Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Tumasek Review, political blog on Singapore reported on October 22, 2008 "Apathy in Law Society Elections: 4 candidates for 8 seats". This is not surprising at all since we already know since about 2 decades ago, the legal profession there has been steadily shrinking, despite an increase in the population, with the total number of lawyers being just over 3,500. But what is surprising is, despite this fact, which we all know, Lee Kuan Yew's recently handpicked Minister for Law, a Singaporean Tamil in a predominantely Chinese government, K Shanmugam, has said recently that it has either become, or will soon be, a legal hub like London, New York or Rome and other legal centers of the world!
Granted, Singapore's newspapers are all controlled by him and his boss Lee Kuan Yew, and as such he can have anything he wants published, however fanciful, but surely even in such a case, he should at least consider what others might think, when he utters such nonsense!
And this complete indifference and disgust shown to Singapore's legal system as a whole, for it's total lack of integrity or rule of law was manifested a few weeks ago at the Society's annual general meeting. There were 8 positions available for lawyers as office bearers, 4 in the senior category and 4 in the junior one. The only persons who stood for elections in the senior category were the incumbents themselves, the incumbent President and his vice president. In the junior section there were 2 new applicants who stood for election, and both were elected unopposed!
And Singapore mind you has according to the latest reports, 5 million people!
I am gratified to read of this. I and everyone else who has fought this system and continue to be punished by it, were able by our actions to expose the depths to which the law has been misused, as a political tool by this administration. For instance, way back in 1991, when I was punished by disciplinary actions by the Law Society merely because I had questioned the then Attorney General on his refusal to recommend a pardon to the late JB Jeyaretnam, immediately thereafter, there was a large section of lawyers who resigned and emigrated to Australia.
At about the same time, the politically motivated arrest and detention of the former Solicitor General Francis Seow, the repeated politically motivated legal actions against the late JB Jeyaretnam, the cases against Tang Liang Hong who had to flee to Australia, all had an effect on exposing the shameless misuse of the law in Singapore, which has culminated to this today, where no more than 3600 or so lawyers are on the rolls and perhaps just 2000 actually practice law, (the rest either retired or dormant) in a city state of 5 million people!
And I take this opportunity to thank the Singapore lawyers who have so clearly made known their disgust and anathema to this legal profession by refusing to co-operate with this state controlled law organization. I thank the lawyers who have left the country permanently and those who continue to resign from the Singapore legal profession. I also thank the many other Singaporeans both in Singapore and abroad who have shown their disapproval for what is going on in this state controlled law body, by resigning and by refusing to co-operate.
As you know, I am glad at the opportunity now given to me by this administration recently having charged me with professional misconduct, which I have no doubt will result in my disbarment in that city state. With my impending disbarment there, I hope that even more Singaporeans will see the total political control and misuse of the law in Singapore and what remaining few lawyers will also leave both the profession and even the country.
Your refusal to go along with the Law Society by not participating in the elections in the recent Annual General meeting is appreciated and I hope you will continue to show your disgust at what is happening to the law in Singapore by your inaction and resignation.
Thanks a lot. Perhaps now at least this recently hand picked Lee Kuan Yew toady, K Shanmugam would think again before making himself look so silly. Or has he become impervious to shame.
As I have said before, it is not the action of any one of us, but the actions however small of all of us, which help to shame this administration into realizing their actions are beginning to look silly. And such actions by all of us will act as a detonator for real change in Singapore. But the work cannot stop.
I will continue writing what I see is wrong with the system, and I hope this administration will continue to take action in one form or another against me. This way, the issues remain alive with the publicity they generate.
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