March 23, 2017

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earth by Kevin Gill

PRESIDENT Donald Trump issued an executive order last Friday (Jan 27), which has caused much furore among the media and public in and outside of the United States (US).

The following came into effect upon the signing of the document: Entry of foreign nationals from seven countries are barred for 90 days, namely – Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq. Refugee admission will be suspended for four months, because of the need to modify the admission process. And a cap of 50,000 has been put to the number of refugees to be accepted this year. For Syrian refugees, however, the ban is indefinite until “sufficient changes” have been made to the refugee programme.

Protestors have been decrying Trump’s directives, which they say smack of intolerance towards Muslims. Judges in US federal and state courts have stayed its execution, stemming deportation of refugees, legal permanent residents as well as travellers caught in US airports… for the moment.

How have leaders from other countries responded?

 

1. Australia – Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Malcolm_Turnbull_2014

Image from Wikimedia Commons user Вени Марковски.

Following the release of the executive order, the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had a phone conversation with President Trump last Saturday (Jan 28). He sought confirmation that a refugee deal struck between Australia and the previous US president, Mr Barack Obama, remains valid. The latter had promised that US would take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention centre.

Mr Trump was unhappy about this matter. Senior US officials revealed that he called the agreement “the worst deal ever”. And on Thursday (Feb 2), the president expressed on Twitter that he will “study this dumb deal”.

Regardless, a special provision in the executive order has allowed for exceptions, such as a “pre-existing international agreement”. This means the Australia deal could – or should, really – be honoured. Beyond stating that he believed the resettlement deal remains in place, Mr Turnbull made no further comments about the call. Such conversations, he deemed, are “conducted candidly, frankly, privately”.

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2. United Arab Emirates – Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan

Abdullah

Image from Flickr user Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates defended the ban on Wednesday (Feb 1), saying that it is not Islamophobic and does not target any one religion. Muslims and Muslim countries were not included in the ban, he noted, and also found it “important” to “put into consideration this point” that the ban is temporary.

Mr Abdullah described the situation as such: Mr Trump’s order is an “American sovereign decision”, meaning it is the US’ prerogative to handle its immigration policies as it sees fit. Conversely, affected countries do have “structural problems” that first need addressing. Dealing with an immigration ban directed at them is secondary. However, Mr Abdullah did not elaborate what are those “structural problems”.

In short, the Foreign Minister lent credence to US administration’s stand that Mr Trump’s order was not meant to be anti-Muslim.

 

3. The Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte

Image from Wikimedia Commons user PCOO EDP.

President Duterte has chosen to mind his own business and it appeared to be a matter of professional courtesy to him. During a media briefing on Monday (Jan 30), he said that the US president had been respectful of the way he handled his war on drugs. Therefore, he would reciprocate by responding in like manner regarding the controversial executive order. In the president’s own words in Tagalog, he “will not interfere”.

In fact, Mr Duterte told overstaying Filipinos to “get out” and get back to the Philippines. Though the country is not on the ban list, there are citizens illegally staying in America. These people could be affected once US authorities start clamping down on illegal immigrants. The special envoy to the U.S. Babe Romualdez said in an interview on Tuesday (Jan 31) that a list held by the US Department of Homeland Security has indicated there are “about 310,000 Filipinos up for deportation”.

“Because if you are caught and you get deported, I will not lift a finger. You know that it is a violation of the law,” Mr Duterte said.

 

4. Indonesia – Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi

Marsudi

Image from Flickr user Utenriksdepartementet UD.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has expressed “deep regrets about the policy” in a social media message to Reuters on Sunday (Jan 29), when asked for her opinion about the executive order.

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population but is not on the ban list. On Monday (Jan 30), Indonesian President Joko Widodo told his citizens not to worry, assuring them that there is “no direct impact on Indonesia”.

Similarly, Ms Retno said that Indonesians seeking visas to go the United States had not faced any problems so far. Still, for the “hundreds of thousands” of Indonesians already in America, she has instructed Indonesian representatives in Washington, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco to open 24-hour hotline services in case of any fallout arising from this situation.

 

5. Turkey – Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş

Numan_Kurtulmus_in_Ak_Party

Image from Vikipedia user Ak Party.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has condemned the ban in an interview with Turkish daily Habertürk on Tuesday (Jan 31). He attributed Mr Trump’s move to “rising Islamophobia, xenophobia and anti-immigrant feelings”. Coming from America as a place where “different ethnic and religious groups are able to co-exist”, the decision to restrict entry of nationals from the seven majority-Muslim countries was “very offensive”, he said. He went on to call the ban a “discriminative decision”, hoping for its correction.

