Sunday, June 29, 2014

Why I chose to wear pink yesterday

My Facebook friend Walid J Abdullah on 23 June 2014 commented that "They (opposition political parties) keep their statements vague and ambiguous enough so as to not antagonize either faction, in pursuit of maximum electoral gains"

I replied to his Facebook post saying:
"I absolutely agree, except for the part on political parties. Political parties are made up of members of the various communities, so on topics which do not directly touch on 'bread and butter' issues, the members will naturally be divided according to their own morals and religious beliefs. In such situations, it is impossible for the Party to come out with a collective view, as it will not be representative of all its members. The greater responsibility on such issues rests with the political parties that have elected members in the House. The respective parties should lift the whip on such issues so that the elected members can vote according to their conscience. Just my 2 cents."
To which Walid replied that I had raised a fair point but that "non-elected politicians should state their stand too. Opposition politicians should not sit on the fence and hope to get elected based purely on anti-pap sentiments."

I did not want to comment further on that thread so as not to further draw a divide on the 'pink' versus 'white' issue. But now since that event is over, I can comment more freely on the topic.

My response to Walid would be, yes all politicians regardless of if they are elected or not, or if they are from the ruling Party or the opposition, should state their stand on various topics, including the topics relating to LGBT (provided the Party whip is not applied to that topic), but concerned individuals who feel a certain way about a particular topic should also not shy away from asking politicians on their stand on issues.

As for me, I have stated my stand on matters that concern LGBT community at various times (for example, see THIS and THIS). But please let me better clarify on where I stand on this topic.

My values and convictions
Although I am not a big fan of organised religion, I am a committed follower of Christ and according to my conservative worldview, sex other than the consenting one between married man and woman for one lifetime is unacceptable because it is sin.

But my worldview formed by the teachings, life and being of the person Christ also tells me that being in sin is a spiritual state of fallenness and that you need a spiritual experience to be convicted and repent of it.

But what if someone don't believe in spirituality like you do, or that there's such thing as spirituality? Should they be bound by the same convictions that you have?

I don't think so.

Laws in society
This is why we have laws in society - so that people with different worldviews can live harmoniously together in the same society. And my own convictions to do justice and to love mercy tells me that such laws in society have got to be fair and not discriminate unfairly.

That is the reason why I am for repealing Section 377A of the penal code which criminalises sex between consenting men because it unfairly discriminates against homosexuals as a minority social group. Regardless of how I personally feel on the topic, I have to draw a line somewhere and I cannot support a criminal law to express views on homosexuality.

Fear mongering and LGBT shaming
And it is because of these convictions that I can treat persons of the LGBT community with the genuine friendship and dignity that they deserve. And it is because of such convictions that I get upset when people peddle fear that the LGBT activists will not stop at repealing S377A, but when that's done, push for marriage and family to be redefined.

I say peddle fear because nobody will be criminalised because he or she married the person of the same sex. The marriage will simply be void and not recognised in Singapore.
"A marriage solemnized in Singapore or elsewhere between persons who, at the date of the marriage, are not respectively male and female shall be void." - Women's Charter
And as a survey conducted by IPS indicates, that 72.9 percent of the people polled opposed same-sex marriage in Singapore, it is highly unlikely that this law will be changed in the foreseeable future.

It is also unacceptable for religious leaders to promote platforms which host untruths to shame the LGBT community.

I am not sure how people will be drawn to a religion or faith which they perceive is persecuting them based on misinformation and untruths.

Wearing pink
Last Friday my son told me about a heated conversation he had and about how he told his friend that the topics of a person's sexual orientation should be separate from treating such persons with dignity, and not to confuse the two.

That conversation with my son set me thinking.

Because the pink dot event goes against my own beliefs on sexuality and marriage, I have never attended the pink dot event, and I don't intend to do so in the future. But I cannot stand idly by and conveniently keep quiet when a group of people are persecuted because of untruths and misinformation.

I don't believe in using colours unnecessarily to differentiate where we stand in various issues, which is why at the first White Paper protest last year where all the speakers were asked to come in black, I chose to wear yellow.

Yesterday however, for the first time, I wore pink by choice. Not because I am sold out on the ideals of the pink dot event, but I cannot conveniently remain quiet when a small group of people are oppressed and shamed because of misinformation, untruths and fear.

my mother and I

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Free my CPF

The CPF Minimum Sum (MS) will be raised to $155,000 from July this year. The CPF Board's intention for the MS is to provide members with a monthly income of about $1000 (for those who have the entire MS in their retirement account) for 20 years from the drawdown age.

