaporeans sort of know but they like to have an excuse to defend them. As long as there is no real report, they can pretend nothing has happened and continue to daft and naive.

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  • justanothercitizen:

    When we apply for subsidy for our aged parent, all the income of the siblings have to be declared. Any other example?

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  • Abuse n Privileges:

    Directors n company senior mge r exposed to privilegd information before it is announced. If these employees use the privileged or leak the information, they can make a fortune. If such inside trading is exposed but of course such abuse will be sealed in darkness but nothing be sealed completely. Once exposed, it becomes a commercial crime. If such abuse of power n privilege in public administration n politic, the crime committed can amt to corruption to treason. Once such criminal acts leak, the effect is catastrophic. For this reasons. transparency n total accountability r integral part of democracy n cannot be compromised. The more the govt is unwilling to acceed to public call for information, the degree of suspicion of the public mounts. IF the public institutions r manned by bootlickers, brownosers n polanpa, the real cuprits r protected n those vocal speculators r unjustly criminalized. Such situation will invariably increase the arrogqnce n guts to commit more frequently n more serious crime n the opacity increased. These r the real damages done by bootlicking brownosing n polanpaing n can lead to total collapse. This is then not just polanpa brownosing or bootlicking, but treason of the highest e. Selling off one’s motherland has been historically recorded all stqrting off with polanpa for small personal gain then bigger getting hungrier n greedier. So a cautionary advice to l plps, let Stop before you potill you deserve capital punishment for treason.

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  • So intrusive:

    @justanothercitizen
    Last year i saw a flyer at my CC for senior citizens , to apply for subsidised broadband internet svc. I was unemployed then.
    So i took a flyer home to read n proceeded to fill in the form but stopped halfway.
    They needed all siblings jobs and salary info..plus applicants cannot have more than $4k in their bank account. I have never asked my siblings details about their jobs much less how much they earn. Btw all 7 are average hardworking ppl..not rich.
    so i just threw away the application form. No need.
    im not applying for a job at the secret service am i? Jeez!
    Im very sure with our ic and full name they are able to find out easily..
    And what happens if all that info is misused? It happens all the time these days.

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  • Financial Inquirer:

    Nonsense rhymes:
    January 13, 2019 at 9:25 pm (Quote)
    “Some people said PM is already a billionaire: I can’t believe that’s not hot air!”

    NONSENSE!!!

    You, rhymes, must definitely be a working-class digit who thinks nine zeroes are an astronomical figure;
    what’s a billion nowadays, even tens or a hundred billion??? Chicken feed!

    A family corporation that has continuously been IN EXCLUSIVE SOLE CHARGE of an entire nation’s economy for six whole decades – that’s sixty years for you, rhymes, if you can’t figure – cannot but be the planet’s richest entity, bearing in mind that this economy has never faltered, save one or two quarters of recessionary pains, but consistently been the better performers of tiger economies EVEN TO THIS GERY DAY!

    SIXTY WHOLE DAMN BLOODY YEARS, rhymes, two generations of your family here!
    Can you imagine Bill Gates owning the entire Microsoft stock for 60 years, what’s that gonna make him, tell me?

    This family of masters of your economy, my dear fellow daft sillypoorean of a rhyme, are the first ever TRILLIONAIRES ON PLANET EARTH! Yes, in USD terms no less & not SGDs.

    And we’re only talking about cash & other liquid assets, not even gone into their platinum holdings, or more correctly, hoardings, viz. their secret hoard of the precious metal more precious than your silly eye-catching yellow ore.

    So now you know why the Old Fart and now his anointed successor have been so eager to protect their turf, do anything (even to the extent of defying the will of heaven, never mind humanity that counts for nothing in their family ‘values’ lexicon) and everything within their means & oftentimes outside of it to ensure their continued existence in the highest Parthenon of gods of money & men.

    “Billionaire”… please don’t make a clown of yourself here, rhymes, even the great HoLee Chinggis will laugh at you if she should ever chance upon your stupid conjecture, correcting you with: “I make that much EVERY YEAR, actually more in normal years when bonuses are included. You could even call me a new-born billionaire every twelve months or so, heehee. Thanks for your interest into our wealth. Which is no secret actuallee, hahah.”

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  • Please be fair to citizens:

    We wont grudge them their $mils or $bils if they really deserve it, by exceptional work theyve done for the country , which benefitted both the country & citizens.
    Correct?
    But from what we peasants see around us each day and the increasing individuals in hardship, proves this is NOT the case.
    But the 70% dont mind being paupers in their own country, so we’re all doomed..

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