Turkey considers itself a champion against anti-Muslim sentiments. It has absorbed around 2.7 million Syrian refugees, victims of the near six-year war between Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and rebels.

Mr Kurtulmus reasoned that “no national from a certain country can be categorically deemed as bad”. In fact, behaviours of “Islamophobia and xenophobia” work in tandem with terror groups like DAESH [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant], both “poisoning the lives of 1.7 billion Muslims”. The cooperation of effective anti-terror forces is the way to fight terrorism, he said.

 

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Photo of clock face with hands pointed to half past eight.

IT ISN’T just one, but three new facts.

They were discovered in the National Archives of the United Kingdom between Aug 4 last year and Jan 30 this year. They are

a. internal correspondence of the Singapore colonial authorities in 1958,

b. an incident report filed in 1958 by a British naval officer and

c. an annotated map of naval operations from the 1960s.

This was reported in an International Court of Justice press statement issued overnight. Malaysia is using the three documents to challenge the ICJ ruling in 2008 that awarded sovereignty of Pedra Branca to Singapore. It issued a press statement earlier yesterday but didn’t give details.

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According to ICJ, Malaysia claims that these documents establish the new fact that “officials at the highest levels in the British colonial and Singaporean administration appreciated that Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh did not form part of Singapore’s sovereign territory” during the relevant period. Malaysia argues that “the Court would have been bound to reach a different conclusion on the question of sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh had it been aware of this new evidence”.

Why didn’t Malaysia make the points earlier?

ICJ, quoting Malaysia, said the documents were  “only discovered on review of the archival files of the British colonial administration after they were made available to the public by the UK National Archives after the Judgment was rendered in 2008”.

It also said that Malaysia argued that its ignorance of the new fact was not due to negligence as the documents in question were “confidential documents which were inaccessible to the public until their release by the UK National Archives”.

It’s a rather strange turn of phrase.

When exactly were they made accessible? This is important as the ICJ has to decide if the new discovery was made within the last six months to allow the appeal. If the facts had been lying around in the archives for years and was only spotted late last year because Malaysia decided to “review” the archives, does it count?

If the ICJ is satisfied, then the next stage is to determine if the facts were “decisive”.

So it seems that the tussle over Pedra Branca, an island outcrop of granite rocks 40 km east of Singapore, isn’t over. It’s of strategic importance, as it sits at the eastern-most entrance of the Straits of Singapore where hundreds of ships pass through daily.

A few members of Singapore’s original legal team, such as former Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar, Professor Tommy Koh and former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, have been called back to action. Clearly, Singapore will defend its sovereignty over the island. Its oldest feature is the Horsburgh lighthouse built by the British in the mid-1800s.

This is the second test-of-sovereignty case Singapore has had to deal with in recent months. Last week, Singapore took possession of the nine Singapore Armed Forces Terrexes, which had been detained in Hong Kong for what seemed to be custom or administrative shipping irregularities. Singapore had claimed “sovereign immunity”, as no country is allowed under international law to forfeit material that belongs to another state.

Whatever the case, let us hope that the issue won’t be tossed up as an election football in Malaysia with political parties trying to outdo each other in nationalistic fervour. The Malaysian general election is due to be held by mid-2018.

 

Featured image from TMG file.

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Black clock showing 8.30.

HOPES are up after the manufacturing sector posted its fifth straight month of growth. The trend also continued for much of the global economy, including the USA, Europe, Japan and China.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a measure of manufacturing growth, came in at 51 for January, even higher than the 50.6 recorded in December. Scores above 50 indicate growth. The USA’s PMI for January was 56.

Does that mean we are looking at an economic recovery? It seems that this depends somewhat on how President Donald Trump decides he wants to relate to Singapore. Word is that he’s had a less-than-pleasant phone call with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull. And he tweeted about it. Is that rude?

Hopefully the USA will continue to invest here. The Economic Development Board said that foreign investment into Singapore in 2017 is likely to match 2016’s: S$8 to S$10 billion in fixed assets investments. The investments are expected to create 19,000 to 21,000 jobs.

