Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Whither Singapore Elected Presidency?

Separate, unAccountable and unEqual.
In Reality, the Elected Presidency is Subordinate to Cabinet and Parliament.



The Singapore Elected Presidency (EP) has a 6-year term and has veto powers over the spending of national reserves and monetary policies as well as over the appointments of key positions in the Civil Service, government companies and statutory boards.

A 6-member Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) advises the President in the exercise of his custodial and discretionary powers. The President is obliged to consult the Council in the exercise of his discretionary veto powers in matters such as the Government’s budgets and key appointments.  If the Council agree with the President’s veto, then the veto is final and Parliament must comply. If the Council disagree, the President can still use his veto, but Parliament can override the veto with a two-thirds majority.  In other matters, such consultation is optional.

In many ways, the current Constitutional framework does not give due cognizance to the fact that the President is popularly elected and enjoys such moral weight and electoral authority that is implied from popular election.

This Post highlights the practical reality of the Elected Presidency as a separate, unaccountable and unequal “branch” of the political governance structure of Singapore.

The Constitution expressly and deliberately subordinates the Presidency to Parliament even though its s23(1) has first pronounced that “the executive authority of Singapore shall be vested in the President”.  The Constitution then proceeds to dilute the same “executive authority” by distributing its exercise jointly among the President, the Cabinet or any Minister authorised by the Cabinet. 

The Constitution [s24(2)] further explicitly vests the executive power to run the Government in the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, who “shall have the general direction and control of the Government and shall be collectively responsible to Parliament”.   

Elsewhere, the Constitution also empowers Parliament ie the Cabinet and Members of Parliament (MPs), but not the President, to “enact laws conferring executive functions on other persons”, and the President is mandated to give his assent as long as such laws did not interfere with his discretionary powers [s22H(4)]. 

The Elected President does not have any law-making powers. In other words, the Constitution did not provide the EP with any tool or “tooth” for the execution of his Constitutional “executive authority”, the bulk of which were “separated” and delegated or assigned by the Constitution to the Prime Minister (and his Cabinet).  And in their exercise of such executive powers supposedly vested in the Presidency by the Constitution [s23(1)], the Prime Minister and his Cabinet is accountable to Parliament, not the Presidency.
   
In further clear and unambiguous language, the Constitution in s21(1) pronounces that the President shall, "in the exercise of his functions under this Constitution or any other written law, act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or of a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet".  The President cannot behave or act unilaterally without Cabinet’s approval.

This “distribution” of executive powers by the Constitution among the Elected President, Parliament and the Prime Minister (and his Cabinet) impacts the efficacy of the Presidency by confusing their separation of powers and frustrates the EP’s critical role as the national reserve watchdog vis-a-vis government’s financial prudence and possible indiscretion.  In fact, many of the EP’s powers, and its decisions even on critical discretionary matters are not absolute and can be “overruled” by a two-third majority vote in Parliament acting in accordance with Constitutional provisions.  

The popular election of the President was meant to imbue the Office with moral weight and democratic electoral authority for the exercise of its functions, especially on matters relating to past reserves and the appointment/removal of key office holders.  This is however misconceived and an exaggerated expectation of democratic elections.

The Elected President may be popularly elected, but it is not a “democratic” institution by any measure since nothing in the Constitution requires the EP to be responsible and accountable to the electorate.  There is also no key performance indicator (KPI) to assess the EP performance during his tenure. This further confirms the lack of executive function and authority in the EP.

Unlike MPs, as well as the Prime Minister (and his Cabinet) who must regularly renew their electoral mandate, the Elected President faces no such prospects even though there is nothing in the Constitution preventing the EP from being elected again, as indeed President SR Nathan.

To what extent therefore is the Elected President “accountable” to his electorate?
Answer: The Elected President is NOT accountable to the electorate.

To the extent “approved” by the Prime Minister (and his Cabinet), the EP can publish in the Official Gazette his opinion and the case for his support or veto of the Government’s request to use the national reserves.  No provision exists in the Constitution for the EP to engage in public communication or debates in order to allow questioning and probing by the electorate regarding his opinion to agree or his grounds for veto, whichever the case may be.  It is clearly not the intention of the Constitution for the Elected President to be an alternate political power centre to that of the duly-elected Government.   

The Singapore Elected Presidency, with its Constitutionally-vested “executive powers” tremendously diluted by the very same Constitution, is a separate and unequal branch of the political governance structure.  Constitutionally, it is also not accountable to its own electoral constituency.  



