"Honest mistake" and accountability.
Well well, Mr Jame Gomez seems to be grabbing the headlines
nowadays after he reversed his earlier claim that he had submitted an application to the Elections Department for a minorities candidate certificate when - in fact - he did not.
Commenting on this incident Mr George Yeo said:
"Workers' Party said it was an oversight, we are making a mountain out of a molehill and it was an honest mistake - let us look at it. If you go to a department store supermarket, take a big item put it into your bag is that an oversight? Is that an honest mistake? I am not sure."
Wow, is Mr Yeo comparing Mr Gomez to a shoplifter just because he had forgotten to hand up his form?
Maybe Mr Yeo had forgotten about this
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has apologised to Prime Minister John Howard after failing to tell him that an execution date had been set for an Australian drug trafficker.
Van Nguyen, 25, is to be hanged on December 2.
The date was announced in a letter sent to the Melbourne home of Nguyen's mother.
At the same time, Mr Howard was meeting Mr Lee at the APEC summit in South Korea.
However, Mr Lee did not tell him that a date had been fixed.
"I'm very disappointed I was not told, very disappointed," Mr Howard said.
A statement issued by Mr Lee's office says he has "apologised".
"This was because the letter informing the family of the execution date was mistakenly delivered a day early," it said.
"The letter to the family was meant to be delivered on 18 November."
The plan was for Mr Lee to inform Mr Howard once the family had been told, which should have been Friday.
"We are investigating how this came about," the statement said.
"Prime Minister Lee has read Prime Minister Howard's comments and has apologised for the embarrassment."
A more detailed account of the embarrassing affair can be found here
A "honest mistake", Mr George Yeo, Minister of Foreign Affairs?
Anyway poll your opinion here
SDP rally at woodland.
Here is some pictures of the (in)famous SDP at woodland.
As you can see the crowd is quite large.
By the way why is this ang mo stopping CSJ?
I thought foreigners are not supposed to interfere with Singapore politics?!?
Ehhh Mr Ang Mo, please show everyone your pink IC before stopping CSJ can?
Source of the photos is here
Our "1st world" media needs some prodding.
Reposting of an appeal
from Sammyboy Forum
Call them and tell them as PMEB, how disgusting we find the misrepresentation.
If everyone us call, they will be change. Trust me. Many of the reporters WANT to report the TRUTH! However, they are stopped by their bosses.
We are Professionals & thinking people must do our part by giving them pressure from all sides. We enough pressure and professionals support, the reports will have call in figures to back their desire to want to report the TRUTH.
Many reporters are on our side, many policemen are on our side, they are singaporeans too. We can support them by calling in & writing in.
Let's give them tons of calls and emails to press for TRUTH. We can make a different. Each call can make a different.
MediaCorp News Hotline 68 2222 68
Give us your feedback on our content.
What are you waiting for.....pick up the phone and call, logon and email. Give them support to report the TRUTH and nothing but the TRUTH.
Some reporters said they hate the censor and want to resign, they need our support, they need our encourgement, they need to hear from us to know that they are not fighting alone against their bosses.
As you would have noticed by now, the reporting of this election from our "1st world" media is not exactly very "1st world".
It is time for us to give it some prodding so that it will be able to attain its 1st world status in name and in truth.
If you agree with me please do what e-visionary had suggested and make your voice heard.
FEAR FACTOR, SINGAPORE STYLE: MM LEE PAINTS BLEAK FUTURE OF LIFE WITHOUT PAP
In the wake of the NKF lawsuit against Dr Chee Soon Juan, it seems that the mantra being spelled out by our ruling incumbent, in a nutshell, is this: Never make defamatory remarks against anyone without factual proof.
This rule, it seems, does not apply to the ruling incumbent, as the founding father of Singapore, Mentor Minister Lee Kuan Yew, prophesizes on the day PAP no longer holds the reins of power and lords over a largely obedient populace:Excerpts from Channel News AsiaSaturday April 29, 2:17 PM
MM Lee poses scenario: what would happen with opposition in power?
SINGAPORE : Minister Mentor Lee Kuan has said that if the People's Action Party is not in government, Singaporeans' lives will be gravely affected.Mr Lee was speaking at a question and answer session at the Foreign Correspondents' Association's 50th anniversary celebration on Friday evening.Addressing a 300-strong crowd, Mr Lee threw up a scenario -- what would happen if the PAP lost this general election, and the opposition members of the likes of Low Thia Kiang and Chiam See Tong took over?Mr Lee said, "You have a hodgepodge of the Workers' Party, four parties in the SDA and Mr Chee Soon Juan's SDP, and they're the Finance Minister, they're the Minister for Trade and Industry, they're the Minister for National Development. You just wait (and see) what happens. You'll find your property prices sink, and if you haven't paid your mortgage, you may have negative estate value. And when it comes to elections, on the quiet, we tell them, just think what will happen if your estate is not run properly?"Mr Lee also said if the opposition rose against the PAP, they had to be a world class opposition and not this "riffraff."He said Singapore is what it is today because he had tweaked the system, and he would continue to do so, to improve Singapore.
Allow me to sum up MM Lee's assumptions:
If the opposition parties dominates parliament:
1. The opposition party leaders will somehow merge and share various high-ranking ministerial positions.
SINGAPORE: POST PAP ERA: COLD, DEAD, AND LIFELESS???
2. Supposing if such a scenario is practical (Given the fact that Chee Soon Juan and Chiam See Tong don't see eye to eye, despite Chee being a former protege of Chiam), their supposed inability to administrate the nation will result in a drastic fall of property prices.
3. The opposition parties in Singapore are nothing more than a bunch of riffraffs (I.e A bunch of undesirables).
Slanderous remarks indeed. On what basis does our highly esteemed MM base his accusations on?
Has anyone of the opposition leaders, Mr Chiam, Mr Low and Dr Chee ever held the reins of power, besides being MPs in their respective wards (minus Dr Chee)?
And on what basis does he have to brand all opposite parties "riffraff
"? Dr Chee and his infamous law suits aside, have the opposition parties made any alleged "defamatory" remarks against him or the ruling incumbent?
Most importantly, why such sweeping remarks without any basis of facts?
As far as I know, when Dr Chee made his supposedly "defamatory" remarks in his SDP newsletter, he did cite instances and sources to back up his claims. Yet he was sued.
Is this the way our "first class government" reacts? Lampooning the opposition without basis of proof? Sueing the opposition party for criticizing the ruling incumbent?
MM Lee also takes pride in "tweaking" with the political system in Singapore. I would reckon that by "tweaking" the system, people are actually subjugated to the point of apathy towards anything political. Whisper blowers from the general populace would be immediately subjected to the scrutiny of law in the form of defamation suits.
Is this the "proud" end product of this high-strung political "tweaking"?
MM Lee has these comments on the Worker's Party Manifesto:On opposition parties, Mr Lee said they should compete on the competence of the candidates and the basis of policies; an example is to debate the Workers' Party manifesto.Mr Lee said, "You put out a manifesto, we put out a manifesto. This is what we say we believe in, you say it's motherhood statement; we say fine, you tell us how you would create jobs. But they're not, they don't want to discuss their manifesto, because even before the campaign started, we explained publicly what would happen if we adopted their policies. So he doesn't want to talk about it anymore."Mr Lee stressed that the Workers' Party manifesto was flawed. - CNA /ct
Perhaps what MM Lee should do is challenge Mr Low Thia Kiang to a National Debate on TV. Without a proper platform or equal political playing field, how does MM Lee expect Mr Low to effectively challenge the negative remarks made against the WP manifesto?
Yet again, we have witnessed the double standard and uneven playing field between the ruling incumbent and the opposition parties.
By trying to scare the populace with unwarranted claims against the opposition party, the ruling incumbent may have unwittingly lost votes to the opposition parties involved. After all, opposition parties is about having an alternative voice in parliament; and judging the way things have progressed, or regressed so far, it may be time to give the ruling incumbent a stunning "mandate" they will not forget in a hurry.
