Financial management in Singapore is worrying

So, Malaysia and China are going to build 648k of a rail link connecting Port Klang across the country and up the east coast to Kota Bahru. It’s an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative and will cots RM44 Billion (SGD$14.4B) after a budget renegotiation.

By contrast, the Singapore Malaysia High-speed rail link is still on hold with no budget renegotiation yet in sight. Also, the HRS was only going to need 350Km of rail link but with a budget of SGD$16.8B (RM$51B) with an allowed possible 20% overage to RM$60B, it was budgeted at almost 2.5 times the longer line per kilometre.

Aside from why can’t we renegotiate the budget and not lose this important link with a major trading partner and a part of the Belt and Road program why is the cost 250% more expensive?

Who is doing the budgets these days?

This is a serious question because when we look at purely domestic projects, we also see the same issue arising.

Our 35.5km circle line with 30 stations cost around $8B to build and now the government wants $4.85B to add just 4km of track and 3 stations to close the loop. How can it be 500% more expensive?

Our Downtown line budget ballooned from $12B to $20.7B a 72.5% overage in just 5 years as did the MCE which went from $2.5B to $4.3B and another 72% overage in a similar time frame.

And then we get to Changi Airport. The entire airport, T1, T2, T3, T4 plus Jewel cost only $7.36B in total over the years so how can terminal 5 alone cost 10’s of Billions and they can’t even give us a number?

Are they going to build it out of gold?

I am going to do a separate article on Changi but how can we continue to accept these budgeting failures and cost overruns?

In a private business if I was the CFO and came to the board saying its going to cost 10’s of billions, I am not sure exactly how much so can’t do a real cost-benefit analysis but it feels like a good idea I would be fired very quickly, especially with a track record like the one above.

What is going on with our money management? These are our hard-earned tax dollars and there seems to be a very laissez-faire attitude towards spending them.

I don’t know about you but I am very worried about our financial management.

 

Brad Bowyer

 

 

 

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25 Responses to “Financial management in Singapore is worrying”

  • NotMyProblem:

    You see why they need to retire the Auditor General earlier? A wife of a Minister is now put as AG, everyone in PAP said there is no conflict of interest!!

    Next time every Ministry’s AG reports will be sparking clean except those of Worker Party’s.

    7 of out 10 adult Singaporeans with degrees and others with other qualifications, please wake up. Malaysia did not has such impressive qualification, but they are smart. They kicked out the person with his hand inside 1MDB’s cookie jar. The culprit even employed/appointed many crooks to surround the cookie jar to cover his action. Malaysians saw through it.

    Can the smarter Singaporeans do it? Can they see those hands inside Temasick’s, GIC’s, GLC’s, CPF’s, MinDef’s, the Reserve’s and many other cookies jars?

    Singaporeans be smart, stay smart and show how smart you are to the PAP.

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  • AristoCATs luv "Ranking". . .:

    > “And then we get to Changi Airport. The entire airport, T1, T2, T3, T4 plus Jewel cost only $7.36B in total over the years so how can terminal 5 alone cost 10’s of Billions and they can’t even give us a number?

    Are they going to build it out of gold?”
    =
    MIWs love High Ranking – #1 in this, or that . . .
    Pat themselves in the back. . .
    -
    Of course, favourable rankings, please.
    -
    They no like –
    SG – the world’s most expensive city in the world.
    ST – High Press Freedom Index – 154 of 180.

    -
    Expensive MRT, airport? – Surprising?
    -
    Remember the Ballot Box !

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  • MarBowling:

    Bro Brad,

    Very Valid and Good Q:Who the HELL is doing the budgets these days?

    All these Mother of all Fiacking Big Projects incl CLOWN [email protected], T5, additional 3 stations to the CIRCUS Line, etc are under the jurisdiction and purview of current Minister of Finance, Heng Heng Sweet Cake! Not yet a PeeM BUT already approving and spending money like water. But then, can’t really BLAME this TALK-LIKE-MAI HUM bugger. He is NOT a Natural LEEder oops Leader. When he eventually squats TEMPORARILY on the Imperial Throne, he will be, like ex-PeeM Woody, acts as a Puppet, every decision and approval VETTED by the MasterMind(MM)who is controlling from BEHIND 24/7/365! Period.

