Sold off to the GLC’s and we are paying for it

As I have been focusing on the Changi Airport, here are extracts from Changi Airport Group (CAG) 2009/10 annual report when Changi was corporatized, and CAG was created:

Click to enlarge

At the time, the Net Assets current was $4,507,997,000 + Non-Current $2,576,101,000 – Liabilities $3,559,967,000 = $3,515,014,000 so the amount paid was about $237 million less than Net book value but a few other considerations may have been involved when the MOF injected the capital (i.e the taxpayer)

This pattern of transferring state assets to privatised Government Linked Companies’ at or near Net Book Value has been a big focus of People’s Action Party policy for almost 2 decades now.

What happened to the profits is a little harder to uncover with the airport as the accounts are very convoluted as is the ownership of the many components to be very accurate but I will use another example, our rail system, to answer a reader’s question to show us who took profits at the public expense.

In 1998, all our Rail infrastructure was sold to SMRT at Net book value. We all know the saga of what happened next but after 18 years and a deteriorating service at a higher and higher cost to the consumer, all the assets were finally brought back under direct public control with the new rail financing framework in 2016. The cost to the taxpayer for the buyback was approximately $1B. How much it was bought for originally and if SMRT made a profit on this transaction is not, however, in the public eye.

Now the infrastructure is once again owned by the state we the taxpayer are paying for repairs, upgrading and new lines and rolling stock. Many of the things that should have been done while under SMRT’s private purview but were neglected while extracting more and more profits.

Temasek bought the 46% outstanding shares it did not own, delisted SMRT and now asset-light, SMRT is expected to post an average EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) margin of 5% although before this it was in the mid 20% range. That 15 to 20% delta was pure profit at the public expense benefitting Temasek and the other 46% of shareholders.

During its 18 years of focusing on profits over service, many billions of dollars were extracted as dividends as well as to key appointees who were paid way above industry standards for their roles. Compare Desmond Quek’s $2.31 million at peak to Mike Brown head of Transport for London at £350,000 (approx. SGD $620,000). That’s almost 4 times his salary and other national rail infrastructure head comparisons are similar.

The world over, we have seen this privatisation driven based on the excuse of “competition drives better service” being fully repudiated and now, we also see it happening here in Singapore. In fact, you could say it’s even worse here because, at least, the companies overseas are fully private whereas here they are still government controlled and seemingly get access to taxpayers money as the capital when they need it anyway.

As Singaporeans, we pride ourselves on being prudent and good managers so why the drive to privatise everything?

We are an island city nation, not a vast country and we don’t really have competition anyway so that is a very poor excuse.

Essential services and national infrastructure, transport, power, water etc, should not be privatised so profits can be extracted but run by the government responsibly at cost.

This would lower the end user costs to the public, keep the operating costs and salaries more in check and provide a better service focused on results rather than a questionable profit-driven one.

It should also mean more prudence and only necessary and very well thought out spending if there was more national accountability (especially think T5 here).

I hope our government will take a long hard look at the drive to privatise and remember their role is not to be a mega-capitalist who exploits the people but the buffer between the people and the mega-capitalists to ensure a more balanced system and be a check when they go a little too far.

 

Brad Bowyer

 

 

 

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22 Responses to “Sold off to the GLC’s and we are paying for it”

  • RDB:

    Dictatorships never ever dare face market competition. That’s the hard truth that dictators try to hide from market driven competitions. They flaunt their vision as market driven, but in fact are hiding under the aprons of absolute control to safeguard their crony followers guaranteed minimum incomes with absolute immunity as a fake democracy. That’s not hard to see. Except the ordinary electorate majority who are mostly not knowledgeable. What do you think.

