Heng Swee Keat Must Issue a Correction Notice to MP Tin Pei Ling

8 June 2020

The Finance Minister
Ministry of Finance
100 High St
#06-03 The Treasury
Singapore 179434

 

Dear Mr Heng

You have been admirably quick to make use of your Government’s new Protection from Online Falsehood and Manipulation Act (POFMA) against your political opponents and also to protect the secret remuneration of the Prime Minister’s wife as CEO of Temasek, a Schedule 5 company whose shares are wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance. You have used POFMA even though your junior Minister, Lawrence Wong, has claimed in Parliament that Temasek is a private company and that the remuneration of top management is set by an independent board.

I would now ask that you be equally proactive in issuing a Correction Notice under POFMA to an MP from your own party, Ms Tin Pei Ling. On 4 June she made a speech in Parliament and later shared that speech on Facebook.

She said:

I also shared a rough estimation of the COVID19 budgetary support per capita in Singapore and some of the advanced economies. Based on my back-of-envelope estimation, the budgetary support per capita in Singapore is $23,225, higher than Japan or the US (to standardise for comparisons, I took the entire package value divided by citizen population size). On per capita basis, Singapore tops the chart around the world. Based on the figures, I thought that this demonstrates our government’s determination in helping our people and seeing Singapore through the crisis.

She went on to say:

Within a short span of 5 months, our government is pumping in S$93billion just to combat the pandemic. This amount already exceeds the total full year public expenditure in 2019.

This is also the figure mentioned by you in your recent Fortitude Budget statement:

Together with the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity Budgets, we are dedicating close to 100 billion or $92.9 billion to be precise or 19.2% of our GDP, to support our people in this battle.

I am curious as to where this figure of $100 billion, or $93 billion, comes from. A comparison of the total expenditure for 2020 including special transfers but excluding transfers to endowments and trust funds (which are not current spending) versus the same figure for 2019 shows that the increase was only some $65 billion. Also the Special Transfers figure in the Unity Budget of $34 billion presumably includes the extra $13 billion which you are allocating to the Contingencies Fund, since you have not provided an updated Analysis of Revenue and Expenditure in your Fortitude Budget Statement.

If one subtracts the $13 billion allocated from past reserves to the Contingencies Fund (which may never be spent) from the total for Special Transfers (excluding Top-Ups to Endowments and Trust Funds) then total spending is only some $52 billion more than last year.

Another way of measuring the Government’s support is to look at the projected budget deficit in the Fortitude Budget Statement of $74.3 billion and subtract both the Top-Ups to Endowments and Trust Funds of 17.3 billion and the allocation of $13 billion to the Contingencies Fund. This gives a figure of $44 billion. You have already allocated $20 billion to the Jobs Support Scheme to help fund up to 75% of the wages of Singapore citizens and PRs. However given that probably more than half of the economy should be classified as being in the public sector and that a large proportion of the Jobs Support Scheme will go to Government-linked companies (GLCs) we should probably deduct half of the $20 billion as just a transfer payment from central Government to other entities in the public sector. We should also deduct $1.9 billion provided from past reserves under the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and the Enterprise Financing Scheme shown in the Solidarity Budget since the Government is acting as a guarantor only. The final cost will depend on the loss that is left after the banks have exhausted the recovery process. The current cost of these guarantees is zero and they do not constitute actual spending.

Unfortunately your Government’s guiding principle of obfuscation and hiding the true surplus from the people means that I am forced to make assumptions. As a minimum you should publish the General Government surplus, which should include all entities in the public sector including GLCs and take account of changes in the value of all assets including land as well as the true figure for the reserves. Thus I have no idea of how much the real deficit is and am forced to guess.

Also I have issues with the denominator Ms Tin uses to calculate the benefit per capita. She, like you, is trying to have her cake and eat it. She says she used the number of Singapore citizens and PRs and compares this to other countries’ citizen populations. This is misleading as countries like the US that she compares Singapore with have a much smaller proportion of non-citizens in their workforce. It would be more appropriate for her to use Singapore’s total population particularly as you have provided substantial support to enterprises employing foreign workers as well through waiver of the Foreign Worker Levy, rent relief and the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme. Our GLCs and private sector companies employ large numbers of foreigners, including many whose pay is hundreds of times what a Singaporean on median income earns (like Piyush Gupta, the CEO of DBS) as well as low-paid migrant workers. While the Jobs Support Scheme is supposed to benefit SIngaporeans and PRs only, if it helps those companies to survive the pandemic then it also saves the jobs of foreign workers.

