Thursday, 1 April 2021

Is Singapore a PAP Utopia?

 Since Sir Stamford Raffles set foot on Singapore in 1819, it had undergone a dramatic generational progressive transformation to what it s today as a world renowned metropolis. It was under British Colonial rule from the early days but political awakening among colonised people in the word necessitated the British to relinguish power to local politicians. So there emerged two very astute politicians vying to take over from the British. One was a Cambridge-trained lawyer Lee Kuan Yew  and the other was a dynamic pro-communist  activist Lim Chin Siong who had obviously the imprimatur of the Communist Party of Malaya. With the help of Singapore Special Branch and the Chief Minister at the time Lim Yew Hock, Lee Kuan Yew eventually became the prime minister of Singapore, much to the relief of the British colonial masters.

The much-vaunted PM Lee Kuan Yew did a monumental job in bringing Singapore from a third world country to a first world status. But he also had a less human aspect of his persona in the inhumane way he treated his political opponents like Lim Chin Siong, Dr. Lim Hock Siew and Chia Thye Poh.

His successor Goh Chok Thong was supposed to be a seat-warmer for his son Lee Hsien Loong but managed to excel and remained prime minister for more than a decade. Lee Kuan Yew's prodigious son  Lee Hsien Loong took over and has remained prime minister till today and maybe much longer because the 4G successors are not so promising. 

It started in Goh Chok Thong's era that the prime minister and his mercenary ministers enrich themselves with millions of dollars as salaries from taxpayers' money. There had been a slight compunction in Lee Hsien's administration by reducing a minuscule amount but the sums are still obscene. Is this what is called a PAP utopia? It may be for the PAP charlatans but do they realise that there are considerable number of Singaporeans who sleep in the open without any shelter. Is this what they call serving the people which is blatantly hypocritical  because they are actually serving themselves by dipping their fingers into people's money. Is this not a travesty of the worst kind over the sovereignty of the people's wealth for selfish end?

So what is the kismet of Singaporeans as long as the money-minded PAP leaders stay in power? Can we get enough of  politicians like Pritam Singh and Jamus Lim to dislodge them?  As long as they have precarious-minded electors to suppport them it may take a long time for this to happen, may not even be in our generation, In the meantime the PAP leaders will wallow in their utopia and the rest of Singaporeans, especially those eking out a living, will live a life nearer that of a purgatory. Does this ever evoke any feeling of compassion from our callous million-dollar Prime Minister and his mercenary ministers who wallow in their ill-gotten (no?) luxury? Is this what is called an idyllic version of an equitable society?  Do Singaporeans have a choice  and could they really be resolute in shaping their destiny?

Sunday, 21 March 2021

The outrageous PAP mayors

 The clown Chan Chun Sing was at his comical best for his outrageous display in defending the roles and functions of the CDC and the five PAP mayors. Even Bertha Henson, the literary celebrity, was flabbergasted by his bombastic utterance and could not even know what he was talking about. Chan Chun Sing is the prominent government face who gives frequent expositions, ad nauseam, of government policies and people are wondering if Singaporeans are finding his sermon on the mount amusing. Half-baked politicians like him are going to lead the government in future and I think Singaporeans will have to brace themselves to see what would happen in the future.

The salaries af the PAP mayors are definitely outrageous and are a reflection of the obscene millions of dollars PM Lee Hsien Loong and his mercenary ministers pay themselves from taxpayers' money. Workers' Party leader Pritam Singh made a very pertinent point in exposing the outrageous  roles and functions of the PAP mayors. It is clear that their position is untenable and it would be interesting to see what Lee Hsien Loong will do to mitigate the outrage. Pundits are wondering why there are still up to seventy percent of electorate who support the PAP at every election under the preposterous misconception that their livelihood will disappear if they did not vote for the PAP.

