Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Singapore's pipe dream of becoming a commerical law hub

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore state owned news agency has this report on Feb 12, 2014, "Singapore to re-make itself as Asia's legal hub with new commercial cases" Please see http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/breaking-news/singapore/singapore-remake-itself-asias-legal-hub-new-commercial-court-20140212

Anyone who understands the one party police state island, absent the rule of law, would probably ask them, what are you smoking!

The raw painful facts about Singapore legal system is not flattering. For decades now, the profession has had a hard time both attracting anyone into the law, or stopping the huge drain of lawyers out of it. You see, no one who has any self respect or a modicum of conscience would be prepared to enter a career where you are literally prevented from representing your client because the judge is a Kangaroo.

The problem as you know is Lee Kuan Yew. He decided decades ago that lawyers are dangerous if left alone. They know how to ask difficult questions, one of which, is why is there no rule of law. Not wanting to hear any of this, he has literally cut the wings of lawyers.

Today you have Singapore lawyers, every single one of them afraid to ask why is the Constitution hijacked, why is there no independent press, why is there no right to speech, why has JB Jeyaretnam repeatedly sued jailed and bankrupted, why are you hounding Chee Soon Juan, why did you put Gopalan Nair in jail and disbar him from practicing law in Singapore because he criticized the Singapore judiciary in this blog.

You realize I hope that 3400 lawyers, the number presently practicing in the island,  in a so called commercial city state of 5 million is totally inadequate.

London has perhaps 20 times more and each year thousands of students take to the law. In California my bar number is 181423, meaning I am the 181, 423 lawyer in State of California, even though many have left the profession or no longer practicing; but still a huge mighty number.

Thousands and thousands of students each year take the bar exam in California aspiring to be lawyers. Their problem is how to control the number, the law being so attractive a profession, which they do by making the California Bar Exams as difficult as possible. Today the California bar exam is so difficult to pass, it is not possible to make it any harder. May I proudly say that I, Gopalan Nair is one of those who passed it.

To put it bluntly, Singapore lawyers are a castrated bunch of eunuchs who prostrate before Lee Kuan Yew and his government. They are not lawyers. They are a bunch of reptiles capable only of crawling. I have not seen as much crawling in Singapore since I was last at the reptile house.

An embarrassing manifestation of that is the fact that in an island of more than 5 million, they were only able to attract no more 3,400 lawyers, half of whom are foreigners. Singaporeans simply don't want to go into the profession unless you are willing to crawl and lick ass, I mean Lee Kuan Yew's ass.

In fact Singapore lawyers command so very little respect in the community, not so much because they are seen as sharks but more because they are seen as cowards, incapable of doing their duty of defending their client for fear of the Lees.

Let me give you a disgraceful denial of a defendant's rights. In Singapore a criminal defendant has no right to counsel unless, what they conveniently call "investigations" is complete. In other words you don't allow the defendant to see a lawyer until such time he is sufficiently tortured and threatened and a confession obtained. After that he is allowed a lawyer.

This is just one example of the shameful litany of denial of rights that any criminal defendant has to endure, indeed every citizen in the island endures.

You will be surprised to note that no Singapore lawyer has yet taken issue with any of these denials of defendant's basic rights; the only country in the whole world, other than perhaps North Korea which will tolerate this.

As you are aware, they had set up an arbitration center to attract foreign business. It was as you know a total failure, and expectedly so. Anyone having a case in Singapore would not know if he won or lost because of the merits of his case, or because the arbitrator did the politically correct thing by finding in favor of Singapore government or their connections.

If you read the above Business Times report, you would find their claim that the arbitration business has tripled. You note, no statistics have been quoted as authority. I have no doubt that the state owned news agency have taken it out of whole cloth. It is just humbug.

I know that the only cases they get are from China because the increasing numbers of Western companies who do business there are required to sign contracts which include a Singapore arbitration clause. As a result many of these foreign companies have no choice but to accept Singapore arbitration because if they don't they lose the business.

In the vast majority of cases, all these arbitration awards are found against the foreign company. As far as the Chinese are concerned, their Singapore connection is based on the adage,  you scratch my back and I scratch yours. There is no real independence in any court in Singapore because  the government and their friends always wins.

This report in the Singaporean Business Times is pure humbug. If they thought they are going to attract international legal business to Singapore, North Korea might as well start one of their own. They are on a pipe dream once again in their totalitarian one party state minus the rule of law.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525
Email: nair.gopalan@yahoo.com

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