Constructive Politics in Parliament

Last night’s news on Parliament was dominated by a new find in Puthucheary. He came across as the smartest MP in the house. He was on his feet many times, even his speech on healthcare was allowed extra time to expound on his wisdom. The ministers were in awe, mesmerized by his grasp on the issues facing healthcare. He seemed to have all the answers especially on what Gerald Giam had to say. And Gerald Giam was as good as saying nothing but sound bites.

Gerald Giam made two points which I thought were very pertinent and should be seriously considered by the MOH instead of being brushed off lightly by some wise cracks. The first point was the American private healthcare system. Gerald told the house that the American govt made it a law for excessive profits from health insurance to be ploughed back to reduce the premiums paid by the insured.

This point was hastily dismissed by Puthucheary with no second thought. It was a private insurance scheme and should not be used in our discussion on a public healthcare scheme. Why not? Be it private or public healthcare scheme, excessive profits must be moderated and best returned to the insured. Otherwise the insurance agencies would be raising higher and higher premiums to make more and more profits. I think this is a very important point for our govt and private insurers to take note of and to prevent premiums from running away.

The second point by Gerald, actually related to the first, is that the claims made in our public health insurance scheme came to 63% of premiums collected, ie giving a huge surplus of 37% to the insurers. The American private health insurance’s claim was 82% and the American govt was already finding the profit too high.

This point was again pooh-poohed by Puthucheary. What is wrong with collecting more premiums and more surplus? What? Who said that? Nothing wrong with collecting unnecessary higher premiums from the masses? Puthucheary’s logic was that there were too many unthinkables and contingencies that could happen and could raise the claims unexpectedly. It was good to have a big cushion of excess premiums. Ya, I know that too, let’s add another 20% to the premium.

This kind of thinking I can agree if I am prepared to worry about when the sun would not shine again or when the next epidemic will hit. We must have a lot of extras, a lot of fats, just in case. No wonder the CPF minimum sums keeps going higher and higher. No wonder the nation’s reserves for a rainy day must keep increasing, even if we have 20 trillions will not be enough. No wonder some ministers are saying their salaries are not enough.

It is okay to collect more premiums. It is okay to increase the minimum sums to $1m. Who can dispute against such logic? But who is paying? Whose pocket will be hurt?
What is wrong with collecting more money from the people?

I am worried when we have so clever people in the govt who wants to worry about everything under heaven, every unknown, and wanting to provide for them and make the people pay for their concerns. I know their hearts are good and in the right place.
Who is indulging in constructive politics and who is indulging in destructive politics?

Kopi Level - Green


Anonymous said...

Singaporean now warming to the idea of multi-parties system after studying the successful models of some highly successful small countries? Which produced many multi national companies, olympic champions & Nobel prizes winners?

As China up Singapore got difficulties compete with China on price?

These countries get their talents from different sources, the MP are young and hungry?

The traditional source of getting most of the ministers from the civil service and parachuted them in was outmoded?

Singapore want the types of admin that can bring them low income disparity, not like the overpopulation type of Hong Kong many sleep in the cages?

Now Singaporean want those leaders that can produce result, not just giving excuses?

The want low income disparity, high birthrate and higher standard of living, with a multi parties system that develop talents from multi sources not get most of the ministers from the civil service?

There are jokes that Singapore is a General parties, most are from generals?

Singaporean simply difficult to complete with the types of cheap labour type of industries, as S'pore the cost had risen dramatically? Singapore is now one of the most expensive city of the world?

These model the provide a structure of leaner govt which reduced cost and waste, if they can run it other parties can easily takeover because most of them came through a free education system and are highly educated and well trained? The had retrenchment benefits, health benefits and old age benefits?

As more high qualified candidates like Tan Jee Say, Dr Ang, Chen Show Mao, professor and many highly qualify and with successful track records joining the opposition, so Singaporean are more confidence of voting opposition and the oppositions don't have much problems in taking over the govt?

Many new oppositons members had many years experiences in the govt senior positions then switched to private sectors had many year of experiences behind them? So no doubt the can run the govt leaner and more effective?

Singapore can't afford the ministers which pay ten times it counterpart with similar population, which need lots of direct or indirect taxes?

