Chee responds to Joseph Koh’s article in The Age

November 30, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore’s High Commissioner to Australia, Joseph Koh, insists that investments in the Myanmar Fund was “completely open and above board.”(Why Nuguyen must die, Nov 30, 2005)

Mr Koh fails to mention that the Singapore Government invests in projects all over the world using public funds but refuses to give an account of where these investments go and how they perform. His yardstick for “completely open” is made of plasticine.

Instead of repeatedly insisting that the Myanmar Fund project was “above board”, will Mr Koh categorically say that the investments in the Myanmar Fund were not invested with Asia World, a company owned by Burmese druglord Mr Lo Hsing Han’s?

In addition will he unequivocally say that current investments in Burma are not linked in any way with Mr Lo Hsing Han and other druglords in Burma?

It is inexplicable why Mr Koh does not refute former US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Gelbard’s claim that “Since 1988…over half of [the investments from] Singapore have been tied to the family of narco-trafficker Lo Hsing Han.” Singapore’s total investments in Burma is estimated to be about US$1.5 billion.

Mr Koh declines to tell your readers that after the documentary was aired, the Singapore Goivernment quietly wound up the Myanmar Fund in 1997. If the Fund was “above board” why was it wound up? The GIC was a core shareholder in the Myanmar Fund with a representative in the Fund’s investment committee and not a passive investor, as claimed by the Singapore Government.

Will the High Commissioner also say whether Mr Lo Hsing Han has been banned from entering Singapore, and whether Mr Lo’s son, Steven Law, banned from the US for suspected drug activities, continues to operate in Singapore.

Mr Koh has also not revealed the fact that I am not a member of parliament and could not move a motion for a commission of inquiry. In addition, the Singapore Government need not open a commission of inquiry to the public and that the international media is often barred from covering the proceedings. The Government barred the public from a parliamentary select committee hearing that I was involved in, one that my colleagues and I were fined a total of S$51,000 for challenging the Government on health care costs in the country.

If the Singapore Government will telecast a commission of inquiry “live” and allow the foreign media to attend it, I would be more than happy to participate in it.

Even then, why does there need to be a commission of inquiry to answer the questions that I have repeatedly raised about my Government’s investments in Burma?

Mr Koh should also inform the people of Australia that the questions that I have mentioned in this letter vis-à-vis our dealings in Burma continue to be censored by the media in Singapore. Your readers should ask why.