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Thread: Singapore Also Can
04-05-2010, 10:41 PM #1565
Singapore's DNA to be young city-state will enable country to thrive
05 April 2010 2246 hrs
By Imelda Saad
SINGAPORE: Singapore's DNA to be a young city-state is the key that will enable the country to thrive.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean made this point as he addressed more than 250 undergraduates at a forum on Monday.
The forum was organised by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Student's Political Association.
It was an audience fit for the topic at hand - "Singapore - Forever Young".
After 45 years of independence, Singapore is still a considerably young nation.
But as DPM Teo pointed out, past successes do not guarantee future achievements.
He cited the example of Ireland. He said that up to three years ago, Ireland was known as the Celtic Tiger, just as Singapore is known as one of the Asian Tigers.
But a period of excess and the global financial meltdown plunged Ireland's economy into crisis.
And for Singapore not to suffer the same fate, it needs to reinvent itself and adapt to changing environments.
Mr Teo said that just like an individual, being young for city-states like Singapore is an attitude of mind.
The good news is that Singapore has five building blocks that give the country strong foundations.
One is that there is a strong culture of education and learning here.
"A strong culture of education and continuous learning keeps our people young and relevant, no matter what their ages are," said Mr Teo.
Complementing that is a culture of seeking knowledge, innovation and ideas.
That's where Singapore's strategy to grow as an R&D hub in areas ranging from electronics to pharmaceuticals comes to play.
"If we are trapped in the industries of the past, we will become the new 'rust belt', with old factories, making old products, using old skills and technology," said Mr Teo.
"If we have to depend only on imported ideas, we will not be able to climb beyond our current economic level to new heights, and will eventually be surpassed and left behind," he added.
"To be 'forever young', we need to be at the forefront of knowledge and innovation. (We need to be) creators and not just users of ideas," said Mr Teo.
Singapore also needs to be a vibrant and sustainable global city.
"Though cities only occupy two percent of the Earth's land area, they consume over 75 percent of its natural resources. There is a pressing need for sustainable urban development solutions," said Mr Teo.
"Because of Singapore's unique circumstances, we have the opportunity to be at the forefront of successful urban living - which is connected, safe, sustainable and socially integrated," added Mr Teo.
Without any natural resources, Mr Teo said, Singapore must be a magnet for talent and must rejuvenate its population.
"As a city-state, we have one big advantage over our competitor cities. Our competitor cities have few tools to regulate this rural inflow, while we can shape, with immigration controls, who comes to Singapore," he said.
"So we have to get the setting right. But I've always been very confident about our immigration policy, because we can get the setting, we can adjust the setting. We thus constantly adjust the tap so that we can bring in the people that we need to sustain population and economic growth and dynamism, while maintaining our social cohesion and stability."
And tying everything together is a strong and forward-looking leadership.
Mr Teo called for leadership renewal, not just within the political sphere but also the community. "We need active citizens who are prepared to come forward to actively and constructively contribute to making Singapore a better home for all of us."
The forum also featured a wide-ranging dialogue session with the undergraduates. One recurring theme was the issue of Singapore's vulnerability, it being a small city-state.
Mr Teo said it is possible for the country to fall if it is not careful. He said as a small nation, the margin for error is much less compared to bigger countries. And being trade dependent, Singapore is also vulnerable to external factors.
He said that is why the country needs to create buffers in an uncertain world. Mr Teo pointed to Singapore's reserves and strong investment in defence as examples of big anchors that keep the country stable.
He said: "So the question is: should all of you be so frightened that all of you abandon ship straightaway?
"No, the answer is 'no'. What I'm trying to put to you is, you should have a well-founded confidence in our own future.
"Why? Because even though we have vulnerabilities, we have anchors against these vulnerabilities, and indeed we have many, many strengths for the future."
04-05-2010, 10:54 PM #1566
Grads get jobs in 6 months
The Straits Times
Apr 6, 2010
DESPITE the recession, nine out of 10 students who graduated from the three local universities last year found jobs within six months of graduation, according to Ministry of Education (MOE) statistics released yesterday.
And there was even better news for those in teaching, nursing and dental surgery, with graduates posting a 100 per cent employment rate in those sectors.
The MOE's Graduate Employment Survey, conducted annually, looked at those who graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University (SMU) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) last year and what fraction landed a job within six months.
It also looked at the mean salary across faculties.
