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It’s Back to the 1970s

The last week has brought a distinct feeling of deja vu.

Firstly, we had the decision to close Yale-NUS, which was spun as economic but was clearly a political decision. After Singapore promised that there would be freedom of thought and expression on campus, it became increasingly cleat that this was unacceptable to the Government. Such is the degree of top-down control that Lee Hsien Loong’s Government exerts over the university that even a relatively innocuous module that was to be taught in 2019 by playwright Alfian Sa’at was unacceptable to the authorities. Clearly the authorities were worried that if they did not clamp down now it would become a hotbed of dissent and maybe a source of potential future Opposition candidates among the students there. It is rumoured that student assistance to the Workers Party, which must have seemed to the students to be a relatively safe option given the PAP’s endorsement of Workers Party under Pritam Singh, in Sengkang was the last straw.

Secondly, judgement was given in the libel suit brought by the PM against Terry Xu from The Online Citizen. Given the statistically improbable run of success the PM and his PAP cronies have enjoyed before the courts where he appoints the judges and his AG controls their promotion or demotion, the finding of defamation and the quantum of damages ($210,000) was not a surprise (though vastly reduced in real terms from the damages that the courts routinely ordered my father to pay), even though in this case the PM chose not to sue his siblings who had been the source of the alleged libel.

Singapore often claims that it follows UK law and that therefore there is rule of law in Singapore. However, even in the UK, which is seen as one of the friendliest forums for defamation claimants, litigants are required to prove that they have suffered economic loss as a result of the libel. This was the argument that George Carman made when he defended my father in the defamation suit brought by “Swiss standard of living“ Goh after the 1997 General Election. Carman forced Goh to agree that far from suffering an economic loss, he had had an “excellent” year. The judge hearing the suit, Rajendran, agreed because he only awarded Goh $20,000 in damages. Goh, as everyone knows, appealed and got the damages increased to $100,000 without economic justification.

Similarly LHL’s damage award bears no relation to any economic loss he has suffered. He continues to draw over $2 million a year in salary and his wife continues as CEO of Temasek until she steps down in October. Her salary, estimated to be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars a year, continues to be paid. LHL is in no danger of being unseated as PM until such time in a year or five or ten years that he decides to step down.

The only difference between now and JBJ’s time is that with the rise of the internet and social media it has become much easier for those on the receiving end of outrageous damages awards to raise the money. Or at least that is the standard reason given. The real reason is that Singaporeans were too scared of helping JBJ and the Lees and their friends made clear that if one suit was paid off they would just bring another claim, in what was aptly called a flagrant abuse of the judicial process and something that our judges, even if they owed their appointment, salary and promotion to the PM and his AG, should never have allowed.

Thirdly, and proving that nothing has changed with Lee’s authoritarian Government since the supposedly bad old days of the twentieth century, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is now taking action against TOC for receiving foreign donations and will probably suspend it permanently. This again is reminiscent of his dad’s tactics of using different state agencies to come after his opponents like JBJ. Despite Terry Xu not posing much of a threat to LHL’s hegemony, the latter is also using his AG to pursue archaic and repressive criminal defamation charges as well as contempt of court actions against Xu.

Chillingly, the examples cited to justify claims of foreign interference (The Eastern Sun and The Singapore Herald) were from the 1970s:

“Singapore was a target of two such operations in the 1970s involving newspapers The Eastern Sun and the Singapore Herald. These newspapers received funding from foreign sources and ran articles that sought to undermine Singapore’s nation-building efforts,”

I remember my parents had The Singapore Herald (TSH) delivered to our house and as a 13 year old I read about the desperate David v Goliath battle they fought against LKY’s determination to close them down as the last independent media outlet. There was a famous cartoon showing LKY as a tank driver about to crush TSH depicted as a baby in a nappy. At the time there were many claims by LKY and his Government that TSH were being funded by the CIA but not a shred of evidence was ever produced and it was without doubt a lie.