Feeling "a bit sad" now?
I wonder if MM Lee will be feeling "a bit sad
" after seeing the result of this
Welcome to the 2006 GE Beauty Contest!
1st: Josephine Teo
, 2nd:Sylvia Lim
, 3rd: Lily Neo
& 4th: Glenda Han
The time has come for Singaporeans to vote.
Our vote will determine who will be “the one”.
So vote wisely and choose the right “one”.
Welcome to 2006 Singapore General Election Beauty Contest!
As you would have noticed, there are some "quality candidates" taking part in this contest.
Although you may not be able to cast your vote in support your favorite candidate during the GE, you can always vote for them here!
So what are you waiting for?
Vote for your favorite candidate now!
You Have A Choice!
LAMENTATIONS OF THE BEAST
Unlike my previous posts, this one will be a personal lamentation, or should I say, a contemplation of what I have written thus far on this blog.
From the slew of comments I have read with regards to my writings, I sense that it may seem like a brutal awakening to some: After all, besides the standard, bland fare we Singaporeans tend to read from our local press, there is not a whole lot of controversial stuff we can lay our hands on, unless, of course, you happen to be an ardent fan of Dr Chee and his renegade party, and paid two dollars for his party's newspapers.
Suffice to say, I have received quite a number of negative comments. Some claim I exploit issues and sensationalize them; others claim I am too liberal to even understand the pains of our overtly patriachial government.
To that end, I concede, I am perhaps not the most viable choice when it comes to writing about Singapore politics. Like many Singaporeans out there, I probably have this mental image of a person trying to whip a dead horse back to life, because Singapore politics is just that: insipid, apathetic and lifeless.SINGAPORE: A CAMPAIGN-DRIVEN SOCIETY?
Government propaganda in Singapore has always been predominant since Singapore's independence. In the early 1960s, our government, fearing a population explosion they thought they wouldn't be able to control, instituted a "stop at three" policy, encouraging couples to have fewer children. The consequences of which, by the 1980s, birth rates has been consistently on the decline till today.
Other campaigns, though, did have mixed results: The courtesy campaign of the 1980s (Those who still remember the Singa lion will know) did not seem to inculcate courtesy in Singaporeans all that much. Other campaigns, such as the "Speak Mandarin" campaign, was successful, only to the extent of demoting the usage of other Mandarin-related dialects, while the general standard of spoken Mandarin was somewhat eschewed by the existence of another colloquial language, Singlish
In short, our government micro manages us. It justifies its actions too: Phenomenal economic growths, high employment rates, and a decent standard of education.
THE SINGAPOREAN MINDSET: PETER PAN'S FANTASY WORLD
PETER PAN'S WORLD: AN ETERNAL LEGACY OF SINGAPORE?
In my opinion, the legacy of the Singaporean mindset is that of the Peter Pan's fantasy world: A child stuck in the passage of time, unable to grow mentally or physically into adulthood.
Sure, 40 years of independence is a short period of time. We are a young nation, one bestowed with all the economic successes that our forefathers have painstakingly built.
But, as a nation, we haven't really progressed all that much. Our government does not give its citizens a free rein in many facets of our life. Our education system, for example, is such a elitist one based mostly on academic results, that we produce little talent outside the academic realms.
We have laws, such as the Internal Security Act, which empowers the government to jail and incarcerate citizens without trial (even death sentence inmates get their right to legal consultation). We have criminals executed for smuggling a few more milligrams of heroine.
We are also reminded, time and again, that the restrictions placed upon us are necessary, due to some long-ago racial riots. Anyone who wishes to hold a public rally has to apply via the police, and any congregations exceeding ten or more persons is automatically categorized as "illegal assembly".
In short, we can't shake off the stigmas of our past; our current generation is shouldering the burdens of an archaic system of government that seems to have little bearing in an increasingly globalized world, and our future generations will no doubt be judging us for not making a stand on their behalf.
In conclusion, I would like to point out that writing about Singapore politics is a very painful affair. We call ourselves a democratic nation, yet most of the youngsters in my generation have never seen the polls, much less exercise our citizenship rights.
Sure, we have become a successful nation in our own right. But what prices success? Bidding our rights goodbye? Or paying obeisance to our government blindly, and with unflinching loyalty?
To my critics: Call me a moaner, a spoiler, or a self-confessed pessimist, but I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I appreciate these criticisms, although sometimes I tend to bitch about them more than I would have liked, but at the very least, people are thinking, and exercising their long-lost faculties of free speech.
SDP broke another law!
Wah, SDP "buey kia si" (unafraid of death) ah!
SDP had just released a podcast to state its stand on the lawsuits.
Dr Chee is challenging MM Lee and PM Lee to a debate, televised "Live" to all Singaporeans, so that they can show that how "1st World" the govt is!
Din the govt just banned podcast during elections?!?
Just kenna the lawyer letters, and they broke another law!
Tsk Tsk...Added on 25 april 2006
I have just read a article from CNA about SDP podcast. Apparently, it might be inappropriate for me to provide a link to the SDP podcast so I am taking the link down. However readers should be able to find the podcast on SDP's homepage.
Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 25 April 2006 1722 hrs
SDP told to remove podcasts from website
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE : The Returning Officer for the General Election has ordered the Singapore Democratic Party to take down audio files and podcasts from its website.
The Elections Department says the podcast contravenes the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations.
It says those found guilty are liable for a fine of up to S$1,000 or imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.
Dr Chee, the SDP's Secretary-General, had recorded a podcast message and posted it on the party's website two days ago.
The Returning Officer has also issued a notice to all political parties with websites to remind them to conspicuously display particulars of any election advertising on their websites, in accordance to the rules spelt out.
Political parties have also been reminded to only publish election advertising on the Internet which conforms to the positive list set out in the regulations. - CNA /ct
NKF REVISITED: HEAR NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL
The NKF issue has, once again, surfaced and entrenched itself, this time as an election issue, due in part to Dr Chee Soon Juan
and his SDP (Singapore Democratic Party
), who, in the face of plausible legal action, have written about the government's alleged role in the NKF scandal last year involving its chairman, TT Durai and his board of executives.
And, just as if on cue, our government has decided, yet again, issued a demand for Dr Chee and his party to issue a public apology, failing which, the threat of legal suits will be issued to Dr Chee and other related parties, including its publisher Melodies Printing Company (Good strategy, I must add. When cutting the grass, eliminate its roots.)
While it is not unusual for politicians and other dissents to be issued with threats of legal suits for alleged slander and other supposedly unlawful speeches, the fact that Dr Chee has raised this issue for debate, and the ruling incumbent's decision sue, once again highlights the dearth of freedom of speech in Singapore.
WHY THE NKF FRACAS HAPPENED
To many Singaporeans, TT Durai is the personification of cronyism: A mixture of high-handed, totalitarian rule, coupled with a legal savvy to sue anyone within touching distance for speaking out against his corrupt ways.
One issue that has seldom been highlighted by our local media is this: Prior before Mr Durai's opulent ways was laid out all and sunder by the SPH's legal counsel, the NKF has sued not once, not twice, but three times!Madam Tan Kiat Noi
: She was sued in 1999 for accusing the NKF of “paying ridiculously high bonuses
” to its staff. At a time when his power was rising, the thin-skinned Durai sued.
End Result? Mdm Tan settled by publicly apologising and paying S$50,000 in damages as well as NKF's legal costs
.Archie Ong and Piragasum Singavelu
suffered the same fate when they alleged that Durai had traveled by first class on charity money.
Of course, we know what happened after that:
1. NKF sues the Singapore Press Holdings and Ms Susan Leong, a senior writer with Straits Times and author of the article:" The NKF, Controversially Ahead of its Time?
", dated April 19, 2005.
2. Mr TT Durai, CEO of NKF sued, but TT Durai inexplicably withdrew his case on 12th July 2005, barely days after the case was heard.