    69.9%, so HOW? Status Quo or SHOW your Rude Extended Middle Finger to Mai Hum, Heng Heng and Gang in this coming GE! Or you prefer to KICK the Can down the LOONG and Winding DEAD END ROAD!

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  • UniQ:

    3 lids lost out of 10 Dustbins through incompetency or thru other circumstances ?

    The smell of stench would eventually spread.

    What does one do than ?

    Find a few BIG HOLEs to cover the Dustbins that have lost their lids, inorder not to let the bosses find out.

    Though amateurish, but effective, cause the bosses are either dumb or daft :)

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Brad, how do you prepare for your retirement and PAYMENTS of Lifestyle all over the World from Swiss Alps to Blue Mountain in Sydney and Colorado Aspen skiing HOMES???…

    Add on the Major cities in China & India…Now you why and HOW the prices are inflated to Live a Lifestyle of The Rich & Famous…sorry lah!!! forgot about Sun & Sea too in Bora Bora and Honolulu plus the Caribbean a SHORTSTOP away from the BVI accounts well within reach

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  • N.Jungne:

    Aiyah they can always say, they’re making profit.

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  • Solution to the Problem:

    Remember the Bin Centre, not all of it when to the cost of the construction. Almost 50% of it was used for other purpose.

    These left pockets to right pockets, even konghee would find it puzzling to learn.

    You know what’s the problem. I tell you….is the “MANDATE” silly sinkies have been fooled to given them.

    No Mandate and you will get – No more OwnSelf Check Ownself, No more I Warrant to Fake but you cannot Fake. No more GST, No more expensive HDB, all money will be accountable for.

    We need to give them only 45% of the volts and all problems will be solved. Yes, it is that easy. Housing, cars, transport, food, employments etc… all solved. The solution is in your HAND.

    And a brighter future for Singapore Come Tomorrow.

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  • PC Ong:

    This ang mor tua kee criticize for the sake of criticizing…Budget and cost overruns are common everywhere in the world. Even with budget overruns, Singapore is still rated AAA, so what is the problem? And cost overruns ultimately benefit our homegrown construction companies, helping them profit more and generate employment. What so bad about this? And we still have on one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds for such a tiny dot. The whole world knows money is no problem for Singapore because of our gahmen’s solid financial management.

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  • oxygen:

    WHO OR WHICH GRASSLOOT CONSTRUCTION ENTITY/ENTITIES BENEFITED from these budget overruns?

    FOR THE PEASANT Ah Sengs, we hear of bombardments of GDP growth numbers. They paid for these GDP growth statistics beautification with ever escalating taxes and delay in retirement CPF withdrawals – remember this, money is fungible and its flow is invisible to public eyes.

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  • oxygen:

    EVEN IF THE COSTS OVERRUNS ARE INEVITABLE – be that of mismanagement or any other reason/reasons , IT IS VERY TROUBLESOME GOING FORWARD.

    It means the costs of building artificial beauties and public housing is escalating at an accelerating rate.Peasant Ah Sengs wages have been stagnant for best part of the decade or fallen (displaced by cheaper foreigners) can’t afford housing or survive the rising costs of living.

    IN SIMPLE WORDS, THE ECONOMY MODEL IS BROKEN OR AT LEAST UNSUSTAINABLE MUCH LONGER.

    WHY IS PAPpy still hellbent on escalating its FAILED POPULATION RECYCLING ECONOMICS??

    4Gs are CLUELESS AND DIAM DIAM DIAM.

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  • Asd:

    No problem 1 lah.. tax more..
    Don’t worry…

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  • Tremendous:

    Yes, if you cannot present your business case as a CFO or business manager, you will be asked to leave the meeting and then get fired. Fully agree. This is a good catch.

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  • where money going to come from:

    When it comes to spending on grand projects that glorify them, they never say that it is not sustainable.

    Now, when it comes to spending to ease the suffering of the poorer and the average Singaporean, such as on healthcare or other social benefits, they will say it is not sustainable and will as where is the money going to come from.

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  • where money going to come from:

    They allocate an extremely generous budget to pay themselves every year. Never once did they ask where the money is going to come from.

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  • Partial truth?:

    Not sure about China. Most high speed rail or even MRTs in other countries not making $$$.