Having “consulted” his CPA, should the Presidential use of veto power be absolute? There is no constitutional provision for the President to obtain a second opinion outside the CPA.  The Constitution creates an anomalous and ironic incongruity by requiring an Elected President to accept the opinion of his unelected members of his CPA; but where they disagreed to his veto, the Elected President could very well face a two-third Parliamentary veto overturn.   

Should a veto by the Elected President in his discretionary decisions be challenged and over-ruled by Parliament?
Or only by a National Referendum? 

A simpler mechanism is to bypass the need for Presidential approval for the spending from national reserves if, and only if, two-thirds of Parliament has already approved the expenditure.   

Separate, unaccountable and unequal, whither the future of Singapore Elected Presidency?

A “big picture” perspective is necessary to remove the anomalies in the Elected Presidency innovation.  The EP remains very much a work-in-progress in Singapore’s political governance landscape.  A custodial Presidential oversight responsibility over sovereign reserves and appointment of senior public officials does not necessarily confer any viable executive authority onto the Elected President.

The current review of the Elected Presidency should examine all the constitutional provisions relating to the EP, Cabinet and Parliament. To avoid ambiguities with regard to who has final and ultimate executive authority would require expressed and explicit statements to the effect. In a democracy, it is the Cabinet, supported by Parliament, who has true electoral mandate and therefore the ultimate executive authority to be responsible and accountable to the electorate. 






  


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Monday, 28 March 2016

A Service Life of Service

My Journey With A Life of Service.
Inspired by Easter:
Empowering others to live their lives abundantly.



I remember Yanis’ (name unknown) little eyes – they were sunken, all white and punctuated with a tiny black dot where his pupil and iris should be. Barely a month old, he seemed malnourished and dehydrated from severe diarrhea resulting probably from consuming “unclean” milk from his mother’s poor personal hygiene.  The doctors in my Medical Team checked him and their prognosis was that he would not survive the evening. There was nothing that we could do. Yanis was not responsive to the doctors’ probing as he lays sprawling in his mother’s arms. And they had walked nearly 5 hours to our medical station. That was the summer of 2006, when I led a humanitarian medical mission into the midst of Timor Leste’s civil war. I was to return to Timor Leste with 6 other humanitarian missions before its return to peaceful social order.

The poignant picture of Yanis serves a constant grim reminder of the need for more volunteers to serve and uplift their less fortunate fellow human beings. 

Many times have I addressed leadership cohorts and youth groups interested in philanthropy and service voluntarism and reminded them that one does not volunteer to serve only if time permits; rather, one volunteers upon realizing there are urgent and compelling needs of lots of people out there - the young, sick, old and vulnerable – to whom anyone of us can make a difference just by trying.

To many of us, it is understandable to feel that we are just one rather insignificant person in the world.  Yet to Yanis’ mother, and so many others like her, you (and your fellow volunteers) are the world to them. 

I did not choose the life of service.  I guess it must have grown gradually into me.  At 14, I joined my School’s Interact Club to meet new friends and have the opportunities to participate in fun, meaningful service projects while developing leadership skills.  We committed to a regime of regular weekly Friday visits to the School of the Blind to tutor Mathematics to visually-impaired peers.  The initial feelings of pity and sympathy were soon replaced by friendship bonds and growing appreciation of our natural interdependence and differential physical conditions. 

As a Red Cross Youth cadet, becoming eventually a commissioned student Assistant Cadet Officer in 4 years, more opportunities abounded to learn vital life-saving skills as well as visiting various social charitable organizations and gained important insights and invaluable up-close and personal experiences with the handicapped, spastic, paraplegic, aged and sick, which would otherwise have been a real impediment to a more complete understanding of society.  

One day, I responded to the advertisement of an organization called “Samaritans of Singapore” for volunteers. I was a “stay-out” National Serviceman serving 2½ years of compulsory military service.  After a series of “sensitivity-sessions” that eliminated more than 80% of eager prospectives, I began eventually to occupy a regular Saturday overnight duty spot, responding to callers wanting to talk anonymously to someone who would listen to personal issues, which may drive some to commit suicide. And when one whom I (and others) have been communicating with regularly actually committed suicide, I realized the awesome responsibility on our shoulders to be a “listening friend” to someone standing on the edge between hope and hopelessness, and between pain and relief.  I recalled and remembered this incident vividly even as I too walked unto life’s narrow edge many years laterThe eternal lesson of life’s precious gift is now deeply ingrained in my soul.  Each life matters; and all life matter above all.           