But there has been a lot of well-documented unhappiness about this MS scheme. For example, in December last year MP Lily Neo posted on her Facebook about how one of her resident was unhappy because Dr Neo "could not get CPF to allow him to withdraw his savings". During the "Free My Internet" protest at Speakers' Corner last year, I also observed a number of older men protesting with placards which read, "Free my CPF".

Prior to the introduction of this MS scheme in the year 1987, CPF members could withdraw all their savings in their ordinary account upon reaching the age of 55. The MS was $30,000 in that year. In the year 2000 the MS had risen to $65,000, or by 116 percent in 13 year. And Moneysmart pointed out in their article about how MS was further increased by 138 percent in the next 14 years, and is now at $155,000.

I am all for doing away with the MS scheme and allowing CPF members to withdraw the entire amount in their CPF ordinary account when the time comes, for the following reasons:

  1. The money in a member's CPF account is hard-earned by the member alone. Upon reaching the withdrawal age, the Member can buy an annuity with it, or invest it in whatever way he or she wants and the Government should have no business dictating how the member should spend it. 
  2. As Moneysmart pointed out in their article, wages in Singapore are unlikely to keep up with the annual CPF MS increase. 
  3. Not a lot members have MS in their CPF upon reaching the age of 55. If you only receive $200 or $300 monthly from the MS scheme because you don't have enough MS, how will that support the member in having a basic standard of living in their retirement? 
  4. Mr Lee Yock Suan, then-Minister for Labour, in introducing the MS scheme in 1987 said that the MS scheme is only a form of encouragement, and that it is the duty of children to look after their parents in their old age - which means that according to the PAP Government, with or without the MS scheme older people will be fine. 
  5. If the Government wants older Singaporeans to live with dignity in their retirement, it should help them better plan for retirement. For example, legislation could require CPF members to buy insurance for retirement, which will guarantee him/her an income of at least $1000 upon retirement. Where the CPF member does not have enough in contribution to CPF to purchase such an insurance because his/her income is low, the Government can think of a top-up mechanism where the difference in paying for the premiums is shared by the Government and the employer of the CPF member.
--
picture credit: Dr Lily Neo's Facebook

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dialogue between organisers and protesters of Philippine Independence Day celebration best way forward

Last week, I felt concerned enough about Philippine Independence Day celebration saga that I wrote to the Philippine Embassy saying that I am sorry for the harassment the organisers have gotten, but that I also believe that there is some level of miscommunication and cross-talk between the organisers of the event and those that protest (at least some).

I assured the Philippine embassy in Singapore that the protesters do not mean ill-will to the people of Philippines and that they appreciated the contributions of the Filipinos to our country. I expressed that the protesters' frustrations were more about the immigration and manpower policies in place.

In the email I said that I knew of some of these protesters and asked the Philippine embassy if I could facilitate a dialogue between these protesters, and the organisers of the celebration. I believe such a dialogue would be a win-win for both the organisers of the event as well as the protesters, as the organisers would be seen as engaging the protesters in a rational manner, and for the protesters to clear any misunderstandings and bring their concerns across.

I reiterated that it is very important that the people of our countries remain good friends, and for that I believe there has to be better communication. I expressed that I believe that this proposed dialogue could be one means to that.

The Consul from the Cultural Section of the Embassy of the Philippines replied to my email thanking me for my interest to be a bridge between the protesters and the Committee. They said that they will refer my offer to the Committee with a recommendation that they contact me directly.

Even if I don't end up facilitating this dialogue, I hope such a meeting will take place so that both parties can better understand each side’s position better and to explore how to accommodate each other.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hypernationalism does no one no good

A Facebook post by the Philippine Independence Day Committee 2014 (PIDC) inviting Filipinos to celebrate their national day in Ngee Ann City on June 8 has irked some Singaporeans so much that they have gone on to PIDC's Facebook page to demand that they cancel the celebration.

Besides intimidating the organisers online, some of these protesters have also reportedly called PIDC to say that they have no right to hold the event at Orchard Road.

PIDC felt distressed enough by these hecklers to take down their Facebook page for this celebration. But they have said that their Independence Day party will go on.

Initially protesters taking issue with how PIDC had used the Singapore skyline in their celebration notice, that certain words like "two nations" and "interdependence" which the organisers had used, and that celebrations of a foreign country will be held on Singapore's soil; demanded that PIDC cancelled the event. They said that PIDC should only celebrate the event in the Philippine Embassy of Singapore.