3. Mrs Goh Chok Tong, NKF patron
and wife of Senior Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong, sparkled public outrage with comments on Mr Durai's CEO paycheck, "peanuts" (Kind of reminds me of the Battle of the Bulge, when the Americans, refusing the Nazi's offer of a surrender, replied, Nuts)
4. Mr Durai and the entire NKF board resigned.
The moral of the story this: No matter how much peanuts you have (note: one peanut costs S$600,000
), nor how many gold taps you have installed in your office, the golden rule of thumb for all aspiring tyrants and despots:
1. If someone decides to be a nosey parker and play the role of a whistle blower, check out his or her background.
2. If he/she comes from a middle class, or even lower background with no political clout, sue his or her pants/panties off if he or she does not apologize publicly.
More likely than not, the accuser will not have the financial means to sustain a legal battle, hence forcing the accuser to apologize in public. Brilliant strategy indeed, I must say. Without lifting a finger, the accuser becomes the accused, and you will then win by default. Any unlawful transactions will never reach the courts, and any form of miscreant that has been leaked to the public will henceforth become the stuff of legends and hear-say.
Not only have you wielded the legal sword on that dastardly whistleblower, you have issued a stern warning to the other potential troublemakers that you mean business. Killing two birds with one stone makes great business sense, and should leave you with a lot of playing field to further your despotic future.
3. Take heed, though: Never sue anyone who is even remotely linked to any government-linked organization. For every fierce lion, there is always another one waiting to pounce on you.
The lesson our government should glean from the NKF fracas is this: Instead of threatening legal action against whisper blowers, the accuser should be allowed some form of leverage to safeguard him or her from legal regression. Failing which, a climate of fear will surely result in ensuring such incidents from repeating itself again (just as the racial riots of 1960s keeps getting drummed into our heads).
But no! Instead of encouraging our people to speak up, our government decides, in its usual, aloof manner, that it has absolved itself from any matters complicating her to the NKF scandal, without properly addressing the issue at hand.
Once again, Singaporeans are reminded of the unequal playing field of legal practice: Big companies, institutions and money-making tyrants taking advantage of the small-timers' lack of financial resources to subjugate and gag the masses, with a smirk certainty that none of their dirty linen will ever be exposed.
It is time for mega-rich institutions to stop hiding behind the veil of legal oppression, and begin addressing to issues and accusations against them, especially one with as dark a reputation as NKF, and for our government to set a good example by settling accusations and other differences via a more amiable route.
Suing people for defamation should be a last resort for any person or institution, not as a tool for oppressing free speech. By silencing the voice of the masses, unlawful acts of corruption will never be exposed by a fearful populace.
The honour of being 1st to kenna lawsuit go to SDP!
Hohohohoh, looks like SDP isn't going to apologise
to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew over the alleged defamatory remarks made in its party newspaper, The New Democrat.
So we can look forward to see a lawsuit being slapped on SDP members very soon.
Since we are talking about lawsuits, I am wondering is PM Lee and MM Lee is going to sue Dr Ross Worthington, an expert on governance who has written extensively about Singapore, who is employed by the World Bank for what he had said in the EnerNorth case
EnerNorth said that the Singapore judgement "was granted by a corrupt legal system before biased judges in a jurisdiction that operates outside the law"
It presents evidence that it says reveals "Singapore is ruled by a small oligarchy who controls all facets of the Singapore state, including the judiciary, which is utterly politicised. The judiciary bends over backwards to support the Government's and ruling elite's interests."
Dr Ross Worthington said in an affidavit on behalf of EnerNorth that "all aspects of the governance of Singapore, including the judiciary, are carefully manipulated and ultimately controlled by a core executive of individuals who use their powers to maintain their own power and further their own political, economic, social and familial interests".
Shouldn't PM Lee and MM Lee sue their pants off for defaming them?
Don't you agree that these irresponsible people are destroying Singapore's clean image and they must pay for it?Read this to see how Singapore's World Class Judiciary is being slander!!
I sincerely urge PM Lee and MM Lee to sue these people for slandering thus proving that we are clean!Add on 23 April 2006, 9pm
Just read CNA and saw an article
which reported Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng said that PAP will challenge any allegation
casting doubt on its integrity and anyone
who made an allegation against the government should be able to substantiate it in a court of law.
Since DPM Wong had spoken I eagerly awaits the time when PAP sue Dr Ross Worthington. Lets see if they do it or not.
The AgeSuffering Singapore's slings, arrows
By Michael Backman
April 19, 2006
DOES Singapore have a sound legal system or is Singapore just another autocracy with a leadership that subverts the law to preserve its own power?
Should its court orders relating to commercial and other matters be enforced in countries that do have excellent legal systems? These are matters over which a Canadian court has been asked to rule in a case that is hugely embarrassing to Singapore's Government, particularly in an election year.
Singapore does well in Transparency International's annual survey of perceptions of corruption, but it needs to be remembered perceptions are surveyed, not reality. Sure, it's unlikely you will ever be asked for a bribe or a kickback in Singapore, but should corruption be so narrowly defined?
Canadian oil and gas company EnerNorth Industries set up a joint venture with Singapore's Oakwell Engineering in 1997 to finance, build and operate two mobile power plants in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
The Indian Government, at various levels, was obstructionist, and by 2002 it was clear to EnerNorth that plans for the power plants would not be realised. EnerNorth did not secure the agreed financing and so Oakwell sued it in a Singapore court in 2003, obtaining a favourable $US5.4 million judgement. EnerNorth appealed unsuccessfully.
EnerNorth has few or no assets in Singapore, so Oakwell next applied to Ontario's Superior Court of Justice in Canada for the Singapore judgement to be enforced there, so it could pursue EnerNorth's Canadian assets. The Canadian court ruled that the Singapore judgement should be enforced. EnerNorth appealed, which was heard last week.
What was the basis for EnerNorth's appeal? In 2003, Canada's Supreme Court said Canadian courts can only recognise a foreign judgement if the legal system that produced the judgement meets Canada's constitutional standards. And so EnerNorth's lawyers, in their written submission, argued that Singapore's legal system is not on a par with Canada's and so the Singapore decision against their client should not be enforceable in Canada.
The submission says the Singapore judgement "was granted by a corrupt legal system before biased judges in a jurisdiction that operates outside the law".
It presents evidence that it says reveals "Singapore is ruled by a small oligarchy who controls all facets of the Singapore state, including the judiciary, which is utterly politicised. The judiciary bends over backwards to support the Government's and ruling elite's interests."
Dr Ross Worthington, an expert on governance who has written extensively about Singapore, and is employed by the World Bank, said in an affidavit on behalf of EnerNorth that "all aspects of the governance of Singapore, including the judiciary, are carefully manipulated and ultimately controlled by a core executive of individuals who use their powers to maintain their own power and further their own political, economic, social and familial interests".
EnerNorth's submission also cites the regular use of defamation actions by senior Government figures to bankrupt opposition politicians, thereby disqualifying them from sitting in Parliament. Mentioned is the case of J. B. Jeyaretnam, when as Singapore's only opposition member of Parliament, was sued for defamation by a Government minister and ultimately bankrupted. Today he can often be seen selling copies of a self-published book near the underground train station exit, close to Raffles City Shopping Centre, a broken, lonely figure past whom many Singaporeans rush for fear of being seen near him.
EnerNorth's submission also cites the Societies Act, which requires that organisations of more than 10 people must have a Government-appointed representative, and no public meeting can proceed unless the police first issue a permit that specifies the duration of the meeting, the names of the speakers, their topics and the length of time they will speak.
Also cited is the state of Singapore's media — all outlets of which are owned either directly or indirectly by Government-linked companies — as is the change to the constitution so that Singaporeans who remain outside the country for 10 or more years can be stripped of their citizenship. It is a move that takes aim at Government critics who have gone into self-imposed exile.
Judicial independence is questioned: it is pointed out, for instance, that up to half the Supreme Court judges at any time are under contract and do not have security of tenure, including the chief justice. They are appointed by the executive and beholden to it.
