What's changed

The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced on Thursday that the maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratios and loan tenure allowed for car loans will be eased, with effect from yesterday.

BEFORE:

Open Market Value (OMV) less than or equal to $20,000

  • Maximum LTV: 60 per cent
  • Maximum loan tenure: 5 years

OMV more than $20,000

  • Maximum LTV: 50 per cent
  • Maximum loan tenure: 5 years

NOW:

OMV less than or equal to $20,000

  • Maximum LTV: 70 per cent
  • Maximum loan tenure: 7 years

OMV more than $20,000

  • Maximum LTV: 60 per cent
  • Maximum loan tenure: 7 years

At a glance

Car dealer John Ling, founder of SJ Motor Enterprise, demonstrates the difference between the old and new car loans using a Honda Vezel, which has an open market value (OMV) of $20,000:

5-YEAR LOAN (OLD)

Price tag of car: $100,000

Down payment: $40,000

Loan: $60,000

Current interest rate: 2.78%*

Total interest over loan period: $8,340

Monthly instalment: $1,139

Total cost of car: $108,340

7-YEAR LOAN(NEW)

Price tag of car: $100,000

Down payment: $30,000

Loan: $70,000

Current interest rate: 2.78%*

Total interest over loan period:$13,622

Monthly instalment: $995.50

Total cost of car: $113,622

*Dealers expect interest rates to increase.

Car showrooms see rise in traffic after new loan measures

Car showrooms see rise in inquiries after news of new loan measures

INTEREST: The crowd at a Toyota showroom yesterday.
POPULAR: Honda’s Vezel.

For three years, Mr Koh Swee Liong has been waiting for certificate of entitlement (COE) prices to fall.

With his COE expiring in January next year, the 50-year-old family man's sense of urgency is rising as the clock runs down.

Mr Koh, who works in operations at Changi Airport, was one of the visitors who was checking out cars at the Toyota showroom in Leng Kee Road. The New Paper visited seven showrooms yesterday afternoon.

This follows Thursday's announcement from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) that it is revising car loans effective yesterday.

MAS' revised guidelines - with a higher loan amount and a longer loan tenure - mean that monthly instalments will be more affordable although buyers will be paying more interest in the long run. (See table above.)

Mr Koh, a father of three, sees the car as a necessity as his 85-year-old mother lives with the family, and they go out on weekends.

"You know when old people go out, they cannot walk long distances. You have to take them to the doorstep," said Mr Koh, who was looking at a Toyota Wish.

Mr Koh, who has not made up his mind on buying, said: "The new rule will make it easier as it will lighten the down payment. (The rule change) will also mean that repayment of the loan will be less 'xiong' (tough in Hokkien)."

The effects of the changes in loan policy are complex - car buyers fear that COE prices and interest rates might rise.

Mr Koh is going to wait a little longer and see if it is worthwhile to buy a new car, depending on COE prices.

If not, he may just extend his COE to save money.

An increase in interest rates could also negate the effect of the changes.

Said Mr Anthony Ong, 42, who owns a four-year-old car: "It still depends on COE prices and loan interest rates. The interest rate can kill us."

Mr Ong was waiting for his car to be serviced at the Honda showroom in Alexandra Road.

Businesses that TNP spoke to, however, are convinced that sales of cars will rise in the coming months.

Said Mr Alvyn Ang, director of operations for Mitsubishi, Kia and Citroen marques: "The news broke less than 24 hours ago and the crowd is already there... There have been many more inquiries today.

"For most people, the main problem is the down payment. A longer tenure will help make the car more affordable for people because they pay less per month."

Mr John Ling, 53, founder of SJ Motor Enterprise, agreed. He said: "I am confident that more people will come forward and buy. The new ruling is a helpline for younger families and those with a lower income as they can pay less every month."

Mr Koh said that if he does buy a new car, he appreciates the change in the down payment amount the most.

"(The rule change) will help more people... more average people can afford a car now. I have a family and I struggled when prices were high because I needed the car," he said.

He said he has been dealing with anxiety in the past three years over the decision of when to buy a car.

Why I can lead the team forward: Sundram

1983: Makes debut for Singapore 
in Malaysia Cup, aged 18

1983: First international cap

1988: Joins Swiss club FC Basel

1989: Signs for Kedah

1990: Wins Malaysia Cup with Kedah and scores the opener in a 3-1 extra-time win over Singapore in the final

1992: Returns to play for Singapore, but could do nothing as the Lions are relegated to Semi-Pro League Division Two

1993: Helps Singapore to runners-up spots in Semi-Pro League Division Two and Malaysia Cup. Scores a memorable bicycle-kick in an 8-0 thrashing of Brunei

1994: Joins Kelantan

1995: Signs for Woodlands Wellington and plays for them in the S.League's inaugural season the following year

1998: Signs for Jurong FC (pictured) and becomes their player-coach the following year

2004: Appointed national 
Under-18 coach

2007: Appointed Young Lions coach

2012: Appointed LionsXII coach, leading them to second spot in Malaysian Super League and Malaysia Cup semi-finals.