A year earlier before Timor Leste, in the Spring of 2005, I had join 150 volunteers on a large-scale humanitarian mission to Nias Island which was hit a massive earthquake just 3 months after the Tsunami of North Sumatra that devastated the Indonesian Province of Aceh and large parts of Thailand, among other countries.  Following the mission, the Singapore Red Cross provided some funds for the construction of a Orphanage that was damaged by the earthquake.  I was part of the team responsible for its successful development over the subsequent 3 years and the follow-up operations. The Tomorrow’s Hope Orphanage now has more than 40 children ages 6-18 years old.     

In 2009, I led a team from my Hall of Residence 9 @ the Nanyang Technological University to Nias as part of their Overseas Community involvement Project (OCIP) for enhanced residential learning.  Teams from Hall 9 and former Hall 9 regularly organize other teams to visit Tomorrow’s Hope Orphanage annually beyond 2009 making it the most sustainable OCIP in NTU, confirming effective service learning in the participants.


NTU Hall of Residence 9 had already in 2007 won a Special Commendation for Humanitarian Work by our NTU Youth Mission to Timor Leste in Sep-Oct 2006.  

As Associate Professor in Human Resource Management (HRM), I am acutely mindful that I cannot expect my students to learn by telling them what to know.  My job was to facilitate and empower their learning by challenging thinking and re-configure mindsets so as to break through the glass ceilings and firewalls that retard their learning, unlearning and relearning processes.  And this demands that I bring them into the world like the OCIPs, or bring the world into the classroom through a proprietary reality learning pedagogy.  

Many years later, one of my students, now one of the youngest ever senior manager of a large global IT company, attributed to me his “best career advice”: To “always do something new”.  He said in an interview that the advice had:

“equipped him a mindset to continually sustain a learning environment throughout my professional life.  It has also helped me maintain an entrepreneurial spirit in order to rise to new challenges.  Moreover, ‘doing something new’ and getting out of my comfort zone regularly has ensured that I am seldom bored or I am not stagnated with my work”.

The importance of early youth involvement in a life of service cannot be emphasized enough.  Early involvement can inculcate in teens and youths the essential value of service in their development of a balanced and wholesome life-style.  The important life lesson is that the abundant life is developed through sharing, not accumulation or hoarding; and that true happiness, like true love, is found only through contributing to the enhancement of happiness and love in other people.

Education is that powerful weapon to change the world decisively and make it a better place for all.  

I continue to be actively involved in education and learning, as Advisor to a large education social enterprise and largest provider of private learning centres; and have served as President of Nanyang Primary School Parents-Teachers Association as well as a Mentor with the Gifted Education Program of the Ministry of Education.

Community service began in me by chance as I was waiting to be released from the Singapore Armed Forces upon completion of compulsory national service in the military. I responded to a questionnaire by the People’s Association (PA) seeking feedback as to how to improve community facilities and amenities, as well as policies and rules to enhance neighbourliness and community bonding.  I responded with numerous ideas and detailed suggestions as I have grown up in the community for the past 20+ years.  I did not realize then that my youthful exuberance and imagination would launch me onto an awesome journey of joyful community service that spans nearly 35 years to-date.   

At a subsequent town-hall meeting, I was surprised to be called out by my then Member of Parliament to chair the “Residents Committee” (RC) created specifically to mobilize residents to participate in the well-being and uplifting of the environment around my immediate neighbourhood.  I remembered his words clearly as I queried him his choice. He replied: ”You have many ideas. Now, as RC Chairman, you can do something about them and make them happen.” I took his words as a challenge and accepted the appointment without any hesitation, mindful that to reject it would have simply made me part of the problems that I did identify instead of part of the solutions that they demanded.  

I became in 1980 the youngest RC Chairman of the nascent PA community development initiative that would soon revolutionalise and modernise the way Singapore organises and manages its public housing precincts with increasing inclusiveness and popular participation in the following decades.  For over 30 years, I served variously, and often concurrently, on the Central Singapore District Community Development Council, was the Chairman of Thomson Community Club Management Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Thomson Citizens Consultative Committee as well as other PA community-based committees.  In 2002, I was recognised on the National Day 2002 Honours List and awarded the Public Service Medal (PBM) for community service by the President of Singapore.  Beyond the nice gesture, the work of service continues unabated.

