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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Today is Mr Leong Sze Hian’s 61st birthday.

Apparently, during his 60th birthday last year, a pdf was created by ES to commemorate his work in the past 15 years.
Download them here if you haven’t:

This year, due to the impending court case, we’re doing a 6 + 1 (we asked him what are your top 7 birthday wishes?) exclusive interview with Mr Leong.

His answer was healthcare, jobs, transport, welfare, education, HDB, CPF.
We were a bit puzzled by his reply, but proceeded with the interview.

Q1) Have you heard of the recent news about someone undergoing operation?
A) Yes. It reminds me of the cases of Singaporeans who sold their homes and became homeless to pay for medical bills - in my volunteer work doing financial counselling in the last decade or so. Netizens continue to pour criticism about unaffordable healthcare costs.

Q2) Can Singaporeans afford the high cost of living?
A) Singaporeans are not dead poor but so many Singaporeans are jobless or under-employed.

Q3) Do you think Singaporeans can be more competitive?
A) Well, we need openness and competition but why do we continue to have a public transport system that’s like a monopoly with high profits and one of the highest relative fares (relative to wages and monthly passes' cost) in the world?

Q4) Is there any way the government should take care of the people?
A) Of course, at least basic welfare.

Q5) How about the recent playing down of a degree?
A) Education - why do we continue to spend an estimated half a billion dollars a year on non-Singaporean students at all educational levels? We should spend more on Singaporeans?

Q6) What is the most basic need that the people should have?
A) An affordable roof over their heads - instead of a 99 years HDB which is the most expensive public housing in the world.

Q7) Where do you plan to go this following week?
A) I’ll be going to take a look at court 17 tomorrow at 3pm and I’ll be at Hong Lim Park on 29 Nov at 4pm. It’s all about the CPF, the crux of everything. We are the only country in the world that keeps an estimated 3% of our CPF's annual returns at the expense of CPF members.