Ladies and Gentlemen,
For several days now, Singapore's state controlled newspapers have been printing headlines on the death of a Singapore lawyer of Indian extraction, Subhas Anandan as if was he was the greatest legal mind the island has ever seen since Magna Carta. Here is the first article that appeared among a to series since the 7th of January 2014 which reads "Veteran Criminal Lawyer Subhas Anandan dies of heart failure aged 67" http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/veteran-criminal-lawyer-subhas-anandan-dies-aged-67
Below is a picture of his presumably in contemplation.
Since the first day of news of his death, all Singapore newspapers, TV and media, all of them state controlled have been running on a daily basis, accolades, and praises , so many and so mighty that you would have thought Mahatma Gandhi was pipsqueak compared to him
What I am about to say about this man, unfortunately is not very much. I have known Subhas Anandan ever since 1981 after returning to Singapore from England to practice law. I practiced law in Singapore for 10 years during which time I had joined the opposition Workers Party and contested 2 national elections against Lee's Peoples Action Party in 1988 and 1991. I lost both times. As is the practice of Lee Kuan Yew, his son and their ruling party, anyone who openly like me, challenges them politically has to be destroyed.
As a result I was repeatedly persecuted with attorney discipline, contempt of court charges and repeated harassment. Not wanting to be a victim any longer I left Singapore permanently for the United States in December 1991.
In the early 1980s Subhas Anandan was a great supporter of the late JB Jeyaretnam, the leader of the Workers Party. He represented Jeyaretnam many times for trumped criminal charges laid on by Lee's PAP government. I had great admiration for Subhas Anandan then.
After a while, suddenly Subhas Anandan was no longer prepared to be Jeyaretnam's lawyer. Jeyaretnam had to defend himself. I never knew what the reason for the abrupt U turn but I can guess. I suppose he realized that being seen as the defender of Jeyaretnam, an arch enemy of Singapore's supreme leader is not going to advance his legal career. So out goes his once upon a time principles and in comes the rewards of licking Lee Kuan Yew's boots.
I am not sure how else he was a Lee Kuan Yew collaborator. There are rumors that he was the eyes and ears of Lee Kuan Yew among lawyers reporting on who is on this side and who is on the other. Francis Seow in one of his books refers to Subahs Anandan as a possible Lee Kuan Yew spy but admits he has no evidence.
Other than these suspicions which may be no more than conspiracy theories, there can be no doubt of one fact. Although he knew that Lee Kuan Yew's courts were nothing more than Kangaroo Courts one of whose principal activity was punishing political opponents through abusing legal process, throughout his 40 odd years in practice he made no effort in trying to correct it. He simply went along.
In Singapore criminal defendants have no right to counsel until police investigations are completed. Another way of saying it is that criminal defendants are allowed counsel only after they have confessed under torture, beatings, threats and intimidation. You don't need to be a legal eagle to know that after the accused has confessed, a lawyer is of not much use thereafter.
Most if not all Subhas Anandan's clients had all confessed. If they didn't they wouldn't be charged in the first place. In fact nearly all his clients were hung if charged for murder. His job is not so much arguing that the state failed to follow the Constitution but instead principally to say a good word on behalf of his Client to the judge, since after all he is one lawyer definitely in the good books of Lee Kuan Yew and son who control everything including the courts. In Singapore courts, it pays to have Lee's friend on your side.
Subhas Anandan has, you could say, the PAP seal of approval. One example of his support for the dictatorship and one party state, is his having no objection to Singapore's lack of individual freedoms. He has nothing to say about critics of Lee being sued for defamation and bankrupted, he has no objection if free speech is denied, peaceful assembly is illegal and according to him, Singapore's courts are the best in the world and known for impartial justice, even though they are presided over by Kangaroos.
With unfailing support like that, Subhas Anandan becomes a PAP man all round. And one thing about Lee Kuan Yew and his son, as is the case with most dictators in the world, they never forget your loyalty and will reward you handsomely.
So the Lee government, in order to reward Subhas's loyalty uses their state controlled newspapers at their disposal to advertise and promote his legal practice. It is repeatedly advertised in their propaganda pages that Subhas Anandan is the best criminal lawyer in Singapore after the late David Marshall.
