Readers of this blog who are unfamiliar with the goings on in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, may think reading the comments that there are many who think Singapore is a democracy based on the rule of law. The reader is warned that they may be Singapore government employees whose job is to discredit those who criticize Lee Kuan Yew's authoritarian rule. Please use your discretion as to how much weight you will give these comments.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The headline news of Singapore’s state controlled newspaper Straits Times June 4, 2008 reads "Law won’t tolerate attacks". In Burma too, I am sure the law won't tolerate any attacks. And neither would any attacks be tolerated in North Korea.
One thing is clear to me. That is, just as they do in Burma, Singapore finds itself in governance by one thing and one thing alone; that is fear. This front page article in Singapore's state controlled newspaper has one purpose and one purpose alone. To intimidate and frighten the pants off every Singaporean from criticizing the judges no matter what they do. They are free to abuse the law any which way they want, but no one should dare so much as raise a whimper.
And this clearly shows one thing. They are clutching at straws. They know the winds are changing. They know the people want more accountability from their courts. They know the disaffection among the people against the abuse of the law. And they are determined to do the one thing which they know, which is, punish any critic, any dissenter, who complains.
Such desperation may work in societies like Burma where impoverished peasants have no means to resist. The country declines into poverty but the military junta remain in power through illegal drug money. This is not something that will work in Singapore where the people are better able to fend for themselves, with education, skills and money. This desperate act on their part will turn counter productive. With open borders unlike Burma, the skilled are able to leave, which they are already doing now. The sooner they realize this, the better not only for them, but for the people of Singapore.
The Chief Justice and the Attorney General in the report based on their speech at the opening of the legal year had said "they would not brook any attacks on the courts here". And why not? Surely the Law Courts exist on Singapore taxpayer’s money, don't they? And if so, why should not a citizen have the right to "attack" a judge when there is misuse of the law? No one should be intimidated by this arrogance of these judges. Everyone has a right to criticize the judiciary or any other branch of the government. This is what free speech is all about. And I will do it as many times as I want.
The Chief Justice, Chan Sek Keong says that "the mission of the courts requires that its authority be respected by all". But how can anyone respect it if throughout its history under Lee Kuan Yew it has been nothing more than a tool to silence and punish those who oppose him. What about the numerous cases against the late JB Jeyaretnam where the courts systematically abused the law to bankrupt him and kick him out of Parliament and his law practice for merely engaging in legitimate criticisms? How does one respect such a judiciary? And what about Dr. Chee Soon Juan, hounded and bankrupted for doing what any citizen of any democratic country is entitled to do, that is to criticize? How is it possible to respect it? And how is it possible for me to respect it when they sent me to jail for 3 months, for doing just that; criticism? Can I put it this way? I respect the institution of the judiciary. But I have no iota of respect for the individuals who hold that office in Singapore. They are one corrupt lot, and they should be told exactly that.
He then goes on to say that the governance of the country and the rule of law require that no one should be allowed to scandalize the judiciary. My dear Chan Sek Keong, let us not play with words here. Lee Kuan Yew has abused the Constitution and whittled it down to such an extent that Singapore in effect has no Constitution at all. Let's face it, my dear Chan Sek Keong. And let me tell you what I am saying. The Singapore Constitution guarantees free speech. And therefore illegal laws which Lee Kuan Yew has in place which requires a permit to speak publicly is void and illegal. Any first year law student should be able to tell you that. No one has made any false or scandalous allegations here. All we are doing is to call a rat by its true name, which is a rat.
I should tell Chan Sek Keong this. What you are doing is to defend the indefensible. Plain and simply put, your laws relating to defamation of character, contempt of court and the laws that require permits for public speaking and public assembly are plain and simply wrong. And what you are doing is to continue in your abuse of the law by convicting people who are engaging in nothing more than their constitutional rights.
The report refers to Walter Woon the Attorney General speaking about the need to protect the legal system. My question to him is this. If the legal system has lost all integrity, what is left to protect?
He then goes on to say that there is a campaign both in Singapore and abroad to attack the integrity and independence of the judiciary. What made him think that? As far as one can see, foreign newspapers and myself have only reported on what we saw, which is that Singapore’s judges have become corrupt and are using the law to prop up the rule of Lee Kuan Yew. And punishing someone who says it, which is entirely true, cannot amount to anything illegal.
He then says that critics of the Singapore judiciary have been charged for undermining the judiciary for political and ideological reasons. I don't know where he got the idea, but in any case, there is nothing wrong in attacking the courts either for political or ideological reasons. Democracy is a political or ideological cause. And democracy demands that the judges are fair and just, not stooges of Lee Kuan Yew. Dictatorship is also a political or ideological cause and I am entitled to resist a judicial system which is determined to further such an ideology as in Singapore, a dictatorship.