The critical think to our future is developing the SME to multi national companies, in contrast to foreign investments which anytime those foreign companies can move to a country with cheaper labour?

That was the past when China was not open up yet?

Singapore need to review its education system to learn from these countries who are nimble and able to find their niches and branding?

Which design and innovate goods that cater to the higher end of the world populations?

The development of critical thinking is through free education and a creative cultures which give generous awards and support for these highly innovative companies?

Anonymous said...

The problem with civil servants they are good at following orders, not much at initiatives?

Anonymous said...

Our so called MP objected to the first suggestion by Gerald...It reminded me when Minister replied "food court or restaurant" when debating on an increase in elderly subsidy. Both attitude were quite similar....

Gerald's suggestion is valid and "constructive".

The current politics system is deemed to be destructive as it is making the dominant party "indispensable", which is no longer relevant in today's context.

The said...

Constructive politics means when I say "yes", you must also say "yes".

Just so that you don't accuse me of taking in only yes-men or yes-women, you can also say "no" (only when I say "no").

Constructive politics means when I say "jump", you ask "how high?".

Constructive politics means I have all the answers and I am always right.

Constructive politics means"
1) I am the boss and I am always right.
2) If I am wrong, refer to 1).

Anonymous said...

Puthuchery is a joke. Does he not realise that healthcare is a basic necessity and therefore should be run as a social enterprise, ie a not for profit enterprise ? This desire to accumulate excesses, reserves should not come into play in a social enterprise. His kind of thinking is the reason why costs in Sinkieland are spiralling out of control.

Anonymous said...

But Gerald Giam is only a NCMP, and which is by the grace and generosity of PAP policy to create NCMPs for best losers from opposition.

And Puthucheary is an elected MP, and from the PAP some more.

Remember, it is who and how strong u are, not the logic or strength of your argument.

Gerald should hence work harder with his boss Teochew Ah Hia outside of Parliament to get WP to be strong and ready to be govt.

Only then could his strong & logical arguments be converted to action and results for the good of Sinkies.

Anonymous said...

Gerard Giam was contrasting the American system with our own system. The American system is a private (profit making) enterprise. Ours is a not for profit system, hence we should be keeping even less excesses. Puthu the Cherry simply brushed it off as not comparable. His delivery was excellent, but in terms of substance, Gerard came out with the stronger arguments.

Anonymous said...


Gerald and even his elected comrades should try harder to be ready to be govt.

Or else, constructive or not, they will always be put down this way by PAP, and daft Sinkies will continue to suffer and no different from WP not in Parliament.

Anonymous said...

All the MPs and ministers agreed with Puthucheary's arguments.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

@RB and @parliament of Singapore:

Smoke and mirrors lah. The Americans -- at least many smart academics and policy advisors ADMIRE the Singapore Health System. The other cuntree which has also started to take notice is Australia -- where the health system is also being revamped.

The Brookings Institute is thought to be slightly left, progressive think tank. However they support Singapore Health system in this book

Anonymous said...

It was good, it is good, but it is going rotten if allowed to go on without the wisdom of a good leader, just like influx of foreigners, housing and CPF.

Anonymous said...

Puthucheary did not even bother to look at the merits of Gerald Giam's points. His only intent was to shoot down everything Gerald said. So much for constructive politics.

Anonymous said...

PAP will never look at merits of any suggestion by an opposition MP. Their only agenda is to silence such suggestion because they know, in their minds, that a good suggestion from an opposition is a slap on their faces.

But, strangely, they may, years down the road, discreetly borrow the idea and call it their own. That has happen before, but all the credit goes to PAP.

b said...

First - there are problems.
Second - evil politicians will recommend to privatise the public service giving reasons like private service are better blad blad rubbish.
Third - people are made to pay high premium for insurance premium.
Fourth - the rich gets richers and the poor gets poorer in a world where costs are socialised and profits are privatised.

(The american system should also cap the amount of wages those directors are getting. One way to get around with the system is to pay those healthcare directors (who are sitting ducks) high wages to reduce the profit just like in many north european first world countries.)

b said...

Me think Giam should be the president. AFAICS He is the only sincere one around.

b said...

"European Union is "too big and too bossy", said British Prime Minister David Cameron"

- the same goes for pap. voters must vote to reduce the size and hence power. I am against "too". Moderation is the best.