Apart from teaching graduates from NTU's National Institute of Education, and nursing and dental surgery graduates from NUS, those from NUS' business administration (accountancy) programmes, and SMU's economics and accountancy programmes were also largely recession-proof.
But last year's economic gloom did affect salaries, with average wages last year lower than those in 2008.
Graduating students at NTU's convocation last year. Teaching graduates from NTU's National Institute of Education, and nursing and dental surgery graduates from NUS saw full employment. -- ST FILE PHOTO
04-05-2010, 11:02 PM #1567
S'pore expects cooperation (re Romanian accident case)
The Straits Times
Apr 6, 2010
By Teh Joo Lin
SINGAPORE expects the full cooperation of Romania to ensure justice is served in the case of suspended diplomat Silviu Ionescu.
In a statement last night, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said it noted that Romania's Foreign Affairs Ministry has disavowed allegations hurled by Dr Ionescu against the judiciary here. It was referring to media reports that said Dr Ionescu's remarks did not represent the position of the Romanian authorities.
Dr Ionescu, the former charge d'affaires here, had slammed the Coroner's Court last Wednesday which blamed him for causing the death of Mr Tong Kok Wai, one of three pedestrians hit by the Romanian Embassy's Audi A6 car along Bukit Panjang Road on Dec 15.
The MFA also stated that Mr Aurelian Neagu, Romania's Ambassador to Singapore, had not given a firm date for a visit to Singapore to discuss the case - although the ministry added that it expects to hear from the Japan- based Mr Neagu 'shortly'.
Mr Neagu was summoned to Singapore by MFA last week for a meeting to discuss criminal charges which the Republic wants to bring against Dr Ionescu.
MFA said then that it was puzzled by claims that Romania had yet to receive any evidence from Singapore, when it had given documents to the embassy's acting charge d'affaires, Mr Alex Coseru.
04-05-2010, 11:07 PM #1568
5 new fighter jets fly home
The Straits Times
Apr 6, 2010
By Teh Joo Lin
SINGAPORE'S newest fighter jets are back on home soil and were yesterday inaugurated into the Republic of Singapore Air Force's 149 Squadron.
Five of the 24 F-15SGs bought by Singapore flew in from the United States on March 29 after a five-day journey over the Pacific Ocean.
During the 13,500km trip here, the jets were refuelled in mid-air several times and made two stops en route. The total flying time was 20.5 hours.
In a ceremony at Paya Lebar Air Base yesterday, the squadron's logo - the Shikra hawk - was unveiled on the tailfin of one of the new jets.
Among those present were Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean and the military's top brass, including the new Chief of Defence Force, Major-General Neo Kian Hong, who took up his appointment last week.
So far, 18 of the 24 F-15SGs ordered by Singapore have been delivered.
05 April 2010 2307 hrs
By Lynda Hong
RSAF inaugurates Singapore's first F-15SG squadron after training in the US
SINGAPORE: Singapore's first F-15SG Squadron was inaugurated at Paya Lebar Air Base on Monday afternoon.
The 149 squadron will join the Republic of Singapore Air Force's fighter group under the Air Combat Command which plans, controls and executes air warfare operations.
Mindef said this marks a significant milestone in the 3rd Generation RSAF's development of its advanced fighter capabilities.
At the inauguration ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Teo Chee Hean highlighted the crucial role the squadron will play in enhancing the SAF's ability to deal with future threats.
He said: "The F-15SG is a major enhancement to Singapore's air defence capability and will also play a significant role in the SAF's overall operations. The F-15SG squadron will increase the SAF's ability to deal decisively with future threats and meet our critical operational needs."
Mr Teo also commended the F-15SG air and ground crew on building a high level of operational proficiency and readiness in a short span of time.
The crew recently returned from the Mountain Home Air Force Base in the US where they'd been training since last May to acquire the competencies to operate and maintain the F-15SGs.
The RSAF's F-15SG is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and a sophisticated integrated sensor suite and is one of the most capable multi-role fighter aircraft in the world.
The RSAF also maintains the Peace Carvin (PC) V F-15SG fighter detachment at Mountain Home Air Force Base (MHAFB) in the US.
The PC V F-15SG fighter detachment was established as part of the US Air Force's 428th Fighter Squadron and will operate at the MHAFB for the next 25 years.
Five of the 24 F-15SGs bought by Singapore flew in from the United States on March 29 after a five-day journey over the Pacific Ocean. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Last edited by Loh; 04-05-2010 at 11:21 PM.
