Thursday, August 8, 2013

Singapore island government using law to stay in power

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When a country such as one party police state like Singapore has lost the confidence of it's people, the only way it can remain in power is to use the law to remain in control. It is not the rule of law which enables them to remain in power, it is rule by law.

A country that has rule of law recognizes and abides by the requirements of democracy, which is the respect for the Constitution, a willingness to honor the human rights of it's citizens such as freedom of speech, expression and assembly and a willingness to give their people a voice as to how they wish to live. In other words, a country that believes in democracy is willing to accept it's destiny according to the wishes of it's people.

Singapore on the other hand is a country that uses law to remain in power. They can pass any law they want however unjust because it is a one party state and the Parliament is merely a rubber stamp. So to suppress and deny it's citizens a voice by which it is far easier to rule, they deny human rights of it's people by passing unjust laws. In Singapore, even though the Constitution guarantees free speech, expression and assembly, there is legislation in place which criminalizes every single one of these rights, leaving it's citizens with no human rights at all.

In Singapore there are defamation laws which can bankrupt and jail you for criticizing the government, contempt of court laws if your criticize the judiciary, and a slew of other laws that completely deny the rights of citizens to criticize their government.

The laws enable even a single peaceful protester to be jailed, as a result of which the island has not seen any protests for decades. Bloggers, cartoonists and anyone else who criticizes is liable to arrest and punishment. They do all this because they can pass any law they want to extract total obedience from their citizens.

As for the elite ministers and governors they pass laws to pay themselves any amount of money they want, which now happens to be a salary of  no less than $3.7 million a year and even more secretly. And if you complain and call it corruption, there is a criminal defamation law to punish you for it.

As a result of the government of Singapore using laws to destroy political opponents and critics, there is really no open opposition to the government because any civil society political action that is normal and acceptable anywhere else in the world becomes criminal if done in Singapore.

History has shown that when a country resorts to governing by law, not the rule of law, it doesn't take long for it to slide into a failed state. Such methods could have worked in the past but in this day of the Internet, these repressive and arbitrary methods attract the wrath and anger of it's people who refuse to co-operate resulting in mass brain drain and emigration thereby depleting the island of it's skilled and loyal workforce, a element absolutely essential for success.

We also see the deleterious consequences of such repression as manifested in the island's almost non-existent birth rate, perhaps the lowest in the world which compels them to import hundreds of thousands of immigrants who know nothing of Singapore, a very poor replacement for the native Singaporeans who have left. 

With the dying 92 year old Lee Kuan Yew dictator and now with his son as Prime Minister determined to govern by continuing to pass laws which suit them, Singapore is fast heading to become a failed state in the region.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 4375

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