20 May 2012

Unity and Reciprocity in Opposition Politics

The decision by everyone to let the Hougang by-election be contested by People's Action Party and The Workers' Party was a decision based on realism and practicality as much as an expression of unity.  Just 12 months ago in the general election, The Workers' Party won the contest there with 64.8 per cent of the valid vote.  It is inconceivable that any party other than The Workers' Party or perhaps People's Action Party will win the contest there this time.  Not only will a third party lose, but it will probably lose so badly that its election deposit of $13,500 will be forfeited.  Furthermore, if People's Action Party captures Hougang with less than half the valid vote, the third party will be a instant pariah to opposition supporters, unless it happens to receive more votes than The Workers' Party.

However, according to Mr Tan Jee Say, unity among opposition parties should not be a one-way street.  The Workers' Party should appreciate the gesture of political cooperation from other opposition parties and individuals and should reciprocate accordingly in the next general election — implying that The Workers' Party should not intrude into other opposition parties' territories.

This is short-sighted.  It will stymie the growth and development of the opposition.

16 May 2012

Hougang: A By-Election is a By-Election

Few viewers would have failed to notice Channel NewsAsia's repeated reference to the Hougang by-election being the result of The Workers' Party's expulsion of its then-Member of Parliament Yaw Shin Leong for alleged personal indiscretions.

Under section 46 (2) of The Constitution of Singapore Act, the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if he ceases to be a member of, or is expelled or resigns from, the political party for which he stood in the election.

The by-election is the result of the Hougang seat becoming vacant.

There is no need for Channel NewsAsia — supposedly MediaCorp's dedicated news and current affairs television channel — to repeatedly remind its viewers that Mr Yaw was expelled for alleged personal indiscretions.

14 May 2012

Foreign Audience Versus Home Audience

Broadcast rights to many sports events, including even highlights, are generally not available to major news agencies.

Nevertheless, limited access is sometimes given to free-to-air broadcasters, provided any broadcast is limited geographically.

This restriction means that MediaCorp's Channel NewsAsia cannot broadcast limited match highlights because of the transnational nature of its broadcasts.

Although viewers in Singapore can still watch match highlights on MediaCorp's other free-to-air channels, they cannot watch the highlights on Channel NewsAsia — MediaCorp's dedicated news and current affairs channel — because of its aspirations to be a regional broadcaster.

MediaCorp and Channel NewsAsia are headquartered in Singapore. MediaCorp started as a radio broadcaster in Singapore in 1936.  Channel NewsAsia started broadcasting in 1999.  MediaCorp is owned by Temasek Holdings.


1. Cable TV Restrictions Limit Football Broadcast on Local News: CNA Voices, TODAY 9 May 2012.

01 May 2012

HDB Resale Flats — Valuation and Cash-Over-Valuation

In a recent article ("HDB Resale Prices Stabilise as COVs Fall", TODAY 28 Apr 2012), it was said that Housing and Development Board resale market was stabilising, with prices rising at their slowest pace in 5½ years as cash-over-valuation premiums fell.

Transacted prices and cash-over-valuation premiums: which is the cause and which is the effect?

The cash-over-valuation premium in any particular transaction is the transacted sale-and-purchase price in excess of the valuation of that HDB flat.  It must be paid for in cash, not from the buyer's Central Provident Fund account.

In a rising market, valuations typically trail transacted prices because of the way valuations are usually computed.  The faster the market is rising, the larger the cash-over-valuation premiums.

As the market stabilises, transacted prices stabilise.  This allows valuations to catch up with transacted prices, and results in cash-over-valuation premiums falling.

Falling cash-over-valuation premiums do not, in themselves, result in the market for HDB resale flats stabilising.