Friday, November 30, 2007

Singapore's bid to be an international legal services center!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

One really wonders what goes on in the minds of the Singapore government officials when they suggest that Singapore is capable of becoming an international legal hub like London and New York!

The Attorney General Mr. Chan Sek Kiong and the Deputy Prime Minister and Law Minister Jayakumar speaking at the International Bar Association Meeting in Singapore a few months ago, actually wanted Singapore to be a place where businesses and individuals from neighboring countries and afar used the Singapore courts to settle their disputes! They said this because, according to them, Singapore has a good legal system and the rule of law!

Wait a minute. Was it Singapore they were talking about?

Did they think even for a moment, with the present abysmal view that the world has on the type of justice being meted out there, would even one foreigner dream of coming within even a mile of the Singapore courts for dispute resolution!

If Mr. Chan Sek Kiong, the Attorney General wants to be told the stark reality of the disappointment of Singapore justice, I will do it. This is the sad state of affairs of the Singapore legal system.

Over the last 40 years, Singapore judges have been used by Lee Kuan Yew to subvert the law to silence JB Jeyaretnam, a prominent opposition politician who is now 82 and only recently reinstated to the Bar after being kept out of law practice nearly a decade!

Singapore courts has been repeatedly misused for the pleasure of Lee Kuan Yew to sue JB Jeyaretnam for defamation when no defamation existed even once. He was ordered to pay astronomical sums of money by the same Singapore courts at the behest of Lee, and being unable to pay, bankrupting him and disbarring him. This had gone on for the last 30 years. And the preferred tool of Lee Kuan Yew to finish of JB Jeyaretnam was the Singapore courts.

While the entire country knows this dirty practice of Lee using the courts; while the judges willingly comply to his despicable requests; to destroy and silence the opposition, does he expect foreigners to bring their cases to these same discredited Singapore courts?

Not only Jeyaretnam but almost all opposition politicians have been destroyed through the misuse of the Singapore courts to please Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. You will recall Mr. Tang Liang Hong, lawyer who was sued and ordered to pay several million dollars by Singapore courts at Lee's behest during the 1997 national elections. Unable to pay, he was bankrupted and driven into exile. He now lives in Melbourne Australia.

Francis Seow, another opposition politician, had been arrested and jailed under the Internal Security Act just because he wanted to contest the elections in 1988. At the orders of Lee Kuan Yew, the police and the Singapore courts have filed several charges against him for tax evasion. He managed to escape and now lives in Boston, Mass.

And of course there is the injustice that was and is being done to Dr. Chee Soon Juan who is presently being persecuted in Court No. 7, Subordinate Courts in yet another politically motivated trumped up charge; a travesty of justice.

There are others of course. M Jufrie; A. Balakrishnan; Wee Han Kim; late Dr. Lee Seow Cho; the falsely labeled Marxist conspirators, who were neither Marxist nor conspirators consisting of 22 or so of them; the list goes on. All this evil is done in Singapore by the Singapore Legal System because Lee Kun Yew wants them done. If there is one country in the world which does not have the rule of law, it has to be Singapore.

It is not that only I know this. Singaporeans know this. The world knows this. Yet the Attorney General of Singapore and the Deputy Prime Minister wants foreigners to come to Singapore to use the Singapore legal system for their disputes, because it has rule of law!

What did they think the foreigners were? Dummies!

The truth is this, which you already know. The Singapore legal system has been discredited by Lee's actions, and it is now beyond repair; beyond redemption. It is a country where the government uses the courts as a tool to stymie any criticism and to sue bankrupt and imprison any dissenters who are bold enough to speak up against Lee.

Even within Singapore, the courts systemically find in favor of the government even in civil cases where the opponent is a private individual.

The criminal law denies a person the right to counsel at the time of arrest but only after the prosecution has completed their investigation. This means by the time the defendant gets a lawyer, he has already confessed under torture. The Singapore code of evidence permits evidence regardless of how it is obtained and there are no laws against illegal searches and seizures and no protection against the use of coerced confessions under torture. What little safeguards there are to protect police excesses are routinely ignored.

I do not know what the legal system in North Korea or Burma is, but I believe that the degree of a lack of checks against police abuses between these countries and Singapore is only a matter of degree.

According to Mr. Philip Alston of the UN, Singapore has the highest rate of executions per capita in the world. It also has the totally unacceptable cruel and unusual punishment of caning (striking the bare buttocks of the prisoner with a stick or cane very hard calculated to cause extreme pain) which draws blood and leaves the poor victim's buttocks in a mass of blood and flesh, even for such minor transgressions as overstaying your visit!

As for executions, they hang people; even small time drug moles like the 22 year old Australian Ngyuen last year who was stupid enough to be caught with a small quantity of drugs at the Singapore Airport.

A barbaric, inhuman country whose judges permit themselves to be used to make favorable verdicts for their master, Lee Kuan Yew.

Yet the Singapore Attorney General and it's Deputy Prime Minister states at the International Bar Association meeting held this year in Singapore that the country is suited to be an international legal hub where international parties decide their legal cases using Singapore courts or arbitrators. What? Are they mad?

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

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