Seen and heard this week


Seen and heard this week is a weekly column highlighting thought leadership from the NUS community


During Bloomberg Daybreak: Asia on 28 August, NUS Accountancy Associate Professor Mak Yuen Teen spoke about the restructuring plan for the Noble Group, which recently saw its market capitalisation plunge by more than 90 per cent from 2015. He said that although the restructuring plan gives hope to the investors, it is early days yet to see whether the hope plays out. He shared however that the situation is still worrying as the key management remains intact within the company and there are currently no proposals to change the auditors.

A report in The Straits Times on 28 August saw NUS Law Professor Tommy Koh, Rector of Tembusu College and Ambassador-at-Large at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; as well as Dr Amitendu Palit, Senior Research Fellow and Dr Rupakjyoti Borah, Visiting Research Fellow from the Institute of South Asian Studies sharing their views on India’s delay over the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an ASEAN-led trade deal involving the ASEAN member countries and its six key trading partners, of which India is one. They said that while India’s hesitation is understandable given its fears over lowering tariffs on goods and a widening trade deficit with China, it is not in its national interest to be left out of the mega deal and that India’s absence would be a significant loss to the RCEP.

In a commentary for Channel NewsAsia on 1 September, NUS Real Estate Associate Professor Sing Tien Foo, also Director of the Institute of Real Estates Studies (IRES); and Ms Chia Liu Ee, Research Assistant at IRES provided an overview of the situation confronting owners of ageing Housing & Development Board (HDB) public housing flats. Explaining the rationale for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s stand on not extending the lease of HDB flats, the researchers said that lease extension hinders the long-term growth of a city as it obstructs land optimisation and prevents the use of the land in new and innovative ways. The cost to upkeep ageing flats will also increase over time, with the burden falling on the government and residents. The authors opined that home buyers should be mindful that public housing is meant to promote home ownership in an affordable and sustainable manner, and is not meant to be exploited for personal gain.

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