Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Poor Rebuttal

A few weeks ago, international news agency, Al Jazeera, was taken off air in Singapore. Al Jazeera was shown on Singtel Mio TV but its contract was not renewed by Singtel.

Although both Singtel and Al Jazeera said that this was by “mutual consent”, speculation on why became focused on a report by Al Jazeera titled "Government Policies Force Some Onto The Streets". In it, Al Jazeera contend that various government policies are forcing some Singaporeans to be homeless as they are unable to get homes.

Housing is a very hot, sensitive topic in Singapore and Mr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, took the news agency to task in Parliament for not getting its facts straight. However I do not feel he did a good job of it in Parliament.

Take for example the case of the woman in the Al Jazeera report. Mr. Balakrishnan said in Parliament that government made some checks and found that the homeless woman in the Al Jazeera report still owns an HDB flat with her ex-husband.

That’s the point!

It is with her EX-husband. The woman may be the co-owner of the flat but do we expect her to live with her ex-husband? I think it is highly unreasonable to expect a divorced couple to live together after the divorce. She cannot get a rental flat because public rental flats in Singapore cannot be rent out to homeowners. I do not know her domestic situation but if her ex-husband refused to sell the flat, then she cannot sell the flat. (See an old post of mine HDB Headache for an example).

So when Mr. Balakrishnan use the fact that the woman co-own a flat as an example of Al Jazeera not getting its facts straight…that doesn’t really make sense. If she cannot sell, she cannot get money for a new flat. She also cannot get a rental flat due to the fact she co-own the flat which she cannot sell; thus she became homeless. She is almost the perfect example of what Al Jazeera is contending; that various government policies are forcing some Singaporeans to be homeless!

I’m all for the Singapore government defending itself against foreign news agencies (in fact I support it) and I understand this was for domestic consumption in Singapore, but I feel the minister (and the government) need to do better on explaining the government’s position in the media. A poor rebuttal like what happen in Parliament will just make their position worse.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are we surprised anymore?

another example of an uptight govt decending to the level of gutter politics.

Ghost said...

I don't think of it as gutter politics. The Singapore government has a right to defend itself. They just did a poor job of it this time

Fievel said...

ever wondered how Vivian got this bad from where he begun from?

he has lost his heart to serve the people.

this is not the same balakrishnan as before the PAP picked him up

Anonymous said...

Fievel,
PAP did not want the original Vivian. They like this current one better after brainwashing.

J said...

I read somewhere that the divorce was due to domestic violence. This would make it more dangerous for the wife to stay with her ex-husband.

Anonymous said...

QUOTE-
” ………let’s see whether these people who’ve been propagating falsehoods have the courage and honesty to set the facts right,’ he said, referring both to the TV station and the website.”

To – MCYS MINISTER, DR. VIVIAN BALAKRISHNAN

WHAT ABOUT WHAT YOU SAID BELOW?
NO FALSEHOODS?

“If you were a poor person, anywhere on this planet, Singapore is the one place ………, where you will have food on the table.
EVEN IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT WE WILL HAVE MEALS DELIVERED TO YOU.
[ http://zh.sgforums.com/forums/10/topics/394784?page=1 ]

DR. VIVIAN BALAKRISHNAN, MCYS MINISTER, SO DO YOU,

”…… have the courage and honesty to set the facts right,….’’

Anonymous said...

If Vivian Balakrishan is a good MCYS Minister, he would never ignore calls posted at the government 'REACH' Forum to help handicap people, frail/eldery folks.

Vivian Balkrishnan has TOTALLY LOST TOUCH with the common Sngaporeans.

http://app.reach.gov.sg/reach/YourSay/REACHsDiscussionCorner/tabid/116/ptid/404/page/2147483647/threadid/3261/forumtype/posts/Default.aspx
To – MINISTER MCYS, DO WHAT DUTY – IGNORING ……
Posted : 31/03/2010 6:19 PM
[ Extracted from -
http://theonlinecitizen.com/2010/04/tocs-response-part-two-a-tidy-sum/comment-page-1/#comment-143383 ]

http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/showthread.php?t=2579980

http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:KtbtmUnRnvYJ:forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/showthread.php%3Fp%3D45298163+site:forums.hardwarezone.com.sg+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+%27HWZ%27+DELETE+THREAD+ABOUT+%27REACH%27+SHUTTING+DOWN+A+THREAD+MEANT+TO+HELP+THE+HANDICAP%3F&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=sg

Ghost said...

To J:
May I know where did you read that the divorce was due to domestic violence. As link? I would like to read it for more details.