Ladies and Gentlemen,
Lee Kuan Yew's one party state government of
has a dubious history of filing defamation of character lawsuits against its critics in their Kangaroo Courts to silence criticism. They also hold a dubious world record of never having lost even a single one in the entire history of the Singapore Island Island since 1959! In fact their handpicked judges are so predictable; Lee knows he has won even before he ever steps into the courtroom.
This practice of using the law and their Kangaroo Courts has been so well fine tuned, it works like clockwork. The government scours over the Internet (all print newspapers are state controlled and therefore will contain no criticism) looking for any critical writing. Once identified, the government either goes to their lawyer Davinder Singh of Drew and Napier, one of the island’s largest law firms who then writes to the targeted victim to apologize and remove the offending writing. If the writing had suggested that their Kangaroo Courts were corrupt, the Attorney General writes the same letter threatening contempt proceedings.
These sorts of disgraceful attempts to stifle dissent had much more effect in the past, as invariably they took the hapless victim to court and either bankrupted him or jailed him.
Over a period of time, the government has been finding that this practice of silencing your citizens is really not producing the desired result and in fact counters productive.
Singaporeans were becoming more emboldened and were simply leaving for settlement abroad instead of tolerating this nonsense resulting in the world's highest brain drain, something which is disastrous for a tiny island with a tiny population.
Realizing this, Lee Kuan Yew and his Ministers went on repeated world tours of the capitals and cities where Singaporeans had emigrated to coax them to return but no one did. I think the
government now realizes that those who have left will simply not return and have therefore given up their world tours to dissuade the Diaspora. Singapore
Realizing the harm it is doing, they appear to be going slow on the defamation letters, preferring only to give warnings now and once an apology is forthcoming, they let him go. This new policy has actually emboldened many to speak their mind, since they know, very probably, all the government needs is an apology. And after all, they would have managed to get their message across.
The latest threat by the government was only last week. A Singaporean cartoonist Leslie Chew had drawn about the government's deliberate policy of racially discriminating the
Island's Malay community, which by the way happens to be a fact.
Another cartoon described the retiring of the
Island's Chief Justice in unflattering terms. For his trouble, he got a letter from a lawyer threatening him with a lawsuit and another from the Attorney General threatening to charge him for contempt of court. Had he apologized like they wanted, they would have probably let him go, but because he refused, he was arrested and kept overnight at the police station and interrogated.
I am sure if he apologized they would drop everything but it would be interesting to see what they would do this time, if he remained stubborn.
Please see last Fridays Yahoo News headed "Singapore Cartoonist arrested for alleged sedition" http://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/singaporescene/pore-cartoonist-arrested-alleged-sedition-143415161.html
The Yahoo News article also refers to series of recent such cases against the island's critics. In January the government sent a lawyers letter to Alex Au who complained of corruption in the
government involving the purchase of computers by a company owned by Lee Kuan Yew's ruling party PAP. He received a lawyer’s letter to which he immediately apologized after which the government let him go. Singapore
Not long before that Tamasek Review, a
blog had written about the island's law minister, a Tamil, having an affair with a Chinese woman in his party, a fact well known in public circles. He immediately sent out a lawyer’s letter to which they too apologized and the matter was once again dropped. Singapore
Recently there was an instance of the court showing leniency of a Chinese national who used a car in the airport parking lot to kill someone. He was given a mere 25 months in jail when others would have been either hanged or given a life sentence. Naturally Internet blogs in the island were up in arms about this. The government sent lawyer’s letters to these various blogs who all apologized and no further action were taken.
In fact, contrary to what the government would think, this cartoonist would now be even more certain and determined in his belief that the government really does racially discriminate.
These people whom the government goes against all live in
. In fact any of these people would be able to leave the island if they want to as all of them are highly qualified and would be a prize to any free country with their qualifications and talent. Singapore
I reckon the only reason why they don’t' leave is due to a sense of loyalty and patriotism. Sadly those like them who stay are a very small minority because most qualified capable Singaporeans who have a choice of leaving, do indeed leave, as there is no need to endure this stupidity on the part of the government and their Kangaroo Courts.
In 1991, I left
when it became clear that this government would continue victimizing and punishing me because I refused to submit. First there were the covert messages warning me to stop espousing opposition politics. The there was a contempt of court charge because I made a speech at a election rally in 1991 criticizing the manner of appointment of Singapore Subordinate Court judges. I had to pay a hefty fine.
Then there were repeated Law Society actions to harass me with threats of discipline, which finally resulted in my being found guilty of contempt of court merely for writing a letter to the Attorney General demanding an explanation over their actions against the opposition politician JB Jeyaretnam. That was the final straw. I left the island permanently for
in December of 1991 and obtained political asylum. United States
Just like me, thousands of educated professionals have all left mostly quietly for
Australia, New Zealand Canada and the . UK
The government is clearly in a quandary. All this while they have been getting away by intimidation and threats to silence the opposition but with time, the islanders are getting emboldened because they are no longer in the helpless state they were in the past.
Today they can leave if they want. And if all the educated professionals left, what would Lee Kuan Yew and his son do? On the other hand, they cannot allow freedom of expression either. If they did, both father and son would be unseated that very instant. They are simply caught between a rock and a hard place.
You must have noticed that they leave me alone. It is simply because I live in the
and they don't have the benefit of their Kangaroo judges and police thugs here. But thanks to the Internet, my message still reaches the entire USA population. Isn’t that nice. Singapore
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Tel: 510 491 4375