They claimed that the Philippine Independence Day is a political event as it commemorates the day that country got its independence for its colonisers and not a cultural event like Singapore Day. I'm not sure if they have purposely overlooked the fact that the Philippines doesn't have a signature event like Singapore Day to engage overseas Filipinos.

When other Singaporeans pointed out how unreasonable their demand was, and that overseas Singaporeans had celebrated events like Singapore Day and even our own National Day in foreign countries, very often with support from foreign government related or supported agencies, the hecklers changed their tune saying that foreign flags should not be flown in Singapore - even when there is absolutely no proof that the organisers intend to do so.
This is a picture taken at the Philippine Independence Day celebration in Jun 2012 at the Atrium in Suntec City. Do you see any Philippine state flag being displayed anywhere?

The protesters said that they wouldn't have an issue with the celebration if it was held indoors or even in a park, adding that they didn't raise a ruckus in the last few years when the Philippine Independence Day was celebrated in less conspicuous spaces.

I am not sure if the protestors did not protest these celebrations in the past years, not because it was held in a less conspicuous place than Orchard Road, but because they were not aware of the celebrations previously. Or if they weren't feeling as emboldened then as they are now, after the Government's Population White Paper received unprecedented backlash, thinking they will have the support of majority of Singaporeans.

Without providing any proof whatsoever, they claim that foreign countries allow overseas Singaporeans to celebrate our National Day on their soil only in a park or far away from the city-belt. They fail to consider if the real reason for that could be because these overseas Singaporeans may choose to celebrate such events in a place where it is easy for them to congregate, and not so much if it is in the city-centre or not. Or because the number of Singaporeans in these foreign countries are too small that booking a public foyer instead of a function room in a hotel will seem ridiculous.

PIDC may want to celebrate their Independence Day in Ngee Ann City not because they want to take over our space as claimed by those that protest, but because it is the only space big enough in a location that is familiar enough for the Filipino community in Singapore. Let's not forget that there are reportedly about 180,000 Filipinos in Singapore, and most of these congregate in places like Lucky Plaza  in Orchard Road on the weekends.

The organisers after all want to hold the celebration in a privately owned space. If Ngee Ann City wants to lease PIDC the space, and if they get the necessary licences from the authorities for their celebration, I see no reason why they should not.

To a certain extent, this anger by these protesters is understandable. I am not sure if their anger, even if it seems directed at the people of Philippines, is directed instead at the Government of Singapore.

The Government had interfered in the booking for facilities by activists and Non-Government Organisations (NGO) in the past. And also, some private organisations, for various reasons, have not allowed activists and NGOs to rent space for their events, or in some instances have also cancelled the booking of space in the last minute, causing the NGOs and activists much anxiety.

The anger may also be against the Government policies which have allowed a large number of foreigners to come live and work here in Singapore with us. Besides the Chinese from mainland China and the Indians from India, the Filipinos are another big foreign community in Singapore, who are perceived by some to be competing unfairly with the locals for space and opportunities at work and schools.

But whatever these reasons may be, there is absolutely no reason for the protesters to be objecting to this celebration of the Filipinos in the manner that they had, especially when PIDC has publicly stated that the event was to "express the gratitude of Filipinos for the opportunity to work and stay in Singapore".

Yes, I agree that some the posters designed by PIDC to advertise the event is insensitive and even offensive.

But, the protestors could have red-flagged the poster and sought clarification and even an apology from the organisers for it. But without better calibrating their protest and by overblowing the issue to what it has turned to today, the protesters have done no one no favours.

Not even themselves.

--

Afternote:As I had pointed out in the article, the poster here is insensitive and even offensive. I just noticed it not too long ago. But someone pointed out to me that this is not the poster for their latest celebration, but a poster from 3 years ago, from the year 2011. How come no one raised any ruckus then? 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Feedback to Committee of Inquiry into Little India Riot

I sent the following feedback to the Committee of Inquiry into Little India Riot. Hope it was useful.

--
Mr Chow Chee Kin
Secretary
Committee of Inquiry into Little India Riot on 8 December 2013

Dear Mr Chow

Although I did not witness the Little India Riot first hand, I was at the recent fracas in Rex cinemas at Mackenzie Road where reportedly a crowd of more than 100 people, mostly foreign workers, refused to leave the cinema after the theatre cancelled the premiere of a Tamil movie.