If we do this and divide $44 billion by Singapore’s population in 2019 of 5.7 million, then we get a per capita figure of about $7,700 as opposed to Tin’s claim that it is $23,225. If we subtract the $10 billion which is likely just a transfer between Government entities and also the $1.9 billion which is shown as set aside for losses under the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and Enterprise Finance Scheme, which may never occur, then we get a figure of $5,682. This is less than half of Ms Tin’s claimed figure for the US of $12,765 per capita. This is presumably based on the roughly $2,7 trillion in stimulus allocated by Congress under the US$2.2 trillion CARES Act and the US$484 billion interim CARES Act which extended the funding for small businesses. Even if we divide $44 billion by just citizens and PRs we get a figure of $10,929, which is less than Ms Tin’s US figure.

However this is an unfair comparison because the US (and the UK, Europe, Canada and Japan) all have much more comprehensive safety nets such as unemployment insurance and welfare payments which automatically kick in when the economy goes into a recession. That is why they are known as automatic stabilisers because the additional spending helps to stop demand falling too much and the economy contracting further. A fairer measure might be the total projected US federal deficit for this year of US$3.7 trillion which would work out to roughly $15.585 on a per capita basis at current exchange rates,. Tin also includes only federal spending and not spending at the state and local level.

According to your figures total direct support for Singaporeans from your Government amounted to a derisory $2 billion up to the Resilience Budget and is probably no more than $2.5 billion now. If that is divided among 4 million Singaporeans residents (citizens and PRs) that is about $620.

Ms Tin’s claim that the Government has provided support of $23,225 on a per capita basis to Singaporeans is highly misleading when in fact your total direct support for Singaporean citizens and PRs has been about $600 on a per capita basis. By providing a fake number she is clearly attempting to influence the impending General Election. It is thus clearly in the public interest under Section 4(d) of the Act for you to issue a Correction Notice and to provide a true and accurate comparison with other countries using the various measures I have set out above. A good start would be to tell Singaporeans what the real General Government surplus (including all income and capital gains from all state-owned companies and assets) has been over the last forty years and to publish a truthful Statement of Assets and Liabilities rather than the incomplete one that you provide every year with the Budget.

If you ignore my letter and refuse to issue a Correction Notice then it will be plain to Singaporeans that POFMA was never intended to deal with the problem of fake news but on the contrary to allow the PAP Government to present its own false facts secure in its monopoly of information and in the knowledge that this new piece of repressive legislation will even further deter ordinary citizens from challenging them.

 

Yours sincerely

Kenneth Jeyaretnam
Secretary General
The Reform Party

.

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24 Responses to “Heng Swee Keat Must Issue a Correction Notice to MP Tin Pei Ling”

  • Where is the money?:

    On HINDSIGHT, we see the wisdom of Dr Chee in asking, “WHERE IS THE MONEY?”

    If no POFMA, then we believe Ms Tin is right, and we should expect $23,225 getting into our bank account each.

    Then we should all be asking, “WHERE IS MY MONEY?”

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  • Crooked PAP:

    This is fake news!

    PAP will make use of MPs who are either too junior or too Snr for such blatant fake news, so that if any push back from citizens, such PAP people can be “expensed”.

    However, JT is a failure and PAP does not know how to hide her from public scrutiny. She will be the biggest thorn for PAP during the election. If she survives under the GRC cover, she may even be promoted.

    KJ, Singaporeans are behind you and will support any loopholes in our Govt you have highlighted.

    Ms Tin’s claim and fake news is another tactic PAP use for their political advantage. Karma will strike on PAP for this coming election.

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  • And Singaporeans Remember to ::

    And Singaporeans remember to vote those sleepy headed parliamentarians, talk cock MPs, cant perform and said ‘its honest mistake MPs, self serving, self entitled MPs out of parliament!

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Is this a Country or a JOKE???…CECA-CircuitBreaker and POFMA…

    Idiots 1st Class definitely not 1s World

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  • Vote for change:

    This is a sad state of affairs that the people of SG receive less help from its govt than what is given to foreigners in times of crisis!

    For breaking the Covid Act the people of SG is punished more than the foreigners who break the law!

    AT THE UPCOMING GE VOTE FOR CHANGE TO STOP THE EROSION OF THE NATIONAL PLEDGE FOR “JUSTICE & EQUALITY” TO BUILD A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY!

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  • Actual Reality for some:

    For some local Citizen who are on no pay leave or lost their jobs since Jan 2020,they only received $40 Voucher from MSF on compassionate ground.
    Reason is they fall out of the many support schemes narrow requirements..
    Some ridiculous criteria even based on past household earnings instead of actual dire present earning situation which is much more relevant.
    Cannot believe such stupid policy.
    Definitely the support received by many is very far from the $23,225 figure.
    Please give timely and adequate support to the poor and needy who need it most to survive…Don’t make the promise to support every Citizen and not let them walk alone in this crisis of a lifetime so meaningless.
    If really Serious to help local company and saved jobs,should ensure that every Citizen should be supported to have at least 50% of their last monthly pay during this CB lockdown to help family survive.
    Many do not want Government support if they are not prevented to earn a decent living because of the CB restriction.

