In a surprise move, after the Lee Ruling Family had for about 3 decades, sued him for defamation in the courts, jailed him repeatedly and holding him under literal house arrest, denying him the right to engage in politics, denying him the right to travel out of Singapore, now suddenly out of the blue, they are about to release him from bankruptcy and allow him to contest parliamentary elections in Singapore.
Please see the article in
It sounds almost too good to be true, but is it? I am not so sure.
If indeed the Lee Ruling Family who have kept Singapore island under their iron grip for the last 52 years, jailing and bankrupting anyone who dared threaten their monopoly on power have suddenly become magnanimous and embraced democracy, it would indeed be an unprecedented event anywhere in the world in it's entire history, because we know that no tyrant has ever willingly agreed to share power with anyone.
We also know that without such repression over their people, the Lee ruling Family would not be able to last a day without being overthrown.
In these circumstances, by releasing Chee Soon Juan, the Lee Family's most strident and implacable critic, is the government trying to tell us that they have now had a paradigm shift from dictatorship to democracy, which would also automatically mean the end of the absolute control of the Lees over his people?
Also remember, that as far as we know till now, Chee has been the only one who has all along publicly championed the right to free speech and expression, the right to a free press, the rule of law, the right to assembly and every other right that democracies enjoy around the world.
By allowing Chee to take part in politics, are they now saying that they accept the need to restore democracy to
I think not. My following observations lead me to that belief.
Firstly, you would have noticed that since 2008, the time I was last in Singapore and deported from the island, Chee had not engaged anymore in public protests; not a single one; whereas in the past he had carried them out numerous times, either alone or with others, as his belief always was (and rightly so) that the Lee dictatorship cannot be toppled without peaceful civil disobedience. In fact his idols have all along been as far as I know, men like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King who brought down the British Empire and racial discrimination in
Secondly we have noticed that many who were with him in the struggle for decades are now nowhere to be seen. Gandhi Ambalam was his right had man and Chairman of his party for decades. Today, Gandhi is no longer the Chairman or even in his party, the Singapore Democratic Party, replaced by Jufrie Mahmood.
He also had a youth wing associated with the party which had activists such as Seelan Pallay and Kai Xiong, who were both arrested for numerous peaceful democracy political protests throughout the island. They are no longer seen either with him or his party.
I myself used to be a regular contributor to his blog the Singapore Democrat in the past, and was close to him and his party during my visit to
At some point of time after 2008, I was given the cold shoulder and received several Emails from anonymous people that I should no longer associate myself with Chee's party because Chee is trying to get into Parliament and radicals such as I would become an impediment. I am of course not sure wheather those Emails were either from his party members or from the government’s cyber brigade, an organization set up like a 5th Column intended to harass and intimidate Lee’s opponents.
Although conjecture and I have no real evidence of this, I believe that Chee in his need to somehow get into Parliament has decided that the only way to do it is not to anger the Singapore Superman Lee Kuan Yew and that open challenges such as public protests will not further that plan.
But I want to tell Dr. Chee, if indeed that is his plan, that this is not the way. One has to do the right thing. And the right thing is to demand that the rights that people are supposed to enjoy must be resorted to the people first, before anything else. There can simply be no dialogue and no debate until and unless the Lee Ruling Family is made to accept this fact. And the only way to get these rights back is to protest, demonstrate and agitate until such time the Lees finally give in, because otherwise Chee would serve no purpose in Parliament.
People should realize that Parliamentary debates make no sense and are useless, unless these fundamental rights are restored to the people. It makes no sense to argue that cost of living should be reduced if the government would simply ignore it, because they control the press, because they can arrest anyone they want, and because they control the police and courts and could bankrupt anyone the moment you criticize.
If indeed Chee Soon Juan is going into Parliament to become another Loh Thia Khiang of the Workers Party, which claims to be opposition, but is in fact merely an extension of Lee's PAP, it is not going to do any good to anyone.
I would ask Chee to remember, that he carries with him the hope of countless Singaporeans, both within and outside
It should be either democracy or none at all. I think many Singaporeans think this way too. Otherwise we might as well embrace the Workers Party. I hope Chee Soon Juan takes heed.
Congratulations Chee Soon Juan. Please do the right thing. We depend on you.
Attorney at Law
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