Pakistan 2010 introduced to me yet another dimension into the international matrix of human co-operation for an more effective universal response to human sufferings and natural disasters.  Man-made poverty from relentless corporate exploitation to privatise profits whilst socializing costs complicates national development effort and handicap effective response to alleviate the toll of human suffering and lives. Unprecedented floods devastated Pakistani and North Indian mountainous villages within a matter of hours.  Raging swollen rivers and muddy glacial currents swept away more than 300,000 men, women and children without warning. The final toll was more than 11 millions.  And when I arrived 6 weeks later as part of a Christian humanitarian relief team to follow-up and support the work of our Welfare Organisation partners on site, I discovered that the situation was much worse than were covered by the world press and media.  Later analysis would confirm that it was no “act of God”, but that the erratic weather was the cumulative effect of climate change from excessive carbon emissions, massive deforestation, and corrupt governmental neglect of responsible infrastructure. It strengthens my commitment to be a loud advocate for sustainable corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable development.

These are now the sustainable goals of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development aimed at ending poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.   

After the 2008 Szechuan earthquake, I was invited as a Sustainability Advisor and joined over three hundred Chinese as well as international experts and decision-makers from government, business, civil society, and academia over 8-13th May 2012 for the launch of the Inaugural Hanwang Forum at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing and in Deyang, Sichuan Province.  More than just a forum, the event marked the formation of a permanent platform for collaborative action, following two years of preparation in China and abroad. Unprecedented for its mission and scale, it was founded on a trusted international community of partners and drew upon a significant depth of experience with the aim of carrying out transformative projects both within China and abroad.






Emphasising compassion, sharing, teamwork and co-operation, the Hanwang approach builds on this spirit of responsibility and resilience in the face of momentous challenges. It promotes a society-wide approach to sustainable development, focusing on generating initiatives that positively impact the economy, the environment and society as a whole.  It is such a privilege to meet and join so many like-minded people mobilized to realise the Hanwang vision of a sustainable, ethical and resilient society.

The most humbling service experience took place in Vietnam where in 2002, I was engaged by the UN International Labour Organisation (ILO) as its International HRM Consultant to the Government of Vietnam to facilitate their desire for harmonious industrial relations through a conducive tripartite infrastructure for social dialogue and collective bargaining. The work so enthralled the Vietnamese government and key industry participants that they implored the World Bank to incorporate the subsequent ILO Industrial Relations (IR) Project action plans into their US$500m Comprehensive Poverty Reduction Strategy (CPRS) aimed at its overall national development.

The ILO Vietnamese IR Project is now a classic case study of how capacity building and capability development in modern industrial relations mechanisms eg. trade unions, collective bargaining, conflict resolutions, and tripartite social dialogue are relevant and value-adding even for emergent socialist market economies.  It was certainly professionally most challenging and daunting as I teamed with an highly ILO professional as my co-consultant in this ground-breaking breakthrough.  My services continued to be engaged by the ILO on various IR and social dialogue projects in Vietnam as well as China, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka for nearly 8 more years.

It should be noted that issues of poverty and the decent work agenda are inter-twined and related, making them major global corporate social responsibility (CSR) concerns of business excellence.  

To me, being a sustainability advocate and CSR consultant is a natural extension in the journey along the life of service, and they exist concurrently with my professional expert domains in HRM and talent development.  On World CSR Day 2012, I was conferred the CSR Leadership Award in recognition of contributions which has made a difference to people and the community.  This was followed by the Global CSR Leadership Award at the Global CSR Summit 2012. A year later at the Philip Kotler’s World Marketing Summit 2013, I also received a CSR Leadership Excellence Award.     

This Easter, and mindful of the Christian belief in one man’s sacrifice to save all of mankind from eternal damnation and was resurrected so that those who believe in him would have hope in a better and  more abundant life, I am inspired to exhort one and all, Christians and non-Christians alike, of the urgency to make our existence meaningful to others, especially to those unrelated to us.  It is easy to give from your abundance, as many of you do.  Yet, one has to learn to over-come the reluctance to give as much as we can to help relieve the financial pain-points faced by others.  Having navigated the ups and downs of life’s erratic fortune, I now give as generously as possible because I know personally what it feels like to have nothing.





My parting thought to you: Are you just occupying space and wasting oxygen?  Do you believe that your power to love and share should be invested to overcome the love for power, which is at the root of social corruption, slavery, violence and greed? 

Surely, you can do better.  You have been blessed to be a blessing.  
Starts now, today. 