04-05-2010, 11:32 PM #1569
MFA gives Romania documents again
Updated 11:55 AM Apr 06, 2010
SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has again given Romania a full set of the documents and photographs presented at the coroner's hearing into last December's hit-and-run death caused by former Romanian diplomat Dr Silviu Ionescu.
This came after the interim Charge d'Affaires of the Romanian Embassy here, Mr Alex Coseru, told MFA last Friday that he had left the first set given to him in court last Thursday because he did not know that they were for his retention.
When providing him with the documents and photographs yesterday, MFA said in a statement it made it clear toMr Coseru that he was given the documents in the first place as he was Romania's official representative in Singapore and the documents were for his government's use.
The MFA spokesman pointed out that last Thursday - the last day of the hearing - Mr Coseru had asked for a copy of the Investigation Report. This was given to him, and he took it away without any misunderstanding.
In the hit-and-run incident on Dec 15 in Bukit Panjang, an embassy car driven by Dr Ionescu crashed into 30-year-old Tong Kok Wai. The newly-wed died on Christmas Day without regaining consciousness. The coroner had concluded Dr Ionescu was behind this and another hit-and-run accident in the same area that night.
Following the inquiry, Singapore has drawn up 13 charges to be brought against Dr Ionescu.
Dr Ionescu, however, has dismissed the coroner's findings and has also cast aspersions on the Singapore Judiciary.
The MFA spokesman noted that media reports show that the Romanian Foreign Ministry had disavowed Dr Ionescu's allegations. It had also clarified that these allegations did not represent the position of the Romanian authorities.
The spokesman reiterated that Singapore expects the full cooperation of the Romanian authorities to ensure that justice would be served.
As to when Mr Aurelian Neagu, the Romanian Ambassador to Singapore, who is a resident in Tokyo, would be in Singapore to discuss the case, the MFA said Mr Neagu has yet to provide a firm date, but it expects to hear from him shortly.
04-06-2010, 12:39 PM #1570
Malaysian PM Najib defends country's New Economic Model
06 April 2010 2325 hrs
By Imelda Saad
SINGAPORE: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has defended the country's New Economic Model which he revealed last week.
The plan, aimed at steering Malaysia to a high-income based economy, has received criticisms among some sectors for eroding its decades-old affirmative action policy.
Mr Najib was addressing more than 100 journalists at a dialogue session after his speech at a gala dinner organised by the Foreign Correspondents Association in Singapore on Tuesday.
The Malaysian PM arrived in Singapore just three days after marking his first year in office.
Fresh from announcing the country's new growth strategies, he explained the thinking behind some of the reforms.
Questions flowed fast on whether the New Economic Model will get a backlash from Malaysia's bumiputras and even within the ruling Barisan Nasional party.
Mr Najib said Malaysia's affirmative action policy, which gives Malays special privileges, have not hampered Malaysia's growth.
He said that even at the height of the New Economic Policy, Malaysia was growing at 8 to 9 per cent and some of the richest people in Malaysia are non-Malays.
Mr Najib said: "So it will be a more transparent and fairer way in which we implement affirmative action, and at the end of the day, I hope it will lead to a more cohesive and socially harmonious society."
He said the new approach to Malaysia's affirmative action is for it to be more "market-friendly, transparent, merit-based, and needs-based".
The reforms come after the Barisan Nasional took a knocking at the last general elections in 2008.
The results prompted the new prime minister to think about getting back to basics.
Mr Najib said: "What the public wanted and the rakyat or the people wanted was a change. But they did not want an incremental change or incremental changes, they wanted a massive transformation both economically and politically, and the time was right for us to embark on this."
He also revealed that Malaysia will identify new growth engines to propel the economy.
He did not give details, but said it will move beyond traditional sectors like oil and gas, rubber, and palm oil.
Mr Najib also said Malaysia will most probably issue Islamic bonds denominated in US dollars.
He did not reveal when this will take place or the size, which he said will be announced later. He said Malaysia does not actually need the money, but a bond issue would be a benchmark on how the markets viewed the country's creditworthiness.
He was asked about the possibility of a re-merger with Singapore.
Mr Najib said: "Both countries have taken different paths. It would be too traumatic to try to have a political reunification, but I would like to see deeper economic relations between Malaysia and Singapore, I would like to see good relations between both countries. I would like to see us work together in many fronts."
One is a joint project with Raffles Education to develop a university in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor's economic corridor.