With free advertisement and publicity, thanks to his benefactor, naturally every single criminal went to him, not because he was any great lawyer, since there can be none in Singapore under the state controlled courts, but because it helps to have a lawyer who is on the side of the dictators with their seal of approval. So if you were a criminal and had lots of money, you went to Subhas because he could pull some backroom deal with the powers up there and get you off.
The late JB Jeyaretnam was a brilliant criminal lawyer. But the moment he stood against Lee Kuan Yew politically, his once lucrative law practice took a nose dive. He hardly had any cases thereafter. Clients did not go to Jeyaretnam once he became political opposition not because he was a bad lawyer, but because the client knows that in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore it is suicidal to be represented by a man like him. Your case is as good as lost even before you step into the courtroom.
For those who do not really understand the Singapore legal system, let me tell you this.
It is a disgraceful charade. You can look at it this way. What happens is not a trial and a test to see whether the state has complied with Constitutional requirements or that the man is guilty.
His guilt is usually decided even before he steps into the courtroom. The trial, if there is one (usually most defendants plead guilty) is usually just an opportunity for the defense to plead to the judge and the prosecutor to let his client off. If the judge feels for you, he may on occasion do so. Very often he does not. But if you had any connection with opposition politics, you stand no chance at all, regardless of the nature of your case.
Chee Soon Juan was an implacable critic of Lee Kuan Yew. He still is. He was charged numerous times for civil disobedience and repeatedly sent to jail. Invariably Chee defended himself, not because he did not want a lawyer but because no lawyer in the entire island, including Subhas Anandan refused to represent him. Subhas obviously did not want to ruin his career by defending a staunch Lee Kuan Yew critic.
He once was reported to have said, give me murderers, rapists and the worst possible criminal. But please no opposition politicians. What a disgraceful lawyer to say that.
According to Lee Kuan Yew's state controlled newspapers, the best criminal lawyer, is Subhas Anandan who has represented all manner of criminals. Subhas also has the seal of approval of the Lee Kuan Yew government. On the other side, the best civil lawyer according to Lee's state controlled newspapers is a man called Davinder Singh. He is the principle lawyer for both Lee Kuan Yew and his son to sue their political opponents for defamation of character and bankrupt them.
So you can see what sort of a lawyer you have to be in order to be given a Lee Kuan Yew seal of approval. If a criminal lawyer, make no objection of Constitutional human rights violations and proclaim Singapore criminal justice system as the best in the world for getting confessions first and defense counsel later. If a civil lawyer, represent Lee Kuan Yew and son in the Kangaroo courts and make bankrupts of any political critic.
My name is Gopalan Nair. I used to practice law in Singapore but according to them I am a very bad lawyer. I was disbarred in Singapore. I obviously did not have the seal of approval of Lee Kuan Yew and Son, I objected to Singapore's human rights violations, I called their courts Kangaroo, which they are, and I repeatedly criticized their one party state from within Singapore and now from the safety of Fremont California, USA. They don't like me at all, and when I die, they are not going to proclaim eulogies and accolades in their state controlled newspapers for me on a daily basis or at all. In fact if the PAP government is still running, I would not have even existed at all!
In fact I hope they don't say anything good about me, because if they did, it is in fact clear evidence that I have become another Subhas Anandan who has forgot where he put his spine, his principles, his honor or his conscience. I rather continue to be a bad lawyer in the Singapore books anytime, thanks very much.
In 2008 when I was in Singapore during my fateful trip which resulted in my being arrested for writing a blog critical of the disgusting judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean, I met Subhas while walking along the Subordinate Courts to attend my trial for disorderly behavior, one of the many trumped politically motivated charges against me. Although I had no intention to meet him he came up to me to shake my hand. Out of courtesy I did. Perhaps he felt it could somehow reduce the guilt he carries by shaking my hand, a Lee Kuan Yew victim, being punished for criticizing him.
Subahs Anandan may have medically died of a heart attack. But the real reason why he died was because his soul was broken. His spirit was broken. Looking in the mirror at his age, he must have been reminded of a wasted life. He never had the courage to stand up to the truth, because the truth in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore was just too hard. The truth meant, less success at the bar and having to face repeated persecution and harassment at the hands of Lee.
JB Jeyaretnam was not only the best criminal lawyer, he was also a real leader with some real spine and character. At least he could have looked his face in the mirror and said I have stood by my honor. Subhas Anandan on the other hand was a man of expediency, who made his career under Lee Kuan Yew, licking his masters boots.
Attorney at law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525