The bogeyman of foreign interference was produced to justify the introduction of the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act. Interestingly IMDA says that the articles undermined “Singapore’s nation-building efforts”. Strangely Singapore’s interests always coincide with keeping the Lees in power thus safeguarding their financial interests providing a perfect illustration of the poster that hung in my dad’s office with a quotation from John Locke, the Enlightenment philosopher, “When political power is used for private gain, tyranny prevails.”

Like a broken record demonstrating that the PAP are bankrupt of new ideas, IMDA repeats the lies and disinformation which have become part of the brainwashing of all Singaporeans from school age onwards. This is that they are incapable of making their own judgements and need a totalitarian state to tell them what to read and think. Of course as the Government is the only agent empowered to use the Protection from Online Falsehood and Manipulation Act (POFMA) it can repeat the lies without any sanction and individuals are powerless top stop it.

There is worse. In a stunning non-sequitur, IMDA makes the extraordinary statement that “There have also been reports from other countries, that foreign players and their agents attempted to influence their politics by buying off political parties and individual politicians.” This seems to be more of a description of how the PAP Government operates in foreign countries, where it uses the resources of GIC and Temasek, built up by imposing austerity on Singaporeans, to bribe foreign academics and politicians and ro invest in Western countries in an influence buying exercise. Western universities like Oxbridge and the Ivy League are influenced by sending large numbers of Government scholars there, one of whose tasks is to spread disinformation. I have written about Joe Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize winner in Economics, who sang Singapore’s praises in helping its poor despite a higher Gini coefficient than the US. Stiglitz cited his Singapore students as sources of information. He has visited Singapore many times, no doubt flying first class and staying at Raffles, as a guest of the Government or its institutions. Obama and Michelle have also been invited to speak in Singapore as guests of the Bank of Singapore and dined with Lee Hsien Loong when they are here. Boris Johnson, the UK PM, has also enjoyed the PAP’s hospitality and probably used it to help pay for sex with his mistress Jennifer Arcuri. The list of examples of PAP influence buying are too numerous to mention. Keppel and Sembawang Marine, Temasek companies, have even been caught bribing Brazilian politicians directly in order to win business. Yet IMDA fails to cite any examples of when Singapore politicians have received foreign money.

However the PAP have always sought to spread smears about Opposition politicians receiving money from abroad, most notoriously when a PAP MP falsely claimed in 1972 that the Workers Party had received $600,000 from abroad. My dad sued the MP and Radio Television Singapore (RTS), the predecessor to Mediacorp, for defamation. Demonstrating that Singapore’s judiciary will only allow defamation to be used by their paymasters, the judge ruled that my father had failed to prove the MP’s words since they were in Chinese and RTS carried them in English. The judge also let RTS off the hook, dismissing the libel action with costs. This was the gift that kept on giving, as WP’s inability to pay the costs allowed LKY to put it into bankruptcy and later secure my father’s debarment from Parliament on a fraudulent conviction that the Privy Council called “a grievous miscarriage of justice” but was unable to overturn due to the AG’s use of a shabby trick.

There are many, including the Workers Party 2.0, who claim that Singapore has moved on and is becoming, or already is, a “robust” democracy (provided one is respectful of LHL and do not ask him any embarrassing questions or aspire to ever take over the Government. However recent events should cause the scales to drop from Singaporeans’ eyes and show that LHL has not changed. Singapore is still stuck in a time warp dating back to the 1970s.

 

Kenneth Jeyaretnam

 

I’m a Singaporean economist who became an opposition activist. I blog to provide an alternative to the porkies that the Pinkies tell. It just so happens that my alternative is the truth. That’s why I’ve never been sued in any civil or criminal court no matter how hard hitting my criticism. I’m quoted and interviewed and asked to speak across the world but largely censored in Singapore in an effort to silence my political opinions. The left hate me because they think I split their vote and because I eschew their outmoded economic models. Models that don’t work. The Right and the Conservatives hate me because I’m a liberal. I’m not sure what the middle think of me. I don’t think there are more than a handful of people in the middle, here in Singapore. I’m a Singaporean born and bred, dual heritage, my parents Singaporean established here before the State of Singapore was created. I’m not Eurasian. I read economics at Cambridge and could be broadly described as from the Keynesian school but I believe in interventions. I was formerly a successful hedge fund manager. After economics and politics my greatest interests are history, film and Makan. I run but I run so I can eat like a Singaporean.