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  • Milk us & bleed us some more:

    Now Mr. Bowyer is speaking up for vintage PAP a.k.a. Goh Keng Swee economics: “Singapore Incorporated” was never meant to be a mega-corporation; it was supposed to have been a National Cooperative!
    Ask any pink IC holder in 1986 if they had not received Singapore Telecom dividends that year…it was the genius of vintage PAP economics to share the national economic pie with the “CPF shareholders”.
    But LKY rejected it all and substituted excellent founding leaders still in their prime with his 2-G politicians: the rest is history down the slippery spiral of crass crony-capitalism.

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  • Perspective:

    A win-win situation is a good business model for CEOs and shareholders! But who are the losers? There can be no winners without losers. LOL!

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  • opposition dude:

    Once the motive is to make money no matter the cost then you will see a government change things to make it so. This explains why everything that can be sold is sold.

    The GLCs are simply another way for the government to have companies operating under it and termed as “private sector” (ha ha ha). It’s also why there needs to be a significant number of them or else where to park washed up generals once their SAF careers are over? Since these ah cheks would have never worked in an MNC before then which MNCs would gire them based solely on a career in the army?

    So Singpost, ex SMRT, PUB, SBS Transit and even HDB all die die must make money. Should PAP be the opposition one fine day then it would be interesting on how all the useless civil service top donkeys fare after that. Would not surprise me if a good number were put out to pasture and their assets seized.

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  • LIONS:

    the govt to be the “buffer” between mega-capitali$ts and the small PEOPLE?

    like chinese people say * WAIT LONG,LONG…*

    The PAP GAHMEN are worst than capitalists,THEY ARE THE FEUDAL LORD$ of MODERN DAY SINGAPORE OR SIN CITY like some ministers like to call our little red dot.

    gvot is the one that leads the PACK OF WOLVE$ in SIN CITY.
    MNCs n grassLOOTER-OWNED SMEs are sucking us dry,even their NTUC FAIR PRICE is not cheap at all.

    other countries,their govts SOMETIMES ACT AS BUFFERS between people and business.

    here even THE SINGAPORE POOLS is owned by govt.
    REGULATOR BECOMES OPERATOR ALL AT ONCE,HOW EXACTLY CAN THEY REGULATE?

    OWNSELF CHECK OWNSELF SURE GONE CASE.

    CANT BELIEVE SINGAPORE POOLS SAYS IN ANNUAL REPORTS THEY HAVE *UNCLAIMED WINNINGS OF MILLIONS,TENS OF MILLIONS OR MORE THAN A HUNDRED MILLION$?

    WHO AUDIT THEM?

    NO TRANSPARENCY CAN ANYHOW CLAIM MAH?

    WHITE OUTSIDE,it seems,ALL ROTTEN INSIDE in truth.

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  • Brad Bowyer:

    Hello Brad,
    So what is your plan after leaving PV?
    To join PSP or SDP.

    We feel that you got great talent and please do put it to waste.

    Help us.

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  • HarderTruths:

    Brad – there is nothing ‘sold off’.

    It is just one pocket transferring the loot to the other pocket. The change is on paper only. It does not matter where the money really is it will never come back.

    This is what $G is all about.

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  • SIN Daylight Robbers:

    SIN has been blessed by LKY 70% Daft Singaporeans n the packed of greedy hungry n aggressive daylight robbers with pimps n prostitutes polanpas n now shifted to be GFWs said to be aiming for a new dynasty. Their great loots including cpf, hdb, water n now hoping to fleee the pioneer generation n mederka G to feed the world highest medical billionaires so as to charge them of splitting their bad hearts at $8 nn lied to be the same rate as citizens.

    Time to get these daylight robbers out into the place where they should be instead of soiling the sacredness of SIN Parliament. It is not only better to be a panda n to die instead of seeking medical hep n now all PG MG ( daylight robbers insidious naming of SIN nation builders) should sack all their foreign maids n cheap to die in Johore old folk home as pimps n prostitutes have once openly told Singaporeans.