A further EnerNorth contention is that Oakwell is part of the Koh Brothers Group, which is heavily reliant on Singapore Government contracts. EnerNorth also says that at the time of the first judgement, directors in the group included a former member of the Government's Inland Revenue Authority, a senior parliamentary secretary, a senior minister of state and ambassador, and a former president of the Government-affiliated National Trade Unions Congress.
And then there is the matter of the first presiding judge. Before his appointment to the bench, he practised at the law firm Lee & Lee, the firm founded by former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and later run by his wife. It was this same judge, who on J. B. Jeyaretnam's appeal from a lower court, increased the fine that he was required to pay that led to his expulsion from Parliament.
So does Singapore have a fair and independent judiciary on a par with Canada's or, for that matter, Australia's? Should its decisions against Canadian or Australian companies be enforced in their home countries?
This is particularly pertinent given the huge and highly intrusive role that Singapore's Government plays in business matters in Singapore, and if judges are biased in favour of the Government as EnerNorth contends. The Canadian appeals judge has reserved his decision. But you don't have to. The full submissions of Oakwell and EnerNorth are available at www.enernorth.com/litigation.html. How the legal system operates in Singapore makes for extraordinary reading.
Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 22 April 2006 2313 hrsSDP not apologising over alleged defamatory remarks on NKF issue
By S Ramesh and Patwant Singh, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE : The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) is unlikely to apologise to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew over the alleged defamatory remarks made in its party newspaper, The New Democrat.
These were over the government's handling of the NKF issue.
Lawyer M Ravi comfirmed this when he told Channel NewsAsia he is acting for the SDP's Central Executive Committee (CEC) on this matter.
On Friday, the lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, acting for both the PM and MM said letters of demand had been served on SDP Chief Dr Chee Soon Juan, his CEC colleagues and the company which printed the party newspaper.
This stated that the article in the newspaper had defamed the two leaders by implying they were dishonest and unfit for office.
The SDP was given an ultimatum - apologise by 10am on Tuesday next week, or face a defamation suit.
However, lawyer M Ravi said the instructions he has received is to defend their case vigorously.
This meant an apology is unlikely by the Tuesday deadline.
Recently, Mr Ravi defended Dr Chee in a contempt of court case where Dr Chee was jailed a day and fined $6,000.
But Dr Chee refused to pay the fine and was jailed an additional seven days.
On Saturday evening, SDP members were spotted selling the issue of party newspaper in question at the vicinity of the Yishun MRT.
When contacted over the telephone earlier, Dr Chee declined to comment on the case.
Meanwhile, the printing company which printed The New Democrat said it is unaware of its contents.
Melodies Printing Company was also served with a letter of demand from the lawyer acting for PM Lee and MM Lee on Friday.
This was to apologise for printing the allegedly defamatory remarks over the government's handling of the NKF issue, or be sued.
Speaking to Channel NewsAsia over the telephone, Mr Sum Kwai Lum of Melodies Printing Company said he was paid $13,000 to print 5,000 copies of the newspaper.
He in turn sub-contracted the job to someone else.
When asked for his response to the letter of demand, Mr Sum said he has contacted the lawyer from law firm Drew and Napier who served him the letter.
He had been advised to turn up at the firm's office on Tuesday, which is the deadline given for an apology to be issued.
All 12 members of the SDP's CEC, including Dr Chee Soon Juan, were also served with letters of demand.
- CNA /ls
Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 23 April 2006 1543 hrsPAP will challenge any allegation casting doubt on its integrity: Wong Kan Seng
By Joanne Leow, Channel NewsAsia
The People's Action Party says its foundation is based on integrity so it must challenge any accusations made against it.
Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng noted that anyone who made an allegation against the government should be able to substantiate it in a court of law.
This way, the public would have the full facts and the government would be able to argue its case.
With the character of its people at stake, the government has to react, says Mr Wong who is also PAP's First Assistant Secretary General.
Mr Wong said: "That is the government of Singapore, we take it very seriously, we take politics very seriously. We are not like other countries where statements, remarks, accusations, allegations can be made and insinuated in a way that will cast doubts on the leadership, we cannot accept this because we have earned the people's trust all these years, because of the system we have, because of the incorruptibility of the system.
"Anyone who is caught with corruption will be brought to court, no matter who he is, may be a minister, may be a minister of state, may be just an ordinary civil servant, or may be a prominent businessman, so that is the way we have been governing, we have set the tone for the whole of Singapore." ...
Boy, this is fast.
Boy, this is fast.
Just 1 day after the election date is announced and we have a potential lawsuit already.
And why am I not surprised?
Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 21 April 2006 2146 hrsPM Lee, MM Lee demand apology from SDP for NKF remarks
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE : Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew are demanding an apology from the Singapore Democratic Party's Central Executive Committee for remarks made in the latest issue of its party newspaper, The New Democrat.
These were contained in an article - both in English and in Chinese - on the National Kidney Foundation issue.
The letters of demand were also served on Friday to the printing company which printed the newspaper.
The article in question is headlined: "Govt's role in the NKF scandal".
A captioned photograph in the same newspaper, which showed a group of protestors outside the CPF Building, was also singled out as having caused offence.
The photo showed the protesters holding a placard and wearing T-shirts with the words "HDB, GIC, NKF and CPF".
Acting for the Prime Minister, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh says that in their ordinary meaning and innuendo, both the words and the photograph had alleged that Mr Lee Hsien Loong is dishonest and unfit for office.
The SDP had also alleged that as Prime Minister, Mr Lee has perpetuated a corrupt political system for the benefit of the political elite.
These allegations were based on the premise that the government had access to the information which has now been unearthed about the NKF, but concealed it to avoid criticism.
They also implied that the Prime Minister condones or permits corruption in institutions such as the Housing and Development Board, the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation and the Central Provident Fund.
As for the photograph, Mr Davinder says the Chinese words that accompanied it were published maliciously, and calculated to gain political mileage by disparaging Mr Lee Hsien Loong and impugning his character and integrity.
Similarly, in Mr Lee Kuan Yew's letter of demand, it was stated that the words and photograph also implied that, like the Prime Minister, the Minister Mentor is also dishonest and unfit for office.
And if the defamatory allegations were true, Mr Lee Kuan Yew was guilty of corruption, nepotism, criminal conduct, dishonesty, had advanced the interests of his family at the expense of the needs of Singapore, had misled Parliament and had covered his tracks to avoid criticism.
Another allegation was that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had managed the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation in a corrupt manner.
In the Minister Mentor's demand letter to Dr Chee Soon Juan, the SDP Chief was also reminded that he had defamed Mr Lee Kuan Yew on 28 October 2001, and had published an apology a few days later.
Then, he undertook not to make any further similar allegations or statements.
However, Mr Davinder noted that Dr Chee has deliberately and maliciously breached this undertaking.
The SDP, its 12 members and its printer, Sum Kwai Lum trading as Melodies Press Company, have till 10am next Tuesday (April 25) to respond to the demands for an apology.
This apology, according to the text set out in the letters of demand, is to be published in two local dailies on April 27, failing which both leaders will sue all parties involved. - CNA/ch
Singapore GE 2006: MAY 6
The date for showdown is now set.
Cudgels are raised and the knives are out.
Ok, maybe I am a tad exaggerating here. But then again judging from the previous General Elections, one can never be too sure. There are plenty of signs that this coming election will be exciting. In fact people are already started speculating about who will be sued until bankrupt after the elections.
So sit tight and watch the fireworks fly!
Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 20 April 2006 1601 hrsSingapore calls general election for May 6.
SINGAPORE : Singaporeans will go to the polls on Saturday, May 6, which will now also be a public holiday.
Nomination Day is on Thursday, April 27.
Earlier on Thursday, President S R Nathan, on the advice of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, dissolved Parliament, paving the way for the polls.
A government statement has listed nine nomination centres.
