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,
Firstly, you have to remember who this man K Shanmugam, Lee Kuan Yew's hand picked Minister for Law is. Recall the late respected lawyer and opposition politician, JB Jeyaretnam (not to be confused with his son Philip Jeyaretnam). Through abusing the law using his complaint judges Lee Kuan Yew hounded Jeyaretnam, charging him with criminal offenses of breach of trust, repeatedly suing him for defamation and ordering him to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, sending him to prison, bankrupting him and driving him out his law practice and his seat in Parliament.
When Jeyaretnam appealed to the Privy Council in London, against the Singapore courts finding him guilty of breach of trust which resulted in his disbarment, not only did JB Jeyaretnam win his case, but the law lords did not stop there. This is what they said:
"Their Lordships have to record their deep disquiet that by a series of misjudgments, the appellant and his co-accused Wong, have suffered a grievous injustice. They have been fined, imprisoned and publicly disgraced for offences of which they are not guilty. The appellant, in addition, has been deprived of his seat in Parliament and disqualified for a year from practicing his profession. Their Lordships order restores him to the roll of advocates and solicitors of the Supreme Court of Singapore, but, because of the course taken by the criminal proceedings, their Lordships have no power to right the other wrongs which the appellant and Wong have suffered. Their only prospect of redress, their Lordships understand, will be by way of petition for pardon to the President of the Republic of Singapore."
After Lee Kuan Yew and his Singapore judicial system was thoroughly exposed as nothing more than a tool for Lee Kuan Yew to destroy his political opponents, by the judges of the highest court in England, Jeyaretnam did as they suggested. He applied for a pardon from the President of Singapore.
Tan Boon Tiek, Lee Kuan Yew's Attorney General dutifully defended his master Lee Kuan Yew, by responding that Jeyaretnam was not deserving of any pardon, because, among other things, he had not shown any remorse contrition or repentance for the crimes he committed! Wait a minute. Am I missing something here? Did not the Privy Council expressly say that Jeyaretnam was not guilty of any crime? If so, why should he show any remorse contrition or repentance? If the Singapore legal system has been discredited, this response alone by the Attorney General was more than sufficient to prove beyond any doubt that the Singapore legal system is nothing more than a tool of Lee Kuan Yew and his government to further their political ends.
But here is where, this man K Shanmugam comes in. Not satisfied with the Attorney General's nonsense to deny JB Jeyaretnam any justice, K Shannmugam weighed in to justify the Attorney General's, or rather his master Lee Kuan Yew’s reasons. He wrote a long legal brief which was dutifully published in Singapore's state controlled press the next day, arguing that the Judges of the Privy Council in England had got it all wrong. According to him, JB Jeyaretnam was indeed guilty of serious criminal breaches of trust and deserved going to jail.
He wanted Singaporean's to believe that he knew more law than five of the highest judges in the highest court in England, who had carefully heard the Jeyartenam case and had categorically declared that he was not guilty at all!
Lee Kuan Yew it is quite clear, rewards loyalty. So immediately after writing this worthless piece of legal brief, we see this man, K Shanmugam, quickly appointed as a Member of Parliament and thereafter, now Minister for Law.
And now in his position as Lee Kuan Yew's Minister for Law, he makes these speeches, just as, I suppose Burma's Minister for Law would make. In his speech at the Committee of Supply Debate in the Singapore Parliament (or should I say, Lee Kuan Yew's Parliament) on Feb 13, 2009 he sets out his plans for what he believes Singapore will become, a great and respected legal hub, a shining example as a legal center dispensing true justice, in the likes of London, Paris and New York! Good heavens, is he thinking of some other country!
In the one party state of Singapore, with a state controlled press, and a state controlled judiciary, he can say anything he wants, just as the military junta can do in Burma. But K Shanmugam should realize that the rest of the world can also read. They are fully aware of what the legal system in Singapore is, just a tool for Lee Kuan Yew to remain in power with the help of his minions such as this man, K Shanmugam.
And this fact has been driven home in the 72 page scathing report of the International Bar Association on Singapore, which did not mince words when they made it very clear that Singapore's judges are corrupt and the courts there are used as a political weapon by Lee Kuan Yew to destroy his opponents.
And according to this government, which claims to have the rule of law on a daily basis, JB Jeyaretnam is a criminal, a cheat and had repeatedly defamed Lee Kuan Yew. Tang Liang Hong who had to flee Singapore after he stood for elections against the Singapore tyrant was ordered to pay more than a million dollars to Lee Kuan Yew and has been since bankrupted. Francis Seow, the former Solicitor General of Singapore was arrested under the Internal Security act, beaten, and convicted of tax evasion by these very same courts. He now lives in United States. I was found guilty more than once of contempt of court, suspended from Law practice for 2 years for insulting the Attorney General, Tan Boon Teik, jailed for insulting judge Belinda Ang for writing a blog post and fined for hurling insults at police officers and shouting at the top of my voice for no apparent reason and gesticulating my arms up and down. This is what Lee Kuan Yew's courts in Singapore claim we did. But there is one common thread among all of us. We were all opposition politicians in Singapore and stood for elections against Lee Kuan Yew. That perhaps is the reason why, according to Lee Kuan Yew’s judges, we are all dangerous criminals too!
K Shanmugam should know that the international community is not an illiterate bunch. They can read all this. They are aware of what goes on in that island. They already know that the Singapore judges willingly abuse the law to punish dissidents. This is not a place that can be a legal hub for anyone. Parties in a lawsuit expect independent judges and arbitrators. Even the slightest suspicion of bias will dissuade anyone from using Singapore. With Lee Kuan Yew having successfully shown the world over the years the depths to which Singapore judges go to abuse the law for political ends, any hope for Singapore to be compared to London is just so much wishful thinking.
At least he admits the legal profession in shrinking. That should be enough for anyone to know the state to which its reputation has descended. In any other country, the law is an attractive profession. Most countries have the problem of an oversupply of lawyers. In Singapore on the other hand, existing lawyers want to leave the profession and there are no new entrants.
In what can be seen as a sign of desperation, he is going to allow the Management University and the national University of Singapore to increase the supply of lawyers. He is going to allow lesser qualified lawyers from abroad to practice there, and to shorten the education necessary for qualification.
K Shanmugam, Lee Kuan Yew's Law Minister should see reality. Making speeches is just not good enough. If you want to Singapore to be a legal hub, then it should behave with dignity. Singapore judges such as Belinda Ang Saw Ean have been shown to be nothing more than tools of Lee Kuan Yew to demolish his opposition as in her recently presided defamation case of Lee Kuan Yew vs. Dr. Chee.
Let me tell this to this man K Shanmugam. You have made a fool of yourself. So has your patron, Lee Kuan Yew. I know it. The world knows it. You can make as many speeches as you want in that Parliament that Lee owns and you can publish as many of your speeches in Singapore’s state controlled press. It is not going to make any difference. Singapore’s legal system stands disgraced. As you do.
You are wasting your time with these pipe dreams at tax payer’s expense. Khartoum, Sudan is not going to be the legal hub of the world. And neither is Singapore going to be like a London of South East Asia. You are doing a great disservice to the great city of London and the respected judges there by comparing Singapore to it. London is the respected bastion of the rule of law. Singapore is another Pyongyang, North Korea.
I think your immediate problem is to make sure that the legal profession does not shrink even further. From anecdotal information, it stands now around 2,500 from double the figure about 10 years ago! It is progressively shrinking. I understand many Singapore lawyers live all over Australia, having left in disgust at the shame or the lack of it of Singapore judges. Surely this is the writing on the wall.
Wake up from your pipe dream, Mr. K Shanmugam.
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