Saturday, January 28, 2012

Singapore's judges work, instilling fear

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You might have thought that judges in Singapore administer the law. Wrong. Their principle job is keeping people in line, silencing dissent, and making sure Lee Kuan Yew family have no challengers.

The way they do it is by openly abusing the law to punish Lee's political opponents. This way, anyone contemplating such a course thinks twice and stops.

One would have thought that a city state such as this would worry about their reputation if they brazenly go out misusing the law like this, but apparently it does not bother them. At least not so far. With a state controlled press and media, they appear to think it is sufficient to publish a series of articles claiming it has the best legal system in the world. But whether or not anyone actually believes this rubbish is another thing entirely.

In the last 3 decades the late JB Jeyaretnam who died in 2008, coincidentally when I was in prison in Singapore for having written a blog post critical of Lee Kuan Yew's judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean, was the punching bag suffering a series of libel suits and a jail sentence, resulting in his bankruptcy and disbarment. Lately, it was Dr. Chee Soon Juan, suffering the same fate, Alan Shadrake an English author who wrote a book critical of his legal system and myself imprisoned in 2008 and recently disbarred from practicing law in Singapore. In every single one of these cases, the victim had done no wrong. All they did was have the temerity to accuse Lee Kuan Yew or his legal system of dishonesty, which we all know, they are.

But abusing the legal system this way has severe wide ranging consequences which continue to take a toll on Singapore. First it reduces the integrity of the legal system. This can be seen in the number of lawyers in the island, not more than about 3,000 in an island with more than 5 million people. Second, the people are losing trust in the administration, resulting in the lowest birth rates in the world, mounting brain drain and an aging population. These are things a small tiny island with a tiny population can ill afford. Writing a series of articles in Singapore's state controlled newspapers claiming it has the best legal system in the world, is not really doing any good, when the papers themselves have lost all credibility.

In this day and age, unless you are a North Korea, you simply cannot stop this brain drain. Unless foreigners are downright imbeciles, any Frenchman, German or American spending a week in Singapore would go home knowing Singapore is just another North Korea in essence. Using taxpayer's money to build fancy expressways or underground train stations does not impress anyone. Pyongyang has them too.

If Lee Kuan Yew really wants Singapore to be a successful respected city state where it's citizens want to live in, it has to allow people the ability to live as human beings, not as rabbits in fear. But the problem in doing this is this. The moment he opens up society, he will be overthrown, which obviously he does not want. So as long as Lee continues in his stupidity, Gopalan Nairs and hundreds and thousands of others who could have contributed greatly to the island would have all left for good. This is frankly a no brainer.

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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Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
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