Friday, May 20, 2011

Singapore, a dictatorship under the guise of a democracy

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If there is one country in the world that has successfully managed to hoodwink everyone into thinking it is a democracy when in actual fact it is either a dictatorship or at best an oligarchy, it has to be Singapore.

Singapore has all the outward trappings of a democracy. It has a Parliament, to which every 5 years there are elections to fill it's sets. There are 9 days of hustings where political hopefuls are permitted to make their speeches.

There is a Constitution where every single human right befitting any democracy is found. Criminal defendants are given open trials where they are permitted to call their witnesses and cross examine the government.

There are several newspapers and several TV channels in different languages. Singapore law has provisions that require the law of England to be it's basis. On the walls of their court houses, you see numerous high sounding adages both in English and Latin which espouse and praise the rule of law.

But you know what, every instance above has a catch to it. If you look underneath the surface, you see something entirely different, more like a Stalinist one party state. It is surely not a democracy that is practiced in that island. It is a dictatorship and at best an oligarchy.

As for it's Parliament, the PAP has a long list of hopefuls willing to offer themselves as candidates at elections, not because any of them care much for any Singaporean but because it is a highly lucrative profession; PAP politicians earn millions and their careers whether in or out of Parliament is secured for life. You can call them mercenaries or opportunists, disgraceful men and women who would do anything for a buck.

As for the opposition political camp there are hardly any takers. Opposition politics in Singapore can be harmful to your health. Lee can come after you and if that happens you are finished like Chee Soon Juan. So opposition politics is under served except for a handful of men and women with superhuman courage.

So much for the fraud Singaporean Parliament, Lee Kuan Yew style.

As for elections every 5 years, election candidates are only given 9 days to campaign. You can't do very much in 9 days, surely. Since Lee deliberately makes it so short, the whole election exercise is discredited providing no meaningful opportunity to move the citizens.

Then you have a Constitution which although gives you your freedoms, at every single right which you are given by the right hand, it is taken away by the left. You have the right to freedom of speech but you have to apply for a permit before you do it. You have the right to assemble but you have to apply for a permit before you do it. You have a right to a free press but in reality they are all state controlled. You have the rule of law but every single judge works not for the law but for Lee Kuan Yew.

At criminal trials, there is no proscription against illegal search and seizure, no right to a counsel when arrested, no right against coerced confessions, no juries but judges who are beholden to the Lee Kuan Yew family. In the end you don't have criminal trials in the island, you have show trials and all those lofty writings on the court house walls are simply just nonsense.

In court cases there is a pecking order of how much justice you are going to get. If you are the elite such as Lee Kuan Yew's sons and his family members, they are above the law. For them it is paradise.

Just below, you have the other elites, the high rankings government servants, rich foreigners and bank managers. They too would get excellent treatment from the courts. They are usually not punished at all, and even if they do get punished, no more than a slap in the wrist.

Then you have the ordinary masses, which Lee calls "digits". They can be dealt with any way the state wants. After all they have no clout and their existence on this earth is of no concern to Lee and his family.

Below them are the people who are harshly treated. In this group are Lee Kuan Yew's political opponents. In this group there are Chee Soon Juan, Tang Liang Hong and myself among others.

This is the group that Lee uses, through his courts to demonstrate the ancient Chinese practice of killing a chicken to frighten all the monkeys, the chicken being the hapless victim Chee Soon Juan or Gopalan Nair, and the monkeys being his citizens.

The trick is to harshly punish the poor chicken so that none of his monkeys would dare to give him any trouble. This is the Singaporean fear factor, a trick which he has successfully employed over the years against every single one of his political opponents, so much so that the law has been completely discredited and the people have been turned into frightened rabbits.

As for it's newspapers, as there are so many, the unwary observer would have thought that there was a free press with various newspapers in healthy competition for readership. You only have to look deeper when you will find that every single newspaper is owned by Singapore Press Holdings and it in turn is owned and controlled by the government. Singapore's Pravda or Izvestia.

All this skillful maneuvering and adjusting to look like a democracy but in fact carry on as a Stalinist one party state has taken it's toll.

There are no real politicians to speak of. On the one side you have the Lee Kuan Yew PAP opportunists. On the other hand, except for a handful of brave souls like Chee Soon Juan, the rest are so afraid that they only dare to show their faces once every 5 years for the elections and thereafter say and do nothing for fear of attracting Lee's wrath.