    1st. Jb to sg line will be profitable? Guess most likely given the numbers and tickets affordable plus operational schedules .

    2nd. Must build with standard and labish to give jb sultan face. Next even with PH , some coffee monies cannot be avoided.

    3rd. JB contribute major portion of taxes and revenues to malaysia gov. So development must be better. We know beside KL and Penang the rest ulu ulu.

    Will ECRL make $$$ ? Some concluded after budget down and route changes. It may not ??? It remains to be seen when completed and managed. Anyway ECRL earliest 2026 or 2030 ? 6 to 10 years enough for sg to make preparations. Down the road next election, PH may disqualify by BN. Or suddenly Dr M pass away resulted in PH internal breakup ???? Hard to say.

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  • No Dafts or Dogs Allowed:

    To Mahathir, the ECRL from China to Port Klang is already the BEST! All ships can unload in Port Klang and go by rail to China and save fuel to go all the way up North.

    No economic sense to invest in HSR even for free! Don’t forget 95% of servicing the line is in Malaysia and it only bring Malaysians to spend ringgits or gamble in Singapore. What more at the same time teach Johor a lesson for not being subservient.

    It seems the delegate sent to China failed. ECRL is definitely a smack in the face for Singapore. What’s more even falling asleep while a so-called future PM is espousing his cringe worthy ‘wisdom’ on the rostrum.

    Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible for the above opinions, as apparently one of my dogs has learned how to type.

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  • HarderTruths:

    What can $G contribute to the OBOR? Nothing. $G is considered by China a staunch American ally and hosts a forward base for US forces. china will not do real business with nations who can stab them in the back.

    China knows who their economic allies are – that is why Malaysia is being developed. – to replace $G. Once the facilities and infrastucture are in place expect all major banks to move to Malaysia (cheaper faster better).

    $G will revert to a prostitution-cum-money laundering hub for tourists and gangsters. We are halfway there anyway.

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  • RDB:

    What is HRS?
    “Also, the HRS was only going to need 350Km of rail link but…”

    Kindly don’t use uncommonly known abbreviations.
    Hope that Tremeritus can try to pick up such uncommon abbreviations and clarify it with brackets.

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  • Weak People Power:

    I suspect to many peasants the papayas is their religion. They base on trust and not facts and figures.Independently Audited Facts and Figures.

    Put it simply, there people are not intellectually sophisticated enough to know why Check and Balance is needed and why their self preservation will backfire on them when they need someone to speak out for them one day.

    Singaporeans travel quite a bit. So their head become big and are proud. They think they know the world. If they understand what is democracy as in the first worlds, they would not have :

    1. Worry the votes are traced to their identities in terms of who they voted.
    This worry seems logical. But let me point out what is illogical about their thinking.
    A. If votes were traced, it means breaking the law. If they believe the someone break the law, abusing their trust, raping the ass of the sanctity if our votes, then why have they Accepted it? Where is their People Power? Many Issues come out of this thinking of the peasants.

    B. If they believe strongly it can be traced and people’s identities have been traced, a Worldly Intellectual who is well travelled would have realised what is the issue and would have helped to Rally for people power to oust the gahbramen. But these fake worldly people who travelled quite a bit but are like country pumpkins in terms of knowledge of Democracy, would not have cowardly accepted the situation out of fear. They would have admitted this is not a democracy. But no, they still think everything is well and they sweep the issues under the carpet. Is this Worldly well travelled intellectual ?

    C. If they believe the votes choices and voters identities have been traced, then don’t they think the votes have been tempered? Do not get me wrong, I am not saying any vote has been tempered. I am saying the illogical thinking of the peasants could have let them suspect that. I am looking at their thinking. If that’s the case, WHY HAVE THEY ACCEPTED THE STATUS QUO ?
    How can any well-travelled worldly wise Singaporean who thinks he knows the world have accepted a situation of Powerle as People which implies there is no democracy?
    If they think democracy is bullshit, why have they not asked for it to be abolished?

    Last but not least, there are too many issues I have pointed out about the ignorant fools who have travelled quite a bit but never gained wisdom and are cowardly.

    So, this is why their eventual fate is a sad one. WHEN THEY COME FOR THEM, THEY HAVE NO ONE LEFT TO SPEAKOUT FOR THEM.

