Saturday, March 12, 2011

Singapore becomes just a free for all business center.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore in essence is no different from an Emirate like Dubai. Although in theory Lee Kuan Yew is not the Emir of Singapore, from the way the island is run, in effect he is. Like a King he runs the country with absolute powers.

He controls everything including the state Treasury. His family is well taken care of and protected by him.

Since he can do anything he wants, he has placed his son, Lee Hsien Loong as Prime Minister while he has given himself the position of Minister Mentor. He can pay himself any amount he wants but has decided on the figure of $3.7 million a year, which is 5 times the salary of President Obama, each for himself and each of his family members.

In addition he and his family take as much as they please from the coffers of the state sovereign wealth funds, the GIC, Temasek Holdings and from the peoples savings fund called the CPF.

No one is allowed to question him on this money or what he does. Since he controls the judiciary and the police force, any open criticism of him or his family will instantly land you in serious trouble with the law. If you are a local, you would be put in jail and if you were a foreigner it will be jail in addition to deportation.

Although I can write this blog from California, USA pointing out this theft of state funds without any legal problems, being beyond the reach of his powers, had I written this from within Singapore, you can imagine what would happen to me.

In order to run the country, he needs an small elite of highly educated people. For this purpose he selects young students who are prepared to show absolute loyalty to him, takes absolute care of them with scholarships and generous state funding, and later gives them ministerial jobs at astronomical salaries, thereby securing their loyalty permanently.

These hand picked elite live charmed lives with high salaries, guaranteed job security and huge pensions which take care of them for life. In return they will do anything however disgraceful to please their Master, like Gadaffi's elite, including the jailing of critics and abusing the law.

As for the rest of the citizens, it is just a free for all. The government has no concern for you or for anyone else. The justification for such indifference is the warped argument that Singapore is run according to market forces.

What this means is that being native born Singaporean gives you no advantage over anyone else. In other words, any foreigner can come to your country and live in it as if it is theirs.

All they have to is to apply. Once in, they can apply for any job without any additional requirement. Any employer is free to employ anyone he wants.

In other words the employer can deliberately if he wishes, refuse to give any jobs to local Singaporeans and only employ foreigners and there is nothing you can do.

There are no laws against racial discrimination or discrimination against Singaporeans in employment. In other words if the employer wants, he can only employ Chinese nationals from mainland China and refuse jobs to Singaporeans.

There are no minimum wage laws. The employer can pay any amount of money he wants. The argument is, if you don't like it, you don't have to take the job. There is no unemployment insurance or social security for the disadvantaged. If you and your family are starving, it is your problem, not theirs.

Singapore is a business man's paradise, one reason for this being it's low tax rate. No matter from wherever in the world you are, you can apply to do business in Singapore, just as you can do so in Dubai.

Once you are there, you can employ anyone regardless of whether he is a local or a foreigner and terminate their services any time you want without any reasons.

Although Singapore has a Constitution, it is completely ignored. There is no freedom of speech, expression or assembly.

Anyone assembling or making speeches without a permit are instantly arrested and jailed. No one who has ever applied for such permits has ever received one.

The entire media and every newspaper is state controlled. Although you can purchase foreign publications, any criticism in them is immediately stopped, the newspaper is instantly sued and fined and if necessary removed from circulation.

Today Singapore just like Dubai does not have any distinctive character of its own. Except for Lee Kuan Yew's family members in Singapore and his selected elite, the people are from everywhere else, just as in Dubai you have the royal family and their elite on the one side and everyone else from Philippines to India to Pakistan to Egyptians who make up the rest.

Almost half the citizens of Singapore have only arrived within the last 5 years. These people are mainly from the neighbouring Asian countries such as China Burma Malaysia, India and the Philippines.

He makes sure he does not take any Afghans, Pakistanis or Muslims. He does not want any troublesome people. His favorites are docile Asians who will take any nonsense thrown at them.

The local native born population is fast declining and disappearing for a number of reasons. First, the birth rate is one of the smallest in the world meaning not enough babies are being born even to replace one parent. People are unhappy and are refusing to have families in the country.

Moreover, these silly market force arguments and the lack of the rule of law are making anyone capable of leaving the island to do so. It is expected that within the next 5 years, the foreign population will be larger than the local one.

Another major reason for the numbers leaving is the education in English which they receive making emigration to the English speaking West easy.

This system which Lee Kuan Yew has thought of is bound to fail. For one, there is insufficient numbers of core citizen population dedicated and loyal to Singapore to make it function.

Since there is no advantage being a Singaporean over a foreigner, many don't see any purpose in remaining and serving their country. Some do because of high salaries but they would have worked anywhere else if they got the same money.

Being Singaporean is for instance not the same as being a Finn in Finland, a Swede in Sweden or an Australian in Australia. Clearly being a Finn in Finland, you are treated better than a foreigner who is there.

Jobs have to be given to Finns first before anyone else. Finns have job security, benefits and health care better than a foreigner. Finns have no desire to escape from their country en masse as Singaporeans do from Singapore.

A Finn can be proud of Finland. Except for Lee Kuan Yew, his family and his elite ministers, there is nothing for an ordinary Singaporean to be proud of in a free for all market driven economy, which gives him no advantage above anyone else.

Under these circumstances it should not be surprising why Singaporeans are not having babies and they are leaving the island en masse. A few years ago Lee Kuan Yew went to the Western capitals of the world trying to persuade Singaporeans to return to Singapore.

Since no one did and the exercise failed, he has given up the endeavour and appears resigned to the fact that Singaporeans capable of leaving the island will.

For a long time up until recently, there have been numerous government programs to persuade Singaporeans to have more children. That too has not worked and we have heard nothing more about it.

They appear to have given up on that score too, resigned to the fact that the native born population will continue to shrink and disappear completely.

Which leaves the future Singapore completely made up of recent arrivals who are given almost instant citizenship. After a few years these instant Singaporeans too will return to their original countries while other new citizens from Asia become citizens and make a buck there while they can.

A sorry picture indeed for Singapore, which is inevitable. Unfortunately it is too late to do anything about it. Lee Kuan Yew made sure of the inevitable demise of Singapore the moment he meddled with the rule of law. Once people have no respect for the law, no country can ever recover.

Singapore today is ruled by fear. Fear never guaranteed the survival of any place. We see today Gadaffi using force to subdue his people. That too is bound to fail.

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

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M Jacob said...

Small matter I disagree with. I lived in the UAE for 22 years. It is modelled somewhat like Singapore, but not to the extent you indicated. Dubai is an Emirate with quite different dynamics, and the rulers are up to date and fair, they learn from many countries models all over the world, and then implement. If you look indepth, you may find a unique case study.

Gopalan Nair said...

I am glad to read that Dubai, a kingdom or Emirate, is even better fairer than Singapore.
Thank you

Anonymous said...

M Jacob-- What about the situation in the UAE whereby employers can impound the passports of indentured labourers, until their contracts are finished and the they have no legal protection if the employer stiffs them in pay or other ways....? Sounds similar to Singapore. I know for a fact that UAE treats WHITE European and American expatriates very well indeed (they worship white skin). What about coloured expatriates and worse, low skilled laborerers? How are they treated?

What about the laws rehgarding jailing for bankruptcy?

Another thing-- is theer freedom of speech and open political debate? Can you criticize teh ruling family? Sounds similar to Singapore to me... Can you eat outside during ramadan (even if you are a non-muslim). these questions need to be addressed first before you say UAE is different/better than Singapore

long story short, i think both countries are pretty similar in the overall depth of problems ie-- good life for the elite few and for others....