Thursday, October 18, 2007

Singapore government's desperate attempt to show a pretty face at the IBA Conference.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the ongoing International Bar Association's conference in Singapore, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch of Canada and other respected international organizations have asked the Bar Association to condemn Singapore government's denial of the rule of law in Singapore. As the heat of international "lack of rule of law" criticism is now being felt by the Singaporean dictators Lee Kuan Yew and his family, they are desperately trying to refute these allegations, by making various important people there to make speeches refuting it, without much success.

You have seen Lee Kuan Yew himself making the keynote speech at the beginning of the conference say that Singapore is indeed a country where the rule of law is respected. In support of his claim, he refers to PERC, a Hong Kong based financial consultancy which places Singapore high on the list for legal efficiency. However he conveniently fails to say that this organization's main business is to give advice to foreign investors doing business in Singapore. PERC, by the very nature of their business, is not concerned whether the poor average Singaporean native will get the same justice as the rich American investor would, in Singapore courts.

Neither is PERC concerned whether human rights is respected in the country, since this does not factor into the equation for foreign businessmen in Singapore, as the bottom line is maximum profits, not human rights or the rule of law. We can assume that according to PERC, China too will have a good ranking for the rule of law, since American investors find China the best place to invest for manufacturing.

The Attorney General of Singapore has also found it necessary to weigh in on Lee Kuan Yew's claim on the rule of law in Singapore. He too has made a speech praising the existence of complete independence of the judiciary in Singapore and swears that the rule of law is followed to the letter.

However he has left unsaid the fact that the very newspaper that publishes these praises from these ruling elite of Singapore is in fact not independent. The Straits Times is fully owned and controlled by Lee Kuan Yew and his family just as all the other media in Singapore is. I understand all the media in Burma is also controlled by the military junta in that country.

He has also failed to mention that in this rule of law country that he claims, not a single member of Lee Kuan Yew's ruling party has ever lost a law suit brought before the courts against their political opponents. Lee Kuan Yew and his family routinely sue political opponents and foreign newspapers for defamation of character and they invariably win all their cases and always manage collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, awarded by judges in those courts. Are we to assume that Lee Kuan Yew and his family members are always right and their political opponents always wrong, or is there some other reason for this definite pattern of judicial decisions in favor of the Lee family, such as judicial bias?

In the end, behind this pattern of defamation actions and humongous awards awarded against political opponents in these courts, and with such respected international organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, New York Bar Association and even the State Department of the US all saying that Singapore is indeed a country that denies it's citizens their fundamental human rights, and lacks the rule of law; is Lee Kuan Yew telling us that we should still believe him and his Attorney General?

He might as well go ahead and tell us that the moon is made of cheese.

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

1 comment:

impy said...

what does Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch of Canada have to say about america's torture of detainees without trial, of america's absense from signing the land mine treaty, and capital punishment.