2013: Wins Malaysian Super League with LionsXII

2013: Appointed Negeri Sembilan coach

2014: Appointed Tampines Rovers coach

2016: Leads Tampines Rovers into quarter-finals of AFC Cup, the first Singaporean team to do so since SAFFC (now Warriors FC) and Home United in 2008

2016: Appointed national team coach on one-year contract

Sundram: It's all about results

New Lions coach sets semi-final target for Suzuki Cup; wants more high-intensity matches

DAZZLING SMILE: (From far left) FAS president Zainudin Nordin and FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong (second from right) presenting 
V Sundramoorthy with a national team jacket as FAS general secretary Winston Lee looks on.

He was christened "The Dazzler" after years of thrilling 55,000 fans at the old National Stadium with his intricate dribbling skills, tricks and flicks.

Yesterday at the Jalan Besar Stadium, V Sundramoorthy continued to dazzle, albeit without a football in sight.

Looking elegant in a grey blazer and silver tie, the 50-year-old was all smiles as he was officially unveiled the new national coach at a packed press conference.

After agreeing a one-year contract, he is the first local coach of the Lions since Vincent Subramaniam, who led the team from 1998 to 2000.

After fielding questions and obliging with photo-calls, Sundram sat down with The New Paper for a one-on-one chat and shared why he believes he could lead Singapore football forward.

Sundram's target for the Lions in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup, which will be co-hosted by Myanmar and the Philippines this November, is a semi-final spot.

After the Lions' dismal outing the last time round under Sundram's predecessor Bernd Stange - defending champions Singapore were knocked out in the group stage on home soil - many in the local fraternity suggested that football here had reached its lowest ebb, but the new coach said: "If (they) say we're at our lowest, then the only way we can go is up.

"And for me, I know the players.

TASTE

"I was attached to the team with Raddy (Avramovic) and Bernd, I've had a taste of international football and I believe that with hard work, we can match the strong teams.

"If we're talking about the Suzuki Cup and this region, there's always a chance of getting to the semi-finals. That's why I set that target."

He already has plans to take the team on training camps overseas in preparation for the Suzuki Cup, with the Middle East and Japan possible destinations.

Stange, who was in charge for almost three years from May 2013, infamously wanted the football system to adopt the pass-and-move game, but later conceded that the national players were unable to do so due to their fitness level.

So what is the Sundram philosophy?

"To see the opponents, go out there and play to our strengths," he said, without skipping a beat.

"If I'm a youth coach, I can tell you this is my philosophy, this is my formation, this is the way I want to play and so on...

"But as a national coach, it's about results."

Sundram's meticulous approach as a coach is well known.

When he was in charge of the LionsXII, he sometimes prepared for away matches by picking training grounds in Singapore that were closest to the pitch dimensions of the particular stadium in Malaysia.

This approach is what helped him lead the LionsXII to their famous Malaysian Super League title in 2013, with a team made up mainly of players aged 23 or under.

Sundram has also led Singapore Selection sides in high-profile matches against Arsenal, Stoke City and Atletico Madrid in recent years, and he admits he relishes the challenge of going up against world-class teams.

"Honestly, it's great, man," he said.

"We need more games like that. More high-intensity games.

"Let the boys feel, you know? Make them run 90 minutes and chase South Korea or Japan.

"Let's see where we are."

Sources have indicated to TNP that, as assistant coaches to Stange, Sundram and Fandi Ahmad - another local legend who was considered by FAS for the top job - played big roles in helping the Lions pull off the stunning 0-0 draw with powerhouses Japan in a World Cup qualifier last June that has now been dubbed the "Miracle of Saitama".

All Sundram can think of now, however, is stepping onto the training ground today as national coach for the first time.

"I'm up for the challenge," he said.

FIGHTER

"I'm a fighter.

"Like what you said, there will be a lot of pressure from the outside.

"But which national coach does not have pressure?

"In football, local or foreigner, everybody depends on the result.

"If you're good, you stay. If not, you're sacked. Nothing too hard about it.

"I'll just try to motivate the boys, be honest with them and do the job."


WHAT THEY SAY

“The FAS has made a good choice to appoint a local coach.

“The Suzuki Cup is only five months away, so it is important to have a coach who knows what the players can do and deliver.

“Some may say he is a defensive-minded coach, but... during our time at the LionsXII, we played good attacking football at home.

“If we play away against stronger teams, it is natural we play more defensively. And we were successful.”

— National captain Shahril Ishak

“No disrespect to foreigners, but I believe, for South-east Asian countries, a local coach knows better. 

“Moreover, someone like Sundram has been involved with the FAS for a very long time.

“Anyway, if you can keep a foreign coach (Raddy Avramovic) for nine years, who knows, maybe Sundram can do a good job and you can keep him for 10 years.”

