Ladies and Gentlemen,
In late 1980s, while active in Singapore opposition politics, and therefore a valid target for persecution by Singapore strongman Lee Kuan Yew, I had written a letter to then Attorney General Tan Boon Teik for an explanation as to why he had recommended the President not to pardon JB Jeyaretnam who had been vindicated by Britain's House of Lords of any guilt after he was earlier convicted for theft and embezzlement in Singapore.
For a background to this story please read Singapore. "Another of Lee Kuan Yew's disgraceful judges, G.P. Selvam (Govinda Pannirselvam") Sunday January 3, 2010 http://singaporedissident.blogspot.com/2010/01/singapore-another-of-lee-kuan-yews.html
"Singapore. How to earn a living, Singapore style. The case of former Singapore judge, G.P. Selvam (Govinda Pannirselvam") Jan 06, 2010. http://singaporedissident.blogspot.com/2010/01/singapore-how-to-earn-living-singapore.html
All I did was nothing more than ask the Attorney General of Singapore to explain himself about Jeyaretnam since he was clearly entitled to a pardon as the highest court of the land, British House of Lords had declared him completely innocent.
Lee Kuan Yew in his usual practice of using the law to silence dissent began disciplinary proceedings against me to have me disciplined as a lawyer because he considered my writing a very polite letter to the Attorney General to be a "threat" and a "fase accusation" and therefore unbecoming of a lawyer in his Singapore.
To cut a long story, as to be expected in Lee's Singapore where the law's principle use was to destroy political opponents, I was found guilty by the Law Society after which according to procedure the matter went to the Singapore Court where this man GP Selvam was then one of the 3 judges.
As expected of GP Selvam, one of Lee Kuan Yew's judges whose job included a significant portion of time destroying Lee's opponents through the courts, promptly found me guilty. I was suspended from practicing law for 2 years in Singapore.
I can truly suppose that other than perhaps Stalinist Russia, Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore of 1991 was the only country in the world where a lawyer can be punished with a suspension of 2 years merely for writing a letter to the Attorney General which was not to his liking.
This morning California time 0940 am, I tried to reach GP Selvam by telephone in Singapore. Singapore at that time was 0140 am Saturday morning. I managed to get his cell telephone number Singapore 98570207 by telling his law firm that I was a potential client from abroad.
He was not there. Almost immediately he called back. The following was the conversation.
GP Selvam: This is Selvam
Gopalan Nair: This is Gopalan Nair. Do you know me?
GP Selvam: No
Gopalan Nair: This is Gopalan Nair from Singapore. Are you saying you do not know me
GP Selvam: Ah yes. You are ..................'s brother.
Gopalan Nair: Can I ask you a question?
GP Selvam: Yes
Gopalan Nair: Was it right for your to have me disbarred for 2 years merely for writing a letter to the Attorney General Tan Boon Teik on Jeyaretnam's pardon?
GP Selvam: Yes it was right
Gopalan Nair: Have you read the blogs that I had written about you?
GP Selvam: Yes
Gopalan Nair: What did you think of them?
GP Selvam: you can write anything you like
Gopalan Nair: I am not sure if I understand you this clearly. Are you saying that merely for writing a letter to Tan Boon Teik, I deserve to be suspended from practicing law for 2 years?
He remains silent. His phone still appears working but he remains silent. After several times of trying to have him speak I discontinued the conversation.
I had seen him while I was a lawyer in Singapore before I left for the US. He was rich. Had several Mercedes Benzes and lived a luxury life.
But it came at a cost. He had to literally sell his conscience to the devil. His work involved being Lee Kuan Yew's hit man finishing off his opponents in his courts by bending the law.
All I did was write a letter to the Attorney General. In the Singaporean sense, my fault was not the letter I wrote, it was my openly challenging Lee Kuan Yew's authority, standing for parliamentary elections and being a threat to his rule.
I had to be stopped. And the way to do it was to use this man, a local Singapore Tamil judge to do his dirty work. This is a dirty man doing a dirty job for money. GP Selvam is like a prostitute who sells her body. In his case he sells his integrity.
Another one of his dirty jobs was the case against Tang Liang Hong's wife. Remember Tang Liang Hong was an opposition politician who stood for elections in Cheng San Constituency for the Workers Party. He was a millionaire lawyer. He had among other things accused the Lee ruling family of corruption, which was to receive kick backs from developers, which so happens to be true. Nevertheless Lee had to have him finished and out comes GP Selvam, hatchet in hand to finish the job.
What was despicable of this former judge was this. It was bad enough to go against Mr. Tang. But after Mr. Tang had fled the country, he orders the seizure of houses belonging to Tang's wife and liquidates them to pay Lee. And his disgraceful written judgement justifies his his actions by saying that even though the houses were in the wife's name; because they were purchased from moneys from Tang, therefore they can be seized even though the wife had nothing to do with the whole thing.
"Mareva order against Tang's wife 'justified'" Straits Times March 2, 1999
But just as those who sold their conscience to the highest bidder such as Hitler's henchmen, those who hung around Prince Carlos of Spain, and Mussolini, I suppose they all had luxury lives too with several Mercedes Benzes just as this man , but I am not so sure whether it was worthwhile.
Even today he reaps the rewards of the dirty work. He and his wife and I believe his son in law and daughter all work in Duane Morris and Arfat Selvam,
in downtown Singapore. His wife is Arfat Selvam. According to her profile in the website, she has done the following cases:
1. She handled the acquisition of POSB by DBS
2. Merger of Keppel Bank with OCBC.
3. She also handled the initial public offerings of SIA, NOL and Creative Technology.
In other words it is a classic case of you scratch my back and I scratch yours. You do the dirty work for me and I give you the goodies. GP Selvam does the dirty work for Lee Kuan Yew of polishing off troublesome characters, and Lee gives you government contracts.
Not just the wife, the son in law reaps the goodies too. Krishna Ramachandra I understand is the husband of GP Selvam's daughter. So he is a director in the company and he too does a list of works for Lee ruling party companies.
But I am not sure if all this is really pleasant. What does a man do when he sells his soul to the devil as he has done. Will the misery he has caused to his fellow man simply be forgotten? Can he himself forget in moments of silence the misery he has caused on innocent men and women, just so that he can please Lee Kuan Yew which is profitable for him.
Frankly I thing not. This man is in his late 70s. Men such as Chile's Pinochet, Hitler and today's Assad of Syria all cause misery to their fellow men for personal profit. The crimes they commit may vary but only in degree. There is no difference really whether you kill people or impoverish people through kangaroo courts. Evil is evil, as simple as that.
As to how long he has to enjoy the good life is uncertain. His patron and benefactor is 89 years old. As to what happens after Lee goes to men like him is anybody's guess.
Whether he actually enjoys all this grandeur knowing he has caused so much pain to innocent people is uncertain. There is the belief that the conscience is much greater tormentor than any Hell. As to whether this is true, only this man can know. Thank God most of us do not have to experience that.
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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