Will our $100 billion Chinese investments go up in smoke?

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By: Phillip Ang

China has expressed its unhappiness over our interference in the South China Sea dispute. It has threatened to impose sanctions and retaliate against us for “seriously damaging China’s interests”.

The mere threat of retaliation by PLA Major General Jin Yinan would have caused foreign investors to sit up and take notice of our political (in)stability. Perception is key. Hopefully, China will not ratchet up its “we must strike back at Singapore” rhetoric.

If Singapore has been playing with fire – playing big countries off against each other – hopefully, we will not suffer third-degree burns.

The Chinese know they have the upper hand because our leaders have been foolishly converting our reserves to Chinese investments. Our 2 sovereign wealth funds, Temasek and GIC, are likely to have invested at least $100 billion in the communist country.

Times are tough and desperate times call for desperate measures; we should not underestimate what the Chinese are capable of doing. Will they use this incident to exact their price for our ‘mistake’ by legislating against our interest? Like the PAP, legislations could be anyhow changed in China, eg in 2015, major shareholders could not sell their shares in listed companies for 6 months to limit losses of Chinese speculators.

Chinese leaders have also proven to be utterly ruthless people, ie the army was ordered to massacre hundreds of student protestors with tanks and machine guns at Tiananmen Square in 1989.
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Do PAP elites really know who they are dealing with?

That LKY was an influential figure on the world stage is only a myth. The fact is LKY was being made use of and even kena played out at the same time.

Singapore never had any real friendship with the US. US foreign policy is merely a PR front for its military industrial complex where friendships can be bought with the purchase of billion-dollar US military hardware every year. Everywhere the US has put its nose into, the outcome has always been instability, death or destruction, eg Iraq.

Should billions of our investments be ‘confiscated’ by the Chinese, in a similar way our CPF returns are confiscated by PAP, we can say sayonara to our US ‘friend’.

While the US has only been making use of Singapore, the Chinese have been more cunning and even played out LKY. LKY had once thought his ‘friendship’ with paramount Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping meant Chinese doors were opened for Singapore companies to make easy profits. But he had his first taste of failure when his Suzhou Industrial Project (SIP) baby was almost aborted. SIP had been incurring losses until 1999 and Singapore was forced to reduce our stake from 65% to 35%. But from failing every year, the Chinese injected LKY’s baby with a miraculous growth hormone and SIP has been profitable every year since 2001. So much for LKY’s ‘friend’ who stood idly by during daylight robbery.

PAP elites don’t seem to have learnt any lesson from LKY’s folly. We have thrown caution to the wind by becoming the largest investor in China while many Western investors have thrown in the towel. Are we to believe that everyone else is stupid except PAP elites?

What is so fantastic about China’s debt-driven growth? Yes, there was money to be made in the initial years but certainly not now. Not when Chinese official statistics have been going for regular massages.

I have always wondered how PAP could contradict itself by investing billions in a communist country after arresting citizens “on the grounds that they were members of a clandestine communist network”. Corruption has remained endemic in China and, according to one estimate, could cost some 10% of its GDP. So how does our whiter than white uncorrupted government officials deal with corrupted Chinese business partners? Can such risks ever be mitigated? How?

Singapore has always been at the mercy of China and we should forget about the punching-above-our-weight BS by LKY. In fact, as a small country, we should never be as smug as LKY: we have to tread very carefully. In reality, we will mostly kena punched by bigger countries. The perennial haze issue confirms this.

With our $100 billion investment in China, it doesn’t help when Singapore ambassador, Stanley Loh, tries to refute the Chinese. How does making the Chinese lose more face help? Stanley should forget about the ability to punch above our weight because the fact is China has got us by our balls, to put it crudely.

Of paramount importance is our family jewels which have been converted to Chinese investments. By creating artificial islands in the middle of nowhere and subsequently claiming international waters as Chinese territory, the Chinese government has proven it is capable of doing the unthinkable.

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China’s unstoppable island building

So how will the Chinese make us pay for ‘seriously damaging China’s interest”? Will our $100 billion Chinese investments go up in smoke?


Republished from the blog ‘likedatosocanmeh‘.