It is clear that PAP mayors are drawing salaries so astronomically higher than mayors in other countries and serving lesser number of residents . Pritam Singh has shown that their duties are superflous and could be undertaken by other units in the governments. It becomes abundantly clear that in order to heed the demand of the public, the mayor post could be abolished. But whether Lee Hsien Loong has the guts to do it, when he and his mercenary ministers are enriching nthemselves with taxpayers' money, is something for Singaporeans to see.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

A look-back at the intricacies and intrigues of the political regime

 The protagonists were a pompous former PM Lee Kuan Yew , an iniquitous former permanent secretary Tay Seow Huah and  charlatan ex-president SR Nathan.

Sir Thomas Raffles discovered Singapore in 1819 and with his uncanny foresight and the entrepreurial industry of the Chinese immigrant turned this fishing village into what is the most world-renowned metropolis today. The British Colonial rule though not quite consummate was a lot better than the Dutch oppressive  colonial rule in Indonesia. The people's livelihood was quite liveable and there was always a privileged class with upper social standard.

The Japanese occupation had imparted a political change in the mind of the people and with the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) fanning the revolutionary feeling of the people it soon became an avalanche of political turmoil which taxed the British to the extreme of their prowess. The MCP's aim was to overthrow the British and establish a Communist Uptopia.

They started an armed rebellion in 1948 and in 1951 opened a second front called the Communist United Front to complement their faltering armed struggle. In1953/54 there emerged out of nowhere a dynamic CUF leader named Lim Chin Siong who overnight took command of the CUF obviously with the imprimature of the MCP. He was a student activst in the Chinese Hgh School who had evaded arrest and had gone underground.

At the same time there also emerged a Cambridge-trained lawyer Lee Kuan Yew  who had lofty political ambitions. But he was severely handicapped by not having a mass base and had to depend on Lim Chin Siong for this support. So it became a political tussle between Lee Kuan Yew and Lim Chin Siong for political prominence and eventually becoming prime minister.

It was abundantly clear that Lee Kuan Yew was no match to Lim Chin Siong in any electorial competition and if history was allowed its course Lim Chin Siong could easily become the prime minister of Singapore with Lee Kuan Yew likely as his prisoner. But then God seemed to favour Lee kuan Yew and provided him with two benefactors in the persons of Richard Corridon, a Special Banch Superintend, and Lim Yew Hock, the Chief Minister at the time. These two saviours made it possible for Lee Kuan Yew to become the prime minister.

Lee Kuan Yew became Prime Minister after the PAP won a landslide victory in 1959. He appointed George Bogaars as Director of Special Branch as soon as the expat Director E.J Linsell retired. Bogaars had no Special Branch experience but he made up with his excepptional intelligence and exquisite personality and almost overnight became so masterful in national security that it mesmerised Lee Kuan Yew so overwhemingly to a ecstatic state of invincibilty and invulnerabilty. Lee regarded Bogaars as some kind of a demi-god and relied so completely on security and even cabinet matters. He was promoted to Permanent Secretary of the Interior and Home affairs when Singapore became independent in 1965 and created a ceremonous post of Head Civil Service and appointed him the first Head.

But then the cycle of divine bebevolence must reach a zenith at some stage and may start to decline. What led to the eventual fallout between Bogaars and Lee Kuan Yew had remained enigmatic but I became the target of Lee's inquisition because I happened to be in the line of fire by my close association with Bogaars who defended me gallantly against Lee's scandalous defamation instigated by a iniquitous Tay Seow Huah. It was unbelievable but the whole process resembled a Chinese Dynasty intrigues where eunuchs denigrate each other before the emperor. I think my kismet was due and I had to go so I was rusticated into the wilderness. Bogaars was gradually eased out of his lofty position and he eventually retired.

SR Nathan was a more elusive character and he appeared to detach himself from from the high-powered political antics of Lee Kuan yew and Tay Seow Huah. Somehow he and Lee Kuan Yew were as thieves and it was Lee who proposed him as president. He was good at showing a deadpan face when faced with a scandal.

After Lees death I wrote an obituary portraying Lee a both a titan and a tyrant. Historians till now do not have a clear conscience to write his obituary.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

The Saga of Liew Mun Leong

 It is not surprising that the saga of Changi Airport Group Chairman Liew Mun Leong  has attracted such prominent attraction not only in Singapore but maybe outside. This is no doubt one of the most iniquitious injustices that could be imposed on a defenceless Indonesian maid who had given eight years of conscientious service to the Low family.