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Town Council coffers will get a $63 million boost from the G, with $13 million going into the Lift Maintenance Grant and $50 million into the Lift Replacement Fund. This is on top of the $450 million Lift Enhancement Programme announced last year.

What does it mean for residents? With Town Councils now having to set aside 14 per cent of their funds for lifts, a conservancy fee hike was on the cards. Now any fee hike would probably be pushed back or at least the hike will not be as steep as anticipated.

The Senior Counsel’s son that defaulted on National Service has been sentenced to four months in jail.  Jonathan Tan Huai En, 28, had migrated to Canada and taken up citizenship there but was still liable for NS. His father, Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng, had stayed in Singapore due to a lack of employment opportunities.

And please don’t believe the hype about NTUC FairPrice selling fake rice. FairPrice has lodged a police report about the rumour, which is circulating on social media and in private messages.

FairPrice says that its rice has passed inspections by the authorities. Those who don’t believe their rice is real can send a sample to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority for testing. Testing got to pay money or not?

 

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Black clock showing 8.30.

CHECK your memory bank. Do you remember the case of the pastor who denigrated Buddhism on Youtube or the newly-converted Christian couple who mass-mailed anti-Islamic tracts to Muslims they found in the phone book?

The first case happened in February 2010, when the Internal Security Department hauled up Pastor Rony Tan, founder of the Lighthouse Evangelism independent church, for making video-clips mocking Buddhism. He took them down and apologised.

The second case took place the year before (2009) and was rather more serious. The married couple bought in bulk tracts that not just denigrated Muslims but also Catholics and other religions, then took the time to mail them to Muslims. Mr Ong Kian Cheong and his wife Dorothy were found guilty of sedition and sentenced to eight weeks’ jail.

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These were two examples Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam raised in an extremely BIG speech he delivered at a forum yesterday to do with race, religion and populism.   It comes in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s controversial moves to change the country’s immigration policy which many have seen as anti-Muslim.

So why the two examples? To show that acts of religious extremism and animosity towards other races and religions did – and can still happen here too.

Mr Shanmugam said: “The reaction is gaining ground in many countries – and might become mainstream. Basically, to say ‘if you don’t like it, go’, or ‘it’s just too bad for you’ or ‘this is what the majority wants'”.

This is why the G here takes an “activist approach” towards issues of race and religion, he said, instead of being hands-off like Western countries in the past.

Examples of activism, besides the laws, to prevent social disharmony and speech that could incite others to violence:

a. requiring that students in mainstream schools wear standard uniforms. (No, he didn’t mention past moves by some Muslims to get females to wear the tudung. )

b. the ethnic integration policy which imposes race quotas on public housing. (No, he didn’t mention that this made it difficult to sell flats in some places but perhaps this is a sacrifice we must make.)

c. the establishment of community self-help groups like Sinda and Mendaki which he acknowledged had been criticised “but the basic point is that we accept that there are Indians, Malays, Chinese, Eurasians and others”.

He didn’t mention the Group Representation Constituency concept, although this could fall under the category of “majoritarianism” with the 74 per cent of Chinese voting in their own man or woman. He recalled that Chinese community leaders had asked the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew for Chinese to be made the official language. He said no.

People are different and should be accepted as such, he said, which is why the CIMO categories of races are still relevant.

“So we have had well-meaning, highly educated people, Singaporeans, who look at these things – self-help groups, ethnic integration policy and so on – and say why do we need it? We are all Singaporeans. Do we really need it? In fact, why does our identity card talk about our race? Why does it say that we are Chinese, Malay or Indian?

“Well-meaning, as I said. But I think if the Government had not intervened, if I remove the ethnic identity from the IC (identity card), do we all become the same the day after?”

 

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THAT’S what one Singaporean mum was forced to do at a German airport after Airport Police decided that her breast pump was suspicious because she was travelling without her baby.

The BBC reported that Ms Gayathiri Bose, 33, said that she was taken to a room by a female officer and told to show her breast and hand-express her breast milk to satisfy the suspicions of the police. Ms Bose said she was in shock and complied. She was then allowed to board her flight from Frankfurt to Paris after 45 minutes.

Ms Bose said that she felt humiliated and traumatised and has lodged a complaint with the German police. Frankfurt airport police have denied that Ms Bose was asked to prove she was lactating.

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From suspected fake breast pumps we move on to confirmed fake websites: ICA has lodged a police report again about yet another website trying to pass off as the agency’s official one. Fake site www.ica.sgov.asia had asked users for information such as their Visa reference number and travel document number.