 

 

 

 

yyy
READER COMMENTS BELOW

18 Responses to “It’s Back to the 1970s”

  • xoxo:

    WP says they are FIRST WORLD OPPOSITION LEADER?
    But,thought they are ERECTED ?
    HOW TO HAVE FIRST WORLD PARLIAMENT when all we see is a parLEEmen,including the OPPOSITION LEADER?

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    The evil of a man aptly named Lie Con You is Alive and Well while burning in Hell. His recent visit when the gates opened CONvince his CONvicted n CONditioned a$$e lickers to close down TOC on the day the devil’s spawn was BORN Septembet 16

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  • opposition dude:

    It’s true that PAP still sticks to the old ways of destroying people since they know it’s so damned effective. However it’s also true that the PAP is screwing up loads more than in the 70s. This is most adequately manifested in them losing 2 GRCs and getting 60% vote share.

    Change does take time and the majority of voters need to be convinced that more opposition does not mean Singapore goes down the longkang. The opposition voters don’t need to be convinced of this since they hate PAP to the core but remember that the majority did not vote for the opposition parties last year hor.

    So we are all looking forward to the next election where it’s assumed that PAP will get less than 60% of the votes and lose another GRC or 2. This endemic pandemic has shown us all just how lost they are with cases over 1000 on 18 September. Be careful if you go out and try not to spend so much time outside if you can help it.

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  • Heaven has eyes:

    The fact is getting clearer n clearer..
    LHL and this 4Gov are sorry failures.
    Sold out our country and our hardworking citizens, just for some international accolades or for a “few dollars more” !
    Wake up 61s..
    Freedom of speech taken away already…
    Soon possibly some of our civil liberties..
    Will SG continue to have GEs?

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  • Oz learning from Sg:

    https://www.rt.com/news/535256-elderly-australian-knocked-melbourne-police/
    Elderly Australian woman knocked down & PEPPER-SPRAYED by police during Melbourne protest against lockdowns

    Oz police brutalize old peaceful woman pro-democracy protestor. Scott learned from Sg and banned protest. The woman insists on her democratic right to protest, and got brutalized.

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  • Justice the basis of democracy:

    Abu ‘Abdullah Tariq bin Shihab reported that a person asked the Prophet(ﷺ) (while he had his foot in the horse stirrup): “What is the highest form of Jihad?” The Prophet(ﷺ) answered, “Speaking the truth in the presence of a
    tyrannical ruler”.

    * “O ye who believe! Be you staunch in justice, as witnesses for God, even though it is against your ownselves or parents or kindred, whether it be towards a rich man or a poor man, for the Lord is nearer unto both (than you are). So follow not your passion lest you lapse (from truth) and if you lapse or turn away, lo! God is ever aware of what you do.”

    (Quran 4:135)

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  • oxygen:

    @ Oz learning from Sg

    YOUR TTBL (theatric, threats, bluffs and lies) failed of entertainment.

    Oz learning from Sg: https://www.rt.com/news/535256-elderly-australian-knocked-melbourne-police/
    Elderly Australian woman knocked down & PEPPER-SPRAYED by police during Melbourne protest against lockdowns

    Oz police brutalize old peaceful woman pro-democracy protestor. Scott learned from Sg and banned protest. The woman insists on her democratic right to protest, and got brutalized.

    from the same weblink source, you didn’t quote the objective truth.

    rt.com:Seconds after the attack – with the offending officers having already moved on – another group of police officers came to the woman’s aid and attempted to help her up.

    Videos of the attack from multiple angles went viral on social media this weekend, with many Australians accusing the Melbourne officers of police brutality.