The process of the police investigations and the district curt judgement for the alleged theft by this unfortunate victim were so full of unimaginables and unconventionals that they boggle the common mind of the people completely. It was by the grace of God (or Allah in this case)  that the appeal was heard by such a courageus and perceptive High Court Judge as Justice Chan Seng Onn who minced no words in his highly critical judgement of the judicial proceedings of the district court and his unbridled contempt of the iniquitious conduct of Liew Mun Leong and his son Karl in trumping up theft charges against the defenceless maid.

Justice Chan laid bare the inexcusable inadequacies of the police investigations under the direction of the Attorney-General Department and the unbelievable blunder of the District Judge in convicting the accused on the questionable evidence before her. With her experience she should have been more alert to the misdirection led by the blinkered Deputy Public Prosecutors. She was not able to perceive the improper motive of Liew Mun Leong in victimising the maid as pointed out by Justice Chan. It is incredible that this deceitful character runs in the family of Liew Mun Leong. His son Karl was chastised by another Justice as being dishonest and deceitful.

The denunciation of Justice Chan has put the Attorney General and the government in an uncomplimentary light before the public. The AG has indicated that he will study the judgement and will see what further action to take. Needless to say that his first action should be to look into the improper motive of Liew Mun Leong and to see that justice is done to redeem the injustice he had engineered against the maid. The AG may balk because of the stature and reputation of Liew Mun Leong. He may cringe when confronted with Liew's political connections.It all depends on whether he has the conviction and sincerity to see that justice is done. It will give the wrong signal if nothing is done to people like Liew and others like him to commit injustice on innocent individuals.

In conclusion I think a word of praise and gratitude should be given to the wonderful defence counsel Anil Balchandani for his magnificent act in defending the maid pro bono in her time of adversity and made such a consummate success of it. Let's hope that the maid Parti Liyani will be able to obtain adequate compensation from Liew Mun Leong for her suffering.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

A look at Singapore through unblinkled eyes

There is a perceptible euphoria in the air not unlikely created by the PAP leadership following their lacklustre performance in the general election in order to boost their flagging stature. It is the acme of irony that top PAP politicians who pay themselves millions of dollars from taxpayers' money to consider themselves people servers but equally ironical that there are considerable guillible Singaporeans who believe them. On top of this you have the prime minister's wife Ho Ching whose probably enormous salary as CEO of Temasek Holdings remains a state secret.

That there is a voters' swing towards the opposition, especially the Workers' Party, is a severe slap to PM Lee Hsien Loong and the PAP leadership which could not have escaped the psyche of PM Lee and his sidekicks and could have sent a warning to them that it could be a precursor of some revolutionary changes to the political landscape of Singapore in the future. The dynamic performance of the Workers' Party in the GE must have put them in a state of acute pessimism as the WP will be like a tornado even in their dream as their Nemesis. On the other hand the voters have shown very clearly that they have been satiated by the guiles of the PAP for too long and have reduced the political standing of their ministers, even PM Lee himself, by reducing the percentage of their votes rendering them as caricatures of their former selves. They even dispatched an eminent minister in Sengkang in the hustings.

PM Lee could not have been so myopic as not to be able to see the writing on the wall. So he and his deflated ministers are now working desparately to regain the confidence of the voters by making unprecedented promises to ameliorate the livelihood of Singaporeans. Whether this will go down well with Singaporeans will depend on whether the pledges will be just a perfunctory exercise or a genuine effort to improve the livelihood of Singaporeans. Even the PAP mouthpiece President has thrown in her lot to call upon the people to support the new PAP government. It will be interesting to watch how the promises will evolve from now on.

