Govt applies the law equally? You must be joking: Part 2

October 26, 2005
Singapore Democrats

This post is at least a year old. Some of the links in this post may no longer work correctly.

In Govt applies the law equally? You must be joking Part I, we gave several examples of how the PAP Government applies the law selectively and to its own benefit. There is more.

In 1993, three months after he joined the Singapore Democrats, Dr Chee Soon Juan was accused of using his research funds to send his wife’s PhD dissertation to the US. Dr Chee had asserted, and still does, that this was not the case as his wife was an employee in the same department at NUS at that time and was working with him, sharing and collaborating in their research. The funds were thus legitimately used. The NUS sacked Dr Chee anyway.

At that time the PAP machinery went into overdrive: Parliament was convened to “debate” the matter with the outcome never in question, the media pronounced Dr Chee guilty in a myriad of ways, and NUS officials sued Dr Chee when he disputed the dismissal. The message that the PAP wanted to drive into everyone’s minds was that Dr Chee had used public funds for private matters and that could not be condoned.

Fast forward to 2004. Mr Lee Kuan Yew had sued Dr Chee over the Indonesian loan issue. Mr Lee sued in his capacity as a private citizen, not in his official capacity as a minister. Despite this, Mr Lee had used his press secretary, Ms Yeong Yoon Ying, to issue statements on the case in September 2004. Ms Yeong is a civil servant with her salary paid for by public funds. Isn’t this a case of public funds being used for private matters? Yet, there is not a whisper of this in the public domain.

In addition, the PAP invites its potential candidates for tea sessions at the Istana just before elections. No one should have to be reminded that the PAP is a private political party which should not conduct its activities in the Istana, a place paid for and maintained by public funds. The proper place for such interviews of election candidates is the PAP headquarters, not the official residence of the President of the Republic of Singapore.

The most recent example of the Government’s hypocrisy is the matter surrounding Mr Sitoh Yih Pin’s invitation of Taiwanese popstar Zhang Di to sing at his National Day dinner in Potong Pasir. During the performance the entertainer sang the PAP candidate’s praises.

Mr Chiam See Tong, the incumbent MP, challenged this in Parliament to which the PAP replied that there was nothing wrong. What if the shoe had been on the other foot? Would the PAP not scream like a cat on a hot tin roof as it always does? Would Ms Zhang Di, assuming that the authorities allowed the opposition to organise such an event in the first place, not be blacklisted and turned away at the airport on her next visit like Mr Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan? Mr Moser-Puangsuwan was in Singapore to talk about Nonviolence, not supporting anyone from a political party. Yet, Ms Zhang was welcomed and Mr Moser-Puangsuwan deported.

Also Mr Tim Parritt from Amnesty International was denied from speaking at a forum held earlier this year on the death penalty, a matter of intense public interest. Mr Parritt was not singing, let alone praising any one candidate from any opposition party. Yet Ms Zhang Di was given the green light to croon to Mr Sitoh while Mr Parritt was gagged.

If there is one hallmark of a dictatorship, it is that it will use laws and bend rules to promote itself while crippling the opposition and civil society. Singaporeans are getting more and more educated, and this kind of in-your-face manipulation of rules is an affront to our intelligence and demeans our citizenship. The Internet will increasingly become an avenue to expose such shenanigans.

How long does the PAP think it can continue to run Singapore this way?