The university will be implemented in three phases, with an initial enrolment of about 5,000 students within its first five years. Mr Najib said an application has already been made to Malaysia's Ministry of Higher Education to establish the university.
There is also a plan to build a Wellness Centre on a 500-acre plot of land in the area.
Mr Najib noted: "But we have not concluded it yet. So, that is a subject of intense discussion with Singapore."
Mr Najib and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong are expected to meet for a retreat in Singapore next month to discuss how to further strengthen bilateral relations.
Now that the foundation has been set, all eyes will be on the implementation of the policies announced.
Mr Najib has indicated that details on the New Economic Model will be revealed over the next few months.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak
04-06-2010, 08:33 PM #1571
Romanian Ambassador to meet MFA officials on Friday
05:55 AM Apr 07, 2010
The Romanian Ambassador to Singapore, Mr Aurelian Neagu, will meet officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Friday.
The MFA earlier summoned the Tokyo-based ambassador here to a meeting to discuss the 13 charges preferred by the Attorney-General's Chambers against Dr Silviu Ionescu. This came after the State Coroner ruled that the former Romanian Charge d'Affaires was the driver of the car that hit three pedestrians on Dec 15.
04-06-2010, 09:18 PM #1572
Keen bids for Alkaff Mansion
The Straits Times
Apr 7, 2010
Food & beverage firm tops tender list with a monthly rent offer of $79,251
By Joyce Teo
A NEWLY set up food and beverage company fronted by Italian Gabriele Piegaia has topped the bids for the keenly contested former Alkaff Mansion site.
The two-month-old company, LES, topped the tender with a monthly rent offer of $79,251, which is about three times the Singapore Land Authority's (SLA) monthly guide rent of $28,100.
Fragrance Group came in second with a monthly offer of $41,300 while Bakerzin Holdings was third with $36,380.
The top three bidders declined to be interviewed.
Perched on top of Telok Blangah Hill Park, Alkaff - a majestic conserved building - has been left vacant since 2003. The SLA recently put it up for lease by tender.
Of the nine bidders, six had offered to pay a monthly rent that is above the guide rent. They included food and beverage players Villa Frangipani.com and Timbre 2.
-- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM
04-06-2010, 09:28 PM #1573
Course to help migrant workers
The Straits Times
Apr 7, 2010
Programme to help them gain deeper understanding of S'pore
By Melissa Kok
LATER this year, a new programme tailored for those who intend to become Singapore citizens will be launched.
Called the Singapore Citizenship Journey, the compulsory programme comprises tours to historical sites, community sessions with grassroots leaders and an online quiz on Singapore history before would-be citizens get their identity cards.
It is intended to provide a more structured naturalisation process to ensure new citizens understand the fundamentals of Singapore society and its values.
Now, two groups here are banding together to launch a similar, if less structured, workshop for migrant workers to help them integrate better into daily life here by giving them a deeper understanding of Singapore.
Called the Social Integration Programme, it will run for a day and include visits to key places of interest, such as temples in Chinatown and Little India and the mosque in the Kampong Glam area, as well as mini-lectures and discussions.
It will be run by the NTUC LearningHub (LHub), the training arm of the National Trades Union Congress, and the Migrant Workers Centre (MWC).
'When we eventually run it, we hope it will be another tool or facility available to migrant workers to settle in better into the Singapore community and raise the likelihood of migrant workers fitting in here.'
Mr Bernard Menon, Migrant Workers Centre's manager
Fullerton Hotel staff (from left) chef de cuisine Leong Chee Yeng, 43, from Malaysia; housekeeping staff worker Coco Gao, 30, from China; and service staff Vijayalakshmi Ganasan Nambiar, 21, from Malaysia. The hotel is one of the businesses that have expressed interest in sending foreign staff for the planned Social Integration Programme. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
04-06-2010, 09:49 PM #1574
One-stop service centre for traditional medicine set up at Temasek Poly
06 April 2010 1929 hrs
By Hetty Musfirah
SINGAPORE : A one-stop service centre for traditional medicine has been set up at Temasek Polytechnic.
The centre offers services ranging from consultancy to facilities that can support research in traditional medicine and life sciences.
Healthcare professionals can also look forward to training courses conducted in English.
The centre also aims to conduct studies on traditional herbal medicine like jamu.
Ted Tan, who is SPRING Singapore's deputy chief executive, said the centre will help to accelerate the growth of the traditional medicine industry.
He said: "In the past, many of the TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) companies have been doing their own fundamental and basic research development. Many of them will not have the capabilities to invest in very capital-extensive research instruments.