Singapore's Attorney General refers to an instance where activists had gone to his office and refused to leave until their possessions which were illegally seized by the police were returned to them. What happened is this. Peaceful protestors had assembled before Singapore Parliament demanding that the government show some concern for the plight of ordinary Singaporeans who were in poverty. As they did not have any permits to assemble, since the police would not give it to them, the police arrested them for not having permits. In the process the police in their usual high handed manner seized the cell phones of several protestors. It is quite clear that seizure of their personal belongings was clearly illegal. Their cell phones had no evidentiary value in the alleged offence of assembling without a permit. So naturally they went to his office to demand the return of the items. I am sorry to hear that they left the premises. They should have refused to go until their personal possessions were returned. The Singapore Attorney General was clearly abusing the law and the people have to right to complain.
He then refers to the Kangaroo T shirt case where 3 activists, John Tan, Shafi and Izrizal were charged and convicted and sent to jail for wearing T shirts with the image of a kangaroo in judicial robes to the court case where Lee Kuan Yew, the Singapore strongman was suing Dr. Chee Soon Juan before the government stooge Judge Belinda Ang. There was nothing wrong in their actions, simply because their implying that Judge Ang was biased and corrupt was completely true, as anyone in court that day, like I was will confirm. In any case, this was a clear exercise of one's right to freedom of speech.
And then there was the reference to me. He says that I had sent various Emails to various people in Singapore stating that Judge Belinda Ang, the offending judge, in the case of Lee Kuan Yew against Dr. Chee Soon Juan had "prostituted herself" in those proceedings. A state owned and controlled newspaper like Pravda or the Singapore Straits Times is free to report anything they want, since they are only accountable to Lee Kuan Yew and no one else. Let me tell you that Singapore Attorney General is not being truthful when he said this. In fact, what is worse, it is probably he himself or his agent under his instruction that sent any Emails to anyone, if in fact they were sent.
Let me remind the reader of what happened. On the 29th of May 2008, after I had attended the shameful spectacle of a trial between Lee Kuan Yew and Dr. Chee Soon Juan where Judge Belinda Ang appeared no longer in her role as a judge but as an employee of Lee Kuan Yew and his son, permitting them to get away with whatever they wanted, I wrote a blog post in this blog saying among other things that "she prostituted her position as a judge" see Singapore. Judge Belinda Ang's Kangaroo Court. This is factually correct. On May 31, 2008, I was arrested by a party of police led by ASP Abdul Razak Zakaria from Central Police Station. At the time of arrest, he confiscated a note book from my hotel room in which there was my Email password for my Email email@example.com. He then charges me with sending Emails to various people including this judge. Since I did not send any Emails to anyone, it was very probably the Attorney General himself who had the conduct of my arrest who sent these Emails. I never sent any emails to anyone. I wrote the blog. If he is the one who actually sent these Emails himself, and now publicly claims that I did, he shows an ability to stoop lower than even perhaps Adolf Hitler could. Of course, he can say anything he wants and Singapore’s state controlled press will report any lie that he utters.
And then he correctly says that I had re-posted the articles from the US but does not say which they are. As to the blog post Singapore. Judge Belinda Ang's Kangaroo Court , for which I was charged, this was never deleted by me. So there was no question of re-posting as it was always up on my blog. There were 2 other blog posts which I had deleted which referred to my other case where I was falsely accused of disorderly behavior by the Attorney General, which I had deleted on orders of the judge. I had no intention of keeping my undertaking to judiciary which is devoid of all integrity and thus my re-posting them the moment I stepped foot on American soil.
At one point he refers to an attempt by activists to change the laws by extra judicial means. Well, Mr. Attorney General, you are both right and wrong. Yes, I am trying to change Singapore's laws, but wrong when you say it is by extra judicial means. Peaceful protest and criticism are lawful means to bring about change. It is a right enshrined in the Constitution. Nothing extra judicial about it at all.
He refers to a deliberate attempt to force change in the law. Yes you are right. Dr. Chee Soon Juan, the activists, I and anyone else who knows Singapore understands that as matters rest, it is impossible to remove the dictatorship and restore democracy in Singapore through the ballot box. Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Than Swe of Burma, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and you the Attorney General know that if you give your people their constitutional rights, you would no longer be in power. So Mugabe and Than Swe use brute force to bring their people to heel. You do the same thing, except that you do it by abusing the law.
You then use that very law you abuse and insist that the people should obey the law. What law, Mr. Attorney general? It is a law stood on its head. It is not a law that anyone should obey. It is not just a right but the duty of every Singaporean to break it and break it with pride.
Let me say finally to your Chief Justice, to you Attorney General and to the newly appointed Minister for Law, Shanmugam, that there are just laws and unjust laws. Just laws must be followed and unjust laws should be broken. And that is the duty of every man woman and child in that island.
And this blog is inspiring many in Singapore to do just that. I know of more than one young man who have said enough is enough and joined the growing number of Singaporean activists to stand up to this railroading over them. And it is my hope that many more will realize this hogwash being purveyed by Lee Kuan Yew and stand up to what is right.
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