Ladies and Gentlemen,
Singapore state controlled newspaper the Straits Times online edition of Aug 19, 2009has this government announcement "Changes to the Legal Profession. Pupillage system reduced. Easier for lawyers to practice here".
You know, I hope, what is happening to the legal profession in the island. From the past 15 years or so, the profession has steadily reduced in size, not increased, to what it is now. Of a general Singapore population of 4.5 million, there are no more than 3,000 lawyers there. Yes, 3,000 lawyers, and no more! Earlier in this blog, I had written to the profession asking how many lawyers there actually were. As expected they have refused to answer. You can imagine why. Tell me who wouldn't be embarrassed to say this in any country. It is a clear indication the lack of rule of law there is so well known as to stop any self respecting lawyer to go even within a mile of it.
About a month ago, Lee Kuan Yew's Minster for Law has come up with a series of actions he had taken, according to him, to increase this abysmally low number of lawyers. He has made it easier for foreigners to practice here by lessening the training period, he has made law training easier to permit lesser qualified individuals to practice and with this latest report, he is going to allow certain selected individuals to practice law without even passing any bar exams!
Can you not see a touch of desperation here? Even the choice of words in this latest propaganda exercise is misleading. He says "the object is to ensure that Singapore continues to attract high caliber legal talent and to grow as a regional hub for legal services and eduction!" Really? If it has "continued to attract" legal talent, why has the number of lawyers continued to decline instead of increasing?
And has it made any headway into being a regional legal hub? Is this not, yet again, a whole load of government hogwash. And since he last spoke about a month ago, have foreign lawyers been breaking down doors in massive numbers to practice in Singapore? What is it? Or are you once again, putting out this nonsense in your newspapers to please Lee Kuan Yew into thinking you are in fact doing some work and not idling?
I think, any Singaporean who can think knows you are determined to waste the newsprint of your state controlled press by putting out this drivel. The truth is this. The moment any foreign lawyer comes to Singapore mistakenly thinking that it is a democracy, he would be out the next minute through the very door he came, the moment he understands what Singapore truly is. Which is nothing but a small time dictatorship trying to hoodwink others into thinking it is a democracy.
No foreigner would want to have anything to do with Singapore when they know it has no freedom of speech; no freedom of expression; where judges are stooges of Lee Kuan Yew; where the Straits Times publishes any rubbish that the state wants; where lawyers are afraid even to defend their clients for fear their licences would be revoked; where anyone with any contrary opinion is either behind bars or bankrupted and where a man such as this, Shanmugam, is permitted to say this nonsense with impunity.
Singapore is a joke. And the foreign lawyers will find this out the next minute. And when they do, they will leave through the very door they came, before you could even say Wunderbar.
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