Sunday, May 1, 2011

Drivers at General Election 2011

Image source:

The analogy using motoring was launched by Opposition MP Mr Low Thia Khiang in the first Workers' Party rally on April 28 (Source - The Straits Times):
WP chief Low Thia Khiang, speaking at the party's first rally in a field in Hougang Central, said: 'A co-driver is essential, especially when the road gets tougher to navigate. The co-driver is there to slap the driver when he drives off course or when he goes asleep.

'But, of course, if the driver is friendly and drives responsibly, we just keep talking to him to keep him awake.'

Describing the WP as someone without a driving licence, Mr Low said whether it could get a licence depends on the voters.

He cautioned that without co-drivers, Singaporeans would continue to be taken for a ride.

The analogy from Mr Low is very apt for describing the current political landscape and a series of rebuttal from the ruling party was spawned.

His motoring analogy has triggered my assessment of the state of local motoring for the last five years. I subscribed whole-heartedly to the Land Transport Masterplan (2008) that strives to meet the diverse needs of the people. I also personally felt that it is extremely difficult and complex to balance between the demand of the people and the available resources (supply) like road and transit networks, vehicle population control, etc.

The biggest issue that sticks in my mind is the COE Allocation Formula. Please read my previous post on Messed Up by Formula. The Transport Minister Mr. Raymond Lim seems to keep a low profile and I even had difficulty recalling his name. After the change to the Vehicle Quota System (VQS) Methodology in March 2010 (Source: LTA), his deputy, the Second Transport Minister Ms. Lim Hwee Hua dismissed lightly that the spike in certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums and car prices that week was not caused by changes to a formula to determine the number of replacement COEs (Source: AsiaOne). The flaw in the formula was acknowledged but I did not recall seeing any "apology". You should read how Ms. Lim disproved the correlation of the revised formula to the premium spike - I was simply amused.

The Motor Traders Association of Singapore (MTA) has written to Transport Minister Raymond Lim, in January 2011 to suggest the removal of taxis from the Category A COE quota, and doing away with Category E (open category) COEs (Source: CNA). MTA said taxi operators currently compete with the private car buyer for a COE as they are required to bid for a Category A COE to register their new taxis which add pressure on the Category A COE premiums and taxi operators are in a better position to bid more for COEs being business enterprises. The Transport Ministry said taxi companies made up only a small proportion of about 7% of the total successful bids for Category A COEs from July to December 2010. The ministry added that taxis are allowed to bid for COEs in Category A in recognition of the fact that they are part of the public transport spectrum, albeit at the high end. It said taxi companies replacing their fleet also need not necessarily bid for a new COE. They have the option of renewing expired COEs by paying the Prevailing Quota Premium (PQP).

If recommendations from MTA (made up of expert practitioners in the industry) cannot drive changes at the ministry, the voice of individual motorist is just a whisper in the wind. But on Polling day 7th May, my vote will be counted ...

1 comment:

Smith Town said...
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