Govt haggles over financial support for Shanmugam’s family

After executing her son, the Government is now haggling with Mdm Letchumi, the late Shamugams mother, over how much financial support she should receive. The authorities asked the distraught woman how much she needed a month for herself and her two grandsons (Shanmugams twin teenage sons). She said five hundred dollars, a very conservative estimate by anyones standard.

The social welfare department rejected it. For readers who dont already know, $500 is less than what a PAP minister makes in one hour.

So how much is the Government prepared to support her? $150. This works out to a grand total of $5 a day for three persons. This amount is supplemented by the Singapore Indian Association which contributes another $150 a month and the schools of the boys are helping out with expenses. Still, the ministers should try to live on $3.30 a day before they insist that others do so.

Even then, the $150 from the Government will last for only as long as it takes for Mdm Letchumi to withdraw the small amount of CPF money that remains in her sons account. No mention is made about support when the CPF funds are depleted. The PAP has taken anti-welfarism to a whole new level.

The Letchumi home is bare save for a wooden sofa set that has obviously seen better days and TV with a video player sitting at the front of the living room. She is unable to clean the house and relies on her sister from India, whose social visit pass is due to expire in a few days, for assistance. I have a back problem, Mdm Letchumi says as she pulls out an X-ray photo that show four pieces of steel plates firmly affixed to her vertebra by four one-inch screws.

Shanmugam was executed on 13 May 2005 despite protests from many quarters in Singapore. Now the family is left to pick up the pieces and struggle on. Not only has the Government needlessly killed a man who was a father and son, it now also refuses to provide the family with any meaningful financial support.

This is one area that Singaporeans can play a role. Those of you would like to help Mdm Letchumi and the boys, please make your contributions directly to the family at or contact the Singapore Democrats at

On another note, the derogatory comments made about Shanmugams lawyer, Mr M Ravi, in the Sunday Times on 15 May 2005 and the personal attacks heaped upon the counsel is beneath contempt. Thats the way the establishment likes to play the game going for the man instead of the ball.

But Mr Ravi neednt respond. He already has an able spokesperson. Mdm Letchumi, struggling with the few words of English she could muster, told the members of the SDP who visited her last weekend: Ravi is very good. He is the best. Anytime he is in trouble, I will help him. The Sunday Times should heave a sigh of relief that she doesnt read or write English. Otherwise, there would be some very red faces.

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