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  • PLPGFws ST justice:

    ST reported on family Justice. They must be out of their mind n focus as now cabin-ministers are the laws n there is no justice for citizenry anywhere else. Where r the Judges. Their jobs r now taken over by the ministers making LHY n LWL telling Singaporeans esp those still remain loyal to their father the truth of justice in Singapore by way of compliancy of the bureaucrats n the final admission that there is no justice enforces when lhl took his defamation case to the Parliament n ministers as a forewarning sign of the final herald to all the Courts , Bench n Laws. They r the laws as he concluded himself in Parliament that he is not guilty of his sibling allegations. He clearly n definitively said he n his ministers n Parliament majority of his men r the beginning n end of the laws in SIN.

    This is finally legalized by he, his ministers n his party members with the exclusion of wp MP n citizenry critics opposing the legislation. These have got many Singaporeans to conclude that LKY has spiritually got his remaining two children n their children to warn Singaporeans as he has in his dying promise to come back to protect SIN n now to warned Singaporeans to beware of his “d**honourable son” n the agenda of dynasty replacement of his nepotic regime he left behind n the compliancy of his plps to GF!

    So 70% Singaporeans, lky has thron his ball in your court to get you to play on ie getting these ingrates n traitors out to where they should belong before you r enslaved by these bastards n their foreign accomplice.

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  • Regime change is the solution.:

    Public services in other countries are privatized so they can be run by better by people paid private sector wages. But in Singapore top civil servants get top private sector pay why can’t they run public utilities directly to prove they are worth what they are paid.

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  • Asd:

    Slaves…..

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  • 西毒欧羊疯:

    这里有人说:基礎设施和服务,如水,电,交通。。。都应该由政府掌控,然后以本钱的价格提供给大家。

    记得前苏联就是这样!国家的水,电和医疗服务是免费提供给苏联人民的。苏联是个很大(面积比两个美国加起来还大!)资源非常丰富的超大国家。结果呢?苏联解体了,不是吗?

    新加坡也时常拿台湾的民主进程来做例子,要证明台湾有了民主就诸事大顺,样样都比新加坡强!结果呢?政党只以选票为依归,会影响选票的但能为国家带来好处的事情一概不理!所以呢,水价不能涨,电费不能涨。因为一涨就会使有关政党失去选票。现在台湾的水电费是全世界最便宜的几个国家之一。这样造成人民乱用水电而导致浪费,环境污染生态恶化!

    新加坡的做法想法可能和高加索人的传统想法做法不同,但高加索人的不一定会比较好!

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  • oxygen:

    @ 西毒欧羊疯:

    YOU MISSED THE TREES FOR THE FOREST – Brad Bowyer illuminates the distorted price mechanism and its resultant misallocation of resources needing continuing subsidy from peasants overburdened contribution to keep afloat.

    It is not free market competition as PAPpypolitics and PAPpynomics would have you believe. Take a look at our SWF investment, transferred at historical book value to bloat up an APPEARANCE OF SUPERLATIVE PERFORMANCE but look what happened? They pioneering batch of GLCs got eaten up, some collapsed, some lethargic. If they were transferred at fully-valued market valuation, there will be immense pressure to perform and deliver on yields of capital return demanded.

    Likewise, remember in 2012, national budget gave them $1 BILLION grant for transport infrastructure. That didn’t work out, SMRT “nationalised” later.

    Brad Bowyer is right of macroeconomics and financial discipline, once sold to GLCs, they must stand on their own feet. Or go by the NOL route to extinction. Taxpayers must not support them.

    西毒欧羊疯: 这里有人说:基礎设施和服务,如水,电,交通。。。都应该由政府掌控,然后以本钱的价格提供给大家。

    记得前苏联就是这样!国家的水,电和医疗服务是免费提供给苏联人民的。苏联是个很大(面积比两个美国加起来还大!)资源非常丰富的超大国家。结果呢?苏联解体了,不是吗?

