Friday, March 20, 2015

Political uncertainty after Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore property market and Singdollar take a plunge

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Not knowing what will happen to secretive tiny Singapore after Lee Kuan Yew's demise, who is now in hospital under life support battling for his life and ready to go any minute, a city state totally reliant on foreign labor, capital and industry, the high end property market and the Singapore dollar have taken the lead in the downward slide of its economy.

The island economy has already begun to take a beating on news of Lee Kuan Yew's being hospitalized under life support and terminally ill. From now on, the economy will continue its slide and once news of his death is announced, it will collapse entirely. The New York Times report as far back as Feb 17, 2015 titled "A high end property collapse in Singapore" reports

"But signs of a slowdown are just beneath the shiny surface. The grass on front lawns has turned brown from neglect. Two condominiums last summer went for less than half their original price, while others sit empty." See report here It seems in Sentosa Cove million dollar apartments are lying empty and the grass has turned brown with neglect. There is simply no one there.

Besides the property market the Singapore dollar value has hit rock bottom against the US dollar. The website Market Pulse of March 19, 2015 carries the report "Currency losses engulf top ranked Singapore". See article here The article says

"The currency of Asia’s highest-rated nation reflects a level of economic anxiety not seen since the region’s financial crisis almost two decades ago.  Singapore’s dollar is headed for a third straight quarterly loss versus its U.S. counterpart, and surging forward rates imply that the currency will depreciate at the fastest clip since 1998"

In other words the Singapore dollar, if you don't act fast enough, will be worthless.

This sort of economic turmoil and uncertainty is characteristic of all dictatorships when they fall. The island is no different from any other banana republic that you see anywhere else, with one man running the whole show willy nilly as if the whole place belongs to him. In Singapore island's case the dictator was Lee Kuan Yew who ran the island for 50 years as if it was his fiefdom.

During this time, the people have no rights, the Constitutional rights were abrogated, the judges were turned into Kangaroos, and anyone can be put away by the flick of his finger.

And now his son Loong, the Prime Minister whom he appointed is doing the same.

And as is usual for all dictatorships, there is a veil of secrecy where people are kept in the dark about everything and anything thanks to the monopoly of a state controlled media, not knowing who and what will happen next.

Although this slavish life would have been unacceptable for any freedom loving man, it is paradise for offshore companies doing business in the island and repatriating every penny they made back home from where they came. As for the local citizen, he knew nothing except that he has to slog his life out for the foreign enterprises for the pennies he gets.

And disgraceful judges like Belinda Ang Saw Ean are very willing to prostitute herself and her office to destroy Lee Kuan Yew's political opponents for a very lavish lifestyle.

But Singaporeans and foreigners should have known that such prosperity can only last as long as the dictator is around. Once the dictator goes, as is the case now, no one knows who why and what will happen next in the island.

And it is this uncertainty that foreign investors are averse to. And it is they who will pull out at the first signs of instability.

Is the ruling party going to split into 2 groups?

Will anyone respect any new political aspirant who claims leadership?

Since there are no real leaders in the island except for Lee Kuan Yew himself will anyone else be able to command respect and authority to rule?

Would simply announcing the new leaders in the state controlled press tomorrow be enough to give them legitimacy?

Will there be chaos after that?

Will the Malays who have been discriminated and suppressed for so long, become violent and try to reclaim their country?

Will the Indians do the same?

Will the Indians and Malays join forces and attack the Chinese majority?

And once there is instability, which will very likely happen once Lee Kuan Yew dies, will foreigners leave the island en masse with themselves and their capital?

And when that happens what will happen to the local Singaporeans?

Singaporeans should brace themselves for more bad news. If it is the high end property market that collapses today, tomorrow it will be the HDB  (government housing) flats that will collapse in value.

After that the CPF retirement funds will start their slide downwards and collapse entirely.

I am watching the Singapore economy news daily. If Lee Kuan Yew is not out of his coma and life support and walks away from his hospital bed on his own two feet, which unfortunately is not likely to happen, the other sections of the economy will begin to slide and slide even further. And so will go the island itself.

The writing is already on the wall. 

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525


Anonymous said...

Lee Kuan Yew has passed away.


Russ said...

Lee Kuan Yew who physically tortured good people to come to power has finally died. Good riddance S.O.B!

Anonymous said...

He's dead. Now will there be freedom?

Anonymous said...

It is official. Lee Kuan Yew has passed away.