    In any other country, with the many issues in Singapore, I would have stood for election. But Singaporeans HAVE NO COURAGE to afford People power. Opposition leaders will not find enough voters who have the courage to Charge together with him under the…

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  • Marshal:

    Why so expensive???

    That is because all these projects have layers of spread which enriches the coffers of the few!!! Isn’t it clear enough???

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  • LIONS:

    It is partly POOR FINANCIAL SAVVINESS BUT MOSTLY DAFT ARROGANCE N FOOLISH PRIDE of SOMEONE,SOME PAPple.

    Dr M is keen to see SG slowing down so that HIS KL N MALAYSIA can DO CATCH-UP FASTERER.
    He is cutting SG OFF by scheming to LINK JOHORE ALL THE WAY TO PENANG OE EVEN THAILAND so that Malaysia can sell their durians n palm-oil more efficiently???

    The PAPple are truly BEHIND THE CURVE!
    THE SCHOLARS ARE SIMPLY USELESS OBEYING N ECHO-ing their DAFT LEEder all the way?!

    Digging n filling roads is a sheer wa$te of tax dollars even though it can churn the GDP.
    So the jewels n BUYING FOREIGN jewel$ that even more savvy investors like BUFFETT would avoid.

    The gahmen REFUSE TO INVEST IN OUR OWN PEOPLE N OUR OWN SMEs.
    In fact,the gahmen DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE!
    TAXING US N KILLING US INSTEAD OF OFFERRING HELP SO THAT WE CAN COMPETE BETTER.

    WE MAY BE TOO LATE FOR TEARS BUT BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.

    SCHOLARS SHOULD GO TO SCHOOLS TO TEACH;that way,they may contribute better?
    If not enough schools,they can GO TEACH AT KINDERGARTENS???

    SCREW YOU PAPple.
    You do us a serioys DISFAVOUR!

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  • PAP and their kakis:

    PC Ong:
    And cost overruns ultimately benefit our homegrown construction companies

    oxygen:
    WHO OR WHICH GRASSLOOT CONSTRUCTION ENTITY/ENTITIES BENEFITED from these budget overruns?

    They always end up benefitting the PAP and their kakis.

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  • 西毒欧羊疯:

    这个生活在亚洲土上的高加索人很喜欢“歪歪歪”的乱问!

    连接吉兰丹哥打巴鲁和雪兰莪的东海岸线铁路所经过的地方大都是人口比较少,开发度低很多的区域。新隆高铁所经过的区域人口稠密,开发度也高很多。在加上东海岸线是普通速度铁轨,而新隆高铁是设计时速超过三百公里的高速铁路。这样造成建造成本相差巨大是可以理解的。东海岸线还有中国因素,造价比较低更是本在话下啦!

    这个人还不知道怀着什么目的把新加坡地铁建造费也扯进来。相信就是要使局面变得复杂———混水好摸鱼嘛!

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  • Bad Boy:

    Dr M sometimes talk cock sing song also.

    He said in recent article about emulating the success factor of successful countries, malaysia will also be successful.

    But what he did not mention … he had done that before he pass baton over to his successor.
    Malaysia proton try to emulate japan cars but in the end liao.

    His pensonic try to emulate japan white goods black goods also not impressive. Not sure if still around.

    His malaysia airline and airport try to emulate whos know which role model also not impressive.

    His ports try to emulate sg but also cannot surpassed.

    His multimedia corridor try to emulate ang mo also close shop

    The list goes on …..

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  • HarderTruths trying too hard:

    Why major banks, mostly EU, Jap, USA want to move away from country that is “staunch American ally” to a country that is economically ‘developed’ by China?

    They don’t even trust their telecommunication system, you expect them to do the same with their money ?

    HarderTruths:
    What can $G contribute to the OBOR? Nothing. $G is considered by China a staunch American ally and hosts a forward base for US forces. china will not do real business with nations who can stab them in the back.

    China knows who their economic allies are – that is why Malaysia is being developed. – to replace $G. Once the facilities and infrastucture are in place expect all major banks to move to Malaysia (cheaper faster better).

    $G will revert to a prostitution-cum-money laundering hub for tourists and gangsters. We are halfway there anyway.

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