    新加坡也时常拿台湾的民主进程来做例子,要证明台湾有了民主就诸事大顺,样样都比新加坡强!结果呢?政党只以选票为依归,会影响选票的但能为国家带来好处的事情一概不理!所以呢,水价不能涨,电费不能涨。因为一涨就会使有关政党失去选票。现在台湾的水电费是全世界最便宜的几个国家之一。这样造成人民乱用水电而导致浪费,环境污染生态恶化!

    新加坡的做法想法可能和高加索人的传统想法做法不同,但高加索人的不一定会比较好!

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  • 这里有人说:

    苏联解体是因为提供了免费水,电和医疗服务?????
    哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈。。。。。。

    再说当今环境生态污染恶化的最糟糕的国家(面积比美国大)的政党是以民主选票为依归的吗?

    西毒欧羊疯:
    这里有人说:基礎设施和服务,如水,电,交通。。。都应该由政府掌控,然后以本钱的价格提供给大家。

    记得前苏联就是这样!国家的水,电和医疗服务是免费提供给苏联人民的。苏联是个很大(面积比两个美国加起来还大!)资源非常丰富的超大国家。结果呢?苏联解体了,不是吗?

    新加坡也时常拿台湾的民主进程来做例子,要证明台湾有了民主就诸事大顺,样样都比新加坡强!结果呢?政党只以选票为依归,会影响选票的但能为国家带来好处的事情一概不理!所以呢,水价不能涨,电费不能涨。因为一涨就会使有关政党失去选票。现在台湾的水电费是全世界最便宜的几个国家之一。这样造成人民乱用水电而导致浪费,环境污染生态恶化!

    新加坡的做法想法可能和高加索人的传统想法做法不同,但高加索人的不一定会比较好!

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  • 西毒欧羊疯:

    这里有人说:
    苏联解体是因为提供了免费水,电和医疗服务?????
    哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈。。。。。。

    再说当今环境生态污染恶化的最糟糕的国家(面积比美国大)的政党是以民主选票为依归的吗?

    这位朋友笑到这么痛快,不知道是什么原因?

    相信这位朋友认为苏联的解体是美国雷根总統的雄才大略,把前苏联的哥尔巴乔夫总书记玩得团团转,转呀转得,前苏联就解体了?

    这位朋友肯定认为免费的水电医疗不会搞毁一个国家,那就看看新加坡的年度医疗保健花费和水电开发保养的费用就可以知道这不是闹着玩!

    免费这个免费那个如果不是苏联解体的唯一原因,也肯定是重要的原因之一!

    生活在东南亚的马来民族有一句很有名的諺语:sidikit sidikit, ramai jadi bukit.

    知道这句諺语的意思吗?不知道就去问你的马来朋友吧!

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  • 西毒欧羊疯:

    oxygen:
    @ 西毒欧羊疯:

    YOU MISSED THE TREES FOR THE FOREST – Brad Bowyer illuminates the distorted price mechanism and its resultant misallocation of resources needing continuing subsidy from peasants overburdened contribution to keep afloat.

    It is not free market competition as PAPpypolitics and PAPpynomics would have you believe. Take a look at our SWF investment, transferred at historical book value to bloat up an APPEARANCE OF SUPERLATIVE PERFORMANCE but look what happened? They pioneering batch of GLCs got eaten up, some collapsed, some lethargic. If they were transferred at fully-valued market valuation, there will be immense pressure to perform and deliver on yields of capital return demanded.

    Likewise, remember in 2012, national budget gave them $1 BILLION grant for transport infrastructure. That didn’t work out, SMRT “nationalised” later.

    Brad Bowyer is right of macroeconomics and financial discipline, once sold to GLCs, they must stand on their own feet. Or go by the NOL route to extinction. Taxpayers must not support them.

    尊贵的恶死症兄台

    我西毒欧羊疯练功练到筋脈逆转,你却把高加索人的諺语倒过来说~~~是反向思考?

