Sunday, January 21, 2007

Singapore. In Singapore's democracy Lee "selects" his Members of Parliment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Saigon, Jan 21, 2007. Pardon my calling it Saigon instead of Ho Chih Minh City, since Saigon sounds and feels better. I think a lot of Vietnamese would also agree with me there, especially the American Vietnamese that I meet. Lee Kuan Yew said at the Vietnamese capital on Jan 21, 2007 that the new batch of elected PAP Members of Parliament will have 3 years time in which to prove to Lee Kuan Yew whether they are worthy of their positions.

This statement by Lee may appear somewhat overly paternalistic and bossy, since one would have thought that it should be the people, in a democracy, who decide they want their elected leaders or not and not for Lee Kuan Yew to decide on their performance as Members of Parliament.

Singapore is different. It says it is a democracy but it is not. In elections, people who have good jobs and positions and wish to further their careers even further and their financial wealth, will join Lee's party for personal gain. Lee's information apparatus, then decide among these political opportunists, as to who should be selected to contest the elections. These are not leaders in their communities in the liberal western sense of democracy. They may not have been leaders in anything. But one quality that these need for selection into Lee's election slate, is the willingness to give unconditional support to Lee. In a nutshell, it is no different from the other dictatorships of the world. In Cuba to really succeed, you would have to join Fidel's party and show unconditional support to him. You have to attend all indoctrination sessions and show yourself to be an active supporter of Lee. Of course you also have to show that you are hardworking and good at what you do.

Once you have passed Lee's selection test, you are fielded in the elections. Good things are repeatedly said about you in the state controlled press and any opposition candidates are defamed in the same pages as criminals and unworthy. Also because of the presence of serial numbers in the ballot papers, rumors are distributed among the people that the government has the means to trace the identity of opposition voters. This fear causes people not to vote for any opposition candidate.

But regardless of whether the people vote for the opposition or not, the Peoples Action Party, Lee's party, will always win the elections. This is because the elections are rigged and the ballot papers stuffed to ensure PAP victory. But 2 seats will be won by the opposition. This is Hougang and Potong Pasir which has remained in opposition hands for very long. Not because the people of Hougang and Potong Pasir are any different from anyone else, but because Lee will rig the elections in these 2 wards to enable the opposition to win. For Lee, it would give a bad impression if Lee was to take all seats. Then people would say that it is a one party state. Now they cannot say it, although in reality it is true, that Singapore is a one party state. Lee can say that it is not, since 2 seats are held by the opposition.

But in reality, it is a one party state. These 2 opposition Members of Parliament cannot or do not want to do anything much, like challenging Lee in matters of importance such as freedom. They have been cowed into submission through fear of what had happened to Mr. JB Jeyaretnam when he really challenged Lee. You are aware that JB Jeyaretnam, was charged with crimes, sent to jail, made to pay hefty fines, bankrupted and disbarred. So now, these 2 oppostion Members of Parliament are mere seat warmers who collect their salaries for their position each month.

In these circumstances, we should not be surprised to see why Lee can speak the way he does, as if he controls the political destiny of the newly elected PAP members of Parliament. Yes he does control them. They are not really politicians in the real sense. They are selected for one purpose only, that is to go into Parliament and act as a rubber stamp for what he decides.

This, sadly, is the democracy in Singapore. In this democracy, Lee breaks the law to remain in power. I ask the Singaporeans to reject this false democracy. I ask the Singaporeans to break the unjust laws there, deliberately, to demand your democratic rights now.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

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