Hollywood-style sham marriages are ok

New law doesn’t help nab sham marriages

In the article “Sham marriages up despite tougher laws”, The Straits Times reported that the number of marriage of convenience cases nabbed last year has shot up. Official figures from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) revealed that there were 54 cases in 2012, a whopping 10 times more than the previous year. Between 2007 and 2011, there were only four or five cases each year. The ST report followed a press release from ICA, cheekily titled Where Is The Love?, that highlighted the case of a 35 year-old Singaporean, Quek, who fixed up a marriage of convenience with a Chinese…

Small shops in tight spaces

Restrict investors, not shoebox shops themselves

I’m beginning to wonder if our National Development Minister is claustrophobic. After intervening in the private housing market in November last year to restrict the number of shoebox apartments allowed in suburban residential projects, Mr Khaw Boon Wan is now targeting “shoebox shops” in malls. We can only conclude that he just doesn’t like small spaces. The minister’s beef with residential shoebox apartments was the increasing trend of Singaporeans buying up these units because normal sized private apartments are priced out of the range they could afford. With prices going north of $1,400 psf even in the Outside Central Region (OCR),…

Clamping down on illegal HDB subletting

Clamping down on illegal HDB subletting

I wish there were more information in this Straits Times report on the HDB backing down from a compulsory acquisition of a resale flat for illegal subletting, after the owner had initiated a legal challenge. It is an interesting case that throws up various points of note. Firstly, as pointed out by this letter to Today, there is no proper definition for owner occupation. Reading purely from the ST report, we can’t tell if the owner’s claim that he occasionally stayed with his parents is true. Even if it’s true, does that violate this occupation requirement? We also do not…

Would you support a 100% Singaporean campaign?

Would you support a 100% Singaporean campaign?

Foreign workers is such a sensitive issue in Singapore these days that it doesn’t take much to stir up controversy, as Jollibee Singapore unwittingly found itself caught in. Fortunately for the Filipino fast food chain, that hasn’t prevented long queues on its opening day at Lucky Plaza. If you have shopped at British supermarkets often enough, you won’t help but notice that many of the food products here carry proud labels and advertisements proclaiming to be 100% British-made or supporting British farmers. Local shoppers do their part as well by making an effort to buy these British products, even if they…

Khaw's conundrum in HDB housing

Khaw’s conundrum in HDB housing

A baby step for Khaw Boon Wan, a giant leap for singles — even if it comes with a restrictive set of criteria. I know that’s giving the minister too much credit for a long overdue move, but who can blame him for being so cautious? Whatever major policy change the government enacts on the HDB front is bound to draw flak from certain quarters of the citizenry. A baby step too slow for some is a baby step too far for others. If the minister needs a lesson, he can just look at the recent move by MAS to…

Your lottery winning prize

HDB to allow singles into BTO balloting game

As promised quite some time ago, Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced yesterday that singles will be able to buy flats direct from the HDB starting with the next BTO exercise in July. Welcome to the great national lottery! While many have been clamouring for this for so long, the news has so far been greeted with muted response. The cheers were dampened by the qualifying criteria and flat size restriction. The age restriction of 35 remains, which is to be expected, and income must be $5,000 or less. Also, singles are only eligible for 2-room flats. Personally, I’m not surprised…

The jestor

A one-of-a-kind union that rejects minimum wage

Every good party needs a clown to provide the laughs, and it was Zorro Lim (not his real name) on the PAP roster yesterday. At the Budget debate, NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say rejected renewed calls by several MPs, including Inderjit Singh and NMP Lawrence Lien, for a minimum wage system. Instead of speaking up for the workers that he is supposed to represent, he is strangely the one voicing the objection, even if we know all along that the government is never keen on the idea. This must be an absolute one of a kind. Nowhere in the world will…