Year in Review: Singapore’s biggest stories in 2012

What’s buzzing?

We look back and review the biggest stories this year. (Yahoo! file photo)

While 2012 has been called a "year of lust", only three sex scandals made it to a list of the biggest stories for the year.

According to a survey by Blackbox Research, the City Harvest Church scandal comes out on top.

It may be recalled that CHC founder Kong Hee and other senior church members were charged in court in June this year for alleged criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of funds amounting to some $24 million. The money was allegedly used to fund the singing career of Kong's wife, Sun Ho.

Coming in second is the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) sex and corruption scandals, which broke out earlier this year.

Former SCDF commissioner Peter Lim in June was slapped with 10 charges of corruption in a sex-for-contracts scandal involving three women. Lim, who is married, is accused of engaging in sexual trysts in 10 different occasions in exchange for favouring the women’s firms in IT-related tenders called by the SCDF.

Former CNB chief Ng Boon Gay was also charged with obtaining sexual favours - all in the form of oral sex - from Cecilia Sue, a sales manager of two IT vendors.

Ng claimed trial in July and the hearings started in September. Sue and Ng both gave gripping, detailed testimony of their encounters and stirred the interest of many Singaporeans.

At one point, Sue recounted how Ng forcibly pushed her head down to his private part and shoved his private part into her mouth while Ng defended himself and said, "she was a willing party and we were enjoying it together."

Third on the list of biggest stories this year is the skyrocketing of Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices. COE premiums for all vehicle types rose to new records this year.

Comparing the first and last bidding exercise in 2012, COE premiums for all categories have risen between $19 (motorcycles) and $35,000 (small cars).

COE for small cars hit a new high at $81,889 this month while COE for big cars hit a new record at $94,502 in August.

Premiums for commercial vehicles hit $63,035 this month. Motorcycle premiums reached $2,081 in August while COE for $97,000 in December.

The fourth story that roused the interest of Singaporeans this year is the affordability of HDB flat prices. This year, prices for HDB resale prices continued to soar. A number of flats were sold for more than a million dollars, the latest being a Shunfu HUDC that went for a record price of $1.33 million earlier this month.

Frequent SMRT breakdowns takes the fifth spot in top 10 stories of 2012. The entire year has been plagued by train breakdowns starting from the major MRT disruption on 15 and 17 December last year.

Yahoo! Singapore did a total of 16 bus and train breakdown-related stories and many more transport-related stories this year. From the escalator at Toa Payoh MRT station catching fire, to two workers losing their lives in an MRT construction site and the major SMRT bus strike, the capability of our "first class transport" seems to be called into question.

The graphic provided by Blackbox Research shows the remaining stories that round out the top 10 list.

Which big story from this year are you the most interested in? (Image by BlackBox Research)