Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have written several blogs on the dire consequences of the impending passing of the 90 year old dictator of Singapore in failing health. Given the terrible dangers to the island of such an event which is sure to happen, and happen very soon, it is not an overkill to set them herein seriatim for he reader.
Firstly keep in mind that the island despite it's outward proclamations is just a one party totalitarian police state. Simple as that. Everything and everybody in the island is just controlled by Lee Kuan Yew and by extension his son whom he has made Prime Minister. In it's short history of a mere half decade, it does not have traditions of civil society or government. The elections every 5 years are simply rigged and his handpicked candidates, comprised of his near and distant relatives and other trusted children of his family are given scholarships and placed in positions of authority. In this political climate, there is no established procedure for a smooth transition of power in the event the dictator dies. It is the same with all dictatorships.
In Arab dictatorships, the son of the dead leader assumes authority and with local supporters in high places who benefit from the family's patronage they enforce order and submission on the masses through brute force. Although this has been the practice for millennium, we have seen the Arab Spring where for the first time the masses rose against their rule.
In Singapore there is no history of civil society and democratic institutions. The Constitution is dead and was replaced by dictatorial rule a long time ago. As a result of the lack of any dissent and the ease with which the government ruled, we have seen earth shattering development with the island transforming itself, at least outwardly into a first world city state. But I fear all that development will come to naught and the island will suffer a period of uncertainly and calamity from which given it's small size and tiny population, made up almost entirely of foreigners, it is unlikely to recover.
One scenario is Lee Kuan Yew's son trying to control power and remaining in government. I think this is unlikely. His father Lee Kuan Yew had made him Prime Minister decades ago in the hope that Singaporeans would get used to him as their leader and therefore lessen the likelihood of a power struggle once he is gone. I think this is wishful thinking and not likely to happen. With increasing dissatisfaction on the ground today with his numerous misguided policies, more and more Singaporeans have begun to loose any respect for him. If they have not rebelled so far, it is because his father is still alive who can easily crush any sort of resistance on the ground.
With Lee Kuan Yew's son unable to concentrate control in himself, there could be other contenders from his own party creating splinter organizations to gain political control. In order to do this, they would need the support of the police, civil service and military to enforce their rule. It will be uncertain whether these contenders would be able to secure their support as many having served Lee Kuan Yew may in their Asian tradition of loyalty see the need to support the son. In any case this would mean the son trying to crush these political contenders or if the contenders are in the lead, the other way around.
The other possibility is that none of these political aspirants would make any progress, because the people see none of them as leaders. Lee's son is obviously not a leader since we all see him no more than his father's son. As for the other handpicked Lee Kuan Yew bigwigs, they too are totally ignored by the people as nothing more than sycophants.
The real consequence of any of this happening is the danger that people lose confidence in the economy, both foreigners and locals. As most of what you see in Singapore is reliant on foreign capital, it's sudden outflow due to a lack of confidence in the economy is devastating. At one stroke, the miracle that you see now can be destroyed.
The last possibility is the most alarming. A military coup-de-tat or even a coup-de-grace. Realizing the island is in serious trouble, any loyal military officer with support of his troops and sufficient fire power can simply roll into and occupy the presidential palace arresting the son. Remember the citizens are not armed rendering them totally helpless. The military can then occupy the radio and TV stations and broadcast the takeover in the interests of the island, occupy all vital facilities and declare martial law until a new acceptable government is put in place. The only problem with this; by this time there won't be any island left worth fighting for.
Given the lack of any established system of government with nothing but a one party police state dictatorship with Lee Kuan Yew and his son calling the shots, what I say is not so far fetched as one may think.
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525