Terrexes to be returned… just in time for CNY

Jan 25, 2017 08.45AM |

HONG Kong authorities will return the nine seized Terrex Infantry Carriers to Singapore, saying that their investigations have been concluded. The Straits Times (ST) ran with an upbeat headline while TODAY sounded cautionary notes and highlighted points of friction.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote to HK Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying to thank him for Hong Kong’s cooperation in the outcome.

What is new is that Hong Kong customs has finally given a reason for the seizure: “because there was a suspected breach of the Hong Kong law”. It warned, however, that prosecution may still follow if laws have been broken. It wasn’t clear why Hong Kong customs had not given this reason earlier in the saga.

Another Hong Kong law that may have been breached is the right of Sovereign immunity that the Terrexes enjoy as property of Singapore – they are supposed to be immune to seizure or any form of constraint abroad.

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No word on exactly when they will be coming back to home ground, but shipping time from Hong Kong to Singapore is at best six days via the APL route the Terrexes were originally on.

Look out the window – is it over yet? The heavy monsoon rainfall over the last day or so was due to peter out by Tuesday evening. Singapore suffered traffic-stopping floods, er, I mean ponding, but the downpour also caused havoc in Malaysia. More than 2,000 were affected by flooding in Johor as the state opened up 29 evacuation centres.

More rain is expected for the rest of January, according to the met services. Hopefully it doesn’t dampen the Lunar New Year spirit.

More “debts” will be repaid: Two unions, Singapore Industrial and Services Employees’ Union (Siseu) and Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees’ Union (Batu) are pushing for ex-gratia payments for the 54 workers who were fired and publicly called poor performers by Surbana Jurong.

The unions maintain that due process was not followed in the sackings, and decried Surbana group chief executive Wong Heang Fine’s email to the company that denounced the workers.

Ex-gratia payments are different from retrenchment benefits as they are for past services rather than a termination benefit.

So was it a retrenchment disguised as something else? Was Surbana trying to avoid paying benefits to the workers? Surbana has backpedalled somewhat on the sackings, and is now “committed to work out something amicably and expeditiously” with the unions. MOM is still investigating.

Who wants to sponsor 2,330 bikes? The Land Transport Authority is looking for a “respectable brand” to pilot a bike sharing scheme in Jurong Lake District, Marina Bay and Tampines/Pasir Ris. The scheme could account for a million bike trips a day, mostly first/last-mile transport to and from MRT stations and short trips in the neighbourhood.

Sponsors will have naming rights to the scheme as well as brand placement on the bikes, docking stations and other infrastructure.

The cost? No figures have been announced yet but it is expected to run into millions. New York City’s bike sharing sponsorship cost Citigroup some S$58 million. That’s quite an ang pow.



Featured image from TMG file.

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