Ladies and Gentlemen,
Singapore strongman Lee Kuan Yew and his family have been trying to defend the indefensible, demanding as truth the implausible and getting away with it through threats of defamation lawsuits which literally financially ruin you for sure. Take all the abuses of power that you see in the island as they are in Zimbabwe, North Korea and Cuba.
You have the complete prohibition of free speech, assembly and peaceful protests. You have the complete control of the press and media. You have the 5th column which literally hounds, harasses and persecutes anyone who is seen as unsympathetic to the government and any form of criticism is disallowed and punished.
Beside all this, take the one glaring abuse of power, which is paying themselves $3.7 million each a year. This is 4 times the salary of the President of the United States and several more times the salary of the heads of state of the richest European countries. There is a word for this. It is corruption.
But in Singapore, in order to justify it, Lee Kuan Yew comes up with an ingenious excuse that it is so because it is what top heads of companies get paid and therefore they too should therefore be paid this amount. But the problem is, they do not tell us who these mysterious heads of businesses are. As to the reasoning for this argument, they say that if they are not paid these astronomical amounts, they would all become corrupt. Therefore to avoid corruption Singapore's political leaders, should all be paid $3.7 million a year!
Lee can try to befuddle and confuse by these arguments, but even Singaporeans, so accustomed to submission and compliance would see the nonsense in this.
Firstly, if they will not be corrupt unless they are paid millions, they deserve to be in jail, not in politics. Second, there is no other country that claims politicians should be paid as businessmen should do. If they want lots of money, then they should be in business, not politics. And third, if they are using the income of top businessmen as a benchmark for their huge incomes, why did they not choose Bill Gates? In that case they should all deserve to be paid a billion dollars each a year, instead of a mere $3.7 million.
I tell you what this is. It is corruption. It is the best word in any English dictionary to describe this criminality.
But you notice, no one within Singapore has ever used this word to describe this without having faced a ruinous lawsuit. Which is why since the late JB Jeyaretnam and more recently Chee Soon Juan who have both been financially ruined through Lee’s weapon of choice, the dreaded defamation lawsuit, for their courage, no one since from within Singapore has ever dared use this word to describe the Lee family's goings on.
Which reminds me of George Orwell's Winston in 1984, which I read in Singapore’s prison while there for 2 months in 2008 for criticizing one of his judges in this blog. Winston had maintained that 2 plus 2 is 4 but eventually had to admit under torture that it may not necessarily be 4, it could be 5, 7 or 9 or for that matter any number of Big Brother’s choosing.
So too in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore of today. 2 plus 2 is not 4. Paying himself and each of his family members and friends at the top, $3.7 million a year is not corruption. It is a reasonable salary because Big Brother, or Lee Kuan Yew said so.
But what are the consequences of such demands on the people. Normal people, even Singaporeans can see hogwash when they see it. This is plain and simply rubbish. There is simply no reasoning in this. And therefore the people begin to lose all respect for Lee and his administration. Behind his back they giggle and laugh at him, mock and deride him and his family. They emigrate in even greater numbers from an island government which they no longer respect, deemed corrupt and dictatorial. They refuse to have children resulting in the island having the lowest birth rate in the world. Just as Zimbabwe which uses brute force to remain in power, they too stay with threats of defamation actions.
The island has been on this decline now for several decades. Outwardly they paint a rosy picture in their state controlled press claiming fictional and imaginary achievements. But in truth, piercing the veil, all you see is an island run by the Lee Kuan Yew family beside their defamation judges to maintain control.
Attorney at Law
Disbarred from practicing law in Lee's Singapore, imprisoned and refused entry to the island for criticizing Singapore's judiciary in this blog (see blogpost May 29, 2008 Singapore. Judge Belinda Ang's Kangaroo Court)
Actively practicing law in California and in good standing at the California Bar.
Member in good standing as a lawyer in England and Wales (Barrister).
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