They are Admiralty Secondary School, Bedok View Secondary School, Bendemeer Primary School, Bukit Panjang Government High School, Fajar Secondary School, Jurong Junior College, Ngee Ann Secondary School, Pei Chun Public School and Tao Nan School.
Candidates will have to turn up with the necessary election documents between 11am and noon on Nomination Day.
The Chief Executive Director of the People's Association, Tan Boon Huat, has once again been appointed the Returning Officer.
The election deposit is S$13,500 per candidate.
This is 8 percent of the total allowances payable to an MP in the preceding year, rounded to the nearest S$500.
The Returning Officer has issued further details on the conduct of the General Election.
Candidates can obtain the nomination forms from the Election Department between 10am and 4pm on weekdays and from 9am to 1pm on Saturday.
He has also approved 12 symbols which candidates can use for their identity.
This General Election will be Singapore's 10th.
Some 2.16 million people are eligible to vote to choose the 84 members of the 11th Parliament of Singapore.
The election will have nine single-member wards and 14 Group Representation Constituencies, or GRCs.
Under the GRCs, a unique feature of Singapore's election system, voters elect a team of five or six members, at least one of whom must be Malay, Indian, or a minority.
The scheme, introduced in 1988, is intended to ensure a Parliament that reflects Singapore's multiracial society.
This election is Mr Lee's first since taking over as Prime Minister from Goh Chok Tong in August 2004.
It is also his first as Secretary-General of the governing People's Action Party.
The opposition parties have said they will contest up to 57 seats in the new Parliament.
This means there could be contests in all nine single-member wards and nine of the 14 GRCs.
If this scenario pans out, then the PAP will not be returned to power on Nomination Day for the first time since the 1991 General Election.
The PAP unveiled its manifesto on 15 April with the slogan, "Staying Together, Moving Ahead".
The party is asking voters to give its team a strong mandate to take Singapore forward and meet its future challenges.
At the same time, it wants to provide a better life for all, and foster a stable and harmonious multiracial society which is open and inclusive.
Prime Minister Lee has said the PAP is going all out to fight for every vote.
"The moment is right. We have a team, we the vision, we have the programme," Mr Lee said on April 15 while unveiling his party's manifesto.
He has also appointed Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong to help the PAP win back the single-member seats of Potong Pasir and Hougang, now held by the opposition.
The Singapore Democratic Alliance, made up of four opposition parties, is aiming to win at least 15 seats from four single-member wards and two GRCs.
It is also taking a two-pronged approach, campaigning on issues at the national and constituency level.
"The key point is that we want to tell the public the danger of having one-party rule in Singapore," SDA Chairman Chiam See Tong said on April 9.
Another opposition group, the Workers' Party, unveiled its manifesto, "You Have a Choice", in January.
"We seek to look at the issues seriously, to explore possibilities. We explore policy options," Workers' Party Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang said on January 14.
It proposed that Singapore's ethnic integration policies, grassroots organisations and the elected presidency be scrapped; and that more subsidies be given out, even if this causes Budget deficits.
The four proposals immediately came under fire by the PAP, which labelled them as "time bombs" that would tear Singapore society apart.
Meantime, the Singapore Democratic Party has indicated it is contesting Sembawang GRC in the north of Singapore.
It is planning to make the National Kidney Foundation scandal, uncovered last year, an election issue.
The SDP will be fighting the incumbent PAP team led by Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan. - CNA/ch/ct
Woo, PAP has finally release its manifesto
liao!! Since they whacked WP’s Manifesto until so jialat
, I wanted to see what is PAP proposing for the future of Singapore.
When I finally read the manifesto, I feel so fucking under-whelmed.
Nabeh, the manifesto is sibey vague loh.
The manifesto is full of general statements and sorely lacks measurable proposals. And they took nearly "2 years and more than 800 people" to write this
Just see the healthcare part can liao:
Provide affordable health care for all
WE WILL ensure that Singaporeans can afford quality health-care services.
To do this, we will:
# Make hospitals more efficient so they can keep charges affordable;
(Can define what is "affordable" or not? keep cost increase within the next 5 years to how many %?)
# Improve MediShield, Medisave and ElderShield to help Singaporeans afford medical care;
(Can define what is "improve" or not? Lower premium and better coverage for medishield and eldershield? How much lower? How much better? Medisave can be use for treatment of chronic illness? Can give a list and amt tat can be used?)
# Continue to subsidise lower-income Singaporeans who fall sick;
(Can say how much? 10% is subsidise 90% is also subsidise leh.)
# Double Medifund to $2 billion to provide additional help for the needy;
(By when? Who will qualify for it?)
# Build a new general hospital in Yishun; and
(when? maybe got say b4 but can say again wat.)
# Help Singaporeans lead active lifestyles and stay healthy.
(This we know, but as I said b4 they always can say again.)
With all these super vague statements how are we going to hold the ruling party accountable to their election promises?
I strongly believe that election promises must be measurable; this is because they are the KPIs of the next govt and we are going to judge the performance of the next govt according to how it had fare in fulfilling their election promises.
SINGAPORE: THE GULAG HUB?
Every so often, I get to read press releases of our highly exalted ministers' speeches. And it seems to me that either the election bug has sent them into fits of SARs-related fever, or that they simply have lost a few screws during the campaigning process.
ELDERLY FOLKS: THEY DESERVE TO BE RESPECTED AND CARED FOR, NOT ABANDONED
The latest fracas, lately, have involved our elderly folks. Now, as we all know, the cornerstones of early Singapore, i.e our forefathers, have worked hard to establish our tiny island nation. During our nation's most difficult times, they slogged and rode out the rough times, in the hope of striving for a better way of life for themselves and their future generations.
Unfortunately, though, a slew of sudden retrenchments have completely upsetted the retirement plans of many a elderly folk, and many of them have had to contend with work in low-paying jobs, such as waitering in fast food restaurants,or cleaning toilets as janitors in their twilight years.
The more immobile folks are consigned to live out their remaining days in elderly homes, which, although spartan and well equipped with the bare necessities, constitutes an unwelcome fate to most of them.
Thus, instead of enjoying their twilight years in relative bliss, many of them have had to put up with the disappointment of no retirement packages, or sucuumbing to delibilating diseases and other disabilities to render their retirement years a torturous one.
It is horrid enough as it is that our elderly population has to put up with the ignominy of bearing the blunt of the difficult nation building years and recessions, but to even suggest putting them up in "retirement" villages in Batam, Bintan or Johore? Well, read on, ladies and gentlemen. CNA (Channel News Asia)
(April 17 2006)
Government shortlists potential sites to build retirement village
SINGAPORE : The government has shortlisted a few potential sites for the construction of a retirement village, and the National Development Ministry is currently studying the details.
The sites are on a 30-year land lease.
And one of them will be picked to test market demand for such villages.
In an exclusive interview with MediaCorp's Channel 8, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in the past, the idea of building retirement villages was put on the back burner as Singapore's problem of an ageing population was not as serious as that in Europe and America.
The Singapore market was also too small for retirement villages to be commercially viable.
But the prospects have since changed.
With a rapidly ageing Singapore population, Mr Khaw said in five years' time, retirement villages will become economically viable.
One obstacle is the high costs of land in Singapore.
"My personal view is, our land is expensive. But we have nearby neighbours in Johore, Batam and Bintan. The elderly want to reach their doctors within half to one hour. So retirement villages in neighbouring countries is possible, barring the cross-border hassle. It is best to find cheap land on short leases," said Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan.
I have always had a niggling suspicion that our government is truly an efficient one, so efficient that it has the capability of finding a "solution" to get rid of our elderly folks!
SINGAPORE, THE GULAG HUB: ELDERLY FOLKS SHIPPED OUT FOR "THE FINAL SOLUTION" ?
Escalating medical fees, hefty land prices.....according to our philosophical health minister, Mr Khaw (Again), these are truly "viable" reasons why we should abandon our folks in some foreign "retirement villages" (Read: Gulags), to live out their last days in isolation in a foreign country.
