Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have known Venogopal Ragavan, a Singapore lawyer who is now in his 60s, while I was practicing law in Singapore. What he told me a few days ago on the phone did not come as a surprise; it was another of this government's series of stupid policies that inconvenience Singapore lawyers unnecessarily. Now, it appears every lawyer has to deposit with the Government Medisave Program 7% to 8% of their annual income as security for their medical expenses! And listen to this; if they did not, they cannot practice law in Singapore!
This requirement is not only stupid, it is completely unwarranted. What, may I ask, has contributing to medisave got anything to do with practicing law! And if Singapore requires lawyers, as well as cooks, hairdressers and lion tamers to contribute to Medisave, then they should have rules to require this. But prohibiting a lawyer from practicing his profession is a punishment totally unrelated to medisave. Does it also mean, an air-conditioning technician or a Cantonese noodle cook should also stop work if there is no money in medisave? And does it not occur to these million dollar ministers that if they do not work, you would be in fact be making sure they don't have any money to eat, let alone depositing money in this government account.
According to Mr. V Ragavan this sum to be deposited can amount to as much as $30,000 to $40,000 and for some even more. And together with the already existing money they have to pay to get their yearly law practicing certificates which amount to $6,000 a year, the total amount is simply beyond the means of many lawyers, especially those who do not have the Lee Kuan Yew/ PAP connections like Mr. V Ragavan.
I tell you, I do not know anywhere else in the world where it costs so much to practice law, when the legal work available is almost non existent for the ordinary lawyer. As you know, with the bulk of the legal work being Lee Kuan Yew's government contracts, it all goes to people who are sycophants like Davinder Singh and Hri Kumar of Drew and Napier. Essentially bootlickers who make a living that way.
And if you are foolish enough, or brave enough, depending on which way you look at life, you have nothing to look for in Singapore's legal market. As it is, the courts charge an arm and a leg merely to file a law suit in the courts, thousands in the High Court and hundreds of dollars in the Subordinate Court. And if you were an ordinary regular bloke with no connections, you are probably going to lose your case anyway, so why bother. As for criminal cases, no need to hire a lawyer since whatever the prosecutor says goes unless you are the newspaper editor of a Singapore Chinese daily who got away after killing a pillion motorcycle rider, while on a cell phone! You can read about this abuse of the law in my blog about this woman Chinese editor who got away.
All in all, Singaporeans have come to know there is no need to squander hard earned money in law cases in Singapore, because you simply cannot win in Lee's courts. Best to simply eat humble pie and take what comes.
According to Mr. Ragavan, many lawyers especially senior ones who are not making any money, when they should be, except for Lee Kuan Yew's selected few, are simply calling it a day. As many as 300 to a 1,000 lawyers have left or will leave by the end of this year when the payment has to be made. Tell me, with an already world record for insufficient lawyers, 3,000 in a country of 5 million, with the drain of this impending number, how many lawyers will actually be left in that island? An island which according to the recently appointed Lee Kuan Yew's Minister for Law Mr. K Shanmugam, is a London of the East!
Mr. Ragavan is Venogopal Ragavan of the firm RS Balan in Chin Swee Road, a cheap office premises next to Lee Kuan Yew's Subordinate Courts. His phone number is 67344207. I have not got his permission to mention him, but being a lawyer, I expect him to stand up against any reprisals from Lee Kuan Yew. He tells me that he too is contemplating giving it up. And looking at the bleak situation as it is, I tend to agree.
He says, if you were a bachelor like him, and you don't use up the money and die, it will revert to Lee Kuan Yew and his government. Surely that alone should be a reason to refuse to pay and give up practice altogether.
After my writing this, I don't expect my old friend to speak to me anymore. This can be expected after all, in Lee Kuan Yew's fear ridden Singapore.
And by the way, I guess you noted the absence of any report of this in the state controlled newspapers. After all it is not very good news, is it?
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