This post was edited and changed on May 13, 2007 by Singapore Dissident.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Channelnews Asia reported yesterday that JB Jeyaretnam has paid over $233,000.00 over to the Singapore Official Assignee and has been discharged from bankruptcy? Does this mean that he can now practice law, contest elections and enter Parliament? In other words, is it a bed of roses for him from on in Singapore hereafter?
In fact the question should be whether he should have paid even one cent to the Official Assignee?
JB Jeyaretnam is a great man who has suffered tremendously at the hands of Lee Kuan Yew, the Hitler of Singapore. One cannot but admire him for his courage. One can only wish that having paid this mammoth price of nearly three hundred thousand dollars over all the other mind boggling sums he paid in the past; he will finally be left alone.
I would say that he should not have paid a cent. If you really thought about it, you probably would agree with me. Look at the whole picture. This money that he is made to pay is an illegal judgment by a Judge who is corrupt, made under the orders of Lee Kuan Yew and devoid of any legal basis whatsoever. This judgment of damages arose out of an action for defamation against Mr. Jeyaretnam for an article in Tamil in the Hammer written by A Balakrishnan which Mr. Lee claimed was defamatory of the PAP Indian politicians. He accused the writer of claiming in the article that Indian PAP politicians were only interested in the welfare of PAP supporters and not for the general Indian population or something to that effect.
Any lawyer will tell you that such a statement, even if made, is clearly not defamatory since it is covered by the privilege of public interest and which was made without any malice on the part of the Workers Party or Jeyaretnam. Having established that it was not defamatory, this alone should entitle one to refuse paying anything in damages. To put it simply, it was an illegal judgment, by an corrupt judge who had made the order in compliance to the demand of Lee Kuan Yew. We all know this. Lee knows this. Jeyaretnam knows this. Then, why should he comply? Why should he pay even a cent?
Second, we all know that the Judiciary in Singapore is corrupt and is an instrument of oppression, to oppress political opponents. The courts have been used to extract huge awards and bankrupt all the opposition politicians in Singapore who had ever dared to challenge Lee. JB Jeyaretnam, Dr. Chee Soon Juan, Mr. Tang Liang Hong, Mr. Francis Seow and the list goes on. Surely it is clear as crystal by now. Lee will use the courts, and his judges will comply, anytime, at the flick of Lee's finger to jump as and when he wants. Since we all know this, and JB Jeyaretnam knows this, can we not expect yet another another trumped defamation action against Jeyaretnam, round the corner, on some clouded accusation or other, that JB Jeyaretnam has yet once again, defamed Mr. Lee and therefore another $500,000.00 is now required to stave off another round of bankruptcy?
Can we not expect the turbaned Sikh lawyer, Lee's legal attack dog, to be let lose once again in the well of Lee's court room Number 1 in front of Parliament House? And can we also not expect that this turbaned Sikh would argue with all sincerity that the Moon was made of cheese and would not the kangaroo, or Lee's judge presiding, confess that he knew that for a fact all along, threatening to throw any person in the dungeon who had the temerity to say otherwise.
With this possibility lurking over Jeyaretnam's head, did he not think that perhaps it may not be so wise of him, after all, to pay this money, since if Mr. Lee so desired, the spectre of defamation actions and humongous monetary awards may face him yet again? If that is so, is Mr. Jeyaretnam going to go yet again to his benefactors for yet more money to pay the insatiable demands of Mr. Lee! Surely, is it is not illogical, irrational to keep on paying? And for what? When you know beforehand that these claims are illegal in the first place!
Third, Mr. Jeyaretnam is believed to have said that he is going to enter the law once again, and will hopefully recover the $300,000.00 in legal fees to repay those his benefactors. From what I have known of Jeyaretnam's practice, post his entry into politics, I think it very unlikely that he can earn even a portion of that.
In Singapore, as we all know, judges, registrars in all the courts in Singapore are beholden to the Lee Administration. One of their duties as judges is to ensure that they are not seen to side a political opponent lawyer, no matter how much justice is on his side, lest their masters think they are opposition sympathizers, which will invariably result in their falling off in favor, losing out on promotions and perhaps even being dismissed from their judgeships. Any judge wanting his promotions and looking forward to a peaceful and successful career in the Singapore Bench will ensure that all cases brought by opposition politician lawyers are sua sponte lost.