Stuck in a foreign land, how will any authorities in Singapore be able to access the welfare of these folks? How in the world are they able to have assess to any insurance and CPF related grants if they are boat-rides away from their country who abandoned them? Are the authorities in the foreign nation going to ensure that these folks are not ill-treated, since these folks wouldn't necessarily fall under their jurisdiction?
What kind of a scumbug would even suggest dumping their fathers and mothers into some faraway elderly homes designated "retirement villages"?
More than 50 years ago, when Hitler found the Jews perfidious, he decided to make do with them by herding all of them into concentration camps in the nations Germany had assimilated.
Today, our Singapore government is suggesting that we herd them all to some "retirement villages" in some foreign country. Tomorrow, it will be our generation who will be herded out for the inevitable cull.
We own our elders a debt of honour; they were there when Singapore fell to the Japanese, they were there when our nation was at its doldrums. We own it to them that they live their remaining days with at least some dignity, not dump them in some island concentration camps.
Such suggestions are down-right disgusting, and I will not mince words here when I say that I am thoroughly disgusted with such a degrading proposal from the ruling incumbent.
The last thing I want is for Singapore to turn into a Gulag Hub.
"When the Nazis arrested the Communists,
I said nothing; after all, I was not a Communist.
When they locked up the Social Democrats,
I said nothing; after all, I was not a Social Democrat.
When they arrested the trade unionists,
I said nothing; after all, I was not a trade unionist.
When they arrested the Jews, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Jew.
When they arrested me, there was no longer anyone who could protest."
-Martin Niemöller (1892—1984), Protestant pastor and social activist
POLITICAL EXCITEMENT, OR POLITICAL APATHY?
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I have a serious confession to make. Sometimes, I wish I was never a Singaporean.
Now, before my readers start booing me and branding me a would-be quitter, allow me to explain, in a clear, lucid manner, as to why I harbour such seditious, troubling lamentations.
Our government leaders have this knack of treating the populace like juvenile delinquents. This kind of leaves us with a pretty lousy image in the eyes of overseas think tanks, with one particular Taiwanese historian branding us as "stupid".
Of course, we know that over generalizing has the effect of defaulting from the real picture. Of course, not all Singaporeans are dumb, I mean, we have our scholars, billionaires, and so on.
But that's beside the point.
The "stupidity" that we are often accused of is not that of academic achievements, or lack of, but a clear, unambiguous apathy towards our very own politics. Now, you may ask, why wouldn't us Singaporeans care about our own issues in our own backyard? Wouldn't you want to tend to your plants in your own garden?
Or is it just that, maybe, perhaps, there is a sinister force behind this widespread, appalling apathy amongst the general populace???
Well, Mr Khaw, our current health minister, has these pearls of wisdom to share:EXCERPTS FROM CHANNEL NEWS ASIA FRI,14
1. Mr Khaw said: "Who can deliver a better future? Voters, please support the team that you think can make life even better. Yes, once in a while, you want some excitement but at the end of the day, you have to go back to 'how do I bring food to the table?'"
2. Asked if political excitement is bad for Singapore, Mr Khaw said: "The alternative is: do you want what happened in Bangkok just a few days ago, or in the Philippines? People say 'alright, since we are very different, we can let go'. The moment you let go, you end up potentially looking like that. So if things seemingly look calm and peaceful and healthy, it doesn't happen accidentally."I think people want excitement, that's ok. People want entertainment value and so on. It's a young generation, they want issues to be connected. I don't think they want people to hit each other in the Parliament as you see in some countries."Let's make politics honest, clean and serious. Some entertainment value, we do workout, do line dancing, that's alright. But do not make fun of, and along the way, you belittle the whole political process."
I wonder if it is just me noticing, but quite many times in the past, our ministers seem incapable of differentiating, or rather, comprehending the fundamentals behind political excitement and social unrest.
Here, Mr Khaw equates "political excitement" with "entertainment value". And he hints that this "entertainment value" factor is responsible for the current social unrest in Bangkok and Philippines.
You see, ladies and gentlemen, our government doesn't really want you to get all fussed up with politics. Leave the politics to us. And we shall ensure that you will be able to "putfood on your table."
That kind of attitude explains why bloggers and other net users are not allowed to discuss politics; why political movies about opposition parties (such as those made by See Tong Meng) are banned, and the general, pervasive fear of Singaporeans speaking up in public. Political apathy, or stupidity (in the eyes of a particular Taiwanese politician), has been shoved down our throats.
Will political excitement in the form of informal discussions, both real time and online, be detrimental to the political stability of Singapore? Does Minister Khaw truly believe that the reasons behind the riots in Bangkok are the results of political freedom, and not rampant corruption and other factors?
If the Singaporean government is truly corrupt-free and honest, why the need for such widespread gagging of the general populace? Shouldn't elections be a yardstick to measure a nation's attitude towards the basic tenets of democracy? Without political excitement, how then does a population approach the elections, which happens about, say, once in five years?
The lack of political apathy amongst Singaporeans is also compounded by the fact that most Singaporeans have never voted in their lives, no thanks to the numerous GRCs and Single Constituency Wards, and the vast sums of electoral deposits required in order for an opposition party to field a team in the respective GRC districts. This generally translates into a desperate pool of meager rationing, both in terms of the number of legitimate candidates, and the monetary investments(Which cannot be refunded if the opposition party/candidate fails to achieve a required number of votes) involved.
In short, only a small percentage of the GRCs (consisting of more than 1 MP) are ever challenged, which results in virtual walk-overs and no voting rights for the residents of the GRCs concerned.
I, for one, have never voted in my entire life. I am 27 yrs old now. Shouldn't I, and the rest of the legitimate voters in Singapore, be allowed to exercise our voting rights?
Sure, Singapore is one of the better nations to live in, and our government should take credit for its successes. Economic success, however, does not ensure continuity of a nation: Citizens of a healthy, vibrant nation should be free to voice their views and exercise their democratic rights without fear of persecution, failing which, social and political apathy will seep in like flies in a festering wound. Subsequently, with the onset of political and social apathy comes stagnation, and history tells us that apathy is one of the chief ingredients of social disintegration.
F1 coming to S'pore?
This is cool man! We might be having F1 GP in Singapore soon! Sometimes we just have to be bold in introducing these kind of things into Singapore.
Although it is kind of sad that Malaysia had their F1 GP 1st, I think we might still be able to catch up if we move quickly to take advantage of the opportunity this type round. Hosting the F1 GP will certainly make Singapore into a more vibrant and exciting place.
A fast-tracked decision on the Integrated Resorts would also be very desirable. Singapore needs to move as fast as we can on the Integrated Resorts to further boost our economy. Singapore needs all the economic stimulants we can lay our hands on as most of the lower-tech manufacturers are shifting out of Singapore to places that are cheaper.
These projects will also give our boost our shrinking construction, retail, hotel and tourism sector a big boost. The projected expansion of these sectors of economy should be able to create more jobs for the lower skilled Singaporeans.
All in all, I hoped that these projects can be approved soon for the sake of our economy.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------S'pore eyes the checkered flag
F1 GP a possibility, as is a fast-tracked decision on Marina Bay IR: Minister
JUST days after this newspaper reported that Formula 1 czars were open to the idea of bringing the world's top motorsport event to Singapore, the Government has indicated that the idea could take off.
In the clearest signal from the authorities so far, Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang said that the Singapore Tourism Board is "actively looking at this proposal".
But whether Singapore joins the ranks of Monte Carlo, Montreal and Melbourne as a Formula 1 Grand Prix (F1 GP) race venue would depend on whether the Government is comfortable with the land and the money that will have to be set aside.
"This is a very important proposition and we have to study the full impact and make a proper evaluation," said Mr Lim on the sidelines of an International Enterprise Singapore event yesterday.
Setting aside land for a race circuit is a "very big decision" to make in land-scarce Singapore and the feasibility of building an urban track must also be studied, he said.
"It's not an easy evaluation to make."