There are no real political theories espoused by anyone. Are they conservative,. capitalist or socialist and if so to what extent. What are the underlying principles of the government? Is to educate their people to the fullest possible extent so they can participate as members of a democracy or is it to keep them ignorant of their rights so Lee can ride roughshod over them as he does now?

For any country to be strong and stable with the ability to achieve greatness, it has to have integrity and it has to educate their citizenry which can play their part in the advancement of their society and their country.

But what Lee has managed to do to to instill so much fear in people that you have only 2 kinds in Singapore, those who try hard to join them and do what they want because it is profitable and the rest of the population who have just switched off because it is too dangerous to get involved.

This is not the way ahead.

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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Anonymous said...

Do not be ignorant or underestimate the real powers of the I.S.D. They have absolute control over your life or death. They can come for you, for whatever reasons, at their suitable time,after which you may never see the light of day again.
Should you survive their ordeal, you will suffer psychological trauma and resentment that will be embeded deep into your soul. You may never recover to be a normal person again.
For those who know this will have that fear in them. For those who don't, I feel sorry for them.
This is the politics of fear.

comrade Mushashi

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Nair,
Is it surprising then to see Lee Kuan Yew's PAP scraping the bottom of the local talent pool to fill its election membership coffers.
Look at where his MPs come from - SAF, Malaysians and bootlickers.

Lee does not spare the opposition parties either, so few local talent go there.

PAP select MPs not to address voters' issues, but to tell & convince to the people, PAP's issues.

Where are the conviction politicans?

When the brightest, the lawyers and the best do not want to serve in parliament, there is only one place for Singapore's future. South.

This is the true "L"egacy of Lee Kuan Yew. "L"-plate voters, "L"-plate politicians (incl. oppositions), "L"-plate lawyers.

Anonymous said...

In a media statement, Chee [Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan] said, "If PM Lee is genuinely contrite and is determined to lead a government that listens to the people, then he will announce an across-the-board reduction in the Ministers' salaries."

He added, "The astronomical wages that the Ministers draw, despite the poor performance of the last government, have caused much anger among Singaporeans", before going on to recommend the PM's salary be reduced to S$60,000 a month and that the "ministers' wages follow accordingly."

PM Lee currently earns an annual salary of S$3,870,000, the highest paid politician in the world.

Anonymous said...

Many facts on this website should be published also in international newspapers frequently to make the public wordwide aware of these facts and keep the public informed. Many peopel who do business with Singapore or Singaporeans are not aware and informed about all these facts. I appreciate this website for providing so many useful information.

Anonymous said...

Even many businessmen from Europe and America who travel frequently to Singapore to do some business are afraid of the legal system. They are afraid of saying and expressing what they think, because they fear to get arrested and punished.
For a list of over thirty offences there is also still physical and corporal punishment applicable in Singapore, but I agree with the author of this blog, that wealthier people can buy their way out easily of prison or punishment.

Anonymous said...

Yes this is true....fear is everywhere and legal systems is corrupt as well..this country needs a revolution and get rid of this olygarchy asap

Anonymous said...

As a Singaporean citizen, I am rather amused by the vitriol against the so-called dictatorship in Singapore. I do not think much of Mr. Chee Soon Juan's disgraceful antics. And I'm surprised that the article intentionally left out opposition members like Mr. LTK who have thrived. To Mr. Nair who is now a proud American citizen, perhaps you can turn your attention on the current bureaucratic gridlock in Capitol Hill instead of dwelling on the misgivings you have about Singapore.

Gopalan Nair said...

To Anonymous who said,

"As a Singaporean citizen, I am rather amused by the vitriol against the so-called dictatorship in Singapore"

Surely you are entitled to be amused. It is your prerogative and I would the last to object.

You may think that Dr Chee's actions are antics, but having observed him and seen his writings, it would hardly appear antics to most people, including me. Once again if to you they appear antics, surely I have no right to complain. I certainly don't think so.

I have not mentioned Low Thia Khiang deliberately because I and most who understand Singapore politics know that he is not opposition, he is a member of Lee's PAP or at least a de facto member. His Workers Party is working to further PAP's interests, not that of the opposition.

As an American Citizen I can turn my attention to American politics. But as a Singapore citizen by birth, I can also work towards the freedom of Singaporeans. And neither you nor anyone else can tell me what to do.