I witnessed first-hand how the police officers who turned up for crowd control had difficulties communicating with the disgruntled moviegoers. One police officer I observed, used the word 'Dei', possibly in an attempt to establish camaraderie with the crowd. But in Tamil, the term 'Dei' is only used on people who are younger and/or are familiar (e.g. younger brother, close friends, etc), and is never used on people who are older and strangers as it is considered disrespectful. It was quite evident to me that the crowd's inability to express their grievances clearly to the police officers, as well as the officers limited language ability prevented them from communicating effectively to one another. Because of this, at one point I also had to interpret for the police officers, and convey the wishes of the moviegoers to the police as well.

My full account of what happened in Rex cinema on Thursday, 9 January 2014 is here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?ibid=10152257300093277&set=a.10150306622503277.338585.633378276&type=1

Throughout the time I witnessed the police trying to resolve the dispute between the movie-going crowd and the cinema operators, I casually observed that there was only one police officer with an Indian name, but he did not speak much, and if he did, it was certainly not in Tamil. Things could have gone out of hand that night if not for cool heads, both the police officers on the ground and the moviegoers, who decided to seek extra help in understanding one another. Kudos to the police officers for that.

This incident made me reflect on the riot in Little India on 8 December 2013, and my questions are, how big a part did ability to comprehend language play in escalating the incident on that night of 8 December 2013, and could the incident been better mitigated with officers who were able to speak the language of the unhappy crowd?

Little India is a very unique place. It is the only place where tens of thousands of foreign workers, workers who probably speak very little English, congregate on weekends. I acknowledge that it might be impossible for all first-responders to be effective communicators in another language that might be foreign to them. But Tamil is one of our official languages.

Were sufficient Tamil speaking first-responders deployed for crowd control on the night of 8 December 2013 at Little India? If they were, what is that number? How effective (or ineffective) were they on that night?

Are officers who are able to speak our official languages, well represented in the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Civil Defence Force, so that they can better communicate to the crowd in similar emergencies?

Besides Little India, there are other areas where foreign workers congregate on the weekends, could trained interpreters be recruited to be deployed at emergency situations which may require a particular language ability in order to avert a damaging situation?

I hope my feedback has been useful to the Committee. Please do not hesitate to contact me for any clarification.

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Change and the Singaporean DNA

There is an commentary in the Today newspaper penned by Devadas Krishnadas titled 'Handling change has always been a part of the Singaporean DNA', dated 4 February 2014.

In the commentary, Devadas lists the gripes Singaporeans have had in recent years - the 2013 Population White Paper, urban flooding, corruption cases of high-profile public servants and Government's intention to regulate the internet - and selectively quoting from historical events, suggests that Singaporeans are survivors, and so must adapt to changing circumstances.

Averse to Change?

The writer of the article in Today newspaper has rightly pointed out that it is our ability to embrace change which has allowed us to thrive as a people - as a nation. And Singaporeans have never been averse to change. Not the generations before us. Not the current one. And I am sure not the one that comes after us.

The difference is, whereas there was sufficient space for people to change and embrace change in the past, that very necessary ingredient for change to happen in a more acceptable manner - space - is in short supply now.

With 7498 people per square kilometre, Singapore is already the 3rd most densely populated country in the world now. And if our population grows to 6.9 million as projected in the Population White Paper, we will have approximately 10,044 residents for each square kilometer in the year 2013.

While unabated population growth may be a sure way to grow our GDP and with it the wages of our top-earners in Singapore, it may further adversely affect our total fertility rate and our quality of life.

So, when our people reject the population white paper, it does not mean that they are xenophobic, or take perverse pride in cynicism, it only shows that we want to survive and strive in a land we have made our own. And to survive and strive, we need new ideas and vision.

Taking the easy road

Are there other alternatives, ideas and vision to take Singapore forward? Or have our elected leaders started believing their own rhetoric, that this is the system we have and that this is what we have got to work within? If that were so, then it is the leaders that need changing.

Asking such leaders to change by re-looking issues and policies from another angle may be of course harder, and the price to pay, perhaps deemed too high. So the easy way out would be, ask the people to accept uncreative leadership which places a burdensome yoke on the people's shoulders, just so that these leaders can hang on to power.

Contest for space

If we looked at the biggest protests last year, the White Paper protests and the protest against the licensing regime for online news sites, both were in opposition to encroachment of space - one actual physical space, and the other cyberspace.

We want not just a roof over our heads, but also space to run, play and have fun. Familiar spaces, which we can point to our children and tell stories. More individual space in our trains and buses. Space to grow our careers and families at the same time.