The official ICA website www.ica.gov.sg had already been the subject of other copycats last year. The fake website was suspended when TMG checked it on Wednesday (Jan 31) evening.

But what’s really hogging the headlines today is President Trump, and oh my how he hogs it. If it isn’t the backlash over his travel ban, then it is about how he just fired his Obama-appointed acting Attorney General Sally Yates for defying his executive orders. Mr Dana Boente was sworn in as her replacement.

Or is it the anticipation of his pick for the vacant Supreme Court seat? Mr Trump is expected to name his candidate today. Mr Trump also replaced the head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with his own man, possibly paving the way for deportations of illegal immigrants – another major campaign promise.

Whoever is running things on the ground better “get with the program”, said White House spokesman Sean Spicer, or else “they can go”. It seems that Mr Trump is putting his famous line from The Apprentice to good use. “You’re fired!”

 

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THE Terrexes are back! All nine vehicles arrived in Singapore at 2:40pm on Monday after APL shipped them directly back to Singapore. It’s a tad late for a Lunar New Year reunion, but better late than never. The infantry carriers were moved to a military camp for administration and checks.

That seems to bring the two-month long Terrex incident to a close for now, although the threat of criminal prosecution still exists for shipper APL.

Changi Airport has also been a bright spot in a tough year – the airport clocked a new record of 58.7 million passengers in 2016, 5.9 per cent higher than in 2015. Chinese visitors accounted for the bulk of the growth.

US President Donald Trump isn’t wasting time between executive orders. While chaos still rules at airports after last week’s immigration ban, he’s got another executive order – this one about putting caps on federal regulations with the aim of reducing the cost of compliance to businesses.

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In a bid to streamline regulations, Mr Trump has ruled that for every new regulation introduced by agencies, two old ones must be cut. A cap has also been placed on the cost of any new regulation: $0 for fiscal year 2017. Is that a recipe for more chaos, or a more efficient system?

In another case of policy getting derailed, The Philippines police’s war on drugs is on hold to pursue a war on dirty cops. The high-profile murder-kidnapping of South Korean Jee Ick Joo by corrupt narcotics officers was a chilling counterpoint to President Duterte’s support of “extrajudicial killings”.

Mr Duterte ordered all national- and precinct-level anti-narcotics groups to be disbanded, and said that 40 per cent of the force could be corrupt. Mr Duterte said, however, that his war on drugs will continue until his term ends in 2022, instead of the extended nine-month deadline he had previously asked for.

But what are the chances that a bunch of uniformed criminals will be able to curb a bunch of non-uniformed ones?

 

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THE counter-attack has begun. Several United States (US) courts at the state and federal level ordered stays on US President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and on nationals of seven countries. This is a significant tightening of restrictions against these seven nations set out by the Obama administration in the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act.

While most of us were celebrating the Lunar New Year, New York-based federal Judge Ann Donnelly ruled for a stay against deportation for people with approved refugee applications, valid visas, and “other individuals… legally authorised to enter the United States”. This specific case centred on two Iraqi men, one of whom was a translator for the US Army. Other cases in Boston, Virginia and Washington also ruled for a stay of the ban.

Judge Donnelly’s emergency ruling also said there was a risk of “substantial and irreparable injury” to those affected. The ruling did not touch on the legality of Mr Trump’s action, and another hearing is scheduled for Feb 10, marking the start of what could be a long legal battle over the issue.

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Large protests and volunteer lawyers kept up pressure against the ban and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, backtracked slightly on the “extreme vetting” when he said late on Sunday that the ban would no longer apply to green-card holders. Mr Prebius said that as of Saturday 109 people had been detained.

Leaders across the globe had spoken out against the ban as well. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said that refugees rejected by the US would be welcome in Canada, while UK PM Theresa May said that she disagreed with the ban. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Yemen have condemned the ban and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the “fight against terrorism does not justify placing people of a certain origin or belief under general suspicion.”

Mr Trump won the presidential election on a campaign platform to subject Muslims to close scrutiny, and has continued to defend the ban saying that America “needs strong borders”, that the ban is “not a Muslim ban”, and that “it’s working out very nicely”.

Perhaps the only thing working out nicely is Roger Federer’s win over rival Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open. The match went 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in 3 hours 38 minutes, and the Swiss national’s 18th grand slam win bumps up his all-time record in the books.