    The offending pigs (brutal cops) will all soon get the farking sack for violent assaults. The Police Integrity Commission will be looking into this with so much publicly-available evidence of “official misconduct” offences.

    They will soon be handing in their uniforms, badges and guns and looking for the next job as the town council’s garbage collectors.

    In the meantime, thanks a lot for your PUBLICLY-DISPLAYED IGNORANCE ENTERTAINMENT here.

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  • ah J seems to get off the hook:

    //built up by imposing austerity on Singaporeans, to bribe foreign academics and politicians and ro invest in Western countries in an influence buying exercise.//

    funny hor ?? ah J seems to get off the hook from the white idiots when such heavy statements are made ?? it seems hor ah J has some powerful magical spell on the white idiots for them not to pull hard on the hook hor ???

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  • xoxo:

    All the LHL GOVT has done is to $QUANDER TAXPAYER MONEY ON PET PROJECT$ ranging from building *jewel$* to $plashing our sgs’ reserves on NON-sgs and then $QUEEZE the ordinary sgs dry like via high GST,LEVIES AND SURCHARGES OF ALL KINDS?

    WHAT IS HIS REAL KPI?
    NEGATIVE!

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  • PAP mandate strong:

    China also learning from USA

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.worldjournal.com/wj/amp/story/121344/5759386

    中版「佛洛伊德」? 廣州電單車司機遭警跪頸

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  • Oz learning from Sg:

    Ozzy gov supporter blames two low rank police. Americans blame Australian PM and demands sanctions against Australia.

    https://www.rt.com/news/535316-us-republicans-sanctions-australia/
    ” American Republicans called on the United States to impose sanctions against Australia this week in response to SEVERAL CASES of Australian police officers violently attacking ‘unauthorized protesters’.

    On Sunday, Ben Kew – the English editor of the conservative Florida-based publication El American – declared in an article that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison “must be made to pay for such flagrant human rights violations” that have taken place against protesters and other Australians through the use of strict Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.”

    oxygen: The offending pigs (brutal cops) will all soon get the farking sack for violent assaults. The Police Integrity Commission will be looking into this with so much publicly-available evidence of “official misconduct” offences.

    They will soon be handing in their uniforms, badges and guns and looking for the next job as the town council’s garbage collectors.

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  • Terence Ho is talking cock:

    Straits Times: Foreign manpower: Making the global talent approach work for Singapore – Terence Ho

    Many developed countries like Australia and Canada have successful global talent approaches. Their SKILLED immigration policy is open and transparent. Foreigners do not take jobs away from locals and they do not depress local wages.

    PAP’s global talent approach is laughable and devastating to Singaporeans for the following reasons:

    (1) The local job market is not a level playing field. Foreigners have a significant advantage because they are exempted from CPF. The result is obvious. Thousands of Singaporean PMETs have lost their job to foreigners and wound up unemployed or underemployed.

    (2) Being “cheap” because of exemption from CPF is not a “talent”. It is an advantage resulting from PAP’s (specifically LHL’s) stupidity and incompetence.

    (3) It is not open and transparent. PAP “cherrypicks” statistics to just its narrative on global talent – it LIES.

    The solution: REGIME CHANGE. Singaporeans should get rid of the self-serving and pro-alien PAP. VTO.

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  • LHL preparing for next GE:

    Closing down Yale-NUS and clamping down on The Online Citizen are “LHL’s preparations” for the next GE. He knows PAP will likely lose more support at the next GE. Another 10+% loss of support will be a “turning point” in Singapore. It would show that the majority of Singaporeans no longer support PAP. It will be the beginning of the end for PAP. DPM Heng Swee Keat likely realized this. That is why he decided not to be PM.

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  • xoxo:

    Talking about TALENTS lacking and MANY JOB VACANCIES unfilled becos sgs not up to the tasks?
    Really?
    How come with so MANY FT-PMEs here in last 20 years to REPLACE sgs,THE NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY is so poor?