  

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

2016 World University Rankings Fooled Singapore Universities AGAIN.

Singapore Again Tops Bogus University Ranking Standard of Dubious Excellence - Retains Brand of Questionable Authenticity.

Call to Restore Authenticity and Integrity in Our Universities
Once again, 2 of Singapore’s top 4 Universities are ranked among the global top 10 for 15 subjects, according to the 2016 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subjects.  The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are at top 10 in the QS 2016 World University Rankings just-released by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).  And since only UK and US Universities were ranked better, it means that Singapore NUS and NTU are the best Universities in Asia.

The other 2 Universities, the Singapore Management University (SMU) and SIM University, did not participate in “The Big Lie” propagated by such annual beauty contests of Universities.


And yes, this is the same QS Ranker whose annual QS World University Ranking was condemned by eminent Chicago University Professor Brian Leiter, Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values, as a fraud on the public.   Another scholar, Professor Simon Marginson, an eminent scholar in international higher education, had also criticized “QS simply doesn’t do as good a job as the other rankers that are using multiple indicators”.  



It is common knowledge that QS methodology contains serious fundamental conceptual and methodological flaws to render QS Rankings practically useless, irrelevant and immaterial for any serious educational policy purpose.  Under scrutiny, the QS Ranking Methodology should have failed to withstand the penetrative professional scrutiny of truly Top Academics and Research Institutions like NTU and NUS, who instead now endorse the spurious Rankings results so as to position themselves dishonestly in full knowledge of the lack of validity and reliability in their proxy measures and methodology.



In return for dancing and cavorting with bogus University Rankers like QS and THE, we received for our legacy excellent Universities a Brand of Questionable Authenticity. This is a disservice to Singapore and Singaporeans.

By embracing misleading University Rankers like QS and THE, NTU and NUS administrators, senior manager and Professors have been disingenuous and unprincipled in conferring legitimacy on the meaningless results of what essentially are bogus ranking standards of dubious University excellence

The successful Annual seduction of NTU and NUS by “beauty contest” University rankings can only be attributed to either sheer mindless stupidity, or the abject ignorance of rigorous, sophisticated and transparent scientific research methods.

In fact, one of QS’ competitors, the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranker, had pointed out that QS employed a “very, very weak and simplistic methodology” to assess universities worldwide.  According to THE, the QS’ “weak” methodology has actually ranked undeserving Malaysian Universities to be of world-class status when they were “way off” from being so, and thereby gave Malaysian education authority an “over-optimistic, distorted” idea of how local varsities actually fare.

All the World University Rankers use different factors and criteria to “measure” University excellence. None has any scientific basis for their choice of proxies for University quality. None has in fact published their methodology nor subject it to the vigorous due diligence expected of a simple research paradigm. 


Actually, QS themselves have "been surprised by the extent to which governments and university leaders use the rankings to set strategic targets. We at QS think this is wrong.  …" And added: "Ranks should not be a primary driver of university mission statements and visions.  …. "

NTU became a full-fledged University in 1991 with the vision “To Be The University of Business and Industry”.  The impact of NTU is derived from serving the technological and skilled manpower needs of Singapore. The excellence of NTU and NUS in the 1990’s and at the turn of the 21st Century NTU and NUS attracted to Singapore many leading edge technology companies like Motorola, Phillips, Hewlett-Packard, Sun and Oracle among other global corporations.

It is noteworthy that by April 2001, NTU's research had resulted in 20 spin-off companies with many funded by venture firms, with 150 disclosures, 76 patents filed and 30 patents granted.  The research papers of its staff and students in refereed international journals also won numerous awards in international competitions and conferences. 

In the recent 8 years, NTU has re-directed its energy and resource to satisfy the bogus criteria/standard of dubious University excellence purveyed by Rankers such as QS and THE.  And as it improved on its meaningless Rankings on the QS and THE, its earlier highly visible impact of entrepreneurship, patents and innovations disappeared strangely from its list of true achievements.  These never returned.  

Our brilliant University Professors should have known that who comes out on top, in any ranking system, is really about who is doing the ranking and with what set of criteria.  It is inevitable and understable for universities and governments to primarily promote the rankings which paint us in a positive light.  That is, as long as they are genuine of course.

The impact of NTU and NUS on Singapore students and society cannot be measured by the degrees of newly ascribed dubious proxies of excellence defined by bogus “World University Ranking” Standards.  It can only be measured in terms of their contribution to the happiness and well-being of stakeholders and of the Singapore and global communities to which we belong and serve.

