Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Singapore government should be liable for flood damage

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Anyone taking the trouble to look at Singapore's state controlled newspapers would know that flooding has become almost a daily occurrence each time it rains, and even though their reports never fail to use words such as "flash floods" and not just "floods" to impress upon the reader of their short duration, it is no denying the fact that businessmen are suffering losses each time it occurs and just because the flooding is not prolonged, is results in financial loss nevertheless.

Orchard Road, the prime shopping belt appears the floods greatest victim, especially so since every single store there is upmarket and of the luxury variety, which means millions of dollars in loss each time the Heavens open up over Singapore.

Not just Orchard Road but throughout Singapore businesses continue to suffer heavy losses almost on a daily basis, and because of the frequency of such downpours and floods, insurers are no longer prepared to carry the risk, which means the businesses are uninsured.

We are not just talking about merchandise, but water damage is caused in a multitude of other ways, such as hundreds of motor cars ruined, some of the very luxury variety, electrical and machinery ruined and losses mounting.

What astonishes me is this. Except for the island's newspapers to report such flooding, they seem to be doing nothing. For one we all know that their plans such as building rooftop reservoirs is so much hogwash, expected of any government which has now finally run out ideas. Someone has to tell them that it is not enough just to report such grandiose balderdash, it is necessary also to do something for those suffering losses like this.

If anyone is searching for responsibility, it surely rests solely on this government's shoulders. It is they who had given planning permission to build in such areas. It is they who had constructed such inadequate drainage insufficient to carry the flood run off. It is they who ignored the warnings on climate change. It is they who should have advised Singaporeans to live only on higher land, of what little land that is left in the tiny island, and leave the low laying areas to the birds.

But they never did any of this, which, they as a government should have done. And there is a word in law for people such as this. It is the "n" word, "negligence". And for negligence, a defendant has to pay and pay big time.

Therefore unless all these shop owners and businessmen are nothing but a bunch of cowardly spineless fools who are afraid to take on Lee Kuan Yew and son on their liability, I would strongly suggest a series of negligence actions in the Singapore High Court against Lee Kuan Yew and his ilk for multi million dollar claims. If the court finds otherwise, at least you would have put your case forward and make them look very small indeed.

As we speak, we hear of another spate of flooding in different parts of Singapore while Lee Kuan Yew's million dollar ministers merely give out their usual excuses. Yes we do know that it is due to global warming. But you knew that too. Then why in Heavens did you grant planning permission to Lucky Plaza and Liat Towers for instance? Any answers, or have you opted on the Fifth, as you petty minions always do, because you are not accountable to anyone, as dictatorships always are.

Come on, is it raining?

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Disbarred from practicing law in Lee's Singapore, imprisoned and refused entry to the island for criticizing Singapore's judiciary in this blog (see blogpost May 29, 2008 Singapore. Judge Belinda Ang's Kangaroo Court)
Actively practicing law in California and in good standing at the California Bar.
Member in good standing as a lawyer in England and Wales (Barrister).
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