Ladies and Gentlemen,
On Sept 19, 2009 I wrote the titled article about Singapore's Straits Times online edition newspaper of Sept 12, 2009 and it's Sept 13 edition with these stories "Help lawyers adjust" and "Help lawyers adjust. Law Society can be "thought leader" in dealing with the industry's liberalization!"
It refers to K Shanmugam, Singapore's Minister of Law's speech at the Singapore Law society annual dinner. One would feel sorry for him to make himself the fool the way he did.
Ever since he took office 2 years ago, the island's lawyer population has remained stagnant or declined, to an extent manifestly insufficient. Believe it or not it has either remained or declined from the figure of 3,500! And these are the grand total of lawyers in a country of 4.8 million specializing in banking insurance and international trade! Today it may be a world record for any country claiming to be first world international city, for the smallest number of lawyers relative to population size! And lawyers continue to leave the profession and the island altogether.
The reason why lawyers leave the profession and fail to join it is because there is no rule of law or judicial independence. This is public knowledge now. The International Bar Association's report 2 years ago on Singapore made this clear. No matter how much K Shanmugam tries to claim the rule of law in the island, the truth is out. Everybody now knows that the Singapore strongman Lee Kuan Yew uses the law to stifle his critics.
To increase the lawyer population he has tried many ways. He has increased the size of law faculties in colleges and ordered new colleges to teach the subject. He has stated through his state controlled press of new law students being given free trips to overseas countries, and several other perks. He has promised to increase salaries of government lawyers. He has promised a great career for aspiring lawyers. Yet no one is biting. And instead the profession has shrunk to an embarrassingly low number and declining even further by the day.
In the annual meeting speech for lawyers, he has repeatedly boasted that 4 out of the 10 world's biggest law firms have set up office in Singapore, as if it was some achievement. But we know it means nothing. 4 out of the 10 biggest law firms are also in Rangoon Burma, so are they in Tashkent Uzbekistan and every other remote capital around the world. They go there because there is profit to be made, because there is oil, because there are minerals and because there is money laundering, like in Singapore. Gaborone, Botswana has also the world's 10 biggest law firms. It also has diamonds.
K Shanmugam is not fooling anyone by saying the word's law firms are in Singapore. This is not a seal of approval of the legal system in Singapore, which is seen as a political tool of Lee Kuan Yew, bereft of any and all judicial independence.
K Shanmugam should be asked to resign. He is being paid far too much, literally millions, for doing nothing. He has not been able to improve the abysmally bad reputation of the law profession in Singapore one bit. And with a bad reputation for judicial independence, banking suffers, trade suffers and Singapore becomes another fascist island republic, without any natural resources, a double whammy.
Get out now, K Shanmugam. You are making a fool of yourself.
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