I have known Jeyaretnam for several years while a member of the Workers Party. I know personally that after he entered politics and encountered the wrath of Lee, Singapore’s Hitler, Jeya's practice began to trickle and became almost non existent, because no one with a head still remaining on his shoulders, would have given a case, any case, to Jeyaretnam. Why, because he knows it is a foregone conclusion that he will lose with Jeyaretnam as his counsel. Having Jeyaretnam as your lawyer gives you a certainty; the certainty of defeat.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that JB Jeyaretnam is not a good lawyer. J B Jeyaretnam is the best criminal lawyer in Singapore at present. His skill experience and ability at the Criminal Bar is unmatched. But listen to this. Despite this, despite his great skill and ability, he will lose every case, simply because he is JB Jeyaretnam, because the courts and the judges are all corrupt and beholden to Singapore's Hitler, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Lee does not like Jeyaretnam. And that is reason enough for every judge, every registrar, to deny each and every case of Jeyaretnam. That is, as we know, the sad truth.
Therefore coming to the point of whether he can make the money that some expect him to do, in paid cases, I doubt very much. However he will be a great asset in cases where losing did not matter, or where losing was a forgone conclusion. For instance, JB Jeyaretnam would be a great lawyer for Dr. Chee in Dr. Chee's next defamation case brought on by Mr. Lee. We all know that Dr. Chee will lose of course. But we will be given the opportunity to see the brilliance of JB Jeyaretnam in the court room. But for other than that, Jeyaretnam would not be of much other use as a lawyer. JB Jeyaretnam would have succeeded as a lawyer in Malaysia, Australia or even the Moon. But he will not succeed before the kangaroo courts of Lee Kuan Yew. That much is certain.
So then; what am I suggesting? I am suggesting that he should not have paid a cent. That he should have given no respect whatsoever to the Singapore courts or to their illegal judgments. He should have disobeyed the orders because it is honorable to disobey an unjust law, an unjust order. He should have broken these unjust laws, he should have encouraged the Singapore public to break them like him, and he should have told Lee Kuan Yew to go to Hell but he will not comply. Had he done that, the world would have seen his point of view, Singaporeans would have seen his point of view and he would have been seen as a fighter who had refused to submit. This is my view on it. Others may disagree, as I will concede that one can look at the issue another way. But I cannot.
At the end of the day, the question is really very simple. You are either right or you are wrong. And if you are right, there is no need to submit under any circumstances. I have seen the style of Dr. Chee. He too is a bankrupt. There is a judgment debt of several hundred thousand dollars over his head. But he refuses to pay. And he is absolutely right in refusing to pay. He should not pay and he will not pay. You can make him a bankrupt a million times over and he still will not pay. Over my dead body, he says. That is why I believe Dr. Chee has the right approach.
Of course Mr. JB Jeyaretnam's spirit, tenacity and determination is admirable. But I think his approach in complying with these clearly unjust court orders and judgments is wrong. In paying, one can even assume that he accepts these illegal court orders as legal and justified.
In may own case, PP vs Pallichadath Gopalan Nair I look back at myself with regret. In 1991, I was convicted before Justice Sinnathuray and fined $8,000.00 or in default 2 months jail for allegedly accusing the Subordinate Courts judiciary of being biased in a speech given by me, at the election rally in Bukit Merah, the 1991 By Elections. There is no need to go into details, but rest assured I said no such thing. But regrettably I did not have the strength of Dr. Chee at that time. I paid the $8,000.00 and avoided jail, even though I knew that the judgement was unjust and politically motivated. Coincidentally, JB Jeyaretnam was my counsel at the trial.
Till this day, I bitterly regret having paid the money. I should have gone to jail in protest.
I would like to say to the other opposition politicians Chaim See Tong and Loh Thia Khiang that they should forget ever getting other opposition politicians elected through the ballot box. Lee and his son are determined not to permit any sizeable opposition in Singapore, or even worse, a change of government. Their tactic is to use illegal methods to remain in power at every general election. You know what these dirty tricks are. Lee's son, the Prime Minister had himself admitted this much at the last election when he said he will have to "fix the opposition" meaning, bringing false criminal and defamation charges to eliminate his opponents.
In order to bring about a change in government in Singapore, there is no other way than non compliance. Disobedience. Protests. Civil unrest. Lee and his son will not allow for change any other way. So don't expect anything different with the present status quo at the next general elections.
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