As the year comes to a close, we look back on some of the more memorable things that were said in 2008.
The situation looks a lot gloomier now than when they went in but these are long-term investments. It looks under water now, but the situation can change.
Let us not pick and choose what endorsements you get, because over all, if you're trying to show me your standing in the world is that high, you wouldn't be clutching at straws and producing something from Tunku (Abdul) Aziz.
They (residents) should thank the Town Council for working hard to come up with a diversified portfolio to generate income so that residents do not have to fork out more money.
In Hougang, let us keep Mr Low Thia Khiang on his toes... So, in Hougang, you have to be creative to be an effective opposition. Amongst the things you can do, I suggest you study the annual accounts of the town council to ensure that the funds are properly used. Check whether the arrears for S & C charges are piling up, and eating into their reserves. Make sure that enough money is put aside for cyclical maintenance. In your walkabouts, check on the estate maintenance... In short, play the role of an effective opposition in Hougang.
I wish to thank the residents of Hougang and also many Singaporeans who support the Workers’ Party for giving feedback constantly on the work of Hougang Town Council, without the need for the reminder from SM Goh.
For the information of the Senior Minister, the Hougang Town Council’s accounts are on the website. He may want to take a look himself.
He used to engage in heated debates in the House. Perhaps it was because he and the PAP never saw eye to eye on any major political issue and he sought by all means to demolish the PAP and our system of government.
As Prime Minister, I did not allow the PAP’s fight with Mr Jeyaretnam to affect his sons’ place in society. In reply to a letter from Kenneth, I assured him that we valued talent, regardless of his father’s stand in politics and determination to oppose us. I had invited Philip for lunch, to tell him the same thing.
It's not within our power to force operators to give concessions - that's up to the operators…. We can only encourage operators to continue to be generous with transport cuts.
Unfortunately the worst-case scenario has materialised and the majority of High Notes 5 investors will not be receiving anything back.
If we’ve more foreigners than Singaporeans, then the Singaporeans will become like the foreigners, and we lose our basic attributes. We’ll be down the spiral.
If we just send away the foreign workers now, it will do us harm. For example - companies which are already in difficulty and they hire half foreign workers and half Singaporeans and you tell them that foreign workers must go out. And when you take Singaporeans, his cost will go up and the company may close. And if the company closes, even the half who have jobs may lose their jobs.
Change has to take place in Singapore but change must take place not (between parties) but within the PAP….As long as the PAP changes itself, and continues to provide clean and good government, and the lives of Singaporeans improve, the country is much better off with one dominant, strong, clean, good party.
Yes, there was corruption. Yes, he gave favors to his family and his friends. But there was real growth and real progress… Just compare Indonesia to Burma. Look, same time, 1962 Ne Win, 1965 Suharto, both well-endowed and rich countries. Well, you compare. Who is better off? Who deserves to be honoured? What is a few billion dollars lost in bad excesses? He built hundred of billions of dollars worth of assets. I want to pay this tribute to him, and I came here. It is sad to see a very old friend, with whom I worked closely over the last 30 years, not really getting the honours that he deserves.
We must keep the pressure on Mas Selamat.
The answer is that public transport fares are not directly linked to oil prices... We don't want the companies to be making excessive profits, but that's different from saying that they cannot make profits at all.
Getting the PhD is one thing, coming out alive is another.
This was a lapse, what to do, it’s happened.
As long as we leave our views in the pages of our manifestos, nothing will change…. Our manifestos will then forever remain as beautifully written, but ultimately academic, pieces of literature prettifying the archives of the National Library.
Ms Sylvia Lim asks for the basis for Police to grant a permit that enabled the Prime Minister to participate in a cycling activity in West Coast Park on 31 Aug 2008.
Let me first clarify that it was not a cycling event but a Family Day Carnival. The only cycling was when the Prime Minister and the other special guests made their entrance by cycling a short distance from where the Prime Minister had alighted from his car to the stage. Secondly, it was not organized by a political party but by a registered charity.
I would not dignify this tokenism by organising anything there. It will have to be at a proper place like here at Raffles Place or down a major street, or nothing.
Principals need to do their job to convey this message to the students and teachers to do their part to challenge them, set high goals and to help them achieve these goals. We will be hit by storms, there will be waves, we will be lashed by the winds... but we can be responsible for how we respond to it.
I am satisfied that the Ministry has taken the correct remedial and disciplinary action, and that the Minister and top management were not to blamed (sic) for what has happened.
We must admit our mistakes openly and honestly, put them right, and act against those who have been culpable. But the last thing we need is a witch-hunt which would damage and demoralise our intelligence and security agencies.
We’ll find a way to have more voices inside the assembly, but not at the risk of voting in a Division 2 or 3 Government.
Indeed a completely security-sealed country is one which will suffocate enterprise and liberty. It is a cure worse than the disease it is try (sic) to prevent.
