Stanford University writes to Minister over CSC’s case

Singapore Democrats

Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) has written to the Minister for Law K Shanmugam to ask him to allow Ms Chee Siok Chin to attend its Summer Fellows Program.

The Official Assignee rejected Ms Chee’s application to travel to the US because she is a bankrupt.

In a letter to the Minister (below), Dr Michael McFaul, Director of the CDDRL, informed Mr Shanmugam that Stanford has invited Ms Chee to give a public lecture for which she would be paid an honorarium of US$2,000. This would allow the SDP leader to pay her creditor which is the Singapore Government.

The OA has yet to respond.

Stanford University CDDRL’s letter to Singapore’s Minister for Law:

Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, 616 Serra Street, Stanford, CA 94305-6055

July 22, 2008

The Honorable Mr K Shanmugam
Minister for Law
Republic of Singapore
100 High Street #08-02
The Treasury
Singapore 179434
via Fax and Email


Dear Mr Minister:

We are writing about the decision of your government to deny Ms Chee Siok Chin permission to travel to Stanford to participate in the annual Summer Fellows Program of our Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.

We feel this decision is wrong and unfair, in that it infringes on her freedom of movement and denies Ms Chee—who was selected through an extremely competitive process that chose 27 applicants from a pool of over 500—the opportunity to enhance her knowledge and skills in ways that will benefit Singapore and also improve her professional capacity, including her ability to earn income in the future.

We understand that her request to travel was denied because it will bring no benefit to her bankruptcy estate and to her creditors. We would like to call your urgent attention to a new development that renders this assessment out of date.

Ms. Chee has been invited to give a public lecture here at Stanford University, during her stay as a Summer Fellow, with an honorarium of US$2,000. (Please see the attached letter of invitation).

Since all of her expenses as a summer fellow will be covered separately, we would assume that her honorarium earnings could be used to help meet her obligations to her creditors upon her return, benefiting all concerned.

Given this new material development in her case, and given the warm relations of cooperation that Stanford has been developing with Singapore, which we hope will continue and grow, we respectfully request that you review her request on an urgent basis and grant her permission to attend the CDDRL Summer Fellows Program.

The program begins on Monday, July 28, but we would accept her as soon as she can arrive at Stanford.

Thank you for your consideration.


Michael McFaul
Director, CDDRL

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