Ladies and Gentlemen,
Astute Singapore watchers, would be particularly anxious about the island's immediate future. And when I say immediate, I mean tomorrow, next week or perhaps next month; it is as serious as that.
It is all about 92 year old Singapore strongman Lee Kuan Yew who has very cleverly placed every single person in authority in the island from among his family members both near and far. It is one big family wallowing in power, luxury and opulence. I suppose he subscribes to the axiom blood is thicker than water. From Teo Chee Hean to the President Tony Tan and everyone else is in some way related to the Big Boy. For obvious reasons the only ones who are not related to him are the Tamils, his Minister for Law, K Shanmugam and company. I suppose it is no harm allowing a few Tamils a few crumbs for the impression that they too are being cared for.
The problem with Singapore is this. Since 1959 Lee has continued to rule Singapore as if it was his alone to do whatever he wants with it. And during that entire time, he has successfully managed to hoodwink the Western world that the island was some sort of a miracle, all because he alone has all the ideas and the secret to create this miracle and that everyone else was an absolute idiot only capable of being nothing more than coolies.
Of course this is nonsense, but the Western world has managed to buy it and mistakenly believing that it is a secure place for investment. In fact it is just the contrary. Singapore is just a farce with no solid foundation whatsoever. How could a tiny island with no rule of law run by a bunch of Kangaroo judges, an island without any real constitution, a place which does not have the basics of human rights such as freedom of speech or expression be considered stable and sound.
If it has managed this far, it has done so either through the ignorance of those who deal with them or because the island is the only place that will accommodate the sorts that have any connection with it.
Take the case of millionaire investors who have bank accounts there. By and large they are from Communist China, thieves, most of whom have embezzled and defrauded state owned companies in their country.
Either through ignorance, convenience or because the island is willing to break internationally accepted transparency norms, banking and taxation laws and since they also speak Mandarin in the island, they consider Singapore convenient.
Also the island is a favorite location for Indonesian millionaire crooks who have similarly defrauded banks in their country. On the other hand, you would find it hard to see any millionaires from USA and Western Europe choosing Singapore, as they would much prefer tax jurisdictions in the USA like Delaware or Florida or places like the Isle of Man or even London; why because every one of these countries have the rule of law which gives you confidence that your money is safe.
The major problem in dictatorships is that everything and everyone depends on one man alone; in Singapore's case 92 year old Lee Kuan Yew who is about to kick the bucket any moment now. It is like what they say about Egypt; the Nile is Egypt and Egypt is the Nile. If the Nile is gone, so is Egypt.
The 92 year old Singapore dictator is now presumably in very bad health, and nearly as old as Nelson Mandela who is bed ridden. The circumstances in the tiny island would have been different if it had been a democracy, since there would have been many other political leaders with sufficient ground support to lead and form a government upon the death of their leader. Not so in Singapore. His son whom he has placed as Prime Minister is seen by most Singaporeans as no better than a clown, who would have gone nowhere except for the fact that he is the son of his father.
And below his son are all these hand picked minions who are each paid a million dollars each to run around trumpeting the father and son. All they are capable of doing is to follow orders like ever willing sycophants doing the drum beating and singing praises. They will do this as long as long as their 92 year old benefactor is still kicking, and once he is dead, they would simply leave to join their bank accounts which have already been safely repatriated to Switzerland and elsewhere.
To make matters worse, Singapore has an oversized economy for it's miniscule size. Mind you, it has only abut 2.5 million local born citizens with another 2.5 million foreigners. As if this was not bad enough, the relatively large foreign population continues to grow while the already miniscule local citizen numbers continue to shrink even further. And as is to be expected, foreigners would be the first to clear out at the slightest hint of insecurity.
It does not take much to create an island wide panic and total calamity throughout the island with a tiny population such as this. Moreover an overly large section of the economy of this tiny island comprises of foreign assets, not local.
As this assumed stability of the island is dependent entirely on Lee Kuan Yew being alive, I have no doubt that the moment he dies, which may happen even today or tomorrow, public confidence in the island will take a free fall.
Since his son does not appear to instill confidence within the island nor abroad, being seen as nothing more than an alter boy put in place by his powerful father, upon the elder's death, there will begin a steady flow of assets and cash out of the island, turning into a flood, and once that happens, it will inevitably lead to a run on the bank.
I don't see Singaporeans or foreign investors rallying around his inept son, who himself knows that he is who he is, just because of this father. You will probably see infighting among the ruling party itself, one section trying to displace another. And then you have the opposition trying to claim the void that has been created.
But Singapore is too fragile and too tiny a spot to withstand any of this. It is not Russia or the USA, large countries with large populations who can take all kinds of knocks and yet emerge like a Phoenix from the ashes. Singapore is too small, too tiny and too dependent on the outside to withstand even an iota of such instability. It simply cannot last. And like the ticking clock, the 92 year old dictator's life continues to ebb towards the fast approaching end.
The state controlled media is carefully keeping mum on the 92 year old's condition. Except for anecdotal reports on the Internet published anonymously out of fear, there is no news whatever of his medical or mental condition. It is anyone's guess if he is dying or not. And the fact that it is deliberately being kept a national secret raises the alarm that he already has one foot in his grave, if not both.
And this is the message that I have both for Singaporeans and foreigners who care anything of what happens to themselves and their money. With Lee Kuan Yew going to die any minute now, as should be expected of any 92 year old person, this is the moment to take your money now and clear out for good; foreign investors would be best advised to repatriate their Singapore accounts; and families with children should now emigrate to the West. Waiting for him to die may be too late. It takes very little for the entire stock market to collapse in a tiny island almost totally dependent on foreign investors.
Lee Kuan Yew has carefully made sure that his island has no leaders, except himself. Every single one of his bootlickers who prostrate before him are mere handpicked scholars with no leadership whatsoever. When the dictator goes, no one will bother to give them even a second look. An island without leaders is simply incapable of survival.
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 4375