LKY: otherwise you wouldn’t be able to be living in an HDB flat

Singapore Democrats

Below is the transcript of another exchange between Dr Chee Soon Juan and Mr Lee Kuan Yew during cross-examination on 27 May 08.

The following exchange took place after Mr Lee Kuan Yew introduced the award given to him by Transparency International (Malaysia):

CSJ: Are you or are you not depending on this document to show your integrity in this court room. I remind one more time you will need a lot more that this because I can tell you this award is not worth the paper it is written.

LKY: We are also judged by PERC, we also judged by IMD, World Economic Forum and a whole host of other rating agencies.

CSJ: Good. Are you including International Commission Jurists? Are you including Human Rights Watch? Are you including Amnesty International? Are you including Committee to Project Journalists? Are you including International Federation for Free Exchange? Are you including Southeast Asia Press Alliance? Are you including World Movement for Democracy? Are you including Human Rights Defenders? Are you including World Forum for Democratisation in Asia? Are you including National Endowment for Democracy? Are you including Liberal International? Tell me you cited four, I cited you at least ten, Mr Lee. So do me a favour, let us not pick and choose at what endorsements you get because overall if you’re trying to show me that your standing in the world is that high you wouldn’t be clutching at straws and producing something from Tunku Aziz. I had a conversation with him –

Singh: Your Honour, what is the question?

CSJ: The question is why is Mr Lee depending on such a slipshop – when it is not a verifiable – if you come and tell me that you have been awarded the Nobel Prize I would accept it because that has been vetted. Tell me, who is in this organisation called Transparency International Malaysia. Tell me who are the officer here and when they make awards such as these, what vetting process do they go through?

Singh: Can we ask the cross examiner if he has a question? If he has not and he wants to make a speech and maybe for the next one hour left he can make his political speech. If he has no more questions for the witness he should say so.

CSJ: Your Honour, my question is this: Mr Lee has brought this ridiculous piece of paper and tells me that he is depending on this to prove his reputation. I’m asking him, does this plaintiff know who is behind this Transparency International Malaysia?

LKY: Your Honor, the man is on the Internet and the organisation is also on the website. They asked me in a private letter if I would receive this letter, There were wanting to score a point that it is possible to have in Southeast Asia a clean government. I agreed and I assume he would not sign a document citing TI which rates us always among the top 5 unless it had been authorised to do so. And now you are saying that he is liar, that he has falsely attributed this paragraph to Dr Eigen. Well then I say if you brought Dr Eigen here with an affidavit, then you can demolish Mr Adnan (should be Aziz) but not demolish me because I do not depend on Transparency International. I’m just putting this as an example of what PERC, IMD –

CSJ: But we haven’t got the records of PERC, IMD and so in line with what Mr Singh said, let’s dispense with it. Because if you did, you would produce them.

LKY: Ha. The simple answer really is between the competing NGOs, one for HR, one for liberal ideas of how governments should be and rating agencies concerned with actual assessment of government performance – where do investors put their money in. hey have not put their money in, if you study the World Bank and IMF reports in countries which are unable and corrupt –

CSJ: I think you’re deliberately running down the clock. Let me ask you this question –

LKY: You are asking me this question –

CSJ: Let me pose this question. You had mentioned the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy –

Judge: Dr Chee! The witness, continue, finish –

CSJ: Let me ask you this question –

Judge: Dr Chee! I would like to hear this witness. Please continue.

LKY: There are liberal organisations which disagree with the way Singapore runs its social system but we believe we know better. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here, otherwise we wouldn’t have this courtroom, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to be living in an HDB flat.* That’s the final test.

CSJ: I think you’re making this leap of logic that even Bruce Hawking would find did hard to follow. You are saying that without you without this entire government, we wouldn’t be here? A little presumptuous, don’t you think?

LKY: Your Honour, I’m saying –

CSJ: You see, Mr Lee, in Hong Kong people thrive without you and your system, in Taiwan people thrive without you and your system, in Korea people thrive without you and your system, and you are coming to this court and telling me that what we have right now is all because of you and your system that you have created. I think you are making too much of a presumption.

Judge: “Dr Chee, I’m going to stop this line of cross-examination.”


*Note: Earlier, this sentence read: “…otherwise you would be living in an HDB flat.” We apologize for the mistake.
More of the audio exchanges will be posted on youtube in due course.

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