CSJ calls again for live debate with LKY

21 September 2004

Mr Lee Kuan Yew
Minister Mentor

Dear Sir,

Our communication over the past couple of weeks has gone something like this: I ask for a postponement of the hearing date, you reply: Dr Chee is working with foreigners to attack Singapore. I then challenge you to a debate to be televised live, you retort: Dr Chee is working with foreigners to attack Singapore. Most recently, I ask you and SM Goh why you had omitted to mention to Singaporeans that you had applied to re-schedule the hearing dates, you respond: Dr Chee is working with foreigners to attack Singapore.

Let me hazard a guess: You are trying to get Singaporeans to believe that I am working with foreigners to attack Singapore. I cannot deny that this is a good ploy. It is the first trick that autocrats use whenever they want to deflect criticism. The dictators in China are using it on Martin Lee in Hong Kong, the military regime do it to Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, the old Kuomintang skewered Shih Mingteh with it in Taiwan in the 1970s, and list goes on.

Yet this is the surest sign of desperation, a sign that you are losing the battle of reasoned argument and have no choice but to resort to ad hominem attacks with little regard for the truth and even less for honourable debate. The last time you accused someone of being in cahoots with foreigners, the poor soul ended up in the ISD prison. I am sure you know to whom I am referring.

Before you do that with me, however, we have a date in court and I will take you head on on this issue. I will answer any question that you have for me about the foreign-backers issue and I hope that you, in turn, will answer my questions on the same matter. We will see then exactly just who has been attacking Singapore and who has been speaking up for Singapore.

But in order for Singaporeans to make up their minds about who is right, they need to watch the debate with their own eyes a debate that will not be distorted and misreported by the media that you control.

In order to do this I had asked you about televising live our exchange in court. However, you cleverly said that this was not up to you to decide. I had expected you to say this. So heres my next question: Why dont we agree to debate each other outside of court and have it televised live?

In all probability you will demolish me in such an exchange given your intellect and debating skills, both of which are without peer. What I have on my side are just the facts and I can only present them as they are. I will leave it to the force of the truth to win my argument for me. Ultimately I am prepared to let Singaporeans be the judge of my words and actions. No fudging and no media distortion.

I can only hope that you are prepared to do the same.


Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party