The decision may have to be made in a race against time. The Formula One Management (FOM) has approved a proposal to add up to two more races to its calendar and is in the process of firming up its schedule for 2008.
It has already received expressions of interest from South Africa, Mexico, Russia and India and FOM chief Bernie Ecclestone, whose company holds the commercial rights to the event, has previously told Today: "My advice now is that if somebody in Singapore is interested and wants to be the promoter to do this, they should contact me and we can start talking about this and see what we can do."
The hosting fees for the event can reach US$40 million ($64 million) and a new track can set the host back another US$200 million. But cities vie for Formula 1 because of the tourist dollars and prestige it brings.
While the Government tries to reach a quick decision on Formula 1, it already appears to have fast-tracked the process for assessing the ongoing bid for the Marina Bay integrated resort (IR).
The four bidders — Genting International, MGM Mirage, Las Vegas Sands and Harrah's Entertainment — made their first pitch to the authorities last week. It had been assumed that they would be invited for a second round of presentations to bolster their case.
Now, Mr Lim, who was part of the panel of ministers that heard out the bidders last week, indicated that the second round might not even be necessary, and will take place next month only "in case we need to listen to the bidders again to clarify certain things".
He added: "In all likelihood we may not need to call them up because we've gone through the process of meeting them. Our officials are meeting them now. We're going through the internal evaluation, then we make a decision.
"All I can say is that the four bids are very, very good bids, and it shows that they take us seriously and that they want to develop a very good product in Singapore."
Various panels made up of primarily civil servants have been set up to evaluate, score and rank the proposals and subsequently make their recommendations to a five-man Ministerial Committee led by Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar, who will then leave the final decision to the Cabinet.
Mr Lim said that the winner for the Marina Bay IR bid will be announced by the "end of May or early June".
We are Citizens, NOT just consumers.
New PAP candidate Miss Jessica Tan used the analogy of the cutthroat world of business to make her point on the weak Opposition and the accusation that they are hamstrung by the fact that Town Councils in its wards had lesser grants: "Our objective is to win and serve the needs of our customers. If our competition is unable to catch up with us, I'm not going to apologise for that. I don't think the party needs to make apologies for the fact that the Opposition is weak."
Well, although PAP need not make apologies for the weakness of the opposition parties, it cannot be said the same for giving the opposition wards’ Town Councils lesser grants.
The reasons are simple.
Firstly, we are Citizens, NOT just consumers. We, Citizens, have our rights and obligations. It is not as if people in opposition wards had a choice of paying taxes or serving NS. Since our fellow Citizens in the opposition wards has fulfilled their obligations by paying their taxes, serving their NS and etc., why should they be discriminated in this way?
Secondly, even in the business world there are anti-trust laws to keep the big companies in check. Why shouldn’t this be the same for politics?
We should always have enough safeguards to prevent the giant political party from crowding out its competitors through anti-competitive methods. I am sure, as a general manager with Microsoft Operations, Miss Tan knows what I mean.
Lastly we, as Citizens, wanted to see a competition of ability between each of the political parties. By denying the Opposition ward’s Town Councils the same level of funding that the PAP wards Town Councils received, it is skewed the competition in PAP’s favour and thus giving it an unfair advantage. One might even called it unethical since the fund for the Town Councils also comes from the taxpayers.
If PAP really has better candidates, the performance of its Town Councils should surpass the opposition wards even with the same level of funding. But as Workers’ Party chief Mr Low Thia Khiang had said: "The current situation now is not like comparing which candidate is more capable but whose father is richer."
Friday, March 31, 2006New to the fray but up for the fight
No 'armchair critics', PAP's three new candidates are here to stand up and be counted
Loh Chee Kong
A FORMER model, a lawyer and a high-flying businesswoman got together yesterday to talk politics.
Described as "typical Singaporeans" of the post-independence generation, they spoke on issues that have engaged others of their vintage: Does Singapore need an Opposition? Are Opposition parties here inherently disadvantaged? Should younger People's Action Party (PAP) candidates be allowed to breeze into Parliament so easily, sometimes without even a contest?
Broadly speaking, their answers to these questions were: "Not just for the sake of it", "Not really" and "Why not?" — though sometimes they had different points of view. And the three young Singaporeans — the latest batch of PAP candidates to be trotted out — had no hesitation in sharing their perspectives.
So, should the talk of a clean sweep by the ruling party worry younger voters?
"Do you want an Opposition just for the sake of Opposition? Or do you want an Opposition because you feel that many or some things are not right? If something's not right, then don't be an armchair critic. Do something about it," said Mr Michael Palmer, 37, a lawyer with Harry Elias.
Added his colleague Teo Ser Luck, also 37 and a one-time model who is now a general manager with DHL Express: "You cast your vote for your future and who can take better care of this country."
The third new candidate, Ms Jessica Tan, 39, said it would be good to have political debate and differing views. But stability was equally important, according to the general manager with Microsoft Operations.
But wasn't the Opposition weak and hamstrung by the fact that Town Councils in its wards had lesser grants?
Ms Tan used the analogy of the cutthroat world of business to make her point: "Our objective is to win and serve the needs of our customers. If our competition is unable to catch up with us, I'm not going to apologise for that. I don't think the party needs to make apologies for the fact that the Opposition is weak."
Lawyer Palmer likened the election process to two parties arguing their case in court. "Ultimately, who wins and who loses — the judge decides. In politics, it's the same. It's the people who decide. So, I can't see why they say there's no level playing field."
Mr Teo responded more specifically to the issue of lower grants for Opposition wards. People vote not just for candidates but also for the parties they represent, he said.
"They need to be well-informed on whether the person and the party will be able to deliver what is promised," he said. "Voters have increasing demands. Who is the one who can meet their demands? Not everyone can — you have to decide."
Another point on which all three candidates agreed was that a contest would be good. "But if there's no contest then I'll still go ahead and do the job," said Ms Tan. "At the end of the day, it's not just about the contest but being able to represent the residents and do the work, although a contest would give clearer mandate."
Even so, what of the impression that rookie PAP candidates breezing into Parliament, either through walkovers or by hanging onto the coattails of Ministers?
Mr Palmer spelt out his feelings on this. "First of all, I'm actually looking forward to a contest. I would be disappointed if there wasn't one," he said.
But he dismissed the notion of hitching a free ride. "I don't think you can say any of us will be riding on the coattails of Ministers because we will have our own divisions within the GRCs to deal with. We have our own work cut out for us. You can't just let the Minister do the walkabouts and meet-the-people sessions while you just sit back."
In the end, there appeared to be just one issue on which the candidates did not see eye to eye: Party political films.
Mr Teo Ser Luck felt films with "certain political agendas which will better the lives of the people" should be allowed, while the other two candidates disagreed.
It was left to Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean, who introduced the three candidates, to have the final word: "Politics is a serious process of understanding issues, of making important decisions on issues affecting our future," he said. "Politics as an art form — as entertainment — would deflect from that."
Thursday, March 30, 2006Compare apples with apples: WP's Low
IF my rival can do it, then so can I, indicated Opposition MP Low Thia Khiang in response to reports that PAP's Eric Low had promised to help Hougang residents privatise their HUDC estates.
He said that if his constituents wanted their estates privatised, he would certainly fight for it as hard as Mr Eric Low had.
"Is he saying the Opposition MP can't fight for it in Parliament or is less effective in fighting for certain rights or interests? I think we are equally effective," said the Workers' Party (WP) chief.
Speaking to reporters after his meet-the-people session last night, Mr Low also touched on the issue of upgrading which, he acknowledged, could be important for residents.
"But when it came to improving amenities, MPs should be given similar resources, he said. "The current situation now is not like comparing which candidate is more capable but whose father is richer," said Mr Low.
"If the Government gives me the same amount of resources as the other PAP wards, I'm very sure that if I can't do a better job than PAP MPs, at the very least, I can do an equal job."
Mr Low also leapt into the lift upgrading debate started by Potong Pasir MP Chiam See Tong, who said his Town Council's proposal to stop lifts at every floor had been rejected two years back.