    To tell the TRUTH,the PARLIAMENT AND GOVT are where TALENT IS LACKING.

    MPs n ministers must reflect.
    Even Minister Indranee tells sgs to expect LAPSES from Govt?
    Why ?
    Thought G cannot accept minor lapses committed by humbler sgs?

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  • Oz learning from Sg:

    Australia shows it’s real face as a brutal dictator.

    Now their police fire on pro-democracy protesters.
    https://twitter.com/dnforca/status/1440571893388484612

    Their police are much more aggressive that some other police who need 12 to arrest 1 peaceful protester.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Oz learning from Sg

    HA HA, your twitter link below failed again of this offence.

    oxygen: YOUR TTBL (theatric, threats, bluffs and lies) failed of entertainment.

    Instead it revealed this gutter attack from behind of someone at Flinders railway station by a single rogue pig (cop),

    ‘Blood everywhere’: Man ‘knocked unconscious’ in violent arrest

    https://au.news.yahoo.com/blood-everywhere-man-knocked-unconscious-in-violent-police-arrest-092519597.html

    THAT SNAKE IS NOW UNDER INVESTIGATION according to Victoria Police.

    “The exact circumstances around the incident are yet to be determined and are under investigation by both Transit Safety Division and Professional Standards Command.”

    AGAIN IT is “offical misconduct” by its integrity division – Professional Standards Command. Very likely with the recorded digital evidence, it will result in criminal charges with all full consequenceS WHATEVER IT TAKES AND WHATEVER IT ENTAILS.

    YOUR EXAGGERATED EXCITEMENT of Australia as allegedly a “brutal dictator” claim IS FAKE OF YOUR BIG LIE yet again.

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  • Oz learning from Sg:

    Step by step, now politicians tie up your Independent Commissioner Against Corruption.

    One less powerful check on politicians. One step closer to a democratic dictatorship.

    Oz learning from Sg. Politicians getting shields against investigations.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-23/sa-icac-bill-passes-parliament/100487668

    ‘What’s the point of the ICAC?’

    Earlier on Thursday, Ms Vanstone gave a rare interview to ABC Radio Adelaide, in which she hinted that she would think about resigning if the bill succeeded.

    “I wouldn’t see much value in it. It would be such a different job from the one I took on and I can’t stress enough how important I think the prevention and education functions are,” she said.

    “If they go out the window, which they largely would, and if I’m only given this tiny area that I can investigate I’d have to think, ‘Well, what’s the point of the ICAC?’”

    Ms Vanstone said she had spoken to Attorney-General Vickie Chapman “in very strong terms” about her criticisms of the changes.

    But she said Ms Chapman had been “silent” publicly.

    Two former Liberal MPs are being prosecuted following ICAC investigations.

    Ms Vanstone claimed the changes would shield politicians from scrutiny.

    oxygen: YOUR EXAGGERATED EXCITEMENT of Australia as allegedly a “brutal dictator” claim IS FAKE OF YOUR BIG LIE yet again.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Oz learning from Sg

    ANOTHER PAGE OF EXCITED UTTERANCE of mirage comprehension.

    Oz learning from Sg: Step by step, now politicians tie up your Independent Commissioner Against Corruption.

    Corruption crimes policing comes in two parts

    - investigations (preventative discouragement of offence and
    - actual criminal prosecution of offence to deter its repeat and its initial commissioning of same offence.

    Your South Australian reference to curbing the scope of investigative examination DOES NOT MEAN CORRUPTION will go unpunished, particularly in view of crime legislation enforcement at State level and the Commonwealth level.

    :The commonwealth provisions concerning anti-corruption and anti-bribery are contained in the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The laws of the State of New South Wales are contained in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

    Australia: Anti-Corruption & Bribery Comparative Guide

    https://www.mondaq.com/australia/criminal-law/861060/anti-corruption-bribery-comparative-guide

    In other words, what offence “escapes” the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), can and still be indicted under various State’s and Commonwealth criminal law applications – without contributive the participation of each State’s ICAC’s investigative resources.

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