 

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AS WE gear up for the Lunar New Year break, the labour outlook is rather bleak. Employment growth figures released by the Ministry of Manpower show the slowest growth since 2003, when the figure dipped into the negative.

Total employment increased by 0.4 per cent in 2016 compared to 0.9 per cent in 2015. The bulk of the growth was down to residents. Foreign employment fell for the first time since 2009 (the last recession), another sign of the still-tightening tap for foreign labour.

Unemployment nonetheless rose for residents (3 per cent) and citizens (3.1 per cent). Redundancies also hit a since-last-recession high of 19,000.

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Real income (after factoring in inflation) is still growing, but has slowed down from 7 per cent in 2015 to 1.3 per cent in 2016. The nominal median income is now $3,823.

One bright spot: manufacturing grew by a whopping 21.3 per cent in December, more than double the forecast 10.4 per cent. The sector accounts for about a fifth of Singapore’s economy, but economists expect it to take at least half a year before the positive impact spreads through the rest of the economy.

Part-time taxis are now available from SMRT’s fleet for drivers who want to drive less often. The new scheme offers an hourly rate with a minimum of three hours per booking. Rates range from $5.80 per hour during off-peak times to $12.80 per hour during high-demand timings.

The move is expected to help SMRT attract more part-time drivers out of the pool of some 100,000 taxi vocational license holders, and offers an alternative to drivers who were thinking of switching to driving private cars with Uber or Grab.

And now, the CNY weather:

That means please bring an umbrella.

 

 

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HOW’S the ex-US president taking the words and actions of his successor? Mr Barack Obama must be feeling more than a little miffed that some of the major work done in his eight years in office are being rolled back. Maybe he’s even crying buckets.

His Obamacare health insurance plan is being unpicked. His hope that the US will be part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is now dashed. Even the black sites or overseas detention centres he closed look set to be re-opened. What about his Asian “pivot”? Mr Trump hasn’t articulated a foreign policy that encompasses this part of the world. But, clearly, whatever policy will put America first, and to hell with the rest.

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Trump’s America wants to go it alone. You sense the frustration of Japan which is hoping against hope for a change of heart over TPP. You sense that the Chinese are perplexed; it’s both a chance for it to assume regional and even global leadership, as well get into a trade war or a shoot-out somewhere in the South China Sea. The Mexicans must be really annoyed that Mr Trump is actually going to build a wall to divide the countries and, gulp, looks set to fulfil his campaign promises.

What Mr Trump has said; it seems he will do. He is also doing new things – like launching an investigation into voter fraud because he’s pissed that he lost the popular vote to Mrs Hillary Clinton although he swept up the electoral college votes. He thinks that illegal immigrants and dead people are being used to pad up the numbers. This is one thin-skinned president who relishes Twitter skirmishes with those who dare to undermine his legitimacy.

The key relationship is, of course, between the US and China. The Trump threat to re-think the One China principle and cosy up to Taiwan has got the Chinese all riled up. China wants the rest of the world to acknowledge its sovereignty over what it calls the renegade province. This is one reason that has been thrown up for the detention of the Singapore Armed Forces Terrexes which were en route from Taiwan to Singapore.

How will the little red dot navigate between the two superpowers? Diplomacy appears to have work in the case of the Terrexes which Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen hopes will be returned by Chap Goh Mei on Feb 11. Hong Kong, mindful perhaps of Singapore’s position of sovereign immunity, has said it never considered that the Singapore G was involved.

“We did not identify any information which points to the possibility of the Singapore Government being involved in the breach of the licensing conditions,” said its Customs spokesman. It was therefore, a matter between Hong Kong customs and the shipper APL.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman asked if Beijing had a hand in this, said it was for Hong Kong to follow the law. She also added this:

“Let me re-emphasise that the Taiwan question concerns China’s core interests.

“And the ‘one China’ principle is the prerequisite and political foundation for China to establish and develop relations with other countries.

“The Chinese government firmly opposes any forms of official interactions, including military-to-military exchanges and cooperation, between Taiwan and countries that have diplomatic ties with us.

“China has made representations to Singapore over the relevant incident and hopes that the Government of Singapore will faithfully adhere to the ‘one China’ principle.”

Is the bilateral kerfuffle really over or is China expecting some manifestation of good faith from Singapore?

 

 

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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.

 

 

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