"So it provides the springboard, a very important technology platform, to raise the capabilities, the technology and innovation."
Separately, SPRING Singapore said it will be extending the Innovation Voucher Scheme to another 13 knowledge institutions, bringing a total of 18 participating institutions on board.
The scheme aims to help small and medium enterprises to offset the cost of procuring services from knowledge institutions.
04-06-2010, 09:58 PM #1575
Sports Council starts multi-year funding so sports associations can plan for long ter
06 April 2010 2059 hrs
By Patwant Singh
SINGAPORE: More than S$50 million will be disbursed to National Sports Associations this year and for the first time, multi-year funding will be introduced so that NSAs can better plan for the long term.
As sports get bigger in Singapore, the funding must be increased too. But the Sports Council wants to go a step further and give associations greater certainty to chart their future.
So, 33 NSAs will be given funds for a two to three period starting this fiscal year.
They include bowling, sailing, swimming and table tennis.
The quantum varies from S$1.5 million to less than S$50,000 per annum. The council said the door is still open for NSAs which did not qualify for multi-year funding this time round.
The council admits the approach adopted from the US, while effective, is expected to have some challenges initially.
Oon Jin Teik, CEO, Singapore Sports Council, said: "There are some concerns from NSAs where they say that what if the ex-co changes along the way and the AGM comes along. But if the plan is done in a right manner and you know what the customer needs are, it's very difficult for the new ex-co to say it is wrong."
This year, the focus is also on team sports with football and netball getting a substantial increase in funding.
Part of the reason is their social bonding effects.
P Sivakumar, deputy general secretary, Football Association of Singapore, said: "I'm sure more sports will come along the way and for us in football this is another recognition. It gives us even more impetus to work even harder to get even more support."
SSC said S$200,000 to S$500,000 has been set aside for athletics which had its funding withheld last year.
But the funds will be disbursed directly to the athletes.
When contacted, the Singapore Athletics Association said they were not invited to submit their plans and feel it is wrong of the sports council to approach the athletes directly.
By the end of this year, all NSAs are to register as charities, if they are to get their funding from the Singapore Sports Council.
The council reiterated that the dateline remains and added that out of the 63 NSAs, four are not willing to convert but the council is hoping to change that.
04-06-2010, 10:03 PM #1576
S'pore KL ties strong: Najib
The Straits Times
Apr 7, 2010
By Teo Cheng Wee, Regional Correspondent
MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday re-affirmed the strong ties between Malaysia and Singapore, saying bilateral relationships are improving despite 'difficult legacy issues'.
He said he counts Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong among the many world leaders he enjoys good relationships with.
'We belong to a generation which believes in solutions, which believes in talking to one another,' he said. 'We feel that we can move forward in areas that we can find common ground.'
He pointed out that things were looking more positive because of increased engagement and discussions between the two sides.
Singapore was one of the first countries he visited after taking office a year ago. Since then, several initiatives have kicked off, including the opening of a Singapore consular office in Johor Baru.
But other longstanding issues still being discussed include the implementation of the Points of Agreement (POA) on developing Malayan Railway land in Singapore.
04-07-2010, 09:26 PM #1577
Steady income for 33 associations (NSAs)
05:55 AM Apr 07, 2010
SSC adopts US multi-year funding model to push sport to the next level
by Low Lin Fhoong
For the first time, 33 national sports associations (NSAs) here will enjoy uninterrupted funding for between two to three years under the Singapore Sports Council's (SSC) multi-year programme unveiled yesterday.
The multi-year fundingprogramme is mirrored on the model used by the United States Olympic Committee.
Bob Gambardella, chief of SSC's Sports Development Group, explained the requirements, when he said: "We're looking at past performances, future potential, and capabilities of the organisations."
The remaining 30 NSAs will continue to receive funding on an annual basis.
The multi-year funding model will ensure NSAs can concentrate on longer-term training and development of their athletes. NSAs can also offer coaches longer-term contracts as funding for such an exercise will be locked in.
A total of $50.22 million - $35.78 million in direct grants and $14.44m in indirect grants - will be disbursed to 63 NSAs for FY2010, an increase of 6.9 per cent over last year's figure of $46.98m for 64 sports (the Woodball Association has been dissolved).
According the SSC, 29 NSAs saw an increase in funding, 29 others received cuts, and five saw no change.
