Friday, August 10, 2007

Singapore. The impending bankruptcy of Chee Siok Chin, Yap Keng Ho and Monica Kumar. Is the government playing with fire?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the impending bankruptcy of Chee Siok Chin, Yap Keng Ho and Monica Kumar is the government playing with fire?

August 7, 07 report in the Singapore Democrat Website entitled "AG to make Chee Siok Chin and 2 others bankrupt" reports that the Singapore Attorney General has commenced bankruptcy proceedings against Ms. Chee Siok Chin, Mr. Yap Keng Ho and Ms. Monica Kumar for their failure to pay legal costs amounting to Singapore $23,000.00 resulting from their failed law suit against the government.

It is reported, their cases will be heard in the High Court on August 17, 2007. Please check the court calender or the Singapore Democratic Party for exact times.

A brief background on their case is as follows. After the recent public disclosure of the massive fraud and corruption in the Singapore Charity, The National Kidney Foundation, the above 3 individuals and another Mr. Charles Tan had carried out a peaceful and silent demonstration outside the Central Provident Building in Robinson Road, holding up banners, placards and slogans decrying the lack of transparency in public institutions such as the GIC, CPF and public bodies and reminding the government that it is responsible to the people and not the other way round.

Under Singapore law, a public assembly of 5 or more persons, even if entirely peaceful, requires a government permit. The above 4 individuals, trying their best to uphold the law, which is unjust in Singapore at it's best, deliberately kept their number to 4 so as not to upset Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and his dictatorship, since we all know that Mr. Lee Kuan Yew tends to be upset very easily!

Even so, despite the fact that they had followed the law to the letter, Lee Kuan Yew had ordered his riot squad, mind you, not just the ordinary police, but the riot squad, which one would have thought were seldom sent out except in cases where there was violent mass public rioting, numbering about 50 policemen in full riot gear with weapons and truncheons drawn to confront these four unarmed peaceful protesters.

It really wasn’t necessary to go to the extent they did with the riot squad. Sending out a single unarmed policeman there would have been more than sufficient.

When the riot squad arrived, it not only intimidated the 4 peaceful citizen protesters, it must have frightened the other peaceful passers by into thinking that perhaps the people had finally decided to engage in a revolution against the corrupt dictator Lee Kuan Yew and his government. They must have been overjoyed, even for a moment, if they had read the “Tale of Two Cities” by Dickens that this was another French Revolution in the making which has finally arrived to liberate the Singaporeans who presently live as slaves.

Anyway, the moment the police arrived, the four peaceful protesters stopped their peaceful protest and went home.

But the point was that Lee Kuan Yew's police had abused their powers by dispersing them since they were within the law in their actions.

Aggrieved, as expected of any law abiding responsible citizen, they filed Originating Summonses in the High Court of Singapore for a declaration that the police had abused their authority in ordering them to leave when they were entitled to remain there as citizens, not having broken any law.

The High Court Judge was VK Rajah, just like all other judges in Singapore, nothing more than Lee Kuan Yew's errand boy. It came as no surprise that within a few minutes he came to his decision, not only that they had no right to protest, but he even went on to say that in Singapore it is actually "unlawful to criticize the government"! A remarkable statement indeed, even in Singapore! Not only that, he ordered them to pay the government's costs for having "wasted their time".

Either unable to unwilling to pay, it did not matter, but the government did not get their money. Now the Government intends to bankrupt them for their failure to pay.

It may sound odd, my saying this, but in a way, I am glad that the government is going after Chee Siok Chin, Yap Keng Ho and Monica Kumar. You see, these 3 are not the ordinary Singaporean who will accept anything that Lee Kuan Yew throws at them, in meek submission. They are seasoned political activists with a tenacity and determination as steel itself. They are not going to take it lying down, that is for sure.

That is why I say that in fact, the government, in going after these 3, have in fact unwittingly opened a Pandora’s box, a can of worms. The government has in effect disturbed the hornet's nest. And now the hornets are determined to sting.

Chee Siok Chin is a well known politician both in Singapore and abroad. Both Singaporeans and foreigners are aware that she is being persecuted for her political beliefs. They are aware that her cause is just. And each time they hurt Siok Chin without just cause, her support both locally and aboard increases. If the government was somewhat wiser, which thank God they are not; it would have been best to leave her alone. This proposed action to bankrupt her not only emboldens her, it strengthens her resolve and it gives her valuable ammunition to recruit other sympathizers to her side. Since after all, her greatest strength is that justice is on her side. Not the side of the government. I know that, you know that, Singaporeans know that and the world knows that.

In this long war of attrition, the government has fired their first salvo, but regrettably for them, aimed at themselves.

Yap Keng Ho is a fighter. I am honored to say that he is my friend. A formidable fellow, willing to wrestle 10 lions at one time if called upon. He went to prison recently for standing up to principle against Lee's injustices and while there successfully embarked on a hunger strike drinking only water, being no worse in the end for it. Immediately after being released, I heard that he ran the marathon, just for the sake of it. The government should realize by now, which they haven't up till now, that people such as Yap and Siok Chin are made of sterner stuff. They cannot be pushed around.

Yap is well known and well liked in his community. This injustice to him, will not only embolden him, but is likely to increase the support and sympathy of others in his group. This irrational decision to proceed against them, will only tend to strengthen their cause and weaken the government's position.

Similarly with Monica Kumar, a long standing human rights campaigner in Singapore who has worked for the rights of Singaporeans courageously for many years despite having to suffer repeated harassment and retribution from the Lee Kuan Yew dictatorship. She too has a wide network of friends and supporters who realize and sympathize with her cause. This impending bankruptcy will only increase the numbers of her sympathizers and will certainly hurt the government's position, which is already weakening day by day.

I had always asked for public protests against this unjust government. I had repeatedly said that the opposition has to repeatedly provoke the government into action such as arresting peaceful protesters. In order to achieve that, there has to be more protests. With more protests, hopefully more will be arrested. This will cause a reaction from the people as more would be outrage by government excesses. The chain reaction would have started with action provoking reaction, until finally the government will be forced to listen to the people.

With the proposed bankruptcy of these courageous men and women, the government is in fact helping the opposition to increase both their respectability and credibility even further.

Which ever way one looks at it, Chee Siok Chin, Yap Keng Ho and Monica Kumar are engaged in a noble cause. In the end, they must win.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If more Singaporeans join in the protests then the city state's jails will not be able to hold them. Singaporeans must understand the power that lies within the people that has caused many regimes to fall such as the Marcos's regime. Then what can the government do? Shoot them? I think not. You cannot intimidate people forever. I urge those working in the government's machinery to have a conscience. Don't be used by the ruling elite against fellow
Singaporeans who have done nothing wrong. Resign and do something else. At least your conscience will be clear and you won't have blood on your hands. The government is very nervous about the inherent strength of the people. That is why it is stepping up the persecution of the "heroes of democracy" not knowing that this will backfire on them. I also urge the different religious groups to look at what your religion stands for and that God loves justice and hates oppression. I am sure there are a lot of civil servants, lawyers, judges, lecturers, policemen/women and even the ruling elite attend churches on Sundays. Do read your bible carefully or it will come back and haunt you one day.