    如果我为整座森林而错失了几棵树,那应该不会有多大的损失。

    记得你和你朋友在这论坛讨论时提起过邓小平的名言:不管黑猫还是白猫,会抓老鼠的就是好猫。

    整体看来,小红点採取的策略就是如此。

    记已故总理老李曾经说过,如果只靠新加坡的天然承受能力,新加坡最多只能容纳二十万人。现在新加坡己挤满了比天然承受能力多二十五倍的人,连占有世界总土地六,七十巴仙的高加索人也要来分杯羹,你就可以知道新加坡的策略是行的,最少到目前为止是这样!

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  • 这里也有人说:

    “免费这个免费那个如果不是苏联解体的唯一原因,也肯定是重要的原因之一”???????
    哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈。。。。。。

    “笑到这么痛快,不知道是什么原因?”
    笑你不知墙外事呀!

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  • oxygen:

    @ 西毒欧羊疯:

    THANK YOU FOR THE REJOINDER. You counter-attacked and got annihilated. Look at this unsolicited confession you voluntarily supply.

    西毒欧羊疯: 你就可以知道新加坡的策略是行的,最少到目前为止是这样!

    You are not even certain that current political and economic posture of PAPpypolitics will survive forward. It means you haven’t thought about it or you confessed endangerment and failure forward or both!

    So I see your counterattack disintegrated. ‘I am reminded of Sara Sanders’s now famous slip of the tongue.

    Sanders’s ‘Slip of the Tongue’ Would Be a Problem in Some White Houses. Not Trump’s.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/19/us/politics/sarah-sanders-mueller-report.html

    It is a political culture of dishonesty…”It has been a hallmark of the Trump White House never to admit a mistake, never to apologize and never to cede a point. This case was no different. “The White House staff will never be lectured on truth-telling from the media….”

    Your modus operandi is no different here. You even confessed this.

    西毒欧羊疯: 记得你和你朋友在这论坛讨论时提起过邓小平的名言:不管黑猫还是白猫,会抓老鼠的就是好猫。

    Anyone reading this thread know or must know you MISSED THE TREES AND THE FOREST in entirety. Why I say that?

    Your push back of Brad Bowyer relied on facile narrative of shallow pandering to superficiality of analogous irrelevant reference to Russia. In contrast, Brad Bowyer’s incisive informed writing is hard economics substantiated with hard numbers WHICH YOU CANT AND AVOID rebuffing.

    Brad Bowyer’s writing illuminates the unsustainability of current policy pillars – of reliance on infrastructure spending paid out of taxpayers
    perpetual support to fund an equally unsustainable population economic expansion.

    IT IS LIKE A STUPID DOG CHASING ITS OWN TAIL.

    Even China knows that infrastructural spending cannot sustain economic drivers to prosperity forever. Deng black-white cat analogy is correct. You need more than infrastructural spending to drive economic prosperity. China drive to manufacturing dominance is losing steam and now rely more and more on consumer spending to keep its economic from sinking.

    LEE-jiapore is a one-show pony economy – expand foreign population. Sure die one. Brad Bowyer economic thesis here proves that.

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  • oxygen:

    @ 西毒欧羊疯:

    I DON’T KNOW IF THIS ANTI-WELFARE MINDSET is sheer ignorance or just peasant-like economic indoctrination working so well in your mind.

    西毒欧羊疯: 生活在东南亚的马来民族有一句很有名的諺语:sidikit sidikit, ramai jadi bukit.

    How many successful entrepreneurial tycoon were bornt with a golden spoon in the mouth? I suspect that the minds of billionaire Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei and Jack Ma of Alibaba think different from you. Those who came from deep poverty and rise to phoenix stardom knows how hard to start and persevere against all odds to reach for heavenly success.

    Those PAPpypolitics aristocrat were either fed with a golden spoon in the a*se or political cockcroach picked up from the rubbish dump and fed with the same spoon that was used to feed the food up the anus of PAPpy aristocrats – I suspect strongly.