The SSC's matching grant scheme, an incentive that encourages NSAs receiving below $500,000 to tap on commercial revenue, raise their own funds and be self-sustaining, was raised to $30,000 from $20,000 for FY2009.
SSC chief executive officer Oon Jin Teik said the time was ripe for Singapore sports to make the transition to a multi-year funding programme.
"This is a fitting transition ... in sport, everything is multi-year - the Olympics are held every four years and an Olympic Games bid takes 10 to 15 years to prepare," he said.
"We heard from the ground, and the NSAs want a stronger sense of certainty, resources, so that they can plan better. This is good as it gives certainty to our partners ... they win, we win, Singapore wins.
"Our goal is to get every NSA on this multi-year plan."
According to SSC, 54 NSAs submitted multi-year plans, but only 33 were given the green light because they met the requirements set.
SingaporeSailing president Low Teo Ping gave the multi-year funding model his wholehearted support. He revealed plans to expose sailing to more people through initiatives like SailSmart and SailFun programmes, and also with more satellite centres.
The association was grouped in the top tier of sports, and will receive more than $1.5 million annually for the next three years.
"This definitely takes away any uncertainty and gives us the opportunity to do things that's not based on a one-year cycle. There are three areas that we are working on: promoting interest by playing the sport, developing passion, and working towards improving performance," he said.
Team sports likes football and netball were two of the other big winners this year, with new sports like modern pentathlon, wrestling, and handball earning praise for their professionalism and performance.
Additional support will be provided to the under-23 football team and the netball team that will compete in the 2011 World Championships.
Netball Singapore will receive an annual amount of between $500,000 and $1.5 million for a two-year period, with extra indirect support provided to the netballers.
"This is great recognition for netball and the national team, and it's definitely a boost before the world championships," said Netball Singapore executive director Cyrus Medora.
From next year, all 63 NSAs will have to register as charities with the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports in order to receive grants from the SSC.
They have until the end of this year to comply, with the SSC revealing that five associations (badminton, sailing, lifesaving, wrestling and disability sports) have already come on board, with another 50 expected to do so by December.
Four have already indicated they will not be registering as charities.
04-07-2010, 09:44 PM #1578
Football to the fore
05:55 AM Apr 07, 2010
SSC increase funding for FAS, with primary focus on under-23s
by Tan Yo-Hinn
SINGAPORE - Singapore are almost certain to host the SEA Games in 2015, and the grand stage is set to be the $1.87-billion Sports Hub at Kallang, with construction work slated to begin later this year.
The Republic have hosted three of the 25 editions of the biennial Games, and have never won a gold medal in football.
The 2015 Games will be a perfect setting to erase that embarrassing statistic, and the goal received a boost yesterday, after the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) named football as one of seven national sports associations (NSA) that will receive more than $1.5 million in annual funding.
In an unprecedented move, the national under-23 team have been singled out for specific attention.
Based on the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) multi-year funding model, the SSC will provide the team with additional support for the next three years.
The Lions have been crowned Asean champions in 1998, 2005 and 2007, but success elsewhere has been scant, particularly at the SEA Games, where the best achievement has been three silver medals (1983, 1985, 1989).
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) have received flak for the country's repeated failure at the SEA Games - it became an under-23 football competition in 2001 - and for the inability of the national team to climb to the next level after the success at the Asean championships.
While many will be sceptical at the decision to grant the FAS more funding and support, SSC chief executive Oon Jin Teik described football as a "different animal", one that touches the hearts of Singaporeans like no other sport.
"Which other sport has more people playing the game, can pack a stadium and hit the five objectives (of the Singapore Sporting Vision) harder and more comprehensively?" he told MediaCorp.
"There may be critics who say they have not delivered a (gold) medal. That may be true, but as a sport, they are trying to change their model, change their gap in many areas.
"The credibility of their plan and tactics and what they are trying to put into place makes a lot of sense to us.
"We want to help the sport aim high, (and) obviously we want them to play well on home ground (at the 2015 SEA Games)."
The Committee on Sporting Singapore drew up
the Singapore Sporting Vision.
It aims to
serve as a channel for community bonding,
achieve excellence to enhance national pride and international standing, develop a vibrant industry,
and use sports as a way to strengthen relationships with other countries.
Football remains the most popular here with some 200,000 playing the game regularly at all levels. The S-League, now into its 15th year, has created more than 1,000 jobs. It is ranked among the top 10 in Asia and boasts a turnover of some $220 million annually, including revenue from the betting game Score!.