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  • Show us the money:

    PRs and foreign workers are better treated to our reserves than Sinkies,true blue and served compulsory national service.

    Sinkies voting for opposition as government stand to benefit as

    1. New Govt can count how much balance in reserves

    2 new Govt can get all the big 4 auditors to check accounts

    3. New Govt can get erections dept, isd, police to show all records n the Ag to show all case files including political prosecution, persecution, etc and the reason why the death tax was waived in a certain year

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  • Pioneer:

    Good, we will have to wait what Sweet Cake will respond. I hope not too long until forgotten.

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  • Jerry Mandarin:

    By Virtue of Democracy ruled by Daft Majority, and given their control of everything and using State resources as means to an end, and use of reserves and azombie population, there is no way they can lose.

    Despite that, it would be consolation for us all if we can BRING DOWN at least JT or Krate Spate.

    Will her hubby also become an MP?

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  • Like to compare:

    And Singaporeans Remember to ::
    And Singaporeans remember to vote those sleepy headed parliamentarians, talk cock MPs, cant perform and said ‘its honest mistake MPs, self serving, self entitled MPs out of parliament!

    one more is the fake promise of swiss standard of living to Singaporeans then ownself check ownself rubbish talking cock. If he win again, more virus will be here to stay. Our reserve will be drained to take care of them.

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  • PAPVID20:

    Huh? So it means that our DPM cum minister for finance doesn’t even know what MP Tin said was false (since no POFMA has been issued)? Sia suay right? Ah Heng actually needs an oppo party leader to point out the fake news to him! Better KJ becomes the finance minister, no?

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    PAPVID20:
    Huh? So it means that our DPM cum minister for finance doesn’t even know what MP Tin said was false (since no POFMA has been issued)? Sia suay right? Ah Heng actually needs an oppo party leader to point out the fake news to him! Better KJ becomes the finance minister, no?

    Hello Bro, they are so busy preparing for the GE and looking at Portfolios they can BUY for a song with the Millions and Credit & Overdrafts from Banks who will ask…

    “How MUCH Sir, do you want to be credited to your account???”

    LEEgal Corruption at WORK in Crisis hor!!!

    and we are fighting for survival day to day

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  • Build Dorms @ Bukit Timah:

    One more banana to shaft into his mouth.
    It is “Do what I say, not what I Do” hypocritical talk.

    Try building dormitories in Bukit Timah. See whether it materialize.

    Like to compare: one more is the fake promise of swiss standard of living to Singaporeans then ownself check ownself rubbish talking cock. If he win again, more virus will be here to stay. Our reserve will be drained to take care of them.

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  • Zhenzidan:

    POFMA means = Prevent Oppositions From Making Accusations. You still dono ah?

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  • Bernard:

    Dearest Singaporean,

    My POSB savings bank book to date failed to see/register any entry of the total amount of SGD $23,225.00 from the PAP government.

    Who have pilferage this amount for each Singaporean as shared by the honourable MP Ting Pei Ling?

    Is CPIB looking into it?

    Vote the current PAP incumbents OUT to get to the bottom of it.

    MERDEKA

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  • Own people cannot sue:

    How can anyone how issue POFMA to kakilan? I remembered someone said how can sue own siblings.

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  • oxygen:

    THE ARDENT PROPHET of our truncated NATIONAL CUNTVERSATION has gone mute of DIAM DIAM DIAM now of this one-sided POFMA abuse?

    POFMA IS A PIMP.

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  • Ethics is outside their ambit:

    Now, in a mature democracy the Finance minister would have cause for concern as to these incriminations against the integrity of his administration. But this is LKY’s Corporation (he said Singapore has no other way but his way) so non-transparency and spurious accountability will remain the party’s established modus operandi. Long live the Emperor & Errr huh?

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  • Canlah:

    The ST Editors don’t have the balls to publish this.
    So the only way to get this message to all of the peoples..is for KJ to print and arrange handout to all at every MRT station.
    It must reach the masses .
    Just do it . It’s money well spent KJ .
    If you need donations to do this …just Yell .

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  • Soccerbetting2:

    “… Ms Tin Pei Ling. On 4 June she made a speech in Parliament and later shared that speech on Facebook.

    She said:

    I also shared a rough estimation of the COVID19 budgetary support per capita in Singapore and some of the advanced economies. Based on my back-of-envelope estimation, the budgetary support per capita in Singapore is $23,225, higher than Japan or the US (to standardise for comparisons, I took the entire package value divided by citizen population size). On per capita basis, Singapore tops the chart around the world. Based on the figures, I thought that this demonstrates our government’s determination in helping our people and seeing Singapore through the crisis.

