Ladies and Gentlemen,
There continue to be those both in Singapore and abroad who mistakenly believe Singapore to be a democracy and rejoice at the political opposition having won an unprecedented 6 seats, although miniscule, with 81 other seats still held by Lee Kuan Yew's PAP.
I want to reiterate and underscore the point of this article which is, Singapore is not a parliamentary democracy and has never been one. The Lee Kuan Yew family which has ruled Singapore through the PAP has cleverly managed to introduce all the trappings of a democracy, such as Parliament and elections at intervals of every 5 years, but in truth all these things mean absolutely nothing.
Singapore is a simply a dictatorship comprised of Lee Kuan Yew and now his son, the Prime Minister. Their political party, the PAP has ruled Singapore for the last 52 years. Their principle means of wielding power is through their control of the police and the law courts. Singapore judges who are corrupt wield complete power through their misusing the law to arrest anyone that Lee dislikes, remove anyone from positions of authority that Lee dislikes and silence any dissent through fear instilled upon their people through crippling defamation awards and jail terms against any critic of Lee Kuan Yew.
Many in Singapore were in a false state of almost euphoria when 6 seats went to the opposition at the recent elections (even though 81 still remain in Lee's hands). But had they really understood Singapore they would not be rejoicing at all. If they knew that every one of those opposition candidates elected is completely at the mercy of Lee Kuan Yew to do as he will, through his corrupt judges. If necessary, as what had happened to the late JB Jeyaretnam, if Lee is displeased, they can be removed from Parliament the very next day, sued for defamation and promptly bankrupted.
Lee's judges will sing any tune Lee wants anytime. And with that kind of power noone is safe.
That is why if you recall, in almost a decade or more of Low Thia Khiang's tenure in Parliament in opposition politics, he did not achieve anything at all. All he did was to make speeches and go home.
In fact he had permanently self censored himself for fear not to anger Lee or his son. He never dared question the denial of fundamental human rights such as freedom of speech and expression. He never dared question the denial of the right of assembly. He was quite content like his partner the former opposition MP Chiam See Tong to ask Lee Kuan Yew only those questions which would not enrage him, as both knew that any real questioning by them would land them in more serious trouble than they can ever imagine.
In fact from the point of moving Singapore to freedom and democracy, they were completely useless for they achieved nothing. There is no point in having opposition MPS if they can achieve nothing.
What the people should know is that power in Singapore does not lie in Parliament as it should be. It lies with Lee Kuan Yew and his PAP which he wields through his corrupt ever willing judges.
With the recent entry into Parliament of 6 opposition MPS now, nothing is going to change, simply nothing. Power remains in the hands of Lee Kuan Yew. What goes on in Parliament is nothing but a sham, the best show in town; men and women asking questions which have no real meaning whatsoever.
With the law enforcement and the judiciary willing to do anything that the Lee family wants in return for mind boggling salaries, which are in effect corrupt bribes, men and women who have no conscience or shame at all; Parliament of Singapore is merely a sideshow which provides nothing more than entertainment.
Those ignorant of the real Singapore talk of getting more and more candidates into Parliament and eventually increasing their real power. I am sorry to dampen your hopes. This is unlikely to happen the way Lee has set it up. Even if you had 20 or even 30 Opposition MPs, as long as corrupt judges remain willing to abuse the law to destroy the opposition, there is no chance of their getting any real power. In Singapore power lies in the judges, the police and the civil service and each of these bodies are beholden not to Parliament as they should be but to Lee Kuan Yew and his PAP.
And when you throw in a state controlled media willing to say anything that Lee wants, what Lee has achieved is complete and absolute control.
And so with the situation now, unless you are a Kamikaze or a martyr, you are unlikely to rattle Lee Kuan Yew with any real issues such as your fundamental rights, since that might have you suffer the fate of the late JB Jeyaretnam. So you would moderate your questions, pull your punches, which means in the end that you will never be able to achieve any real democracy.
What Lee Kuan Yew fears are people, of whom there are none today in Singapore, who would not only challenge his dictatorial powers but defy his laws thereby making him look weak. When that happens, more often than not, you will then see real change happening. Remember Lee Kuan Yew rules through fear. As long as you fear, he will continue his dictatorial powers over you. But when you resist and openly defy him, he is at pains to know what next to do, and that is when he declines and democracy takes root.
For example take this blog Singapore Dissident. In 2008, when I criticized his judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean for prostituting her office to please Lee, he had me arrested. He hoped of course that I would promptly plead guilty and apologize. When I refused to do that, he was painfully surprised and at pains what to do next. My going to trial and disputing the charges hurt him a great deal, something that he was not accustomed to. At that point, even though I was sent to jail, I was able to show his judges that they were not invincible afterall.
Today, he has commenced proceedings to have me disbarred in Singapore and instead of trying to appease him in the hope of mitigating my impending punishment, I have stated that regardless of my disbarment I am going to continue to criticize his government and his corrupt judges. And with this blog being read throughout Singapore, he is of course at a loss what to do. This is the sort of thing that shakes his power base, not moderated speeches in Parliament.
As for the opposition in Singapore let me give them some advice. With the Singapore Democratic Party demonstrably giving up their previous belief in civil disobedience as a weapon for political change, they are today no different in principle from any other opposition political party. All of them yearn for change but none of them want civil disobedience as an instrument for change. That being said, Singapore's opposition parties can only aspire to be what Low Thia Khiang's Workers' Party is today, merely a body of people who will enter Parliament to make some speeches, but always remain inside the line without crossing Lee Kuan Yew's wrath.
If that is so, I can see no real need for several separate opposition parties. They should combine and become one party which seeks Parliamentary seats to make speeches therein. I don't think even if that happens there is going to be any real change but at least one large party is better than fractious small parties. After all there is no material difference in ideology between them.
Attorney at Law
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Tel: 510 657 6107
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