Was SingPost’s claims on junk mail an incomplete story?

By: Phillip Ang

I refer to “You’ve got junk mail: SingPost says most residents welcome advertising material”. Did SingPost even conduct a survey of, say, one-tenth the total number of households?  Or did SingPost merely talk to 100 residents living in rental flats before arriving at the conclusion?

Junk mail had been a problem more than a decade ago and this was why the government spent tens of millions of tax dollars to upgrade HDB mailboxes.  This remains a chronic issue. The unresolved issue of junk mail has cause a lot of frustration among feedback providers, including me.

It is now very clear to me that the pro-business PAP has no intention of putting a stop to junk mail because it helps to generate economic activity, increases the GDP.

Take for instance junk mail being thrown into our units or stuck between gaps on door grilles. Instead of debating this problem in Parliament, one town council has decided the solution is to provide a box to accommodate junk mail.

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Brilliant idea from Pasir Ris Punggol Town Council!

Do condo managers instruct owners to do anything similar?  Why did my town council sing the same SingPost tune? Why is SingPost allowed to subject HDB lessees to an opt-out system, as if some life and death issue such as HOTA? In Singapore, junk mail is a chronic issue which also needs a rocket scientist to resolve?

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The government never intended to resolve the junk mail issue but had used millions of tax  dollars to install an anti junk mail lever to rid all smaller players while SingPost continues to have sole access to HDB mailboxes.

Getting rid of the smaller players meant leaving more space in our mailboxes for SingPost’s, now the dominant player, junk mail. Meanwhile, all the smaller players have resorted to door-to-door delivery.  Instead of litter in the vicinity of mailboxes, the problem is now at our doorsteps and along corridors.

According to my town council, it is regulated by IDA to hand over the master key to our mailboxes to SingPost.  But aren’t legislations written by PAP MPs who happen to be town councillors?  Why continue acting dumb despite having received feedback on junk mail for years?

In 2006, I did a small survey to determine the number of resident who object to junk mail. Of the 21 blocks in my vicinity, an average of 64% of units ndicated their preference not to have junk mail (by setting the anti-junk mail lever). The lowest was 47% with the highest at 89%.

SingPost then cooked up another story – residents differentiate between its junk mail, ie  they are not junk mail but admail, of better quality and its clients are the big boys in retail and F and B. And we are expected to believe residents love SingPost’s admail but hate others’ junk mail?

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Our mailboxes are not designed to contain a huge amount of junk mail and who really wants to sort out the rubbish?

Their delivery would not be cost effective if SingPost has not given bulk discount to clients.  Because it holds the master key, it is able to deliver a huge amount of junk mail within minutes.  And its bottom line is further increased by employing more foreigners as postmen.

Does “Just 0.8 per cent of 1.2 million Singapore households have opted out of receiving advertising mail” by SingPost mean they are welcomed?  It is disingenuous of SingPost to tell a incomplete story after cornering residents into an opt-out system with the blessings of pro-business government agencies.

If the government had not allowed SingPost to place the onus on residents to opt out from its junk mail, the likely results of an opt in system would be likely identical (i.e. Just 0.8 per cent of 1.2 million Singapore households have opted in of receiving advertising mail).

Is this the PAP government’s idea of going green and saving our environment? SingPost’s questionable conclusion after cornering residents to opt out from receiving its junk mail is nothing but a incomplete story.

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