It is more important what we think of our own Universities and what they have achieved for our young people, our communities and our nation.  What foreigners think of us using irrelevant and bogus criteria should not make us unhappy.



A University’s contribution to society is its sufficient measure. The important thing is to let other people think whatever they want, and not to lose one’s self-esteem by letting others diminish the accolades of our genuine acclaims and true achievements, so that we can lend them our excellent reputation of authenticity and honesty to cover up their lack of credibility, validity and reliability. 

We should stop participating in any and all the fraudulent World Universities Rankings, so as to stop endorsing such bogus standards of dubious quality excellence.


Related:





Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Tesla Electric Vehicle Saga Continues

Singapore’s War on the Tesla All-Electric Vehicle - More Mysteries


More questions emerged even as the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) attempted to explain further its decision to impose a S$15,000 carbon tax surcharge on a Tesla pure electric vehicle (EV) which emits no CO2 from its non-existent exhaust. 

The LTA claimed to have relied on the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) R101 standards. UNECE told a Singapore news agency that Singapore is not one of the contracting parties to the 1958 Agreement which ratifies the harmonisation of vehicle regulations.  In any case, the UNECE R101 standards do not have any provisions to measure non-existent carbon emission of all-electric vehicle like the Tesla Model S.   

The news agency quoted Mr Jean Rodriguez the UNECE Information Chief that the “LTA appears to have applied UNECE R101 correctly when assessing the carbon emission of a used Tesla Model S recently”.  Yet, the only R101 protocol pertaining to pure electric vehicles only specifies the way to measure the energy consumption of the vehicle or “tank-to-wheel”.  The alleged statement by Chief Rodrigeuz would thus “appear” disingenuous since it is inconsistent with the capability of his R101 Standards.


It is however unknown whether VICOM, the Singapore vehicle inspection company, has been assessed to have the necessary equipment and has actually been certified by UNECE to conduct the R101 tests so as to make the relevant valid computations.

Chief Rodrigeuz also further pointed out that Singapore LTA appears to be the only national regulator to have included power grid emission into the evaluation of electric vehicles’ (EVs) carbon footprint.  What this means is that the LTA had acted arbitrarily when factoring in the power grid emission without scientific support from any international authoritative test or quality standards.

From the determination of electric energy consumption to the attribution of carbon emissions by the Tesla EV would require the LTA to adopt a series of assumptions not hitherto supported by any international protocol or quality standards. The results are understandably dubious and questionable.  For example, the LTA claimed to have calculated that the electric energy consumption of the imported used Tesla car to be 444Wh/km, and translated that to the equivalent of 222g/km of CO2 after factoring a grid emission factor of 0.5 CO2/Wh.

Actually, the official Singapore’s Grid Emission Factor is about 0.43g CO2/Wh not 0.5 g.  And the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had recommended electric energy consumption of almost half of 444Wh/km for city driving.

Now we know a little more how LTA determined and subjected the Tesla EV to the resultant C3 S$15,000 carbon tax surcharge band under its Singapore's Carbon Emission-based Vehicle (CEV) Scheme, thus placing the Tesla all-Electric Vehicle with non-EV car models (see below) like the Mazda 8, Land Rover Freelander, Lexus RX270 and Maserati Ghibli. 



In other words, the LTA has deemed the Tesla Model S pure electric vehicle to be as polluting as the other fossil-fuel vehicle addicts!

Seriously, LTA? This would of course make Singapore a laughing stock in the world of sustainable energy and sustainable electric mobility. 

This incident with the Tesla EV severely tested the capability of our fossil-fuel based authorities and the limits of fossil-fuel vehicle regulations.  We are found seriously wanting and in need of fundamental change in our mindsets, policies and practices.

In the final analysis, the LTA has actually made a decision error in the Tesla EV case.  It failed to apply and follow its own definition and policy.  The LTA has already defined carbon emissions explicitly in its CEV Scheme as “the release of carbon dioxide from the use of a vehicle” and it “measures … the weight of carbon dioxide (CO2) released for every kilometre that the vehicle is driven”.   

LTA is thus disingenuous to compound its error by confusing sustainability-minded motorists with references to irrelevant and non-universal variables and factors.   Singapore’s reputation as a leader and active warrior against climate change by making fossil fuel history has been damaged by this incident.  Let’s restore our reputation for political leadership and hard-headed decision-making.