The HDB then stated that the previous Town Council Act had prohibited the use of residential sinking funds to upgrade the lifts to stop at every floor. The act was amended last year.
Mr Low claimed that his Town Council had a lift upgrading programme approved by the HDB six years ago, though he clarified that the money had come from the Town Council's surplus funds.
But one year after that, another application to carry out similar works also using surplus funds had been rejected, he said. The HDB said it was looking into Mr Low's remarks, made late in the day.
— LOH CHEE KONG
Are S'poreans stupid?
April 7, 2006Uproar over Li's 'stupid' remark
Singaporeans are stupider and of inferior stock, says Taiwanese firebrand Li Ao
By Foong Woei Wan
IT WAS a casual comment that sparked a passionate discussion among Chinese Singaporeans.
After a tour of China in September last year, Li Ao, the famously outspoken Taiwanese politician and author, said at a press conference in Hong Kong: 'Taiwanese are still better. They're scoundrels but they're lovable. Hong Kongers are craftier. Singaporeans are stupider. The Chinese are more unfathomable.'
Little did he realise that his offhand remark would lead to dozens of letters and columns in Singapore Chinese dailies such as Lianhe Zaobao and Shin Min Daily News.
On Wednesday, he explained at long last what he meant by the comment.
He devoted an entire 25-minute episode of his popular talk show, Li Ao's Standpoint, on Phoenix TV (StarHub Channel 50) to the topic: Singaporeans' Stupidity.
Singapore, he said, is the perfect actualisation of the ancient Chinese political philosophy, Legalism, which emphasises the rule of law.
Legalism was the central governing concept of China's Qin dynasty and culminated in the unification of the country under the first emperor, Qin Shi Huang.
Li said that under the leadership of Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew, the collective comes before the individual, and the success of the Republic is therefore a 'collective creation'.
The flip side of the coin is that there have been few 'outstanding people' in Singapore, he said.
He noted that many of the Republic's forefathers had sailed from China to the island to make a living and were admirably industrious folk.
But they were also poorly educated, like the great-grandfather of Taiwanese politician Peng Ming-min, who had gone from Fujian to Taiwan 'with only his underwear and nothing else, much less culture'.
He argued that since Singapore's forefathers were poorly educated, Singaporeans are 'not of a good stock'.
He said Mr Lee wanted to build a British-style democracy but because the people are not up to scratch, they only know how to toe the line.
'Singaporeans do not po ge (break rules) but they also do not chu ge (stand out),' he said in Mandarin.
'If you ask me, Li Ao, to name Singapore's outstanding people, I can think of only one person besides politicians like Lee Kuan Yew and his son - a very lovable girl called Stefanie Sun,' he said, referring to the Taiwan-based pop star.
'It's not that there is none. It's just that I don't know of many outstanding individuals. The impression I get is: stupid,' he added.
The 70-year-old author is a member of the Taiwanese parliament and is famous for his controversial comments. Born to a professor of Chinese in north-east China, he fled with his family to Taiwan when he was a teenager.
His show airs on weekdays on the Chinese-backed Hong Kong cable channel, and attracts audiences in Asia, including Singapore.
On Wednesday, he said he was elaborating on his remark about Singaporeans after a Singaporean fan wrote to him and asked him to explain himself.
Li said he had not meant anyone any harm, and added that he would have to speak with more care in future.
'I didn't think that when I said Hong Kongers are craftier, it could also mean that Singaporeans aren't crafty, you're just stupid.'
But he also called on Singaporeans to reflect on why his comment had caused a ruckus.
'If even a clever man like Li Ao has this impression - and he has no enemies in Singapore - think: Why does he have this impression?'
But if he thought his explanation would appease angry Singaporeans, he was mistaken.
After his talk-show remarks were broadcast on cable TV on Wednesday and published in Lianhe Zaobao yesterday, angry readers called radio stations here to complain about him.
Celebrities like China-born, Singapore-based compere Guo Liang also spoke up for Singaporeans.
He told Lianhe Wanbao: 'One cannot just conclude that Singaporeans are going to be stupid generation after generation.'
In Lianhe Zaobao, columnists like Wong Lung Hsiang have noted that Li's comment on stupid Singaporeans echoes a saying in China that 'Taiwanese are shameless, Hong Kongers are heartless, Singaporeans are ignorant'.
In Greater China, law-abiding Singaporeans have long been seen as gullible.
In a commentary in November last year, Wong wrote: 'No nation is perfect. As Singapore grows in confidence and strength, there should be constant self-examination - treasure the system when you are at home but when you are away, you should know how to adapt to others.'
Saw this article on the Straits Times (I find the translation unsatisfactory and the article misleading, for those who can read Chinese you can go here for the original transcript.
) This sparked my interest because I had followed Taiwanese News quite closely and one of the more famous people in Taiwan is Li Ao
Apparently, he had caused uproar with his ‘stupid’ remark.
He says Singaporeans are ‘stupid’ because although Singapore is a successful country there are very few outstanding individuals in Singapore. Singaporeans are more of a collective rather than individuals. This results in conformity, which leads the situation that ‘Singaporeans do not po ge (break rules) but they also do not chu ge (stand out)’.
While I disagree with his choice of word, I very reluctantly agree with his observation of Singaporeans.
We, Singaporeans, indeed either prefer or are “forced” to conform to the “norms” of the society.
We, Singaporeans, do indeed prefer or are “forced” to follow the crowd or govt. directives.
This is evident in a few things like when choosing the course to study in university (Singaporeans tend to choose the “hot” course which the govt is promoting, the latest being biotech.) and which country to invest in (China in the past, India and Middle East now).
We have wannabe “entrepreneurs” clamouring for govt to help to start their business (Didn’t we all hear before the “if govt can help me I sure can succeed” talks by many of those wannabe “entrepreneurs”. Don't they realise that asking govt. help is the opposite of entrepreneurship?).
We even have people who ask the govt to provide us with an opposition! (This is so naïve that it I wanted to agree with Li Ao for once.)
While this isn’t all bad, we need social cohesion to build up Singapore rapidly; it does present us with a problem in the new economy where innovation is required. A population that rely on govt. for most of the things is unlikely to be creative enough for the new economy.
Although there have to been rapid changes in the education system in recent years to encourage more creativity, it will take many years to see the effects of these reforms before we can judge if it works. The world will not wait for us while we attempt to change.
So fellow Singaporeans, choose what you like rather than what is “hot” for your university course, invest in where you think best rather than where the govt is promoting, stop clamouring for help from the govt and just go for it if you want to start a business, finally stop asking the ruling party to provide you with an “opposition” and vote in a real one if you think Singapore needs an opposition.
Once we start to act more like individuals rather than a collective, we will not be “stupid” anymore.Add on:
I read some of the letters rebutting Li Ao comments
; it is clear to me that most of them have not read the original transcript or watched the program or do not understand what Li Ao said.
Most of the attacks are focusing on the part where Li Ao said Singaporeans' ancestors are “of inferior stock”. Anyone who bother to read the transcript or watched the program would know that he is not referring to genetic stock of Singaporeans but rather pointing out that although he admire the ancestors of Singaporean Chinese for their industriousness, it is a fact that they are also mostly poor and illiterate and thus culturally anaemic. Being poor and illiterate and thus culturally anaemic is what he meant by “inferior stock”. He also said this is the same for Taiwan.
According to Li Ao, it will take generations to build up sufficient cultural foundation for our British parliamentary system to work properly, just like the British. He believes MM Lee felt the same too. However when MM Lee begins to rule Singapore, which had a culturally anaemic population, with strict laws (legalism
), it produced an side effect.
That is the strict laws and rule (legalism) bonded the people with the system too tightly, thus eliminating some of the advantages of a looser political system. This greatly reduced the individuality of Singaporeans and that is the reason why Singapore lacks outstanding individuals.
The lack of outstanding individuals is what he meant by ‘stupid’.