Myth 210 - Singapore Govt's money is not the people's money?

Letter To The Wall Street Journal, 8 Sep 2009 Correcting Temasek Misperceptions We wish to correct some fundamental misperceptions in your Aug. 31 editorial "Temasek's Revised Charter." First, Temasek is an investment company set up as an asset owner to seek returns by taking investment risks. While our sole shareholder is the Singapore government, we are not a "fund," and do not manage Singapore "citizens' earnings." It is factually wrong to imply that Singaporeans have no choice but to "keep their money with the fund." The above is part of a statement by Temasek's MD Corporate Affairs to the Wall Street Journal. To be specific, it says that it manages Singapore's govt's money and not Singapore "citizens' earnings". I am not sure if Singapore "citizens' earnings" is the same as Singapore citizens' money. As a layman, I think the citizens of Singapore will think or believe that the Govt's money is the citizens' money. But many in the forum have told me that this is not true. I think the Govt's money are money from the Govt's income, including taxes, rentals, sales of land and properties, services etc. Technically, they are not the citizens's earnings but the Govt's earnings. Let me offer another example to clarify this explanation. If I lend $1k to A and B lend the $1k to C, C is right to say that he is not spending my money. Cause he borrows it from B and is accountable to B. So Temasek is managing the Govt's money, not the people's earnings. Right.


Anonymous said...

At last the truth, the ultimate truth and nothing but the truth.

Why are so many Singaporeans losing sleep over the loss of the Govt's money in foreign banks?

The only truth is their money is their money and your money is also their money, eg your CPF money.

What can you do about it?

Anonymous said...

Red Bean,

This is great news! Let us immediately call Temasek's MD Corporate Affairs to ask that we be allowed to withdraw our CPF.

Lim Mingji said...

just think of it this way.

We need to stop thinking that the PAP's government IS a government; we should think of it as a Corporate Entity: A Company.

And the citizens are their employees.

So what if the company earn money? The company have no obligation to pass on the earnings to the employees.

Company's money is not Employee's money. Similarly, Singapore rich is not Singaporean rich.

Anonymous said...

That mean Singapore is belong to Mother Earth and not only belong to Singaporean. Therefore the Money is belong to everybodies in this earth. FT policies can now be justified. Corn Job.

Matilah_Singapura said...

That's exactly right: the govt's money is NOT the people's money.

When the people (forcibly) give up their money to the govt (aka wealth transfer) it is a SUNKEN cost -- gone forever.

Solution: make as much money as you can and hang onto it for as long as you can or spend it however you want. There is no 100% way of avoiding the Legalised Theft and Extortion of the state, but you can take measures to protect yourself and your hard-earned money from it.

I'll stop there. I just spotted a buxom Malaysian uni student I need to talk to. She has lips that could suck the white off rice.


Anonymous said...

I think there is a popular misunderstanding of the concept of State. When Myrna says Temasek doesn't deal with citizen's earnings, she's right, because that would be true only when people actually pour their money into it, like they do with mutual funds.

Temasek is merely an arm of the State entrusted with investing the govt's money, which of course come from the people, companies, tourists, taxes, etc, etc. If you try to pinpoint the actual source of the funds, you'll end up nowhere because too many variables are involved.

This is similar to people assuming public servants are servants of the public and therefore answerable to them. They are not: they report to their superiors, who in turn are chosen by the govt, which is in turn chosen by the people. So, while a MIW is technically answerable to the voting public, a permanent secretary or Brigadier is not.

Get real, folks :)

Kaffein said...

If you put money into a bank, you wouldn't care how the bank invests, loans, etc. All you want is that the bank guarantees your returns.

So it is correct to Myrna to say Temasek is the investment arm.

However that aside, all is well when the company is making profits. Just in 1 year alone, Temasek has lost >$50 billion. As in all corporate audits, people are asking how it happened.

And the baseline of all these talks is:
- Where is the accountability? Who is responsible for these huge losses?

In all fairness, the people have a right to know. Because these losses will have to be recovered, or recouped. And I foresee the monies will come from the people in terms of higher taxes and fees. Because this is the easiest way to recouping losses.

And saying that Temasek is a company doesn't make sense. In an actual company setting, the CEO will be the first to be fired for incurring such huge losses. But we don't see that happening, do we?

Again uniquely Singapore.


Anonymous said...

notice how the government and Temasek flip-flop each other to the point that confuse people to stop asking question.

When government is asked who is responsible and accountable to Temasek's loss, the government say that they have no control over Temasek's investment, so is the government responsible or Temasek responsible for the loss ? The government is pushing the loss to Temasek.

Now when Temasek is asked about the loss, they push it to the government saying that they don't manage it only investing the monies from the government, and that Temasek is not responsible for the loss.

In the end, amazingly NO-ONE in the government and GLC are responsible for anything ! They only responsible when they make money and give themselves millions, but when they lose money, the finger but to no-one but external factor like economy and citizenS .

redbean said...

the more they explain the more confusing it becomes. that's the way to go. the money belongs to no one.

redbean said...

i used to reason that all the nation's reserves belong to the people. and i am unhappy that new citizens will come in and share this wealth.

now, if this wealth does not belong to the people, then my unhappiness is misplaced.

Anonymous said...


whether or not new citizens come in to share the wealth, You, i and other citizens don't get to smell it(wealth). Don't we all wonder where the wealth has disappeared to ???


Matilah_Singapura said...

If you can't control what you supposedly "own", then you don't own it.

Reality: Money or property taken by or given to the state is a sunken cost. You give up all control and thus no longer own it. It doesn't matter if the private property is money (tax) or your son's life (conscription) or your time (being forced to associate with the government after receiving a "computer generated letter which requires no reply")

Anonymous said...

Some have awaken to the truth, some still sleeping like rip van winkle.

The truth hurts doesn't it, especially those asking loudly about the reserves. For what?