International matches at the National Stadium can command crowds of 55,000.
The comprehensive nature of FAS' six-year strategic plan helped them get the nod from the SSC.
Said Oon: "It will help us achieve the five outcomes in terms of resilient healthy citizens, community bonding, national pride, a vibrant society and economy and international friendship.
"They have looked at the sport across the board, from the developmental pathway where they went right to the ground, from the young, the under-8s and 10s, and also looked at their coaches and officials. I would say they have one of the better, more comprehensive plans."
This afternoon, the FAS will reveal in detail their blueprint for the next six years. MediaCorp understand that preparing teams for the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games, the 2015 Asian Cup and the 2011, 2013 and 2015 SEA Games will receive priority.
"It is a comprehensive plan that aims to take Singapore football to the next level of our development, which is to compete in Asia," said FAS deputy general-secretary P Sivakumar.
Last edited by Loh; 04-07-2010 at 09:51 PM.
04-07-2010, 10:03 PM #1579
Big goals to meet
05:55 AM Apr 07, 2010
After the plaudits, football, sailing and netball have no choice but to show results
by Leonard Thomas
Football is the biggest sport in the country, netball the most popular among women here.
Sailing, once niche, is growing its base rapidly, and judged on the team's performance at the last Asian Games in 2006, the Republic is ranked No 1 on the continent.
All three sports are serious about moving to the next level.
Their supporters will celebrate after the Government answered the call yesterday when the annual distribution of funds for the 63 national sports associations (NSA) were revealed.
The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) believes in the multi-year plan submitted by the three NSAs and are backing them with increased funding and indirect aid - netball for the next two years, while football and sailing will receive support for three years.
With the recognition and increased support comes the pressure to deliver.
All three NSAs are firmly in the firing line. For some time already many other NSAs and their respective group of fans have questioned the support for football and its unique status as the No 1 sport in the country, given the lack of success even at SEA Games level. I'm sure they will bristle even more now.
There are those who wonder if so much focus should go to sailing, a sport that hardly captures the imagination of the nation.
While the national netball team were Asian champions in 2005, critics will point out that they went down a notch when they finished second last year.
As the team build towards next year's world championships, which Singapore will host, last year's abysmal performance at the Nations Cup - they finished fifth out of six teams - was disappointing.
But the blueprint for success submitted by each NSA for the next few years is doable, according to the SSC, and now the hard work begins for the guardians of football, sailing and netball, as they strive to meet each benchmark mapped in their respective plans.
Since he arrived here in July 2003, coach Radojko Avramovic has worked tirelessly on the Lions and two Asean titles later, this is the perfect opportunity for the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) as they look to make the national team a player at the top table in Asia.
The Lions broke new ground in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers and only just missed out on the 2011 Asian Cup finals.
With SSC specifically supporting the under-23 team, winning the country's first gold medal in football at the SEA Games is a priority. While 2011 may be too early, 2013 could be the year for the team to cut loose that albatross round their neck.
I have repeatedly called for Hariss Harun to be cocooned at a football club in Europe, or maybe Japan, the 19-year-old has the talent to become one of Singapore's best midfielders given proper exposure. It is critical for the FAS to work out an arrangement for the current skipper of the Young Lions to follow in the footsteps of Fandi Ahmad and V Sundramoorthy, and eventually pave the way for more Singaporeans to hone their skills in a football environment several rungs above the level of the S-League.
Talk to SingaporeSailing president Low Teo Ping and he will tell you the benchmark for success is not one Olympic medal, but a steady production line of talent that will ensure prolonged joy on the international stage.
While Singapore's sailors have enjoyed considerable success at world youth level, they have yet to break into the World Sailing Shampionships and the Olympic Games. Low and his management team have put together an impressive programme to attract more young boys and girls to the sport, but sailing needs to make a breakthrough at the two big ones.
A top-10 finish at next year's world championships in Perth will be handy. And the main benchmark will be the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Games in Rio, when the country's elite sailors should be primed to make a huge splash.
Netball Singapore's immediate target is the world championships, which Singapore will host in July, 2011. Sixteen teams will do battle for the top prize, while Singapore stand no chance against the likes of New Zealand, Australia, England and the other elite nations, a top-10 finish at home will be an achievement. It will mean the netball team are ready to reclaim their status as best in Asia in 2013.
The growth of the Netball Super League (NSL) is also a priority. If the goal is to make more women pick up the sport and improve their fitness, then increased participation in the NSL, and in schools' competition, is netball's benchmark. If the idea is to make more women understand the value of sport, then attracting them to netball is one way to go.