And we want the Government to butt out of the internet - the most open 'public square' Singaporeans have for public discourse.

The Singaporean DNA

From the Graduate Mothers' Scheme to more recently, the former-Education Minister's intention to reduce weightage of mother-tongue language examinations in PSLE, the average Singapore citizen has not been afraid to speak out against schemes and policies which he or she thinks will disadvantage a majority of Singaporeans.

The protests at the designated space in Hong Lim Park, as well as in cyber-space - and the discussions and debates in coffee-shops, pantries at workplaces and homes all point to the fact that Singaporeans react the way they do because of their DNA. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Even if being risk-averse is in the Singaporean DNA, the ability to embrace change is also in our gene pool. Singaporeans will take calculated risks to change status-quo if they feel that they are being disadvantaged, and live with the upheavals such a change may bring.

We did it almost 50 years ago, in 1959, and are certainly capable of doing it again in the future if there is a need to do so.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Proud of my 'poor' Singaporean stench

I was outraged reading this news on TRE: Briton belittles people taking public transport.

When members of the public asked him why he made those remarks, he apparently deleted his Facebook account, and later posted an apology with a clarification <HERE>.

Although I am shocked by the Briton's remarks, I am not totally surprised. Let me tell you why.

With COEs hovering over the $70,000 mark, and with financing restrictions on motor vehicle loans, it certainly looks like eventually, only the rich would be able to afford and drive cars in Singapore. Already 63 percent of Singaporeans take the public transport now. The Government wants to increase this to 70 percent.

Towards achieving this, the Transport Minister, Mr Lui Tuck Yew said in an interview to Bloomberg TV that the Government "had to take some measures here in Singapore that are both unorthodox and somewhat controversial and expensive."

So while the rich zoom around town unperturbed by ERP increases, car-parking charges and ever-increasing road capacity to cater to their ease of transportation, 63 percent of 'poor' Singaporeans have to cope with over-crowded trains and buses, buses and train that frequently breakdown, public transport which don't arrive on time, and transport fare hikes.

While prime land like Sentosa Cove and Marina Bay become playgrounds for the rich and powerful, the 'poor' gets pushed to the peripherals of Singapore to places like Woodlands, Sembawang and Sengkang. (An article I wrote earlier on this topic is HERE.)

While world leaders like Pope Francis points out that "there is no hard evidence that trickle-down economics has worked for anyone, except the rich", our leaders make comments like this:
“In fact, if I can get another 10 billionaires to move to Singapore and set up their base here, my Gini coefficient will get worse but I think Singaporeans will be better off, because they will bring in business, bring in opportunities, open new doors and create new jobs, and I think that is the attitude with which we must approach this problem.” <LINK>
Why, by pegging their salaries to the top 1000 earners in Singapore, our political leaders seem to be identifying more with the well-off than with the common man on the street.

Do you still remember, "Please, get out of my elite uncaring face"?

No, I am not saying that all the filthy rich are smug, but when the rich and powerful have better (unfair?) advantage in domains like transportation, land allocation, and education, it is quite easy for them to remain aloof and adopt an elitist mindset - to lose touch with the aspirations and challenges of the ordinary Singaporean.

My worry is, that there may be far too many among the filthy rich who feel like the Briton, but only make such comments in their closed circles.

But as for me, I am proud of my stench - the stench of a "poor", ordinary Singaporean, and am also proud of the sacrifices my mom had made in raising me!

--
Article was edited after it was published. Considering the Briton's apology, I have removed the Youtube video.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fare hike for transport early next year?

"From 2006 to 2013...in the last seven years do you know how much our transport fares
have increased? 0.3%. It has almost remained the same. Even though it increased for some years, during the 2008 financial crisis, it was reduced. In the past year, there was no change in the fare." - Minister without Portfolio, Mr S Iswaran in aTamil programme in Vasantham (http://video.xin.msn.com/watch/video/episode-10/2b1whkfhz)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
1990: BUS FARE REVISION[i]
§    10 cents increase in non air-con fares generally.
§    5 to 10 cents increase in air-con fares with no change to the minimum (60 cents) and maximum fares ($1.20).

1994: BUS FARE REVISION
§    Extension of the maximum bus fare by another fare stage (over 14.4 km), to $1.00 and $1.30 for non air-con and air-con services respectively (equivalent to a 10 cents increase)

1995 : BUS FARE REVISION
§    Extension of the maximum bus fare by another fare stage (over 18.4 km) to $1.10 and $1.40 for non air-con and air-con services respectively (equivalent to a 10 cents increase).
§    5 cents increase in feeder fares and industrial fares to 30 cents and 45 cents respectively, with the corresponding introduction of a 5 cents transfer rebate for feeder buses.
§    $2 increase in concession stamps prices for tertiary students, NS men and SBS shareholders.

