Wednesday, 15 August 2018

NDR 2018 - What will PM Lee speak on?

I feel that the National Day Rally speeches by PM Lee has less gravitas than those of his father. So I am not going to harp on it.

Instead this is what I think he should talk about. And maybe he will.

China-US Trade war

"When elephants fight, grass gets trampled." US and China are "elephants" in terms of their economic weight.

Singapore is so much grass to these elephants.

PM Lee should address this, and spell out the risks, and how we might try to deal with it.

Maybe there is nothing we can do about it. Grass cannot move to a place where the elephants are not fighting.

But maybe tell us what to expect. Tell as the worst case scenarios, and the best case we can maybe hope for.

[Oh wait, the future PM just talked about it.]

Lease Decay Issue

A friend suggested that perhaps he should talk about the lease decay issue. This is a ticking time bomb for the PAP. Or more precisely, for the govt. And this time bomb will go off in about 40 years time.

Which suggests that while it may be of interest to many people who want to talk about it or get a sense that the govt has a plan to help them unlock or realise the value of their ageing flat with a decaying lease.

But this is not the right time to talk about solutions. Not when the govt is also trying to cool the market. If a solution is revealed now, it would at the very least, release these flats into the market, or if the solution is very good, suddenly make these flats very valuable.

Perhaps the plan is to allow prices to fall for some flats to make them more affordable to young couples.

In any case, Singaporeans are already accustomed to the govt rescuing them. Perhaps it is time for Singaporeans to learn that the govt cannot rescue them from everything.

And, this is still a problem that will only bite the PAP in 30 to 50 years time. Twenty at the earliest. So I don't think he will speak on this. Especially since I doubt that they are ready to announce a solution.

[Afternote: It is reported that he would speak on housing. So maybe he will speak on this.]

Malaysia, Mahathir, Water

Then there was this comment on FB:
Curious to know if he would address the issues and challenges presented by the new govt up North. On the one hand, exceedingly pertinent and on the minds of Singaporeans. On the other hand, we (and by we, I mean "he") cannot be too candid in publicly discussing our Northern neighbour, lest he provokes a diplomatic incident. And if he cannot be candid, there is no point addressing it.
But not mentioning it, is to studiously avoid the elephant in the room. The geriatric elephant. But still there.
I suspect his best option is to approach it as objectively as possible. And to indirectly... "advise" Malaysia. Not that the geriatric elephant takes advice from anyone. Least of all from the son of his "nemesis". But the advice is to the PH govt, not to the elephant.
He should acknowledge the political upheavals there, and point out the challenges arising from the upheavals as... blandly... as possible. No hype. No drama. Nothing personal. Mention that the HSR is in question, and note that this has an impact on our Jurong Lake District plans. But point out that the plans for Jurong Lake District had been made from as early as 2008 at least 5 years before Malaysia broached the HSR project to SG. Point out that even if the HSR were to be scrapped, it would not "leave a hole" in the JLD plans. SG is perpetually short of land. This "Crisis" is just an opportunity.
Mention that the PH govt has a lot of challenges. And how, as they try to face and overcome those challenges, they may unwittingly (do NOT use this word!) or inadvertently (better!) impact on SG's fortunes, progress or plans. Assure Singaporeans that we can accommodate and adjust.

Then water.

Mention that our position on the water agreement has not changed and the legal effect of the agreement cannot be changed.

But explain also that should the unthinkable and illegal happen, our water security is assured. That NEWater and Desalination plants can provide almost 3/4 of our water needs, and that local catchment can easily meet the rest of our needs.

Then mention that Johor has indicated that they do NOT want Putrajaya to be involved in any new water negotiations. Mention that the water agreement was signed between SG and the State of Johor, not the Federal Govt. Note that Johor has reminded Putrajaya that Johor has sole authority over water and other issues. Note that Johor is on our side because of the close cooperation between SG and Johor, and that the Crown Prince of Johor had acknowledged SG's help during their droughts, and called SG a true friend and neighbour.

Assure Singaporeans that the unthinkable and illegal is unlikely to happen. But again, if it does, we can weather it.
That should take about 1 hr 15 minutes.

Malaysia and Mahathir is definitely on some of our minds and it is understandable. The old media whore takes every opportunity to make sensational and controversial announcements to the media but makes absolutely NO formal or official communication to Singapore. This should tell you clearly that he is engaging in media manipulation, or manipulating the people via media announcements.

But doing absolutely NOTHING officially to set anything in motion.

Whatever his motives, his antics is worrying to those who do not see through his wayang kulit. And it is all shadow play to him. It is all about the show and almost never about the substance. Mainly because he HAS NO SUBSTANCE.

But Singaporeans need to be assured that the bogeyman is just a shadow with limited capacity to affect our reality.

[Afternote: He will speak on water and electricity prices. Maybe he will take a short detour to talk about water security. ]

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