    She went on to say:

    Within a short span of 5 months, our government is pumping in S$93billion just to combat the pandemic. This amount already exceeds the total full year public expenditure in 2019… ”

    $23,225 ??? When the figure by Tin Pei Ling is stated as $23,225 and most citizens just receive $600 only, then it totally fall short of honesty by a PAP woman MP, shouldn’t your whole” honest” government resign if there is no correction order! And such figure is used by Tin Pei Ling and if cannot be realised in real physical sum given to all citizens, yet no apologise by Tin Pei Ling with correction order, it show total arrogance in such shameless women wing system that show total no responsibility for their words and actions!

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  • Soccerbetting2:

    “… Ms Tin Pei Ling. On 4 June she made a speech in Parliament and later shared that speech on Facebook.

    She said:

    I also shared a rough estimation of the COVID19 budgetary support per capita in Singapore and some of the advanced economies. Based on my back-of-envelope estimation, the budgetary support per capita in Singapore is $23,225, higher than Japan or the US (to standardise for comparisons, I took the entire package value divided by citizen population size). On per capita basis, Singapore tops the chart around the world. Based on the figures, I thought that this demonstrates our government’s determination in helping our people and seeing Singapore through the crisis.

    She went on to say:

    Within a short span of 5 months, our government is pumping in S$93billion just to combat the pandemic. This amount already exceeds the total full year public expenditure in 2019… ”

    $23,225 ??? When the figure by Tin Pei Ling is stated as $23,225 and most citizens just receive $600 only, then it totally fall short of honesty by a PAP woman MP, shouldn’t the whole ” honest” government resign if there is no correction order! And such figure is used by Tin Pei Ling and if cannot be realised in real physical sum given to all citizens, yet no apologise by Tin Pei Ling with correction order, it show total arrogance in such shameless women wing system that show total no responsibility for their words and actions!

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  • Soccerbetting2:

    @canlah :”The ST Editors don’t have the balls to publish this.
    So the only way to get this message to all of the peoples..is for KJ to print and arrange handout to all at every MRT station.
    It must reach the masses .
    Just do it . It’s money well spent KJ .
    If you need donations to do this …just Yell .”

    Response :Canlah is correct to ask for KJ to print and arrange printed handout to all at every MRT station to make citizens aware of their share of $23,225 which has not been given to them .
    It must reach the masses .
    Just do it . It will indeed be money well spent for KJ for he can reach masses support .However, be sure to print out only when Tin Pei Ling refuses to apologise and resign and there is no correction order to justify out the dishonesty of Tin Pei Ling post. Tin Pei Ling must be removed off from her MP post too. Most people get only $600 only and no more. Just wonder all those passion card $100 supposed to be released in June 2020 will be given also to everyone that is eligible or is it given only by submitting an application basis too?Government nowadays do things without clarifying properly on Straits Times or is it Straits Times women group of editors failed to publish properly, clearly enough or fast enough? If given on an application basis for passion card $100 top up, those eligible to get $100 passion card top up and who didn’t realise they need to submit application to receive $100 passion card top up and so failed to apply may have their share $100 eaten up by the whole bunch of shameless greedy dishonest women wing in power who may even fake signatures to show residents receive but in fact didn’t! And why government till now haven’t send out letters to citizens to inform whether they are eligible or not for passion card top up. Wake up, government! Now is June 2020 already! At least an SMS will also do rather than let all people waiting? I remember one of the criteria for passion card $100 top up by government reserves is all over 50 years old will be eligible to receive $100 passion card top up if I remember correctly!

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  • Soccerbetting2:

    According to Kenneth Jeyaretnam 8th June 2020 statement, it is stated as “Heng Swee Keat must issue a correction notice to MP Tin Pei Ling.” Today is 16th June 2020 already, and where is that correction statement? And Kenneth Jeyaretnam is waiting for what? Shouldn’t KJ spend some money on Straits Times on an advertisement to officially ask for a Correction order from Heng Swee Keat on Tin Pei Ling statement? This action will boost Kenneth Jeyaretnam image in the coming General Election most likely next month. And KJ will be better known and may get more votes.

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  • trublu:

    Tin spade is just mimicking her bosses.
    Per Capita GDP HIGH?
    PLIER CAPITA EXTRA BUDGET OF $100 BILLION IS $24K!

    YA,i trust TPL,SHE IS CPA MEMBER?
    SO,she must be ethical n correct.
    I think my account got $600 creditted!
    Either TPL IS WRONG OR THE BANK CHEATS me???

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