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A cross-examination of Mr Lee Kuan Yew at the High Court this afternoon resulted in the change of the Minister Mentor’s long-held opinion of Dr Chee Soon Juan.
At the start of the cross-examination, Mr Lee said that the SDP leader was a “psychopath”. But towards the end of the session, he described Dr Chee as a person of eloquence.
This apparent change of heart came as a surprise to those both in the courtroom and the public gallery. One of them was heard saying, “What a swing from one end to the other end.”
Earlier, in a combative mood from the witness box, Mr Lee described Dr Chee as a liar, a cheat and altogether an unscrupulous man – a psychopath. He said the lawsuit had to be initiated to protect his integrity and uphold the honesty of the system that he had built for almost 50 years.
To support his claim, Mr Lee produced a three-page photocopy of a citation called ‘The Global Integrity Medal’ from Transparency International Malaysia which was conferred on him.
His counsel, Mr Davinder Singh, then took close to 10 minutes reading out the citation, despite Dr Chee’s objection that the counsel was wasting time because he was already aware of the TIM’s award which was presented in 2000.
Dr Chee described Mr Lee’s introduction of the citation as “clutching at straws.”
“The award is not worth the paper on which it is printed,” he said, pointing out that Dr Peter Eigen, chairman of the parent Transparency International, had told him that the Berlin-based organisation had nothing to do with the award.
Dr Chee pointed out that few knew anything about the TIM which is a tiny organisation of probably one or two persons. Information about how the award is vetted and given is non-existent.
A check with TIM’s website (http://www.transparency.org.my/memberlist.htm) indeed shows this to be the case. There is no mention of the governing body and the tab for “Members” leads to a “Not Found” error message.
Dr Chee then went on to list out more than ten other international agencies, including the International Commission of Jurists, National Endowment for Democracy, Human Rights Watch and South East Asia Press Alliance that rated Singapore negatively.
Mr Lee, in his usual style, deprecated Dr Chee. He even offered the SDP leader advice that he should spend his time trying to get elected through Constitutional means.
Dr Chee shot back that he would if only Mr Lee would respect the Consttuition, adding that the MM trampled upon the rights of the citizens guaranteed under it.
The MM took pains to point out that Dr Chee should go the way of opposition MPs like Mr Low Thia Khiang and Mr Chiam See Tong who managed to get elected into Parliament despite “rigorous campaigning by the PAP.”
It was at this point that Mr Lee told Dr Chee that with his eloquence, he could get the support of the people to be elected to Parliament. There was a moment of awe within the courtroom at Mr Lee’s changed position. From one extreme of being a psychopath to the other of a person with eloquence.
This change of heart took place within the one-and-a-half hours of cross-examination.