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While accusing Dr Chee Soon Juan of avoiding him in court, Mr Lee Kuan Yew was working feverishly through his lawyer to restrict Dr Chee’s cross-examination of him.
This is vintage Lee, thumping his chest in public while working behind the scenes to ensure that his opponents are crippled even before the fight begins.
He did this to the late Lim Chin Siong. While pretending to defend Lim, Mr Lee Kuan Yew was working behind closed doors to ban his then party comrade from standing for elections.
He said publicly that introducing a law (by the British colonial government) to ban ex-detainees, of whom Mr Lim Chin Siong was one, is “disturbing because it is a departure from the democratic practice.”
But a recently declassified British memo contradicts the Minister Mentor: “Lee Kuan Yew was secretly a party with Lim Yew Hock in urging the Colonial Secretary to impose the ‘subversives ban’.” (See here for the full report.)
He also did it to Mr Francis Seow. While challenging anyone who criticizes him to join a political party and stand for elections, he threatened Mr Seow not to join the opposition.
His ISD goons threatened Mr Seow during detention: “For your information, Lee Kuan Yew is running for another term. And you will be locked up here…You can give up all your ideas of going into politics.” (Quoted from To Catch A Tartar by Francis Seow)
He’s doing it now to Dr Chee. While issuing a press statement saying that Dr Chee is trying to “avoid having to cross-examine” him and his Prime Minister son, his lawyer was working overtime in Judge Belinda Ang’s chambers yesterday to ensure that the Judge limits the cross-examination when the plaintiffs take the stand.
Mr Davinder Singh was hell-bent on ensuring that Dr Chee’s Affidavit Evident in Chief (AEIC) was struck out. This would severely curtail the defendants’ cross-examination of Mr Lee. The MM even instructed his lawyer to apply to expunge Dr Chee’s AEIC from the courts’ records because the document would “embarass” him.
Mr Singh gave a hint of what was to come at the cross-examination. He urged Judge Ang not to allow the defendants a “roving enquiry” when the Lees’ took the stand and to disallow the defendants to “cross-examine the plaintiffs on political matters that had no relevance.”
He also said that the defendants cannot prove corruption, nepotism, cover-up, etc because “we’re past that point.”
Contrast this with Mr Lee’s brag that “if you defame us [and] if I’m involved, I go to the witness box. And you can question me, not only on the particular defamatory issue, but all issues in my life.”
Aping the MM, Mr Singh said in 2004, “[Dr Chee] has been carping about the lack of democracy and transparency. He now has the opportunity of a lifetime – a chance to cross-examine the plaintiffs and extract answers to his pressing questions. What does he do? He flees.”
Mr Singh was, of course, referring to the previous suit in which the hearing was convened before Dr Chee could return to Singapore following a five-month fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC.
Mr Lee dares to play such games because he has control over the mass media and he knows he can continue to tell such lies with impunity. Dr Chee can only depend on the Internet. The fight to communicate with the public is as tilted as ever.
But we do not fret for we have one thing that is stronger than even the mightiest of despots. It is called the truth.