— Malaysia national coach Ong Kim Swee

“It’s a good idea for FAS to appoint Sundram because he’s local, he knows the players, and he knows the culture of Singapore football.

“But, with only five months to prepare the national team for the Suzuki Cup, I feel that time is not on his side and to judge his performance based on the Suzuki Cup is not right.

“I believe that if you give Sundram more time, he will deliver.”

— Former national player Rafi Ali

“If you look at our national squad, we don’t have the best players compared to the region and so we need someone like Sundram to lead the team to glory.

“He was my coach before (at Jurong FC) and he has been waiting for this moment a very long time.

“I’m glad that he was finally given the chance.”

— Former national player R Sasikumar

FAS has chosen the right man, says Godfrey Robert

After an intensive search, FAS makes the right move as the kampung boy becomes 
the Lions' tamer

GOING LOCAL: 
The majority of Singaporeans will be backing Sundram (above).

COMMENT

There is a tinge of trepidation.

A fear of failure.

A strangling nervousness when we allow this reality to sink in.

The biggest on-field job for Singapore's No. 1 sport is being handed to a kampung boy.

That at a difficult time when some illustrious names - all foreigners with long CVs - could not deliver.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) must be commended for biting the bullet and appointing 
V Sundramoorthy as the national coach. Interim it may be.

And at a fraction of what his foreign predecessors Jan Poulsen, Raddy Avramovic and Bernd Stange were paid (with allowances) to do the job.

But those arguments are for another time.

For now, let us welcome Sundram, our homegrown talent who gave us many reasons to celebrate on football fields that spanned Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland and the region with his dazzling playing skills.

Can the once-scrawny kid from Sembawang whose life revolved - and still revolves - around football now dazzle outside the playing field?

Only time will tell, with the AFF Suzuki Cup in November his biggest test.

It will be an examination that will weigh heavily over whether he continues as coach of the Lions beyond the current one-year contract.

But, for now, for all the FAS' faults, it did the right thing to hand over the national coaching reins to a tried-and-tested Sundram after the Lions have been helmed by foreign coaches for the past 15 years.

The last Singaporean to sit in this hot seat was Vincent Subramaniam, who took charge in 1998 and left the post in 2000.

Foreign coaches like Trevor Hartley, Barry Whitbread, Milous Kvacek, Ken Worden and Douglas Moore have coached Singapore, along with local names like Sebastian Yap, Hussain Aljunied, Jita Singh, Seak Poh Leong, P N Sivaji and Robin Chan.

Of course, the late Choo Seng Quee remains our legend, "a la Alex Ferguson" for his tactical nous and no-nonsense approach to the game.

His was a unique brand of professionalism, laced with the occasional obscenity aimed at the under-performers.

Sundram is no Choo, the "Uncle" who mixed enthusiasm with eccentricity to bring about success (read the Malaysia Cup triumphs of 1965 and 1977).

UNCANNY KNACK

Where Sundram scores is in his uncanny knack for being easy-going yet strict, appearing diffident when he is actually decisive, and his great rapport with players makes them play for him.

And, importantly, he speaks their language.

For almost 60 years, I have known Sundram's family (having played with his dad S. Varatharaju and uncle S. Munusamy in my teenage days), and all our conversations have been, even with Sundram, about football.

And football.

In fact, football has been Sundram's life from his Naval Base days - as it had been with the quintessential Quah family from the same neighbourhood.

In his late teens, he made the national team and later spent a stint in Basel, Switzerland.

It is hard to imagine that the silky, gifted footballer is now 50, an ideal age to take on a serious coaching role.

Sundram is no spring chicken when it comes to coaching - he has guided Jurong FC, the National Football Academy team, the Young Lions, Negeri Sembilan and Tampines Rovers for almost two decades now.

He once told The New Paper: "It's a one-game role (right now). But if down the road, I'm given the job permanently, it would be an absolute dream.

"I played for my country and I would like to coach my country. Years from now, I'd like to be able to look back at my career and say I did it all."

Sundram has had considerable success at Malaysian inter-state level with the LionsXII in 2013.

Now the big one at international level - the Suzuki Cup - beckons.

Where Sundram can draw strength for this mission is in the knowledge that the majority of Singaporeans are behind him.

I can't say the same for some of our former coaches, though.

'Forget last three years'

Mourinho vows to bring back glory days to 'giants' Man United

"Giant clubs must be for the best managers and I think I’m ready. To become Manchester United manager is a special honour in the game." - Jose Mourinho (above), signing an autograph on a Manchester United jersey as he left his house in London yesterday. His wife Matilde also posted a picture on Twitter of a United jersey on a chair in what is believed to be Mourinho’s United office.
"Giant clubs must be for the best managers and I think I’m ready. To become Manchester United manager is a special honour in the game." - Jose Mourinho, signing an autograph on a Manchester United jersey as he left his house in London yesterday. His wife Matilde also posted a picture on Twitter of a United jersey on a chair in what is believed to be Mourinho’s United office (above).
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