I have thus been misled into attending the ceremony on Monday.
In Singapore, opposition politicians have the right to criticise the government and government leaders, but that does not entitle them to tell lies or defame.
GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is $210 billion, that's the profit earned in a year. The price earnings ratio on the Singapore Exchange is now 20. If Singapore Inc went for IPO (Initial Public Offering), then this is a $4-trillion company.
To me, the response of the grassroots leaders and the residents whom I had met is a great assurance. They gave us a strong mandate at the last GE (general election) and they knew that we would honour and respect that mandate even after the demise of one MP. They are confident that their interest and welfare will be taken care of. None have raised the issue of a by-election.
There has been a security lapse at the Whitley Road Detention Centre, which allowed Mas Selamat to escape. He was taken out of his cell to go to the family visitation room to wait for his family. He requested to go to the toilet and escaped. This should never have happened. I am sorry that it has.
If the operators’ returns are satisfactory, then it is a win-win situation. If they are unduly penalised, they do not get returns commensurate with their risks … then you would have a new set of problems – too few trains, too old buses.
Singapore Inc’s Temasek meanwhile ploughed A$400m into ABC Learning at $7.30 a share 12 months ago and has watched almost 90 per cent of that evaporate.
The assumption which some people have is - we are now rich, we can afford to spend more. This is a very dangerous way of thinking and worries me a lot. Singapore is where it is today because we have saved, we have been frugal, because we haven’t just thrown money away.
If now we change our mindset, and say we used to save, now that we have money we don’t need to save anymore, then the growth will stop.
Singapore will go down, and we will all be in serious trouble.
You asked how much reserves we have. I’m sorry – I am not able to give you that answer. There are many, many people who are interested in how much we have. It has nothing to do with not wanting Singaporeans to know. It’s only if we go public with you, a lot of other people will know.
No need to buy branded bread. Bread is bread, rice is rice.
And if you already have a great orchestra, you can put a dummy there and you still got great music.
But what you can do is to adjust, go for house brands, maybe go for frozen food instead of fresh food.
The reserves are like a golden goose which lays golden eggs. And if you try and dig into the reserves, you’re actually in a sense not feeding the reserves and the goose gets smaller. So we should, whenever we can, put some funds aside to grow the reserves and then use the earnings in the reserves, which is what we’re doing.
Produce the wealth first and the surpluses before we talk about sharing and never, never dig into the reserves. That’s like killing the golden goose to get the meat. I think better try and fatten the goose, have more golden geese and then have more eggs to share.
When ERP was increased, we also reduced road tax and improved public transport. As a result, many more Singaporeans can now own cars. With more cars on the road, we need to increase ERP to keep traffic flowing.
The worse thing that any country does at a time of high inflation would be for the unions and workers to push for wage inflation. Wage inflation is different from wage increment. Wage inflation means you are pushing up wages to fully offset the inflation.
I had made comments which had been misunderstood and had upset some Singaporeans. I sincerely apologise for causing any grievances and any stress.
Growing with our blue chip companies and our direct investment activities, Temasek now owns a net portfolio of about S$185 billion at market value as at March 31, 2008.
A number of feng shui masters had approached us to tell us that the Flyer is on the perfect site to pick up the good qi (energy) flowing into Singapore, but it was going in the wrong direction. The Flyer was going against the sun and taking fortune away from Singapore.
There is a conspiracy to do us in. Why?… They see us as a threat. My question is to them, have you ever run Singapore? Do you know how we got here? What were we? What we are now? And how we can become better?... We are not stupid people. They give us all these advice... Who are they? Have they ever run a country, created jobs for community and given them a life? We have and we know what it requires.
We’ve got to allow political videos but with some safeguards… We have to move away from this total ban and find ways to allow people to let off steam a little bit more, but safely…
Make sure that our young people are hungry. If our young people are not hungry enough, bring in hungrier ones from overseas. Make them feel hungry, increase the hungriness index.
Workers are very practical. If they have to choose between losing their jobs and taking a pay cut, they would choose less pay.
Please don’t destroy the plants, don’t disturb other people…do it within certain hours, don’t make too much noise… Please exercise the freedom to demonstrate. Please do it within the rules. Please respect and recognise that we are a multiracial, multi-religious society.
We remain committed to finding and capturing Mas Selamat no matter how long it takes. We have done it before.
Whether the human rights body we establish will have teeth, I don’t know. But it would certainly have a tongue, and I hope it would have a sharp tongue.
Singapore must be a “cool” place, a “funky” place…
The present A Team is good for another two elections. We do not have the numbers to ensure an A Team and an alternative A Team.
If the salary gap between ministers and the private sector gets wider, will Singapore have a better or poorer choice of leaders? (2007)
Read 2007's How many ministers does it take to change a lightbulb?