1997 : BUS FARE REVISION
§    5 cents increase across the board for non air-con services on farecard fares. No change for air-con farecard fares.
§    10 cents increase across the board for air-con and non air-con services on cash fares.
§    Conversion of flat fare to distance-related fares for industrial bus services.
§    $3- $5 increase in non air-con bus concession stamp prices.

1999 : NEW FARES FOR BUKIT PANJANG LRT
Similar to fares on existing RTS lines, distance-related fares were adopted for Bukit Panjang LRT.

2000: BUS FARE REVISION
§    10 cents increase in adult feeder bus fares (cash and farecard) with a corresponding increase in the feeder transfer rebate by 10 cents (from 5 cents to 15 cents).
§    5 cents increase in child/student feeder bus fares (cash and farecard) with a 10 cents increase in the feeder transfer rebate (from 5 cents to 15 cents).
§    Extension of the maximum fare by another fare band (over 23.5 km) to $1.30 and $1.60 for non air-con and air-con services respectively for cash fares, and $1.25 and $1.50 for non air-con and air-con services respectively for farecard fares.
§    Addition of 2 fare bands to the fare structure of Jurong industrial bus services (maximum fare was increased by 20 cents).

2000: LIGHT RAPID TRANSIT (LRT) SINGLE TRIP FARE
10 cents increase in the LRT Single Trip Ticket adult fares (the new minimum became 80 cents while new maximum was $1.00). No change in adult farecard fares (minimum was 60 cents and maximum was 80 cents).

2001 : BUS FARE REVISION
§    10 cents increase in feeder bus fares with corresponding increase in transfer rebates by 10 cents (feeder bus transfer rebate became 25 cents, the same as the transfer rebate involving non-feeder bus services).

2002: BUS FARE REVISION
§    3 cents increase in adult EZ-link card fares.
§    5 cents increase in adult farecard fares.
§    10 cents increase in adult cash fares.
§    50 cents increase in concession stamp prices for primary/secondary students.
§    $2 increase in concession stamp prices for tertiary students.
§    $3 increase in concession stamp prices for NS men.

2003: NEW FARES FOR NORTH EAST LINE (NEL)
§    Differentiated fares for the NEL at 5 cents to 25 cents higher than the existing RTS fares, or an average of 16.5 cents more.
§    Fares for child/student/NS men concessions remained the same as that for the existing RTS lines.

2005 : BUS FARE REVISION
§    1-2 cents increase in adult EZ-link card fares.
§    10 cents increase in adult cash fares.
§    1 cent increase in senior citizen EZ-Link card fares and 10 cents increase in senior citizen cash fares.

2006 : BUS FARE REVISION
§    1-3 cents increase in adult EZ-link card fares.
§    1 cent increase in senior citizen EZ-Link card fares.

2007 : BUS FARE REVISION[ii]
·                1.8% fare adjustment on bus fares only. Bus fares go up by 1 to 2 cents

2008 : TRANSPORT FARE HIKE[iii]
·                An average 0.6% fare adjustment on bus and train fares

2009 : TRANSPORT FARE REBATE[iv]
·                Government grants concessions and rebates on transport-related taxes and fees, including 30% road-tax rebates[v]
·                Public Transport operators decided to pass on some savings to commuters and did not apply for fare adjustments
·                Fare rebate and an increase in transfer rebate of up to 4.6%[vi]

2010 : DISTANCE BASED FARES IMPLEMENTED
·                Fares increase by 0.5% - 1%
·                Trips with transfers cheaper than single trips[vii]

2011 : TRANSPORT FARE HIKE
·                Fares increase by 1%[viii]

2012 : NO FARE REVISIONS[ix]
·                Government budgets $1.1 billion - $280 million budgeted for the purchase of the 550 buses over next 5 years, and $820 million to cover the net operating costs of public transport operators over 10 years[x]

2013 : FARES MAY INCREASE
·                Public Transport Operators to apply for fare hike [xi] by 19 Dec 2013

Year
Description
Fare
Description
Fare
1990
Lowest adult fare by bus
$0.60
Highest adult fare by bus
$1.20
2013
Lowest adult fare by bus
$0.73
Highest adult fare by bus
$1.94[xii]


Increase
22%
Increase
62%