Monday, August 26, 2013

Singapore's dictatorial government and an uncertain future

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For the last 50 years of Singapore's history under Lee Kuan Yew, his idea was to replace the intended Constitutional parliamentary democracy which the island inherited from the British to a total dictatorship to enable him to rule any way he wants with the help of handpicked ministers and civil servants.

This he managed handsomely. Although in paper the island was a parliamentary democracy, every single human right, that one would expect in a democracy was swiftly removed with legislation. Today the right to freedom of speech has another law which says it is a crime to speak publicly without a permit. Assembly needs a permit. Newspapers need permits. Union leaders need permits.

Lee had no intention of relying on parliamentary elections. He picks who his ministers will be and he makes sure they win at elections. This is done by suing real opposition candidates with libel lawsuits which he will always win before his Kangaroo courts. His judges do what he wants.

In this way the island has been run as if it was a company. Lee Kuan Yew owns the company. In his company, he decides who will be given directorships and who will manage it; who will get more and who less. Usually his family members are the ones who get the lion share. The ordinary Singaporean is only a worker. If he doesn't perform or turns out to be  troublemaker, he is punished by the Kangaroo courts.

As a result the ordinary citizen lives in mortal fear of Lee Kuan Yew and his government. It can be trouble if he is displeased. Most ordinary Singaporeans therefore simply toe the line and do as they are told. It made sense to keep a low profile and be obedient. If your ideas do not correspond with his, he can cause you a lot of trouble.

What this meant was that there wasn't any established template for government as democracies do. In a democracy, the people elect their representatives who then govern in their name. If you don't like them you can vote them out. A free press ensures that the population is informed as to what is happening.

No politician can last long in a democracy without the support of his people. In a democracy unlike Singapore, the legal system is trusted and upholds the law and integrity. The average man in a democracy, unlike Singapore, can expect justice in it's courts. In democracies, multitude viewpoints are allowed to be aired and debated. With the combined effort and contribution of it's people democracies advance far better and in new directions each passing day.

So far for the last 50 years, Singapore's dictatorship has carried on without much opposition. This was because the people were not so aware of what was happening before the advent of the Internet. Today it is different. More and more citizens are becoming aware that this is a government without legitimacy. A government that has hijacked the Constitution and governs by dictate instead of law. The people have no faith in the government.

90 year old Lee Kuan Yew will die very soon. He has admitted he is dying. It will be a watershed in Singapore's' history. Question is, how is his son whom he appointed Prime Minister going to govern henceforth. Is he going to become another Lee Kuan Yew. Is he going to govern like his father by jailing and bankrupting his critics and appointing handpicked ministers to government by making sure they win at elections by destroying the opposition?

Is he going to continue ruling by denying his people their constitutional rights by jailing anyone who spoke publicly without a permit? Is he going to carry on like this for another fifty years and will his handpicked successor rule for another fifty by jailing the opposition and denying human rights through Kangaroo courts?

You can see why such a system of government is weak. It is fragile. It is not based on any law because there is none. It is based entirely on dictates of one man, formerly Lee Kuan Yew and henceforth his son. We don't know what he will do next. It is entirely up to him. Unless you are one of his party, you have no say whatsoever in the running of your country. And with the passing of each dictator, you don't know what will happen next.

The difficulty that Lee's son faces today as well as all other dictators around the world is the advent of the Internet. It has educated and informed the population far too much. It becomes increasingly difficult to justify this sort of government.

Which is why you see increasing numbers of educated and skilled Singaporeans leaving it's shore for settlement abroad. Another consequence of this sort of misrule is the world's lowest birth rate. Regardless of how much you pay women to have children, they simply refuse.

CIA fact book records Singapore as having the lowest birth rate in the world. With the local Singapore population almost disappearing, the island has no choice but to bring in increasing numbers of Chinese who not only have no clue about the island, they don't even speak English.

90 year old Lee Kuan Yew has left the island completely in tatters and an uncertain future by denying Singaporeans the well tested time honored democracy and replacing it with a dictatorship. He has left Singapore as nothing but a fraud. Singapore is a fraud because it claims to be pretend to be a democracy but it is not. It claims to have a constitution but it does not. It claims to have human rights but it does not. Singapore is nothing but a tiny island with skyscrapers run by a dictatorship.

It would have been better for Lee's son now to come out with the truth and lay the cards on the table, not only for it's own citizens but the rest of the world. He should admit it is not a democracy. He should take down all the highfalutin Latin words extolling the rule of law in his courts and replace them which pictures of kangaroos in judicial robes.

He should change it's constitution to reflect the fact that it is dictatorship. It should state that his party alone will have the right to rule in perpetuity, like the Chinese Communist party. He should do away with elections and choose ministers and civil servants of his liking to govern the island with him.

Instead of abusing the law to destroy political opponents, he should make if illegal to criticize him or his government. This way, the people and the world will know what Singapore really is. At least they can give him credit for being honest. Instead of this, he as well as his island is nothing but a fraud. It is a fraud on his people and the world to claim to be a democracy and run it as a dictatorship.

This arbitrary dictatorial rule leaves the future of Singapore very uncertain. Singapore's future literally lies in uncharted waters. No one knows what he will do next or what will happen next or who will rule over the people. 

This is the greatest harm Lee Kuan Yew has done to his country, leaving it without a respectable representative government, to the vagaries of whoever happens to seize power or be handed it. Skyscrapers are of no use if the people have no guarantee if they would be turned into slaves the next day. Perhaps they have already become slaves.

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

No comments: