Friday, January 16, 2009

Singapore. The noose of repression tightens.

Readers of this blog who are unfamiliar with the goings on in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, may think reading the comments that there are many who think Singapore is a democracy based on the rule of law. The reader is warned that they may be Singapore government employees whose job is to discredit those who criticize Lee Kuan Yew's authoritarian rule. Please use your discretion as to how much weight you will give these comments.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Singapore state controlled newspaper the Straits Times report of Jan 16, 2009 has this article, "Review of Public Laws".

It says "the government is reviewing existing public laws and may craft new legislation to deal with civil disobedience acts such as illegal protests. In the works could be a new law to give police pre-emptive powers, for instance, to act earlier to prevent people from congregating in certain places, such as Parliament House and the Istana"

In other words, the government is going to enact even harsher laws to stop anyone from protesting publicly against government actions.

As it is, the government is already violating the Constitution in several ways, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression, by demanding that people wishing to protest or speak publicly require a police permit; denying them each time they apply. Constitutionally, the requirement for permits is itself illegal and ultra vires the Constitution. And worse, each time citizens apply for it, it is routinely denied.

Recently you have seen increasing numbers of people deliberately breaking these unjust laws by protesting without permits and being jailed as a result. John Tan, Shafi and Izrizal had been jailed for 15 days and 10 days each respectively by judge Judith Prakash a month ago for wearing T-shirts emblazoned with pictures of Kangaroos in judicial robes at a trial where Lee Kuan Yew was engaging in his usual pastime of suing opposition politicians for defamation of character, the victim being Dr. Chee Soon Juan.

Only a few days ago, a government Member of Parliament suffered the unusual attack at the hands of an unhappy citizen, of being doused with kerosene and set alight. I understand his whole body was on fire for several minutes before the flames were subdued. He is now in a Singapore hospital having suffered serious burns all over his body.

The same man was attacked some time ago, when another Singaporean punched his face at the meet the people session of the government.

Only yesterday, Mr. Koh Chan Meng aged 47 was charged for 3 counts of vandalism for writing the words "Go sue me Lee Kuan Yew" and "Hi, Harry Lee, I love you" on a brick wall outside Singapore Parliament. Although, the government may call him a vandal, he too was exercising his right to freedom of speech by showing his disgust at the ruling party and Singapore’s dictator Lee Kuan Yew.

Also a few days ago, it was reported in Straits Times that Seelan Pallay and Kai Xiong, 2 young activists had mounted a protest outside the Singapore Ministry of Manpower to show their solidarity with Burmese workers in Singapore who were being deported to Burma for engaging in peaceful protests. The Burmese face executions or decades of imprisonment at the hands of the Junta. Seelan and Kai Xiong are being charged for criminal trespass even though there was nothing criminal or trespass in their actions.

In September of last year, I was imprisoned for 3 months for allegedly insulting a judge, Belinda Ang even though I merely wrote a criticism of her in her conduct of a trial in this blog. The Wall Street Asia about the same time was convicted of contempt of court for writing a criticism of the weird goings on in there. Another reason for their conviction was because the article referred also to my case.

Trials are now going on in Singapore courts against Gandhi Ambalam, Chee Siok Chin and Dr. Chee Soon Juan for distributing flyers at the WTO meeting 2 years ago.

While all this repression goes on, the Singapore economy is fast declining with massive job losses and even more on the way.

The writing is on the wall and Lee Kuan Yew has seen it. The people are prepared to challenge these laws and suffer the consequences of imprisonment and financial suffering. Lee Kuan Yew anticipates that even more will brazenly break these unjust laws that deny them their constitutional rights. The problem is worsening with more job losses in a country that does not provide any safety net for the people suffering financial woes. So Lee Kuan Yew acts in the only way he knows; enact even harsher laws to punish those who dare question the government.

What Lee Kuan Yew fears the most is public protests, or people power. He realizes that the people are prepared now to challenge these unjust laws in increasing numbers. He remembers what happened in the Philippines when people power, mass protests, brought down the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. He knows that such protests in Singapore, a crowded island state, will have devastating effects. He also knows that he will die very soon and his minions cannot save his dictatorship.

Of course he knows the already bad world opinion of him and his island state will diminish even further. All international human rights bodies including the US State Department condemn the human rights violations in Singapore.

Singapore’s economy relies today principally on money laundering for Burmese drug lords and Indonesian businessmen. Even this business, a dirty one, is also going to end with the US and the European Union demanding more transparency for banking transactions of clients who have avoided American and European tax.

This increasing bad publicity for Singapore, making it a pariah state, will have devastating effects of every other sector of Singapore business. Foreign universities will shun Singapore in their search for foreign campuses. Even more people would emigrate, more than what they are already doing. Tourism will decline further. Foreign businesses who care for their reputation will loathe having dealings with a disgraced country. Lee Kuan Yew will be facing gloom from every angle if he indeed goes ahead with his plan to enact even more harsh and illegal laws to muzzle dissent.

But with the impossible situation that Lee Kuan Yew faces today in his fast declining country, I think he will go ahead as he threatens. I expect longer prison sentences for those who dare challenge him. Maybe even the brutal caning. Perhaps they will also be ordered to pay the legal costs of the government running into several thousand dollars each time. Perhaps the law will permit the right to enter homes without warrants each time to seize and arrest people and property of suspected protestors.

I hope the people will not be deterred by these laws and do what is right, by protesting. Your actions may be wrong in the law of Singapore but I can assure you that in the law of natural justice, in morality and truth, you are not committing any crime. You are in fact heroes willing to stand up for the rights of your countrymen.

Lee Kuan Yew relies on his corrupt judges and his police force to do his dirty work. If these judges and these policemen refuse, then he is powerless. I hope these men and women who are made to do these bad things ask themselves the question whether it is just. And I am sure, with time, even the policemen and judges would one day say, enough is enough. I will not lend my hand to hurt innocent citizens. And once they begin to jib, Lee Kuan Yew will be powerless to hurt his people anymore. To them I say, search your conscience. And do the right thing, for heaven sake.

Have no fear. As some great man had said, it is better to die a free man than to live a coward. The very fact that Lee Kuan Yew is coming up with these laws means only one thing. The cause of freedom is winning and he is losing. Take advantage of the momentum. Capitalize on your victories. And show Lee Kuan Yew that in the end, the truth must triumph.

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

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Anonymous said...

Read the posting at of mawchew..

For sure it will be 3 strokes of the cane for a 2nd-time offender and 7 strokes for a 3rd-time offender.

They have implemented mandatory caning for illegal immigrants and money-lending offenders. what's to stop them for inincluding this barbaric punishment for illegal protestors and assemblers as well???

Anonymous said...

"Only a few days ago, a government Member of Parliament suffered the unusual attack at the hands of an unhappy citizen, of being doused with kerosene and set alight. I understand his whole body was on fire for several minutes before the flames were subdued. He is now in a Singapore hospital having suffered serious burns all over his body."

Dear Mr. Nair,

I was wondering: what do you make of the attack? Do you condone it?

Gopalan Nair said...

No, I do not condone violence. But I do assert the right to use peaceful means for human rights. That is honorable.


Gopalan Nair said...

Anonymous, Jan 16, 08.51,

I agree with your observation. You had used the words "illegal protestors and assemblers". A small difference. I would have used the words "peaceful protesters and assemblers". It may be illegal by Lee Kuan Yew but not in law. I am sure you meant the same thing.

Thanks for your observation.

Anonymous said...

"No, I do not condone violence ..."

Dear Mr. Nair,

Thank you for the reply.

Anonymous said...

Strange that peaceful gatherings are condemned while acts of violence against people by LKY are accepted. Those people carrying out Lee's orders have never search within their souls? What has Singapore become? Can a country with laws like that sustain itself for long? Honestly, sometimes I wish for a total physical destruction of this country so that one can start anew.Sounds pessimistic? Maybe it does, but you got to amputate that leg before the cancer spreads and besides,a radical approach sometimes do work. But just hope we don't have to come to that stage; I'll miss my prata.

Anonymous said...

Live free or die trying.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr Nair,
It has been enlightening experience to read your blog. As I used to live in Singapore but moved to Australia when I was 10.

Your article on comparing Lee Kuan Yew's education to that of Hitler's reflects a certain truth in my experience in the Singaporean educational system. I was lead to believe that Lee Kuan Yew was indeed a great man until around about 17 when I started reading more about this individual. His views especially his racial views shock me, he believes in the superiority of the Chinese.[I thought to myself, how could this be? I was taught since kindergarden the ideals and values of racial harmony and the supposed supporter of multiracialism that Lee Kuan Yew is.]

I do hope one day Singaporeans can have no fear and instigate a peaceful revolution like those colour revolution in Eastern Europe. A truely transparent government will be in power and rid those guilty of neopotism and corruption through the proper use of the justice system with the reinstament of the jury system.

If you don't mind me asking, what is your political philosophical view, Mr Nair? Perhaps you could post something on your blog regarding your philosophical view on how Singaporean political/economic system should be run. It would be very interesting to read.