Sunday, 26 October 2008

Who are responsible for the MiniBond issue?

Who are responsible!?

Since attending the Saturday event (25th October) at the Speaker's Corner, it has been an eye-opening journey for this ordinary citizen. Something has to be done.

I did not invest in any bonds nor derivatives and thus was not affected by this mini-bond saga. I went down to help Rachel, a fellow blogger. I was shocked to see an elder cousin with her husband in the crowd. Upon questioning, she revealed that she and her 70+ year-old Mother (my father's sister) are victims of the banks' high-handed and misleading sales tactics.

I spent hours going over 10 contracts that they bought. These illiterate and goondu housewives were duped into buying high risk bonds when all they wanted to do was to put their life-savings in fixed deposit.

25th October 2008

Many depositors probably have this experience. EVERY TIME I go to deposit my cheque or cash, the bank teller would ask me if I want to earn higher interest for my cash sitting in the account. Some would just pull out a pamphlet and start telling you about their new financial product. I was burnt once so every time I would look them in the eyes and said firmly, "Give me back my passbook."

I thought of the poor aunties and uncles who were misled, forced, duped into buying the high risk products. It didn't concern me then, so I kept quiet. I read complaints about this high-handed selling in newspaper forums. I expect the Government to take action against such unscrupulous practices. They didn't.

Mr Tan Kin Lian addressing investors of Mini Bonds (MayBank group)

I got in touch with several MPs. They believe Tan Kin Lian has an agenda. So what if he has. He came out to organise the affected investors and helped them to file complains. He found ways for them to seek redress.

I don't see any Government officials or leaders stepping out to calm the nerves of the affected investors. Only after Mr Tan has made public the sad plight of retirees who lost their life-savings to the 'crooks' did MAS speak out.

Did MPs rally their grassroots and ask them to help the poor elderly who were affected? They could have organise a session to engage these people. They can score points. It's not wayang. If their residents are affected, they should show some concern. They should direct them to the correct people to seek help. But they didn't. And they said Tan Kin Lian has an agenda. Tan Kin Lian is an opportunist. People has eyes to see.

The Government and leaders were slow to react. It's always the case. They need to see blood before they do something. Mr Tan saw that there was no time to waste.

Mr Tan and Mr Goh Meng Seng did not instigate the crowds to protest. They didn't approve of the investors going to seek legal course because it is too expensive. The stakes are too high. These poor people have more to lose. They are clearly the biggest losers.

Mr Goh Meng Seng speaking in Mandarin to investors

It's People's Power now. The ordinary citizens can only help themselves during such times. Several Singaporeans have stepped out to help the affected illiterates, uneducated, elderly investors. We need more people to help them write complain letters. Let's help one another. We are brothers and sisters.

I was told, the Government will never cave in to public pressure.

The citizens are not staging protests. We are presenting our cases to the Government and hope they will do something.

Note : I don't know Tan Kin Lian and Goh Meng Seng personally.