Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Singapore. The police state

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore is nothing but a police state.

The rule of law has long gone. The courts selectively choose their victims. When those who further it's business interests, such as Lee Kuan Yew cronies, foreign bank managers and multi national tycoons are either not prosecuted at all or on the rare occasions when they are, are given small fines and let off. There are far too many examples in the state controlled press and need not be re-stated here.  

The Constitution is not worth the paper it is written on. Rights such as free speech, assembly, right to due process, right to a fair trial are all simply ignored.

Even though the constitution mandates freedom of speech, the slightest of criticism directed at the Lee Ruling family will land you in serious trouble. The usual punishment is bankruptcy, impoverishment and even jail.

The police are given free reign to stop and search anyone they want without the need to show reasonable cause. Anyone walking peacefully along the streets are liable to be asked for identification and if they resist, liable for immediate arrest. Not wanting to lose face, the police will make sure that charges are indeed filed and a conviction is secured.

Racial profiling by police is not merely allowed, it is encouraged. Anyone anytime, anywhere can be asked to identify himself without any reasonable cause whatsoever, and if found unsatisfactory, liable to arrest. The Indian population that congregate at Little India Singapore are subject to repeated searches and questioning. Together with Singapore citizens, anyone can be stopped anytime for questioning.

All of a sudden, the police officer, many of them Malays with very little education is suddenly transformed into powerful person, just because of his uniform. You see them walking along and stopping anyone they like anytime for questioning. The moment you resist, regardless of the fact that you did nothing wrong, you are taken into the police car and driven off to the nearest police station and locked up for further questioning.

At this point, once they discover that you are the son of the Swiss manager of Discovery Bank UBJA, at down town Singapore, higher officials immediately gives orders for his release. Whereas if the person arrested was the waiter at the local coffee shop, he is arrested, charged and convicted of the most convenient one they can find.

The reasoning of the Lee Kuan Yew dictatorship is the need for ordinary citizens to obey and respect authority; whether or not he committed a crime is irrelevant. The thinking is unless he can successfully intimidate his people into submission, like the Chinese emperor did, he will lose his throne.

On the other hand, we don't want the son of the Swiss bank manager to be offended, since it can result in his leaving the island and the consequent loss of business.

The result of this free reign for the police to do anything they want results in the people living in fear of a police state. The Singapore police strut around like thugs, questioning anyone and arresting anyone they want.

Singaporeans have no privacy rights. They can be questioned anytime and anywhere, at the behest of even the lowest of the low and ignorant Malay police officer. They become, by the way they live, nothing but servile peasants who at the mercy of the police and by extension, the Lee Kuan Yew government.

This license given to Lee Kuan Yew's police does not stop merely to pedestrians. You have no privacy in your car, your home or your work place, where the police can come without warrant anytime to question you simply on a whim. If they do decide to apply for a warrant, it is given forthwith regardless of its merits.

It is no different from that of any police state throughout history. Hitler's Polizie could question anyone anytime and lock you up as it pleases them. So could the former secret police in East Germany, STAZI, the Russian KGB, or now in North Korea.

Very conveniently, these concepts of liberty and freedom are not taught in schools and most Singaporeans are deliberately kept in the dark. In fact, many are pleased to live this way as they consider it, wrongly, to be safer than Western societies which see the need to balance privacy rights and the danger of giving unlimited power to the police.

In fact, because Singapore does not have a free press, many crimes are not published as often as they are in countries, much larger than Singapore, which allow journalistic freedom. This results in Singaporeans misled into believing that somehow their society is safer than those in the West, which is completely untrue. In fact there is far less crime in the major parts of California, as well as in most parts of the US than in Singapore, but because of the free newspaper reporting and because of isolated incidents of shootings, they wrongly consider the West dangerous.

The West cherishes the right to individual privacy and human rights and places strict limits on the police to intrude. Coupled with independent law courts unlike those Kangaroo ones in Singapore which cater for the Lee ruling family's wishes, one can surely say that life in the West is a pleasant one. At least we can live like men, unlike in Singapore where one lives like a dog, with Lee Kuan Yew and his police at the end of the leash.

Give me democracy and freedom anytime over living in a police state like Singapore.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Fremont, California
Tel: 510 657 6107 or 510 491 4375

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I came across your post while researching the legality of stop and search in Singapore. Although you have every right to voice your opinion in this blog of yours, I find it rather baffling that you mention "Racial profiling by police is not merely allowed, it is encouraged." while in the subsequent paragraph you racially profiled the Malay police officers with this line "many of them Malays with very little education is suddenly transformed into powerful person".
I am a Malay man writing this comment not to pick a fight or chastise you for your posts but rather as feedback to what i deem as an unnecessary and stereotypical view of the Malay community which is already prevalent in Singapore society. It is enough that on a federal level we are seen as '2nd class' citizens that is not even given access to our own areas in the military camps even while we're in uniform but the continuous perception led by posts such as this that continuously gives credit to profiling my community.
I understand that this is an old posts and I hope your views have changed since. Have a good day.

Rudy Hakeem