It is a good omen for Singapore that a large number of Singaporeans are more politically conscious of their inherent inheritance of their inborn endownment to decide on their own destiny.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

An attempt at a post-mortem of the GE

There were genuine fears among opposition leaders that there could be a complete wipe out of the opposition in the general election. In the event I think God had looked kindly on Singapore opposition and could have ordained that there should be some semblance of democracy in Singapore politics. And Workers' Party could have been chosen as a Darling of Fate(天之骄子) and romped home in their victory in Aljunied GRC,Sengkang GRC and Hougang SMC. Although it may not come as a surprise to WP but I think this was something beyond their wildest dream. It shows that Singaporeans are tired of authoritarian rule and wanted to see more checks an balances in Parliament.

Sengkang is unique and could be a precursor of more revolutionary changes in the Singapore political landscape. The WP Sengkang is young and dynamic and could reflect  the revolutionary fervour of the young voters in Sengkang. They were so favourably regarded by the young Sengkang voters. The PAP should have seen the writing on the wall and it was a suicide to parachute their candidates including the anchor minister Ng Chee Meng to contest the GRC. According to the grape vine they were viewed with disdain by the young voters and had at once become non-starters. The WP had a political star in Jamus Lim who had made short shrift of the Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in their political debate. Another political star was a 26 year old young Malay woman Rheesa Khan who projected a formidable image of political activism. She enjoyed considerable adulation from especially young Singaporeans despite her skirmish with the police over her so-called racial writings.

WP Sengkang victory stunned the PAP as well as the general public because it was like something out of the blue but nevertheless it was received with jubilation by the young Sengkang voters as well as discerning Singaporeans. Now what is going to happen to the three PAP political office holders who lost in Sengkang is something the public would be interested in.

WP's victory in Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC may not be such a surprise to the public as they were already hoping that there could be some political development in the future. The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) has not done too badly considering that they were quite new and depended really on the political pull of Dr. Tan Chang Bock. There is a saying that is it not easy for one person to upset the apple-cart.

The PAP has garnered 83 seats out of 93 contested and has a comfortable majority in Parliament but we can see from hereon quite a lot of political sparks provided by the 10 redoubtable WP MPs in Parliament. They will keep the run-in-the-mill type of PAP MPs on their toes which is a good beginning. It's good to make them sweat for their fat MP allowances. Unless the PAP wakes up from their slumber they may see more erosion of their political standing in Parliament in the future. I think they should take heed of the sagacious advice of Home Minister K. Shanmugam to reflect and soul-searching.

Friday, 3 July 2020

The conundrum of the 10 million population.

This sensitive question had caused considerable consternation among Singaporeans when it was first brandished around some years ago but quite strangely it did not explode intensely and somehow became dormant to the peaceful mind of the PAP. Then to their dismay at the political parties debate on 1st July Dr. Chee Soon Juan of the Singapore Democratic Party suddenly posed this question of 10 million population for Singapore's future to Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan of the PAP and could have caught the latter by surprise. This is where it shows the magnanimity or lack of it  in the Minister in dealing with his opponent. Could it be so brazen to start by accusing Dr. Chee of spreading falsehood about the government targeting 10 million population for Singapore?  Had it not occurred to the discerning Minister that multitude of Singaporeans had already heard of it and would it not be preposterous to suggest that Dr. Chee started the rumour?

Instead of blustering against Dr. Chee could not the Minister have shown more civility by simply clarifying the public misconception of the 10 million population in a more benign manner considering that it was  already a public knowledge and not a rumour spread by Dr. Chee ? He could have strongly emphasised that it was not the intention of the government to target a 10 million population for Singapore and that certainly not from DPM Heng Swee Kiat. Otherwise this can easily spiral into something so titanic that it could be like a double-edged sword hanging over the PAP election campaign.

Dr. Chee had been portrayed as a scoundrel for starting a rumour and I think it is a great disservice to him by the government. He was only trying to perform his duty as a political opposition and should not be a subject of vilification. I am not a supporter of Dr. Chee and it may be true that he may not be an angel but as  human being he deserves some respect for his self-esteem. I undertake to come to his defence because of my righteousness to stand up for an underdog from imperious attack.

I am sorry Dr. Vivian Balakhrishnan if my article hurts your feelings and I hope that there will not be any hard feelings.