Football and sailing are used to the spotlight, the increased focus will be new to netball. All three must know that modern sport is a result-oriented business.
They need to deliver.
04-07-2010, 10:21 PM #1580
New training facility to help S'pore become top 10 in Asia
05:55 AM Apr 08, 2010
by Tan Yo-Hinn
SINGAPORE - Manchester United have Carrington, AC Milan Milanello and France Clairefontaine.
By 2015, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) aim to have their own football training facility as well, and speculation is that it could be located at Farrer Park.
FAS' proposed National Training Centre (NTC) is part of the six-year strategic plan the association rolled out yesterday, as Singapore look to become one of the top 10 teams in Asia.
The FAS aim to have five "A" class stadiums and a mid-sized football-specific stadium with a seating capacity of between 12,000 to 15,000 by 2015.
The five class "A" stadiums - such stadia can host Grade A matches - include Jalan Besar, Bishan and Choa Chu Kang, which need upgrading.
On the mid-sized football stadium, FAS president Zainudin Nordin said: "We're hoping to look at something old and already in the pipeline for an upgrade, so that we can work together and design something different."
With an annual budget of $9.7 million, the FAS say they need around $19 million every year to meet their targets.
The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) are in their corner.
"The FAS has produced a well thought out, integrated plan that clearly articulates the direction that the sport is headed for and serves as a road map from the present date to 2015," said SSC chief (sports development group) Bob Gambardella.
"The SSC will work with the FAS and assist the association, wherever possible, in their quest to become one of Asia's top-10 football nations within the next six years."
Zainudin admitted raising the required finances is a major concern.
The FAS haver a relatively smaller annual budget compared to the likes of Japan ($264 million), China ($180 million), South Korea ($95 million), Indonesia ($112.5 million), Vietnam ($60 million), Thailand ($52 million) and Malaysia ($35 million).
Apart from expanding current income sources and securing new ones, the FAS aim to grow their marketing income from $220 million currently to $248 million by 2015.
The location of the NTC has yet to be confirmed, but the state-of-the-art facility will include a full-sized main pitch with natural turf and a full-sized pitch with artificial turf, two smaller-sized training pitches and four covered futsal courts.
It will also house the Singapore Football Museum, with guided tours for the public and students to raise awareness of local football.
The building plan also includes food and beverage outlets, retail outlets and football merchandising stores.
"Having the National Training Centre will allow us to provide a comprehensive facility for all our national teams," said Zainudin.
"It is also for us to position Singapore as an international training location and hub, so that we will always be in the minds of top nations and clubs when they come through this region."
04-07-2010, 10:48 PM #1581
Raffles Hotel sold
The Straits Times
Apr 8, 2010
By Esther Teo
SINGAPORE'S iconic Raffles Hotel has been reportedly bought by a Qatar sovereign wealth fund for US$275 million (S$384 million).
Qatari Diar - the principal real estate entity of the Qatar Investment Authority - has purchased the historic property in Beach Road from current owner Fairmont Raffles, a Toronto-based luxury hotel chain, according to an Abu Dhabi newspaper, The National.
Fairmont Raffles has about 100 hotels under the three brands of Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel in 24 countries. The Straits Times understands that the chain owns Raffles Hotel here.
In addition to assuming ownership of Raffles, the deal sees Qatari Diar injecting US$467 million into Fairmont Raffles in exchange for a 40 per cent stake in the hotel chain. The US$275 million from the sale of Raffles Hotel, and a gain of US$105 million in promised management contracts, bring the overall deal to US$847 million.
As the deal involves Fairmont Raffles issuing new shares, Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding, an investment company controlled by Saudi billionaire prince Alwaleed Talal, will see its stake in the hotel group diluted to 35 per cent from its original 58 per cent. This makes it the second-largest shareholder of the company.
In 2006, Prince Alwaleed teamed up with United States-based Colony Capital to buy Fairmont Hotels and Resorts' chain of hotels in 24 countries for US$3.9 billion. The latest change in shareholding at Fairmont Raffles will result in Colony Capital's stake being reduced to 22 per cent, with the Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement System also owning an interest, Bloomberg reported.
In addition to taking over Raffles Hotel, Qatari Diar will inject US$467 million into Fairmont Raffles in exchange for a 40 per cent stake in the luxury hotel chain. -- ST FILE PHOTO
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