    Over in Down Under, the overwleming majority of top 200 wealthiest are born outside Australia, some came with just a shirt on their backs and nothing much else surviving initially on welfare. Richard Platt and Frank Lowy, Terry Streeter are among those. Andrew Forrest came from aristocratic background but he started Fortescue Metal with a few shillings coin, borrow his friend’s office and telecom facilities. WITHOUT WELFARE, HOW DID HE SURVIVE HARDSHIP AND PROSPER LATER?

    In US, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg ARE ALL UNIVERSITY DROP-OUTS.

    THE PEOPLE WHO SUCCEED VERY WELL ARE THOSE WITH UNCONVENTIONAL THINKING, SOME DEPENDED ON WELFARE DURING THAT LIFE HARDEST MOMENT.

    Without fertilizer, how do you grow a crop of plentiful harvest?

    LEE-jiapore dying because STUPID ORTHODOXY buried wisdom and contrarian thinking in every field we look at and attempted.

    WE FAILED AND HEADING FOR EXTINCTION.

    Sad that you haven’t wake up. INSULAR THINKING CONSUMES YOUR LIFE. And probably never will change and progress.

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  • oxygen:

    @ 西毒欧羊疯:

    WHO IS TERRY STREET and who is ANDREW FORREST? Their trials and struggle through life challenges?

    oxygen: Terry Streeter are among those. Andrew Forrest came from aristocratic background but he started Fortescue Metal with a few shillings coin, borrow his friend’s office and telecom facilities. WITHOUT WELFARE, HOW DID HE SURVIVE HARDSHIP AND PROSPER LATER?

    Read on.

    At 69, Streeter takes a road less travelled

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/at-69-streeter-takes-a-road-less-travelled/news-story/5ba9947e7de38899c1e1e1618cbb1519

    Love him or loathe him, Andrew Forrest puts heat on wealthy to do more

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-16/forrest-has-rich-ability-to-grab-headlines/5025172

    Ironically, I was VERY LUCKY, I made money investing in Anaconda Nickel which sent Andrew Forrest nearly completely broke. I met him and we did lunch – very surprise on the first person-to-person meeting FOR THE FIRST TIME. He was that generous and welcoming.

    YOU NEED A WELFARE SAFETY NET TO GIVE THOSE WHO TRIED, FAILED OR STRUGGLING TO BREAK THROUGH, PROSPER, CREATE JOBS AND ECONOMY FOR THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.

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  • oxygen:

    @ 西毒欧羊疯:

    IN EVERY SOCIETY, MORE THAN 98% DON’T WANT AND WON’T BE HAPPY living on a little misery welfare dependency. The balance of less than 2% are risks-taking entrepreneurs. WITHOUT WELFARE SAFETY NET, this precious 2% will extinct and so is the country.

    LEE-jiapore is a STUPID COUNTRY led by a mob of moronic sheep.

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  • 西毒欧羊疯:

    @恶死症

    哇哦!人家举一返三,我尊贵的恶死症兄台却能举一返四,厉害了!

    学术基础很强,时常有现成的连接链,引经据典来支持他的论述,很能讲,很能写,真叫人怀疑他是不是教授!

    不过,自从诺贝尔有经济学奖之后,得奖者绝大部份都是高加索人,他们深奥难懂的理论有使世界经济变得更好吗?~~~还不错是久不久就要来一次危机搞得人仰马翻!

    要谢谢布拉阿的。包野尔救世主对小红点的厚爱。这世界上比小红点更须要帮助的地方多的是。好像那鲁,巴劳,土瓦如。。。这些地方肯定比小红点更须要布拉阿的。包野尔救世主的协助。

    恶死症兄台也好像是看不起农民经济,对一些比较土根的思想也不了解!

    就拿马来人的諺语“一点一点久了就成一座大山”来说,这当然可以拿来形容小的农民经济,小的个体经济。但不能拿来形容其他的事物吗?为什么一看到这諺语就和经济串连起来?是不是不太了解别人要说的?

    祝恶死症兄台有个愉快的一天。

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